Murder Most Foul (2020) – Bob Dylan

There I was this morning reading the BBC news homepage…Corona, Corona, Corona, Corona, Bob Dylan, Corona. Wait, this quarantine business isn’t making me see things I wondered? After rubbing my eyes..I read ‘Bob Dylan releases first new music in eight years‘. I even took a photo to make certain others could verify it:

BBC news homepage Bob Dylan

“Greetings to my fans and followers with gratitude for all your support and loyalty over the years,” said the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner in a statement.

“This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant, and may God be with you.”

‘Murder Most Foul’ which pivots on the 60’s and Kennedy assassination seems mainly to explore the idea of art and human creativity as a constant. At least, that’s my first read on things. It’s a bit like a musical interpretation of his musicares speech and Nobel lecture. The soft narration, the far-off musical accompaniment, the almost rambling assortment of words.

I love the instrumentals and his voice here. It’s very much in line with his ‘Stay With Me’ singing approach (which I discussed here) and I imagine he recorded it around the same time. The background music definitely reminds me of his Shadows In The Night record which I think is a modern classic. It’s funny too since ideally I desired from him an original album with that style. Hopefully there’s more.

The only thing that put me off about Murder Most Foul is Dylan’s insinuation of widespread conspiracy in the JFK assassination comparable to Oliver Stone’s movie JFK (that which I wrote a long article here refuting its claims), but it’s Bob so I’ll try and not let that dour this grandiose moment.

Obviously the timing of this release is not coincidental as we enter ‘Lockdown’. Bob is recognizing the gravity of the current situation, and maybe suggesting that this pandemic is the biggest, most historic thing that he’s ever seen since Kennedy’s death. I’m not a big fan of Dylan’s long nostalgic songs especially the title track ‘Tempest’ about the Titanic, and Murder Most Foul has many cliche-weak lyrics. It’s not the Bobby Fischer of the early 70s playing, that’s for sure, but Murder Most Foul feels poignant and relevant.

Wake up, little Susie, let’s go for a drive
Cross the Trinity River, let’s keep hope alive
Turn the radio on, don’t touch the dials
Parkland hospital, only six more miles
You got me dizzy, Miss Lizzy, you filled me with lead
That magic bullet of yours has gone to my head
I’m just a patsy like Patsy Cline
Never shot anyone from in front or behind
I’ve blood in my eye, got blood in my ear
I’m never gonna make it to the new frontier

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
22 comments on “Murder Most Foul (2020) – Bob Dylan
  1. badfinger20 says:

    When I first heard Bob was releasing a new song…well new to us. I thought maybe it would be topical. I didn’t expect this but of course, this is Dylan. I haven’t had the chance to give it a good listen. I’m working from home and they are working me like the town pump…but I’m going to give it a proper listen this weekend.

    Funny…because I watched 11.22.63 last week. The film series adaptation of the Stephen King novel.
    It’s nice though that he released something.

    • Yeh, for me it’s nice he released it also, but after relistens I’m not a big fan of it. It’s too contrite. but there are good moments however. Hey, I’m sorry they are working you hard buddy. I hope it becomes manageable

  2. selizabryangmailcom says:

    When I was first reading this for some reason I got it in my head that you were talking about The Boss. Bruce Springstein. Don’t ask me why! So then I’m thinking, “Since when has Bruce Springstein been a conspiracy theorist? Where have I been? Am I that out of the loop?!”
    Which is entirely possible where music is concerned, lol.

    Okay, but no, Dylan. It’s Dylan! Ah, it all makes sense now, ha ha ha.
    I really want to go into that link you left, too, about your point of view on the Kennedy assassination.

    I listened to this song and you know what a lot of it reminded me of? Tom Waits. Maybe it’s just the sort of low-key bluesy/folk tone with the low voice mumbling sometimes….I don’t know if that’s a great description. But yeah, he came to mind. I never was a big Dylan fan, though, in the end. Still…this song feels very hymn-like to me, and hypnotic, and is very soothing in a strange way. 🙂

    • Hola Stacey 🙂 I get to go out today! Yay. It feels like a special occasion. Haha. It’s just a medical appointment, but I’m looking forward to the walk.
      Re. Murder Most Foul – Although there’s no mistaking Dylan’s voice, I’ve heard another person say it reminded them of Leonard Cohen. Now you and Tom Waits. I get why you felt enchanted and soothed by it. I did too.

  3. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Hey, have a wonderful walk!
    So many things to look forward to when we (hopefully) get back to a semblance of normalcy!
    Take care.

  4. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Oh….my….god.
    We WILL be divorced by then, hubby and I, lol !!!
    But seriously….that’s no joke. Ugggghhhh.

    • Haha. I hope it is a joke, Jesus. I’m trying to work out if it would be better to undergo the quarantine accompanied or not. I suppose it would depend on how much space you have to yourself. I wanted to have the kids here but Connie wouldn’t allow it. I understand it since I showed some weird symptoms as I explained and they have homeschooling to do in her families’ house and my place is too small for visits of extended periods. Sometimes I get lonely. This will sound weird, but I try to sing one song a day at the top of my lungs. Haha.

