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Archive for December 27th, 2020

“Sublime”– Now at the Principle Gallery



Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin’
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

–Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin’



I’ve heard this Bob Dylan song hundreds of times over the decades since it first came out in 1964 and a particular line in it always jumps out at me, even in idle listening. The line is: Don’t stand in the doorway/Don’t block up the hall/For he that gets hurt/Will be he who has stalled.

I have always read it as being about the inevitability of change and that those who try to stand in its way rather than trying to adapt are the losers in the end. The fact that it is used in a verse that refers to senators and congressmen makes it pointedly topical, especially in times when the present Senate Republican majority leader has been heard telling a group of big donors in recent days that he will oppose and stall every bill put forward by the Democrats, even bills he considers good bills. He said he would not allow them any victories.

That means he also will not allow the American people any victories, any gains, as he darkly tries to stall progress and change. We have seen this act before and have suffered from his mean-spirited intransigence.

But try as he might, change will come, in one way or another. It can be slowed or stalled but it is only temporary and eventually it bursts through all obstacles, usually obliterating them in the process. Like the lines from the Dylan song.

So, for this last Sunday in this monumental and often awful year of 2020, I thought it fitting that I play a version of this song, probably one you haven’t heard before. It’s from a 1969 album called Dylan’s Gospel from a group called The Brothers & Sisters of L.A., which was a group of L.A. based studio backup singers organized to record an album of Dylan covers in a gospel format. The group included some pretty high profile studio singers including Merry Clayton who I have wrote about here in the past. She is best known for her searing vocals on Gimme Shelter from the Rolling Stones. She is the lead on today’s song and knocks it out of the park.

The album was not a commercial success so this was the only effort from the group but it left behind several powerful versions of Dylan’s songs including The Times They Are A-Changin’.  So, let’s wrap up this year with some gospel firepower, brush aside the barriers and let the times a-change as they surely must.

Have a good Sunday.



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