Sunday, October 7, 2012

Roll on John: Issa's Sunday Service, #138




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It seems somehow at once extremely odd and just right that Bob Dylan should pen a eulogy for John Lennon some thirty plus years after Lennon's death. One is, of course, tempted to see in this a bit of self-eulogizing but, if that's a case, it is not simply a eulogy for a poet/songwriter but for an entire generation who venerated him, or more precisely stated, them.

Listen to this song and, like the title song Tempest, about the Titanic, you'll be tempted to never listen to it again. And that would be a mistake. Because when you listen to it again and then again, it will grab you hard and grab you deep. It's really a lesson in songwriting - it is hardly at all like what we might have expected if someone had said, say  6 months ago, what do you think a song by Bob Dylan about John Lennon would be like. 

This is Bob Dylan's John Lennon and it is, indeed, a privilege to get a glimpse into his thoughts, as it always is.

Tyger, tyger, burning bright.

I heard the news today, oh boy.


Roll On John

Doctor, doctor, tell me the time of day
Another bottle's empty
Another penny spent
He turned around and he slowly walked away
They shot him in the back and down he went

Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John
From the Liverpool docks to the red light Hamburg streets
Down in the quarry with the Quarrymen.
Playing to the big crowds Playing to the cheap seats
Another day in your life until your journey’s end
Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John

Sailing through the tradewinds
Bound for the sun
Rags on your back just like any other slave
They tied your hands and they clamped your mouth
Wasn’t no way out of that deep dark cave

Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John
I heard the news today, oh boy
They hauled your ship up on the shore
Now the city’s gone dark
There is no more joy
They tore the heart right out and cut it to the core

Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John
Put on your bags and get ‘em packed.
Leave right now you won’t be far from wrong 
The sooner you go, the quicker you’ll be back
You’ve been cooped up on an island far too long

Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John
Slow down you’re moving too fast
Come together right now over me
Your bones are weary
You’re about to breathe your last
Lord, you know how hard that it can be

Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John
Roll on John, roll through the rain and snow
Take the righthand road and go where the buffalo roam
They’ll trap you in an ambush before you know
Too late now to sail back home

Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John
Tyger, Tyger burning bright
I pray the lord my soul to keep In the forest of the night
Cover him over and let him sleep
Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John.


At any given moment in time, you will get a different Bob Dylan (as you will, in fact, get a different you). Here's an interview by Ed Bradley when Dylan published the autobiographical Chonicles, One. His latest interview, with Rolling Stone magazine, in which he declares he has been transfigured and asserts some very strange notions about a Sonny Barger biography published quite a ways back, is still another moment in time. When all these moments in time are strung together, is there contradicition? Why, yes. Is there transfiguration? Eh, maybe so. Is there revelation, in the artistic sense of the word?

Most definitely.


 
 

And, for all you rock singers out there, your definitive lesson on how to sing lead and chew gum at the same time (while touching the soul of the world) follows:


 
 
 
 
on the high priest's
head...
flies making love

Issa
translated by David G. Lanoue








best,
Don 

Send a single haiku for the Wednesday Haiku feature. Here's how.

Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 138 songs

3 comments:

donnafleischer said...

Feel blest for your posting here and for being here. ~ D

awyn said...

Hi Don,
Thanks so much for this!

N.B. The link to the Rolling Stone interview comes up as an "Invalid Security Token Error 43", whatever that is. :)
Found the article referred to here.

Roll on John, Bob ... Blake, Whitman ... What a treat this Sunday morning.

Nathan said...

Great post, Don. Various folks have told me to give this one a chance, but you've convinced me. Also, I read this post today
http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org/2012/10/yawn/
which put me in mind of our last chat @ Panther Hollow. Happy Sunday.