Bob Dylan “Nashville Skyline”

There is the theory that there have been two Bob Dylan’s, the Robert Zimmerman who made the music up through Blonde on Blonde, and then the one who “became” Bob Dylan after he was killed in the motorcycle accident (likely no motorcycle accident, but a more mundane or sordid death, and the motorcycle accident was an invented story for the time away, to recover, but there was no recovery, just death). The second Dylan is a guy, probably a talented but unsuccessful Nashville musician (who sings a lot like Jim Nabors) who looked like Dylan (a guy who “fit the jacket”—as in the Greg Brady fitting the jacket Brady Bunch episode) and could play, and saw this as a weird gig he’d be able to step away from eventually with some cash—but later realized it was actually the Devil’s Opportunity of the Century, and there was no escape until the escape of death, ultimately.

Which is a long way around of saying this record sounds like nothing that Dylan had done before, while sounding exactly like what he had done before—which is of course, keeping in line with what he (both of him) has always done. (Actually, the multiple Dylans in Todd Haynes’ movie, I’m Not There (2007) is a much better conspiracy theory, kind of like the Shakespeare being-a-collective theory—and I realize that movie is not a theory, it’s an innovative and brilliant approach to Dylan—but often from art arises not just metaphorical but actual truth.) Anyway, I think I heard this way back when I was in high school and I didn’t like it—the Jim Nabors voice freaked me out, and I didn’t like country and western, yet, at that time—but now, this is one of my favorite BD records, and “Lay Lady Lay,” a song I once couldn’t stand, is one of my favorites, as well as “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You.”

3 Responses to “Bob Dylan “Nashville Skyline””

  1. 1 J Curtis
    October 23, 2018 at 10:15 am

    I don’t have this record (or, I *might* have picked it up for free somewhere and have just never been tempted to actually listen to it.. but I don’t think I do), but I hated “Lay Lady, Lay” anytime I’d hear it on the radio, and for the longest time I had no idea it was Bob. It does sorta sound like Jim Neighbors, now that you mention it, which makes me hate it even more. When I found out it was Bob .. well I don’t know what I thought. It doesn’t really sound like a “country” song to me either, despite the slide gtrs. I may or may not check it out at some point. I have a feeling it’ll still be a while before I get to a point in my life where I need to investigate the Bob Dylan records I’ve never listened to, except for maybe the official fake bootlegs of the weird/funny early demo type recordings, which are always fun.

    • 2 J Curtis
      October 23, 2018 at 10:16 am

      I keep forgetting to check the “notify me of new comments” box, so I’m posting that to do this, in case there are any. sorry.

  2. October 24, 2018 at 6:39 am

    The weird thing about Bob Dylan is that hardly anything’s been written about him. (That’s a joke!) It’s as shocking to me as anyone that I switched from hating “Lay Lady Lay” to really liking it, especially with that “big brass bed” reference. “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With” is just a catchy song, and I guess I’m a sucker for simple, real sounding drums and that old Nashville style piano. I’ve been accused of having pedestrian, mainstream tastes, and also of telling the same boring stories over and over, not cleaning the hair from the drain, and eating my roommate’s pizza. The last of those is NOT TRUE, and at least I’m not trying to get my name in the history books for being the biggest asswipe of the last 100 years, and I even registered to vote for the first time in my life even though I fully expect them to bring back the draft and I WILL NOT cut my hair, even if I have to sell my entire record collection to move to Canada.

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October 2018

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