A question about Bob Dylan's Last thoughts on Woody Guthrie

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by hello people, Jan 21, 2008.

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  1. hello people

    hello people Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Earth
    1. In his speech 'Last thoughts on Woodie Guthrie', what do you think he meant by the last bit? It's a great piece of writing...any way for those who know it, it finishes like this:

    And where do you look for this hope that yer seekin'
    Where do you look for this lamp that's a-burnin'
    Where do you look for this oil well gushin'
    Where do you look for this candle that's glowin'
    Where do you look for this hope that you know is there
    And out there somewhere
    And your feet can only walk down two kinds of roads
    Your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows
    Your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways
    You can touch and twist
    And turn two kinds of doorknobs
    You can either go to the church of your choice
    Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital
    You'll find God in the church of your choice
    You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

    And though it's only my opinion
    I may be right or wrong
    You'll find them both
    In the Grand Canyon
    At sundown


    Anyway...I would like to know what you think he means with the Grand Canyon reference. I have my theory...but I'd like to hear others.
     
  2. johnny33

    johnny33 New Member

    Location:
    usa
    Well, the way I read it is he admired Woody Guthrie an awful lot.

    I believe Dylan is saying you can find the beauty of God and the beauty of what Woody was saying in the Grand Canyon at its most spectacular moment.
     
  3. Cassius

    Cassius On The Beach

    Location:
    Lafayette, Co
    Hope/Faith/Inspiration/Salvation/peace exists in the physical world.

    For me Dylan's highest moment.

    Also for completist, it should be known that Bob's introduction before the piece is edited on the official release.

    C
     
  4. hello people

    hello people Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Earth
    Yeah. I thought the same...that the soul is the world, nature...nothing to do with buildings or dogma or organised belief.

    I know Guthrie sung about the land...but I never really heard Dylan sing about nature as such.

    Incredible speech to my ears.

    Is a transcript of the unedited intro available?
     
  5. Richard Feirstein

    Richard Feirstein New Member

    Location:
    Albany, NY
    A boot of the unedited version floats around. I was lucky enough to be at that concert and just wish you could have been there. That Bob killed the release of Bob Dylan in Concert is one of those strange and fustrating things you just have to learn to live with. He did let Sony Music release (for free) the "Bob Dylan at Caragie Hall" which gives a huge hint about just how good he was during those 1963 NYC concerts. It did not get much better than this.

    Richard
     
  6. tspit74

    tspit74 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Woodridge, IL, USA
    "Last Thoughts" is the best thing he ever did in a long list of great acheivements in music, poetry, and art. I actually well up when I listen to it, absolutely astonished that anyone can write something so amazing. I've said it before, but you just can't fake something like "Last Thoughts". It's the real deal thru and thru.
     
  7. johnny 99

    johnny 99 Down On Main Street

    Location:
    Toronto
    Now that's impressive!:righton:
     
  8. hello people

    hello people Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Earth
    Thanks for the info...I totally agree. This is an amazing piece of writing.
     
  9. serge

    serge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Amazing. BLew me away when I first heard it... That good... Transcendent....

    It was probably around when I heard this that I realized he was a genius.
     
  10. matthew5

    matthew5 Forum Resident

    Location:
    canada
  11. Cassius

    Cassius On The Beach

    Location:
    Lafayette, Co
    A few more thoguhts:
    -I wanted to read this at my HS graduation.
    -I used to walk around with a tape and try and turn people onto this.
    -Clapton is on record as saying roughly this is his crowning achievment.

    C
     
  12. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    Location:
    clifton park,ny
    the 63 town hall show is among my absolute favorite performances of his. i'd love to have been there too. doesn't get much better than that.
    hi from a fellow ( near ) albany member,
    dave
     
  13. The unreleased Bob Dylan In Concert LP would be a nice volume for the Bootleg Series. Maybe with other performances from the same nights as bonus tracks?
     
  14. ashulman

    ashulman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Utica, NY
    I think he's talking about Guthrie as a source of inspiration- the gushing oil well, the burning lamp, etc. Some people look and find God, he found Woody.
     
  15. jpmosu

    jpmosu a.k.a. Mr. Jones

    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Those closing lines are further evidence, to me, of Dylan's spirituality long before 1979. Dylan's talking about things in twos--which itself has a wonderful resonance within the Judeo-Christian tradition (the story of Noah anyone?)--and, at the close of that next-to-last stanza, the two things he's talking about are God and Woody Guthrie.

    So, finding them both in the Grand Canyon at sundown? Finding God at that moment should surprise no one. But finding Woody Guthrie at that moment is perhaps what's less obvious. But I think he's saying that both God and Woody are in that sublime place at the same time because they're really one and the same. And that Woody--or perhaps Woody's music, to be more precise--and the beauty of sundown in the Canyon are part and parcel of something transcendent--something beautiful and nourishing (in the broadest sense).

    That's what I'm seeing (and maybe I'm just stating what's obvious), but it is cool to read those lines again.

    I need to dig out my copy of the actual performance when I get home!
     
  16. jdw

    jdw Forum Resident

    Can anyone give an idea how much of the intro was edited on the official release? Is a transcription of the missing material available anywhere online?

    I realize the complete version circulates unofficially, but I'd like to know if there is a huge difference ("complete" vs "released version") before I decide to try tracking it down.

    Thanks...
     
  17. JAuz

    JAuz Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    Follow up questions:

    - Was this performed only one time?

    - Who was the "they" (in the intro) that asked him to write something about Woody? It reads almost as a eulogy or something inspired by someone who has recently passed. Woody of course lived until 1967 so it was much too early for that.
     
  18. jpmosu

    jpmosu a.k.a. Mr. Jones

    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Until this thread, I never knew there was an edit on what appears on The Bootleg Series. Looks like that track is more than a minute shorter than what circulated on bootlegs.

    I'll have to listen later at home.
     
  19. Cassius

    Cassius On The Beach

    Location:
    Lafayette, Co
    It's nothing major, which in my mind makes it seem odd that it was edited. How long is disc one fo the Bootleg Series, perhaps they were triming to fit on the disc.

    C
     
  20. jpmosu

    jpmosu a.k.a. Mr. Jones

    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    I just listened--Cassius is right on. There really is no big difference. The only interesting edit is Dylan trying to decide if it's a poem or not. But, overall, the edited intro is not *that* interesting.
     
  21. hello people

    hello people Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Earth
    I think that's a great way to put it

    :thumbsup:
     
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