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

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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

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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?

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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.



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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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

Post  pinhedz on Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:32 pm

It's a lot different from this:




... Which reminds me of this:


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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

Post  pinhedz on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:08 am

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. What a Face ]

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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.


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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

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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?

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

Post  pinhedz on Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:37 am

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

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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.

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

Post  pinhedz on Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:02 pm

Andy wrote: ... ModBob ...

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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


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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

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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:


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

Post  pinhedz on Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:57 pm

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

Lyrics too good to be by Bob Dylan. rabbit

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

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