So the wheels of the media went mental last week to tell us Bob Dylan was now 70. Lots of big shot intellectual music critics were wheeled out and gave the world their tuppenceworth. There's a guy at a University writing a thesis on "Knocked Out Loaded" (from 1986) probably. He gets a call from Radio 4. He talks for 10 arsey minutes. I felt like I'd been covered in foam and buried alive in a garden of nettles. Thi s other guy came on (Greil Marcus?) and said "John Wesley Harding" had the best bass playing of any rock record ever, with considerable authority in his voice, as if to say "I know exactly what I'm talking about" even though he's not a bass player, sound engineer or record producer. He may as well have been dressed as a clown and have been throwing silver paper over the radio when he said that. He also said my favourite Bob album "Nashville Skyline" was hated by the critics and was rubbish. There's me been listening to it for years and loving Bob's funny Yogi Bear voice when he's singing "Lay Lady Lay". Maybe I should have checked with the experts before I decided I liked it.
I was kind of wondering whether Paul Westerberg of the Replacements will get the same treatment when he's 70. For me he's made just as many great records (probably more) that Dylan. But no one really has noticed. In fact his last few solo albums which have sloppy drumming, bad out of tune singing (at times) two scruffy guitars (at the most) are total classics. They are basically shabby little demos and everything is a first or second take but the lyrics and melodies are amazing-and everything is spur of the moment. Plus Westerberg did a whole bunch of brilliant albums with the Replacements which are pretty obscure as well. I suppose him and Dylan have the same experience of touring with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Except the Replacements got drunk and decided to dress up in the Heartbreakers wife's clothes and went onstage in an arena somewhere to see what would happen. They were chucked off the tour the next day. Unfortunately Paul has bust his hand up trying to get wax off a table with a screwdriver. That seems to have put the shackles on his music career. Greil Marcus wont be writing any 950 page books on Paul Westerberg solo albums anytime soon. Thank christ.