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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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Monday, November 09, 2009


I've not been listening to Christmas In The Heart: haven't even bought it yet. I'm not prepared to play merry festive music in October or November, even when it's Bob Dylan's. But on the radio this morning my favourite DJ, Shaun W. Keaveny, said he thought it was only six weeks till Christmas... and bloody hell, on Friday it will be.

So I suppose Bob will be bob-bob-bobbing along into our house very soon now. I wonder how we'll like it. One old friend who has hated most of Dylan's work in the 21st Century - but was a long-term devotee before that - has confessed to me: "The snippets were horrendous but the thing itself is rather endearing... find myself quite liking it." On the other hand I had passed on to me this morning in the market another response, which was the admittedly illiberal question: "What the hell is he doing singing Christmas carols?", followed by a quietly-expressed truth: "Bob makes it hard to be a fan, doesn't he?"

One of things that is difficult is reading this sort of supercilious guff in reviews of the album:

"Bob Dylan’s new charity covers album Christmas in the Heart seems destined for a Scrooge-like reception from many of the pompous, self-appointed scholars who have clung to the singer’s canon like a ball and chain in recent years... This is probably heresy to admit, but Christmas in the Heart is actually better than Dylan’s most recent albums, the overpraised Modern Times and Together through Life." (from The Times, I believe.)

So (a) because we're scholars, we must be pompous (b) worse, we're self-appointed scholars, which after all is so easy: all we need to do is write books, get them published and know what we're talking about; writing a quick jobbing review is more honourable and valuable to others. Such a thoughful metaphor, too, that ball and chain clinging to a canon. And lastly of course, you can absolutely bet that the same journalist was one of the first in line, three years ago, to do the overpraising of Modern Times.

Bah humbug indeed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Michael. I think the Dion Christmas CD (1995) looks a better choice than Bob's album to listen to this or any year, though Phil Spector's 'Gift for you' still reigns supreme. Cheers, Brian O'Connell

5:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No need to worry Michael there isn't a snow balls chance in hell you will like the album.
Of course I think it's wonderful, but that's because I still see beauty in Dylan's current voice(I also see beauty in an ancient fallen tree on the forest floor).
What I find so interesting is just how well Dylan can still hit the proper notes even if they often sound like they're coming through a blown speaker.
The arrangements are really wonderful as I see it. They aren't in the least over done, rather spare if anything. The ornamentation is light, the voices serve as counterpoint. I particularly like the way the electric guitar is used to capture an appropriate ambient sound in many of the hymns.
The Christmas songs mean nothing to me for good or bad. It's been long mentioned by Dylan how eclectic his tastes are, and that he has harboured a desire to record albums of tin pan alley hokum.
Pat Ford

Dylan isn't trying to hide the crumbling remains of his once grand voice it's right out front leading the charge brazen and utterly fearless.

9:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That old friend (honoured to be so called) now thoroughly enjoys the Christmas album. Who'd have thought it after decidedly not enjoying the two before it nor the shows for many a year? I have my reasons and will get them into print soon.

Nice to have you back, btw.

10:56 pm  
Anonymous Kieran said...

Is a ball & chain that clings onto a canon better called a canon-ball & chain?

It'll be interesting to read your views on CITH, but you're correct: mid-October is far too early to ho-ho-ho...

12:56 pm  
Anonymous Bev said...

There is something endearing about it, but I view it more as a curio than a Dylan album proper. To me, he just decided to help out a charity, and have some relaxation covering some Christmas songs, and fair enough... We've all done stupid things for charity.

Comments from reviewers that it's better than X or Y from Dylan's recent albums seem to me to be just attention grabbing rather than having any real interlectual substance behind them. Unlike most Dylan albums, here there's very little to interlectualise about.

6:17 pm  
Blogger Judas Priest said...

I hate christmas carols. So..I was always going to have a tough time liking this. It's not quite as bad as I was fearing. It may even be endearing at the appropriate time of year. The vocal is nice on some tracks and catastrophic on others (Hark the Herald Angel Sings is an unmitigated disaster for example while Little Drummer Boy is perfectly smooth and quite affecting). A real pity that from a vocal perspective, both this and TTL were recorded very soon after the end of a period of touring. MT on the other hand, had the benefit of being recorded during a (relatively) lengthy hiatus and how it benefitted-his best singing to my ears since Oh Mercy.

