Matt Price "outs" himself as an Australian Idol fan, but stretches the imagination when he asserts Aussie Idol is cool and uncheesy because his idol, Bob Dylan, likes pop music. Bob maybe even approves of the Idol concept, but next Matt will say McLeod's Daughters is hot because he has the hots for Clive Waterhouse.
Idol moments aplenty in the rich life of Bob
LIKE practically everyone else in the land, I'm completely hooked. It doesn't matter that this year's finalists are a pale imitation of the class of '03. I can't detect a jot of It or X factor in Courtney, Chanel, Casey, Anthony or (my favourite) Hayley, yet they've got me and 2 or 3 million fellow Australians in their thrall.
Matt's dag justifications aside, he does touch on something I've long believed to be key to my love of Bob Dylan's music. It's just that, the music.
Incidentally, Chronicles vindicates the Prime Minister's oft ridiculed opinion about liking Dylan for the tunes rather than the words. "For sure my lyrics had struck nerves that had never been struck before, but if my songs were just about words, then what was Duane Eddy, the great rock'n'roll guitarist, doing recording an album full of instrumental melodies of my songs?" asks Dylan. "Musicians have always known that my songs were about more than just words."
Back in the Seventies when, as a stupid 13 year old, I first heard of Dylan, I regularly belted out distorted versions of Hurricane, Tangled up in Blue, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Knocking on Heaven's Door, Black Diamond Bay and especially, George Jackson.
However, while I liked ... err, make that LOVED ... the way the words went together, I loved the way the tunes went together more.
The lightly toned country hoe-down of Nashville Skyline Rag. The striding Tangled Up in Blue. Robbie Robertson's hypnotic plink, plink, plink that underpins Visions of Johanna. The whizzing intro of Highway 61 Revisited -- the only good part of the otherwise appalling Where The Buffalo Roam. The tinkling piano that opens Queen Jane Approximately. The spine-tingling slide break after verse one of Down Along The Cove, then the tight as a drum ... err ... drum outro after the last verse. Magic.
While Dylan is justifiably famous for his era defining lyrics. And just as famous, yet less justafiably so for his esoteric public persona, it's his music which works most for me.
Given the quality of his backing musicians, that's not surprising, but Bob was the one who put the songs together, so his contribution to rock & roll MUSIC can never be emphasised enough when mentioning the likes of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, The Kinks, et al.
A friend of mine, Andrew, actually has a Bob Dylan Test.
When he meets someone socially, and the subject of music comes up, as it generally does, he always asks; "What do you think of Bod Dylan?" If the reply is along the lines of; "I don't.", he will never take the person seriously.
Further, if the person says something like; "Dylan can't sing. He's shit." Andrew will immediately turn away and flatly refuse to talk to them again.