Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Have yourself a merry little - but good - one


God does not leave us groping in the dark. He has shown himself to us as a man. In his greatness he has let himelf become small. God has taken on a human face. Only this God saves us from being afraid of the world and from anxiety before the emptiness of life.
Benedict XVI

Christ ends up right here, in my attitude and disposition as a human being, in my way, that is, one who expects, who awaits something because he feels that he is entirely wanting. He has joined me. He has proposed himself to my original needs.
Luigi Giussani

Friday, December 15, 2006

Teach your children well...



"I never read Freud. I’ve never been attracted to anything he has said, and I think he’s started a lot of nonsense with psychiatry and that business. I don’t think psychiatry can help or has helped anybody. I think it’s a big fraud (pun not intended) on the public.

Billions of dollars have changed hands that could be used for far better purposes. A lot of people have trouble with their parents up until they’re 50, 60, 70 years old. They can’t get off their parents. I never had that kind of problem with my parents. Like John Lennon, “Mother”: “Mother, I had you but you never had me.”

I can’t imagine that. I know a lot of people have. There are a lot of orphans in the world, for sure. But that’s not been my experience. I have a strong identification with orphans, but I’ve been raised by people who feel that fathers, whether they’re married or not, should be responsible for their children, that all sons should be taught a trade, and that parents should be punished for their children’s crimes."

(Bob Dylan)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And the last nominations are... (my mind is empty)



"Murphy Gets Muddy" is an excellent compilation of classic blues stuff plus some originals from one of the best songwriter ever. Sounds fresh as no blues album can in recent days.



ok, thanx to my faithfull reader, my good friend Anna, we are proud to present you the cover of Nick Cave (available also as live audio double cd), "The Abattoir Blues Tour" dvd. Nick Cave recent tour in support of one of his best album ever is just... gorgeous... and this dvd (with a lot of bonus, including an interview with Cave) is a must have.

happy Xmas time, usually we dont have a winner for this kind of things. But you never know.

Monday, December 04, 2006

December (not April) is the crueler month

December should be the happiest month of the year. Surely it is. Christmas is still a relevant day for me, even though the word “Christmas” is not political correct. They say “Holidays greetings” to not hurt any feelings. Poor baby Jesus.

Anyway, December reminds me of the passing of two great men I was lucky to meet and know, shortly, both. One is Joe Strummer. The Clash were for my generation what Bob Dylan was for the 60’s generation, and I was lucky enough to meet him for a damn funny interview one day. At a certain point while we were talking, he took away his boots and the girl who was with me told me: “He did something punk at least…”. Some months later, he was playing in my city. I never saw him or The Clash in concert. David Bowie was playing the same night in a small club. I thought, well, I could go see Joe next time, but David Bowie in a small club. I can’t miss it. There was never a second chance, because a few days before Christmas, Joe Strummer died.



The other man is the subject of the following story.

It was a cold December day when, excited by the news, I walked into that great concert hall with the hope of finally meeting Rick Danko for the first time in my life. He was a true musical hero for me. The music of The Band was a big part of my younger days when I grew up listening endlessly to their music. Of course one of the leading voices of that group was Rick Danko. His performance of It Makes No Difference during the Last Waltz film was the most memorable part of the entire film when I first saw it in 1978.

Now it is 1994 and the rest of the Trio (Eric Andersen, Jonas Fjield and Rick Danko, for the first time in Italy) are there doing the sound check. Rick Danko is not there. They told me he has been locked in his hotel room for two days. They told me he is sick and needs some rest. He will be here later.

When he arrives some hours later, he looks awful. He tries to play the bass, he tries to sing, but he simply cannot. At one moment he throws his bass with anger onto the floor. I’m shocked. I will know the truth some days later.

The concert will not be memorable. The truth is that he was looking for some heroin and was not in good shape because nobody was able to found any.

A week later The Trio tour in Italy is over. The promoter invites some of us to a farewell dinner in a wonderful restaurant by the lake in a small northern Italy town. There are a lot of special guests that night: Townes Van Zandt was here until the day before but now he is gone. I met Townes few days before, he was so lost that it was a painful experience, we only laughed when he told me that outside his hotel room there is a neon light: “Gambling house”. “I can’t be without it, it seems.”
There is Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo; there are the rest of The Trio, Eric Andersen and Jonas Fjield. No Rick Danko, though.
During dinner, the entrance door suddenly opens and a large figure with a cowboy hat enters the room. Everyone is suddenly silent. He has a leather jacket with the logo “Allman Brothers Band” on the back. Here is Rick Danko. He is smiling and everyone seems reassured just because he is smiling. He sits at the head of the table. He would not eat very much. He will drink a little, but he is in a great shape, smiling, laughing and talking with everyone. I approach him and it is like he is talking to a long time friend. We talk about the recent The Band reunion show at Woodstock last July for the 25th anniversary of the legendary festival. We talk about the recent Levon Helm biography: “I don’t agree with everything he wrote but it was his book. The world will know all the truth when my book comes out.” He laughs, but that book will never come out. We talk about Bob Dylan and those days in the basement, of course. We talk about Robbie Robertson. He has a good word for everyone. “I don’t care about what people say. I’m grateful for what my life has been. I don’t hate anyone. I love everybody.” Simple as that.


(Rick Danko on stage with Bob Dylan, in one of his last concert)

It’s midnight and everyone is enjoying the dinner and drinking a lot. Everyone is passing the guitar around and singing a song. Alejandro Escovedo introduces a song he just recorded a few weeks before with Willie Nelson. Joe Ely sings Pancho and Lefty as a tribute to Townes. Eric Andersen performs a tender, melancholy Moonchild River Song, one of his old 70’s hits. Rick Danko stood up, took the guitar and shouted: “Hey come on, it’s almost Christmas!” and performed a truly wonderful Christmas Must Be Tonight, the old The Band song. When Rick Danko sing, somebody once said, the angels stop to listen. A foot on a chair, moving and shaking his body in the way Rick Danko always does when he is into a performance. I’m in paradise. I’m waiting for another song from him but he says goodnight to everyone. “Rick, it is only midnight” I say. He laughs. “I’m too old; I need to go to sleep.” And then he is gone. I will never see him again.


(Thats me and Rick, that night)

Two years later – its almost Christmas time again – I’m on a cold Italian highway taking Eric Andersen to another show. We stop to have a coffee. He needs to make some phone calls. He told me how Rick Danko laughed every time Eric tells him about the picture of me and Rick hanging on my wall at home. “Would you like to say hello to Rick?” he suddenly asks. C’mon, we are an ocean away, please don’t disturb him. He phones somebody. “Here’s Rick, he wants to say hello.” Rick Danko’s voice comes from another planet, but he is laughing, as usual. I can see his usual big smile on his face. He wants to know about my family, if everyone is ok. He always acts like a long, lost friend.

Three years again are gone. It’s a couple of weeks before Christmas. Somebody phones me at work to tell me Rick Danko died last night “while he was sleeping”. It was his birthday. They told me he was happy when he went to sleep, and that his wife found him with a smile on his face. The usual smile he always had, even when he went to prison in Japan for that heroin. They told me he was singing all the time, in prison. He was released because the Japanese judge was a great The Band fan. Nobody could release Rick Danko from the great pain inside of him, the pain of the loss of his 18 year old son who died while at college from a stupid disease. I guess Rick is smiling again, now that he is with his son and his old friend Richard Manuel. I guess Joe Strummer is joining the band too.

