The 80-voice Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir will perform many of the gospel-era songs of Bob Dylan in concerts scheduled for this weekend, in Carlton (a suburb of Melbourne), Australia. Full story in the Melbourne Leader.
The leader of the choir is quoted as saying, among other things, that “They are powerful social critiques and the lyrics are now 30 years old but are as contemporary as anything you could imagine.” I usually cringe when hearing people talk about Dylan as a writer of “social critiques” and such-like, but when applied to his gospel-era songs, it strangely makes more a lot more sense than usual. I think it could definitely be argued that they are his protestiest songs ever.
Obviously the government censors everywhere have realized that Bob Dylan is an easy touch. We’ve been told by so many media outlets, from the New York Times on down, that the Chinese government ordered Dylan not to sing The Times They Are A-Changin’, Blowin’ in the Wind and other nameless “protest songs,” and that he just rolled over and complied. Since then, he has played Hong Kong (where the Ministry of Culture of mainland China does not hold sway), Singapore, and now Fremantle, Australia, and none of those songs have been performed at any of the gigs. He has continued a pattern of opening with Gonna Change My Way of Thinking, closing with Forever Young, and offering a varying mix of tunes from throughout his career in between. Continue reading Australia censors Bob Dylan