Bob Dylan came and went like a gunslinger at Stockholm’s waterfront congress centre the other night- singing with his legs splayed like he was ready to shoot or ride a horse. It was funny. And not loud by any means-the 6 piece band- 2 guitars and one pedal steel– played this constant, quiet chugging and alternatively fluid rhythm like a country and western lament behind Bob’s craggy, barely there voice which strangely would rise up at the end of nearly every lyric line. Like the old nuns in school! Maybe that’s right. Spirituals are one of the foundations of the blues.
The whole feeling of the concert was like some old style Americana minstrels arriving and disappearing into a prairie dust storm on the back of a Ford pick up. Well that’s what I was imagining as I was being put into a trance by the steady rhythm.
All the songs from the 60’s to now had been rearranged away from their original versions into an almost easy listening (to my ears) mix of country and western, blues and other genres so that it was like listening to entirely new songs. To me the original versions won easily. But it was still amazing to hear these versions.
I mean he’s 72 now so you do what you have to do. Though he seemed to look and get about like a much younger man. Bob is a true artist. His look, voice, piano and harmonica playing are the antidote to todays airbrushed sound ‘perfection’.
I was never a huge fan of Bob Dylan in the past, (post about Chronicles here) mainly because of his voice. But as I’ve got older it’s the stories in the songs that attract now.
Here’s the beautiful A Simple Twist of Fate which he sang and which you could recognise.
A Simple Twist of Fate (1975)
They sat together in the park
As the evening sky grew dark
She looked at him and he felt a spark tingle to his bones
It was then he felt alone and wished that he’d gone straight
And watched out for a simple twist of fate.
They walked alone by the old canal
A little confused I remember well
And stopped into a strange hotel with a neon burning bright
He felt the heat of the night hit him like a freight train
Moving with a simple twist of fate.
A saxophone someplace far off played
As she was walking on by the arcade
As the light bust through a-beat-up shade where he was waking up
She dropped a coin into the cup of a blind man at the gate
And forgot about a simple twist of fate.
He woke up the room was bare
He didn’t see her anywhere
He told himself he didn’t care pushed the window open wide
Felt an emptiness inside to which he just could not relate
Brought on by a simple twist of fate.
He hears the ticking of the clocks
And walks along with a parrot that talks
Hunts her down by the waterfront docks where the sailers all come in
Maybe she’ll pick him out again how long must he wait
One more time for a simple twist of fate.
People tell me it’s a sin
To know and feel too much within
I still believe she was my twin but I lost the ring
She was born in spring but I was born too late
Blame it on a simple twist of fate.
Here’s an older post on music: Back up singers from the 70’s