Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy Bob

Oh, I suppose I could write sweepingly, rhapsodically, about the mastery of Bob Dylan's songwriting ability. Forty-five years is a long time in the spotlight, and there will be clunkers. But when that cat is in the zone, there's not much english language poetry post-WW2 that can match Daddy Bob.

But this here street corner is where I spills out, so stop the bus. Bob's enduring gift to American music, the one he doesn't get royalty checks for, is he sings lousy.

My parents' generation was dominated by crooners. In a very real way, my generation and all after it have been strongly influenced by a croaker. That Bob Dylan, raspy, nasal voice.

I really don't know what Daddy Bob meant to the Woodstock generation. I never burned my draft card. Heck, I never even got a draft card! I know what he meant to my generation of song murderers though. He meant, "Kids? Be sure to try this at home."

And so we did, by the tens of thousands. Personally, I think mostly we attempted it in the vain hope it might lead to girls paying attention to us. But there I go being snarky again (HEY! It's a gift, all right?) so I should say?

Daddy Bob meant to tens of thousands boys and girls who wanted to play music, we didn't have to be beautiful or sing with perfect pitch. If we had something to say, maybe we could snag some ears.

The legacy of that gift is all around. Springsteen, Neil Young, Counting Crows, John Prine, Guy Clark, Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sheryl Crow, Paul Simon, on and on and on.

So Happy Birthday Daddy Bob. Thanks for your prime role in taking American music from spectator to participatory activity.

No comments: