Saturday, October 18, 2008

In praise of Bob Dylan and Martin Scorsese

Off the top of my head, I would have said my favourite Bob Dylan work was Blood On The Tracks, although I'd always had a fondness for individual songs like Positively 4th Street and Like A Rolling Stone. But the opening sequence of Martin Scorsese's film No Direction Home: Bob Dylan is stunning. Dylan gives a thrilling performance of Like A Rolling Stone, which showcases all that is fundamentally attractive about him.

The Scorsese film cuts the song half way through, then splices in (with Dylan qoutes) a musical sweep through the music that had early influenced Dylan. So many marvellous performances, including Muddy Waters' I Got My Mojo Working. Then there was a cheesy looking hillbilly band from some regional tv's Saturday night hoedown. The voice and rhythm were captivating for a cheesy band... then the caption came on: Hank Williams. This great performance was not my first introduction to Williams (from memory), but the point is that Scorcese has delivered a film with a big punch up front. A music sampling returns us to complete the Rolling Stone song.

Scorsese was privileged to some insights from a contemporary interview with Dylan. One of his quotes up front was roughly that he was born somewhere, and had ever since been finding his way home. A profound muse on the human journey.

And an informative and enjoyable film from Scorsese, with a tight arrangement of music, interviews and archival footage.

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