Christmas must be tonight.


(thanx to Chris Marcum for editing this)

And the nominations are... (live dvds)



Friday, December 01, 2006

And the nominations are... (oldies but goldies)



How do you drum up interest in a Jerry Lee Lewis record, since the Ferriday Fireball is 71 and hasn't put out an album since 1996? First, you pair him with 22 of the biggest stars of rock (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards), country (Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard), and blues (Buddy Guy, B.B. King), to show how he put his stamp on nearly every genre. Then, you hire the dean of music chroniclers, Peter Guralnick, to give the liner notes heft. And--oh, yes, you also make sure the piano-pounding pioneer displays the best finger form he's shown in 25 years. Throughout, the Killer crows, struts, and self-mythologizes with the brio of youth, and who could resist him? At times, one may question the wisdom of turning an obvious guitar tune (Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll") into a piano-dominated performance, just as it seems odd to not make the best use of such guests as Toby Keith or Delaney Bramlett. But Lewis never yields the throne for a second, even surrounded by the likes of Robbie Robertson, Neil Young, and Eric Clapton. For that reason, most of these aren't true duets--the star instrumentalists take their solos, and the harmonies of some of the most legendary vocalists (Don Henley, Little Richard) stay too far in the background. But when things really work--as they do with Bruce Springsteen (the rave-up "Pink Cadillac"), Neil Young (a crackling rendition of "You Don't Have To Go"), Kid Rock (an even blacker "Honky Tonk Woman"), George Jones (the novelty-framed "Don't Be Ashamed of Your Age"), and Kris Kristofferson (an especially poignant take on "The Pilgrim: Chapter 33"), the rock of ages cleaves for thee and me. Last Man Standing refers to the famous cover of Million Dollar Quartet, on which he's pictured with fellow Sun artists Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins, all now jamming in the great beyond. Yet in a spoken-word reprise at the end of the Kristofferson song--"From the rocking of the cradle / To the rolling of the hearse / The going up was worth the coming down"--the Last Man seems to suggest his own fine epitaph. It's hard to argue with a hellraiser extraordinaire.



Three decades after decisively trading fame and his superstar moniker for the spiritual devotion for which his restless '70s songs seemed a perpetual quest, the singer-songwriter born Steven Demetre Georgiou has successfully resurrected Cat Stevens's muse, if not his persona. The musician whose dedicated embrace of Islam embroiled him in controversy frequently sings its praises on An Other Cup, both boldly (the Prophet-lionizing "The Beloved") and with delicate reflection ("Whispers from a Spiritual Garden" reworks Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi.) Given the political and religious misconceptions that have often plagued him, he's mused for years that his theme song should be Nina Simone's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"; here Yusuf makes good on the promise, conjuring a cover steeped in brooding elegance with the assistance of Madonna/Dido/Rod Stewart producer Rick Nowells.
Yet, as "Heaven/Where True Love Goes" attests, the musician remains as masterfully adept at blurring distinctions between spiritual and romantic ecstasies as he is at evoking his trademark idealism in the lilting harmonies of "Maybe There's a World." Fans of his vintage catalog will find intriguing riches outside the more spiritually focused works here, too, with the familiar idealism of the previously unrecorded 1968 song "Green Fields, Golden Sands" and muscular "I Think I See the Light" further evoking the glories of Cat past. The production leans towards the spare and shrewdly contemporary, whether casting the effusive opener "Midday" in Paul Simon's spirit of cross-cultural adventure, underscoring the melodic charms of "One Day at a Time," or suffusing "When Butterflies Leave" and his autobiographical cover of Simone with graceful, neo-classical strings. Considering the career time lapse, it's a remarkably strong effort, yet one inspired by a gentility and spiritual inquisitiveness that's comfortably familiar.

Monday, November 27, 2006

And the nominations are... (you cant go wrong with these two)



BETH ORTON – COMFORT OF STRANGERS
Few vocalists equal the expressive subtlety of Beth Orton, whose fourth album is both her most musically spare and artistically complex to date. Not only does the production and backing by Jim O'Rourke (known for his work with Sonic Youth and Wilco) capture Orton's vocal style at its most unstudied and unvarnished, the lack of embellishment focuses all the more attention on her songwriting. From the jazzy phrasing on the deceptively jaunty "Worms" through the haunting "Feral" and the amazing grace of the closing, hymnlike "Pieces of Sky," Orton's songs give voice to the sort of knotty, prickly emotions that are as hard to define as they are deeply felt. Most of the musical dynamic features piano or guitar over an elemental, insistent rhythm section, making the coloring of an occasional string section ("Conceived"), harmonica ("Absinthe"), or accordion ("Safe in Your Arms") all the more striking. As an indication of the emotional range of this musical minimalism, the title cut is soothing enough to please fans of Norah Jones, while "Heartlandstruckstop" is as edgy as Patti Smith.




MINDY SMITH – LONG ISLAND SHORES
With her expressively breathy vocals and uplifting melodies, Mindy Smith expresses both the romantic and spiritual dimensions of rapture. It can occasionally be hard to tell whether Smith is singing of God or love, or if she even makes a distinction between the two. Whether she's invoking prayer and sin in the opening "Out Loud," hoping that God's looking out for her in "Out of Control," casting a seductive charmer as a "Little Devil," or recalling her preacher father in the title track, Smith's material blurs the distinction between the earthly and the ethereal. Her duet with kindred spirit Buddy Miller on "What If the World Stops Turning" highlights the album, though the Nashville-based artist rarely hints at country within her buoyant brand of folk-pop.

Friday, November 24, 2006

And the nominations are... (the winner?)



For years, for any Neil Young fan, this recording was what for any Bob Dylan fan the legendary "Royal Albert Hall 1966" bootleg was (which, in fact, as we all know, was recorded at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester and not at the Royal Albert Hall).
The Neil Young bootleg recording of his concert at the Fillmore East in 1970 was widely circulating for decades, as well was the Bob Dylan bootleg: two artists at the peak of their musical power and artistic genius.

Now, the Neil Young and the Crazy Horse at the Fillmore East is out in the official way, as it was for Bob Dylan 1966 concert some years ago.



The sound quality is shocking great, and the devasting force, I'd say the brutal garage violence of Neil Young and his band in the mid of the flower power era, is stunning. "I shot my baby", Neil Young sing while everybody were singing that "music is love" and "put a flower in your hair".

Dark, raw and sonically scaring, this is Neil Young at his best.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

And the nominations are... trippin' the live fantastic!

My Morning Jacket is an incredible band, way much better on stage than in studio, tho. This live album is like mixing the late 60s Grateful Dead, the early 70s The Band and the early 90s Pearl Jam. Pure cosmic music.




T-Bone Burnett is probably the best american producer of the last 20 years, He is also a brilliant songwriter, tho his voice is not so good. Nevermind: this album is a festival of great songs, from rockabilly garage music to the folk tradition to 50s pop, and his production-sound is what Bob Dylan should try these days. Just amazing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

And the nominations are... B & B

Which, of course, stand as Bruce & Bob.

