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Bob Dylan song about JFK assassination


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9 hours ago, Pamela Brown said:

I've just started reading Bob Dylan in America, and I am almost stunned to see how deep his Communist connections went.  I knew that Suze and her family were passionate about that, but looks like Dylan was starting his concerts with Aaron Copland musica as late as 2001 on the Love and Theft tour.  So I need to digest that.

I

Well, I was feeling sad and feeling’ blue,I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do.  Them Communists they was comin' around, they was in the air, they was on the ground.  They wouldn't give me no peace!
Well, I finally started thinking straight, when I ran out of things to investigate.  Couldn't imagine doing anything else,
so now I’m sitting home investigating myself!  Hope I don’t find out anything hmm, great God!
 

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Good quote, Peter- it was written in the early 60's , I believe.  Then, in '68 , he wrote:

 

The Wicked Messenger

There was a wicked messenger
From Eli he did come
With a mind that multiplied
The smallest matter
When questioned who had sent for him
He answered with his thumb
For his tongue it could not speak, but only flatter.
He stayed behind the assembly hall
It was there he made his bed
Oftentimes he could be seen returning
Until one day he just appeared
With a note in his hand which read
"The soles of my feet, I swear they're burning"
 
Oh, the leaves began to fallin'
And the seas began to part
And the people that confronted him were many
And he was told but these few words
Which opened up his heart
"If ye cannot bring good news, then don't bring any".
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Bob Dylan / Dylan Bob
The Wicked Messenger lyrics © Dwarf Music
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17 hours ago, Pamela Brown said:

I've just started reading Bob Dylan in America, and I am almost stunned to see how deep his Communist connections went.  I knew that Suze and her family were passionate about that, but looks like Dylan was starting his concerts with Aaron Copland musica as late as 2001 on the Love and Theft tour.  So I need to digest that.

Ironically, that may put Dylan's statements on receiving the Tom Paine award into some sort of context.  

The other insight I had is that Dylan, as a Jew, may have had no initial empathy for JFK simply because Papa Joe was such a strong Hitler appeaser.  

Pamela,

       IMO, Wilentz was reaching a bit to try to draw parallels between Aaron Copland and Bob Dylan-- partly because both artists were descended from Lithuanian Jewish emigres.   Secondarily, both men created art from American folk traditions (e.g., Rodeo and Appalachian Spring.)

     Copland had been interested in the ideals of the Popular Front in his younger years, but no more so than Vice President Henry Wallace or Pete Seeger.

     And Dylan was no more a "communist" than Woody Guthrie or early critics of our Cold War era military-industrial complex-- the "Masters of War" who almost nuked the planet in October of 1962.

     My take on the text is that Wilentz is placing Bob Dylan's life work into the broad context of American cultural and intellectual history-- folk, spiritual, and blues traditions, the labor movement, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, the Beat poets, and protests against the military-industrial complex, (as in the case of Murder Most Foul.)

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6 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

Pamela,

       IMO, Wilentz was reaching a bit to try to draw parallels between Aaron Copland and Bob Dylan-- partly because both artists were descended from Lithuanian Jewish emigres.   Secondarily, both men created art from American folk traditions (e.g., Rodeo and Appalachian Spring.)

     Copland had been interested in the ideals of the Popular Front in his younger years, but no more so than Vice President Henry Wallace or Pete Seeger.

     And Dylan was no more a "communist" than Woody Guthrie or early critics of our Cold War era military-industrial complex-- the "Masters of War" who almost nuked the planet in October of 1962.

     My take on the text is that Wilentz is placing Bob Dylan's life work into the broad context of American cultural and intellectual history-- folk, spiritual, and blues traditions, the labor movement, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, the Beat poets, and protests against the military-industrial complex, (as in the case of Murder Most Foul.)

i guess we'll have to agree to disagree for now.  In addition, I do see Dylan as something of an agitator, not unlike LHO. 

