Bob Dylan finally makes sense....

In a recent interview Bob Dylan called music recordings "Atrocious" and went on to add that no good music has been made in the last 20 years, he went on to add that downloads should be free because the music is not worth anything anyway.
I have never really liked Dylan except for a few songs, but it is nice to see someone take a stand on how badly most music is recorded.
He sounds no different than most other people who disparage the generation after theirs. And he sure isn't digging too deep if he says that no good music has been made in the past 20 years. Because there are literally thousands of recordings released during that time which are outstanding in terms of both composition and production.
I second Boa2's response. Besides Dylan could never hold a tune himself anyway!
One of my favorite quotes comes from an early Dylan interview. When asked why his music seemed to have lost some of the bitter edge he replied (and I paraphrase) "it's hard to be a bitter millionaire."
Musician? Not so great.
Folk poet? One of the best. IMHO
Dylan is #1, in music. Like many artists, he can be an idiot outside of his art. I listen to the music, not the musician. Frank Sinatra was great, too, but a total jerk. James Brown, incredible music, total idiot. And the beat goes on. . . you can think of your own . . .
Stick to the art, not the artist.
I bought a Dylan double CD recently, which is a compilation of most of his hits through the years. You want to talk about poor recording quality, then look no further. Most of the Dylan recordings are truly deserving of MP3 formatting and free downloading!
"Most overrated musician"? Dylan has been the voice of his generation and a huge, and I mean huge, influence on popular music. His comments, I think, are directed much more to the quality of recording, than the quality of music. Read what he says. He talks about how even his most recent performance(s) sounded better in the studio than they do now on CD (although the new album is out on vinyl shortly).

All I take from Dylan's comments are that he's an analog guy. Take a listen to a mint 2 eye of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" on vinyl released in 1963 and you'll agree with everything he says. Skip the re-releases and compilations, especially on CD and do yourself a favor.
Hdm, you make a good point. I should have known better than to buy that CD compilation. I think the sheer number of great titles must have swayed me. Original vinyl has to be the way to go with Dylan's work.

I think you are slighty wrong, and as a matter of fact I submitted ealry today a thread about Dulan's comments that never made it through.

What Bob Dylan said was that he was amazazed on how bad the recording quality has been for the past 20 years, he did not complain about the music itself.
He mentioned that music is over compressed and that instrument and vocal definition is not present.

He even said that his latest album sounded better in the studio than after he heard it on CD.

I think some of you are wasting time talking about something that is a by product of your hobby it's called music.

As Hdm states above you couldn't even interpret his comments correctly.
I also think he's probably referring to his field and general popular music not the art of seeking out "recordings" that so many Audiophiles are obsessed with.

It doesn't surprise me so many Audiophiles don't get/like Dylan because it's well beyond that search for perfection that so many seek through equipment and the unhealthy obsession on recording quality.
Dylan has operated in parameters and levels that simply don't interest equipment hobbyists in the main.

It's been proved time and time again with a few notable exceptions that Audiogon really is better suited to talking Audio because when it comes to music it is reactionary and for the most part clueless.
Imho of course.
I never really "got" Dylan. He came on the scene when I was in my late teens. Sure, he suffered some pain and had a little insight into the human condition but so did most of the rest of us.

As one of the, ahem, original hippies, I smoked tons of pot, dropped acid, did mushrooms etc. along with lots of others people.

I think we all, to a certain degree, had insights and solutions for humanity to digest. He just put his "stuff" to song. Welll...okkk.

Of course, the general public thought he was some kind of prophet. Well, that`s cool.

I, and the people I got high with, were just not very impressed. Sorry....Then again, maybe we were just full of crap anyway. :)

btw...I`ve been clean and sober for almost nine years now.

>>I have never really liked Dylan except for a few songs<<

As a performer or songwriter? I understand the argument about Dylan's vocal renditions. He's no Mel Torme but that wasn't his goal. However, he is an outstanding musician.

That being said, he is the finest and most prolific songwriter over the past 50 years. That is indisputable.
Dylan said:
"I don’t know anybody who’s made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really."
“Even these songs probably sounded 10 times better in the studio when we recorded ’em. CDs are small. There’s no stature to it.”

Irrespective of his talents as a musician/songwriter, he sounds no less embittered than any other 65 year old decrying the advent of the computer as the end of inter-personal communication. It couldn't be that he simply doesn't hear as well as he did 20 years ago? He's 65, c'mon! It happens to all of us, genius and dunce alike.

