Saturday, January 28, 2023

I wrote this about the new Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Fragments - Time Out of Mind Sessions 1996-1997 The Bootleg Series Vol. 17.

“Well, my nerves are exploding and my body’s tense”

God is his shield as the blues rain down like Biblical prophecy.
  First time I heard this record was on a cassette as I lay on a couch on Maynard Ave. reading Philip K. Dick. As epiphanies go the songs washed over me like dirges as the Shroud of Turin made its presence known. Bob comes clean on these songs like he hasn’t before and on disc one with the sheen gone these songs become even more confessional and cantankerous. We’re witnessing the blue boy step from the wet, oily painting to shake hands with death and demand his comeuppance. I’ve never attempted to parse his words because what would be the bloody point when transgressions are revealed and the sun shines upon him like an unkempt prayer. This music is personal like a secret only revealed once you’ve knelt down and acknowledged that your creator is neither your best friend nor worst enemy.
  Imagine the tragedy to befall us as another lifeblood-refrain tears us to shreds. I’ve always heard “Cold Irons Bound” as a road song. A song Lincoln would have played as he freed the slaves and dealt with his own oppressive demons. The glass is shattered as Bob steps closer to the edge and questions his impermanence. I believe the record is more life affirming than people realize as Dylan wrestles with the muse that has him in a chokehold. One’s legendary status only gets in the way when you’re as hungry as a wolf and as treacherous as a quisling. Nothing makes any sense as these fragments are rubbed into our wounds like fire and brimstone.

Charles Cicirella