Tag Archives: woody guthrie

28. Voices of new generations

I have a confession to make. Until I became interested in Dan Bern, I’d never actively listened to a song by Bob Dylan. Oh, I knew his name and might even have been able to name a song he wrote, but if I had an opinion of him it would have been – famous singer with the bad voice.

As for Bruce Springsteen – I knew who he was and knew a couple of songs he wrote and sang, however I had a grudge against him. It was a completely unfair grudge, but a grudge nonetheless. See, when my husband and I first began dating he led me to believe I’d be going to a Bruce Springsteen concert with him and some of his friends. Then he told me that I wasn’t invited. That there were not enough tickets to go around. I was taken aback that he’d go without me, but he did and had a wonderful time. Not only that, the person who’d either gotten the tickets or promised him the tickets was a girl I was already jealous of. So Bruce was not spoken of around me. Ever.

I did know who Woody Guthrie was though – and liked his music.

Since discovering Bern, I’ve I’ve listened to music from all of the above, and have done a little reading about them. However, I’ve never found out if the story about Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan is true. Did Woody, on his deathbed, really tell Bob to go out and be the voice of the new generation? Anyone know? Del?

Here’s Dan Bern’s sequel to that tale.

Talking Woody, Bob, Bruce & Dan Blues

Well, when Woody Guthrie was sick and dying
Bob Dylan visited him as he was lying
In a hospital bed Bob sang him songs
Woody smiled and said I’m glad you come
You belong here
Go forth and be the voice of your generation

Well, above Beverly Hills one night real late
I snuck past a security gate
Parked by a Mercedes Benz
Climbed up a barbed wire fence and over
Couple of scratches, but I’d made it
To the home of Bruce Springsteen

Well, I found the boss asleep in bed
Pillows piled up round his head
I turned on the light took off my coat
Stuck a thermometer down his throat
Said don’t talk
You look pale , Boss
Not at all well

I said you look bad and I asked him could he
Think of us as Bob and Woody
I said you just rest your pretty head
As I sing to you in your hospital bed
He said what the hell you talking about
I ain’t sick
This ain’t a hospital
And how’d you get past the security gate

I said I wrote you a song called Song To Bruce
With a tune I stole from one of yours
To his platinum records next I pointed
Said I just want to be anointed
Springsteen, I wrote you a song
‘Bout a funny ol’ world that’s a coming along
Seems sick and it’s tired it’s hard and it’s torn
It looks like it’s dying and it’s hardly been born
He started really looking sick
And I stopped singing

Then Patty his wife came in I said jeez
I’m sorry about your husband’s incurable disease
I’m here to help any way I can
You know, Woody and Bob, Bruce and Dan
She said honey, what am I hearing?
He said baby, you know I’m in the prime of life
I said down to two million in sales last time out
Read the signs, Patty

He said some people think this record’s my best
I said shhhhh, you need your rest
He said there’s a madman on the loose
I said Woody and Bob, Dan and Bruce

He sprang out of his bed and said
All right, I’ve heard enough of this stuff
He grabbed my throat and dragged me hard
Down the hall and through the yard
Suprising strength for a dying man

Well, he threw me out the way I come
Barbed wire scraped my face and thumbs
I’ve been thinking ever since
Bob and Woody
Dan and the artist formerly known as Prince
Dan and Madonna
Bob and Woody-
Dan and Bob
So long, Bel Air
Howdy, Malibu