dinsdag 27 maart 2012

Blowin’ in the Wind (1962)

The Chad Mitchell Trio

“Blowin ‘in the Wind” is een lied geschreven door Bob Dylan en uitgebracht op zijn album uit 1963, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”.

De song klinkt als een preek/sermoen en stelt vragen…vragen, waarop eigenlijk geen antwoord wordt verwacht.

Het refrein “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” is ondoordringbaar en tegelijk  dubbelzinnig, het slaat je recht in het gelaat, klaar als een klontje en tegelijk ongrijpbaar, als de wind zelf.

Dylan schreef en speelde oorspronkelijk een song met twee strofes. De eerste publieke opname circuleert onder Dylan kenners (sorry voor de naam) en is uit Gerde’s Folk City, opgenomen op  16 april 1962.

Kort na dit optreden voegde Dylan de middelste strofe toe aan de song.

Het lied werd voor het eerst gepubliceerd  in mei 1962, in de zesde editie van Broadside,  het tijdschrift opgericht door Pete Seeger en gewijd aan topical songs (actualiteits nummers).

In juni 1962 werd het lied gepubliceerd in Sing Out, vergezeld van Dylan’s commentaar :

“There ain’t too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain’t in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. Man, it’s in the wind—and it’s blowing in the wind. Too many of these hip people are telling me where the answer is but oh I won’t believe that. I still say it’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some …But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know …and then it flies away I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong. I’m only 21 years old and I know that there’s been too many …You people over 21, you’re older and smarter”

In zijn hoestekst voor “The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991”, schrijft John Bauldie dat het Pete Seeger was die voor het eerst wees op de gelijkenis tussen de melodie van “Blowin ‘in the Wind” en deze van de oude negro-spiritual “No More Auction Block ‘.

Volgens Alan Lomax in zijn “The Folk Songs of North America” is het lied ontstaan ​​in Canada en werd het  gezongen door voormalige slaven diehier naartoe gevlucht waren nadat Groot Brittannië de slavernij had afgeschaft in 1833.

The New World Singers

In 1978 gaf Dylan zelf zijn bron toe : “‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ has always been a spiritual. I took it off a song called ‘No More Auction Block’ — that’s a spiritual and ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ follows the same feeling.”

Dylan zelf zong “No more Auction Block” in “The Gaslight Café” in oktober 1962 (The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991).

“Blowin ‘in the Wind” is waarschijnlijk de ultieme hymne van de burgerrechtenbeweging uit de jaren zestig.

De vroegste uitgebrachte cover van deze song is waarschijnlijk deze van het Chad Mitchell Trio, opgenomen juni 1962 en uitgebracht op hun Kapp LP “In action!”. Dit album werd later opnieuw uitgegeven onder de titel “Blowin’ In de wind.

De versie van The New World Singers verscheen op “Broadside Ballads N.1” . Ik zal het over deze prachtige LP later nog eens hebben.  Deze versie werd eveneens opgenomen in 1962, maar waarschijnlijk later in het jaar, hoewel Bob Cohen beweert dat hij eerst was (zie hieronder).

 Dit zijn de enige twee versies van de song die ik ken en die dateren uit 1962, voordat de songs van Bob Dylan gemeen goed werden het volgende jaar.


Peter, Paul and Mary.

David Blue : “The night “Blowin’ in the Wind” was first heard by an audience [Apr 16, 1962], Dylan and I had been killing the latter part of a Monday  afternoon drinking coffee [at the "Fat Black Pussycat"] and bullshitting. About five o’clock, Bob pulled out his guitar and a paper and pencil. He began to strum some chords and fool with some lines he had written for a new song. Time passed and he asked me to play the guitar for him so he could figure out the rhymes with greater ease. We did this for an hour or so until he was satisfied. The song was “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

We decided to bring it over to Gil Turner who was hosting the Monday-night hoots at Gerde’s, and we arrived about nine thirty or ten. Gerde’s was packed with the regular Monday night jam of intense young folk singers and guitar pickers. We fought our way through the crowd down the stairs to the basement where you waited and practiced until your turn to play was called. It was a scene as usual. Gil Turner finally took a break and came down to the basement to organize the next half of the show. Bob was nervous and he was doing his Chaplin shuffle as he caught Gil’s attention. “I got a song you should hear, man,” Bob said, grinning from ear to ear. ”Sure thing, Bob,” Gil said. He moved closer to hear better. A crowd sort of circled the two of them. Bob sang it out with great passion. When he finished there was silence all around. Gil Turner was stunned. “I’ve got to do that song myself,” he said. “Now!” “Sure, Gil, that’s great. You want to do it tonight?” “Yes,” said Turner, picking up his guitar, teach it to me now.