Two giants, two legends. Two albums that are, in fact, quite disappointing. While Bruce Springsteen is surely an interesting project, anyone who saw the Seeger Sessions Band in concert would agree that live, these songs are ten thousand times better than as they are in this studio version. I can only name the terrific "Shenandoah" as the really worthwhile track here, a majestic song that remind of the pure american spirit of group like The Band. The rest, after a while, is honestly a little too much of a school exercise.



And what can you say about Bob Dylan? He is the master. He is.... a man that cant do no wrong. Well, except that in what is his first album of new songs in five years he hardly wrote any song, maybe a couple, the nice Workingman's Blues and the interesting Ain't Talkin'. The rest was already written by a long list of bluesmen, old folksingers, even an old rock'n'roll glory like Chuck Berry. Even the lyrics it seems were already written by a XIX american poet, Henry Timrod, and even the latin poet Ovid. If you like it this way.... Not a bad album, not a masterpiece tho. Another school exercise.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dio verrà a prenderti

God’s gonna cut you down: il linguaggio è – volutamente – estremo. Ma con argomenti così seri come lo sono Dio e la morte, è giustificabile, E poi è un linguaggio tipicamente americano, come profondamente americano era l’interprete del brano, e l’interprete del brano è uno che non amava scherzare. “Ho ucciso un uomo solo per vederlo morire” cantava da giovane. Lui è Johnny Cash, e questo – bellissimo – videoclip è il nuovo video in rotazione da pochi giorni su Mtv America (chissà se arriverà mai nella nostra stupidissima Mtv Italia).

Nel video appare una lunga lista di celebrità (36 in tutto) e il significato del filmato è chiaro: la redenzione è possibile (una volta, durante un concerto, Johnny Cash - che nella vita ne aveva fatte di cotte e di crude -, disse: “Se sono su questo palco stasera, è la prova che la redenzione è possibile”) anche per chi è stato all’inferno.

Infatti i protagonisti del video non sono stati scelti a casi. Sono tutti stati all’inferno: dall’ex eroinomane incallito (Iggy Pop) all’ex alcolista all’ultimo stadio (Kris Kristofferson), dalla super star di Hollywood caduta negli abissi (Dennis Hopper) alla rock star assoluta (Bono), alla donna che ha sofferto la morte di marito e fratelli (Patti Smith), quella che si è salvata dal cancro (sheryl crow) alla top model cocainomane (Kate Moss) a quello che si è fritto il cervello con l'LSD (la droga che doveva aprirci le porte della conoscenza...) come Brian Wilson, o la cantante Shelby Lynne, i cui genitori si suicidarono entrambi. E ovviamente Keith Richards, quello che ha un flirt con il demonio da tutta la vita... Gente che sa una cosa o due a proposito dell'inferno.

Appaiono due sole parole, qua e là nel video: “Redemption” e “Sin”, redenzione e peccato.
Sì, la redenzione è possibile: "Sicuro come Dio ha fatto il nero e il bianco, quello che c’è nell’oscurità ti farà anche conoscere la luce". Attento, perché alla fine della tua storia, Dio ti farà a pezzi. Nel senso che da lì non si sfugge, ci devono passare tutti e tutti devono fare i conti con Lui. Parola di Johnny Cash: "Puoi correre a lungo" canta "ma alla fine Dio verrà a prenderti".

dal Vangelo secondo Luca Cap. 3 : (parla Giovanni battista):
"Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

avviso ai naviganti

Il sito dedicato al promoter Bill Graham - vedi link nella sezione link di questo blog - è stato aggiornato con una nuova sezione - http://concerts.wolfgangsvault.com/ - che trovate al link Concerts all'interno del sitos tesso, che permette di ascoltare in qualità perfetta più di 300 concerti integrali risalenti alla golden age del rock'n'roll, dal 1967 a fine anni 70.

La grande musica è tutta qui: chi ha bisogno di comprare l'ultimo disco di Damien Rice quando si possono ascoltare gli Who nel 1967 al Fillmore o The Band a Los Angeles nel 1974?

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

That weird old America



The most common slogan used by the Democrats during this mid-term american election was: “The Republicans are not the real America. They are not part of the real people. Thye’re not close to the real people of America”.

Really?

Is interesting to note that, to win this election, the Democrats were forced to use as candidates many former Republicans and many Democrats that are against abortion or that are very religious (check Hilary Clinton speeches during this campaign). Why? Because, it seems, the majority of the Americans are still people who believe in certain “traditional” values as religion etc, as the two times victory of George W Bush shows.

Now, you might not like that, but it shows that the Republicans are “the real American people”, you like it or not. The real America is not the imaginary America that the New York Times propaganda is trying to sell from 40 years now, the “Sex and the City” tv soaps kind of America they like so much, the New York Times anti – Christian propaganda that not even the afghan talibans would do (check the recent New York Times attack to the Pope), an imaginary America they want so hard even if the majority of the Americans dont care about it.

Bye bye miss American pie?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And the nominations are... vintage!

the wonderful new editions of albums previously out 30 and more years ago are the reason why we - music fans - can keep listening to music. Forget the hype for the next new thing that english magazines and Mtv are trying to sell to you. The real deal is here, in the reissues of the (real) great albums.

And we also have to say how truly terrific are these new editions: tons of unreleased tracks, terrific booklets with photos and great articles, gorgeous packaging. Here where to invest your money.

2006 was pretty good: here some of the best stuff

The Allman Brothers Band- Eat A Peach De Luxe Edition.

The classic part live part in studio last album with Duane Allman is out now with a second cd with never released before live stuff from one of the greatest series of rock concerts ever, the ABB residence at the NYC Fillmore East in June 1971, the only missing tracks from that legendary series of shows already published. Real cosmic music.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - Hammersmith Odeon. London '75

If you can chose, chose the Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition; in that case you wil get a dvd with this terrific performance, first time Bruce Springsteen was in Europe. This audio only version is worthwhile too: part beat poet, part jazz rocker, this Springsteen is far away from the Born in The Usa-Rambo hero. The real thing.

Grateful Dead - Fillmore West 1969

Another series of unreleased stuff from another legendary run of concerts, this time in San Francisco, at the peak of the psychdelic era. Three cds in a absolutely stunning gorgeous packaging: all the missing stuff from one of the best live album in history, Live/Dead. Dont you dare miss this one.

Gram Parsons - The Complete Reprise Sessions

He was the best american songwriter of the 70s and one of the greatest ever. This - again - terrific packaging have his two solo albums and a full cd of rarities, outtakes and demos from those sessions. A great booklet, great photos and some of the best american music ever from one of the greatest american voice ever. Probably reissue of the year.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Un Paese di cialtroni e cioccolatai



Altro che di santi e di navigatori. Per ottant'anni abbiamo dovuto finanziare con il nostro sangue un'azienda che in qualunque Paese civile sarebbe stata chiusa per manifesta incapacità aziendale, per ottant'anni abbiamo foraggiato questa fabbricchetta di (pessime) automobili torinese affinché i suoi dirigenti potessero farsi di cocaina e andare con i travestiti, con la minaccia che altrimenti "avrebbero messo gli operai sulla strada".

