Freewheelin' album, I've had a love affair with Bob Dylan's face. He was considerably younger then—22 to be exact—and despite the soft innocence his face possessed, I had a feeling there was a whole lot more going on. I don't mean that I was attracted like a teen girl, or a fan, I mean that I was drawn to its aesthetic beauty...
I bought the album because I'd heard Don't Think Twice, It's All Right at a friend's house and was blown away. I was new to folk music and it was Dylan who popped that cherry for me. I'd been playing on a guitar, although I didn't know chords or anything else about it, but when I heard Dylan play, I knew I had to learn. I still haven't mastered that rolling "Travis" picking pattern though. I can play a lot of others, though, and I've even invented a few of my own, but that one still evades me. But then, I've never had anyone just sit down and show it to me. Any volunteers? Anyway, back to Dylan's face, because, well, this entry isn't supposed to be about his music.
My favorite look was that 1965-66 Ray-Bans, black turtleneck look. He's not a big guy anyway, but his thinness and his head full of JFed curls gave him a Chaplinesque quality that worked for him at the time. Do you remember the impact that look had on you the first time you saw a picture of him?
"You know something is happenin', but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"
Renaldo and Clara. He haphazardly slapped some clown white on his face, lined his eyes with kohl and peered out menacingly at the audience from under a wide-brimmed hat. And I loved it! The music from this time was especially good: I can't name one bad song on his Blood On The Tracks album. It's still my favorite of his. Yes, I know the LP came out in 1975 and the movie in 1978, but I'm talking about eras here, not a concise timeline.
We all age, we all get older. If you can't face that, then you seriously need to grow up. I mean, unless you're still a kid. It's faces like Dylan's that help me to accept and even love my own aging every time I look in the mirror. When I think about it, I'm damned proud to be aging right alongside Dylan!