Since I've been doing a lot of graphic recording, I've been thinking a lot about how to draw images that capture words and concepts. And I was reminded of how I'd done something like this a long time ago (maybe around 1999?) as part of a Bob Dylan get-together.
But first I should explain what I mean by a "Bob Dylan get-together."
I used to follow Dylan's tour around a bit, and in the course of these adventures I became friends with other fans whom I'd meet again and again at different shows around the world. The main appeal of all this travelling was, of course, the amazing performances by Mr. Dylan, but the comraderie of all these diverse, yet like-minded fellow fans, quickly became a secondary attraction.
To start off, here are some comics from the Drawing Book from a few of those fun gatherings.
So, for Bob Dylan's birthday, all these years later, here's the same game for you. The song lyrics are at the end of all the pictures. Hint: The first panel just serves as the title of the song, and the next two panels actually correspond with the first two lines of the song. After that they are all mixed up.
Ok, I know that no one but the real Dylan fanatics would actually feel like undertaking this. So for the rest of you, it can just serve as a reflection on how graphic recording works - for example, it's easy enough to draw "There's a long distance train rolling through the rain," but how easy is it to draw something like "Strong men belittled by doubt" or "Horseplay and disease are killing me by degrees while the law looks the other way" ?? Well, you get the idea. I think my favourite picture in this little gallery is the one that depicts "There’s a babe in the arms of a woman in a rage" - or maybe, "If you don’t believe there’s a price for this sweet paradise / Remind me to show you the scars" (what a line!).
Happy birthday Bob!
P.S. My friend Margery & I are featured shaking hands in the panel that depicts the line, "In that last hour of need, we entirely agreed / Sacrifice was the code of the road." - That pretty much summed up our eventual strategy when it came to long unpredictable ambitious crazy Dylan tour expeditions!
P.P.S. I ALWAYS think of this song when I walk along Elizabeth Street in Ramsay.
P.P.P.S. If you'd like to listen to the song while you peruse these enigmatic scrawlings, it's here.
There’s a long-distance train rolling through the rain
Tears on the letter I write
There’s a woman I long to touch and I miss her so much
But she’s drifting like a satellite
There’s a neon light ablaze in this green smoky haze
Laughter down on Elizabeth Street
And a lonesome bell tone in that valley of stone
Where she bathed in a stream of pure heat
Her father would emphasize you got to be more than streetwise
But he practiced what he preached from the heart
A full-blooded Cherokee, he predicted to me
The time and the place that the trouble would start
There’s a babe in the arms of a woman in a rage
And a longtime golden-haired stripper onstage
And she winds back the clock and she turns back the page
Of a book that no one can write
Oh, where are you tonight?
The truth was obscure, too profound and too pure
To live it you have to explode
In that last hour of need, we entirely agreed
Sacrifice was the code of the road
I left town at dawn, with Marcel and St. John
Strong men belittled by doubt
I couldn’t tell her what my private thoughts were
But she had some way of finding them out
He took dead-center aim but he missed just the same
She was waiting, putting flowers on the shelf
She could feel my despair as I climbed up her hair
And discovered her invisible self
There’s a lion in the road, there’s a demon escaped
There’s a million dreams gone, there’s a landscape being raped
As her beauty fades and I watch her undrape
I won’t but then again, maybe I might
Oh, if I could just find you tonight
I fought with my twin, that enemy within
’Til both of us fell by the way
Horseplay and disease is killing me by degrees
While the law looks the other way
Your partners in crime hit me up for nickels and dimes
The guy you were lovin’ couldn’t stay clean
It felt outa place, my foot in his face
But he should-a stayed where his money was green
I bit into the root of forbidden fruit
With the juice running down my leg
Then I dealt with your boss, who’d never known about loss
And who always was too proud to beg
There’s a white diamond gloom on the dark side of this room
And a pathway that leads up to the stars
If you don’t believe there’s a price for this sweet paradise
Remind me to show you the scars
There’s a new day at dawn and I’ve finally arrived
If I’m there in the morning, baby, you’ll know I’ve survived
I can’t believe it, I can’t believe I’m alive
But without you it just doesn’t seem right
Oh, where are you tonight?