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Se muestran los artículos pertenecientes a Abril de 2009.

Hannover, Germany March 31, 2009

Hannover, Germany
AWD-hall

March 31, 2009




1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
2. The Man In Me (Bob center stage with harp - no guitar)
3. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
4. Chimes Of Freedom
5. The Levee's Gonna Break
6. Sugar Baby
7. John Brown
8. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
9. Masters Of War
10. Shooting Star
11. Highway 61 Revisited
12. Nettie Moore
13. Summer Days
14. Like A Rolling Stone

(encore)

15. All Along The Watchtower
16. Dignity
17. Thunder On The Mountain

01/04/2009 11:34. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Sobre la situacion actual

¿Y qué? ¿Acaso cuando seamos seis millones parirá la abuela? Porque con las paridas de Zapatero vamos camino de eso y mucho más. ¿O será que se ha puesto de acuerdo con el resto de países de Europa para que todos los parados de la comunidad residan en España? Si lo pensamos fríamente, podría ser. Con el clima favorable que disfrutamos, podemos vivir perfectamente al aire libre, y con la inmensidad de pastos que hay en la península, tenemos garantizado el alimento. ¿Qué más podemos pedir? ¿Trabajo? ¿Por ochocientos euros al mes? Venga, hombre, que trabajen los políticos, que con el pastón que cobran, al menos da gusto tener una ocupación que permita frecuentar los mejores restaurantes, hoteles de lujo, viajar en primera y residir en viviendas dignas.
Sí señor, nosotros somos simplemente un rebaño de cuarenta y tantos millones de borregos, y encima sin pastor. Eso sí, rodeados de una jauría de lobos sedientos de nuestra sangre en forma de papel moneda. Ruego a Dios que esta sangre no llegue al río, porque como sigamos así mucho tiempo, puede que de esta “masa” surja alguien que arengue al populacho, y al grito de “fuera, inútiles”, armemos una más gorda que el dos de mayo. Más les vale que vayan con cuidado, porque con el estómago vacío y nada más que perder, tenemos las mismas condiciones que Francia hace dos siglos. O sea que, elijan: evolución o revolución. Y si alguien cree que exagero, que me expliquen cual será el comportamiento del personal cuando haya tropecientos mil que no tengan ni un céntimo para una gominola. Pero por favor, que no me lo expliquen a mí, sino a los lobos disfrazados de “padres de la democracia”, porque, por lo que están haciendo para luchar contra la crisis, más nos valdría ser huérfanos.

02/04/2009 10:59. plotino #. ESPAÑA / SPAIN No hay comentarios. Comentar.


Berlin, Germany April 1, 2009

Berlin, Germany
Max Schmeling Halle

April 1, 2009

 

 
1.The Wicked Messenger (Bob on keyboard)
2.When I Paint My Masterpiece
(Bob center stage on harp - no keyboard or guitar)
3.You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob on guitar)
4.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard and harp)
5.My Back Pages (Bob on keyboard and harp)
6.Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
7.Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
(Bob center stage on harp - no keyboard or guitar)
8.Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard and harp)
9.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
10.Love Sick (Bob on keyboard)
11.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
13.Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
  
 (encore)
15.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard and harp)
17.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard and harp)
  
02/04/2009 14:08. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

EEUU se enfrenta a la "hiperdeflación" y al "colapso económico

¿Por qué el Plan de Estímulo de Obama está Condenado al Fracaso?. La fábrica de papel del Potomac está generando nuevo dinero frenéticamente. Esto debería evitar que los precios bajaran y que la economía se contrajera, según la Teoría Cuantitativa del Dinero. En este artículo presento un argumento que explica por qué esta conclusión no es válida. Por el contrario, expondré que el nuevo dinero creado sobre la base de una inundación de deuda es equivalente a echar gasolina a un fuego, haciendo que los precios caigan y la economía se contraiga todavía más.

La administración Obama ha perdido su oportunidad histórica de evitar la deflación y depresión que ha heredado de la administración Bush, porque ha encomendado la tarea de rescatar a la economía a la misma gente que ha causado este desastre: los doctores monetarios, tanto Keynesianos como Friedmanitas, de la Fed y el Tesoro.

Mirando al ratio erróneo

La clave para entender el problema es la productividad marginal de deuda, un concepto curiosamente desaparecido de la jerga de la economía convencional. Los Keynesianos se consuelan con el hecho de que la deuda total como porcentaje del PIB está bien por debajo del 100% en los Estados Unidos, mientras que en otros países se supera esta cifra.

Sin embargo, el ratio significativo y que hay que observar es la relación entre deuda adicional y PIB adicional, o la cantidad del PIB que se ha generado con la creación de 1 dólar de nueva deuda. Es este ratio el que determina la calidad de la deuda. Cuanto mayor sea este ratio (PIB adicional / Deuda adicional) más éxito están cosechando los empresarios en aumentar la productividad, que realmente es la única justificación válida para el endeudamiento.

En cambio, una caída importante en ese ratio es una señal peligrosa de que la calidad de la deuda se está deteriorando, y de que incurrir en deuda adicional no tiene ninguna justificación económica. El volumen de deuda está creciendo más rápido que la renta nacional, y el capital que apoya la producción se está erosionando rápidamente. Si, como en el escenario más pesimista, el ratio cae en zona negativa, el mensaje es que la economía está en curso de colisionar y que un crash es inminente.

