19/01/2012

like a Ruritanian Bob Dylan



Careful, folk/rock singer/songwriters of the world: there is a spectre haunting you. If you're:


  • eminent back home;

  • or just the first big rock guy in your language;

  • vaguely political;

  • or lyrically pretentious;

  • or mischievous;

  • possessed of bad voice;

  • or accused of capturing a moment in your people's cultural history

then look out, my foreign friend - for you are sooner or later gonna catch a comparison to Dylan. In recent times the simile has become so wild and virulent that non-musicians must be careful also:

Steve Jobs is right up there. He is, in many ways, the Bob Dylan of machines, he's the Elvis of the kind of hardware-software dialectic."
- Bono


1. "the English Bob Dylan"


Richard Thompson


Dylanesque Score: 6/10

or
Roy Harper


Dylanesque Score: 7/10

or even
Billy Bragg


Dylanesque Score: 5/10




1'. "British Bob" (the Scottish English Bob Dylan)



Donovan


Dylanesque Score: 8/10




1''. "The Welsh Dylan" - says the BBC
(though there's plenty of Dylans there already if you ask me)

Meic Stevens


Dylanesque Score: 6/10







2. "Like a Dutch Bob Dylan or somethin"

Boudewijn de Groot


Dylanesque Score: 7/10



or
Lucky Fonz III (says me)


Dylanesque Score: 7.5/10






3. "The Spirited Bob Dylan of Brazil" - says New York Times



Caetano Veloso



Dylanesque Score: 8/10
(in a Latin way, obv)




4. "Bob Dylan of South Africa" - says Dave Matthews



Vusi Mahlasela


Dylanesque Score: 5/10






4'. "Like a White South African Bob Dylan"


Gert Vlok Nel


Dylanesque Score: 6/10







5. "the Greek equivalent of Bob Dylan"

Dionysis Savvopoulos



Dylanesque Score: 8/10

or George Dalaras (blech)


Dylanesque Score: 3/10






6. "Like a Chinese Bob Dylan"

Cui Jian
(sounds more like the Zhongguoren David Byrne/Colin Hay, but never mind)



Dylanesque Score: 6/10

or
Yang Yi





7. "Iran's Bob Dylan" - says New York Times again

Mohsen Namjoo




Dylanesque Score: 6/10





8. "The Bob Dylan of Argentina" - says Alejandro Lerner

León Gieco




Dylanesque Score: 7/10





9. "Cuba's Bob Dylan" - New York Times again

Carlos Varela
(a sentimental shill, but so is Dylan)


Dylanesque Score: 6/10






10. "The Czech Bob Dylan" - says Boulder Weekly

Robert Křesťan

Bewildering:


Dylanesque Score: 8/10


also
Jaromír Nohavica


Dylanesque Score: 7/10





11. "Like the black Bob Dylan of Australia"



Kev Carmody



or
Archie Roach







5'. "The Bob Dylan of Australia"




Paul Kelly



Dylanesque Score: 7/10

(or there's always Nick Cave.)




12. "The Jamaican Bob Dylan"

Barry Brown


Dylanesque score: 5/10
(tho Jamaica was spilling over with this calibre of talent for a decade and a half; BB's equality among kings.)



13. "The Bob Dylan of Japan"

Yosui Inoue



Dylanesque score: 6/10




13'. "Okinawa's Bob Dylan or David Byrne"

Shoukichi Kina



Dylanesque score: 4/10
Win score: 9/10



15. Like a Chilean Bob Dylan

Victor Jara


Dylanesque score: (Got shot by government: more Dylan than Dylan.)

less epochally,
Chinoy


Dylanesque score: (a remarkably feminine) 8/10




16. "The Bob Dylan of East Germany"

Wolf Biermann




Dylanesque score: 7/10




17. Like an Inuit Bob Dylan

Willie Thrasher



Dylanesque score: 6/10




18. "The Russian Bob Dylan"

Boris Grebenshchikov



Dylanesque score: 7/10





18'. "Like the Bob Dylan of the Soviet Union"

Vladimir Visotsky


Dylanesque score: 5/10




19. "the Bob Dylan of Vietnam" - attrd. Joan Baez

Trịnh Công Sơn



Dylanesque score: 5/10



20. "The Bob Dylan of Rap" / "The Jay-Z of his day"

Jay-Z


Dylanesque score: ?




21. "like Bob Dylan if Bob Dylan could sing"

Dire Straits(!)



Dylanesque score: No.



***********************************************


Most of the above are too earnest by half - they'd be unable to do, say, this:






But a more glaring revisionist point is that the above are mostly loads more political than he.

Bobby was not really a political person; he was thought of as being a political person, a man of the Left. And in a general way, he was, but not interested in the true nature of the Soviet Union or any of that crap. We thought he was hopelessly politically naïve. In retrospect, I think he may have been more politically sophisticated than we were.
— Dave Van Ronk

Thirty-some years, whenever I go to a march, a sit-in, or a lie-in, or a be-in, or a jail-in, people say, “Is Bob coming?” I say, “He never comes, you moron. You know? When you gonna get it? Never did, probably never will."
— Joan Baez


1 comment:

  1. Caetano Veloso is in a class by himself, not much like Dylan and musically much more interesting.

    The music world recently lost a great singer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBY-0n4esNY

    ReplyDelete