Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Birthday Bob

with 2 comments


DSCN4774eHappy 75th to Robert Allen Zimmerman today.

Bob, I would’ve performed more of your songs over the years if I could have mastered the art of remembering all those lyrics.

I’m inclined to agree with pretty much everything I’ve heard from Bob Dylan. Luckily, I started paying attention after all the drama of his transition to using an electric guitar at concerts. By the time I was listening, the songs he was writing and music he was making seemed like a perfect fit.

I avoided all the fan angst.

I always appreciated that he somehow succeeded in performance despite violating everything a choir director would demand from a vocalist. It is a small minority who are able to make imperfection work and not simply sound imperfect. Obviously, the appeal isn’t universal, but based on the number of fans and longevity of Bob Dylan’s career, there is a large majority of listeners who “get it.”

The flaws become the features. I don’t know how it works, I just know that I am drawn to certain imperfect vocalists, and repelled by much of the rest.

Unfortunately, it has never been something I could harness for myself. I never mastered singing with that “imperfect” kind of character to a level that ascended beyond what repels me. I tend to flounder in the “almost there” category most of the time.

As a result, I relish the opportunity to enjoy professionals whose off-center vocalizations are good enough to succeed in the industry. I love the sound of a well-slurred word or phrase, and it makes me laugh to imagine a vocal instructor ever confidently endorsing such a thing.DSCN4777e

It seems to me that the first time I ever attended a live performance by Bob Dylan was 30 years ago, when he was touring with the Grateful Dead and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. They came to town for a show on my birthday and Cyndie bought tickets as a present.

My life-long pal, Paul Keiski, made me a custom shirt for the occasion. Then 4-days before the concert, Cyndie unexpectedly gave birth to our darling daughter, Elysa, which led to Cyndie handing her ticket off to her brother, Ben. Ever since, I have endured endless good-natured ribbing for going to that show without her.

It’s the kind of thing a fan does for troubadour like Bob Dylan. Happy 75th old man!











Written by johnwhays

May 24, 2016 at 6:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. I was at that show too. Terrible acoustics. But yes he found a way tonier his gift from the universe even if it didn’t fit into the pattern of other troubadours. Amen! Happy b day to Caleb who is 15 today!


    May 24, 2016 at 6:49 am

    • Ha! Yes, the awful acoustics! A main memory.
      Caleb, 15! Awesome. I’ll be thinking of him today, along with Bob.


      May 24, 2016 at 6:55 am

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