notably The List in 2009. However, she has held most of the songs her father passed down to her close to the vest for some reason. Cash wanted to provide a musical foundation and expand her knowledge of country music. The songs that she ended up recording were classic country covers performed originally by Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family, Don Gibson, Ray Price, Lefty Frizzell, and Patsy Cline.
book The Philosophy of Modern Song,
The book consists of sixty-six essays about a particular song and the artist
who performed it. Being a songwriter's songwriter, Dylan naturally
includes those who penned the song. He dedicates the book to the great
Doc Pomus who wrote numerous hit songs that spanned several genres. He
also thanked the crew at Dunkin Donuts. Who knew the 2016 Nobel Prize
in Literature recipient was a loyal customer? Or maybe he is just putting us
on. While Cash focused on country, Dylan includes jazz, big band, blues,
rock, folk, bluegrass – you name it, in his list. But like Cash, Dylan believes
that music should be an active experience – not a passive one, not
background music playing in an elevator. Let the music wash over you,
inform you, bathe you in spirituality, and yes at times sensuality.
His writing style for this book seems to mimic his speaking style. It is
alliterative, rat-a-tat-tat, staccato, stream of consciousness flowing into a
mysterious river draining into an even more mysterious sea. The songs he
writes about for the most part span the 1950's through the 1980's. I am
assuming to him the period is "modern". As you read it, you join him as he
muses, illuminates, pontificates, and makes his case because the songs he
mentions will stand the test of time. Dylan, who throughout his lengthy
career cared little about what the critics and even his fans thought about
him. But you get the powerful sense from reading this book, that he wants
us to care about these songs like he does.
Perhaps you have your own list of essential songs. If you do, pass them on
to the people who mean the most to you. Perhaps their eyes will glaze over
or maybe just maybe they will embrace the list and songs the way you have.