The fact is there are labels who have put out entire catalogs of well-constructed, well-recorded music...and no one has to go on an audiophilogical dig to find them.
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Capt369's post shows the depth of thinking about music for a whole lot of people and I think that's fine but it's neither interesting or thought provoking in itself.
Audiogon is filled with this level of comment time and time again on music.

Dylan's comments aren't particularly clear nor is the context but I do think it is more to do with the CD format and the clear trend towards the disposable aspect of modern music.
There is a certain validity in some of those comments and sure perhaps an element of somebody who has just got old and bitter.
Indeed maybe he does sound a bit like an Audiophile.

One things for sure not every word uttered by Dylan should be seen as a statement from on high.
Dylan would be the first to admit that.
Once you start to realise that he never believed any of the hype and labels bestowed upon him you might start to open up to the music.

I agree with Ben.

Watch the Scorsese film on Dylan and you will see the constant sarcastic and playfully irrelevant Dylan.

Clearly a guy who "gets it" and doesn't take himself or the industry seriously.

Amazing poet, and he loved loud rock and roll!

One things for sure not every word uttered by Dylan should be seen as a statement from on high.
Good point.

How quickly I forget that I'm having internal dialogue with a journalist, and not directly their source. Wasn't the point of the article to evoke this sort of reaction? If so, I for one was roped in.

"Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night..."
If you don't get Dylan, that's too bad. Over-rated? Surely you jest. Can't sing? Ask any artist who has tried to cover a Dylan song if he can't sing. They tell a much different story. Producing a pleasant tone with your voice isn't really the point at all, if you consider music to be a form of communication and a language all its own. The words you pick and how you give them a unique meaning through your intonation of each word and phrase is the key, and nobody in the 20th century did it better.

Saying that a person can't sing because you don't appreciate that particular tonal quality is like remarking that somebody can't play the clarinet because you don't personally like the sound of clarinets.

He was right about recordings, too. They are atrocious, by and large.

I don't agree that no good music has been made in the last 20 years. Lots of good music out there. Badly recorded, though.


>> Saying that a person can't sing because you don't appreciate that particular tonal quality is like remarking that somebody can't play the clarinet because you don't personally like the sound of clarinets. <<

Huh? In Bob's case, it would be a particular *atonal* quality. Bob's a great writer and a fair musician. He is a *lousy* singer. Period.

Well, if he was talking about music and not sound, I for one wouldn't rush to disagree with him -- including regarding his own work over that span. Recording quality? Now that's irrelevant! ('Specially when the music is too.)
08-23-06: Ben_campbell
Capt369's post shows the depth of thinking about music for a whole lot of people and I think that's fine but it's neither interesting or thought provoking in itself.
Audiogon is filled with this level of comment time and time again on music.

Well Ben, my "depth of thinking" about music has nothing to do with my thoughts on Dylan and his rise to prophetic and poetic fame. My musical interests were, and are, elsewhere.

To put it simply, we dug Davis, Adderley, Coltraine, Monk, J. Smith, Mann etc.

There`s also a strong argument that these artists had a great influence on todays music as well.

To each their own, eh?


08-23-06: Tfkaudio
If you don't get Dylan, that's too bad.

Tfk, with all do respect...Nah.
I have never understood why Bob Dylan seems to be loved or hated only. Not to many, "whaterever" responses about him. I just love him and think his humble opinion of himself and his life is amazingly refreshing for a person so worshipped by so many people. He was Jimi Hendrix favorite musician and has written more great songs than anyone I can think of outside of Willie Nelson. Music is spiritual so I guess that explains Bob Dylan. You are either there with him or not.
Capt369 I like most of the Jazz artists you mention also.

However your comments on Dylan are based on some cliched terms referring to his fame or legend.
Your dismissal of what he did with music is crude and largely wrong.
If you have even a basic interest in songwriting you have to realise he turned that world on it's head, changed what a song could achieve (in an artistic sense)and operated lyrically on levels that your silly dismissal doesn't even begin to consider.

I'm no Dylan apologist he has made some terrible records and self destructed on numerous occassions but really how interesting is any debate on any musician based on throwaway criticisms with no depth-he's overrated, he can't sing, he isn't a good musician blah blah blah?

I've never read a single criticism of Dylan on Audiogon that went beyond that a child might make.
There are several above as well as yours.

He is actually very similar to Miles Davis in attitude and approach to music if in a totally different sphere.
The ability to take a musical form, analyse it,play it classically straight at times, take it apart to see how it worked and reform it in a new fashion , stretch the rules of that form, break the rules of that form, introduce aspects that baffle and enrage their audience, be a complete artistic maverick full of integrity only to look a human hypocrite a few steps further on.

