Posts Tagged ‘Stravinsky’

Desmond Painter. Iets oor Bob Dylan

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
Bob Dylan se Street Legal

Bob Dylan se Street Legal

Ek het vanoggend vroeg opgestaan en met ‘n koppie koffie (of twee…) op die rusbank gaan sit om doktorale navorsingsvoorstelle te lees. En twee CD’s geluister: ‘n opname van Stravinsky se religieuse werke deur James O’Donnel (“Symphony of Psalms”, “Three Sacred Choruses”, “Mass” en “Canticum Sacrum”; ek het dit laas Saterdag gekoop maar nog nie behoorlik geluister nie) en (op aanbeveling van Danie Marais), The Duke & The King se Long Live The Duke & The King. Vol fantastiese musiek, beide hierdie albums! The Duke & The King gaan beslis kar toe; dis die soort musiek waarmee mens werk toe en terug wil ry. 

Maar vreemd genoeg is dit heel ander musiek (van ‘n album wat ek, omdat ek dit net op viniel besit, jare laas na geluister het) wat vanoggend pal deur my kop galop: Bob Dylan se lieflike “Is your love in vain?”, van die hopeloos onderskatte Street Legal uit 1978. “Do you love me, or are you just extending goodwill?/ Do you love me half as much as you say, or are you just feeling guilt?” begin dit mos — en Dylan vra daardie vrae met ‘n vernietigende gelatenheid… Ai, die man kan darem sing!

Daar is min mense in rock wat ‘n stem, ‘n blote stem, so verreikend musikaal kan aanwend soos Dylan; en onthou, ‘n stem hoef nie “mooi” te wees om musikaal te wees nie. Celine Dion en Josh Groban se stemme is dalk (dalk…) “mooi”, maar hulle aanwending daarvan as instrumente is nou nie juis iets om oor opgewonde te raak nie. Bob Dylan, daarenteen, het ‘n stem met (musikale) implikasies. Dit laat dinge gebeur: dit gee emosionele lading aan sy lirieke, ja, maar meer belangrik nog, Dylan dra deur middel van prosodie en frasering by tot die musikale struktuur (en soms, op briljante wyse, ook tot die musikale dekonstruksie) van sy liedjies. Gaan luister maar na sy verskillende weergawes van “Tangled Up in Blue”; van “Simple Twist of Fate”, of van “Maggie’s Farm”… Op sy beste is Bob Dylan selfs ‘n beter sanger as wat hy ‘n digter is.  

Street Legal is ‘n fantastiese album. Dit maak sin om dit te sien as deel van ‘n trilogie wat ook Blood on the Tracks (1975) en Desire (1976) insluit. Wat ek veral van hou is die “smudginess” van die klank op Street Legal; die effense olierige, sweterige aard van die opname. Daar’s iets onmiddelliks, iets geïmproviseerd selfs, aan die projek, wat teenstrydige kwaliteite van aarseling en absolute dringendheid aan die musiek verleen. 

Teenoor die fetisj wat rockgroepe toenemend van die ateljee en tegniese effekte gemaak het (veral na The Beatles se Revolver in 1966) spreek Street Legal verder ook van ‘n veel meer argelose houding: ‘n opname is maar net ‘n voorlopige weergawe van musiek wat op die langpad, op daardie nimmereindigende toer, weer en weer herskep word… 

En watter sterk liedjies is daar nie op hierdie album nie! Dit skop sommer af met ‘n klassiek, “Changing of the Guards”, ‘n hermetiese liriek soos min ander: “The palace of mirrors/ Where dog soldiers are reflected/ The endless road and the wailing of chimes/ The empty rooms where her memory is protected/ Where the angel’s voices whisper/ to the souls of previous times.”

En wat van die rooiwarm, donker erotiek van “New Pony”?: “I had a pony her name was Lucifer (how much longer?) / I had a pony, her name was Lucifer (how much, how much longer?)/ She broke her leg and needed shooting/ I swear to God it hurted me more than it ever could have hurted her…”

Dis ‘n album vol liefde (“Baby please stop crying” en “Is your love in vain?”) en politiek (“Senor”), maar die meesterstuk, en ‘n hoogtepunt in Dylan se oeuvre, is sekerlik “Where are you tonight? (Journey through dark heat)”. Dit is die perfekte, desperate afsluiting van ‘n intense, gefolterde trilogie; ‘n eensame kreet wat, interessant genoeg, deur Dylan se gospel-trilogie opgevolg sou word… Ja, dark heat: die perfekte beskrywing van hierdie musiek.

 

Where are you tonight (Journay through dark heat) – Bob Dylan 

There’s a long-distance train rolling through the rain
Tears on the letter I write
There’s a woman I long to touch and I miss her so much
But she’s drifting like a satellite

There’s a neon light ablaze in this green smoky haze
Laughter down on Elizabeth Street
And a lonesome bell tone in that valley of stone
Where she bathed in a stream of pure heat

Her father would emphasize you got to be more than streetwise
But he practiced what he preached from the heart
A full-blooded Cherokee, he predicted to me
The time and the place that the trouble would start

There’s a babe in the arms of a woman in a rage
And a longtime golden-haired stripper onstage
And she winds back the clock and she turns back the page
Of a book that no one can write
Oh, where are you tonight?

The truth was obscure, too profound and too pure
To live it you have to explode
In that last hour of need, we entirely agreed
Sacrifice was the code of the road

I left town at dawn, with Marcel and St. John
Strong men belittled by doubt
I couldn’t tell her what my private thoughts were
But she had some way of finding them out

He took dead-center aim but he missed just the same
She was waiting, putting flowers on the shelf
She could feel my despair as I climbed up her hair
And discovered her invisible self

There’s a lion in the road, there’s a demon escaped
There’s a million dreams gone, there’s a landscape being raped
As her beauty fades and I watch her undrape
I won’t but then again, maybe I might
Oh, if I could just find you tonight

I fought with my twin, that enemy within
’Til both of us fell by the way
Horseplay and disease is killing me by degrees
While the law looks the other way

Your partners in crime hit me up for nickels and dimes
The guy you were lovin’ couldn’t stay clean
It felt outa place, my foot in his face
But he should-a stayed where his money was green

I bit into the root of forbidden fruit
With the juice running down my leg
Then I dealt with your boss, who’d never known about loss
And who always was too proud to beg

There’s a white diamond gloom on the dark side of this room
And a pathway that leads up to the stars
If you don’t believe there’s a price for this sweet paradise
Remind me to show you the scars

There’s a new day at dawn and I’ve finally arrived
If I’m there in the morning, baby, you’ll know I’ve survived
I can’t believe it, I can’t believe I’m alive
But without you it just doesn’t seem right
Oh, where are you tonight?

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