Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:32 pm

Lyrics to Tell Ol' Bill :

Lyrics to Tell Ol' Bill :

The river whispers in my ear
I've hardly a penny to my name
The heavens have never seemed so near
All my body glows with flame.

The tempest struggles in the air
And to myself alone I sing
It could sink me then and there
I can hear the echoes ring.

I tried to find one smilin' face
To drive the shadow from my head
I'm stranded in this nameless place
Lyin' restless in a heavy bed.

Tell me straight out if you will
Why must you torture me within?
Why must you come down off your high hill?
Throw my fate to the clouds and wind.

Far away in a silent land
Secret thoughts are hard to bear
Remember me you'll understand
Emotions we can never share.

You trampled on me as you passed
Left the coldest kiss upon my brow
All my doubts and fears have gone at last
I've nothing more to tell you now.

I walk by tranquil lakes and streams
As each new season's dawn awaits
I lay awake at night with troubled dreams
The enemy is at the gate.

Beneath the thunder-blasted trees
The words are ringin' off your tongue
The ground is hard in times like these
Stars are cold, the night is young.

The rocks are bleak, the trees are bare
Iron clouds go floatin' by
Snowflakes falling in my hair
Beneath the gray and stormy sky.

The evenin' sun is sinking low
The woods are dark, the town is too
They''ll drag you down, they run the show
Ain't no tellin' what they'll do.

Tell Ol' Bill when he comes home
Anything is worth a try
Tell him that I'm not alone
That the hour has come to do or die.

All the world I would defy
Let me make it plain as day
I look at you now and I sigh
How could it be any other way?
The river whispers in my ear
I've hardly a penny to my name
The heavens have never seemed so near
All my body glows with flame.

The tempest struggles in the air
And to myself alone I sing
It could sink me then and there
I can hear the echoes ring.

I tried to find one smilin' face
To drive the shadow from my head
I'm stranded in this nameless place
Lyin' restless in a heavy bed.

Tell me straight out if you will
Why must you torture me within?
Why must you come down off your high hill?
Throw my fate to the clouds and wind.

Far away in a silent land
Secret thoughts are hard to bear
Remember me you'll understand
Emotions we can never share.

You trampled on me as you passed
Left the coldest kiss upon my brow
All my doubts and fears have gone at last
I've nothing more to tell you now.

I walk by tranquil lakes and streams
As each new season's dawn awaits
I lay awake at night with troubled dreams
The enemy is at the gate.

Beneath the thunder-blasted trees
The words are ringin' off your tongue
The ground is hard in times like these
Stars are cold, the night is young.

The rocks are bleak, the trees are bare
Iron clouds go floatin' by
Snowflakes falling in my hair
Beneath the gray and stormy sky.

The evenin' sun is sinking low
The woods are dark, the town is too
They''ll drag you down, they run the show
Ain't no tellin' what they'll do.

Tell Ol' Bill when he comes home
Anything is worth a try
Tell him that I'm not alone
That the hour has come to do or die.

All the world I would defy
Let me make it plain as day
I look at you now and I sigh
How could it be any other way?



Last edited by blue moon on Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  nombre de otro on Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:42 pm

I googled tell old bill intersexuality and I got here: http://gwydion.dreamwidth.org/tag/holidays

PS: do you hate me yet?
avatar
nombre de otro

Posts : 292
Join date : 2012-07-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:54 pm

Oh My God...a response! cheers

Righto then. I'll open the discussion.

I'd never heard the song but noticed it in the 'Tempest' thread.
Woo posted it in that thread because of the line "The tempest struggles in the air".
The song evoked a number of poems/poets for me, and that enhanced my appreciation of the lyrics as well as aroused my interest.


I detected references (direct and indirect) to Whitman, Frost, and Poe in the first listen, and felt the overarching tone of the song was derived from a Rossetti poem.


avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  nombre de otro on Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:14 pm

blue moon wrote:Oh My God...a response! cheers

Righto then. I'll open the discussion.
Laughing


blue moon wrote:aroused
cheers
avatar
nombre de otro

Posts : 292
Join date : 2012-07-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:18 pm

Hmmm. You've given me quite a bit of food for thought there otro.
I'll need a little time to do some research. study
avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  nombre de otro on Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:22 pm

I knew my post would arouse your interest!
avatar
nombre de otro

Posts : 292
Join date : 2012-07-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:30 pm

ah crap...I have to go repost the lyrics...you'll have noticed they're incorrect.
avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  nombre de otro on Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:28 am

incorrect
avatar
nombre de otro

Posts : 292
Join date : 2012-07-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:53 pm

pinhedz wrote:It's a lot different from this:


That's a joy to listen to and watch Very Happy
I'd never heard of Eric Bibb Shocked
Thanks for the introduction.
avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:12 pm

I'd only heard Van Morrison singing Tell Me ma before...I think with the Chjeftans.
avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:39 pm

notes to self:

Lyrics to Tell Ol' Bill :

I've hardly a penny to my name
...he says penny, not cent (England)
(Old Bill is slang for policeman (England)

...from Remember, by Christina Rossetti

Rossetti:
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell meof our future that you plann'd:

Dylan:
Far away in a silent land
Secret thoughts are hard to bear
Remember me you'll understand
Emotions we can never share.

