Song Of The Day 7/2/2015: Loudon Wainwright III – “Talking New Bob Dylan”

Talkin' Talkin' Blues Blues Week: ...And welcome back to All Wainwright Radio. Jumping from last week’s Rufus feature, we move right back to Loudon III, who’s been featured on this blog so much we may have to part with a stock reward for him when Time Warner buys our ass. “Talking New Bob Dylan” is from Loudon’s 1992 album History, one of the very best in his catalog. It was conceived in honor of Dylan’s 50th birthday in 1991, which at the time was a plateau that seemed unthinkable. A bunch of people were startled about that. They threw him a birthday party which was broadcast on HBO, which Neil Young insisted upon calling “Bobfest” the entire night.

To tell the truth, out of all the people Loudon names “the new Bob Dylan,” I personally think only Bruce Springsteen and John Prine ever really fit the bill. Springsteen’s lyrical M.O. fit Dylan’s the closest, and even then it was only really on his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ. Prine’s imagery and sense of social justice (as opposed to protest music) also had something in common with Bob, but in time he retreated into a more personal and Southern viewpoint. Steve Forbert was more like the new Springsteen, and Loudon himself was always his own man (or a “One Man Guy” if you prefer).

All four of ’em are included on this list of “new Dylans” in record history, which includes obvious choices like Barry McGuire, Mouse & the Traps and David Blue, plus some other folks I hadn’t considered like Patti Smith and Willie Nile. (It also includes something by a direct copycat named Dick Campbell I guarantee I’m putting up here at some point. It’s the guitar riff.)

Lest anyone think there’s no juice left in calling someone “the new Dylan,” welp, this came out earlier this year.. They’re right about Laura Marling and Jason Isbell.

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