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Music and Song




[Bob Dylan met Woody Guthrie for the first time in February 1961 at Greystone Hospital, New Jersey.] It was the beginning of a deep friendship between the two. Although they were separated by thirty years and two generations, they were united by a love of music, a kindred sense of humour and a common view toward the world. 
- from the sleeve notes to the album Bob Dylan, released in March 1962 by Colombia Records. 

[Moving to New York, Dylan continued] as he has since he was ten, to assimilate musical ideas from everyone he met, every record he heard. He fell in with Dave Van Ronk and Jack Elliot.   
- from the sleeve notes to the album Bob Dylan, released in March 1962 by Colombia Records. 

He ... appeared opposite John Lee Hooker, the blues singer at Gerde's Folk city.  
- from the sleeve notes to the album Bob Dylan, released in March 1962 by Colombia Records. 

He listed to everything with both ears - Hank Williams, the late Jimmie RodgersJelly Roll MortonWoody GuthrieCarl Perkins, early Elvis Presley. A meeting with Mance Lipscomb, Texas songster, left its mark on his work, as did the blues recording of Rabbit Brown and Big Joe Williams.  
- from the sleeve notes to the album Bob Dylan, released in March 1962 by Colombia Records. 

"Everywhere he went," Gil Turner wrote in his article on Dylan in Sing Out, "his ears were wide open for the music around him. He listened to blues singers, cowboy singers, pop singers and others - soaking up music styles with an uncanny memory and facility for assimilation. Gradually his own preferences developed and became more clear, the strongest areas being Negro blues and country music. Among the musicians and singers who influenced him were Hank WilliamsMuddy WatersJelly Roll Morton
Leadbelly
LeadbellyMance Lipscombe and Big Joe Williams." And, above all other, Woody Guthrie
- from the sleeve notes to the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, released in May 1963 by Colombia Records. 

The way I think about the blues comes from what I learned from Big Joe Williams. The blues is more than something to sit home and arrange. What made the real blues singers so great is that they were able to state all the problems they had; but at the same time, they were standing outside of them and could look at them. And in that way, they had them beat. What's depressing today is that many young singers are trying to get 
inside 
inside the blues; forgetting that those older singers used them to get outside their troubles. 
- from the sleeve notes to the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, released in May 1963 by Colombia Records. 

I don't carry myself yet the way that Big Joe WilliamsWoody GuthrieLeadbelly and Lightnin' Hopkins have carried themsleves. I hope to be able to someday, but they're older people. I sometimes am able to do it, but it happens, when it happens, unconsciously. You see, in time, with those older singers, music was a tool - a way to live more, a way to make themselves feel better at certain points. As for me, I can make myself feel better some times, but at other times, it's still hard to go to sleep at night.
- from the sleeve notes to the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, released in May 1963 by Colombia Records.

Bob Dylan's Dream is another of his songs which was transported for a time in his mind before being written down. It was initially set off after an all-night conversation between Dylan and Oscar Brown, Jr in Greenwich Village. "Oscar," says Dylan, "is a groovy guy and the idea of this came from what we were talking about." The song slumbered, however until Dylan went to England in the winter of 1962. There he heard a singer (whose name he recalls as Martin Carthy) perform Lord Franklin, and that old melody found a new adapted home in Bob Dylan's Dream. 
- from the sleeve notes to the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, released in May 1963 by Colombia Records.

Woody Guthrie was my last idol / he was the last idol / because he was the first idol / I'd ever met / that taught me / fact t face / that men are men / shatterin even himself / as an idol / an that men have reasons / for what they do / an what they say / an every action can be questioned / leavin no command / untouched an took for granted / obeyed and bowed down to / forgettin your own natural instincts 
- from the sleeve notes to the album The Times They Are A-Changin', released in January 1964 by Colombia Records. 

Woody never made me fear / and he didn't trample any hopes / for he just carried a book of Man / and gave it t me t read awhile
- from the sleeve notes to the album The Times They Are A-Changin', released in January 1964 by Colombia Records. 

i'm standing there watching the parade / feeling combination of sleepy john estes. jayne mansfield. humphrey bogart / mortimer snurd. murph the surf and so forth
- from the sleeve notes to the album Bringing It All Back Home, released March 1965 by Colombia Records.

erotic hitchhiker wearing japanese blanket. gets my attention by asking didn't he see me at this hootenanny down in puerto vallarta, mexico / i say no you must be mistaken. i happen to be one of the Supremes
- from the sleeve notes to the album Bringing It All Back Home, released March 1965 by Colombia Records.

if someone thinks norman mailer is more important than hank williams, that's fine. i have no arguments an i never drink milk
- from the sleeve notes to the album Bringing It All Back Home, released March 1965 by Colombia Records.

i would not want t be bach. mozart. tolstoy. joe hill. gertrude stein or james dean / they are all dead
- from the sleeve notes to the album Bringing It All Back Home, released March 1965 by Colombia Records.




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