Thursday: 22.September.2005

Bob Dylan Teams with Martin Scorsese: No Direction Home

Monday the 26th, PBS is airing a documentary on the life of Bob Dylan, titled No Direction Home, done by one of my favorite directors: Martin Scorsese.

Dylan has been called the greatest songwriter of his generation. His song Like a Rolling Stone (1965) was voted Greatest Song of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. The title of the documentary is taken from a verse in that song:

How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?


The thing about about Dylan is:

he can't sing to save his life
he can't play the guitar very well
he's not very handsome
but, boy can he write lyrics. Some even call him a poet, on the same level as Milton, Keats and Tennyson.

Which makes him even more remarkable. I blogged a ditty about Dylan here, back in November. Whenever I see street-people playing the guitar for donations, I always ask: "Know any Dylan?" Just about everybody knows some Dylan.

Dylan can give voice to emotions we may have trouble expressing. I've recently been playing two Dylan tunes more than any others:

It Ain't me, Babe (tune in here):

You say you're looking for someone,
Who'll pick you up each time you fall,
To gather flowers constantly,
An' to come each time you call,
A lover for your life an' nothing more ...
But it ain't me, babe, No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

and .. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (tune in here):

I'm a-thinkin' and a-wond'rin' all the way down the road
I once loved a woman, a child I'm told
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul
But don't think twice, it's all right

I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right

The two-part special also airs Tuesday the 27th. I'm looking forward to seeing it. If anybody can focus the enigmatic Dylan under a magnifying glass, Scorsese can.

More on the documentary from MSNBC, .. Variety. DVD Talk calls it "possibly one of the greatest rock and roll documentaries ever helmed" The BBC did a nice little intro to Dylan.


UPDATE: Saw the special today. I liked the second half better. I was disappointed they didn't play all my favorite songs. Of course, I would've preferred to see a Dylan-concert. But that's not what this documentary is about.

I felt satisified that I came away knowing better who Bob Dylan is and where he came from .. how he became to be Bob Dylan.

What struck me most was his sense of independence. One guy, talking about Dylan, said, "He always did whatever the *bleep* he wanted." I think there is a fine-line between independence and arrogance, altho I'm not sure where that line lies, or if people can straddle both sides.

Tears welled in my eyes when they played A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, with lyrics that begin:

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?

Didn't expect that. Caught me by surprise. I heard that song many times before, but never with that reaction.

For more info, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query: no direction home bob dylan scorsese

Posted by Rad at September 22, 2005 11:30 AM


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