Per trent'anni gli sportivi hanno dovuto subire i furti, gli imbrogli, le minacce mafiose della società calcistica affiliata alla fabbrichetta di Torino.

Risultato? Una volta beccati con le mani nel sacco e giustamente condannati, adesso un po' alla volta a questa squadra calcistica (di ladri) stanno togliendo tutti i punti di penalizzazione. Altri otto ieri. Certo, senza questa squadra la serie A non funziona. Si perdono troppi i soldi.

Come diceva Bob Dylan, "I feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game".

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reduce



"È passato il secolo ventesimo, quello veloce e breve, dal '19 all'89. Doveva decretare nei fatti come da idee che l'hanno prodotto l'alba della libertà, a seguire il sol dell'Avvenire, l'uomo nuovo, la nuova umanità.
Eccolo: mattatoio abominevole in dimensione industriale,milioni e milioni a decine, di uomini e donne, vecchi e bambini, ridotti a fumo cremoso, fanghiglia viscida escrementizia e putrida. Tolto il soffio divino a questo si riduce l'uomo. Macello d'ogni speranza, illusione d'umana presupponenza. Su questo costruisce chi s'affida, contro Dio, all'uomo.
Nelle due dimensioni in dote alla modernità: il nazifascismo e il comunismo.
Alla post modernità: lo scientismo tecnologico genetico".

Giovanni Lindo Ferretti, da "Reduce". Mondadori.

Ps: il libro dell'anno.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

And the winner is... still a long way

Ok, is mid October so is a little too early but I'm mostly trying to remember them all, counting them all, decide which one is very worthwhile then we will have the usual top 5 or something.

Let's start with these two

Various Artistis, Rogue's Gallery, Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys



this is a Hal Willner production of old songs, inspired by Johnny Depp carebbean film series. Wilner hilarious liner notes almost worthwhile the entire (double) album, but is the terrific versions of old pirate songs from people like Nick Cave, Lou Reed, Bryan Ferry, Robin Holcomb, Martin Carthy, Stan Ridgway, Bob Neuwirth, Lucinda Williams and yes... even Bobo that makes this a terrific listening.

Solomon Burke, Nashville



You wont expect the now old King of Soul Music singing country music? I wasnt too, but this is 30's country music, the real thing. And, tho Solom's voice is clearly a 'black' voice, the cross over is fascinating. Backed only by some acoustic guitars - sometime some drums - and some excellent vocalists like Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless and Gillian Welch, this is a truly wonderful surprise.

Stay tuned for more nominations

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oh babe, truer words have not been spoken



The Who guitarist Pete Townshend has hit out at Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones for being too old to tour.

Townshend, who famously penned the line "I hope I die before I get old' from the band's most famous hit 'My Generation', insists it is time musicians from the 60s packed away their instruments and called it a day.

The 61-year-old rocker says he wouldn't pay money to go and see Dylan or any of his other contemporise from the decade play live, and insists he wouldn't even go and watch his own band if he was a fan because they are past it.

Townshend - who has just completed a world tour with his original The Who bandmate Roger Daltrey - fumed to Britain's Daily Express newspaper: "I don't think the big bands are going to be able to do this much longer, I really don't. I don't want to go out and see Bob Dylan. I don't want to go and see The Stones.I dont want to go to see Crosby, Stills and Nash. I wouldn't pay money to go and see The Who, not even with new songs. It all makes me sick and I mean that in an ageist way.'

Townshend claims he very rarely sees many teenagers at Who concerts and insists the band only still manage to sell out stadiums because of their loyal older fans who grew up with them.

He explained: "People say, 'Oh I went to see The Rolling Stones concert there were lots of young people there.' But it's not young kids. Once. They come once. There are a lot of people who come and see bands like The Who once just for the experience.'

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Reflections on life



“In the soothing softness of the modern world, the mass of traditional rules which gave consistency to life broke up as the frozen surface of a stream breaks up in spring… Thanks to the progress of technology, the greater part of the restraints imposed on us by the cosmos have disappeared and, along with them, the creative personal effort which those restraints demanded… The frontiers of good and evil have vanished in a mist of ideologies, whims, and appetites… As everyone knows, few observations and much discussion are conductive to error; much observation and little discussion to truth”.

Alexis Carrel - nobel prize

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sign on the cross (or the world according to John Lennon)



sometime 'imagin-ation' get over the reality. sometime viceversa.

The other day an hostess for the British Airways was suspended from work and now could get fired because she was wearing a little cross on her neck. Thats against the law of BA: you cant wear any kind of jewelry, they says. Bullshit. You cant wear a cross because you are flying to some islamic country, you might offend the islamic passengers, you will offend the atheist passengers etc etc.

Remember John? 'Imagine no religion... and the world will be as one'.

Sure. A world where you have to hide your face and who you really are "to live in peace". The world according to John Lennon is already a reality.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A black eyed dog he called at my door

And if one day you should see me in the crowd
Lend a hand and lift me
To your place in the cloud



Now I'm darker than the deepest sea
Just hand me down, give me a place to be.
And I was strong, strong in the sun
I thought I'd see
when day is done
Now I'm weaker than
the palest blue
Oh, so weak in this need for you.



Do you curse where you come from,
Do you swear in the night

I was born to love no one
No one to love me
Only the wind in the long green grass
The frost in a broken tree
I was made to love magic

  • Tomorrow is a long time - demo
  • Monday, October 09, 2006

    Imagine: a song about nothing



    John Lennon said that Imagine might have been the manifesto of the Communist Party. Interesting. To me this song could be the reason why Richard Hell wrote Blank Generation. Only that Hell song is way much better: angry songs says a lot more.
    Imagine is a terribile song. Not musically, of course. John Lennon was a musical genius. Is the lyrics that are scaring like hell. The world Lennon is imagining is a blank world, where there is nothing. A world where we are all the same. No difference, no history, no religions, no heaven, nothing of nothing. Surely there will be peace that way: the same peace you get from the kiss of death. When you are asking for nothing, you have a problem. A world where, in order to survive, you better forget who you are. Is from a song like Imagine that the idea of 'multiculturalism' as a big blank space came out. It makes me think of George Orwell’s 1984. The fact that this song is still today the hymn of every good political correct liberal and pacifists, said a lot.
    This song reflect in a perfect way what the western world is become since the days when John Lennon wrote this song. A world where there is nothing anymore to live and to die for, where forgetting about life is better than trying to live.
    How ironic that a song like Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan is today almost forgot. Bob was asking the meaning of life, John was simply surrending to life.
    Or maybe he was right when he said that Imagine could be the manifesto of the Communist Party: nothing wrong with that, but then somebody made of this song what this song is not.

