Tuesday 24 May 2011

My Back Pages, day 2

Day 2 of my Bob Dylan love-in falls on the man himself's 70th birthday. Happy birthday, Bob Dylan. Today's song choice is Spanish Harlem Incident, a song from 1964 which appears on his fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan.

I'm regretting using my standard pro-Dylan's singing rant yesterday when I didn't really need to, because the magic of Spanish Harlem Incident is as much to do with the delivery as it is anything else. The lyric, which concerns a fleeting encounter with a beguiling woman, is one of Dylan's first recorded forays into the kind of poetic approach to songs which would ultimately lead him into conflict with the folk crowd.

The lyric is wonderful, but his delivery of it is completely magnificent - as beguiling as the song's subject. Serpentine and flowing yet still concise and focussed. Dylan hits every beat like a metronome without ever sounding robotic. The overall effect is enormously evocative.

You can read more here.

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