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 Post subject: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 11:42 GMT 

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Norman Raeben was a New York art teacher who had a very profound affect on Bob Dylan in the mid-70s.

From the little that I have read, his teachings took a philosophical approach to the concepts of time and how these ideas could influence an artist - the idea that the present, the past and the future are one and the same.

Apparently Bob was tutored by this man for about 2 months and was so changed afterwards that he singles the experience as one of the most important turning points in his life (and a contributing factor to his marital breakdown). He then went on to write the songs for the Blood on the Tracks album – arguably his greatest work.

I would be interested to learn more about this man and his ideas, but I can find very little on the internet.

Did he publish any books or papers on his art and metaphysical philosophies? Did he publish any of his paintings? Who was he influenced by?


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 12:05 GMT 
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Never heard about the guy. Hope my post helps a little to clarify your story.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 12:56 GMT 
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There should be a little bit about him in Bob's interviews of ca. 1978, if you want to check those.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 13:07 GMT 
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devy wrote:
Never heard about the guy. Hope my post helps a little to clarify your story.


And you have 1200+ posts to your name. x shocking.

Do your bloody homework kids.

Here's a wiki link you can cick on with your fat lazy hands. The rest is up to you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Raeben


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 13:09 GMT 
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you´ll probably have already found this, too:

http://web.archive.org/web/200110072037 ... raeben.htm

i don´t remember exactly the source, but somewhere i´ve read that he alledgedly wasn´t a friend of Picasso and other famous artists and that these stories were a bit of name-dropping, but i don´t know if that´s true or not.

he is also mentioned in this article about BD´s art classmate Bernice Sokol Kramer and her impressions of the asia series:

http://www.dnainfo.com/20110926/upper-e ... an-gallery


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 13:59 GMT 
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Bennyboy wrote:
devy wrote:
Never heard about the guy. Hope my post helps a little to clarify your story.


And you have 1200+ posts to your name. x shocking.

Do your bloody homework kids.

Here's a wiki link you can cick on with your fat lazy hands. The rest is up to you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Raeben


Wikipedia wrote:
"Bob", Norman said, "look at that round coffee table. Now, show me how you would paint it."

He died of a heart attack in the lobby of his apartment.


Sounds like he had a major impact on "Knocked Out Loaded". Sorry Bennyboy.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 14:08 GMT 
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Is that some kind of joke?


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 14:13 GMT 
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No joke, bloke.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 14:27 GMT 
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devy wrote:
No joke, bloke.


Then you = weird. Knocked out Loaded? Eh?

Check out Blood On The Tracks and Norman Raeben


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 14:37 GMT 
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Bennyboy wrote:
Check out Blood On The Tracks and Norman Raeben


Ohh, yeah this story is known to me. But still I don't see any major impact on Dylan's music and any purpose of researching it. When I'm into artsy-partsy I read Andre Malroux or Michail Alpatov not some "mysterious-guy-who-inspired-Blood-On-The-Tracks".

So tell me why anyone should learn about that guy, what's so interesting about him? And don't tell me I'm shitlock who is not able to understand your enormous insight.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 14:38 GMT 
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shosha wrote:
he is also mentioned in this article about BD´s art classmate Bernice Sokol Kramer and her impressions of the asia series:

http://www.dnainfo.com/20110926/upper-e ... an-gallery


I hadn't seen that before, Shosha - thanks for the link.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 15:05 GMT 
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In the day, it was stated that Norman was almost a mentor to Bob, but in a more recent interview I read, Bob states that Norman just yelled at him most of the time. He may be pulling our leg though with that.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 15:09 GMT 
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devy wrote:
Bennyboy wrote:
Check out Blood On The Tracks and Norman Raeben


Ohh, yeah this story is known to me. But still I don't see any major impact on Dylan's music and any purpose of researching it. When I'm into artsy-partsy I read Andre Malroux or Michail Alpatov not some "mysterious-guy-who-inspired-Blood-On-The-Tracks".

So tell me why anyone should learn about that guy, what's so interesting about him? And don't tell me I'm shitlock who is not able to understand your enormous insight.


