Peter Case

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Dylan (what I’ve taken away)

The companionship of Watching The River Flow, later Tangled Up In Blue, and others—Dignity I pulled the car over when I first heard it on the radio—Jokerman–I brought home and alone listening was transfixed—it was riveting—so alive—earlier I learned that white & black folk music go together—that the sound of the words is as important as anything—somehow it led me to Shakespeare—Kerouac also a part of this—the WORD—Eliot as a kid—Stevens—now Notley—that life is an adventure, an opportunity, is important.    Life—is holy—Death so powerful—the mystery—anima—the invisible world—the champions of civil rights—the dignity & value & stature he brought to rock & roll & folk—music etc—is no small thing—he made me want to live, to strive, to contend—wisdom of the street—the vision the powerful sweep & scope—Chimes of Freedom—It’s All Right, Ma—Baby Blue—he sang for freedom of the spirit & the soul—”the guardians and protectors of the mind”–“it is not he or she or them or it that you belong to”– ““an’ mine shall be a strong loneliness dissolvin’ deep/t’ the depths of my freedom/an’ that, then, shall/
remain my song”

–“don’t put on any airs when you’re down on Rue Morgue Avenue”—“when you ain’t got nothing, you ain’t got nothing to lose” —“she’s got everything she needs she’s an artist, she don’t look back” —“she never stumbles, she’s got no place to fall”–  like Bob in ’64-’65—(“he never stumbled” said Penny)– when I was a teen—“somebody got lucky but it was an accident”–  “goin’ back to New York City I do believe I’ve had enough”– (marvelling at the chaos of life & New York.) The beauty of Girl From The North Country—Went To See The Gypsy hit me in my 1971 isolation—at my biker friend Rose’s Cadillac dealership, waiting in the parking lot for her to get off work– in the days before I left town for good—the last song that moved me like that for a while—’til Billy—which also I loved & identified with–Billy’s trouble as I was on the lam 70’s style—so vivid & finally got that great inscription in the pink lyrics book perused at the SF bookstore two thousand miles from my home—“to all those high on life—from all corners of the wild blue yonder.”

*  Long Time Gone, an early Dylan song, from my cd “HWY 62” on Omnivore Recordings, 2016.


  1. This is a really cool read, Peter. As listeners we all have these fragments which are more than fragments. There is movement in these fragments, which may be why listening to an album in a car is so satisfying, that let us piece together individuals. Genres aren’t satisfying … those scraps and fragments of individual’s thoughts placed there to be unraveled and put back together in different forms is what gets at it … “that the sound of the words is as important as anything” …

  2. For me it felt this way as well but also seeing peter too up on a high stage just after blue guitar came out-poor old Tom was the one that has me thinking had me reeling had me with all those pictures and broken guitar fragments—I was busking on a early summer Saturday night on Yonge street—took my few bills and went to sam’s when the street grew tired and got that vinyl—thx peter

  3. Hey Peter, where does the line “My freedom shall dissolve to the depths of my loneliness” come from? I don’t recall that one…

    1. That’s from 11 Outlined Epitaphs, the poems that went with the Times They Are A-Changin’ Album… I’ll check again and quote the whole section here in a moment or two…

      1. Close enough. Thanks for the reference–I was pretty sure it wasn’t a song, but feared it might be in Tarantula, the code to which I find uncrackable.

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