Expecting Rain

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PostPosted: Wed February 28th, 2018, 04:41 GMT 

Joined: Wed May 31st, 2017, 00:56 GMT
Posts: 235
This may not be true for people on this site, but critics seemed to totally miss the mark with some of the songs on Desire and Tempest, Rolling Stone in particular. People criticized Joey at the time of Desire’s release for messing with facts/history, yet thirty six years later talked of how amazing the title track of Tempest was. Hurricane, a song which received less criticism than Joey, still comes under question over a few details in the song. Roll On John was discussed heavily by reviewers after Tempest’s release, often in a positive light. I don’t have a problem with any of these songs, I love all of them on different levels. But that is puzzling to me.

Jacques Levy mentioned in multiple interviews that he and Dylan wanted to craft a good story above all else with Hurricane. I think there are facts within the song and that it also speaks on racism and injustice in America, but it also is just a compelling story. It could be enjoyed purely as another Dylan song.

Joey, to my ears, sounds like a good song. Dylan’s delivery is top notch, and the story itself is interesting. Unlike Rubin Carter, it seems a majority of people still consider Joey Gallo to have been a bastard. Just based on the few stories I’ve read on Gallo, I can understand that. But Dylan wasn’t going around in ‘75 asking for people to understand Gallo’s life like he did Rubin Carter’s. Additionally, Levy was the one eager to write Joey in exchange for helping Dylan write Hurricane, which we can find in interviews by Levy himself as well as his son.

Tempest and Roll On John may screw with facts and history, but it’s because the songs are modeled like old folk ballads. The whole Tempest album is so steeped in blues/folk music that nothing is intended to be believed entirely. He’s clearly crafting stories.

I assume you could use that reasoning to critique some of Desire’s songs, as Dylan was at least acting as if he was doing more than crafting stories with Hurricane and Joey. But in retrospect I think those songs can work as the songs off of Tempest do, simply as interesting stories.

Apologies for the long, rambling post. It was something I was thinking of, and as I said I love all these songs and their respective albums. But even current “retro reviews” of Desire focus on the inaccuracies of Hurricane and Joey (mainly Joey), while Tempest’s two tracks that involve real people and events are deemed amazing. What do you think?


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PostPosted: Wed February 28th, 2018, 06:10 GMT 
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Joined: Wed December 4th, 2013, 06:39 GMT
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Good post. I think songwriting as an artform allows for such inaccuracies. These aren't supposed to be history textbook retellings of these events.

In terms of the actual songs, I'd rather listen to Hurricane and Joey over Tempest and Roll On John anytime.


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PostPosted: Wed February 28th, 2018, 07:15 GMT 

Joined: Mon April 6th, 2009, 20:28 GMT
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Location: I was there for a party once
The style you mention is also a process of mythologizing so that the line between the real and the myth becomes blurred--very much part of Desire (Mozambique, Sara, Joey) and a pattern across songs and albums (such as John Wesley Harding).


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PostPosted: Wed February 28th, 2018, 07:55 GMT 

Joined: Tue January 6th, 2015, 15:03 GMT
Posts: 471
Good post. I agree.

I wonder if the 'folk process' actually died with the wide availability of recorded music? A song like "Stagger Lee" proliferated into so many variants that the 'true' story became lost - and it somehow didn't really matter.

But I don't hear anybody covering "Hurricane" or "Joey" in 'variant' versions - they either avoid them completely, or treat the Dylan version as sacrosanct. Seems a shame, in a way.


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PostPosted: Wed February 28th, 2018, 14:01 GMT 

Joined: Wed May 31st, 2017, 00:56 GMT
Posts: 235
Nightingale's Code wrote:
Good post. I think songwriting as an artform allows for such inaccuracies. These aren't supposed to be history textbook retellings of these events.

In terms of the actual songs, I'd rather listen to Hurricane and Joey over Tempest and Roll On John anytime.


Thank you and and mjmooney.

I agree, i would rather listen to Hurricane over Tempest’s two tracks. Joey is a song I can definitely get into, but I’m currently wondering if I’d take it over Roll On John (pretty sure I’d choose it over Tempest).

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Wed February 28th, 2018, 18:21 GMT 

Joined: Fri July 18th, 2008, 16:22 GMT
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I've always felt a connection between the two albums. They share a panoramic, cinematic, widescreen feel.


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