Dont sweat it, its not important in your particular journey.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 19:44 GMT 
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I think there was a long-ish thread about him, maybe three or four months ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 20:41 GMT 
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The salient notions in the Wikipedia entry seem to be intuition, feeling and perceptual honesty, even if these are somewhat vague terms, plus maybe the unity of time in an infinite and eternal present.

There are numerous ways these ideas might inform an understanding of Blood On the Tracks. Two songs on the album are extended narratives, Tangled Up In Blue and Lily, Rosemary & the Jack of Hearts. Each has its own way presenting characters through moments in time, and each has a distinctive narrative moment in which the singer gives voice to the story. Of the two, the lead-off cut seems to have the least precedent in Dylan's prior work, while the latter song is more or less cinematic, more complex than Frankie Lee & Judas Priest or Memphis Blues Again or Bob Dylan's 115th Dream which might be the most useful comparisons in looking at Raeben's possible effect on Dylan's handling of narrative.

The other songs are largely lyrical although some have a profound sense of time passing--"Time is a jet plane/it moves to fast/oh but what a shame/if all we shared can't last/I can change I swear" indicates a story without really telling one directly. Most of the language in these songs has very little embellishment, the terms used are ordinary and even sometimes cliched, and might be indicative of "perceptual honesty" if the things perceived are the emotions of the writer as he writes.

The songs on John Wesley Harding were mostly literary, reflections on the outlaw ballad, Hank Snow and Hank Williams and William Blake, so a comparison to Blood on the Tracks might also yield insights into possible Raeben influences.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 20:53 GMT 
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Bennyboy wrote:
devy wrote:
Ohh, yeah this story is known to me. But still I don't see any major impact on Dylan's music and any purpose of researching it. When I'm into artsy-partsy I read Andre Malroux or Michail Alpatov not some "mysterious-guy-who-inspired-Blood-On-The-Tracks".

So tell me why anyone should learn about that guy, what's so interesting about him? And don't tell me I'm shitlock who is not able to understand your enormous insight.


Dont sweat it, its not important in your particular journey.


Eloquence of your post is staggering. Don't run away, boy. Don't be so afraid of speaking out. I won't bash you. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Fri January 13th, 2012, 20:57 GMT 
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harmonica albert wrote:
"Time is a jet plane/it moves to fast/oh but what a shame/if all we shared can't last/I can change I swear" indicates a story without really telling one directly. (...)

(...) so a comparison to Blood on the Tracks might also yield insights into possible Raeben influences.


Its called metaphor and was used few years earlier (like 2000 yrs) than Mr. Norman Raeben was born. Mr. Raeben might be important to Dylan, maybe meeting him was turning point. But Mr Raeben was no God in any way, I assure you.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Sat January 14th, 2012, 16:27 GMT 
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I'm well aware of what a metaphor is, although you err by about 1,960 years in supposing time was compared to a jet plane before the Dylan song. I also have little to no opinion about Raeben and decreasing regard for Dylan as an artist, although I still believe Blood on the Tracks is one of his best works. All I meant to do was treat the original poster with respect and give the issue raised some serious consideration and suggest possible lines of inquiry.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Mon January 16th, 2012, 19:52 GMT 
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From Howard Sounes' Down the Highway, page 279:

'Another threat to Bob & Sara's relationship came in the spring of 1974 when Bob attended an art class at a studio in Carnegie Hall, New York. The class was conducted by Norman Raeben, a seventy-three year old painter who had a commanding presence and acerbic tongue. "You see this vase?" he asked Bob one day. He whipped the vase away. "Draw it!" As Bob started to draw he had realised he had looked at the vase but not really seen it. This was an important lesson in art and also a perspective that he might apply to life in general.

