Sep 13th, 2009

You Gotta Serve Somebody

I need to clarify something here. I love Bob Dylan. I love Bob Dylan’s voice, gargling phlegm, off-key, nasal and all. As for my CousinSteve’s assertion that Mr. Zimmerman hasn’t been musically relevant for decades, I say bah. The Bob will always be relevant. The Bob transcends relevance. The Bob is a singularity in a musical wasteland. The one thing the Bob is NOT, however, is suited for making an album of Christmas music. That is an abomination on all levels.

Besides, we are coming up to the Jewish High Holy Days, and that is where the Bob comes into play. We hear the story of Abraham and Isaac, and Bob wrote about that on “Highway 61, Revisited.” It is what I chant under my breath, and taught all three surrogate daughters to recite every Rosh Hashanna:

G-d said to Abraham, kill me your son

Abe say G-d, you must be puttin me on

G-d say no, Abe say what

G-d say you can do what you want Abe, but

The next time you see me comin’ you better run

Abe say where you want this killin done

G-d say out on Highway 61

See? That’s what the Bob is best at, making the ancient relevant, whether we are talking about G-d and Abraham or musical genres that have passed (see the gumbo-infused blues he’s got on the latest cd, or the Civil War era rhythms and instrumentations on Love and Theft.)

Tonight the RLA and I are going to see Bruce Springsteen and the Legendary E-Street Band. It’s a crap shoot for us, seating-wise, because I coughed up for general admission tix, which means we’re standing for the whole show, somewhere on the floor. Exactly where depends on where we hit the lottery. Not that we wouldn’t be standing (or dancing) for the whole show anyway. I tried not to look at set lists from the tour, wanting it to be a surprise, but caved last night, and discovered that he’s been doing the Detroit Medley and Land of 1000 Dances. He played 8 encores (well, 8 songs during the encore) in Boston in August. (I NEED to find a copy of that show.)

The RLA and I have been watching movies dealing with tradition. We saw 10 Canoes last night, a dream of a movie that tells a legend, or myth, or folk tale of Australian native people. I don’t think we’re supposed to call them Aborigines any more. Two weeks ago we watched Arranged, about two women in Brooklyn, one a Hassidic Jew, and her friend who is a devout Muslim. They are both in the middle of having their marriages arranged for them, and both are having a sort of crisis of faith, wondering if they want a more secular life. They both decide no. It makes me wonder if my own life is too secular, and I long for a routine of going to temple and prayer. But there’s the rub. I don’t find myself fitting in the community at any of the local temples I have attended.

I’m supposed to go to services with Star this weekend, and I am loathe to do so. I did not enjoy last year’s services. CousinSteve may say that one is not supposed to enjoy the service, but I’m not sure. I think that I should. That I should find things to contemplate upon and messages in the sermons that bear deeper reflection. Such was not the case last year, and I doubt that it will be so this year. The temple that I belonged to for many years has a new rabbi, and maybe I would find him a better spiritual leader, but it’s too late now to try to get tickets for services. I can’t find any enthusiasm within myself for Chabbad.

Sigh. Maybe I’ll just listen to the Bob’s version of the story, and trust myself to reflect upon the message.