Above all else they took their genres to the very peak of artistic achievement.

It's all in there................if you listen.
I did not actually say that Dylan is overrated, I said "Any votes for" him being overrated. Obviously, you can "vote" No also.
How can anyone say anything negative about Bob Dylan. He has done so much for music in America. When people were booing him on stage for going eletric back in the 60's, he played on. My favorite album is 1966 live. This was an awesome album just because he played his heart out and put on one hell of a show. I'll agree his voice may have lost some musicality but what he writes about and the way he says things is just so well put. He wrote some of the greatest music of a generation and I agree with him, there hasn't been anything great that has come out in a long time. For the most part, modern music sounds like a bunch of noise to me.
Ben...I`m not an expert on the evolution of music. My thoughts and analysis of Dylan`s work were based on observations made almost 40 yrs. ago.

Until now, I`ve been more interested in whether a trolled split-tail mullet would be almost as effective at fooling a sailfish as a live thread-fin in a 5 ft. chop, or whether, with the proper personnel, the 3/4 defense is more effective and versatile than the 4/3, or in disciplining myself enough to leave the driver in the bag and stick with the 3-wood.

I actually admire your passion and insight regarding Dylan`s influence on modern music. I`ll now re-visit his work and perhaps see it in a new light. I`ll let you know. At the very least, you`ve peaked my interest.

Now, if I could only pay attention to that little voice deep inside that says: leave the driver in the bag...leave the driver in the bag...
...there hasn't been anything great that has come out in a long time. For the most part, modern music sounds like a bunch of noise to me.
Dad, is that you?
As an artist, Dylan's goal is to evoke an emotional reaction and inspire thought. Judging by the number of posts here, he's still doing a pretty darn good job.
Ben Campbell - I don't know that we've ever really disagreed here on whatever subject, but I have nothing but respect for your knowledge of music! Nearly everyone here could learn a lot from you. I have to respect Capt for his willingness to revisit the issue, or should I say artist!

There is never going to be consensus on Dylan any more than there is on SS vs Tubes CD vs Vinyl, or anything else...

Johnny Cash said that "Dylan had a profound effect of country music..." I would contend, and Johnny Cash would I'm sure agree that his effect on much more than country music was profound. He changed the way the Beatles looked at music and the potential for what a song could achieve. His "Basement Tapes" had an effect (arguably) which brought about the end of Cream and a change in direction for Eric Clapton.

People will always debate "who made who?" but I will continue to believe that Dylan influenced his and subsequent generations more than they have him.

Musicians never criticize Dylan for his music, while they are often unsympathetic towards his personal choices or endevors(sp).

It's hard to take criticism of Dylan seriously when it is leveled by people who have made no lasting impact on society.

I would agree that the quality of music recordings other than a few startling exceptions is not good. Bass is boosted, mids and highs are compressed, soundstages are collapsed, and imaging is painfully thin. BUT when artists record with the idea that music will be heard on POOR quality formats, whats the point of making good recordings?

The 3-4 defense is practically impossible to do well. Most teams that employ it only get away with it because they are constantly blitzing to make up for the lack of pass rush and run stopping. The 3-4 demands three huge men with the mobility of a ballerina, and there are not enough people of that caliber to effectivly employ that configuration. UNLESS the 3-4 is just a name rather than a functional defense...
Dylan was a lousy pass-rusher, he never could have played the 3-4. He also couldn't play whatever the hell that character was supposed to be in "Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid". (I do quite like his guitar and harmonica playing however.)
Everybody, lighten up. Go purchaes Modern Times, bring it home , put it on, and enjoy!
Some call him a great poet. I don't know about that. He's a tremendous song writer. Pretty good poet--I don't think being a poet matters to him. Some say he's only an okay musician. If musicianship refers to instrumental or vocal virtuosity, than okay. But I agree with those who say he's an outstanding musician. He is all about music. His words and thoughts are so sparkling that I think it's possible to get lulled into viewing him as simply a lyricist, with the music-- the melodies, rhythms, song structure, styles, arrangements-- just showing up on their own, or being provided by collaborators. But they're his. He writes (composes) songs, not lyrics. He's got a great command of musical styles and has been a fearless, restlessly creative musical explorer all his career. He's all about the music--an amazing musician, IMO.
Nrchy...I agree with you on the 3-4 defense. It does work however, when the OLB can shift to DE and vice-versa. ie...Jason Taylor...Miami Dolphins. That versatility will.......

Aw hell, sorry.

