Thursday, June 13, 2013

Our Zimmy Was Ever A-Changin'

One of the events during Duluth Dylan Fest that I wanted to try my hand at this year was the singer/songwriter open mic night at Beaner's. The rules, for those who will, are that you get to perform two songs, one Dylan tune and one that you have written. At Hibbing's Dylan Days these past few years some outstanding original songs have been invented, one of the most memorable being "I'm a Bigger Dylan Fan Than You" by Mark Sutton, who came all the way from Australia to sock it to us.

The hard part wasn't the songwriting for me. The hard part was deciding which Dylan song to sing to go with it. I love the chord progressions of "Simple Twist of Fate," as well as the cognitive dissonance. Ultimately I settled on "What Good Am I" from Dylan's Oh Mercy.

When the Dylan Days Committee met last week to assess the events they'd championed, it was with a special effervescence present as the news had just been released that Bob Dylan and his Never Ending Tour would be performing July 9 in Bayfront Park. Last time he was here he came to town with Paul Simon. Pointing up to the Hillside he said, "I was born right up on that hill over there." Cool beans. (Fwiw my son and daughter were born there, too.)

Dylan fans who follow him on know that the Never Ending Tour kicked off 25 years ago this month. Which means Bob must have been only 47 when it started, still quite a young pup. 

When I shared

words by ed newman, tune by we all know who

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that our Bob
O’er the decades has grown
And accept it that soon
He’ll be ashes and bone
If our time with him is worth savin’
Then we’d better start remembrin’ the lessons he shone,
For our Zimmy was ever a-changin’

By age 20 he was gifted as Shelley and Keats
He eventually went on to emulate Beats,
He sang ‘bout destruction and life on the streets,
On a motorcycle ride he went ragin’
From an old Woodstock house seven continents he reached
For our Zimmy was ever a-changin’

In the 70’s critics prophesied with the pen
They said he’d gone stale “His time won’t come again,”
But they all spoke too soon, his wheel still in spin
The Revue Rollin’ Thunder was aimin’
To be an unforgettable Circus Caravan
And our Zimmy was ever a-changin’

Precious angels helped Bobby to board the Slow Train;
He got saved, praised the Lord and he left a refrain,
Saw the light, put on shades, hid his face once again,
‘Neath an infidel’s mask he was stagin’…
On another world tour he stormed Europe once again
For our Zimmy was ever a-changin’

Come youngsters and children
Throughout the land
Now don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your fathers and mothers
Are in Dylan’s command
Like the Bard they’ve been rapidly agin’
But the Grammy’s asserted that he still was The Man
As our Zimmy continued a-changin’

The line it is drawn
The curse has a cost
That young Hibbing kid would be later Jack Frost
The potatoes were mashed and the salad was tossed
But the music will never be fadin’
When he reaches the stars he’ll be galaxy-crossed
For our Zimmy’s still ever a-changin’

For what it's worth, tomorrow evening is the Second Friday Gallery Walk in downtown Duluth. And Saturday is going to be a fabulous day of music, art and fun at the Sol Fest in Carlton. It's a family event with music of all kinds and for everyone. Details here. Will I see you there?


Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks for the link to the cognitive dissonance post as well.

I am a huge (figuratively) Bob fan.
I saw him many, many times, and at some once in a lifetime shows. I went to the evening show of the Concert for Bangladesh with no ticket and $40 in my pocket because I heard (on the train back from Carmel, NY) that Bob showed up at the afternoon show. I got a ticket for $20 (don't ask me how, that's a story for another day) and saw one of the greatest shows of my life. To put that in perspective I was at Woodstock, saw The Allman Brothers record Live at The Fillmore, saw the Stones at MSG in 69 and 72. I also went to Bobfest in 1992.

I would question the line in your song "By age 20 he was gifted as Shelley and Keats". I would say by the time of Bringing It All Back Home and definitely Highway 61 That line would be true.

Anyway enough ramblin' and thanks again.

ENNYMAN said...

Thanks for sharing. And yes, 20 is probably a little early... It would accurate to change it to, "In his twenties he was gifted as Shelley or Keats..." That Concert for Bangladesh would have been a good one to have gone to.

Best to you.