Legendary musician Bob Dylan, the Nobel Prize in Literature 2012, released his first album of original songs on Friday of eight years. In particular, the 79-year-old artist mentions the Tulsa massacre that saw about 300 African Americans massacred by a white crowd in 1921.
“Rough and Rowdy Ways”: this is the title of 39e Bob Dylan’s studio album, the first album by the Nobel Laureate in literature since “Storm” in 2012, although the artist has released several albums in the meantime. This album, released to the public on Friday, June 19, features a 17-minute ballad on the assassination of John Kennedy and a tribute to American blues singer Jimmy Reed.
This new opus, which emerges 58 years after Bob Dylan’s premiere, blues blues, rock and folk music with lyrics that swing between black humor and nostalgic evocations of ghosts of the past, all sung with a rocky voice. “Murder Most Foul,” a piece of the river that traces the assassination of John Kennedy in Dallas while describing the evolution of American counterculture in the 1960s, rose to the top of the Billboard ranking as soon as it was released in March.
The song especially draws attention to the memories of many legendary artists of the time such as Eagles, Charlie Parker, Stevie Nicks, Woodstock and the Beatles.
Bob Dylan, 79, also recalls the 1921 racial massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where up to 300 black people lost their lives. The employed singer has often referred to police brutality and racism in his most famous titles in the 1960s and 1970s, like the song “Hurricane” who tells the life of black boxer Rubin Carter, wrongly condemned in 1966 for a triple murder.
Interviewed last week by The New York Times at the death of George Floyd, Bob Dylan had hoped that justice would act quickly in favor of the victim’s family and the American nation.
A life of concerts
In “False Prophet”, the second track from the six minute album, the artist makes fun of his own legend. “I’m not a false prophet (I’m not a false prophet) / I said exactly what I said / I’m just here to get revenge on someone’s head (Yes I’m just here to take revenge),” he sings.
This album is “arguably his most beautiful poetic expression to date,” according to the British music magazine NME. The Rolling Stone newspaper described the album as “absolutely classic”.
Despite his age, Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, has spent the last three decades of his life on an almost permanent tour. In April 2017, he secured the inaugural concert of Seine Music, located at Ile Seguin, very close to Paris.
The Coronavirus pandemic forced him to cancel a series of concert dates in Japan and North America in the spring and summer, but the singer has promised to return to the stage as soon as it is safe to do so. .