Bob showed him the chords and Gil roughly learned the words. He took the copy Bob made for him and went upstairs. We followed, excited by the magic that was beginning to spread. Gil mounted the stage and taped the words on to the mike stand. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “I’d like to sing a new song by one of our great songwriters. It’s hot of the pencil and here it goes.”He sang the song, sometimes straining to read the words off the paper. When he was through, the entire audience stood on its feet and cheered. Bob was leaning against the bar near the back smiling and laughing. Mike Porco bought us a drink. Later in the evening Bob went home with Suze, and l split with some friends. Another moment in time ticked of. With a lyric sheet on his mike stand, Turner became the first in a long line to pose that lilting litany of metaphorical questions….Riotous applause told Dylan, if he didn’t know already, that “Blowin’ In The Wind” was his first classic. The next day Dave Van Ronk, who had been working the Village scene far longer, begged to differ. “Jesus, Bobby,” he later recalled telling him, what an incredibly dumb song! I mean what the hell is blowing in the wind?” A few weeks later he had the answer. “I was walking through Washington Square Park and heard a kid singing, ‘How much wood could a woodchuck chuckif a woodchuck could chuck woodThe answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind.’At that point I knew Bobby had a smash on his hands.”

Bob Dylan at Gerde's 

Wanneer Bob “Blowin’ in the Wind”  zelf zong in Gerde’s introduceerde hij de song zo :  “ Here’s one that’s called “How Many Roads Must a Man Walk Down”….Here’s a song that’s in sort of a set… set pattern of songsthat say… a little more than”I love you, and you love me,An’… let’s go over to the banks of Italy, And we’ll raise a half a family, You for me, and me for me…”

Joan Baez (onvermijdelijk hier) herinnert zich: “I don’t remember the exact first time, but I remember leaving Gerde’s Folk City in New York City, and I heard Bob do it, maybe not the first time, but he had just written it.And I got into a cab and I was so excited. Bob put me in the cab, actually, and I drove off and I wanted the world to know I’d been in on this phenomenal episode, this incredible new song. And I was trying [laughs] to tell the New York cab driver about it. “You wouldn’t believe this. I mean, this is amazing. This is real poetry.” [laughs] He said, “Does it rhyme?” [laughs] I said, “Yeah.” He says, “Okay.” [laughs] He wasn’t impressed. But something in me knew, probably, it was one of the songs that would last forever. “

The New World Singers (Gil Turner, Bob Cohen, Delores Dixon en Happy Traum) waren de eerste om dit nummer op te nemen, in 1962.

Volgens de Smithsonian Folkways website zou Dylan Gil Turner backstage hebben benaderd en gevraagd of hij “Blowin’ in the Wind” voor hen mocht zingen. Turner was zo onder de indruk, dat hij Dylan vroeg of hij het lied mee mocht nemen naar het podium om het met de groep te zingen.

Zegt Bob Cohen:  “So one day Dylan says to us: “Hey, I got this new song” and we go down to the basement at Gerdes (filled with rats, roaches and other folkies) and he sings his new song: “Blowin’ In the Wind”which was based on the melody of “No More Auction Block”. In those days we spoke of “borrowing” tunes, something Pete Seeger called “the folk process”. Woody Guthrie and Joe Hill and even J.S.Bach had done it. We thought it was great and started to sing it. We would bring Dylan up on that postage stamp of a stage to sing it along with us. It seemed to me then as it does now that his re-working or recreation of that spiritual carried on its original message and was in itself a song of resistance to all the injustice in the world. We would go on to sing it in Mississippi in 1963-64 where it became a civil-rights anthem. During our sets at Gerdes, Dylan would sit at the bar drinking wine that we often bought for him. He listened to us night after night. After about a year when we made an album for Ahmet Ertegun, head of Atlantic records and son of a Turkish diplomat, (Ahmet loved the blues and he is wonderfully portrayed in the recent film “Ray”), Dylan would write the liner notes for our album much in the same style he uses in his new book, “Chronicles”, writing generously about each of us. Ironically, when we sang “Blowin’ In The Wind” for Ahmet Ertegun he said that if we could change the lyrics to make it a love song then he would include it on our album! But we were too far into the essence of that song to change it, singing it at college rallies to raise money for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and its voter registration work in the South. When Moe Asch (Folkways) decided to release an album of topical songs on Broadside Records (Broadside, the topical song magazine that first printed many of Dylan’s songs along with others) we were asked to sing “Blowin’ In the Wind” and we did – making it the first recording of that song, even before Bob did it on Columbia Records.”

”Blowin’ in the Wind” is ondertussen een klassieker geworden.


1. Blowin ‘in the wind – Chad Mitchell Trio

2. Blowin ‘in the wind – The New World Singers

3. No more Auction Block – Bob Dylan

4. Blowin ‘in the Wind – Bob Dylan in Gerde’s  Folk City op 16 april 1962

en de hit.....

5. Blowin ‘in the Wind – Peter, Paul and Mary

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