    Friday, October 06, 2006

    maybe we ain't that young anymore, show a little faith, there's magic in the night



    "This little light of mine I'm gonna let it shine, everyday
    On Monday he gave me the gift of love
    On Tuesday peace came from above
    On Wednesday he told be to have more faith
    On Thursday he gave me a little more grace
    On Friday he told me just to watch and pray
    On Saturday he told me just what to say
    On Sunday he gave me the power divine
    Just to let my little light shine"

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    the year of the Cat take 3



    'Greenfields, Golden Sands' (on the new upcoming album) is a never-released song he wrote in 1968 and which might have found its way on to Mona Bone Jakon. "Good songs never die", Yusuf says "(...) Most of the songs are inspired by the urge to raise human consciusness and seek to find a better world or make one" he reasons. "In that respect, you can definitely see a clear stream between some of the old songs of the idealistic 60s and 70s and the new"

    An Other Cup is truly a great album.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006

    the year of the Cat take 2



    Weird. While I was posting about Yusuf, yesterday night in London the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens was a guest of the Fortune Forum Summit, with celebrities like Bill Clinton.

    Yusuf performed as well, but I prefer this photo of him with Michael Douglas

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    the year of the Cat



    the cover art is not very promising. weird way to spell, also: is "Another cup", methink.

    The ocean inside the cup of tea might be a reference to the ocean in Malibu where he was about to die, back in 1976, when he asked God for help. God helped him, and... you know the rest of the story.

    Kinda weird that the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens and renamed Yusuf Islam from about 25 years now decided to not print on the front cover of his new album his last name, "Islam". Maybe a suggestion from the marketing dept. at Universal. These are those days you know...

    Two songs were available from the NPR website yesterday to download, but to request from the artist they were removed. Kinda like it happened with Bob Dylan's Modern Times last july. You really wonder who is behind this official Internet websites...

    I got the chance to download them, tho: Don't Let me be Misunderstood, the old Animals glory song, is very interesting: only Yusuf voice and a nice orchestra, very slow and very passionate. It seems he choose this song for the lyrics, since he was minsunderstood every time he spoke about his islamic faith (so he says) but also I believe this was a huge hit way back when he started out his career back in mid 60s, so a way to pay tribute to his old days too.

    the other is a nice ballad, but I dont like the arrangements: the horns make it sound like a silly carrebbean song or something. The voice is no more the old Cat Stevens voice of course, it lost most of his power but is a nice voice tho.

    well, it was 28 years since his last "pop" album. welcome back, Cat,anyway.

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    The most interesting (and serious) Modern Times review

    from [www.dylanchords.com]

    Introductory Remarks
    Eyolf Østrem

    The question is not so much: “Is this a good Dylan album?” – which it is – as “Is this a Dylan album?” – which it isn’t.

    First the lyrics: as Scott Warmouth has discovered, through an ingenious google investigation, several lines of lyrics are lifted from the works of the “Poet Laureate of the Confederacy” Henry Timrod in much the same way as Yunichi Saga’s Confessions of a Yakuza unwittingly contributed to “Love and Theft”. This has caused considerable reactions, in far wider circles than usual.

    So, is Dylan a thieving scoundrel and a plagiarist, or a genius who transforms what he reads into new gems?

    The lyrical side of his creative borrowings don’t bother me a single bit, and I’m surprised that such a fuss has been made over this. If anything, they add to the value of Dylan’s effort, rather than subtract from it. I would never call any of that plagiarism, neither in the case of Modern Times nor of “Love and Theft”. I can’t imagine Dylan sitting there in his divine solitude, struggling with a line, then walking over to the bookshelf and picking out Timrod or Saga in search for a line that would work. Now, that would have come closer to plagiarism: to let someone else do the job. I imagine it’s the other way around: Dylan has read Yakuza and Timrod, certain phrases and figures have stuck in his mind, from where they in due time have popped up again, in a completely new context. This kind of use is not dictated by need but by circumstance, coincidence, “intuition” if you wish. That is what I find fascinating about the use of these sources on these two albums: they highlight just how it is that things “pop up” in one’s mind – how people think.

    But my surprise by the overreaction regarding a few creatively transformed word connections is multiplied by the lack of a similar reaction to the musical borrowings. These are both much more substantial and much more difficult to defend.

    At the time of writing (Wed 20 Sept, 16:08 CET), the following songs on Modern Times have known models for their music:

    * Rollin’ and Tumblin’ • Taken from Muddy Water’s version of Hambone Willie Newbern’s “Roll and Tumble Blues” from 1929.
    * When the Deal Goes Down • based on Bing Crosby’s trademark song “Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)” by Roy Turk and Fred E. Ahlert
    * Beyond the Horizon • Taken from Jim Kennedy’s “Red Sails in the Sunset”
    * The Levee’s Gonna Break • taken wholesale (apart from a few new lines of lyrics here and there) from Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie’s “When the Levee Breaks” from 1929.
    * Someday Baby • taken from “Worried Life Blues” (aka “Someday Baby” or “Trouble No More”), performed by Sleepy John Estes, Fred McDowell, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, the Animals, and Bob Dylan himself (Toad’s Place, 1990), just to mention a few.

    These are not just influences: in all cases, the chord structure is lifted from the models and the melody is clearly recognizable, and in some cases, the whole arrangement is “borrowed”.

    That’s five out of ten. Furthermore, I’d be very surprised if the music to Spirit on the Water is Dylan’s own. Thunder on the Mountain could be by anyone, and probably is. That leaves us with three songs where the music is – at least until proven otherwise – truly “by Bob Dylan”.

    It so happens that these are the three strongest songs on the album: “Nettie Moore”, “Ain’t Talkin’” and “Workingman’s Blues #2”. I don’t know if this is good news or bad: it is reassuring that his own songs are the best, but why, then, did he have to put in the rest of it – didn’t he have more than three songs in him in five years?

    If this is a sign of creative drought, that may be a matter of concern regarding the possibility of more albums in the future, but in this particular context, it’s not my main concern.

    If the various textual allusions and citations can be redeemed as a fascinating display of creative intertextual intution, it is quite the opposite with the music. When Dylan w/band play the exact same notes and the exact same solos as Muddy Waters did on “Rollin’ and Tumblin’”, that’s not “intuition” or creative translocation, it’s just “letting Muddy do the job”, plain and simple. That doesn’t add to my appreciation of the work – on the contrary.

    Putting the label “All songs by Bob Dylan” on this CD is plain indecency. Again, this applies only to the music; I would not have wished to see anyhing like: “Words by Bob Dylan and Henry Timrod”. But I would have liked to see: “Words: Bob Dylan, Music: Muddy Waters” (disregarding here the fact that Muddy didn’t write the tune either, but that’s moot: he played those solos, he shaped the song into the form which Dylan has taken over, so for all intents and purposes Muddy is the originator). If Dylan has copyrighted the tunes of Rollin’ and Tumblin’ and Beyond the Horizon, he gets money from selling something he didn’t own in the first place. And regardless of the money, by putting “by Bob Dylan” under it he is taking creative credit for something he didn’t create, stating “This is what I have to say” without actually saying anything. That’s my main concern: he isn’t saying anything. And as Tom Lehrer so eloquently put it: “If you don’t have anything to say, the least you can do is shut up!”

