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Pat Speer

Bob Dylan tackles the Kennedy assassination: Murder Most Foul

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46 minutes ago, James DiEugenio said:

David Talbot was screaming about this today Mike.

Most of the MSM seems to be deliberately misrepresenting what the song is about.  They just will not go there.

That's probably to be expected.  It will be interesting to watch the fallout from their doing that...

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5 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Thanks for that Denny.

Again, when you go through the lyrics,  it seems to me that Dylan is well read in the literature.

The title is from Hamlet...

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4 hours ago, Joe Bauer said:

I'm sure Mort Sahl will find some end of life comfort with this Dylan song.

It's so odd -- I was attending NYU grad school and saw Mort Sahl  at one of the coffee houses in the Village once or twice, but I never even heard of Dylan at that time. 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Pamela Brown said:

It's so odd -- I was attending NYU grad school and saw Mort Sahl  at one of the coffee houses in the Village once or twice, but I never even heard of Dylan at that time. 

His coffee-house days in New York were limited, and soon became legend rather than residency.  Dylan, and his handlers (John Hammond, Albert Grossman), had larger exposure and a national audience in mind.  He spent more time in the 1960s living in the Village than playing there.  I don't criticize; he was loved in New York for "making good" in the Folk movement, and also held in some jealousy for his output and growing influence, not to mention the song publishing monies that Albert Grossman had seen in him.  But the audience that felt betrayed when he plugged in and moved away from music based on traditional song was by that time worldwide.  Among New York folkie types -- Pete Seeger at the Newport Folk Festival, for instance -- the electric guitar thing was the formal announcement of a severing of ties that had been strained for some time.

Edited by David Andrews

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26 minutes ago, David Andrews said:

His coffee-house days in New York were limited, and soon became legend rather than residency.  Dylan, and his handlers (John Hammond, Albert Grossman), had larger exposure and a national audience in mind.  He spent more time in the 1960s living in the Village than playing there.  I don't criticize; he was loved in New York for "making good" in the Folk movement, and also held in some jealousy for his output and growing influence, not to mention the song publishing monies that Albert Grossman had seen in him.  But the audience that felt betrayed when he plugged in and moved away from music based on traditional song was by that time worldwide.  Among New York folkie types -- Pete Seeger at the Newport Folk Festival, for instance -- the electric guitar thing was the formal announcement of a severing of ties that had been strained for some time.

David,

       Have you seen Martin Scorcese's documentary, No Direction Home, about Dylan and Greenwich Village in the early 60s?

       I thought it was spell-binding all three or four times I watched it.   That was before my time, but I've been a folk (and rock) musician since the early 70s, and erstwhile Dylan impersonator, and I played music with some folk musicians from New York and New England in college.  (Mary Chapin Carpenter was a student at Brown in those days.)   Meanwhile, the Talking Heads had been in school down the Hill at RISD before moving to Manhattan and recording Psycho Killer in '77. The New England "counterculture" folk scene went the way of the dodo.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

David,

       Have you seen Martin Scorcese's documentary, No Direction Home, about Dylan and Greenwich Village in the early 60s?

     

I own the DVD, thanks.  I've been a Dylan fan since I wore out the Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits LP at age 9.

One of the many times I've seen him was in Boston, 1994, where he put on a great show with a great band - it was obvious that some kind of comeback was in the works, and it's lasted since that year.  When the houselights came up, he came out to the edge of the stage for a goodbye.  My girlfriend and I put our hands around our mouths and yelled, "We love you, Bob!" as loud as we could.  He looked over at us with an expression of, "Who the F* would do something like that?"
 

Edited by David Andrews

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2 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

David Talbot was screaming about this today Mike.

Most of the MSM seems to be deliberately misrepresenting what the song is about.  They just will not go there.

This is what you get googling the title.  Two of the four articles show some acknowledgement of the bigger picture, the other two seem somewhat lacking.  The point is I had to look for this in spite of the number of views of the song.  You don't find anything about it just looking about on msnbc or I'd guess fox news.  Should a Sunday article exploring it's meaning be expected in the NYT tomorrow?

https://www.bing.com/search?q=murder+most+foul&form=PRUSEN&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&msnews=1&rec_search=1&refig=723904d69a434681be07dfb8bb1aefa5&sp=2&qs=FT&pq=murder&sk=PRES1FT1&sc=8-6&cvid=723904d69a434681be07dfb8bb1aefa5

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I saw an article about what celebrities have done during the coronavirus shutdown, that listed Dylan's release of the song as one of the best things anyone has done. So some within the MSM are noticing. The underlying theme of the song is that the assassination is central to both our history and our culture, to such an extent even that the Star-Spangled Banner (our national anthem) should be re-named the Blood-Stained Banner.

It's hard to argue with that.

