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Bob and Neil
November 10, 2008 10:55 PM   Subscribe


 
These are both artists I have a great deal of respect for; however, these are also artists who are not at all well represented in my extremely catholic listening tastes.

In particular, I simply cannot get past the deficiencies in Mr. Young's voice. His problems seem to have gotten worse over time; while I find his pitching difficulties perfectly acceptable in "Rust Never Sleeps", it makes "Sleeps With Angels" hard to listen to.

My favorite Bob Dylan moment.

posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:03 PM on November 10, 2008


"deficiencies in Mr. Young's voice"????

ACK!!! Begone, heathen!
posted by newfers at 11:22 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like Soy Bomb just as much as the next, but this is my favorite moment. In Donovan you see what people who can't get Dylan see in Dylan. And then in Dylan you see Dylan as much as you can.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:23 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bob Dylan was in "Catchfire" (1989) with Dennis Hopper, who was in "Human Highway" (1982) with Neil Young. So says the Oracle.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:39 PM on November 10, 2008


I always thought the Neil Young/Ronnie Van Zant back and forth was kind of interesting, how they wrote "answer" songs to one another but personally really liked each other.

And supposedly Ronnie had himself buried in his Neil Young t-shirt.
posted by bardic at 11:49 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love them both, at least their work up to the mid-70s.

But which is more embarrassing: Dylan's transformation into a fire-and-brimstone preacher telling his audience they were going to hell in the early 80s, or Neil's post 9/11 assertion that "we" should be willing to give up some of our freedoms, and subsequent recording of "Let's Roll?"

I'm leaning strongly towards the latter.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:49 PM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I love them both, at least their work up to the mid-70s.

Eh, both of them seem to have rebounded nicely from those respective nadirs. Bob's been on a roll since Time Out of Mind, and Neil's obviously reconsidered his earlier views.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:05 AM on November 11, 2008


...while I find his pitching difficulties perfectly acceptable in "Rust Never Sleeps", it makes "Sleeps With Angels" hard to listen to.

I think the consensus, though, is that his is pitch is best on "Rust Never Sleeps With Angels".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:27 AM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


In particular, I simply cannot get past the deficiencies in Mr. Young's voice.

Hold up. This here is a thread about Neil Young and Bob Dylan, and you want to talk about deficiencies in Neil's mofo voice?

Ok, man.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:49 AM on November 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


Your goats? Do you sing with them?
posted by pracowity at 1:25 AM on November 11, 2008


I just love Neil. I also think that Bob is a total hack.
posted by thrakintosh at 3:32 AM on November 11, 2008


I also think that Bob is a total hack.

Yeah, motherfucker never wrote a decent tune.




*head asplodes*
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:40 AM on November 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Are those your names or what you do for a living?

Sorry.
posted by bdave at 3:46 AM on November 11, 2008


There was a Bob Mills and Neil Morrissey stage appearance and I missed it?
posted by mippy at 5:27 AM on November 11, 2008


Both Bob Dylan and Neil Young have some amazingly great songs, but you could make very generous of boxsets of mediocre to just plain bad songs from both. And yet I still have to hear every new record from both because there's always a good chance that it's going to be great. And even a bad record from either of them is still going to be interesting.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:51 AM on November 11, 2008


i think bob dylan's a gifted wordsmith, but his musical chops don't deserve to mentioned in the same breath with neil's. songs like down by the river, powderfinger, cowgirl in the sand, and southern man have a complexity, depth, and raw power that i will never get tired of listening to.

"lay, lady, lay. lay across my big brass bed." - Bob

"she got pictures on the wall. they make me look up from her big brass bed." - neil
posted by 1-2punch at 6:58 AM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nothing clicked until he noticed that one of the men had his black leather pants tucked into expensive-looking cowboy boots. He glanced up and studied the lined, unshaven face topped by a grey tuque and realized he was looking at Dylan.

Kiernan kept his cool...


I don't know if te author did this on purpose, but that section immediately got Tangled up in Blue stuck in my head, particularly for this bit:

She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me, "Don't I know your name?"
I muttered somethin' underneath my breath,
She studied the lines on my face.
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe
posted by piratebowling at 7:12 AM on November 11, 2008


And supposedly Ronnie had himself buried in his Neil Young t-shirt.

