Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bob Dylan talks about songwriters

There's a long and terrific exclusive interview with Bob Dylan on Huffington Post; Read the whole thing here:


BF: Have you ever thought about composing anything with those Nashville songwriters?

BD: I've never thought about that.

BF: Neil Diamond did an album years ago where he co-wrote with different Nashville songwriters.

BD: Yeah, that might have worked for him. I don't think it would work for me.

BF: You don't think it would work for you?

BD: No. I'm okay without it. I'm not exactly obsessed with writing songs. I go back a ways with Hunter. We're from the same old school so it makes it's own kind of sense.

BF: Do you listen to a lot of songs?

BD: Yeah - sometimes.

BF: Who are some of your favorite songwriters?

BD: Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.

BF: What songs do you like of Buffett's?

BD: "Death of an Unpopular Poet." There's another one called "He Went to Paris."

BF: You and Lightfoot go way back.

BD: Oh yeah. Gordo's been around as long as me.

BF: What are your favorite songs of his?

BD: "Shadows," "Sundown," "If You Could Read My Mind." I can't think of any I don't like.

BF: Did you know Zevon?

BD: Not very well.

BF: What did you like about him?

BD: "Lawyers, Guns and Money." "Boom Boom Mancini." Down hard stuff. "Join me in L.A." sort of straddles the line between heartfelt and primeval. His musical patterns are all over the place, probably because he's classically trained. There might be three separate songs within a Zevon song, but they're all effortlessly connected. Zevon was a musician's musician, a tortured one. "Desperado Under the Eaves." It's all in there.

BF: Randy Newman?

BD: Yeah, Randy. What can you say? I like his early songs, "Sail Away," "Burn Down the Cornfield," "Louisiana," where he kept it simple. Bordello songs. I think of him as the Crown Prince, the heir apparent to Jelly Roll Morton. His style is deceiving. He's so laid back that you kind of forget he's saying important things. Randy's sort of tied to a different era like I am.

BF: How about John Prine?

BD: Prine's stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs. I remember when Kris Kristofferson first brought him on the scene. All that stuff about "Sam Stone" the soldier junky daddy and "Donald and Lydia," where people make love from ten miles away. Nobody but Prine could write like that. If I had to pick one song of his, it might be "Lake Marie." I don't remember what album that's on.


David Cranmer said...

Bob is just way too cool.

Frank Loose said...

Thanks for the heads-up on this. Did you ever see the Scorcese PBS doc on Dylan? Fascinating look at the man as an artist, first and foremost.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Thanks for a terrific link.


Postino said...

"Lake Marie" is on Prine's 1995 masterpiece, Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings. Except for the chorus, "Lake Marie" is like a prose poem, spoken by Prine.

One of the verses: "Many years later I found myself talking to this girl who was standing there with her back turned to Lake Marie. The wind was blowing especially through her hair. There was four Italian sausages on the outdoor grill and they were sizzlin'. Many years later we found ourselves in Canada trying to save our marriage and perhaps catch a few fish, whatever came first. That night she fell asleep in my arms humming the tune to 'Louie Louie'. Ah, baby, we gotta go now."

I can tell why Dylan likes this particular blend of goofy imagery and nostalgia.