Friday, January 9, 2015

A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall

What did you see when
You went for a walk? Stuff that

Would make you stay home.

The closer to side one of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" LP from 1963 is one of those songs full of images that make you wonder why the gods picked one guy through which to channel. There's so much going on, and none of it's pretty. I based this haiku on a simple concept repeated over verses:

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?

I saw a ton of unpalatable shit out there on the road. Sad people, racists, riches ignored, signs of the apocalypse, death and loneliness and self pity, and the path that the human race is taking that will lead to oblivion, and the voice of one poet who will do his best to tell the story until he drowns in the murk. 

Basically, a party song for a certain kind of party goer.

I've always found this to be one of Dylan's best songs, and I'm not someone who cares much for folksinger protest music. I think that many people have done it poorly and have been overly earnest about it, and the lack of a sense of humor is, in the end, what I think turns people's ears off to protest music. I think that Dylan has done plenty of mediocre protest songs, but when he does it right, holy cow does he do it right.

If you're ever looking for a bizarre take on it, listen to the version on Bryan Ferry's first album, released in 1973. Ferry clearly loves Dylan's songs and has covered many of them. This glam-style version might be meant ironically, however. Check out the backup singer reaction to the poet who died in the gutter.

And here is Dylan doing it during in Irvine, California, in 2013. His voice is shot here, but the music is good.

1 comment:

  1. Yes a Haiku and a half. Want more information about this song and to listen to every version of every song? Then come inside Bob Dylan's Music Box's-A-Gonna-Fall listen and relax