A Dream within a Dream, by Poe

Poe:
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow -
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;

Dylan:
Left the coldest kiss upon my brow
All my doubts and fears have gone at last
I've nothing more to tell you now.

I walk by tranquil lakes and streams
As each new season's dawn awaits
...(sounds like Whitman or Wordsworth (Lakes District poems)

...(troubled dreams...the opening of Kafka's Metamorphosis
Dylan:
I lay awake at night with troubled dreams
Kafka:
"One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams,
he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.
He lay on his armour-like back..."

Beneath the thunder-blasted trees
...(think something similar in a Blake poem)

...(sounds like opening of Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Bob Dylan
The evenin' sun is sinking low
The woods are dark, the town is too
They''ll drag you down, they run the show
Ain't no tellin' what they'll do.

The rocks are bleak, the trees are bare
Iron clouds go floatin' by
Snowflakes falling in my hair
Beneath the gray and stormy sky.


Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:09 pm

Recently I was googling Dylan's lyrics and noticed one of them had 3 references to William Blake poems.
'Tyger tyger' in Roll on John is lovely.
Isn't Tigerlily's status 'burning bright'?

http://acrosstheuniverse.forummotion.com/t13p60-atu-what-happened
avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  nombre de otro on Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:07 am

my nipples explode with delight
avatar
nombre de otro

Posts : 292
Join date : 2012-07-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:55 pm

Your post echoes my own thoughts about Dylan's influences and borrowings pinz, and about the haphazard way they're thrown together.
I had a moment, though, when reading some lyrics to a simple Dylan song, where three Blake references gave it an underlying theme/mood that was absent in the lyrics themselves, because of the nature of the poems referenced (they 'cohered'). This only happened because I was familiar with the poems.

There was a thrill of recognition...a flash of understanding...and then it was gone.

I don't particularly enjoy disecting Dylan's songs...but I've got caught up in it, seeing that there is so much interesting discussion out there about Dylan's lyrics.

In Old Bill my initial feeling was that it was a remembrance of poet-masters past.

avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  nombre de otro on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:55 pm

pinhedz wrote:but it's been a long time since the Bobster wrote a lyric that I could follow from beginning to end and recognize as a continuous tread.
It was yesterday night that I was listening to Tempest and wondered why I couldn't focus on the lyrics as this is this song. Then I thought that from his last albums many lines in his songs would fit another of those songs as well.



pinhedz wrote:"To live outside the law you must be honest" is one of the heaviest lines ever to come from a song lyric




pinhedz wrote:[P.S. nipples exploding with delight is something Bob could use in a song lyric. ]
but that would be plagiarism, he would never do that No
avatar
nombre de otro

Posts : 292
Join date : 2012-07-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  nombre de otro on Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:55 am

I'm only asking
if nowadays he seems to borrow lines, or form many of his lines, from here and there and then he mixes it all with not much consistency... where's the merit (regarding lyrics)? It can work for the song, no problem, the song might be nice... but how do they hold he's an extraordinary lyricist for that?
avatar
nombre de otro

Posts : 292
Join date : 2012-07-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  Andy on Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:39 am

pinhedz wrote:There are several different ways to analyze Bob's works. One is to search out his influences and sources. This is a very rich vein, because there are so many.

I think it's clear that Bob reads a lot. And why not? He's never had a job. Razz

In addition to all of his borrowings from old records, Bob has read everything from Civil War poets to Japanese pulp fiction. Ph.D theses could be written about Bob's sources--and probably have been.

But ...

Are Bob's lyrics coherent? I'd say that some of Bob's lyrics are coherent, insightful and moving ("Don't think Twice," for example). Others might not be coherent, but are still insightful: "To live outside the law you must be honest" is one of the heaviest lines ever to come from a song lyric. And sometimes Bob is moving even if I can't tell what he's talking about ("Just like a woman").

But often--probably more often than not--Bob's lyrics seem to fall into the "word salad" category. Some spinach greens, some broccoli and tomato slices and green beans, and some red beans too, chopped beets and other tasty ingredients all tossed together.