Es decir, no sólo es que la deuda no aporte nada al PIB sino que, de hecho, genera una mayor contracción económica, incluyendo un mayor desempleo. El país se está comiendo las semillas de maíz, y el resultado es que el capital acumulado puede esfumarse antes de que te des cuenta. La acción inmediata es absolutamente necesaria para parar la hemorragia, o el paciente se desangrará hasta morir.

Los Keynesianos están atentos del ratio incorrecto, el de la deuda sobre el PIB. No es extraño, pues, que constantemente se extravíen, de ahí que no se percaten de las señales de peligro, una detrás de otra. Están navegando en la oscuridad con la ayuda del equipamiento náutico equivocado. Están administrando la medicina equivocada. Su ambulancia es incapaz de diagnosticar la hemorragia interna que debe pararse para evitar que el paciente llegue muerto.

La temprana advertencia de Melchior Palyi

En la década de 1950, cuando el dólar todavía era convertible -los gobiernos extranjeros y bancos centrales podían convertir sus saldos de corto plazo en dólares por oro a la tasa establecida por la ley de 35 dólares por onza- la productividad marginal de la deuda era 3 ó superior. Esto es, que 1 dólar adicional de nueva deuda causaba un aumento del PIB de al menos 3 dólares. En agosto de 1971, cuando Nixon impagó las obligaciones internacionales de oro de los Estados Unidos (siguiendo los pasos de Franklin Delano Roosevelt que había impagado las obligaciones domésticas de oro 35 años antes), la productividad marginal de la deuda cayó por debajo del nivel crucial de 1.

Cuando la productividad marginal cayó por debajo de 1 dólar, pero todavía se mantenía positiva, implicaba que la deuda total (siempre en términos netos) estaba aumentando más rápido que el PIB. Por ejemplo, si la productividad marginal de la deuda se sitúa en 0,5, ello significa que para incrementar la producción nacional de bienes y servicios en 1 dólar, habría que incurrir en 2 dólares de deuda. Un incremento de la deuda total en 1 dólar ya no podría generar siquiera un aumento equivalente del PIB. La deuda perdería así entonces cualquier justificación económica.

La caída de la productividad marginal de la deuda ha continuado sin interrupción desde entonces. Nadie tomó medidas. De hecho, los administradores Keynesianos del sistema monetario y de la economía pusieron trabas a esta información, manteniendo al público en la oscuridad. Ni tampoco los economistas Keynesianos y Friedmanitas en las universidades prestaron atención a la señal de peligro. Los agitadores siguieron gritando: “¡Dame más crédito!”

Yo me percaté de la importancia de la productividad marginal de la deuda a través del Boletín del economista húngaro de Chicago Melchior Palyi en 1969 –hay un total de 640 números de ese Boletín, disponibles en la Biblioteca de la Universidad de Chicago-. Palyi advirtió de que la tendencia de este crucial indicador era a la baja y que había que hacer algo al respecto antes de que el monstruo de la deuda devorara la economía. Palyi murió unos pocos años más tarde y no vivió para ver la devastación que tan astutamente predijo.

Otros también han llegado a la misma conclusión de diferentes formas. Peter Warburton, en su libro Debt and Delusion: Central Bank Follies That Threaten Economic Disaster -Deuda y Engaño: Las locuras del Banco Central que amenazan con el desastre económico-, también prevé el mismo resultado, aunque no utiliza el concepto de la productividad marginal de la deuda.

2006, el año de la inflexión

Mientras la deuda estuvo contenida por la presencia del oro en el sistema, por débil que fuera esta restricción, el deterioro de la calidad de la deuda era relativamente lento. La calidad se derrumbó, y la cantidad se disparó hasta la estratosfera cuando la presencia del oro, el único que puede extinguir la deuda en última instancia, desapareció del sistema monetario. Aún así, pasaron 35 años antes de que el capital de la sociedad fuera erosionado y consumido a través del deterioro ininterrumpido de la productividad marginal de la deuda.

El año 2006 fue el punto de inflexión. A finales de ese año la productividad marginal de la deuda cayó hasta cero y pasó a ser negativa por primera vez en la historia, encendiendo la alarma roja que advertía de una catástrofe económica inminente. Efectivamente, en febrero de 2007, el riesgo de impago de la deuda, medido por el coste desorbitado de los CDS (Credit Default Swaps), se disparó. Y como dice el dicho, el resto ya es historia.

Productividad marginal negativa

¿Por qué una productividad marginal de la deuda negativa es señal de un desastre económico inminente? Porque indica que cualquier posterior incremento en el endeudamiento necesariamente causará una contracción económica. El capital se ha esfumado; una mayor producción ya no se sostiene por la necesaria cantidad y calidad de las herramientas y el equipamiento. La economía está literalmente devorándose a sí misma a través de la deuda.

La creación desenfrenada de deuda a través de la reducción de los tipos de interés hasta el 0% está destruyendo el capital de la sociedad, pero este mensaje es ignorado. La crisis financiera actual ha sido explicada a través de un razonamiento ad hoc, culpando a los laxos estándares crediticios, las hipotecas subprime, y argumentos similares. Sin embargo, no se hizo nada para parar la causa real del desastre: la rápida generación de deuda. Por el contrario, la generación de la deuda fue acelerada mediante rescates públicos y planes de estímulo económico.

En vista del hecho de que la productividad marginal de la deuda es ahora negativa, podemos ver que las medidas de rescate de la administración Obama, que están financiadas mediante la creación de niveles de nueva deuda sin precedentes, son contraproducentes. Éstas son la causa directa de la creciente contracción económica, incluyendo el aumento del desempleo.

"Camino al infierno"

El presidente de la Unión Europea, y Primer Ministro Checo, Mirek Topolanek, calificó públicamente el plan de Obama, consistente en gastar casi 2 billones de dólares para sacar a la economía de la recesión, como el “camino al infierno”. No hay ninguna razón para castigar al Sr. Topolanek por tal calificativo. Cierto es que hubiera sido más educado y diplomático haber suavizado sus comentarios empleando términos del estilo de: “el plan de Obama ha sido aprobado ignorando que la productividad marginal de la deuda era negativa y sigue a la baja. En consecuencia, el aumento del gasto público mediante planes de estímulo sólo causará una mayor deflación y contracción económica”.

¿Hiperinflación o hiperdeflación?

La mayoría de críticos del plan de Obama sugieren que las consecuencias de los rescates y planes de estímulo provocarán una grave pérdida del poder adquisitivo del dólar y, en última instancia, una hiperinflación, tal y como evidenci la Teoría Cuantitativa del Dinero. Sin embargo, la teoría cuantitativa es un modelo lineal que puede ser válido como una primera aproximación, pero falla en la mayoría de casos, debido a que el mundo real es sobre todo no-lineal. Mi propia teoría, basada en el concepto de la productividad marginal de la deuda, predice que lo que se viene encima no es una hiperinflación sino un círculo vicioso de deflación. Éste es el argumento.

Mientras que los precios de los productos primarios, tales como el petróleo y los alimentos, pueden subir inicialmente, los consumidores apenas tienen poder adquisitivo, y tampoco pueden pedir prestado como solían para pagar esta subida de precios. El nuevo dinero creado ha ido a parar al rescate de bancos, y una parte importante se ha desviado para continuar pagando los inflados bonus de los banqueros. Muy poco de este dinero ha fluido hacia los consumidores ordinarios, que se ven con el agua al cuello debido a las deudas contraídas en el pasado.

De ahí que dichas subidas de precios sean insostenibles, ya que el consumidor es incapaz de afrontarlas. Como resultado, los comerciantes minoristas y mayoristas también están con el agua al cuello. Tienen que reducir precios. La presión de la caída de la demanda no se queda en los comerciantes, sino que también se transmite hacia los productores, que también tienen que reducir precios. Todos ellos están experimentando un descenso en sus flujos de caja derivados de las operaciones económicas ordinarias. Despiden a más gente, agravando la crisis aun más, dado que se reduce el efectivo en manos de los consumidores debido al mayor desempleo. La espiral viciosa está en marcha.

Pero, ¿qué está pasando con la ingente cantidad de nuevo dinero que está inundando la economía? Este dinero se está empleando para pagar la deuda de personas que están luchando desesperadamente por salirse de ella. Los hombres de negocios en general están aletargados; cada recorte en el tipo de interés les golpea, erosionando el valor de sus inversiones anteriores.

En mis trabajos he explicado cómo unos tipos de interés en continua caída hacen que el valor liquidativo de la deuda aumente. Es decir, se traduce en una partida contable negativa en la cuenta de pérdidas y ganancias, comiéndose al capital que, como consecuencia, tiene que ser repuesto. Aún peor. No hay manera de que los empresarios sean inducidos a llevar a cabo nuevas inversiones mientras haya expectativas de nuevas reducciones en el tipo de interés. Son conscientes de que sus inversiones se esfumarían a medida que el tipo de interés siguiera cayendo en pos de políticas monetarias agresivas como el quantitative easing -creación de dinero de forma discrecional-.

El círculo vicioso de la especulación en tipos de interés decrecientes

La única actividad que está prosperando en este ambiente deflacionario es la especulación en bonos. Los especuladores usan nuevo dinero, disponible a través de la Reserva Federal (Fed), para expandir sus actividades y empujar al alza el precio de los bonos. Dichos inversores se adelantan a la Fed: compran primero los bonos y luego los revenden por un precio inflado antes de que los recompre la Fed.

Tal actividad está libre de riesgos. Los especuladores se enteran por adelantado de las operaciones de la Fed a lo largo de la curva de rendimientos. La Fed comprará 300.000 millones de dólares de letras del Tesoro durante los próximos seis meses, y probablemente mucho más después de esa fecha. La especulación sobre unos tipos de interés decrecientes se convierte en autorrealizable, gracias a la demente idea de las operaciones de mercado abierto de la Fed, que hace que la especulación en bonos esté exenta de riesgo. Este proceso hace que la deflación sea auto-sostenible (para otra visión de la especulación en bonos libre de riesgos, ver el artículo de Carl Gutiérrez en Forbes, mencionado en las referencias).

