When I was younger I never quite got on the Bob Dylan bandwagon. Sure there were songs I absolutely loved, “Knockin’ on Heavens Door”, “Blowin’ In The Wind” etc. But his style never really grabbed me. While he served as “the voice” of my generation and older he always seemed out of touch. I found his work really hit or miss. I could never get through a complete recording. Just major snooze-a-rama. And that voice. Horrendous, muttering, mewling like sandpaper on dry flesh. And even though I enjoyed some of his music I found that I enjoyed it more when other people sang it. His performances just left me empty and hungry for something more (and not more from him). While his music may have served as the voice of a generation it certainly never served as a “voice” for my life experience. And his music just seemed to become more and more distant through the years. And that’s the way I felt for most of my life.
Fast forward to the present. I am 59 going on 60. On a whim I purchased the Bob Dylan box set – The Complete Album Collection Vol. One. I’ve forced myself to listen through each album (all 47 discs). And to my surprise I found that not only does the music touch me in unexpected ways but it seems more relevant to my life and our culture as it currently exists. It appears that Dylan was not out of step with the times. I was just out of step with Dylan. And while some stuff from the 80’s and 90’s still seems somewhat uneven. His work has just gotten better and better in the new millennium. And his voice has gotten better. When he was younger (or should I say when I was younger) his voice just seemed strangely out of tune lacking the clarity I had come to expect from many folk and pop singers. But in the intervening years I fell in love with Tom Waits who has a similar voice and I love Tom’s songwriting style and storytelling. Not only that but Dylan handles a guitar like Tom handles a piano. I’ve found that since the LOVE and THEFT album Dylan’s songwriting is not dissimilar and in fact is complementary to Tom Waits music, and Dylan’s voice is perfectly suited to that style. It’s enjoyable and I can easily sit through an entire recording as the music evokes many scenes, times, places and people that I can appreciate. And I’ve come to admire his skill with language and music.
Bottom Line: While the box set was a risky purchase considering my previous opinions of Bob Dylan it was a purchase that paid off in spades. It’s been so great to get in touch with a master songwriter. When you go through his oveure in this collection one can easily see why he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature.
So while I may have said some things early on that may have seemed sacrilegious – well my eye’s have been opened. Another blind man can now see.
With all that said and done. Here are some tracks you may/or not be familiar with. Enjoy.
Arrival at Ursae Majoris-B
MK-O Lightspeed Sound
from their wonderful album UNREEL – available on iTunes.
O beautiful morn
shrouded and clouded in mist
fogged o’er secret Spring
wake up now dear Spring
shed the blanket of morning
wipe the fog away
Where, oh morn are you?
Where are your budding flowers?
Even birds whisper
two more poems featuring the half-deflated balloon from the workplace office.
I AM WAITING
I am waiting.
Waiting for the light to flicker.
Waiting for the walls to drop.
Waiting for the half-deflated ballon to fall
Waiting for the stale office air to circulate
Waiting for microscopic dust to settle
I’m waiting for your call.
A half-deflated balloon
from a celebration
bobbing and weaving
in the recirculated
Still tethered to
the open cage
where “pets” can roam freely.
The hand lies
limply on the page
Pen flip-flopping flaccidly
insipid, impotent inspiration
What to write.
What to write?
What To Write!
encircling each other
love’s in the air
I’ve heard from several followers over the past couple of months that my posts aren’t showing up in their “reader” anymore. I’ve been somewhat puzzled by that. The only thing I can think of is that a couple of months ago I upgraded my blog and now use my domain name for the blog address. I’m not sure if this is causing the problem but I wonder if you click the follow button again if that would help. Give it a try and let me know…
In the meantime here are a couple of newer images.
Your music moment is provided by Genesis. “Follow You, Follow Me” from their 1978 album … and then there were three…
Well It’s that time of year when I start mailing out holiday greeting cards to friends and family. Some of my readers here will be the recipients of one of these cards.
The design is unlikely. It does not feature a photo of smiling people, posed and dressed up pets, holiday foods, decorations, winter scenes, Santa, reindeer, elves, manger/nativity scenes, wise men, glitz, glitter or any other feel-good objectification of the holiday season. In short it does not follow every other cliché of the holidays.
This run-down, abandoned, forgotten building represents the humblest of beginnings and how some of the greatest miracles came out of what others revile, despise, and want to destroy or tear down. I could even make the analogy to the Bible story of the birth of Jesus; there was a poor unmarried couple – she was pregnant – for one of the most mundane activity of registering for a census they went to a town where they had no one to stay with. In fact there was no place to stay but a stable – the hotels/hostels/inns/rooming houses were all full and they were stuck in a stinky drafty stable with animals. The woman had a baby there in the stable (no hospitals around) and laid him in a manger which held the hay that the oxen ate. There was nothing romantic about it. It was difficult. It would have been a royal pain in the butt. Yet, that baby went on to inspire millions.
