Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dear Bob: Say it ain’t so!

An open letter to rock poet, (singer?) and songwriter Bob Dylan

I’m among your biggest fans. You came out-of-the-gate in 1962 with a cover album of traditional folk music, and I was hooked. You followed up with The Freewheeling Bob Dylan in 1963 and then with The Times They Are-A-Changin’ in 1964. You became the voice of a generation – a title, which you didn’t want; so when you abandoned protest music for love songs, I stuck with you. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when you went electric, and those nutty folkies booed you off the stage, I stuck with you. If you wanted to go electric, it was fine with me, the heck with the fair weather fans that couldn’t keep up. Although I’m from the Detroit Rock City, I followed you through your country phase. I stuck with you when the critics screamed that your Self Portrait Album (1970) was a collection of bad cover tunes. I did have my doubts during your Christian phase, but maintained the belief that you’d come back – which you did, “Thank God”. I know all the words to Subterranean Homesick Blue. I have a vanity plate that reads: HYW61 RE. In short, I’m a Dylan junkie. I have endured the ridicule of my friends who laugh and imitate that annoying voice of yours. OK I respond, “So maybe he doesn’t have the greatest voice, but none of those Grammy winning pop singers wrote, “Like a Rolling Stone”. But what I don’t understand is the recent announcement that you are going to release an album of Christmas songs. Do we really need to hear that 68-year-old voice of yours sing “Winter Wonderland” and “Little Drummer Boy”? How am I supposed to face this new side of you? Between you and I, I’ll probably pick up a copy – carry it out of the store in a brown paper bag, sneak it home, and like most people with an addiction – listen to it by myself, and deny that I have a problem.