Nótese también que el progresivo hundimiento del precio de las acciones, y el intento desesperado por parte de grupos privados de rescatar activos tóxicos, también ha disparado la demanda de dinero en efectivo. El dólar, al menos en la variedad del billete de la Reserva Federal, será cada vez más escaso. Antes de hundirse, tal y como sucedería en un escenario hiperinflacionario, el poder adquisitivo del dólar se va a incrementar notablemente.

¿Piensan que Ben Bernanke y sus máquinas de fabricar billetes se ocuparán de eso? Simplemente consideren lo siguiente. El mercado separará los billetes de la Fed antiguos de los nuevos, que tendrán impresa la firma de Bernanke. En una clásica aplicación de la Ley de Gresham, la gente atesorará el primero (los antiguos), otorgando una prima sobre él en relación con la segunda variedad (dólares de nueva creación), que se quedará por el camino.

Bernanke puede crear dinero, pero no puede hacerlo fluir

Ya hay algunas publicaciones que abiertamente aconsejan a la gente que atesore billetes de la Reserva Federal en cantidades importantes que lleguen a cubrir hasta 24 meses de gastos corrientes estimados, mientras cancela todas sus cuentas de depósito. Se advierte a los depositantes que se olviden del límite de 250.000 dólares del seguro de depósitos, que se ha convertido en algo prácticamente despreciable en la medida en que los recursos de la FDIC (Agencia Federal de Garantía de Depósitos) han sido secuestrados por Geithner (secretario del Tesoro de EUU) y desviados a garantizar las inversiones de grupos privados que fueron tan estúpidos como para comprar deuda tóxica a instancias de la administración Obama. Karl Denninger prevé una tasa de desempleo superior al 20%, con ciudades en una situación mucho peor que, por ejemplo, el centro de Detroit (ver referencias abajo).

¿Qué tiene todo esto que ver con la productividad marginal de la deuda? Una vez que se hace negativa, cualquier incremento adicional de nueva deuda hará que la economía se contraiga más, incrementando el desempleo y reduciendo los precios. Bernanke puede crear todo el dinero que quiera y más, pero no puede hacerlo fluir por toda la economía.

Bernanke se arriesga a algo peor que una depresión

El nuevo dinero creado seguirá las leyes de la gravedad y fluirá hacia el mercado de bonos, que es donde está la fiesta. La especulación libre de riesgos en bonos reforzará la espiral deflacionista hasta que llegue el agotamiento final: la economía colapsará como un globo al ser pinchado. En vez de hiperinflación y de la destrucción del dólar, lo que tenemos es deflación y la destrucción de la economía.

Denninger advierte de que la ‘espiral mortal’ llevará a que se disparen las ventas de activos en una loca carrera de liquidación de éstos, y en última instancia, al colapso del sistema monetario y político de EEUU a medida que se evaporan los ingresos impositivos. Señala que, probablemente, ni uno solo de los miembros del Congreso entiende la gravedad de la situación. Bernanke se está arriesgando a algo mucho peor que una depresión. Se está jugando literalmente el final de América como una potencia política, económica y militar.

Efectivamente, el colapso financiero y económico de los dos últimos años debe verse como parte de la progresiva desintegración de la civilización occidental, que empezó con el sabotaje gubernamental del patrón oro en la primera parte del siglo XX. Ben Bernanke, que debería haber sido despedido por el nuevo presidente el día después de su inauguración por haber causado un daño irreparable a la república norteamericana, puede, al final, tener el honor de administrar el golpe de gracia a nuestra civilización.

Artículo elaborado por Antal E. Fekete, professor  Money and Banking, en San Francisco School of Economics, publicado originalmente en Goldseek.


Referencias

No Time for T-Bonds by Carl Gutierrez, March 28, 2009, www.forbes.com

Bernanke Inserts Gun in Mouth, by Carl Denninger, March 20, 2009, http://market-ticker.denninger.net

Debt and Delusion: Central Bank Follies That Threaten Economic Disaster, by Peter Warburton, first published in 1999; WorldMetaView Press (2005).

06/04/2009 11:03. plotino #. THIS WORLD No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Saarbrücken, Germany April 5, 2009

Saarbrücken, Germany
Saarlandhalle

April 5, 2009

 

 
1.Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob on keyboard)
2.Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on guitar)
3.The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
4.Every Grain Of Sand (Bob on keyboard)
5.Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard)
6.Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
7.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
8.Sugar Baby (Bob on keyboard)
9.Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
10.Po' Boy (Bob on keyboard)
11.Summer Days (Bob on keyboard)
12.I Believe In You (Bob on keyboard)
13.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
14.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
  
 (encore)
15.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)
  
06/04/2009 15:00. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Erfurt, Germany April 2, 2009

Erfurt, Germany
Messehalle

April 2, 2009

 

 
1.Cat's In The Well (Bob on keyboard)
2.Man In The Long Black Coat
(Bob picked up the guitar but there were technical problems and switched to keyboard)
3.I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob on keyboard and harp)
4.Can't Wait (Bob on keyboard)
5.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
6.Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
7.High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob on keyboard)
8.Girl Of The North Country (Bob on keyboard and harp)
9.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
10.A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob on keyboard)
11.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12.Ain't Talkin' (Bob on keyboard)
13.Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
  
 (encore)
15.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard and harp)
17.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)
  
06/04/2009 15:02. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Dylan on Mysticism, Obama the South

Exclusive Excerpt: Dylan on Mysticism, Obama the South

Newsweek

In an exclusive excerpt from a recent interview, Bob Dylan talks with author Bill Flanagan about Barack Obama, the ghosts of the Civil War and presidential autobiographies.

