Bob Dylan - No Direction Home
the ladies treat me kindly, and furnish me with tape
What the hell does that mean? No idea. I didn't take that lyric out of context either. That is the scope of the verse -
No Direction Home was released Tuesday, roughly a week before the PBS screening of the much anticipated and thoroughly ballyhooed PBS running of the Marty Scorsese documentary about Bob Dylan's early public life. I bought the CD soundtrack last week, and it could be the greatest thing I own. No need to rehash that, as you can read about it quite competently here.
Being a very hardcore early Dylan fan, I simply couldn't wait until the show was broadcast. My biggest concern wasn't even the waiting, but our market's local PBS runs in mono. Now, I know most of these recordings go back forty years... and so are probably recovered and broadcast in mono. However, Dylan is thoroughly archived, and I wasn't going to let my home theatre just quietly suffer though substandard sonics for the most important music documentary in history. Surely my system must serve a purpose outside of Bruckhiemer flicks. So, I picked up the DVD yesterday and watched part one this evening. Mind you, part one was well over two hours.
It is fantastic. Bob Dylan is someone impossible to know. His lyrics are evocative, but often make absolutely no sense. He has never offered and explanation of anything either. Though he pretends to ignore it, no one fosters the mythos of Bob Dylan more than the man himself. Before this film, there is scarce info on Bob as a person. You may have seen DA Pennebakers Don't Look Back in which case Dylan came off as a very talented but difficult primadonna. Well, that was an accurate portrayal, but incomplete to be sure. Did you see Dylan' interview on 60 minutes pimping 'Chronicles'? Shit, I didn't think it was possible to know less about someone after an intimate interview like that... but it happened.
My point being is that Dylan has been unreachable and untouchable up until this film. It is a fascinating pastiche of interviews from friends, colleagues, early performances, and Dylan himself speaks. What is so boggling is that the Dylan interviews are lucid and totally straightforward. Bob wasn't playing Bob Dylan, or Jack Fate. He answers questions, but still you see how dude was almost cursed with a way with words. He casually throws off phrases at 64 that Shakespeare waited a lifetime to utter.
The film also isn't just about idle worship. You get the idea from both Dylan and his peers, that there was 'Another side of Bob Dylan'. He was a vey clever kid who was an opportunist and huckster. He readily admits he sponged everything he was and became off of others on the New York City folk scene of the early 60's. So, what made him last? What made him the one? I'm not gonna say more. Wait until next week and catch it yourself on PBS or pick up a copy from the links below.
One thing I do ask, is if you have read this far... you appreciate the good pre-1965 Dylan. Go buy the soundtrack, immediately. It is the most important Dylan release of the last 30 years... possibly EVER.