    Some have defended Dylan with reference to the folk tradition. “This is what one does there: one takes what one hears and builds on that. This is what Dylan has always done.” Etc. Fair enough, but only to a point. Nick Manho said on the dylanpool:

    The difference between Bob ripping off the blues guys in the 60s and Bob ripping off the blues guys now is that in the 60s Bob’s rip-offs werer better than the originals

    and there’s really something to that. The point of standing on others’ shoulders should be to see farther, not to stand taller. ’Being in the folk tradition’ isn’t a valid excuse for acting more like a thieving bastard than as a creative musician with a rich heritage.

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    You think He's just an errand boy to satisfy your wandering desires.

    di Davide Rondoni (pubblicato su Avvenire)

    Con le polemiche di questi giorni intorno alle parole di Benedetto
    XVI si è davvero toccato il vertice di un'epoca. Uno di quei momenti
    in cui arrivano a chiarimento, a combustione gli elementi primari di
    un tempo. Si può dire che si è concluso davvero il '900. Il secolo
    delle ideologie e del fondamentalismo di vario genere.
    La Chiesa attaccata dall'esterno e, potremmo dire, dall'«interno».
    Ovvero da coloro che hanno sempre combattuto la Chiesa, ma anche da
    coloro che alla storia della Chiesa devono il patrimonio di libertà e
    di valori di cui godono. Attaccata non per vicende teologiche o
    morali. Non per il Dogma dell'Immacolata. O il quinto comandamento.
    Ma perché difende la ragione. Attaccata sui giornali americani e su
    quelli dei nemici degli americani. Da chi non vedeva l'ora. Da chi
    non sopporta la libertà della Chiesa Cattolica. Attaccata dai
    sorrisetti compiaciuti dei nostri intellettualini. Che dicono: il
    Papa non doveva esagerare. Senza aver letto il discorso. E lo dicono
    cercando poi l'appoggio dei preti per le loro opere o carriere. E
    attaccata dai mini-Voltaire di casa nostra.

    Il Papa accusando l'uso della violenza legata alla religione ha reso
    il più grande onore a Dio. E alla ragione dell'uomo, alla sua
    libertà. Senza di esse nemmeno la sottomissione a Dio ha valore. Dio
    infatti non gode per un amore obbligatorio. Sarebbe non un padre ma
    tiranno. E sarebbe un Dio scemo. Come nessuno di noi vuole essere
    amato dalla propria donna, dagli amici o dai figli, per obbligo. Il
    Papa ha ricordato che Dio vuole l'uomo libero e in piena facoltà di
    ragione. Libero persino di dire di no a Dio. E impegnato a verificare
    razionalmente se Dio c'entra con la vita oppure no.
    Ha fatto questo, il Papa. Ha messo se stesso in prima linea nella
    difesa di tale dignità della ragione e della libertà. Che i decenni
    passati hanno così tante volte offeso. Per mano dei capi delle
    nazioni. Per mano dei filosofi. Per mano dei capi religiosi.
    Compiendo stragi. Obbligando al silenzio. Rubando la libertà di
    parola.

    Il Papa non voleva offendere nessuno. Non ha usato argomenti
    offensivi. Chi si è sentito offeso ha forse qualcosa da temere da
    questa difesa della ragione e della libertà? Chi non capisce che si
    tratta di un problema laico, non teologico, è forse così ottuso dai
    propri interessi e distratto dalla ricerca di onori e potere da non
    vederne l'urgenza? Non si tratta di un capo religioso messo in
    questione per faccende legate alla fede che professa. Il Papa è stato
    attaccato perché ha toccato il nervo scoperto del secolo. Ha difeso
    lui, uomo di fede, la ragione e la libertà. Portando a compimento,
    realizzando per così dire, un disegno che lungo tutto il Novecento ha
    visto proprio nei cattolici i primi difensori della libertà e del
    pensiero.

    Siamo al culmine di un'epoca costellata dai nomi di pensatori,
    scrittori, e martiri cattolici. Newman, Chesterton, Péguy, Lewis,
    Padre Kolbe…Uomini che si sono opposti all'imbarbarimento portato da
    dittature chiare o striscianti, da perversioni della libertà sterili
    e violente. Si sta compiendo quel che una grande scrittrice
    americana, Flannery O'Connor, aveva previsto: la Chiesa ha tanti
    difetti, ma sarà lei a rendere sopportabile il mondo. Infatti, la
    concezione di persona libera che è maturato dal seme cristiano, per
    quanto mille volte tradito, è tranne che nella posizione della Chiesa
    a rischio. In nome della tecnica. In nome dei soldi. O anche in nome
    di un potere violento che usa il nome di Dio. E che troverebbe comodo
    scaricare la propria sete di dominio e di potere sulle spalle di Dio.
    Per questo il Papa, autorevole uomo di Dio, che difende libertà e
    ragione dà molto fastidio. La sua testimonianza è lo zenit del nostro
    tempo.

    E, da certi silenzi e da altre meditazioni, dalla cautela di taluni
    potenti e dalla risposta di tanta gente comune, si intravvede come la
    proposta della sua parola sta penetrando in molti cuori, rompendo
    vecchi schemi. E forse riattivando alcuni motivi di speranza , anche
    in luoghi impensati. E questo è bene, in un'epoca dura. Bene per
    tutti.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    Why the London tube is so damn hot?

    You can hardly breathe. Well, except the Picadilly line, is really a living hell. In a two wonderful sunny breezy days in London, you cant understand why once you are two meters inside the London tube, the temperature is like in a living hell. And not the tube alone. My hotel: same thing, damn hot. This theatre I went to see Shawn Colvin: fucking hot.
    Hey London town, is a cool September month, not January yet…

    Shawn Colvin is a nice girl; when I met her in her hotel for our interview, she appeared also definitely cool: cigarettes and coffee, a look in her eyes like a sort of female Keith Richards. She went through quite a lot in her life, after all. Cant say the same about her concert: kinda of surviving the 60s folk revival… She was great, tho, when she told about that time she was opening for Sting (while telling this, she was tuning her guitar): “I was opening for him, alone, and this damn guitar was getting out of tune every night… One day Sting told me: why don’t you buy a tuner?. That fancy ass… He told me that not in the dressing room, just me and him alone… No. he told me so in the hotel hall, in front of a dozen of people… So, Sting… do you ever saw Bob Dylan with a guitar tuner, sitting on Washington Square? Or did you ever saw Charlie Parker with a tuner? Keep your tuner for yourself”. Or something.

    Always great to take a walk down through Soho. And Denmark Street, where in the early 60s there was that little studio where the Stones recorded some of their early stuff.. I never saw a drums shop. Yes, a shop devoted in selling drums only, in Denmark Street, between about ten guitars shops. I was tempted to buy that drums set with the The Beatles logo on it. And all the great bookstores around the corner. And cds as well. So I was asking to this guy dressed like he was in a Franz Ferdinand videoclip: “Do you have any Bob Dylan’s super audio cds?”.
    “Super audio cd? Is that the title of the Bob Dylan’s cd you are looking for?”. Yes sure.

    Nevermind, Virgin megastore, and I got a copy of Desire SACD, right in time before the 30th anniversary of this majestic album will come to an end. It was the only Dylan’s SACD still available. And while I was there in the Dylan section, a 50 years old gentleman took a copy of Dylan’s Modern Times. There was a laugh behind us. A sorta of 17 year old punk with orange hair like a Mohican was laughing: “Dad, a Bob Dylan’s album?”. That’s it. Now you know who buy Bob Dylan’s cds and sacds. .

