The Dylan Chronicles Vol. 1 (a take on a homage to) – Bob Dylan


Makin’ Up The Score

Here’s and introduction to the acts:

A comedian, a ventriloquist, a poet and one thief, a rabbit-in-a-hat-man, guys wear turbans, hypnotizing people.

Nothing that would change your view of the world.

You got a guitar and harmonica, when the joint is packed.  College types and suburbanites, striking blues notes and rafters.  Then the emperor of the place, with curls and grace.  Nobody touched him, just reached around him.  Playing regular in New York, staying away from the cold.  The Cafe What?  with extravagant patchworks.

At 8pm, the daytime menagerie packs up.  When you play the Hubert Flea Circus Museum, moochers move in.   The saddest character of all was a man named Billy.  Coming on from Bellevue, via a straight-jacket, sleeping on a burnt mattress in a jail cell.  There was a fire between him and everybody else.  Wearing a priests outfit and little bells, telling warped stories from the bible.

Moondog was a blind priest, living mostly on the streets.  Wearing a Viking helmet and a blanket with high fur boots, playing a bamboo pipe and a whistle, mostly down on 42nd street.  With a big dreadnought guitar and a driving rhythm.  Kicked you in the head with his voice, a errant sailor, harbouring a shift, for a underground cop, with hookers and friends and shadowy pasts.

Come up from Nashville, chop off your songs, lay low.  Wait for something to blow over and fill you pockets with coupons.  With no aspirations, we were very compatible, keeping out of trouble, living in caves bored out of the side of cliffs.  The ‘Travelin Man’  with Coke out of milk pitchers.

Singers sing desperately, navigating burning ships, you’d never mistake him for a shaman.  On a cross with a honky-tonk and teen idols.  In the middle of a storm, the songs are calm.  Mysterious voices, falling into certain moods.  No future in the future, but on its way out.  Not controlled by the devil, but not controlled by God either.

Standing around in East Cairo, with ‘Black Betty Bam De Lam’.  Music making you question what you always accepted.  Littering the landscape with broken hearts and power of spirit.  Coming from the dark, demonic world, the same forest, different look.  Giving all my french fries to Tiny Tim and Dave Von Ronk.  In the Gaslight, a cryptic club, prestige.

With great passion and a sting, a soldier of fortune, paying the price.  Howling and whispering, turning blues into ballads.  He was what the city was all about, king of the street.  Walking towards me in frosty silence, nameless and miserable.  In small coffee houses, you passed your hat.

Infused with shapes, loud and noisy, swarming at night.  Unusual beer and wine at the Livery Stable, open ’til the break of day.  Kerosene lamps and sawdust, Cafe Bizarre.  Strong armed guys on the door, offloading coffee.  With an atmosphere of chaos and coins in guitar cases.  A formidable repetoire of hard-core folk songs, no in-betweens. Priceless pictures, folk songs exploring the universe.  Like an ancient chapel, between Bleecher and 3rd, the citadel of America.

All songs of cowboys, civil wars, sea shanties, and lament.  Over black candles and rickety chairs, the pot-bellied wood burner sucked.  Happiness isn’t on the road to anything, happiness is the road.  Towards the evening in ice chopping weather, the confident hunter.  Breath freezes in the air, but I don’t feel the cold.  Heading for fantastic lights, but I’m barely listening.  The room smelled of gin and tonics and flowers.  With wigged colonials above the fire…………………………….

Copying Dylan, but not the first time.


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