Bill Flanagan: You liked Barack Obama early on. Why was that?
Bob Dylan: I'd read his book and it intrigued me.

"Audacity of Hope"?
No, it was called "Dreams [From] My Father." 

What struck you about him?
Well, a number of things. He's got an interesting background. He's like a fictional character, but he's real. First off, his mother was a Kansas girl. Never lived in Kansas, though, but with deep roots. You know, like Kansas bloody Kansas. John Brown the insurrectionist. Jesse James and Quantrill. Bushwhackers, guerillas. Wizard of Oz Kansas. I think Barack has Jefferson Davis back there in his ancestry someplace. And then his father. An African intellectual. Bantu, Masai, Griot-type heritage--cattle raiders, lion killers. I mean, it's just so incongruous that these two people would meet and fall in love. You kind of get past that, though. And then you're into his story. Like an odyssey, except in reverse.

In what way?
First of all, Barack is born in Hawaii. Most of us think of Hawaii as paradise, so I guess you could say that he was born in paradise.

And he was thrown out of the garden.
Not exactly. His mom married some other guy named Lolo and then took Barack to Indonesia to live. Barack went to both a Muslim school and a Catholic school. His mom used to get up at 4 in the morning and teach him book lessons three hours before he even went to school. And then she would go to work. That tells you the type of woman she was. That's just in the beginning of the story.

What else did you find compelling about him?
Well, mainly his take on things. His writing style hits you on more than one level. It makes you feel and think at the same time, and that is hard to do. He says profoundly outrageous things. He's looking at a shrunken head inside of a glass case in some museum with a bunch of other people, and he's wondering if any of these people realize that they could be looking at one of their ancestors.

What in his book would make you think he'd be a good politician?
Well, nothing really. In some sense, you would think being in the business of politics would be the last thing that this man would want to do. I think he had a job as an investment banker on Wall Street for a second, selling German bonds. But he probably could've done anything. If you read his book, you'll know that the political world came to him. It was there to be had. 

Do you think he'll make a good president?
I have no idea. He'll be the best president he can be. Most of those guys come into office with the best of intentions and leave as beaten men. Johnson would be a good example of that … Nixon, Clinton in a way, Truman, all the rest of them going back. You know, it's like they all fly too close to the sun and get burned.

Did you ever read any other presidential autobiographies?
Yeah, I read Grant's.

What was he like? Any similarities?
The times were different, obviously. And Grant wrote his book after he'd left office.

What did you find interesting about him?
It's not like he's a great writer. He's analytical and cold, but he does have a sense of humor. Grant, besides being a military strategist, was a working man. Worked horses. Tended the horses, plowed and furrowed. Brought in all the crops--the corn and potatoes. Sawed wood and drove wagons since the time he was about 11. Got a crystal-clear memory of all the battles he’d been in.

Do you remember any particular battle that Grant fought?
There were a lot of battles, but the Shilo one is most interesting. He could've lost that. But he was determined to win it at any price, using all kinds of strategies, even faking retreat. You could read it for yourself.

When you think back to the Civil War, one thing you forget is that no battles except Gettysburg were fought in the North.
Yeah. That's what probably makes the Southern part of the country so different.

There is a certain sensibility, but I'm not sure how that connects.
It must be the Southern air. It's filled with rambling ghosts and disturbed spirits. They're all screaming and forlorning. It's like they are caught in some weird web--some purgatory between heaven and hell and they can't rest. They can't live, and they can't die. It's like they were cut off in their prime, wanting to tell somebody something. It's all over the place. There are war fields everywhere … a lot of times even in people's backyards.

Have you felt them?
Oh, sure. You'd be surprised. I was in Elvis's hometown, Tupelo. And I was trying to feel what Elvis would have felt back when he was growing up.

Did you feel all the music Elvis must have heard?
No, but I'll tell you what I did feel. I felt the ghosts from the bloody battle that Sherman fought against Forrest and drove him out. There's an eeriness to the town. A sadness that lingers. Elvis must have felt it too. 

Are you a mystical person?
Absolutely. 

Any thoughts about why?
I think it's the land. The streams, the forests, the vast emptiness. The land created me. I'm wild and lonesome. Even as I travel the cities, I'm more at home in the vacant lots. But I have a love for humankind, a love of truth, and a love of justice. I think I have a dualistic nature. I'm more of an adventurous type than a relationship type.

But the new album is all about love--love found, love lost, love remembered, love denied.
Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.