If that bible story were to happen today imagine a young couple from another part of the country just gets off the bus and there are no hotel rooms available. They are left to fend for themselves in the street. They have no local connections. No one offers them help. that baby might be born in an abandoned building, like the one pictured, its parents feeling the conflicting emotions of guilt for the lack of suitable circumstances paradoxically paired with the joy of giving birth to new life. So do not judge too quickly the appearance of things. Like the front of the card says, “all is not lost” There is hope for the “least” of all things which is represented in the image by the added wreath over the boarded up window.
The text inside the card is a simple haiku that I created.
“The greatest reason
A humble beginning
This season of hope”
I was surprised by this photo after I had gotten home. I remember taking it. I shot it through my car windows which had salt splash and grunge on them. What looks like bokeh spots is actually water droplets on my windshield from the falling snow. It didn’t make for a very good photograph but it was interesting. Before I started my post-processing; I almost deleted the file, but decided to go further and added more textures and layers in an extreme way that almost gave it a painterly look. I also de-saturated most of the colors except for red and green. So again, from very humble circumstances and imperfect photo conditions this image was born. It has always been a personal favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy it too as well as the story of it’s making and how it evolved into a holiday greeting card.
May each and every one of you – without regard for your circumstances find hope in humble beginnings and discover, hidden within, the greatest reason to celebrate and commemorate life. It is in You.
Your holiday music moment is provided by
Low – If You Were Born Today (Song for Little Baby Jesus) from their holiday album LOW CHRISTMAS
If you were born today
We’d kill you by age eight
Never get the chance to say
Joy to the world and
Peace on the earth
Forgive them for they know not what they do
Blessed are the meek and
Blessed are the humble
Blessed are the ninety and nine
Deny the flesh
Deny all that’s evil
Tonight you’ll deny me thrice
If you were born today
We’d kill you by age eight
Never get the chance to say…
Behind caged bars
restless heart, fearful mind
murmurs of change
This image is one of the not-so-hidden spaces in downtown Akron. Just on the other side of this building is South Main St. And it is adjacent to the Akron Civic Theater. This entire area has been under a slow renovation for several years. Just behind me is the popular LOCK 4 of the canal which runs through this area. It is already repurposed as a wonderful outdoor entertainment space with live jazz, blues and gospel over the warmer months. When I peered though the windows on South Main and between the bars through the cracks in the plywood I did see construction lighting and various clean-up tools as if this structure is under renovation. I just hope they don’t tear it down like they’ve done other historic buildings downtown.
Your musical moment to help digest this post is provided by FORQ (yep it’s pronounced fork). The track is titled THE HARD WAY from their self-titled album.
Dream a little dream
Live a large life full of love
Die with grace and peace
New blooms in spring
a carnival of life takes flight
Autumn sees it die
Grace to suffer
One season flows into another
Life without end
*****todays music moment features Syd Arthur. This English band from Canterbury are often described as psychedelic jazz but I think it’s got more of a progressive rock feel. The band’s name is from Hermann Hesse’s 1922 novel – Siddhartha. Phonetically similar to Siddhartha the changed spelling to Syd Arthur is a nod to the bands primary influences of Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee. This track is INTO ETERNITY from their 4th album APRICITY. Enjoy.
It’s been said that eyes are the window to the soul. If that is true then the camera must be the tool that captures the soul. There are still living people and cultures that do not want you to take their pictures because they are afraid you will entrap their soul. What you see here is my soul. Make of it what you will. Like everyone I think you will find that it is filled with both darkness and light. Brilliance and shadows. Empty and full. Forms beyond comprehension. But there is always the hope that light will overcome the darkness.
This photograph is not a double exposure. I was standing at a door to an abandoned mansion and looking through the glass. I could see through the front room and through the room to the other side – looking outside. In addition the glass on the door was reflecting the outside that was behind me. So I was stuck in the middle – not outside – not inside – somewhere between. And now that you are looking at this image I am stuck in the middle with you. I enjoy your intimate gaze into my soul. Whatever “it” is – It’s not what you think….
We all have speed bumps that crop up in our lives. It may be a death, an accident or loss of some other sort that causes us to slow down and even stop to reconsider our direction in life. This is a good thing. Life’s tragedies large and small can be a sort of amazing grace. And sometimes they can even make us better.
Wherefore I am well pleased in infirmities, in damages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses — for Christ; for whenever I am infirm, then I am powerful.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:12 (YLT – Young’s Literal Translation)
Protest songs have always existed in one form or another. But with advances in technology and a growing expendable cashflow in the 20th century the role of the protest song changed and became popularized and politicized. Ever since the 60’s and early 70’s protest music has been part of the main stream and has been a unifier of a necessary opposition. That tradition continues even today. Here are some protest songs from…
Sometimes life is ALL walls & windows… no doors.
But it is still life.
And in my confinement I found contentment.
Quietly sitting in the center
To weak to climb the walls
I found a shovel and started to dig instead.
My contentment brought enlightenment
and opportunity… my sight was more
than any window could afford.
~ mobius faith (Akron,OH 8/5/17
a Reblog from Photography in Oman. I absolutely love this beautiful video by Mike Olbinski. FYI – a must-watch in full screen.