Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

Are The Times A-Changin’? It’s Up To Us!

No matter what, the times, they are a changin’. How much and for whom is yet to be determined but the fact remains, Tuesday, November 4th was a transformative moment in American history. That said, it’s now time for us to take this advantage that we’ve given ourselves as the electorate and run with it. What’s on the agenda?
Universal healthcare, ending the war in Iraq quickly and safely and fixing the economy in a manner that ensures that the American workforce has high-paying, productive and meaningful jobs, not just low-wage service industry positions, among many other things.
If President-elect Obama is going to fix anything, he’s going to need our help and our vigilance but we’re not going to be able to do it ourselves. 53% and control of the House and Senate ain’t gonna be enough. As the song goes, we’re going to need the senators and congressmen, as well as the mothers and fathers. Their old road may be rapidly aging, but we’ve yet to really pave our new one.
There are signs that the youth of America might be emerging from 40 years of torpor and apathy and I hope so. For those of us in the middle, not yet old and no longer young, it is our job to do what we should have done more than 20 years ago and that’s make our voices heard and make sure those that are becoming active for the first time, those young faces on videos like this one stay active. We must engage them in the process and work of a participatory democracy.
For too long the people of the United States have been silent and for too long we have allowed those in power to erode the constitution and operate without any checks and balances. That time is over. This election was a great first step, but first step it was. Unless we take back the power and the rights that we have given up, piece by piece, since the Reagan “revolution,” the election of Barack Obama, as important, beautiful and historic as it was, won’t achieve its promise and we will have wasted this biggest opportunity we’ve had in decades to change America and the world, for the better.

The Times They Are A-Changin’
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.
Copyright ©1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

NYFF 07 Review – The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival, 1963-65

The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival, 1963-65
Directed by: Murray Lerner
Us hipsters living in such edgy NYC neighborhoods as the Lower East Side or Prospect Heights have sunk a lot of dough into our music collections over the years and while we periodically weed through our CDs and LPs, tossing out the odd Terence Trent D’Arby or Linda Rondstat album, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has loosened their grips on their copy of Sgt. Pepper’s or Back in Black. And then there’s the ubiquitous Dylan collection which necessarily includes Bringing it All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde. [My personal favorite is Nashville Skyline but that’s getting off topic.] It’s no coincidence that any serious Dylan collection includes those particular three works for it was during that seminal period when Bob Dylan folkie, became DYLAN, Spokesman of a Generation. Nowhere is that transformation more vivid than in the new documentary, Murray Lerner’s The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at The Newport Folk Festival, 1963-1965. All the footage –70% of which has never been seen before– is lovingly pieced together from those three summers and Lerner, wisely, allows the footage to speak for itself. There are no talking heads, no aging rockers’ waxing philosophical, mostly just Bob Dylan playing Bob Dylan songs. Oh, there are some terrific moments with Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger and Peter, Paul & Mary, but mostly it’s just Bobby Dylan, singing into the microphone while strumming away on his guitar.
Dylan had emerged from the NYC folk scene in the early 60’s and had already caused quite a stir but not many of us aforementioned hipsters were around back in those days, or at least not old enough to remember just what a sensation this punk folk singer caused back in the day. Folk music was such a huge phenomenon at the time, its fans such die hard purists, that any modifications to their songs were often met with outrage and while Dylan was initially met with a certain amount of skepticism and even derision, it was impossible for anyone with a mind of their own to ignore the obvious: this skinny Jewish kid was the shit. As portrayed in the new Todd Haynes “biopic,” I’m Not There, Dylan was all about persona and his particular brand of shape shifting left everyone enthralled. Over the course of The Other Side of The Mirror, we get to witness one of these morphings right before our eyes; that of a shy self-conscious folkie into a cocky rock star. It’s worth the price of admission, I can assure you.

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