07/04/2009 14:39. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Paris, France April 8, 2009

Paris, France
Palais des Congrès de Paris
April 8, 2009

1. The Wicked Messenger (Bob on keyboard)
2. Lay, Lady, Lay (Bob on guitar)
3. Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
4. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard and harp)
5. 'Til I Fell In Love With You (Bob on keyboard and harp)
6. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard and harp)
7. Sugar Baby (Bob on keyboard)
8. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
9. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (Bob on keyboard)
10. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Bob on keyboard and harp)
11. Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
12. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
13. The Times We've Known (Bob on keyboard) (song by Charles Aznavour)
14. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)

(encore)

16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

09/04/2009 12:44. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

On the situation today

¿Qué respeto nos merecen las decisiones del Tribunal Supremo que acaba de exculpar a un juez que cometió prevaricación y cohecho en el caso de Marbella? Es un Tribunal que está adoptando decisiones sospechosamente corporativas constantemente. Es un Tribunal que a semejanza del Constitucional, adopta decisiones presuntamente injustas sabiendo que contra ellos ya no se puede hacer nada... y encima asumiendo que lo políticamente correcto es "aceptar sus decisiones". Cuando a un juez que debía haber ido dos años a la cárcel más no sé cuantos de inhabilitación según una instancia judicial por haber recibido dinero de un acusado, este Tribunal prácticamente le esculpa y le permite seguir en su juzgado ¿qué respeto nos pueden merecer sus decisiones? Somos víctimas de esta justicia de... y nadie nos puede negar que, sea cualquiera que sea la decisión que tomen, todos tengamos derecho a sospechar que han sido “comprados”. Ninguna decisión judicial podemos asumir que sea justa. Y ante esta exculpación del juez del caso Marbella ¿cómo se va perjudicar a Garzón que cobró del Banco de Santander para archivar una causa contra su presidente? Y abundando sobre este presunto juez ¿qué sabe Garzón y a cuántos tienen “cogidos” por los... delitos para que se le permita todo tipo de atropello? Ya lo advirtió desde Nueva York: “Cuando vuelva ya hablaré pero quizá me rueguen que me calle...” ¿Sabe quienes fueron los autores intelectuales y materiales del 11-M? Ya se sabe que desde el 11-M España empezó a ser eZpaña... y todo lo que ocurre está contaminado por las consecuencias de aquel “golpe de estado”.
10/04/2009 12:01. plotino #. ESPAÑA / SPAIN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands April 11, 2009

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Heineken Music Hall
April 11, 2009

1. Maggie's Farm (Bob on keyboard)
2. Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob on keyboard)
3. Man In The Long Black Coat (Bob on keyboard)
4. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
5. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
6. Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
7. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (Bob on keyboard)
8. Tough Mama (Bob on keyboard)
9. Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
10. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
11. Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard)
12. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
13. Nettie Moore (Bob on keyboard)
14. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)

(encore)

16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

13/04/2009 09:37. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

On Bob Dylan’s new album ›Together Through Life

on Bob Dylan’s new album ›Together Through Life‹

Text: Max Dax, Alex Paulick

Alongside the American publications Rolling Stone and the New Yorker, the British magazines Mojo and Uncut, Spex is one of three German magazines to have been granted a listening session of the new album by Bob Dylan, entitled »Together Through Life«. Max Dax was able to listen to it twice altogether – so it is still too early for a comprehensive, well founded critique. But his notes – a rough protocol in illegible stenography – were sufficient for a song-by-song review as the first part of the big Spex Online special on Bob Dylan - with the explicit possibility of wrongly heard and therefore incorrectly quoted song lyrics.

    The album – by a long way the most nervously anticipated by fans and press so far this year – turns out to be a surprising and entirely well-rounded record, with a marked Mexican/Cajun influence. It sounds like a summer album, full of longing for the American South and a time that is lost forever. While on his previous records »Love & Theft« (2001) and »Modern Times« (2006) Dylan was still singing in bitter protest against those modern times and evoking old epochs, it seems that the meanwhile 67 year old singer has at last made peace with the fact that no one can alter the march of time. And In the face of this irrefutable knowledge, the only thing that helps is - an accordion!


Translated from German by Alex Paulick (Coloma)
Siehe auch: Dieser Artikel auf deutsch / This article in German



1. »Beyond Here Lies Nothin’«

We hear a trumpet, an accordion, a low-tuned acoustic guitar, a Hammond organ and a pumping electric bass - but the band is driven by the rumba-blues rhythm of the drums. Bob Dylan opens his new album with the lines: »Oh well I love you pretty baby / You’re the only love I’ve ever known / Just as long as you stay with me / The whole world is my throne / Beyond here lies nothing / Nothing we can call our own.« It is a love song of the raw, disillusioned kind, which holds its appeal by virtue of the band’s rough-hewn pleasure in playing.

    Surprising are the choice of rhythm and the disarming sound palette: a Latin feel is present, suggesting a "south-of-the-border" mood - an American expression referring to Mexican music and the way of life beyond the Rio Grande. The accordion as a rhythmic element and the trash-can blues trumpet are striking, and might otherwise suggest a similarity to Tom Waits – although Dylan sings much less theatrically and isn’t angling for an effect.

    »Beyond Here Lies Nothin’« is the perfect opener, manifesting an easiness which marks out the territory of the whole album. With the accordion, it seems as if Dylan is intentionally expanding the sound of his long-standing live band, using the new instrument as a kind of wild card. The western swing references, which for all intents and purposes were exhausted after »Love & Theft« and »Modern Times«, have been discarded. A surprising looseness is established, and seems to announce that the deck has been reshuffled! On accordion: David Hidalgo of Los Lobos from East L.A.


