Thursday, May 26, 2011

Now, hear this Robert Zimmerman!

The "Super brain", as David Bowie dubbed him on his 1971 opus, "Hunky Dory", has turned 70 years old this week. He has survived the 60's, hype, motorcycle crashes, stress, Jesus, and watching one of his sons wallow in the mediocrity of straight ahead soft rock in The Wallflowers. I also found out something interesting this week about Mr. Dylan. He actually collaborated on lyrics of all things on his "Desire" album. Yes, I was surprised to learn this myself. The man with "a voice like sand and glue" as Bowie put it, worked on several songs on his mid-70's album with the late Jacques Levy. I had a lovely chat with Mr. Levy's widow at my wife's art gallery last night and I could hardly believe it when she told me that Bob & Jacques co-wrote the lyrics to "Hurricane" about the falsely imprisoned boxer, Ruben "Hurricane" Carter. You have probably seen the film about the subject starring Denzel Washington, who delivered an astonishing performance as the "Hurricane". But it is an amazing song, narrative in structure, which was apparently what Mr. Levy brought to the table as a veteran of the theatre. He had worked with the young Sam Shepard at LaMama and even directed the Broadway production of the nudist classic, "Oh, Calcutta!". So, give "Desire" a fresh spin, and happy birthday Robert Zimmerman. Please continue to surprise and delight us.

"Song For Robert Zimmerman"

~ David Bowie ~

Oh, hear this Robert Zimmerman 
I wrote a song for you 
About a strange young man 
called Dylan 
With a voice like sand and glue 
His words of truthful vengeance 
They could pin us to the floor 
Brought a few more people on 
And put the fear in a whole lot more 

Ah, Here she comes 
Here she comes 
Here she comes again 
The same old painted lady 
From the brow of a superbrain 
She'll scratch this world to pieces 
As she comes on like a friend 
But a couple of songs 
From your old scrapbook 
Could send her home again 

You gave your heart to every bedsit room 
At least a picture on my wall 
And you sat behind a million pair of eyes 
And told them how they saw 
Then we lost your train of thought 
The paintings are all your own 
While troubles are rising 
We'd rather be scared 
Together than alone 

Ah, Here she comes...etc. 

Now hear this Robert Zimmerman 
Though I don't suppose we'll meet 
Ask your good friend Dylan 
If he'd gaze a while 
down the old street 
Tell him we've lost his poems 
So they're writing on the walls 
Give us back our unity 
Give us back our family 
You're every nation's refugee 
Don't leave us with their sanity 

Ah, Here she comes....etc. 

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