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Bob Dylan Paper

In: Film and Music

Submitted By vinniemarz
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Vincent Marziano
MUS 361U
Dr. Bluestone
841 words

#20 Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited

Can words describe the amount of sound that came out the speakers after playing Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited? The many sounds that make up this remarkable piece of what one could only describe as artwork is a phenomenal mix of instruments and vocals to produce a sound that is of no other. Dylan combines everything from a simple harmonica (which he makes sound anything but simple) all the way up to electric guitars, drums, acoustics, tambourines, banjos and even what sounds to be like a Kazoo in track 7! His background falls under influences coming from the blues with an emphasis on delta blues, and a strong country back ground as well. He ties these older sounds together with the new sounds of today’s rock and roll to create even flowing and cohesive piece of work. His music is made for the youth and even in a time when folk and country music is something we would relate to our parents, his music brings out a young vibrantness that no person, old or young, could ignore.
His overall CD encompasses many mixed emotions. Dylan seems to incorporate personal stories of his own life along with random stories which when combined produce songs of happiness as well as desperation to the modern world. His CD doesn’t carry a main story line, and in fact really sounds like a mix of random feelings and emotions that he kind of slapped together into one cohesive motion. His first track “Like a rolling stone” pulls the listener in with an instant hook made up of an arsenal of sound which includes electric guitar, drums, tambourine, and an organ. It sways the listener into an almost uncontrollable state of happiness and could only produce nothing but a gigantic smile on ones face. His vocals contain his dislike for a woman he proclaims he used to know but has changed in every manner possible and how it has negatively affected her life. They are lyrics that almost every teenager could relate to. This song is deemed to be an instant hit!
“Tombstone Blues” is much more of a folk classic in which Dylan incorporates electric and banjo guitars into his mix of sound. He tells the story of a small town and everyone within it. One hysterical lyric evokes an unstoppable laughter, “The hysterical bride in the penny arcade screaming she moans “I’ve just been made!” Then sends out to the doctor who pulls down the shade Says, “My advice is not to let the boys in”. This is a very fast beat song of randomness.
Track five “Ballad of a Thin Man” feels like an original blues tune with a rocking electric guitar. Heavy piano strokes bleed through the speakers as Dylan sings, almost telling a story with his slow tone and drawn out lyrical notes in a low beat and almost desolate voice. This track is like no other. Track six, “Highway 61 Revisited” is a whacky combination of sounds and is completely unique from any other track in the album and possibly the universe as well. It is still very intriguing and pulls the listener in with fast short electric guitars rips. Once again the vocals carry no reasoning or logic, and are hilarious as he continues to tell mini stories within his music. The beginning and ending are very unique as Dylan uses a Kazoo, something not many other successful artists would even dare to attempt.
Dylan’s last track, “Desolation Row” must be talked about just based on its sheer length alone. Once again he has everyone in the room attached to the speakers begging for him to continue stroking the single acoustic guitar used throughout the whole song with a hint of drums in the back. For an artist to produce an eleven minute song with a single acoustic guitar, and then have everyone in the room anticipating his next lyric is something of a master artist.
Overall Highway 61 Revisited evokes many emotions; Dylan ties his smooth and almost hypnotically inducing voice with so many instruments in some tracks, and so few in others, and creates a sound that tranquilizes your mind. “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Queen Jane” carry almost identical instrumental sounds, but this sound is so entrapping that using it in two songs is almost a must have. His tracks seem to carry the overall message of youthful freedom and hardship but it really is just a sample collection of music. He rather puts together many smaller collections of stories of love, hardship and just hilarity, and displays them appropriately throughout his tracks with an even instrumental sound to back it up. It makes the soul feel happier and his way of creating solos with harmonicas that are so captivating with extreme high and low notes further displays his seemingly endless talents. We can only hope that he can create something again as beautiful to our ears as Highway 61 Revisited.

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