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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Interesting that the interview Bill Flanagan has conducted with Dylan, which is up on, has Bob sounding close to dismissive about Modern Times:

BF: The new record’s very different from Modern Times which was a number one hit. It seems like every time you have a big hit, the next time out you change things around. Why don’t you try to milk it a little bit?

BD: I think we milked it all we could on that last record and then some. We squeezed the cow dry.

Meanwhile John Baldwin's Desolation Row e-newsletter notes that the Bruce Davidson Brooklyn Gang collection was previously drawn on in Scorsese's No Direction Home for the Kerouac segment.


Blogger The Celestial Monochord said...

Huh. I've always felt that Modern Times uses the discovery that you watch actually being made in Love and Theft. In other words, L&T has the flash of realization all over it, whereas MT is putting that insight to use, so it isn't nearly as exhilarating. I think had it not been for 9/11, a lot more people would have turned toward L&T and gazed at it in wonder.

5:31 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Agreed absolutely. And nicely put. And good to hear from you!

7:13 pm  
Anonymous Lee Morgan said...

Dylan sounds extremely dismissive of Modern Times, and 'that last record' sounds particularly biting. I am glad to hear it, because I for one was loathed to hear Modern Times described as a five star effort, when it blatantly was not. Are there some good tracks? Yes, but they are strung together with some tremendously lazy blues songs, the plodding Spirit On The Water, and the entirely uninteresting Beyond The Horizon.

I hope this new album returns to the lyrically alert, joyous tone of "Love and Theft"; a stroll about town rather than a wade through the swamp.

10:35 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Again, agreed.

10:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MODERN TIMES had some five star songs: "Ain't Talking," "Nettie Moore," "Thunder on the Mountain," and "Workingman's Blues #2."
Unfortunately, the blues-based numbers that had so much sting and bite on LOVE AND THEFT, as well as the old-crooner songs that sounded brilliant on LOVE AND THEFT, became stale...if not downright the time MODERN TIMES hit the shelf. Dylan is right, they had milked that cow dry. That said, MODERN TIMES was still one of the better albums released that year...but these days I'm not so sure that's really saying all that much.

12:30 am  

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