CITH is what it is-inconsequential but not offensive. Could be enjoyable in the right circumstances but not remotely in the same league as the (still) hugely enjoyable TTL and the quite wonderful (and not at all overrrated imho-the mainstream critics got this one bang on for once) MT, his best record this decade. Yes, better than L&T.

9:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased the Christmas album in the week of release to support the world hunger programme. I would have preferred not to have listened until December but I had to have one listen.I have not played it since because I prefer to have Christmas in December ( I don't know what it is like in your home in France but as you know in England we have Christmas set upon us in September !)I am not able to comment after one listen - I also avoided the snippets which in my view are a daft idea. I believe JP makes an interesting point about Dylan recording the last two albums following a period of touring and the impact on his voice. I look forward to December!


3:40 pm  
Anonymous Carl Finlay said...

Hi there Michael.
How anybody could say anything positive about this christmas album is absolutely beyond me. I actually have a small soft spot (i said small) for christmas songs and im a huge Bob Dylan fan, but this album is horrifying! Ive always found some merit in even the worst of bobs albums but i cringed through listening to all of this. Bobs voice i also have loved in all its forms and styles, i loved how on Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft he used his limited vocal range to deliver beautiful phrasing. On this album its gone beyond all redemption. He sounds sick,which in itself could be okay if you heard some passion or soul...but there is none, just one horrible croak after another! is he suffering from emphysema??
anyway the people who defend this album either have no ears, no taste or are just too die-hard to accept its atrocity. And this is nothing to do with being scrooge like....fair play to him for donating money to charity....its just a matter of being able to distinguish good from abysmal !

8:59 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Ah Carl, a man with the courage of his convictions. I don't know if you're right, because I haven't heard the album yet, but you put your case very well - especially in describing how the damaged voices of Time Out Of Mind and "Love and Theft" strike you as entirely different from the voice on Christmas In The Heart.

I have to reserve judgment, of course, but I must say I'm suspicious of Pat's "fallen tree in the forest" argument. That can only hold true if the voice, once capable of such nuance, intelligence and feeling, still holds traces of these things. I haven't heard much evidence of that in the concerts of recent years. And if indeed what we have now is merely an emphysemic soulless croak, then a better analogy would be that the forest's once-lithe deer has become roadkill.

10:25 am  
Blogger Jack said...

As I don't celebrate Christmas, there has been no reason to wait.

And for some reasons which you, I understand, frown upon and judge, I find the album at times amusing & at others moving.
The fact that it is the same man singing, with (to me) evident sincerity, who has so deeply touched & inspired me, is obviously significant.

12:18 pm  
Blogger Jack said...

Michael: The crass & unpleasant analogy you use about 'roadkill', is provocative but unworthy. Sometimes crude analogies are appropriate,but this ones shows to me nothing but nastiness

1:01 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Jack
Don't be so pompous.

6:42 pm  
Anonymous Bev said...

I've just listened to it again, and what's telling is that unlikely most Dylan albums (even some of the weaker ones) where your apppreciation grows on repeated listens, as you hear new nuances and connections, on this one the pleasure seems to diminish each listen... I think this is because what there is there to enjoy is novelty.

It's not as bad as 'Down In the Groove', mind.

7:29 pm  
Blogger jeffen said...

Dear Michael
Jack's point was well-stated and reasonable.I hope you're not still smarting from that comment in the Times.

I am glad you're waiting til December to review it. I'm considering waiting for ten years.

9:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael, you actively encouraged people to return to this thread for two posts. When one does so, one reads:
"anyway the people who defend this album either have no ears, no taste or are just too die-hard to accept its atrocity."

This is just abuse, so why publish it far less encourage it? As one who does defend this album but not the two that preceded it (so not "too die hard" then) partly on grounds of taste
and because of what my ears tell me can only take it as uncalled for and insulting - as it is to your correspondent, Bev.

12:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for Song and Dance Man - I found it enriched my appreciation of Dylan's songs tremendously. You're at your best when you're writing about work you admire. I don't think you need to bother with all this score-settling; it does you no favours - for instance, the journalist just doesn't say that because you're scholars you must be pompous, and for you to pretend he does makes you look silly. You have provided insights into Dylan's work which are truly beautiful - your commentary on Jokerman and Brownsville Girl. I know a blog is a different proposition to a critical study - but still, maybe you should consider spending more time on art that inspires you? You don't really have much to say about work you don't like, but you have so much to say, and say it so luminously, when the work engages you. Anyway, thank you again.

3:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Michael,

Homer here again and beginning to feel life is becoming normally again. For most of my adult life I have defended Bob against naysayers but then for the last eight years found myself the naysayer against hysterical praise for poor “product” (I use them term advisedly). Your recent answer to Carl Finlay above though has swung things back into the past for me,

These comments you praise as well argued are exactly how Clinton Heylin talks of “Love and Theft”: would you call them well-argued (“put your case well”) and courageous (“Courage of your convictions”) in that case or are would they be a rant because it is an album you like? (It is clear you have decided you won’t like the Christmas album in advance despite your occasional plea of not being able to say, btw. That’s OK; I was convinced after the snippets I’d never listen to anything by him again so horrifying were they.) In fact, Clinton’s would be the more e courageous remarks as most fans liked or loved “Love and Theft” while most cannot stand “Christmas in the Heart”. Despite all evidence to the contrary they think he is still a serious and creative artist with something to say and should be doing something more important – like camouflaging his ruined voice so that all their friends don’t laugh at them for liking him. Pointing out that highly acclaimed albums (Guess which ones of this century spring to mind?) are not as good as people and reviewers say takes the courage of one’s convictions. Shouting abuse along with the majority takes no courage whatsoever. I say that as someone who did exactly that upon hearing the snippets to yourself in a private e-mail, I readily admit.

I am not sure a blog purporting to be about Dylan is the place to see such vitriol admired and applauded however; but then again this is a Dylan blog that hates his live work, dislikes or despises his last two albums (and, in advance!) his latest – so maybe it is!

10:24 am  
Blogger joe butler said...

great artists are entitled to create something second rate every once in a while as long as they dont make a habit of it.
they are also entitled to make a joke at our expense, we should try to laugh with them
I havnt heard CITH, only the snippets, and I hate christmas.
Elvis singing Blue Christmas may one day push me over the edge.
And John Lennons War is over makes me puke.
there is a beauty in fallen trees and someone may carve a sled named Rosebud out of this one. After all Dylan did build a californian Xanadu.

11:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "road kill" comment is very clever, and spot on to the point Michael is making concerning the effects of constant touring on Dylan's voice, and energy level.
None the less, Dylan's voice is still beautiful to my ear.
I don't disagree that in many live shows of recent years Dylan sounds less than excited.
I was just listening to CITH again last night for the first time in a couple of weeks. To be honest I found myself hanging on every nuance of the vocals, I just sat on the voice from the first note, locked into it listening to how it would merge into the instrumental mix as a harmony at the end of many lines. It's surprising to me just how well Dylan sings many of the songs, the notes he will pull off when you are absolutely certain he's got no chance. In the end the contrast between the harsh resonance, and the beautifully sung portions like, "tiny little tots, with their eyes all ablaze, will find it hard to sleep tonight. They know that Santa's on his sleigh,"
only create pleasing textures for me.
I hear just what everyone else does. Jimmy Durante singing Frosty the Snowman, mixed with just gorgeous beautiful singing. Yeah, I like it, far more than I ever thought I would.

7:26 am  
Blogger Frank said...

Michael, I have noticed over a period of time how your most positive comments about contributions almost always are drawn by the people who share your point of view.

Fair enough, I guess (we all approve of the like-minded), but why is Carl Finlay applauded as "a man with the courage of his convictions", while others are not? Why is Anonymous ("No need to worry Michael there isn't ...") not applauded for the courage of his opinions. He may be right, he may be wrong (just like Carl Finlay)[and of course you are not in a position at this stage to know], but it seems to me that he has written just as strongly as Carl.

Jack also had the courage of his convictions: convinced that your roadkill metaphor was unpleasant and tasteless, he said so in no uncertain terms, but instead of being rewarded, as Carl was, with an accolade, he had his wrist slapped and was told not be pompous.