2. »Life Is Hard«

The instrumentation of this slow, sentimental ballad suggests the sound of the thirties or forties: steel guitar, mandolin, accordion, brushed drums, upright bass. Dylan sings with tender, onomatopoeic phrasing: »The sun is sinking low / I guess it’s time to go / I feel a chilly breeze / In place of memories / My dreams are locked and barred / Admitting life is hard / Without you near me.« The intriguing rhythmic interplay between the straight vocal line and swinging jazz drums leaves the tune floating in a state of ambiguity. Apparently, this song was the genesis of »Together Through Life«. It was originally written by Dylan as a contribution to »My Own Love Song«, a new film by Olivier Dahan, and was recorded in October of last year. During the work on this song, Dylan saw the beginnings of something bigger, which led him to extend the recording sessions, resulting in the ten new songs on this album.


3. »My Wife’s Home Town«

An ironic, at first seemingly threatening blues tune. This song probably most clearly demonstrates what Dylan means in a recent interview with Bill Flanagan on Bobdylan.com (PDF) when he talks about the influence of the sound of the Chicago blues label Chess Records. This track, slightly too slow to be roadhouse blues, very much resembles Muddy Waters classics like »Mannish Boy« or »I Just Wanna Make Love to You«. Yet the accordion plays unexpectedly bright major chords and Dylan foils the mood, grumbling with twinkle in his eye: »She can make you steal / Make you rob / Give you the hives / Make you lose your tongue / Can make things bad / She can make things worse / She got stuff more potent than a gypsy curse«. The lasting impression is of something like Muddy Waters singing a Lyle Lovett song: »There ain’t no way to put me down / I just wanna say that Hell’s my wife’s home town«. After adding a long »hoooooometown« to the last chorus, Dylan even laughs diabolically before the song fades out.


4. »If You Ever Go to Houston«

The musical atmosphere of this outstanding song evokes cinematic images. The sea breeze that blows across the Gulf of Mexico into Texas also blows through this song. It has a vague echo of some old Cajun standard, the title of which the singer has since forgotten. But the piece is a little too slow to be a Cajun tune - like most songs on »Together Through Life« seem ›too slow‹ for their referential genre in a strangely pleasant way. The pedal steel, organ and accordion block out the optimistic riff throughout the track, and the relaxed shuffle is driven by acoustic guitar and brushes.

    Dylan sings in the spaces which open up in between: »If you are ever down there / (…) / You better watch out for the man with the shining star / Better know where you are going / Or stay where you are«, or: »I know these streets / I’ve been here before / I nearly got killed here / During the Mexican War«. With these lyrics he makes unequivocally clear that the Texan-Mexican border town feeling is not only meant musically, but word for word - and not only in this piece, but throughout the entire record. Also worth mentioning is that Dylan is really singing here: he holds the notes, singing emphatically with a joyful passion. This is something we haven’t heard from him in years.


5. »Forgetful Heart«

The most unspectacular song on »Together Through Life«: organ pads, a sluggish beat, tambourine, a distorted steel guitar and the accordion meandering in the background. In its form, »Forgetful Heart« reminds of slower, late Dylan classics like »Nettie Moore« or »Ain’t Talkin’« or »Can’t Wait« – but lacks the observational clarity and literary precision of those songs. Perhaps it is due to the subject matter? Dylan sings: »Forgetful heart / Lost your power of recall / Every little detail / You don’t remember at all / The times we knew / Who would remember better than you?«

Bob Dylan Mailand
Bob Dylan in concert in Milan, November 2005. He will visit Germany and Switzerland in April 2009 as part of his European tour. Presented by Spex Magazine. Don’t you dare miss it!

(Photo: CC ISphoto / Flickr)

6. »Jolene«

Another song written in a roadhouse blues frame: in »Jolene« the shuffle driven by the electric guitar motif reminds of Little Richard's »Lucille«, but the song is maybe too slow for this musical comparison. The phrase »I am the king and you are the queen / Jolene« invites another comparison, to David Bowie's »Heroes«, and the lines: »I could be king and you could be queen«. Along with »Forgetful Heart« this is another song where format is more pronounced than originality. But all the songs on »Together Through Life«, including the less strong ones like »Jolene«, are driven by a simplicity which predestines them to be played live often and extensively.

    The overall sound of the album contributes to an assumption: This is a spontaneous recording. Again and again little flubs and bum notes are audible, which assumedly haven't been corrected or rerecorded for the sake of this impression. The songs are written more simply as well, as if Dylan didn't want to invest so much time as to burden the songs with excessive encryption, levels of interpretation and abstraction, but rather to capture a moment. In this respect, »Together Through Life« has something in common with the 19 year old album »Under the Red Sky«. But where that album suffers noticeably under the heavy handed Don Was production values of 1990, and the mixing desk was often more audible than the live room, Dylan's new record profits from a real-time naturalism which wasn't obviously or artificially manipulated through post-production.