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    He is a lonely visitor



    Back in the 70s, he was one of the coolest people in the rock’n’roll scene. Not only musically: his look was the way we were trying to dress ourself.



    Two songs among the truckload of great songs he wrote in those days, are still to me some of the best 70s songs, cause they are the perfect description of how an era ended (the 60s with all his dreams) and how it was to survive with no dreams anymore. I’m talking about Ambulance Blues (which, of course, have some of the coolest lyrics ever written in a rock song) and Campaigner.
    Neil Young should remember he wrote a song like this.



    CAMPAIGNER

    I am a lonely visitor.
    I came to late to cause a stir,
    Though I campaigned all my life
    towards that goal.
    I hardly slept the night you wept
    Our secret's safe and still well kept
    Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
    Even Richard Nixon has got
    Soul.

    Traffic cops are all color blind.
    People steal from their own kind.
    Evening comes to early for a stroll.
    Down neon streets the streaker streaks.
    The speaker speaks,
    but the truth still leaks,
    Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
    Even Richard Nixon has got it,
    Soul.

    The podium rocks in the crowded waves.
    The speaker talks of the beautiful saves
    That went down long before
    he played this role
    For the hotel queens and the magazines,
    Test tube genes and slot machines
    Where even Richard Nixon got soul.
    Even Richard Nixon has got it,
    Soul.

    Hospitals have made him cry,
    But there's always a free way in his eye,
    Though his beach just got
    too crowded for his stroll.
    Roads stretch out like healthy veins,
    And wild gift horses strain the reins,
    Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
    Even Richard Nixon has got
    Soul.

    I am a lonely visitor.
    I came to late to cause a stir,
    Though I campaigned all my life
    towards that goal.

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    911

    Recently, an egyptian professor at the University of El Cairo, was busy translating an italian book. He wasnt able to translate two words that he could not find in the arab language.

    The first one was the word: "realism". He said that the roots of the arabian word for "realism" is "falling from the sky". He also said: "Since the events of the daily life are 'falling from the sky', men dont have any alternative if not to accept whatever it comes, good or bad. This way, men are not free in their relationship with the reality".

    The other word he could not find any translation was "reason". In the arabian language, the only thing he could find was "to tie, to emprison, to close within".

    "Realism, reason" are part of the elementary experience of man. You can't do it without it.

    Those are things to think about it, in a day like this - even if my blog, for some obscure and mysterious reasons, is dating my post one day before, on the 10th of September -, five years later.

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    Come on baby lets go party!

    “Bob Dylan's new album, Modern Times, has debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, making this the artist's first album to hit the top of that chart in 30 years. This 30-year span between #1 albums - Desire hit the top spot in 1976 -- is the longest of any living recording artist. Modern Times has sold more than 192,000 copies in the United States since its release, marking the biggest such sales period for a Bob Dylan album in the 15 year history of SoundScan.
    Source: Columbia Records”

    According to Columbia Records Chairman Steve Barnett, "Modern Times is an absolutely staggering record, and we couldn't be more thrilled that fans have responded to it so enthusiastically by putting Bob at #1, which is where he belongs. This extraordinary artist has been integral to our company for nearly 45 years, and he remains at the peak of his artistry, vitality and cultural impact. We are incredibly proud of Bob's great achievement."

    Yep. Its always great to see Bob Dylan’s name on the top of a list that include the usual Aguileras, Jessica S. and company (apart the fact that to be Number One dont necessarily means you made a good album, of course. That way, Britney Spears should be the new Joni Mitchell).
    But more than that, is so sad to see Sony people drinking champaigne when, actually, Bob Dylan is at the top of the chart with 192,000 copies sold.

    WHA??!!

    In the 70s, with that number of copies sold, the record company was giving you a good “Goodbye, so long, its been good to know you, now fuck off”.
    Yes.
    They are talking about Desire, last Bob Dylan’s Number One, but they are forgetting that to be Number One in 1976 Bob Dylan sold one million of copies.

    Hey Sony: nobody is buying albums anymore, can you get that?
    These people are dancin’ on the roof of the Titanic. Somebody please tell them about. The ship is going down down down… and the orchestra is playing.

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    I live in another world

    Durante una puntata del suo radio show (da qualche mese il cantautore americano, noto non solo per la sua musica ma anche per la leggendaria idiosincrasia nel parlare in pubblico, tiene con cadenze settimanali sulle frequenze della radio satellitare XM un programma intitolato “Theme Time Radio Hour”), rispondendo a una mail di un ascoltatore che si lamentava del fatto che il “Bob Dylan dj” passasse quasi esclusivamente canzoni dei primi decenni del Novecento, rispose: “Non ho nulla contro le canzoni nuove. Il fatto è che ci sono così tante canzoni vecchie”.
    “Canzoni vecchie”, come quelle che si ascoltano nel nuovo disco, uscito il primo settembre, Modern Times. Che Bob Dylan viva in un “time out of mind” (“un tempo immemorabile”) per citare il titolo di uno dei suoi ultimi album, è un fatto piuttosto noto. Il look, quando sale sul palcoscenico, è ormai da anni quello del “riverboat gambler”, del giocatore d’azzardo professionista del Vecchio West, con tanto di cappellaccio da cowboy. Non lo sentirete mai esprimersi a proposito di fatti cronaca recente, che siano la guerra in Iraq o la presidenza Bush. Al proposito, in una intervista di qualche giorno fa su Usa Today, a proposito del recente disco di Neil Young tutto dedicato ad attaccare la presidenza americana, ha commentato, dimostrando di non sapere probabilmente neanche chi sieda alla Casa Bianca: “Quando ho sentito Let’s Impeach the President di Neil, ho pensato: sta ancora scrivendo canzoni su un fatto così vecchio? Roba da pazzi, ha fatto una canzone su Bill Clinton?”. Aggiungendo: “Le canzoni politiche non mi appartengono. Io scrivo dell’esperienza”.

    Un titolo piuttosto ironico, allora: Modern Times (tempi moderni, come il film di Charlie Chaplin). Di moderno però non ci troverete nulla. Come il precedente Love And Theft le musiche attingono abbondantemente a “vecchie canzoni” della tradizione blues o folk anglo-americana, come nel caso di Rollin’ And Tumblin’ che non riprende solo il titolo di un vecchio brano di Muddy Waters ma anche lo stesso riff e l’impostazione melodica. Altrove - in When The Deal Goes Down - si rifà addirittura a Bing Crosby, il cantante “pop” per eccellenza degli anni Trenta, mentre liricamente riprende una poesia di Henry Timrod, Charleston, soprannominato “il poeta laureato della Confederazione”. Un paio di anni fa, quando compose per il film Gods And Generals, ambientato ai tempi della Guerra Civile, il brano Cross The Green Mountain, per l’apposito videoclip Dylan si fece filmare con barba e capelli lunghi - finti - a cavallo di un destriero mentre vagava tra i soldati morti e feriti di una battaglia della guerra in questione.
    Il Bob Dylan del terzo Millennio canta di un’America perduta, quella che stava costruendo i suoi ideali su una promessa ritenuta plausibile, quella dei Padri Pellegrini con il loro sogno della Città sulla collina, la Città di Dio sulla terra. L’America che si è spezzata in due irrimediabilmente con la Guerra di secessione. Qualche anno fa Gregory Peck disse di Bob Dylan: “In lui è possibile udire l’eco delle antiche voci d’America: Whitman e Mark Twain, i cantanti blues, i suonatori di violino e gli autori di ballate. Lui è una specie di troubador dell’Ottocento, uno spirito americano originale”.
    Non canta del mondo moderno, eppure le sue canzoni sono lo stesso misteriosamente piene di profezie su quanto accade. Come nella delicata poesia della bellissima Workingman’s Blues # 2 (“il blues del lavoratore”), un’ode color seppia a tutti quegli uomini che lavorano sodo e tirano avanti, con il caustico commento: “Certa gente non ha mai lavorato un solo girono nella loro vita, non sanno neanche cosa voglia dire lavorare”.