Yes, lots of tasty ingredients, but all just haphazardly tossed together.
If Bob quotes William Blake, does that make him profound? Or does it just mean Bob quoted Blake? study

Bob still writes some great lines--and I think the new CD is a good listen (better than at least the last two that came before it)--but it's been a long time since the Bobster wrote a lyric that I could follow from beginning to end and recognize as a continuous tread.
That said, I can appreciate tasty word salad. I don't need everything to be profound.

[P.S. nipples exploding with delight is something Bob could use in a song lyric. ]

^^

This is by all means the most nuanced and poignant analysis of ModBob I have ever read.
Word for word my thoughts exactly.

Andy
Non scolae sed vitae discimus

Posts : 215
Join date : 2011-04-11

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  nombre de otro on Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:40 pm

I want to ask about the controversy over your quotations in your songs from the works of other writers, such as Japanese author Junichi Saga's Confessions of a Yakuza, and the Civil War poetry of Henry Timrod. In folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition, but some critics say that you didn't cite your sources clearly. What's your response to those kinds of charges?
Oh, yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It's true for everybody, but me. There are different rules for me. And as far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him? Who's been reading him lately? And who's pushed him to the forefront? Who's been making you read him? And ask his descendants what they think of the hoopla. And if you think it's so easy to quote him and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get. Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It's an old thing – it's part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherfuckers can rot in hell.

Seriously?
I'm working within my art form. It's that simple. I work within the rules and limitations of it. There are authoritarian figures that can explain that kind of art form better to you than I can. It's called songwriting. It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylan-strikes-back-at-critics-20120912#ixzz26I8ZEFZi


Last edited by random ego of otro nombre on Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
avatar
nombre de otro

Posts : 292
Join date : 2012-07-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  nombre de otro on Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:42 pm

Bobito Dylan wrote:Wussies and pussies
They're lecherous and treacherous
sluggers and muggers

keep them coming, Bob geek
avatar
nombre de otro

Posts : 292
Join date : 2012-07-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  Lee Van Queef on Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:43 am

Don't have time to read the whole thread at the moment, but just in case no one has mentioned it:

avatar
Lee Van Queef

Posts : 511
Join date : 2011-04-15

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:59 pm

pinhedz wrote:One might argue that lyricists are parasites, in a way.

A line like "Leo took out his sketch book" can evoke the memory of the whole Titanic movie.

Two lines from William Blake can evoke the memory of two entire poems.

One song made me remember a 17th century romantic knight and his beautiful lady love, folk tales from the British Isles and Appalachia, a film by Werner Fassbinder starring Hanna Shygulla at her very hottest, and a play by Shakespeare.

And the emotions associated with those movies, poems and plays come back while listening to the songs.

I'm reserving judgment about whether or not Bob's ability to evoke past memories and associated emotions makes him a great lyricist. geek

This is the song that recalled Blake's poem 'Auguries of Innocence", and Poe's "A Dream within a Dream".
It's the song that made me interested in Dylan's use of intertextuality.
I was looking at his lyrics because a poster on another forum suggested many of Dylan's songs would make as much sense if he simply pasted random lines (his own and others'). "I" wrote a song of several verses by selecting a Dylan album at random, then placing every song's first line in the order they appear on the album. That was verse one. Verse two consisted of putting every second line in order...and so on.
The resulting song sounded plausible, except for a few lines. I would like to see an interview where such a song (edited and including intertextual references to artists other than Dylan) was played in the background. I can imagine his attention drifting toward the song.

"Every Grain Of Sand"

In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There's a dying voice within me reaching out somewhere
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.

Don't have the inclination to look back on any mistake
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break
In the fury of the moment I can see the master's hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.

Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.

I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.

I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream, in the chill of a wintry light
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face.

I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other time it's only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.



avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  blue moon on Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:34 pm

Blake's 'ancient footsteps' are there as well.

"And did those feet in ancient time" by William Blake
( the anthem "Jerusalem")

...Blake's poem

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land

Pinz, you said that a few lines can evoke a wealth of recollection and emotion, and it's true.
I've studied every word of "Auguries", and love "Dream within a Dream".
Being familiar with the concepts behind those poems (as they unfold to me), made Dylan's 'Every Grain of Sand" come alive with images and emotions. I wonder if adding "Jerusalem" at the end gave it an air of hope, of salvation?
(eddie once pointed out the sexual connotations in Jerusalem affraid
avatar
blue moon

Posts : 709
Join date : 2012-08-03

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  Alouette on Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:00 pm

http://michaelgrayouttakes.blogspot.com/search/label/Marty%20Stuart

wasn't aware of Bob / Marty Stuart connection.
it is the folk process.
Bob's song is better

" I'm listening to a song in my head. At a certain point, some words will change and I’ll start writing a song.”
avatar
Alouette

Posts : 155
Join date : 2013-11-11

Back to top Go down

Re: Tell Ol Bill...intertextuality and what it means in this song

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum