Exhuming Bob 24:  Bob And Expecting Rain


R.E. Prindle

…or else they’re expecting rain.

     My recent essay Exhuming Bob 23a:  Bob, Andy, Edie And Like A Rolling Stone posted on the Expecting Rain site drew a few comments.  As I’ve been excluded from the site I was very surprised to find the site published the essay.  I’m not going to sign up for the discussion board so I’ll respond in this way.  If it gets posted, fine.

     I consider Exhuming Bob 23a  a pretty good piece of scholarship so I’m pleased to have elicited a response that wasn’t all that negative.

     The chief criticism came from CL Floyd so I’ll concentrate on his.  Some of Floyd’s objections I consider worth answereing but some I find curious.

     Floyd began his criticism:  this is an incredible piece of reductionism…  Yeah?  What’s the problem?  One has to begin somewhere.  Dylan has said that he had this 20 pages of ”vomit’ tentatively titled Like A Rolling Stone.  Right on.  So he’s got twenty pages of inchoate kvetching that Edie Sedgwick catalyzed into several verses that while it applied directly to her as a symbol, what it symbolized was ‘this pain in here’ that centered around Dylan’s  childhood.  Thus as Warren Peace perceived, even though the central kvetch precedes Sedgwick the context centers directly on her person.

     Floyd relates the whole to the title:  ‘I especially enjoyed the in depth analysis of where the use of the phrase “rolling stone” came from.’   Muddy Waters had nothing to do with it.  I doubt if Dylan had even heard of Waters’ song before he came to NYC if he did then.

     The meaning of the phrase ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ is obvious while its use must go back very, very far.   Apparently Dylan thinks being a rolling stone is a curse too hard to bear.  His own understanding of the term goes back to Hank Williams’ not Muddy Waters’ song ‘Lost Highway.’

I’m just a rolling stone

All alone and lost

For a life of sin

I have paid the cost…

I’m just a rolling stone

On the lost highway.

     I don’t mean to be rude but there were millions of us who related to Williams’ lyric in exactly the same way as Dylan.

     But Floyd seems especially offended by the twist given to the meaning by my correspondent, Robin Mark.  She has thought about the problem for some time.  She realized that Stone was his mother’s maiden name so that there was a double entendre in Beattie Stone and a rolling (Bob) stone.  Now, Mr. Floyd (or Miss, perhaps, CL is indeterminate)  is apparently unaware that one can only be considered Jewish through the female side.  If your father is Jewish and your mother isn’t then you are not a Jew, thus Jewishness is matrilineal not patrilineal even though your Jewish name may be Moishe Ben Avram- that is Moses the son of Abram.  So, Dylan can claim the Stone name also.  I thought it was a clever application and a neat double entendre.

     Now, a major concern of my writing is to place Dylan within a context of his place and time.  Shelton, Heylin, Sounes and others have done an excellent job of organizing the details of Dylan’s career to the exclusion of the other participants such as, for instance, Albert Grossman.

     As Peter Yarrow says, without Grossman there would be no PPM and no Dylan.  I have always been mystified as to who Grossman’s connections were that allowed him to finance the organization of PPM and get them a WB contract without a single performance.

     I broached this subject in my essay, Exhuming Bob  XVII   My Son The Corporation.  Since then I have learned that Grossman was aligned with Mo Ostin of WB and that the financing came from that quarter.  That the group was immediately successful must have been gratifying.  With the success of PPM the promotiuon of Dylan became possible.  https://idynamo.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/exhuming-bob-xviii-bob-dylan-my-son-the-corporation/

     That’s a start.

     Mr. Floyd finds it coincidental that the key participants are Jewish.  He apparently does not recognize a Jewish cultural and political influence directed to the realization of Jewish ends.  If he’s complicit, so be it, but as an historian I have an obligation to note motivations from whatever quarter they come from.  You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.  I have no sacred cows and that is as it should be.

     And finally, I believe that I have uncovered or illuminated, take your choice, a signficant and important sub-text of Dylan’s history.  I dig the term ‘NY gossip’ that Mr. Floyd uses to discredit the facts.  In point fact, David Bourdon who was there gives an almost gang like division of NYC.  As he saw it Dylan was ‘pope’ of Downtown, Warhol ‘pope’ of mid-town and something vague uptown.

     After BOnB in mid ’66 Dylan hadn’t abandoned Manhattan.  The motorcycle accident with concussion and three cracked vertebrae changed his plans.  After he had healed he in fact moved back to MacDougal St. to begin having his garbage searched by Weberman.  By then the sixties were essentially over.  Warhol was shot in ’69 changing the direction of his career, while Altamont put the period to the whole sixties fantasy.  Shortly Dylan would be releasing an album called New Morning.  Optimistic.

     So, I certainly appreciate the kind attention of those who commented.  If Matchlighter’s ‘mouth popped’ from 23a I hope he finds 23b just as entertaining.  It has been posted.

      Thank you and you’re invited one and all.https://idynamo.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/exhuming-bob-23b-of-a-b-bob-andy-edie-and-like-a-rolling-stone/



Exhuming Bob 13

Fit 3;

Bob As Messiah


R.E. Prindle


     What was really an innocent exploration of Bob’s religious development is being given a sinsiter cast by various elements with an apparent axe to grind.

     The latest to join the fray is something called Mick Hartley: Politics and Culture.  It goes on this way:

     As David T. at Harry’s Place publicises a forthcoming conference at Goldsmith’s, University of London, on Jews and anti-semitism, it’s interesting to note the odd places where you find anti-semitism cropping up nowadays.  Expecting Rain as anyone who follows Bob Dylan’s career will know, is a website which provides daily links to all things Bob: concert and record reviews, articles, whatever.  There is, of course, no presumption that every article they link to is something they agree with or aprove of, but, as RightWingBob notes, it was nevertheless extremely odd to see them linking last Thursday to this piece, “Exhuming Bob X: Lubavitcher Bob.”

     One would have to obsessed with anti-Semitism to find it in my scholarly essay.  Coded in the above quote is the notion that Andersen’s site, an aggregator, Expecting Rain, and my site, I, Dynamo, colluded to publish this ‘anti-Semitic’ essay on the first day of the Jewish New Year, or Yom Kippur in Jewish parlance.  This notion was put forward by Sean Curwyn and his alter ego Dov Kerner on his RightWingBob site.  This is what is known as a paranoid delusion in psycho-analytical circles.

     Curwyn and Kerner note that my essay was written in June and they think cleverly withheld until Yom Kipper when apparently as they believe as some sort of insult to the Jews Expecting Rain and I, Dynamo in collusion published it.  Karl Andersen who runs his site and I mine don’t even know each other and have never communicated about anything except contributions and that in the most perfunctory manner.

     While it is true that I wrote the essay in June it was only in October that I suggested the link to Expecting Rain.  I only became familiar with the aggregator a couple months ago after I wrote the essay.  Since then I have been a regular contributor to the site.

     So, this October I decided to suggest the link to ER as I thought it a very thoughtful essay on Bob’s religious attitude.  As Monday through Thursday have the heaviest traffic on ER I waited until Monday afternoon to submit the link.  As it happened Monday was a heavy newsday for ER which listed 30 links therefore excluding mine as a late submission.  ER carried it over using it on Tuesday which was a slow newsday.

     I doubt very seriously whether Karl Andersen was aware of when Yom Kippur was and I sure as heck didn’t know so if the essay was published on Yom Kippur there was no conspiracy to do so.  But as conspiracy theorists have no trouble making non-existent connections Messers Kerner, Curwyn and Hartley see the ugly head of anti-Semitism looming above the horizon like Fantomas over Paris.

     My compassion and pity goes out to them.  I hope they get well soon.  It is too bad Mr. Hartley who read psychology at Oxford (in England not Mississippi) became disillusioned with the discipline; all three need it badly.  Should they enter an analyst’s office the term they should employ in seeking help is…paranoid delusion.

Fit 4 will follow in another posting.