It can hardly have passed by anyone’s attention that the Nobel committee have announced that this year they will be awarding the sumptuous gold medal and even more sumptuous cheque – payable to cash – to Bob Dylan for his services to literature. Here at Americana-UK we like to think of ourselves as impartial observers of and commentators on the world of music. However, this announcement prompts, nay demands, a more fulsome response. And that response is – “About Damn Time”.
Yes, about damn time. Has Dylan written a vast treasury of poetry – well the fact checker on that is right here : https://bobdylan.com/songs/ . Oh, sure, not every single one is a gem, but then not everything Shakespeare wrote was The Tempest. When his muse really takes him though Dylan can deliver the goods.
And we don’t care if you think he cannot sing – this award is for his poetry. And you may tell us he can’t play guitar like Hendrix – and we say poetry. And you state he chops and changes and moves around the verse – we tell you that’s how we like it, a fluid and magical thing of reinvention: on any given night new life breathed into old verse.
He’s declaimed against the ills of the world, written dazzling descriptions of the characters inhabiting his personal world. He’s bellowed forth his religion, railed against the storms of passion and whispered softly of love. He has pointed fingers, he’s taken stands, right or wrong, he’s painted word stories to enchant, to mystify and to hold up as dire warnings. Not that it matters in this context, but his contributions to the world of music have been beyond measure, and he continues to develop and record and perform and amaze. So, well done the Nobel Committee – better late than never.