The iconic superstar songwriter, poet and performer hardly requires a bio.
Hours of heated arguments could ensue as to why Bob Dylan would be prominently included in a blues forum, and surely there will be those who will venture into this debate with a furious frenzy. Some blues purists will cringe. Indeed, a strong position could be articulated that Dylan is not a blues musician at all.
Yet, an equally strong argument can be made that Bob Dylan was and is a powerful proponent of roots music, and the traditional blues in particular. Clearly, like other artists who have made a tremendous contribution to advancing the traditional blues, like Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and even Ry Cooder, Dylan’s current work would typically not be classified as blues. There are many musicians more devoted to the genre and a closer fit for this traditional blues directory.
But then again, there is the fact that with one single album, “World Gone Wrong”, Dylan has reached further in spreading the acoustic traditional blues to mass audiences than most purely traditional blues musicians will accomplish in a lifetime, simply because of the sheer popularity of Dylan. When he sings, people listen.
And, when he sings “Someday, Baby”, “Stack O’Lee”, and “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” he becomes the biggest traditional blues proponent of them all. When he sings “Nobody sings the blues like Blind Willie McTell”, he evokes many newcomers to the genre to want to know exactly who that blind guy is that the mighty Bob Dylan would point him out as a master of the genre. Ten-thousand websites like this one, all the printed blues directories and all the blues CDs left in the few record stores still in existence today cannot reach more people and generate more interest in the roots blues than one line like that by Bob Dylan.
That’s why he belongs in this directory, prominently, conspicuously and proudly listed as an acoustic bluesman.
So it goes.
“World Gone Wrong” , Columbia, 1995.