As a passionate fan, student and teacher of Bob Dylan, I have felt a need to create a concordance of  the lyrics to Dylan’s songs.  The only one I’ve come across is one published by Steve Michel, whose book includes over 8,000 words and is inclusive of the songs on 1992′s CD, Under the Red Sky.

My plan is to start from Bob’s latest CD (a new one called Tempest arrives September 11, 2012) and at first key on the words Bob Dylan rhymes. In an interview with Bill Flanagan, Bob once said, “I love rhyming for rhyming sake. I think it’s an incredible art form.”  So I want to start there–where Dylan sees “an incredible art form,” and allow those words to go from song to song where they’ve been used before maybe to help form unexpected patterns for fans, students, and educators to admire and contemplate.  Words themselves can create “some amazing hallucinogenic experiences,” something Dylan said in his 1978 Playboy interview about looking out your window in Hibbing, MN.

I also will not, at least initially, focus on common or popular Dylan rhyming words.  For instance, in “Beyond Here Lies Nothing,” the first rhyme is baby/me.  I could probably find those words in one of every three of Bob’s songs.  The second rhyme, known/throne/own gives us a word worth pursuit, “throne.”  “Known” and “own” tickle my brain, too, for where else they reside in Dylan’s lyrical universe, but I think “throne” will prove to be a word less traveled by Dylan and it should be interesting to see how that word has been used for its sound and meaning for Bob in his published songs for over fifty years.

I’m choosing a blog platform, too, so it can be interactive.  I want to comment on and inspire discussion about Dylan’s words.  I’ve never met Dylan and probably never will, but I bet he’d love a place where people just talk about the words he chose to rhyme.  I think those words must be special to him, like strangers he’s introduced to each other who will always be friends.

A work in progress concordance blog also let the process be as valuable or satisfying as the product.  This may be a life long labor of love, but why wait til the end to see what people think.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: