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Bob Dylan song about JFK assassination


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Remarkable stream-of-historical-consciousness stuff by the Great One.

And, as usual, Dylan gets the essential historical details right-- the murder most foul by the "Masters of War" who had their own man waiting in the wings to take over.

He also succeeds in incorporating a vast array of related Americana into this dirge-- in a manner reminiscent of his brilliant Love and Theft songs.

Mega gracias, Bob!

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If you look at the cover of the John Wesley Hardin vinyl album (came out in '68/'69), there are small faces embedded in the trees that you can only see with a magnifying glass. It could relate to the zapruder film, where some say you can see the real shooter (that killed JFK) behind the picket fence up on the grassy knoll, where a lot of the witnesses ran to minutes/ seconds  after the shots rang out.

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28 minutes ago, W. Niederhut said:

Murder Most Foul, in a sense, is like a book end to Dylan's 57 year old Jeremiad about the military-industrial complex.

 

I wish I had the edition of that album (the one before some tracks were changed) that's worth something like $30,000.

 

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14 minutes ago, Ron Ecker said:

I wish I had the edition of that album (the one before some tracks were changed) that's worth something like $30,000.

 

Dylan wrote Masters of War in the winter of 62-63, shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the album was released in February of 1963.

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17 minutes run time song---sounds like his longest ever production.     17 min   --->  17 th letter ---->   Symbolism

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Twenty six minutes of personal and political history from Eric Andersen's Beat Avenue, circa 2003.

 

Funky Don Was & co.in Was/Not Was dropping 11 Miles An Hour in 1988

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMWZ1n-XjP4


Canada's Lee Harvey Osmond doing Parkland, circa a decade ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJxgHrJdxSE

 

Although it's one of very few of their tunes to not be freely available, some keen lyrical observations by Canada's Spirit of The West in 6th Floor from 1993:

At the corner of Elm and Northeast Houston
Staring up at the Southeast window

Someone circled allegedly
I refuse to pay six bucks to see
People posing on the grassy knoll
How many was that just him and Lincoln?
I was squinting through the sun, do they count the bottom floor as 'one'?

And I phoned home from the bottom of the building with the '6th floor'
You seem unimpressed at best that I phoned home
From the bottom of the building with the '6th floor' aah-ho

Suitable for family viewing, cracked a joke about who he was screwing
Stood in the centre of a concrete square
(Human nature took me there)

Debbie did Dallas yah, so did I
Found myself taking pictures of a brown stone against a blue sky
Blue sky, oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho
Oh-ho,oh-ho

And I phoned home from the bottom of the building with the '6th floor'
You seem unimpressed at best that I phoned home
From the bottom of the building with the '6th floor'

Edited by Robert Charles-Dunne
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1 hour ago, W. Niederhut said:

Dylan wrote Masters of War in the winter of 62-63, shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the album was released in February of 1963.

The revised album was released in May of 1963. If you have the original version, it's worth lots of money. It's considered to be the rarest record in America.

 

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Dylan is riffing on the 18th-19th century English execution ballad, written in verse form on the occasion of public executions, and sold as pamphlets to the crowd for a farthing.  When a respected, antiheroic outlaw or a tragic case was bound to swing, the sentiments within were equivocal or better. 

The tradition was observed in America, for instance in encomiums on the death of John Brown, which translated to poetry in the hands of Whitman and Melville, and into popular song for the mid-century's new song publishing/sheet music industry.

Melville used the form to end Billy Budd.  You can practically recite this to the Dylan tune:

Billy in the Darbies

Herman Melville

Good of the chaplain to enter Lone Bay
And down on his marrowbones here and pray
For the likes just o’ me, Billy Budd.—But look:
through the port comes the moonshine astray!
It tips the guard’s cutlass and silvers this nook;
But ’twill die in the dawning of Billy’s last day.
A jewel-block they’ll make of me to-morrow,
Pendant pearl from the yardarm-end
Like the eardrop I gave to Bristol Molly—
O, ’tis me, not the sentence they’ll suspend.
Ay, ay, all is up; and I must up too
Early in the morning, aloft from alow.
On an empty stomach, now, never it would do.
They’ll give me a nibble—bit o’ biscuit ere I go.
Sure, a messmate will reach me the last parting cup;
But, turning heads away from the hoist and the belay,
Heaven knows who will have the running of me up!
No pipe to those halyards.—But aren’t it all sham?
A blur’s in my eyes; it is dreaming that I am.
A hatchet to my hawser? All adrift to go?
The drum roll to grog, and Billy never know?
But Donald he has promised to stand by the plank;
So I’ll shake a friendly hand ere I sink.
But—no! It is dead then I’ll be, come to think.—
I remember Taff the Welshman when he sank.
And his cheek it was like the bidding pink.
But me they’ll lash me in hammock, drop me deep.
Fathoms down, fathoms down, how I’ll dream fast asleep.
I feel it stealing now. Sentry, are you there?
Just ease these darbies at the wrist, and roll me over fair.
I am sleepy, and the oozy weeds about me twist.

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

Remarkable stream-of-historical-consciousness stuff by the Great One.

And, as usual, Dylan gets the essential historical details right-- the murder most foul by the "Masters of War" who had their own man waiting in the wings to take over.

He also succeeds in incorporating a vast array of related Americana into this dirge-- in a manner reminiscent of his brilliant Love and Theft songs.

Mega gracias, Bob!

Remember when he got a lifetime Grammy and he sang Masters of War? Incredible moment. 
Thank you Mr. Dylan.

I’m cryin’

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5 hours ago, Ron Ecker said:

The revised album was released in May of 1963. If you have the original version, it's worth lots of money. It's considered to be the rarest record in America.

 

I never owned a copy of the original Free Wheelin' Bob Dylan album, but my old college roommate may have.  If it's really worth $30K, I may call him up and ask him if I can borrow that vinyl for old time's sake.  🤪

One thing the album cover photo brings to mind is the incredible cinematography of the Coen Brothers 2013 film, Inside Llewyn Davis, about the Greenwich Village folk music scene in the early 1960s.  Some of the sets in that film were closely derived from the album cover.

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On 3/27/2020 at 12:35 PM, Jim Phelps said:

17 minutes run time song---sounds like his longest ever production.     17 min   --->  17 th letter ---->   Symbolism

nice catch

17 + 1

this board would lose it.

 

Edited by Robert Wheeler
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