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Tony Grist

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More On Dylan [Oct. 16th, 2016|12:57 pm]
Tony Grist
I've gone through life thinking the line "It's life and life only" was Al Stewart's (he has a song which uses it as a refrain) but I found out today it's one of Dylan's. I suppose Stewart was paying homage. No reason he shouldn't. It's a great line- eminently quotable; there's a whole philosophy in it.

Dylan is full of great lines. He's a channeller. He opens himself up to whatever's out there- and much of what comes through is just words- but every so often it's rather better than that. With his best songs it's like watching a thunder storm- lots of roiling and moiling and every so often the lightning strike. Some poets take more care than Dylan does to craft the stuff that comes in between- so that there are fewer duff rhymes and clumsy formulations (among fellow song-writers Leonard Cohen is a good example, he's a very meticulous writer) but few of them achieve more strikes than Dylan does. There are poets who have acquired deathless reputations on the strength of as many strikes as you could count on your fingers, but Dylan has hundreds and hundreds.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2016-10-16 08:34 pm (UTC)
When I saw Arlo Guthrie perform a few years ago, he compared songwriting with fishing: you fish and fish, and every now and then you pull out a big one. "And don't sit downstream from Bob Dylan," was his advice. "Hey, Bob, how about throwing some of the smaller ones back sometimes?"
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-10-17 08:46 am (UTC)
I like that.

Dylan's productivity is astonishing. He's had very good years and not so good years but I don't think there's ever been a time in his adult life when he didn't have the knack of writing great songs.
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