Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dylan on Dylan's Christmas Album

Via Althouse, Bob Dylan plays it straight about his new Christmas album:
Big Issue: Is recording a Christmas album something you’ve had on your mind for a while?
Bob Dylan: Yeah, every so often it has crossed my mind. The idea was first brought to me by Walter Yetnikoff, back when he was President of Columbia Records.

Did you take him seriously?
Well, sure I took him seriously.

But it didn’t happen. How come?
He wasn’t specific. Besides, there was always a glut of records out around that time of year and I didn’t see how one by me could make any difference.

What was Christmas like around your town when you were growing up?
Well, you know, plenty of snow, jingle bells, Christmas carolers going from house to house, sleighs in the streets, town bells ringing, nativity plays. That sort of thing.

Your family was Jewish – as a kid did you ever feel left out of the Christmas excitement?
No, not at all.

It goes on from there. I think Dylan's playing it straight and sincere; he loves these songs, his record company was behind the idea, the proceeds are going to charity. What's the big deal?

Well, the big deal is it's Bob Dylan and he's supposed to be an enigma, isn't he? Only maybe in this case, he's not.

(The interview reminds me of the ones found in the Reader Edition's of Anne Tyler's books. Tyler plays it straight as well - she works as hard as she can on her books until they're ready for the publisher. No mystery about the creation of her art other than the hard work she puts in. Other interviews with other authors seem to me to spend too much time exploring the mystery of the creative process. Tyler cuts to the chase: There's no mystery about it. She has to work at it.)

So Dylan appears to be playing it straight. Maybe he's been playing it straight all along.

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