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

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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.




blue moon

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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

blue moon

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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.”

Alouette

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