Norman did not know who Bob was when they first met. "Raeben thought he had no money and thought he was a poor kid. Bob was taking this stuff very seriously and working at it and Raeben liked him quite a lot," says mutual friend Jacques Levy. Raeben became concerned that his scruffy student might not have a place to stay, and said Bob could sleep in the studio in return for cleaning up. The misunderstanding endeared Bob to the old man. "Bob really likes the the idea that people don't really know who he is, or don't respond to him in that starry-eyed, awestruck way," says Levy. Indeed, Bob became infatuated with the painter, later describing him as "more powerful than any magician." The infatuation seemed to cause problems with his marriage. "I went home after that and my wife never did understand me ever since that day," he said. "That's when our marriage started breaking up. She never knew what I was talking about. And I couldn't possibly explain it."


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Mon January 16th, 2012, 21:52 GMT 

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Another intriguing Jewish connection from this period involves Norman Raeben, the son of noted writer Shalom Aleichem. Raeben was Dylan’s art teacher in 1974 and his lessons are said to have inspired Dylan’s painfully honest “Tangled Up in Blue.”

“Norman Raeben taught me how to see...in a way that allowed me to do consciously what I unconsciously felt,” Dylan writes in 1978. “And I didn’t know how to pull it off. I wasn’t sure it could be done in songs because I’d never written a song like that. But when I started doing it, the first album I made was Blood on The Tracks. Everybody agrees that it was pretty different, and what’s different about it is there’s a code in the lyrics and also there’s no sense of time.” He went on to explain that this artistic renaissance had come at a price: once he learned to refocus his energies on what he did best, his wife ceased to understand him.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Tue January 17th, 2012, 13:48 GMT 
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Train-I-Ride wrote:
From Howard Sounes' Down the Highway, page 279:

'Another threat to Bob & Sara's relationship came in the spring of 1974 when Bob attended an art class at a studio in Carnegie Hall, New York. The class was conducted by Norman Raeben, a seventy-three year old painter who had a commanding presence and acerbic tongue. "You see this vase?" he asked Bob one day. He whipped the vase away. "Draw it!" As Bob started to draw he had realised he had looked at the vase but not really seen it. This was an important lesson in art and also a perspective that he might apply to life in general.

Norman did not know who Bob was when they first met. "Raeben thought he had no money and thought he was a poor kid. Bob was taking this stuff very seriously and working at it and Raeben liked him quite a lot," says mutual friend Jacques Levy. Raeben became concerned that his scruffy student might not have a place to stay, and said Bob could sleep in the studio in return for cleaning up. The misunderstanding endeared Bob to the old man. "Bob really likes the the idea that people don't really know who he is, or don't respond to him in that starry-eyed, awestruck way," says Levy. Indeed, Bob became infatuated with the painter, later describing him as "more powerful than any magician." The infatuation seemed to cause problems with his marriage. "I went home after that and my wife never did understand me ever since that day," he said. "That's when our marriage started breaking up. She never knew what I was talking about. And I couldn't possibly explain it."


I wanted to read what you just put, but couldn't cos' i realised i'm up page 257 in that book, so I don't wait to spoil it. but i'm glad theres some info about this time in bobs life,


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Tue January 17th, 2012, 14:21 GMT 
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Isis_ wrote:
I wanted to read what you just put, but couldn't cos' i realised i'm up page 257 in that book, so I don't wait to spoil it. but i'm glad theres some info about this time in bobs life,


Don't read this either, then :wink: :

Raeben is mentioned one more time, a few pages later, in relation to the Biograph liner notes and the whole 'past, present, future as one' teachings that helped inspire Tangled- Dylan's 'Blue Period'. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Tue January 17th, 2012, 16:07 GMT 

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If you go to the front page of ER there's a link to who's who, and via that to Norman Raeben. This is what it has:


Raeben, Norman


Raeben, Norman (1901-1978)

Norman Raeben was one of the most influential people in Bob Dylanâs
life. It was Norman Raeben, Dylan said, who, in the mid '70s, renewed
his ability to compose songs. Dylan also suggested that Norman's
teaching and influence so altered his outlook upon life that Sara, his
wife, could no longer understand him, and this was a contributory
factor in the breakdown of the Dylans' marriage. It's strange that,
given the importance of Norman Raeben's influence on Bob Dylan, he
isnât even mentioned in either of the big biographies published in the
1980.

Dylan first began to talk about Raeben in the round of interviews he
did in 1978 to promote his movie, Renaldo & Clam, though for a while
he wouldnât specifically identify him. "There ain't nobody like him,"
Dylan told Pete Oppel, of the Dallas Morning News. "I'd rather not say
his name. He's really special, and I don't want to create any heat for
He was, Dylan told Playboys Ron Rosenbaum, "just an old man. His name
wouldn't mean anything to you.

Dylan's interest in Norman began sometime in 1974, when several
friends of Sara came to visit:

They were talking about truth and love and beauty and all these words
I had heard for years, and they had 'em all defined. I couldn't
believe it... I asked them, 'Where do you come up with all those
definitions?â and they told me about this teacher.

Sufficiently impressed, Dylan looked up the teacher the next time he
was in New York. It was the spring of 1974 when Dylan popped his head
around Norman's door:

He says, 'You wanna paint?â So I said, 'Well, I was thinking about it,
you know.â He said, 'Well, I don't know if you even deserve to be
here. Let me see what you can do.' So he put this vase in front of me
and he says, 'You see this vase?â And he put it there for 30 seconds
or so and then he took it away and he said, 'Draw It'. Well, I mean, I
started drawing it and I couldnât remember shit about this vase - I'd
looked at it but I didn't see it. And he took a look at what I drew
and he said, 'OK, you can be up here.' And he told me 13 paints to
get... Well, I hadn't gone up there to paint, I'd just gone up there
to see what was going on. I wound up staying there for maybe two
months. This guy was amazing...

It was some time later when I was finally able to identify Dylan's
mysterious man called Norman as Norman Raeben, born in Russia in 1901,
who visited the USA with his family when be was three years old and
emigrated for permanent residence when he was about 14. Norman's
father was the noted Yiddish writer, Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916), a
man best known today for having created the character Tvye, whose
fictional life-story was adapted for the musical, Fiddler On The Roof.
The most remarkable change brought about by the months Dylan spent in
Norman Raeben's studio was upon the way Dylan composed lyrics.

The Mysterious Norman Raeben
by Bert Cartwright

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/2667/raeben.htm
SCALES@wsuvm1.csc.wsu.edu writes:
This isn't really about what Dylan's read, but a major influence on him nonetheless....I can't remember the guy's name. In some Rolling Stone interview (I believe) Dylan carries on about some art teacher who lived in New York City that worked with Dylan in the early-to-mid 70's. Dylan described the guy as giving him a whole other view of art, which led to the music and lyrics of Blood on the Tracks. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
jlyons@world.std.com (James Lyons):
Yeah. The art teacher/painter was Norman Raeben. Dylan attended his classes in NYC during May-July '74, and later recalled that Raeben "taught me how to see in a way that allowed me to do consciously what I unconsciously felt....I wasn't sure it could be done in songs because I'd never written a song like that. But when I started doing it, the first album I made was Blood on the Tracks."
---From Heylin's BD Behind the Shades
skulick@linc.cis.upenn.edu (Seth Kulick):
okay, just for fun: Norman Raeben's father was the famous Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem (pen name - his full name I think was something Rabinowitz, hence Raeben, but I'm only speculating). What other son of a well-known Yiddish writer had an influence on Dylan? In this case, it's a bit more indirect, although I think that it's fair to say that the influence was fairly major.
From: fncpcr@tin.it
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 11:48:05 GMT There's a whole chapter in my precious "Wanted Man - In Search Of Bob Dylan" (edited by the late John Bauldie, mine is a Penguin Books edition) entitled "The Mysterious Norman Raeben". There are also Dylan's interviews by 1978 (Playboy, Rolling Stone, notably).

Francesca P.


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Wed January 18th, 2012, 18:56 GMT 
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What I want to know is this: did Norman ever find who Bob was? :?


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 Post subject: Re: Norman Raeben
PostPosted: Wed January 18th, 2012, 19:14 GMT 
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Train-I-Ride wrote:
What I want to know is this: did Norman ever find who Bob was? :?


Yes or, perhaps, did he even care about that sort of stuff?


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