    Modern Timesè allora un disco di “canzoni popolari” – alla maniera di Dylan naturalmente –, un disco che potrebbe essere stato inciso nell’era pre-rock’n’roll: “Se non hai questo tipo di fondamenta, se non sei storicamente legato alla tradizione, allora ciò che fai non sarà forte come dovrà essere”.
    Un suono a cui Dylan, in fondo, ha sempre lavorato sin dal suo primissimo disco di 44 anni fa, quando, appena ventenne, cercava di imitare la voce dei vecchi bluesmen che avevano percorso le strade d’America e quella Highway 61 che Dylan, nel ’65, cantò nell’omonimo, rivoluzionario disco che aprì le porte al nuovo rock. Oggi Dylan ha fatto sua quella voce, e ancor più di quando cantava brani come Blowin’ In The Wind o Mr. Tambourine Man, lui è la “voce dell’America”.
    "In tutte le mie canzoni", ha detto recentemente, "non ho fatto altro che navigare in quel grande mare che è l'America".

    “Dio è parte del linguaggio dell’America”, ha detto il professore universitario Sean Wilentz. “Dal primo europeo che si stabilì qui, Dio era qui. Allora siamo onesti: che motivo c’è di scappare via da questo? È lì. Ciò che vuole la ballata popolare americana, almeno in parte, è Dio, una vita spirituale. Ancora: non è solo a proposito di un Dio generico, è a proposito di un Dio cristiano, e devi avere a che fare con questo come parte del linguaggio popolare americano. Non è sempre presente, Dio, nella canzone popolare americana, ma c’è, è impossibile negarlo. È per questo che i democratici hanno perso le elezioni. Perché hanno eliminato Dio dalla tradizione. I repubblicani infatti sanno cantare meglio dei democratici le canzoni popolari”.
    E infatti c’è Dio, nelle canzoni di Modern Times, una presenza incombente: il primo brano del disco (Thunder On The Mountain) si apre con la voce di Dio sulle montagne e il suono di pistole per le strade, e lo si ritrova nell’accenno al monaco che fondò la comunità di St. Herman, ai primi dell’Ottocento, nelle campane di St. Mary che echeggiano in distanza, nell’amara tentazione della desolata Ain’t Talkin’, brano conclusivo del disco in cui il cantante vaga per il Giardino Mistico per scoprire che è stato abbandonato dal suo Giardiniere ritrovandosi in un mondo “riempito di speculazioni”, in cui “strapperanno via la tua mente dalla contemplazione”.
    Non resta che una cosa da fare allora: “Io non parlo, cammino soltanto. Dicono che la preghiera ha la forza di guarire, allora prega per me, madre”.

    E, come ha detto Patti Smith con la sagacia che solo certi musicisti sanno avere, ascoltare Modern Times è come entrare nella testa di Bob Dylan e ascoltare i suoi pensieri. Un privilegio non da poco...

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    Too soon gone

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  • FAQ

    After listening to Modern Times, do you think Bob Dylan need a producer for his next album (or - more likley - do you think Modern Times needed a producer?)

    Jack Frost need another kind of job?

    thanx


    Thursday, August 31, 2006

    Greetings from Patti

    (and I mean Patti Smith)

    "Well I was sitting on my window sill, watching
    the sky shifting, when a messenger arrived with
    a copy of the new Bob Dylan album.
    I gave old Glenn Gould a rest and put Modern
    Times in my player. To this day, it still
    feels funny sliding a CD in place instead
    of setting a record on the turntable.
    It was always exciting, that first moment, when the
    needle connected with the vinyl groove. The first CD
    I ever heard was an experimental one, a long time
    ago, with Rainy Day Women on it. I just shook my head
    and said "nope. it will never take off. nobody will give
    up playing records." Nostradamus I am not.


    In any event, there are two handsome portraits of Bob in
    the packaging. I like the song called Ain't Talkin'.
    Like walking alongside Bob hearing him thinking.
    It was nice to get a special copy brought to my door.
    It kind of made up for all those bus rides
    in the mid-sixties, through Camden into Philadelphia,
    to stand for hours in line just to buy a copy of
    Highway 61 and Blonde on Blonde. It was always
    worth it though. I was never disappointed.


    Modern Times aside, I am just writing to say
    I have been working more on the website
    and will be making some changes in the next week.
    I had been kind of negligent for a while as I did a lot
    of traveling and have had a lot on my mind.
    But I promise to be more active.
    I am adding another version of Qana on the site.
    Just a live late night practice tape.
    I mispronounced it when I did it myself but it was the
    only version I had and I thought the sentiments were more
    important than the pronunciation. I have a penchant for
    mispronouncing, so sorry about that.


    So I hope you will check the site out. I will try to put new stuff up
    every day or two. It's a good communication base. Hope to see
    you there. Well I've got to go clean out the refrigerator. A good idea is
    to put an open new box of Arm and Hammer baking soda on one
    of the shelves. It cuts odors. Not that I'm implying anything"

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    she got the look




    I'm listening to Bob Dylan's new album, Modern Times.

    I thought that a little painting from my 3 years old daughter would be appropriate.

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    running out of ideas?

    sorry, i said i would not update this blog but this deserve an update

    I wonder how many times you can buy a photo for a cover album

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    Tempi Moderni

    censorship

    I'm joining CSN&Y FREEDOM OF SPEECH tour

    i said.. FREEDOM OF SPEECH.........

    this blog will be updated on September, the first

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    The performance that changed my life



    if anyone got the chance to read one of my oldest post in this blog, about a song that 30 years ago changed my life, here is that particoular performance in all his glory

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    "Songs are my religion"




    saturday night, Pistoia.

    it means something - I guess - when a man that was called "the new Bob Dylan" 30 years ago, have a chance to open for Bob Dylan and his set his better than Bob Dylan concert itself.

    But like Elliott Murphy himself said, "there would be no Elliott Murphy today if there wasnt Bob Dylan before".

    or something.




    anyway Bob wasnt that bad, if only you are good enough to cancel that awful band sound and concentrate on Bob singing only. Except for a shite Positively 4th Street, he was quite into the songs...

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