I love Bob Dylan’s music, or most of it anyway. I really do, in fact I’m listening to one his records [LP] right now as I write. .He sounds like the old Dylan [oh,crap, that’s right, he is the old Dylan].

Let me be clear. I’ve seen Dylan in concert before and a great singer he’s not, a  stylistic Icon, yes…great singer, no. And from what I hear from folks who had seen him even earlier, he wasn’t all that great [as a singer] back then either.

As the opening croak of Lay Lady Lay tried to crawl off the stage in center field at the Dayton  Dragon’s ballpark July 10th, there was a palpable sense of seat shifting, a rustling, heads joined together, whispering, a quite rumbling, groaning. I said to my companion, ” I know he’s not a great singer, but, what was that!!??” She shrugged her shoulder and said” I don’t know but it sounds really awful.”

According to Wikpedia Lay Lady Lay “was originally written for the soundtrack of the movie Midnight Cowboy, but wasn’t submitted in time to make the final cut. [2]

Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers has been quoted that Dylan offered them the song to record in the following way: The Everlys were appearing at the Bottom Line in New York, and after the show, Dylan went backstage to visit with them. Phil asked if Bob had any new songs they might record, and he said yes, there was one they could have. He picked up a guitar and sang, but so quietly that the Everlys could not clearly make out all the words, and thought they heard “lay lady lay, lay across my big breasts, babe.” Thinking it was a song about lesbians, Don Everly said “thank you, it’s a great song, but I don’t think we could get away with that”, and declined to record it. Dylan did not question them about it and went on to cut the track himself. Months later, they heard Dylan’s version on the radio and realized they’d misunderstood the words. The Everlys felt they’d missed a big opportunity and later recorded the song on their album, EB 84.”

Yep, Don and Phil blew a chance to sing and hit the charts with one of Bob Dylan’s greatest  love songs.
And then, sadly,  Bob blew it last night.

He wasn’t working on Maggies Farm no more, although his band was working, he was not. He might have been drinking some bad bad whiskey but, if he’d a’thought about it,  he would have known that in fact, it’s not alright, Ma. He might have been like a rolling stone, but to my ears he was lost somewhere out there with the highway 61 blues. And, I really really hate to say it, but the truth is it might just really be true that it’s all over now, Baby Blue..

Ok, enough with the metaphors. And Ok,  you went  so you could tell your grand kids that you saw Bob Dylan in concert. That would be accurate. It would even be accurate if you said you saw him on stage performing. But, if you said you hear him singing, you’d  be uttering  a  terrible prevarication of the truth. Sounds yes. Croaks yes. Gravel tumbling through the sound system, yes. Singing? No.

I respect Dylan as a song writer, as a recording artist, even yes, as a singer. . He made it known that the Times They Are A Changing, he made Blonde on Blonde, he had us Knocked Out and Loaded in the live Hard Rain, took us to the Nashville Skyline and showed us Desire. But last night… last night he left Blood on the Tracks.

He showed us Another side of Bob Dylan,  and he shouldn’t have.

If you had a good time and you liked Dylan, good for you, your bucks were well spent, you saw the Icon on stage. Fine. That’s my only concession.

But, if you tell your grandkids you heard him singing,  you’d be lying.

BtW: I thought Willie Nelson was very good, even through the muddy mix that somewhat buried his voice in the music.  I was really pleasantly surprised by John Mellencamp, who gave a rockin’ interpretation of what happens when you put a really really good Bar Band on a big stage in front of thousands…they Rocked!


  1. Wow! good commentary, G. You are so right about Dylan. Quite sad.
    Hope your Saturday is swell. Glad to see your blog again. MB

    Comment by Maddi — July 11, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

  2. In a day or two, the recordings of this show will appear. And like every other ‘he doesn’t sing’ or ‘you can’t make out the words’ comment and review, it will be proven utterly false. I’m sure it sounded that way to you, but I assure you it’s the sound system or the crowd or your expectations that were blocking your ears. I’ve listened closely to two of the preceding 4 shows from the last week, and his singing is great. His voice is Dylan 2009. His singing as always is Dylan. Get the recording and see what you missed. Even better, a soundboard of London earlier this year (at 02 in April) just emerged, get that and really hear him sing directly from his microphone. Then write a post here complaining about the sound-system and apologizing to Bob.

    Comment by Craig Danuloff — July 11, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  3. Tell me Craig, where can you get these recordings ?I saw BOB in England earlier this year,the show was great !!

    Comment by MarGoX — July 14, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

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