James Cobb/Coarse is a Newton-ian born and bred musician and writer who we have a fondness for.His band (American) Whip Appeal released a christmas album recently which you can hear and cherish @ americanwhipappeal.bandcamp.co
Without the regular pressures of heavy blankets & weighted eyelids bringing me down down down this was a great year for me & for Dylan. Pain & politics notwithstanding, which do come in blasts like cold or new faces through a crowded cafe door – don’t turn your head, nothing to see, nobody you know, not the kinda feeling you wanna have – drying up bliss in harsh moments (pedantically, reality check, depressive, how still unreal? Maybe moments aren’t enough for fear, neither for joy…ah the steady decline) none of which have ever been much part of Dylan’s bag.
Big bag with road ready weariness including cash & cards & cosmetics & bits of ceramic & headphones for bus trips or bad shows or boring dates or long walks or emergency elucidation of a rock n roll point, dispute, or otherwise or, you know, maybe we’ll split up after the appearance of some old flame some cutie some perspective crush with a penchant for soft places, tender thrills, & recycled phrases (as long as they are said with (some sort of) authority or emotional honesty or (at least) elemental introspection allowing for a sense of personality & communication as opposed to simple & disinterested exclamation of contextual idioms & turns (still turn me on)) & there aren’t two such. A copy of the new Stones album. Not discouraging, not inspiring. But oooo Stangers in the Night was great, also the “Jokerman” music video eat your heart out. I would never profess a definitive “best” of Dylan’s career (Modern Times, 2006), but as far as 2016 goes, Fallen Angels (2016) is excellent. Really good.
With any critical or social exploration of Dylan & his records, we are all made to kneel (hey Nobel committee) & to preach (hey Buck Palace) simultaneously, neither of which last too long outside the all-night—cough-syrup—speed–dribble–phases-of-Coltrane–Philip Seymour Hoffman-as-Lester Bangs-in-the-movie-Almost Famous—style rave rant. But I’m shivering almost crying. Coffee helps. Bits of fear & love & kisses help. Only a fool would say, says Dylan on “All the Way” & I can hear you breathing I’m sure she could hear me breathing, trying to be gentle trying to fall asleep so trying to relax & let it bleed, but still aware of the fizzle & crack as I explain away a cough, early enough to be sore from a night of singing & yelling, not to mention drinking & wondering if Dylan or Ian Svenonius smokes cigarettes these days. So late that it couldn’t really matter but still worth asking, who is Sammy Cahn. Without the right pillow it would be a much longer night.
A new phase of Dylan (or period or era wanna talk early mid period like the phenomenal New Morning with the freak cuts & somehow more normal outtakes (e.g. “Went to See the Gypsy”)), a new year, and the impeding importance of dishonesty.