Bob Dylan is Right: Help me understand

by Tony Attwood

I have been forwarded a copy of “HELP ME UNDERSTAND Michel Montecrossa’s ‘Michel & Bob Dylan Fest 2019′” which was recorded live at the Spirit of Woodstock Festival in Mirapuri, Italy.  The album comes from a series called Michel Montecrossa sings Bob Dylan.

Now if you are an avid reader of Untold Dylan, you might recall we focussed on the work of Filip Łobodziński who has contributed three articles here:

It has become an interesting topic for me – as a native English speaker I’ve not historically thought much about Dylan translated into other languages – but if we do consider to be a master of the literature (as the Nobel Committee certainly did) then accessibility to Dylan in other languages surely must be a valid concern.   And it is an interesting topic as I am sure you will find it you start to listen to Dylan as reinterpreted by those whose first language is not English.

You may also recall, if a really avid reader of these columns, the fact that we focussed on a reworking of Dylan’s songs into Frisian, the language spoken by people who live in the Netherlands and Germany bordering the North Sea. Part of the group of languages descended from Old English.   We covered a couple of the songs from an album of such works when undertaking part 7 of the series on the greatest recordings of Bob Dylan songs by everyone else.

Now, in “Help Me Understand” Michel Montecrossa takes up the issue of Dylan and his performances of his songs.  If you click on the title at the top of the block below you’ll get to the website of the album, and from there can play a number of the tracks.

Help Me Understand Michel Montecrossa’s Michel & Bob Dylan Fest 2019 on Audio-CD, DVD and as Download

The first track is “Dylan is right” and here are the lyrics…

Bob Dylan is right
when demanding respect
for the value of
his performance work.

Bob Dylan hat recht,
wenn Respekt er verlangt
für den Wert seiner
Performance Arbeit.

The uniqueness of a song
shines brightest by staying
unique and a
one-time happening.

Das Besondere eines Liedes
wird am hellsten leuchten,
wenn es besonders bleibt,
das Einmalige bewahrend.

The live-work of a
performing artist is
to bring to the audience
again and again this unique magic.

Die Auftrittsarbeit eines
vortragenden Künstlers ist es, diesen
Einmaligkeitszauber den Leuten
immer wieder zu bringen.

Bob Dylan is right
when demanding respect
for the value of
his performance work.

Bob Dylan hat recht,
wenn Respekt er verlangt
für den Wert seiner
Performance Arbeit.
Here is the full track listing…
  • Bob Dylan Is Right – Bob Dylan Hat Recht
  • Love Minus Zero / No Limit
  • One Too Many Mornings
  • Red River Shore
  • Rebellion Of Love & Hope Song
  • The Water Is Wide
  • The Thunder Woman Of Love & Freedom
  • Oh, Sister
  • Love & Freedom Showdown In The Making
  • Making A Liar Out Of Me
  • What Love & Freedom Tell Me
  • Help Me Understand
  • One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below)
  • Dark Eyes

I don’t think I am at all qualified as an English speaker with only partial French as a second language to comment upon this work but nevertheless it does strike me as important to listen to and as far as possible understand how the work of Dylan is being taken into other languages.

So what I would do, as I have done before, is to encourage everyone who is a native English speaker to venture into Dylan in what to us are foreign languages, to appreciate how the majority of the world (ie the non-native-English speakers) hear Dylan in their own languages.

What else is here?

An index to our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

There is an alphabetic index to the 550+ Dylan compositions reviewed on the site which you will find it here.  There are also 500+ other articles on different issues relating to Dylan.  The other subject areas are also shown at the top under the picture.

We also have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook which mostly relates to Bob Dylan today.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews.

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