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14 hours ago, Pete Mellor said:

Well, I was feeling sad and feeling’ blue,I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do.  Them Communists they was comin' around, they was in the air, they was on the ground.  They wouldn't give me no peace!
Well, I finally started thinking straight, when I ran out of things to investigate.  Couldn't imagine doing anything else,
so now I’m sitting home investigating myself!  Hope I don’t find out anything hmm, great God!
 

And your point is...

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I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
No, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
She hands you a nickel
She hands you a dime
She doesn't wash her hands
And she's coughing all the time
I'm staying home, no job's worth dying for
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Pamela Brown said:

And your point is...

Pam, I haven't read this book 'Dylan in America' but I don't see Bob Dylan having any sort of communist leaning in the early 60's, or any other traditional political party agenda for that matter.

As for Suze Rotolo  being a passionate advocate of communism, I don't think so.  Her parents maybe back in the 1950's, but they were of Italian descent & Italy had strong Commie party membership, particularly after WWII.  (Don't know when the family arrived in U.S.)  The generation in question were largely rejecting the values and politics of their parents. But Suze Rotolo was an artist & more influenced by the 'boho' Greenwich Village beat generation.  Circles that both Dylan & Rotolo moved in at that time.

Whatever was under their bed, don't think there was anything red.  Maybe some blues!

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16 hours ago, Pete Mellor said:

Pam, I haven't read this book 'Dylan in America' but I don't see Bob Dylan having any sort of communist leaning in the early 60's, or any other traditional political party agenda for that matter.

As for Suze Rotolo  being a passionate advocate of communism, I don't think so.  Her parents maybe back in the 1950's, but they were of Italian descent & Italy had strong Commie party membership, particularly after WWII.  (Don't know when the family arrived in U.S.)  The generation in question were largely rejecting the values and politics of their parents. But Suze Rotolo was an artist & more influenced by the 'boho' Greenwich Village beat generation.  Circles that both Dylan & Rotolo moved in at that time.

Whatever was under their bed, don't think there was anything red.  Maybe some blues!

You're entitled to your opinion.  I am testing an hypothesis that this romantic influence of Communism (not card-carrying) was something of significance in Dylan's early years in NYC.  It's not necessarily a negative thing, just a factor.  

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Suze Rotolo wrote a book, A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties, which may be worth checking out on the Dylan-commie connection.  I flipped through it in a library, and she writes quite a bit about her parents' ongoing involvement with old Village reds, though I didn't catch references to influence on Dylan's thinking.  Like Pamela (and being a transplanted New Yorker), I have a sense that this influence was ubiquitous, though not overpowering, in the Village of the early 1960s, and uptown as well.

I notice, however, that the Rotolo home was bourgeois enough that Dylan could blame Suze's mother and sister for breaking up their relationship, and wrote a highly personal song about it that he later regretted as ungentlemanly ("Ballad in Plain D").

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1 hour ago, David Andrews said:

Suze Rotolo wrote a book, A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties, which may be worth checking out on the Dylan-commie connection.  I flipped through it in a library, and she writes quite a bit about her parents' ongoing involvement with old Village reds, though I didn't catch references to influence on Dylan's thinking.  Like Pamela (and being a transplanted New Yorker), I have a sense that this influence was ubiquitous, though not overpowering, in the Village of the early 1960s, and uptown as well.

I notice, however, that the Rotolo home was bourgeois enough that Dylan could blame Suze's mother and sister for breaking up their relationship, and wrote a highly personal song about it that he later regretted as ungentlemanly ("Ballad in Plain D").

   Speaking of Free Wheelin'-- I noticed that none of the JFKA sleuths around here have mentioned the late night phone call that Bob Dylan received from JFK in 1963.

    Dylan mentioned the JFK phone call in the last song on his "Free Wheelin' Bob Dylan" album-- "I Shall Be Free."

     On the same album, he also mentioned being threatened by a New Yorker who, "Thought (Dylan) was a communist," in his song, "Talking World War III Blues."

