Tag: Chris Hedges

Original v. Cover — #2 of a Series

old watch tower Pictures, Images and Photos

Many thanks are extended to those who provided suggested alternative titles for this series last week.  A title that clearly, cleverly and completely explains the purpose of the diary, without being too lengthy, seems to present a daunting challenge. New ideas are still welcome, and perhaps after a few more weekly diaries, a poll of those suggestions will be offered on this site.  Please stay tuned.

As always, this writer is indebted primarily to the wikipedia site for much of the information that follows.

Original v. Cover — #2 of a Series

Many thanks are extended to those who provided suggestions for an alternative title for this series last week.  A title that clearly and cleverly explains the purpose of the diary, without being too lengthy, seems to present a challenge.  New ideas are still being accepted, and perhaps after a few more weekly diaries, a poll of those suggestions will be offered on this site.  Please stay tuned.

As always, this writer is indebted primarily to the wikipedia site for much of the information that follows.

Please note that there are many cover versions of this song to be found on various websites.  Narrowing down the list to four versions was very difficult.  Please feel free to add links to other favorites in the comments section.

The featured song this week was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, by its composer on November 6, 1967, and released on the subsequent album on December 27, 1967.  The genre of the original recording is listed as folk rock.  

The composer of this song had spent the previous year recovering from a motorcycle accident, sustained during the summer of 1966, residing near Woodstock, New York at the time.  Having exited the fast lane associated with touring, this composer became a family man and cultivated a growing interest in the Bible, as reflected in this song’s lyrics, as well as other numbers written around that time.  

No doubt, most readers correctly guessed the identity of this song several paragraphs ago, however, to avoid any further suspense, the featured song this week is Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”

Bob Dylan’s original version of this song has been described as a masterpiece of understatement, as described by Andy Gill:

“In Dylan’s version of the song, it’s the barrenness of the scenario which grips, the high haunting harmonica and simple forward motion of the riff carrying understated implications of cataclysm; as subsequently recorded by Jimi Hendrix, … that cataclysm is rendered scarily palpable through the dervish whirls of guitar.”

Locating a copy of the original version of this song, as recorded on the Dylan’s album, John Wesley Harding, seems to be  next to impossible task.  It seems that, after hearing other versions of his song, his performances became attempts to imitate the interpretations of others.  I have included an image of the album cover, along with what I believe to be a link to the original studio recording.  Perhaps someone else might be able to translate the verbiage on the site and/or come up with a better video version of the Dylan original.  Here’s the link.  

John Wesley Harding Pictures, Images and Photos

During a September 2, 1995 interview, Bob Dylan described his reaction upon hearing the Jimi Hendrix version of this song, as published in the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel:

“It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.”

In a booklet included with his Biograph album, Dylan further commented, regarding Hendrix’ interpretation:

“I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”

Hendrix rendition of this song is undoubtedly the best known of many to follow and was released on September 21, 1968 — its genre listed as psychedelic rock.  The single reached #5 in the British charts, and #20 on the Billboard chart. The song also occupies the #5 spot on Guitar World’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.  Hendrix’ version appears at number 48 on the Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs ever.  In 2000, the British magazine Total Guitar gave it a #1 ranking among the greatest cover versions of all time.

Without further ado, here is the studio version by Hendrix:

Here’s a very nice live version by Eric Clapton & Lenny Kravitz:

For those who are interested, there are versions available online by other artists/groups, including Dave Mason (who performed with Hendrix during his first recording session), Neil Young/Bruce Springsteen, U2, Dave Matthews Band, Brian Ferry, Pearl Jam, Grateful Dead, Ritchie Havens, and many others.

To conclude, here is the fourth version, an interesting live acoustic version of this song, as performed by Michael Hedges as Wolftrap:

The McKibben-Hedges “Debate” — a thought

The point of this diary is to alert the Orange-reading public to the “McKibben-Hedges debate,” from a recent piece in Alternet.  Yeah, I know, it’s not really a debate.  The Alternet piece makes some important connections and I think you should all read it carefully.  What this core contention between the two writers is really about, I argue, is power.  

The history of power is a record of how various forms of power consolidated themselves into the current global state of domination.  The outcome which the history of power has been preparing up until now will be a sort of massive humanity-wide global murder-suicide.  The fundamental leap which will make the drama of human self-extinction possible, I argue, was capitalism.  Capitalism made capitalist discipline possible as a form of power, and capitalist discipline will bring power to a point of confrontation between the global complex of control and the simplification of the biosphere which will signal our failure as a species at the art of taking care of nature.  Thus it’s time to end capitalist discipline.  Capitalism will take care of itself.

(Crossposted at Big Orange)

Star Spangled Land of Misfit Toys

Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don’t know because we don’t want to know.

Aldous Huxley

I have long found Chris Hedges to be a beacon of morality in the belly of the beast that is post 9/11 fascist America. His book War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning is a superbly written, uncompromising look at the horrors of war seen through the eyes of a man who has been there, Hedges served as a war correspondent in some of the most vicious and senseless slaughtering sprees of the late Twentieth Century. His sheer courage in coming out in the early days of the Bushreich and denouncing war during a commencement address at Rockford College when the phony War on Terror was just ramping up during which he was jeered by the audience, his microphone cut off and he was run like a rabid dog from the campus, later his employer, the so-called liberal New York Times stabbed him in the back. Hedges went on to write what I consider to be a definitive expose of the authoritarian Christian Right entitled American Fascists and contributes weekly columns to the fine website Truthdig. As a fan, it was only natural that I would pick up his latest scathing condemnation of the dumb, foul rottenness that is America in terminal decline and while uneven it delivers like a baseball bat to the head. We truly are living in the existential Hell that is the Empire of Illusion.

“No bailout can stop the sinking”

Chris Hedges is a war correspondent and a Pulitzer Prize winner.   He is also one of the “truthiest” people out there, and is one of the few who actually has a handle on things.    Sad thing is, the truth is damn scary.  


“Education” and an old Chris Hedges column

This is a diary about Chris Hedges’ column of 3/23, America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout.  Hedges’ column is mostly about universities, which are what concerns me here.  Hedges obliges one to ask as to whether universities have been completely swallowed up by capitalist discipline, and us with them.

(crossposted at Big Orange)

“True Crimes: The Untold Story Behind the Devastation of Iraq.”

Join many others online, or if in New York city at the event, tomorrow evening:

On Tuesday, June 3, join the Center for Constitutional Rights for an exciting live webcast of the event “True Crimes: The Untold Story Behind the Devastation of Iraq.”

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