Back to Dylan.
I have no data on this, but I would rate Dylan as the most covered song-writer ever. The Byrds and The Band launched their careers off of him. Tom Petty, Johnny Cash , Hendrix, Joan Baez , Peter Paul and Mary all covered his material along with countless others. If imitation is the purest form of flattery- then Dylan stands alone.
Not to mention:

Jerry Lee Lewis
Carl Perkins
Sam Cooke
Bonnie Raitt
Eric Clapton
Willie Nelson
Stevie Wonder
Bryan Ferry
Bruce Springsteen
Lonnie Donegan
Johnny Winters
Everly Bros.
and on and on and on
There is little I can add after Ben Campbell’s thoughtful and well stated viewpoint other than after many hours of listening to his music and attending concerts is that no matter how much you think you know an artist through their music I gained a much better insight to him after reading his autobiography
I am watching the US Open Tennis Tournament right now and I am seeing Bob Dylan being featured in iPod ads dressed up like a cowboy. Bob Dylan Sells It Like It Is?

Does the guy really need the money that bad?

"Something is happening here, and you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?"

It's like watching Stonehenge fall over.
Sorry mate you've obviously never seen Stonehenge as part of it fell over centuries ago.

Bob Dylan is only a man.

Anyway serves you right for watching the tennis you could have been re-positioning your speakers............
"Does the guy really need the money that bad?"

Well, the partial (at least) answer is: "yes". Dylan should be looked at in an historical perspective when it comes to this. While I don't really appreciate his Victoria's Secret moments or the recent "commercialization" (yes, it is to make money), one needs to understand that Bob was truly ripped off by his manager and record company in his prolific years of the early to late 60's. He does not, in fact, own the rights to most of his great songs. Ironically, (someone correct me if I'm wrong, I don't have the new CD or record) I believe he is now taking writing credits for rehashed versions of old blues songs on his most recent Modern Times (the song I'm referring to is "Someday Baby" which Bob is really stretching to say he wrote-he may have re-jigged a new verse or two but this is a very heavily recorded and performed blues tune-if he does not take a writing credit on the new album I apologise for my mistake but that was what was implied when the song was played on the radio last week-by the way, I love his interpretation of the song.) cashing in on artists from the past who were just as exploited as he was early in his career. But Bob has always been a "medium", if you will, in which big chunks of historical Americana (both musically and lyrically) have been cranked into what has ultimately become popular music. That is what he is all about. That he is now trying to benefit somewhat monetarily is, I suppose, somewhat crass, but, personally, I can forgive him for that in that his recent work, although maybe not up to the high standards of his early career, is certainly not artistic drivel and is heads and shoulders above most of the crap we are subjected to today on FM radio. Yes, he tours relentlessly, but his ticket prices are reasonable by today's standards and Bob toured just as much, or more, in the very lean years of the 80's and early 90's. Any guy that plays small baseball parks and has kids under 12 admitted free to the shows can't be all that bad. The Stones, whose early stuff I also really admire, avoided being ripped off and have proceeded to become the ultimate commercial machine. In my view, Bob is really not like that. He is more of a troubador, much like the old blues players like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Junior Wells and others who have now left us, but played right up until their deaths. And Bob may be checking out soon, too, so I plan to see him while I can. From what I can see of popular music, there probably won't be another on like him for a long time.
Very sorry to hear of Dylan's financial situation. Truly tragic considering the great contributions he has made. I was referring to his recent negative comments about digital sound. It just seemed so very odd to see him saying one thing and doing another.
Bob's been saying one thing and doing another his whole career please try to keep up.

Remember money doesn't talk it swears..........
If benifiting monetarily for working is crass, then I guess everyone of us that work for a living instead of being a trust fund baby must be crass.
I know that wasn't what was meant but, I don't know why people think that people with special talents shouldn't benifit from their jobs. In the case of musicians, music is their job.
Everybody who would turn down a couple of hundred thousand to endorse i-tunes or Victorias Secret raise their hands now. I guess Tiger Woods is crass also, he accepts endorsement money from sports clothing companies.
I doubt that Mr. Dylan is broke anymore than Tom Cruise is, doesn't mean his agent isn't always looking out for new ways to increase his income.
The Who, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash and so many artists with audience-perceived integrity have sold their music for use in TV commercials. The 60's were over 40 years ago and the people slamming groups for doing this aren't dropping acid and protesting the Viet Nam war any more. These musicians have bills to pay and families to feed. What's more annoying is bands that are aged cartoonish caricatures of their former selves who refuse to hang it up. I'll buy your remastered rehashed cd with the bonus tracks but please stay off the touring circuit.