Edited by W. Niederhut
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6 hours ago, David Andrews said:

Suze Rotolo wrote a book, A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties, which may be worth checking out on the Dylan-commie connection.  I flipped through it in a library, and she writes quite a bit about her parents' ongoing involvement with old Village reds, though I didn't catch references to influence on Dylan's thinking.  Like Pamela (and being a transplanted New Yorker), I have a sense that this influence was ubiquitous, though not overpowering, in the Village of the early 1960s, and uptown as well.

I notice, however, that the Rotolo home was bourgeois enough that Dylan could blame Suze's mother and sister for breaking up their relationship, and wrote a highly personal song about it that he later regretted as ungentlemanly ("Ballad in Plain D").

I have that book.  Interesting insights.  

I also have the Scaduto bio, which paints Dylan as being mean to Suze's sister, and not treating Suze well either in the months before their breakup...

Edited by Pamela Brown
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5 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

   Speaking of Free Wheelin'-- I noticed that none of the JFKA sleuths around here have mentioned the late night phone call that Bob Dylan received from JFK in 1963.

    Dylan mentioned the JFK phone call in the last song on his "Free Wheelin' Bob Dylan" album-- "I Shall Be Free."

     On the same album, he also mentioned being threatened by a New Yorker who, "Thought (Dylan) was a communist," in his song, "Talking World War III Blues."

That doesn't sound like an actual call...more like artistic license.

I, on the other hand, did see JFK in Philadelphia at the Army-Navy game on Dec. 2, 1961:

JFKWHP-AR6928-G.jpg

Edited by Pamela Brown
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On 5/19/2020 at 7:27 PM, Pamela Brown said:

That doesn't sound like an actual call...more like artistic license.

I, on the other hand, did see JFK in Philadelphia at the Army-Navy game on Dec. 2, 1961:

JFKWHP-AR6928-G.jpg

Great picture.  Smiles from the navy escort, not so much from the SS Agent's (?).   A bit of a smirk on JFK's face, pride in going from PT109 to this?

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Regarding Dylan and his influence, not just with MMF, but maybe it will carry forward too...

I first heard of this guy doing The Weary Kind in Crazy Heart, Academy Award and Grammy.  Just read an interview of him , "I was about 13 when I heard Bob Dylan sing "A Hard Rain's Gonna-Fall," and that changed everything for me.  Not comparing in any way, shape form or fashion.  Just nice to see inspiration come to fruition. 

Q. You've performed Wolves as your character in Yellowstone.  Did you write it for the TV show?

A. No, it was inspired by the epidemic  of gun violence in this country , and the kids from Parkland, Florida, who organized the March For Our Lives.  The way I saw grown men and women respond to these kids with hateful rhetoric had me thinking about the bullies I had grown up with.   

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=ryan+bingham+wolves+&view=detail&mid=C02196A8CE0CC926ABCBC02196A8CE0CC926ABCB&FORM=VIRE0&ru=%2fsearch%3fq%3dryan%2bbingham%2bwolves%2b%26form%3dPRUSEN%26mkt%3den-us%26httpsmsn%3d1%26msnews%3d1%26rec_search%3d1%26refig%3dc85e05ad8518468697c41a87f895248b%26sp%3d-1%26pq%3dryan%2bbingham%2bwolves%2b%26sc%3d6-20%26qs%3dn%26sk%3d%26cvid%3dc85e05ad8518468697c41a87f895248b

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On 5/17/2020 at 7:53 AM, Chuck Schwartz said:

Good quote, Peter- it was written in the early 60's , I believe.  Then, in '68 , he wrote:

 

The Wicked Messenger

And he was told but these few words
Which opened up his heart
"If ye cannot bring good news, then don't bring any".
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Bob Dylan / Dylan Bob
The Wicked Messenger lyrics © Dwarf Music

john wesley harding which contIained this song was released on December 27, 1967, so it couldn't have been written in 1968

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