Not quite dawn, October. My steadfast stereo chattering this mornings Dylan album and review, ‘New Morning’. Appropriate timing as I am soon to see another morning too. Fall is here, the day of the locusts have ended, time will now begin to pass slowly as we head into an interlude of winter. The glass walls of my living room, looking out over Lake Chloe and insulated on 474 acres, barley shows the shoreline off in the distance. It is here we begin.
It was a time waning when Dylan finally got theses tracks down in Columbia’s Studio E. His Woodstock days of watching his son grow and feeding the chickens would see its end. Entrenched in sycophants and claustrophobic secondary to the fans which had found him in this Catskill town, Dylan was about to set into a quick getaway and somewhat slumber until 1975’s album ‘Blood on the Tracks’.
The title of this album has a redemptive quality to it. If viewed from this perspective, six of the eleven tracks loosely grab this idea; ‘If Not for You’, ‘If Dogs Run Free’, ‘New Morning’, ‘Sign on the Window’ (the last verse cinches it), ‘The Man in Me’ and ‘Three Angels’. With that laundry list out of the way, let’s move forward.
Two tracks here find themselves in legend. ‘Day of the Locusts’, from what is said, speaks of a harrowing experience Dylan had receiving an honorary Doctorate from Princeton. Persuaded to take the trip by his wife at the time and Al Cooper, from self-report, Dylan truly wanted nothing to do with the ‘honor’. I hear it playing in the background and the rhythmic piano and the smooth cord changes show little of the personal discord of the day but the linear, lyrical narrative, does tell the tale.
Secondly in legend, ‘Went to See the Gypsy’. A song which is said to be about Dylan’s first meeting with Elvis. Problem is, who first said this and where is the evidence of this interpretation? However you slice it, an interesting narrative combining a dreamlike lose sequence of images and a mysterious character at best.
How to sum up this album? I knew a man once (or maybe it was me), who said at his funeral, two Dylan songs should be played in succession as the funeral ended. Out of all his music and this fans fascination they were, drum role please, ‘Sign on the Window’ and ‘One More Weekend’. Why? The moral of life’s story, “marry me a wife, catch rainbow trout, have a bunch of kids that call me pa, that must be what it’s all about.’ These the culminating lines in ‘Sign’. Dylan’s earthly conclusion on life offered after the spinning decade and substances of the 60’s. Why play ‘One More Weekend’? Heaven or reincarnation, we shall see and see ya on the other side!
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