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Saturday, November 18, 2023

A visit to the Bob Dylan Center

Bob Dylan holding the placards in the video for 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'

I have often been on board with Robert Anton Wilson's artistic judgments, but his condemnation of Bob Dylan in this interview amuses me. ("Dylan seems to me a totally pernicious influence -- the nasal whine of death and masochism. Certainly, this would be a more cheerful world if there were no Dylan records in it. But Dylan and his audience mirror each other, and deserve each other; as Marx said, a morbid society creates its own morbid grave-diggers.") Nobody ever played "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" or "Blowin' in the Wind" for Wilson and suggested he listen to the lyrics?

In any event, as every serous music nerd I know likes Dylan, I thought I would mention my visit to the Bob Dylan Center, a new museum in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, which opened only last year and which houses his archives. 

It's not in a huge space, but I would describe it as information dense, with many documents on display to read, films to watch, songs to listen to, audio narratives to ingest. I spent quite a bit of time there and I feel I would be able to learn more when I get back. 

A Dylan fan from Colorado gave me permission to photograph her as she looked at the exhibits. 

A letter to Bob Dylan from George Harrison. 

Some of my favorite Dylan albums are Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, Nashville Skyline, Blood on the Tracks and Before the Flood. My favorite of his live performances is probably at the Concert for Bangla Desh, available on the Internet Archive.  And I really liked the Traveling Wilburys. 


Lvx15 said...

There is some, but not much, Dylan that I don't care for. I wish Bob could have seen Dylan as related to the stream of work he appreciated in Orson's "F For Fake", taken to the Nobel Prize level, but that aspect seems to mostly have emerged after his death. As I get older I notice that I have to work harder to remain open enough to enjoy new music - so maybe some of that was going on? Maybe not though - I do remember Bob really appreciating Madonna - though likely not for her music, but her persona.

Oz Fritz said...

I intend to go there at some point. I recommend Dylan's last album Rough and Rowdy Ways if only just to hear his true-to-form, end of life lyrics. To my knowledge, only Dylan and RAW connect the JFK assassination to the the murder of the Divine King archetype; Dylan in "Murder Most Foul" from his last album; RAW in Cosmic Trigger I, I believe.