Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bob Dylan's Dream

I miss all my friends.
We were each other's whole world.
Then we sought paychecks.

Recorded in 1963 for the album "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," this dose of nostalgia could easily veer into mawkish territory, but I find it affecting and sincere. Bob's friends used to sit around and talk about life, the universe and everything, as he recalls while riding a train heading west. Back then, they knew what was right and wrong, they laughed and sang all night long by a wooden stove, and goddamnit, wouldn't it be nice if life could stay as it was when we were young. Or as he sings in the last two verses:

How many a year has passed and gone And many a gamble has been lost and won And many a road taken by many a friend And each one I’ve never seen again I wish, I wish, I wish in vain That we could sit simply in that room again Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that

I've always thought that the song "The Last Time I Saw Richard" by Joni Mitchell was a natural sequel to this one, several affairs, jobs, and a few thousand cocktails later, only this time in some suburban desert:

Richard got married to a figure skater And he bought her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator And he drinks at home now most nights with the TV on And all the house lights left up bright I'm gonna blow this damn candle out I don't want nobody comin' over to my table I got nothing to talk to anybody about All good dreamers pass this way some day Hidin' behind bottles in dark cafes dark cafes Only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away Only a phase these dark café days



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