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Posted (edited)

AR-812065302.jpg.c6822899eb4e85dac1b24f61ca5c3020.jpg

Jack says: "It's a great tune.  I'm glad you can all hear it on your YooHooTube or the internets or whatever you have now.  In the car, though, I'm, ah, still a Little Richard man, myself.  'Keep a-knockin' but you can't come in' -- just love that one."

Edited by David Andrews

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Posted (edited)

One of the many surprises to come to me when I was a buyer in the record industry was when a children's record came out featuring Bob Dylan singing "This Old Man."  I used to sneak it onto mix tapes to  blow people's minds.  In any event,  I suspect this song is a key to understanding "Murder Most Foul."

Well, how, do you ask? The last part of "Murder Most Foul" has Dylan saying "Play this," and "Play that"--with the thisses and thats not all being songs." At one point, he even says "Play six." This ties into the old children's song, in which an old man plays numbers. In this context, then, Dylan takes over from the DJ who is playing the songs on JFK's radio and becomes an "old man" playing songs and images in his own head, while he tries to make sense of American history. He concludes by adding his own song--the song-he's singing/reciting,--onto his "playlist." Note also that the old man in "This Old Man" goes "rolling home", which ties into Dylan's masterwork "Bringin' It Alll Back Home." "Murder Most Foul" is Dylan's ultimate conclusion about the land of his birth, and it may very well be his final song, period. (Thanks, Bob!)

This old man, he played one
He played knick-knack on my drum
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played two
He played knick-knack on my shoe
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played three
He played knick-knack on my knee
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played four
He played knick-knack on my door
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played five
He played knick-knack on my hive
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played six
He played knick-knack on my sticks
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played seven
He played knick-knack up to heaven
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played eight
He played knick-knack on my plate
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played nine
He played knick-knack on my spine
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played ten
He played knick-knack now an' then
With a knick-knack paddywhack
Give your dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

 

 

Edited by Pat Speer

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Posted (edited)

I suspect Murder Most Foul is from the sessions that produced Dylan's last album of original songs, Tempest (2012).  The song lyric references and execution ballad influences of that album's eulogy for John Lennon, "Roll On, John," fit the pattern.  ("They’ll trap you in an ambush ‘fore you know/Too late now to sail back home.")  Of course, it's "They" who are after Lennon throughout the song.

"Roll On, John" is also the name of a traditional folk song Dylan performed in the early 1960s. 

Sony Records is keeping the 2012 "Roll On, John" off of YouTube with the rest of Tempest, so you'll have to judge from this 2013 live performance and from the lyrics:

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 burned 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 the life on your way to your journey’s end

Shine your light
Move it on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John

Sailing through the trade winds bound for the South
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 burned so bright
Roll on, John

I heard the news today, oh boy
They hauled your ship up on the shore
Now the city 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 burned so bright
Roll on, John

Put down 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 been cooped up on an island far too long

Shine your light
Move it on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John

Slow down, you’re moving way 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 burned so bright
Roll on, John

Roll on John, roll through the rain and snow
Take the right hand road and go where the buffalo roam
They’ll trap you in an ambush ‘fore you know
Too late now to sail back home

Shine your light
Move it on
You burned 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 burned so bright
Roll on, John

Copyright

© 2012 by Special Rider Music

 

 

Edited by David Andrews

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Nice to see Dylan's reference to the mutilation of JFK's body and the removal of his brain described as a fact rather than "Lifton's theory."  The truth will out, if we keep looking for it, but the confirmation bias keeps clouding the eyes.

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A lot of Dylan topics but this is the one that's hot right now. I remember seeing this interview on the local PBS station in San Francisco, though I think it was a couple of years after it happened. When I saw it again more recently, I flashed back on a few local San Francisco media personalities who were there on the scene. And around 46:00, an aspiring rock promoter who invited him to go to a local gig...

 

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On 3/28/2020 at 7:46 PM, David Andrews said:

His coffee-house days in New York were limited, and soon became legend rather than residency.  Dylan, and his handlers (John Hammond, Albert Grossman), had larger exposure and a national audience in mind.  He spent more time in the 1960s living in the Village than playing there.  I don't criticize; he was loved in New York for "making good" in the Folk movement, and also held in some jealousy for his output and growing influence, not to mention the song publishing monies that Albert Grossman had seen in him.  But the audience that felt betrayed when he plugged in and moved away from music based on traditional song was by that time worldwide.  Among New York folkie types -- Pete Seeger at the Newport Folk Festival, for instance -- the electric guitar thing was the formal announcement of a severing of ties that had been strained for some time.

Yes, I agree.  Just surprising, as my roommate and I saved up to go to the coffee houses in the Village and we saw some great people -- Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory, and a number of others. I really wish I had seen Dylan back then too...

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