Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Rich Cohen, Machers And Rockers: Dylan Via Little Walter


In his book on Chess Records, Machers And Rockers—“machers” idiomatic Yiddish for guys who get things done, literally, make things—Rich Cohen at one point notes Bob Dylan’s album Love and Death and admonishes us to think about that title.

Which I do but the point’s not clicking in.

Then I’m reading later Rich Cohen’s litany of reasons why he loves Little Walter and why he’s his favorite of the blues guys, the “pioneers” he calls them, who by electrifying their instruments birthed a new sound. He says, coming to the last of the litany, 

....because his face was clean and handsome at a distance but up close seasoned with knife scars won by his temper in dives; because he actually lived the sort of epic life people like Bob Dylan fake in interviews and conjure up in songs like Tangled Up In Blue.....

And so the possible point concerning Love And Death clicked in: the love for the music Dylan loved and his theft of it, as maybe Cohen sees it.

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