Thursday, November 06, 2008

Emmett Till: Dylan’s weakest song?

The Dylan Daily celebrates the art of its subject – and writing is the very core of Dylan’s art.

The deeper and longer I delve, the more I find to respect Dylan’s achievement as a wordsmith. I’m still hearing exciting new things in Dylan 45 years after first raving about that new American folkie.

So stumbling across a weak Dylan composition always comes as a surprise. But there are a few poor songs. I’ve long loathed John Brown – an interminable shaggy dog story. But I’d forgotten until I re-heard it a few days ago the awful The Death Of Emmett Till.

Dylan would eventually work the same theme into a masterpiece, Hattie Carroll. But Emmett Till shows what happens when an artist gets it wrong. It was a good call to leave it on the cutting room floor – it would have spoiled Freewheelin’, a near-perfect album.

Emmett Till - Dylan’s weakest song - surely?

Gerry Smith