Michael, I have enjoyed your writing on Dylan for many years, have twice heard you speak and have once spoken on the phone with you.

I am disappointed to see the uncritical way you applaud those you agree with your point of view and the waspish way you deal with dissenters. It doesn’t somehow seem worthy of you.

I hope that you feel able to publish this and to reply to my comments.

6:10 pm  
Anonymous Bev said...

Anonymous said: "This is just abuse, so why publish it far less encourage it? [I] can only take it as uncalled for and insulting - as it is to your correspondent, Bev."

I'm not quite sure why I'm supposed to be instulted (or even who by)?

But I'm not insulted by any opinions on here - we all, I assume, like or love a large selection of Bob Dylan's songs; it's just some of us like some songs that others don't...

So you're all alright by me.

12:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homer - a real pleasure to find your comments here. As a veteran of the Homer, the Slut days, I have missed your take on Bob and am always glad to read your thoughts on what he's doing. 'Horrific' is, I think, a fairly apt word to decribe the voice on CITH. Whatever else it may be, the album serves as a (horrifying) showcase for his vocal shortcomings. It's a sad listen. Could've been great a few years ago, with the 'Return to me' or 'Red Cadillac' voice. It seems now that the things we would like to hear Bob do with his voice (and the things, possibly, that he would like to do with it) are no longer a physical possibility for him. However much fans may will another renaissance, I fear this is just too stark, too final an obstacle to get past. Give even a great player a broken instrument...

12:13 pm  
Blogger Judas Priest said...

Bev found that the album diminishes with repeated listenings as the novelty wears off. My second and third listen to the album tended to agree with that but I have to admit, further repeated listenings have revealed a greater appreciation than I thought possible. Not that it's anything great of course. But in places, it does have a certain something to it that I had dismissed as a complete impossibility initially.

What I really yearn for now is a trip by Bob into the studio after Christmas with both a rested voice and a certain Charlie Sexton at his disposal to conjure up something really special. Christmas in the Heart/Fart hopefully underlines that the L&T/MT/TTL trilogy (for that is surely what they represent) has come to a conclusion and a different musical direction awaits. It's been fun (three fine albums if you ask me with MT edging the other two out) but it is time now to move on to different terrain.

2:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not understand the reasons why some people such as Carl put down other people for hearing beauty in Dylans current voice.I do not believe that people who still enjoy his singing are " just too die hard " or have "no taste". This is a ridiculous and insensitve reaction to what other individuals feel ( and takes no courage whatsover to say ).

To state that Dylan sounds "sick" is surely as unfortunate as Michael suggesting that Dylan had early onset dementia in the 1990s.

Emphysema is a serious medical condition generally suffered by people exposed to dust eg coal miners. Bob Dylans voice has sadly been damaged in the pursuit of his art.

I have no problem with people not accepting Dylans current voice. I have a major problem with people who deride others for enjoying his current voice.


3:46 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Thanks to everybody for writing in. Let me say these few things:

1. Pat, Jack and Homer: please don't decide in advance whether I'll like the album or not. (Pat: "There isn't a snowball's chance in hell you'll like the album." Jack: "And for some reasons which you, I understand, frown upon and judge, I find the album at times amusing & at others moving." And Homer: "It is clear you have decided you won’t like the Christmas album in advance despite your occasional plea of not being able to say, btw.") Really? As you go on to say, Homer, so far I've only said that the snippets were horrible - which almost no-one is arguing with. You think I've decided about the album on the basis of the snippets? Don't put words in my mouth.

2. A further point, Jack: I think you were wrong about my roadkill analogy - did you even notice that I was taking up Judas Priest's point about Dylan's studio voice being affected by his touring? In revising his "fallen tree" analogy I was referring to Dylan's voice being ruined “on the road”. But while I think you were wrong to be so quick to call this crass, I was wrong to be so quick to call your contribution pompous. Peace.

3. Judas Priest: as implied above, I thank you for your really interesting point about how Dylan's studio voice might relate to his touring schedule. I also note that you go into some very specific detail about the album's strengths and weaknesses - and I appreciate this in the same way that I appreciate Carl Finlay's being specific in comparing the various different recent Dylan voices.

