Bob Dylan definitely should not write liner notes ever. Apart from not making any sense at all, these notes were completely unrelated to the album “Highway 61 Revisited” and were difficult to read due to the lack of punctuation and grammar.

It reads as a prose, a story with characters who you’d assume are the tracks on the album due to the strange capitalisation applied to words. However, these ‘characters’ aren’t in fact song names from the album – they are irrelevant and thus pointless. These ‘characters’ interact with each other, and the story rolls along so quickly in such a nonsensical blur that the reader loses track of where, who, and what they are reading.

Overall it reads as though Bob Dylan is trying to create an illusion of higher intellectualism in his writing, but it fails. As a stand-alone piece of writing it wouldn’t even make any sense, let alone attached to this album.

Thankfully, there is a slight mention to the album within the last few lines;

“the songs on this specific record are not so much songs but rather exercises in tonal breath control. . . . the subject matter — though meaningless as it is — has something to do with the beautiful strangers . . . . the beautiful strangers, Vivaldi’s green jacket & the holy slow train” (Bob Dylan, 1965)

With this quote, Dylan somehow manages to clarify the ramblings of his prose – which is essentially a cluster of words that somehow forms a paragraph – by eluding to the ‘characters’ as strangers who happen to cross paths.

October 2016 Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature but it was only recently that he accepted this award. There was a substantial amount of to-and-fro as to whether he was to accept or even acknowledge the Nobel Prize, sites such as the Guardian covered the topic: here, here, and here. Upon reading these, maybe even Bob Dylan realises he is not a poet, he’s a song writer.

“…he [Dylan] was asked … whether he thought of himself primarily as a singer or a poet. “Oh, I think of myself more as a song and dance man, y’know?” ” (The Guardian, Oct. 21, 2016)

 

References:

Dylan, Bob. 1965. Highway 61 Revisited. BobDylan.com. https://bobdylan.com/albums/highway-61-revisited/

Guardian. Posted October 21, 2016. Bob Dylan removes mention of Nobel Prize from website. TheGuardian.com. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/oct/21/bob-dylan-unacknowledges-nobel-prize-literature-win-removed-website

Guardian. Posted October 24, 2016. Bob Dylan and a noble refusal of the Nobel prize for Literature. TheGuardian.com. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/oct/23/bob-dylan-and-a-noble-refusal-of-the-nobel-prize-for-literature

Guardian. Posted April 2, 2017. Bob Dylan finally accepts Nobel Prize in literature at private ceremony in Stockholm. TheGuardian.com. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/apr/02/bob-dylan-finally-accepts-nobel-prize-in-literature-at-private-ceremony-in-stockholm

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