Friday, November 4, 2022

My First Impression of The Philosophy of the Modern Song by Bob Dylan #poms in the Twitterverse

Even though I am running out of space to shelve books in my apartment, I decided to order this book in print rather than the e-book for the Amazon Kindle.  I am glad I did since the photographs and drawings enhance the text.  Fortunately, the weather in NYC has been unseasonable for early November and I sat on the benches outside my building to read it.

I am reading it more slowly than usual.  As of today, I have read exactly one-half of the book covering 33 of the 66 songs he evaluates.  Today I listened to several songs before I read Dylan's analysis. The songs that Dylan analyzes range from obscure to well-known. Likewise, some of the songwriters are obscure while others are well-known.  I hoped that songwriters such as Paul Simon, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen, and Holland-Dozier-Holland would be included, but they are not.

Dylan praises Norman Whitman and Barrett Strong in his review of Ball of Confusion as recorded by the Temptations.  Very often Dylan's remarks can be taken out of context.  Here is a joke from the book - Because no matter how many chairs you have, you only have one ass.

My favorite song so far has been It's Cheaper to Keep Her written by Mark Rice and recorded by Johhny Taylor.  It is about divorce and includes a photo of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Burton.  There is a copy of an advertisement for a law firm specializing in divorces with the phone number 1-800-Divorce.  I think Dylan is likely an expert on divorces since he has been through at least two of them.

My writing above is not an exhaustive review of the book.  I'll leave it up to my Dylan scholar friends to do that.  The table of contents lists the songs but not their writers.


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