Thus winning the award for most forward-thinking, detail-oriented rock star ever.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:07 AM on November 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Have loved Bob since high school; to me Neil doesn't really speak the same language, though I understand lots of people love and respect him. For me, in addition to my love of his music and his lyrical abandon and creativity, Dylan is a historical figure -- with the folk movement and its ties to civil rights, then the big drama of turning his back on folk at the height of its power and going electric ... for such a mischevious elf of a man, Dylan had the biggest balls of anyone around in those days.

And you can't listen to his recording of "Moonshiner" and still insist that Dylan couldn't sing. His voice may be in tatters these days, but it used to be more expressive than even a person with perfect pitch.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:31 AM on November 11, 2008


I thought the inclusion of Neil and Bob in the same post was the setup for a blowjob joke.
posted by dr_dank at 8:32 AM on November 11, 2008


Oh man, I so enjoyed your post. Love seeing Neil sing Bob. Cool vids. It's Neil's birthday tomorrow.

Neil looks so much healthier. Maybe having an aneurysm in 2005 woke him up to taking better care? His ex, Carrie Snodgrass, died in 2005, with whom he had a son, Zeke, who has cerebral palsy. His dad died in 2006 of dementia, his son, Ben, by his wife now, Pegi Morton also has cerebral palsy. I wonder who is taking care of his son, Zeke, who he basically abandoned, grrrr, to Carrie for decades? Hope Neil is doing the right thing.

I was talking with a friend on the phone the other day, somebody I hadn't spoken to in over 40 years, a guy who I slow danced with when I was 13 at a Trinity School dance, in the days when his classmate, John Segal was cooking up a band called Rainbow and then Twisted Sister.

We talked about how when we were kids we never dreamed of listening to pop music 30 years old, much less 10 years before our time, the mid 60's. 50's pop was ancient history. Elvis was kitsch. And stuff from the 40's 20 years before us was something in the war movies, a whole other planet. And the 30's? yikes, that was practically prehistoric, man, the time of the Great Depression, Bonnie and Clyde, jalopy cars, a universe away. Only shriveled old farts with blue hair went to see schmaltzy pop 30's years old crap, the stuff of that weirdo, whatshisname with the gruesome accordion polka nightmare bubbles? Couldn't remember his name, went to google and put in "music tv bubbles polka", boom, there he is, the Granny show, Lawrence Welk. *gag

But now kids still listen to pop music made 30+ years ago, Neil Young, the Stones, Bob Dylan. Of course, for me their stuff is as part of my life as the blood in my veins, soundtrack to my experience being alive. It's interesting that this 30 year old music is still around. Still kicking.

Even though Dylan is only 4 1/2 years older than Neil, he seems much older. Surprising that, since Dylan didn't abuse his body with hard drugs at all, that I know of and Neil did.

Something endearing about Bob going to Neil's old house, checking it out, staying there for 20 minutes. Something so like him not getting the joke about the tour. He's always seemed pretty humorless and not especially quick-witted but made up for it with his earnest, jagged and shrewd perception.

Just saying that word, jagged, that seems to be a place where Dylan and Young overlap, a certain affinity for bruised rawness.

Anyway, thanks for the post.
posted by nickyskye at 9:01 AM on November 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Zeke's got to be thirty by now and has only mild CP. For years he was a roadie/sound guy for Neil. Ben is much more profoundly disabled.

In a very interesting life, the 1978-83 chapter of Neil's life is most fascinating to me. Imagine your typical dissolute 35yo musician shouldering this load: 1. Going from "there's something weird with the baby" to learning that he's a quadraplegic and will never walk. 2. Knowing that your last two sons had CP through a total coincidence 3. The next year, learning your wife has a brain tumor that is likely inoperable. (Operation succeeded, she's fine).

Neil responded by basically throwing away his music career and devoting himself to his disabled son -- building and inventing model-train technology that helped his son communicate and control his environment, enduring over a year of 14 hour days of endless repetitive exercises ("patterning") aimed at helping his son maximize what little abilities he had. He still put out albums -- re-act-or, with its mindless repetitition, and the heavily computer-influenced trans -- that reflected and helped him process what he was going through, but his audience, with no idea what he was going through, just didn't get it. I remember finally realizing that the Latin phrase on the re-act-tor liner notes (pre-internet, ask your parents) was the serenity prayer, and for the first time understood what that record was about.