4. To the person who wrote this: "You're at your best when you're writing about work you admire. I don't think you need to bother with all this score-settling; it does you no favours...": I'm glad you value my critical work, and yes, you're right, a blog is a very different thing, but I don't accept for a minute that this blog spends its time occupied with "score-settling".

5. To Homer again: "These comments you praise as well argued are exactly how Clinton Heylin talks of “Love and Theft”: would you call them well-argued (“put your case well”) and courageous (“Courage of your convictions”) in that case or are would they be a rant because it is an album you like?" I don't think it helps to drag Clinton Heylin into this (a) completely speciously, as if you just want to crank up the level of disputation, and (b) when again, if you're not exactly putting words in my mouth you're ascribing to me a position I don't take. And all this from seizing my opening remark to Carl - "Ah Carl, a man with the courage of his convictions" - and failing to hear the two-edged tone of voice behind this remark... On top of which, it's not true that the main verdict, on this blog, has been a deriding of the album: as ever the comments coming in are mostly positive - indeed more than that, the prevailing wind both on the blog and in society in general insists that it's wicked to "be negative" about anything. As a critic, apparently I'm only any use when I'm writing about work I admire. (And a propos of Mr. Heylin's "courage", I seem to remember that when "Love and Theft" came out, everybody did not love it: some of us did, but I'm pretty sure there was a predominance of voices opining that it was very inferior to Time Out Of Mind.)

6. Frank: you say I only praise the contributions of those who agree with me - yet the first example you cite is my positive response about Carl Finlay's comments... where I say at once that I don't know whether I'm going to agree with his views about the album or not!

5:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to apologize for misquoting a lyric in my last quote it's eye's all "aglow," and Santa's on his "way," not "ablaze," and "sleigh."

While I have no problem, but some regret, with the state of parts of Dylan's voice it's easy for me to see why some people find it so off-putting. I can't see the damage as being a result of "the pursuit of his art," more a pursuit of cigarettes.

What is interesting is how there doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern to Dylan's voice "blowing up like a cracked speaker."

It's my best guess that his sudden shifts in timbre are difficult for him to control because his vocal cords are not as flexible as they might be. It's odd though because on some of the more "difficult" stuff in the hymns his voice will reach for a note, begin to come apart, and then strangely reach up a little higher and even out with power, and accuracy.
Anyhow I'm glad that I find the voice far more interesting than bothersome, and these Christmas tunes are an almost perfect set of songs to examine how Dylan uses what he has. I wish Julie Andrews had his courage. I wonder if she would sing a lullaby to a baby. The real singing I like is always "in the heart" and I'd take Charlie Patton over Jeff Buckley any day, not to say I don't like Roy Orbison. Pat Ford

5:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homer again, it wasn't anything to do with "to crank up the level of disputation" nor specious at all to see in your comments a different attitude to posters' comments depending on whether they are commenting on Bob at a time you favour him (as in at the time of "Love and Theft") and when not (since then).

If you expand the point to be about Clinton then it it does become specious (and indeed unfair on him as he isn't here to put his view and I've led you into saying something which has resulted in the discussion mis-representing him) and so off the point that redressing the problems with doing so would make the specious become even more tedious, so I won't go into an explanation of that here. So I'll do it in a friendly e-mail after probably annoying you again by adding:

Rather than tick regular readers off for "putting words in your mouth" and generally mis-reading you, don't you think there's a reason people reading the blog presume you aren't going to like the Xmas album? (I think you may be as surprised and find yourself enjoying it and I hope so). Perhaps something in the tone, or the words, or the opinions they've been reading? Anyway it is time you listened, other Xmas albums are out by now too and Santa is just around the corner from you and as an extra present I'll stop commenting here as it seems to be the forum we least clearly communicate!

7:08 pm  
Blogger Judas Priest said...

As another example of Bob's vocal suffering (even more than normal) due to the timing of the recording-check out Can't Escape From You on Tell Tale Signs. Recorded a day or two after the Autumn 05 leg finished up in Dublin. The vocal sounds painfully broken and weary.By contrast, Modern Times was recorded early in 06 when he presumably was well rested. It sounds a hell of a lot more fluid and smooth. It's hard not to conclude that the break must have significantly contributed to the improvement.

7:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 3:13 AM: Ah, "Homer, the Slut" - those were the days, my friend, those were the days.

We were even lucky enough to have Michael writing a column.

Homer, the asleep

10:24 pm  
Blogger ptervin said...

Hello Michael,
Thanks for your work. Keep your Encyclopedia within arm's reach.

I hope you get some enjoyment out of the Christmas album. I have listened to it once, but have also put it aside until the season gets right.

Finally, you're not, perchance, confusing "canon" and "cannon", are you? Ball 'n' chains on a cannon might be deadly; ball 'n' chains on Dylan's canon just might lead to narrow sightedness.


3:36 pm  
Blogger Ross said...

I was very disappointed with his decision to release such an album. But being Dylan, he finds a way to redeem himself in the most peculiar manner. Take a look at the video for Here Comes Santa. If you listen to the Mitch Miller original on youtube and then compare it to Dylan's version, it is truly hilarious for a number of reasons. Not least of which is a crude send up of his conversion to Christianity(underlying premise), and his snide view of his secular Jewish childhood among gentiles in the Midwest. He started as a Jewish American artist with work that seared into one's consciousness, and ends as an old Jewish crank croaking 'ho,ho, ho' to all of you with perfect rhythm and accompaniment. Much more powerful than dried out curse words could ever be. The video is wonderful in the strangest way.

2:10 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Ross, don't you mean the video of 'Must Be Santa' on YouTube?

12:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Dylan's creative life suggests that your use of the word "ends" ( as an old Jewish crank )is premature.
I seem to recall a similar comment at the time of Self Portrait, Down In The Groove,etc.
I cannot comment on the album or video as I have kept the album under wraps for Xmas.


12:54 pm  
Blogger Ross said...

Sorry Michael. Must Be Santa is the correct title. And yes, Anonymous, one should never call it the last act where this man is concerned. Another chapter in the wacky, weird, wonderful world of Bob-filtered Americana. I might venture to add that not only is the video a satire of 20th century, middle America and its pseudo Christian underpinnings, but also a subtle comment that goes like this: "You want to know how good I am. Listen to this crap that filled the air waves when we were kids, and remember who threw you a steak on the Pablum diet you were on".

11:27 pm  
Blogger Judas Priest said...

On a completely different note Michael, how can you justify living in France after Henry's (not to mention the linesman who in fairness couldn't have been french) criminal carry on in the playoff tonight against us poor irish?? Seriously though, a very unexpected but great performance by our lads. We've had too many moral victories over the years but this one we can be genuinely proud of-despite the injustice of it all....

P.S. just to put some Dylan content in, can't agree with your good self over the description of the playing on TTL. I find it has a ragged and loose quality that pulsates with life and gives L&T a real run for its money in that department. One of the more succesful aspects of the album I would have thought.

1:12 am  
Blogger Jack said...

I enjoyed reading Ross's recent postings; picking up on his observations regarding the presence of Dylan's Jewish identity/background within his work,I think this is an area for which a lot more could be written.
I feel his work has been profoundly,perhaps unconsciously, influenced by his Jewish background & heritage: His family entered America at the time of the great exodus/escape from the pogroms in Eastern & Central Europe, the strong probability that members of his extended family would have been killed in the Holocaust and his family's experience of anti-Semitism in Hibbing (as described in ,I think, Scaduto's biography).

Given that he says his created his early songs 'unconsciously', this fits for me with the possibiltiy of material reflecting his Jewish experience, of a deep & trans-generational kind, coming through in many of his early songs such as : Blowin in the Wind, Hard Rain, Its Alright Ma. And on a more basic level in key themes in his work, such as prejudice,injustice,the world as hostile & unsafe & personal isolation.

This perspective has worked for me for nearly 40 years, and is a reflection of the personal lense thorugh which I have experienced his work, most critically as a frightened young Jewish boy secretly surviving in a brutal anti-Semitic school. Hearing'Your invisible now you've got no secrets to conceal' come through the floorboards at home was a most incredible experience-I knew I had a private ally. Dear Michael- my 'quick', critical response to you was from a young part of me (obviously unnecessarily) wishing to protect this ally:Peace to you too!

9:46 am  

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