Thursday, November 1, 2018

How Hip Capitalist Multi-Millionaire Musician Dylan Became `Part Of The Establishment'

As a now-deceased early 1960s Congress of Racial Equality [CORE] activist Suze  Rotolo once recalled:

"Robert Shelton's [Sept. 29, 1961 New York Times] review, without a doubt, made Dylan's career, because that brought the Establishment. He couldn't have gotten the Columbia thing, in a way, without that. That review was unprecedented. Shelton had not given a review like that for anybody...He [Dylan] always said he was going to be very big...What was shocking was seeing him became part of the Establishment--Carnegie Hall, Columbia Records..."

NY Times Folk Music Critic Robert Shelton with Dylan in 1964
According to an Oct. 23, 1961 entry in Izzy Young's Notebook, that includes early 1960s comments made to him by  Hip Capitalist Multi-Millionaire Musician Bob Dylan, which can be found in the 2018 book, Dylan on Dylan: Interviews and Encounters, which Jeff Burger edited, Dylan also told Izzy Young the following in October 1961:

"Bob Shelton helped by writing an article [Bob Dylan: A Distinctive Folk Song Stylist,' published Sept. 29, 1961 in the New York Times--ed.]--talked around--someone from Elektra came down but nothing happened. Bob Shelton been like a friend for a long time...The article came out on Thursday night...Showed the article to John Hammond [of Columbia Records]--Come in and see me. I did. And he is recording me..."

And in a March 27, 1965 interview a few years after he became "part of the Establishment," whose text appeared in the Sept. 17, 1965 issue of the Los Angeles Free Press underground newspaper, that also was included in the 2018 Dylan on Dylan book, Dylan told Paul Jay Robins the following:

"...I'm not going to tell them I'm the Great Cause Fighter...Because I'm not, man. Why mislead them. That's all just Madison Avenue, that's just selling. Sure Madison Avenue is selling me..."

So, not surprisingly, on May 5, 1965 antiwar protest folk singer and protest folk songwriter Joan Baez wrote a letter to her now-deceased sister, Mimi Baez Farina, from the Savoy Hotel in London, which appeared in David Hajdu's 2001 book, Positively 4th Street, that stated:

"We're leaving Bobby's entourage...He doesn't speak to me, or anyone, really, unless it's `business,' how many records he's selling, will his record be #1, etc. It's shocked me completely out of my senses and I'm fed up...Joanie."

Also not surprisingly, when most hip young people in the USA were protesting against the U.S. Establishment's decision to escalate its war in Vietnam during the 1960s, Hip Capitalist Multi-Millionaire Musician Dylan apparently attempted to discourage his fans from both listening to protest folk songs or from protesting against the U.S. Establishment's militaristic foreign policy by saying, in an interview with writer Nat Hentoff whose text appeared in the March 1966 issue of Playboy magazine, that's included in the 2018 Dylan on Dylan book, the following:

"Folk music is a word I can't use. Folk music is a bunch of fat people...Songs like `Which Side Are You On?'...they're not folk-music songs, they're political songs. They're already dead...Everybody knows that I'm not a folk singer...`Protest' is not my word. I've never thought of myself as such...Message songs...are a drag. It's only college newspaper editors and single girls under 14 that could possibly have time for them...My older songs, to say the least, were about nothing...

"...I haven't lost any interest in protest since then...I just didn't have any interest in protest to begin with...Sure, you can go around trying to bring up people who are lesser than you, but then don't forget, you're messing around with gravity. I don't fight gravity...People that march with slogans and things tend to take themselves a little too holy...It's pointless to dedicate yourself to the cause; that's really pointless..." 

Hip Capitalist Manager Albert Grossman With Dylan In Early 1960s

Saturday, September 29, 2018

How Hip Capitalist Multi-Millionaire Musician Dylan Obtained Melody For "The Ballad of Emmett Till" Protest Folk Song

Over 56 years ago a now-longtime hip capitalist multi-millionaire musician, whose stage name was Bob Dylan, wrote the lyrics to a protest folk song about the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi on August 28, 1955, titled "The Ballad of Emmett Till."

But the melody for "The Ballad of Emmett Till" was apparently created not by Dylan, but by an early 1960s African-American protest folk songwriter and protest folk singer named Len Chandler.

In a February 1, 1962 entry contained in Izzy Young's Notebook that appeared in the Chicago Review Press's 2018 book that Jeff Burger edited, titled Dylan On Dylan: Interviews and Encounters, the then-nearly 21 year-old Dylan is quoted as saying the following:

"Wrote a song the other night Ballad of Emmett Till. After I wrote it someone said another song was written but not like it. I wrote it for CORE--I'm playing it February 23 [1962]. I think it's the best thing I've written. Only song I play with a capo. Stole the melody from Len Chandler--a song he wrote about a Colorado bus driver...Getting some money from Columbia. I'm supposed to be making all kinds of money, I seem...I'm sort of disconnecting myself from the folk music scene..."

And in the text of a March 1962 interview with Cynthia Gooding, that the Pacifica Foundation's listener-sponsored WBAI radio station in New York City aired, which also was included in the 2018 Dylan On Dylan book which Jeff Burger edited, the then-nearly 21 year-old Dylan is quoted as saying the following:

"Well, I just wrote songs...You wanna hear one?...Well, let me see. What kind do you wanna hear? I got a new one I wrote...Yeah, I got a new one. This one's called `Emmett Till.' Oh, by the way, I stole the melody from Len Chandler. And he's a funny guy. He's a folksinger guy. He uses a lot of funny chords when he plays and he always wants me to use some of these chords, trying to teach the new chords all the time. Well, he played me this one. He said, `Don't those chords sound nice??' And I said. `They sure do.' So I stole the whole thing...Yeah...Melody's his...Wait till Chandler hears the melody, though..."

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Did Smithsonian Folkways Partner With U.S. Capitalism In Distributing Non-Commercially-Motivated Folk Music?

Most people who are into listening to non-commercially-motivated folk music have, historically, been anti-capitalist and been against the denial of a fair share of daily U.S. mass media access to anti-capitalist musicians--like Paul Robeson, Woody Guthrie, Rev. Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick and Matt Jones--by the U.S. capitalism's corporate media gatekeepers. And most people who are into listening to non-commercially-motivated folk music have, historically, been opposed to the commodification of folk music for-profit; and also to the exploitation by the U.S. capitalist system's corporate music industry record distribution companies of the folk music fans to whom they market their commodified folk music.

Yet Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has generally failed to focus much on opposing either the U.S. capitalist system's continued denial of a fair share of U.S. mass media daily access to post-1965 anti-capitalist, non-commercially-motivated, non-professional folk musicians who are working-class. Nor has Smithsonian Folkways demanded that the U.S. capitalism's music distribution system be operated in a non-commercial, non-exploitative way that provides U.S. folk music fans with their cultural right to listen to all folk music recordings for free.

One reason might be because the director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings apparently saw nothing morally and politically contradictory in partnering with U.S. imperialism's capitalist system in marketing and distributing the non-commercially-motivated folk music that, historically,was generally collectively or individually created by anti-capitalist working-class people or anti-capitalist musicians; who, historically, had generally only received minimal sums of money or royalties from either Folkways or Paredon Records, in exchange for recording the albums whose folk music Smithsonian Folkways marketed.

As Timothy D. Taylor noted in his 2016 book Music and Capitalism, "Anthony Seeger, director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, told me that that label had no qualms about using the capitalist infrastructure of distribution networks to disseminate its music." The Smithsonian Folkways director emeritus apparently told the Music and Capitalism author in 2012:

"At Folkways I always thought I was taking advantage of the capitalist system to distribute a kind of music that was unpopular, by definition...It seemed to me that capitalism and the market system actually was a really efficient way...for anybody anywhere in the world being able to get what they cared about. It seemed to me in principle you could in fact take advantage, sort of ride on the back of the capitalist system..."

Yet, coincidentally, few recordings of protest folk songs written by non-commercially-motivated anti-capitalist U.S. working-class folk musicians  or by members of the People's Music Network [PMN] that were written after 1980, have been produced or distributed by Smithsonian Folkways during the last three decades when it's been partnering and riding "on the back of the capitalist system."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

`They Drove Woody Guthrie' protest folk song lyrics

If you write too many songs and you side with the poor
And you refuse to be a wage slave
They will say you’re “insane”, they will put you away
Like they drove Woody Guthrie to his grave.

He walked around the land and spoke with men and women
And wrote a thousand songs to tell the truth
The media barons, they felt he was too red
And his exclusion drove him to booze. (chorus)

He wrote a big long book which no one would publish
Because it spoke too much of love
He saw that nine-to-five was a big waste of life
But few understood what he said. (chorus)

They said he was “too old” to refuse to settle down
They ordered him to act like other men
But when he refused, they said he had “a disease”
And they locked him in a mental hospital bed. (chorus)

The capitalists got rich from the songs of the communist
Whom they kept hidden away with the insane
They marketed his legend while they took away his pen
Yes, they drove Woody Guthrie to his grave. (chorus)

The "They Drove Woody Guthrie" protest folk song was written in the late 1970s or early 1980s.