FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dylan at 70

by DAVID VEST

When Bill Monroe celebrated 50 years on the Grand Old Opry, he said he was mainly proud that he had never missed a show and had only been late twice.
That’s the way I think of Bob Dylan at 70 ? not as a genius poet songwriter but as a working musician who always makes the gig. There are no stories of Dylan arriving late or not bothering to show up or fulfill a contract. Even that time he almost died and had to cancel a tour because he was in a hospital fighting for his life, he paid his band for the whole tour anyway. It wasn’t their fault they couldn’t play the shows. And later he more than made it up to fans and promoters.

When he stands there unmoving at the end of his concerts, receiving applause as if people were pelting him with it, no matter what kind of clothes he may be wearing he looks like a blue collar plant worker at the end of a long shift, waiting for the gate to open so he can go home.

He’s done his job, and he didn’t do it so you could praise him for it. He did it because it needed doing, he did with some dignity and now it’s time to leave.

Here’s a prediction: when Bob Dylan finally hangs it up and goes home for good, he’ll do it with class, the way Cal Ripken ended The Streak of consecutive games played. There’ll be no “farewell” tour, and certainly no endless reunion/comeback tours. One night he’ll simply take himself out of the lineup, and they’ll just stop listing new dates on his website. Most of us won’t know anything important even happened.

I also respect the guy as a journeyman piano player. On Modern Times he never solos, and he’s down in the mix, but what he’s laying down is really cool. I try to play like him when I’m backing a singer.

My favorite Dylan story is the one Little Richard tells. Dylan probably hates the fact that it ever got told at all. When the Architect and Originator was almost killed in a car wreck, he lay in a coma for weeks. When he finally regained consciousness, he opened his eyes to find someone sitting by his bed. The stranger squeezed his hand and left the room. When Richard asked the nurse who the visitor was, he says she told him, “Honey, that’s Bob Dylan. He’s been here almost every day since you were brought in.”

Who knows if the story is true, half-true, or another of Little Richard’s wonderful inventions?

I believe it, though, because it fits with everything any of us has ever heard about Dylan. Mythical, legendary, larger than life, but human and vulnerable at the same time, as though he had the heart of a child in a grown man’s body. That he would come almost every day, stay until he knew Richard was going to make it, then leave without a word and not come back ? and never mention it to anyone ? what could be more Dylanesque?

Happy birthday, Mr. Bob. May someone always be there for you, the way you’ve been there.

David Vest is a writer and musician. His latest CD is Rock-A-While. He can be reached at: davidvest@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Oregon Music News.

More articles by:

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail