My Photo

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

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

Follow 1michaelgray1 on Twitter

Sunday, June 28, 2009


There are now 31 comments (only two are mine) on the posting about this album. The only one I found difficult to let through was the one by the person who has my book but cannot spell my name... oh well: maybe it's uncool to care. But mainly it's striking that many people have taken the time to write thoughtfully and at comparative length - a fine contrast to most comments sent in response to pieces in, say, The Guardian. My thanks to all.


Blogger Hugh said...

Thanks right back. It's great to be able to discuss this stuff here. (Of course, I had to go back and check if I spelt your name correctly.)

1:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Michael. Modern Times is a great Dylan album - or perhaps more accurately, a great collection of songs because they sound better when performed live. Workingman's Blues, Nettie Moore, Thunder on the Mountain - they are fully of energy, poetry and wit.

9:49 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Anonymous
No it's not and no they're not. Energy is not a big deal (as Dylan said himself many years ago, when looking back critically at what had been wrong with the 1974 so-called comeback tour), and while Workingman's Blues and Nettie Moore are obviously very strong songs in the end the latter fritters away its power by going on too long and becoming more and more opaque, while Thunder On The Mountain is facile poetry, thin on wit and generally not in the same league as the witty and carefully honed songs of Chuck Berry to which it has been compared. IMO.

11:59 pm  
Anonymous Kieran said...

I think the "energy" Bob was referring to in 1974 was this vague and inaccurate neo-pagan "energy" that everyone is in thrall to. "I get bad energy from you," etc.

I think MT is his most contrived album ever. It seems the success of &T hit him hard and he tried consciously to recreate it, but there's no passion, no wit. The muscular, propulsive guitars of Larry and Charlie have been replaced by careful strumming and picking.

Nettie Moore is a mighty song, but Workingman's Blues doesn't know what it's talking about. This is a rich guy's song, and all his muttering about "enemies" etc just covers up a lack of ideas.

Remember the opening verse of Tangled Up In Blue when he knew how to capture the blue-collar image: "Her folks they said our lives together..."

I love the vocals on Spirit, but Thunder has that dreadful "up-sing" at the end of lines, which is a rude intrusion live when he's lost his way, melodically.

I find little to recommend MT, and I never listen to it, except for the remarkable Nettie Moore.

8:38 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home