Leonard vs. Bob

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Dylan
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Post by Dylan » Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:55 pm

For some reason, I don't know why, I always associate that song (Man Gave Names To All The Animals) with Towns Van Zandt.
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tomsakic
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Post by tomsakic » Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:31 am

Well, that song was the first Dylan song I really liked :shock: On the first Dylan album I liked, but I think, Kush, that you know I am somehow very fond of Dylan's gospel trilogy :oops: That was - til recently - his only records I could enjoy, but I was comforted with knowledge that Leonard also think these are his best works.
"Until recently" - one of my Dylan-fan friends (not Jurica) gave me as sudden birthday present Time Out Of Mind. I was having the impression from the very first track: well, this is one of the greatest albums of all time. Or maybe my prejudices deflected after the reading of Boucher's book this summer.
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Post by Kush » Thu Dec 16, 2004 1:18 am

Tom....I have no doubt at all that Leonard Cohen is a zillion times better than Dylan. Its just that my level of music appreciation hasnt reached those dizzy heights. I envy those with such sophisticated music taste and aspire to them someday. :wink:

Have you heard the Gotta Serve Somebody CD - covers by various gospel singers? IMHO the covers are better than the Dylan originals, more within the Black gospel style and tradition.
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Post by tomsakic » Thu Dec 16, 2004 1:53 pm

Yes, I heard it a year ago, well, it was good, but I must admit that his appearance on the last track was cake on the end. So that means he is good :wink:
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Post by tom.d.stiller » Thu Dec 16, 2004 1:59 pm

He is good. Yes. And as time went by, I even made my peace with his Gospel years. But still I claim: the less Gospel he has, the more Dylan he is ...

But I'm a notorious atheist. 8)
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Kush
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Post by Kush » Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:42 pm

Tom (Stiller)
It doesnt matter what you or I believe....all that matters is that singer believes in the words that he/she is singing. That's what makes a song great :)

p.s. Yeah...the last track is a classic as they all are to my ears. Dylan should do a duet album with Mavis Staples. BTW, her new album "Have a Little Faith" is very very good.
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Post by tomsakic » Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:52 am

Kush wrote:"Have a Little Faith"
Sounds like a message to possible buyers :P
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Post by Dylan » Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:36 pm

I love Etta James' version of Gotta Serve Somebody on her Emperess Of The Blues album.
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Post by tom.d.stiller » Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:18 am

Kush wrote:Tom (Stiller)
It doesnt matter what you or I believe....all that matters is that singer believes in the words that he/she is singing. That's what makes a song great :)
Kush, allow me to disagree. A song is made great by the mastery of both words and music.

The mere concordance of what the words seem to express and the writer's current "beliefs" never counts.

Dylan's gospels, as I now recognize, were great, not because of a belief, but inspite of this belief. They were great because Dylan made well-known words and gestures unique.

At the time he recorded his "gospels" Dylan was very close to Christian fundementalists of the same breed that now reign the White House. (I don't want to talk politics now...). That's what pushed me away from the songs, but now I see a master of words and music testing just another style, probing into it.

He abandoned this style. But retrospectively I can see a master playing with kids' playthings...

A great song, I think, is great independent of an arbitrary similarity between the song's content and the writer's beliefs.

Mahalia, the unforgettable, lived and loved a Christian God. But her songs are great not because of her belief, but because of her great voice...

:)
Tom
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Kush
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Post by Kush » Sun Dec 19, 2004 8:18 pm

Tom,
I should have phrased it a little differently. Indeed, these days I probably pay more attention to music than to words. I certainly don't mean "all that matters...." in that sense.
But what I was trying to say was that when I hear the words of a song, I momentarily suspend personal belief/bias etc, and try to get into the skin of the singer, to believe as he/she does for that instant, assuming the singer believes the words that he/she is singing. Moreover, for me an album of songs in a particular style is a cultural voyage.

The Gotta Serve Somebody CD created quite a stir and these are from its liner notes. I especially like this album, coz' I think the songs were really meant to be sung in this way and by these singers more than by Dylan in the way he sang them (He just happened to put pen to paper :) )


"When Bob Dylan let it be known, in 1979, that he had been born again, it seemed to some that he had renounced the complexity and questioning of his earlier work in favor of what they saw as the pre-packaged answers of religion. As time has gone by, though, it is clear that Dylan encountered the Gospel the same way he has encountered everything else he has looked into - with the full complexity of a whole human heart and mind."

You can find a lot of info. on this site:
http://www.gottaservesomebody.com/home.html

As for the politics, I shall stick to the Banjo Doctrine first put forth by that great statesman, Johnny Cash.

Or, as another of my favorite songwriters, Johnny Clegg, puts it in Zulu

Ngikhathele ngifile wena weqat' izwe
Ngikhathele ngifile zindaba zakho
(I am dead tired of you who cause friction in the land
I am dead tired of you and your matters)

...not directed at you personally, but in general :).
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Post by tomsakic » Mon Dec 20, 2004 11:17 am

I must add to this discussion that I really do love great Dylan gospel abums, but this summer, when I was reading about his stands around those songs in Boucher's Dylan and Cohen: the Poets of Rock, I was really upset. So I felt the need (and I still do) to separate the voice which sings that (tom~ :D ) and the real author.



(Webster: "stand: 3b. b: a strongly or aggressively held position especially on a debatable issue")
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Post by Anne-Marie » Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:23 am

I have a large stomach when it comes to Leonard. As for Bob Dylan, I don't much care for his work, however I did enjoy "like a woman". I have heard them compared many times. The first was reading "Leonard Cohen: The Artist and His Critics" in which I found a lengthy essay analyzing Bob and Leonard which I found slightly confusing. I don't find them much comparable, except for the fact they are both male solo artists whose genres cross each other in a couple songs.

You can compare any two artists, and the conclusion of likeness you draw between them is a personal take.
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Post by smccallon » Wed Jan 05, 2005 9:56 am

who really cares? i guess quite a few do... as for me i'll let my dylan and cohen albums live side-by-side in peace and harmony.
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Post by tomsakic » Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:32 am

Anne-Marie wrote:I don't find them much comparable, except for the fact they are both male solo artists whose genres cross each other in a couple songs.
You can compare any two artists, and the conclusion of likeness you draw between them is a personal take.
David Boucher's recent book Dylan & Cohen: Poets of Rock only confirmed that. The book is really mess in terms of comparing them, and on the end only we get is "they are both male solo artists whose genres cross each other in a couple songs". That's the right description :wink: Everything else was "the personal take", or how the odl Croatian proverb in funny English translation says, "hauling up the cat by its tail" :?
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Jan 05, 2005 2:37 pm

"as for me i'll let my dylan and cohen albums live side-by-side in peace and harmony."
True, Sean, and just the way they both would want it.

Good synopsis, Anne-Marie; and I like that phrase, Tom. Very descriptive.
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