So it was just a couple of years from the spoiled rockstar with a wad of coke stuck in his nose in The Last Waltz, to a man struggling and succeeding in being the father/parent we all hope we would be in those circumstances -- it's a pretty incredible story.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:07 AM on November 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


a quadraplegic and will never talk
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:08 AM on November 11, 2008


stupidsexyFlanders, holy shit. You just blew my mind with that info. I totally love that old fart bastard, whose music rips to the core of my heart with his aching voice, all the more now. I'm so glad. So he did not go the way of all coke rock n' roll narcissists, he found a way home, to being a decent human.

Nice to hear Zeke was able to be closer to his dad, especially since he's lost his mom and still has to deal with having CP.

You said:
Imagine your typical dissolute 35yo musician shouldering this load: 1. Going from "there's something weird with the baby" to learning that he's a quadraplegic and will never walk [talk]. 2. Knowing that your last two sons had CP through a total coincidence 3. The next year, learning your wife has a brain tumor that is likely inoperable. (Operation succeeded, she's fine).


But he had abandoned his first son, Zeke, who he knew had cerebral palsy for many years. Carrie shouldered that burden alone. She gave up her successful career to be there for Zeke. Neil remarried and his third wife, Pegi's son, Ben, was then diagnosed with cerebral palsy as well. Neil didn't get the compassion wake-up call for a long, long time. And he'd been a global success since the 60's, he'd had an almost 2 decade run of being totally adored worldwide, being wealthy, privileged, doing what he damn well pleased all the time.

So maybe it was time for him to be compassionate to the second son he brought into the world? An actual, caring father? I do know coke doesn't lend itself to feeling considerate of others' frailty. It's great he was able to work through his addiction and actually, you know, be a father to the child he brought into the world, was able to take responsibility.

Cool his love of model trains was able to translate into some kind of helping technology for his kid.

I remember finally realizing that the Latin phrase on the re-act-tor liner notes (pre-internet, ask your parents) was the serenity prayer, and for the first time understood what that record was about.

A cool anecdote. Funny to think about pre-internet days when one had to ask people stuff, lol. I didn't like how much I aggravated people asking them so many questions all the time. And oh man, the thumbing through books looking for particular info thing was exhausting. Google is such a relief!

By the way you responded after figuring out the re-act-or (great breakdown of the word, I've never seen/heard of that before!) it sounds like you are a compassionate person and honestly, it feels better to know what you told me about Neil.
posted by nickyskye at 11:14 AM on November 11, 2008


No, I'm pretty much of a dick. But like most parents, who are essentially figuring things out day to day, I get a lot of inspiration from the image of the world famous rockstar spending hours in his huge train barn with his wheelchair bound son, showing him how to use some electronic gizmo he invented so his son could make the trains crash via a puff on a straw or whatever, all so he could hear him laugh. I'm rocking way harder on that image than any music he ever made, and I'm a fan of the music.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:51 AM on November 11, 2008


Have loved Bob since high school; to me Neil doesn't really speak the same language, though I understand lots of people love and respect him.

Reverse this and there I am. Neil Young was a monumental prescence for Canadian teenagers in the 70s; Dylan I have never loved and doubt I ever will, even though I understand his stature.
posted by jokeefe at 12:04 PM on November 11, 2008


Someone mentioned Moonshiner -- the whole song is up on his website, and is really nice.
posted by jhc at 12:09 PM on November 11, 2008


I like my Neil electric, my Dylan acoustic, and my daiquiri in El Floridita.
posted by rokusan at 12:32 PM on November 11, 2008


No, I'm pretty much of a dick.

Doesn't tally reading your comments in this or other threads. Nope, I don't believe you're a dick. And I was going to say how touching or how moving but in light of the dick word, er hard to find the right words. Nice. How nice of you to care about being a good dad, being inspired by anybody, including Neil. I respect that a lot. It's a meaningful approach to make for many reasons, including that you are creating the inner template that your child will experience the rest of their life.
posted by nickyskye at 12:33 PM on November 11, 2008


thanks for the kind words nickyskye
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:35 PM on November 11, 2008


You're welcome. :)
posted by nickyskye at 2:39 PM on November 11, 2008


By the way, the Globe and Mail also has the story.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:43 AM on November 12, 2008


While Kiernan called him “Bob,” Dylan did not formally acknowledge his identity. He didn’t have to. “This was a guy who doesn’t shake hands or introduce himself.”

“That’s why he looked so familiar!” she exclaimed.

She started screaming to neighbours who were raking their leaves: “Bob Dylan’s in the cab! Bob Dylan’s in the cab!”


He didn't have to, and he didn't want to.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:27 PM on November 12, 2008


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