  5. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Of course you get lonely. God! We’re mammals and we’re social animals. I love that you sing at the top of your lungs once a day! I heard a story that some ex-opera singer in Rome opened his window and sang out into the street and everyone along the street was opening their windows and listening and then cheered and applauded when he was done. We need each other! 🙂

    • I love that story about the ex opera singer. It’s surprising I didn’t get that reception today. 🤔🙄😉 I have lived alone most of my adult life, so it’s not like it’s a biggie. I miss going out as we all do. It would appear that if the goal is to minimise deaths then it’s foreseeable we won’t be out of cuarantine this year.

  6. selizabryangmailcom says:

    😦
    😦
    Which leaves disturbing scenarios for the U.S. later this fall when it’s time to vote.
    I guess it’ll all have to be by mail–which is tricky and unsafe, I think!

    • Perhaps. I don’t know how the Pandemic would change the voting or if it would be deferred. In my most recent post, I relayed a recent podcast between two African-American Uní professors who feel that NY’s current governor could become the Democrat’s nominee to seriously challenge Trump. It was a great conversation.

  7. selizabryangmailcom says:

    You’re so in the loop, Matt! Yeah, Cuomo has really stepped up and especially during the crisis and people are talking about him. BUT….he didn’t run this past year. Vice President Biden is the one who pulled in front of everyone else and will probably get the nomination. He’s another one who could no doubt seriously challenge Trump, although many view him as just another “Wall Street” guy. Better than what we have now, though.

    • I’m not that much in the loop. I didn’t even know his name. I know he didn’t run, but these guys were just tossing the idea about. My understanding is also the Dems have postponed calling the nomination.

  8. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Yeah! They’re trying to postpone more primary voting that’s due next week because of you know what–which seems wise to me. But evidently this Wisconsin judge has decided, no, the show must go on. Everyone MUST get together in a crowded room and vote. I don’t care if there’s seemingly a pandemic.

    He must be a Republican. I have no idea. All of it just makes me ill.

    • Based on what I’ve heard recently Biden hasn’t a chance in hell since his mind is allegedly deteoriating. Brett Weinstein who is a left leaning Democrat said in his most recent podcast with his wife Heather how he couldn’t vote for Biden based on that alone because it would effectively be Party DNC Rule. I just wish Tulsi Gabbard was in charge right now to face this crises. She would be who I’d want leading effectively a country at War.

  9. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Yeah…*sigh*….Biden does tend to wander away from topic at times, but he’s always been like that. I’m not sure if his mind is actually deteriorating–wouldn’t it be gone by now, lol ?!

    Yeah, unfortunately, we’re just back to the same old choices: two elderly white men running for president, ’cause even though Bernie’s really far behind, he won’t drop out. Bernie’s different from the usual politician in that he’s really socialistic leaning,but that’s also what scares most people who don’t understand what that means.

    I find it amusing that people like this Brett W. said he can’t vote for Biden because the DNC rule would happen and all that, but what if Biden’s the nominee? Brett won’t vote because he thinks the Dems will be the puppetmaster behind aging Biden? Boo hoo. At least they’d do a shit-ton less damage than the jerkoff who’s there now.

    It drives me insane when people say, “I can’t vote for so and so…” like half the reason why Trump got in to begin with was because of all the people who loathed Hillary and wouldn’t vote for her. But I feel like this: If Pol Pot and Biden are running for president, am I really gonna say, “Oh, that Biden, I don’t know…” and then vote for Pol Pot? That’s exactly what happened with Trump!!!!

    Yeah, our choices are bleak, but come on! (Saying “come on” to them, not you, lol )

    Conversely, I know little about where you live. How’s politics with you guys?

    • Well it’s only been very recently I have heard some prominent left leaning people bring that up about Biden. Brett’s take on it made me stand up and take notice, because I always associated Brett as someone with a lot of integrity and his arguments to me at least felt convincing and yet he is normally reticent to talk about politics. Here is the link to the video and at 40:15 onwards you can hear him discuss this subject.

      I agree that I do not envy your choices and I completely understand your frustration. This forthcoming election as well as the last election the players left at the table have been rank options to say the least. I have never been envious of your deeply segmented 2 party system. How another party hasn’t formed like a more central – moderate party leaves a lot to be desired.
      Thankfully in Australia the balance of power with respect to legislative ‘passing’ has normally been left to careful, but robust negotiation between the major partys and alternative partys / independents. When you mean ‘Politics with you guys’ are you referring to Australia or Colombia’s political system? Hehe

  10. I agree with you about Tempest. I also felt the same way about a shining beacon of good news hidden amongst the terrible situation humanity finds itself in.

    • Yeh, it’s probably one of my least liked Dylan tracks – Tempest the title track. ‘Murder Most Foul’ was indeed a beacon of good news despite its subject matter. Thanks for commenting. I really appreciate it.

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