7. »This Dream of You«

First impression: singer and band are back in Mexico. To be more precise, with this song Dylan conjures up the aesthetic and the romantic-melancholic mood of his own classic »Romance In Durango« from 1976. Accordion, upright bass and fiddle form the backbone of this slow rumba-ballad. One of the most beautiful lines, not only of this song, but of the entire album, says: »There is a moment where all things become new again / But that moment might have come and gone / All I have and all I know / Is this dream of you / That keeps me moving on«. Dylan doesn't cultivate the old notion of Mexico as an exotic place of longing only with this song - as early as 1963 he wrote the lines »I’ve heard tell of a town / Where I might as well be bound / It’s down around / The old Mexican plains« in the song »Farewell«. Although the outtake from the »The Times They Are A’Changing« sessions was never released, he returned to the subject in »Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues« from 1965 – »When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez / And it’s Eastertime too«. Not to mention that albums like »Desire« or »Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid« are choc full of such references.


8. »Shake Shake Mama«

An abrupt change of mood: in this rumbling barroom stomp Dylan shoots off a fireworks display of innuendos and sexual connotations: »Shake shake Mama / Shake like a ship going out to sea« (…) »I get the blues for you baby / When I look up at the sun / Come back here / We can have some real fun« (…) »Shake shake Mama / Shake until the break of day / I’m right here baby / I’m not that far away«. A song like this reemphasizes the previously mentioned comparison with »Under the Red Sky«, suggesting that »Shake Shake Mama« is the »Wiggle Wiggle« of this record, simply adding another song to a genre – and therefore absolutely legible as an artistic defensive reaction against the efforts to weigh each and every one of Dylan's syllables on a gold scale.


9. »I Feel a Change Comin’ On«

Alongside »If You Ever Go to Houston«, »My Wife’s Home Town« and »This Dream of You«, this is one of the outstanding songs on the new album. One of the two key verses says: »What’s the use in dreaming / You got better things to do / Dreams never did work for me anyway / Even when they are getting true«. The other: »Some people they tell me / I’ve got the blood of the land in my voice«. That might sound heavy and fatalistic, but it is countered by Dylan's crooning voice. It appears that an optimist is singing the sunny hook line: »I feel a change comin’ on« – an impression that is immediately tempered one line later with Dylan's cryptic statement: »And the fourth part of the day is already gone«.

    During an interview with the London newspaper The Times, given last year in Denmark, Dylan was atypically outspoken in his sympathy for the presidential candidate Barack Obama. This song sounds as if he would now like to say, after the election: »surely some things will change for the better, but it's too late anyway«. Although the song is sung happily, it speaks for the prophetic interpretation that throughout this album, Dylan is apparently quoting entire lines from Chaucer's »Canterbury Tales« – that quintessential tome of English literature from the 14th century, which among other topics includes the misuse of religion for political ends. But before we get caught up in over-interpretation, it should be mentioned that »I Feel a Change Comin’ On« is pretty darned similar to »Handy Dandy« in its lively and happy mood. That nursery-rhyme-like number is yet another song from the aforementioned »Under the Red Sky«. Of all songs –  and after nearly two decades –  Dylan played it live for the very first time last year, on the 28th of June in Vigo, Spain. Perhaps it occurred to him that it might be worth revisiting the simplicity of this song, or for that matter, the entire record.


10. »It’s All Good«

The last song of this remarkable album, »It’s All Good«, might still be a little to slow for a Zydeco tune, even despite the driving accordion and its Cajun shuffle rhythm. Here, Dylan displays his sarcastic side: similarly to in his song »Everything Is Broken« from 1989, he lists things that are going wrong, to finally comment with a dry »It’s all good«. Considering that this is the closing chapter of an album which is to be released in the dark days of a financial crisis, perhaps the biggest crisis in the history of capitalism, the song rattles on breathlessly like a freight train, and is beyond all seriousness.


    Dylan sings of »Wives leaving their husbands« and »Big politicians telling lies«, but: »It’s all good«. »Brick by brick they tear you down / A teacup of water is enough to drown / You oughta know if they could they would / Whatever goes down / It’s all good«. In the past it has been the case that ›easier‹ or ›more lively‹ Dylan records preceded an artistic fresh start for the singer. After »Street Legal« followed »Slow Train Coming«, after »Under the Red Sky« the album »Good As I Been to You«, after »Another Side …« came »Bringing It All Back Home«. So what does the future hold? Dylan alone at the piano? We are prepared for anything.



 

13/04/2009 17:37. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

On the situation today

Esta bien, si quieren reformas.... 1º liquidación total de las autonomías. 2º Cierre de todos los canales públicos de televisión deficitarios. 3º Fuera pensiones a los politicuchos por haber sido ministro, presidente o lo que sea. 4º Quien no cotice los sufientes años, ni un euro del erario público. 5º Sueldo de los diputados 1.000 Euros al mes (y ya tienen bastante). 6º Para que los políticos opten a una pension de jubilación que coticen 30 ó 40 años como todo hijo de vecino. No sigo más para no daros el coñazo... Saludos cordiales a todos.
Y a quien le importan las pensiones...??? A todos éstos vividores del pesebre público les da lo mismo, ellos con sus sueldazos y comisiones por doquier tienen las arcas llenas y las cuentas de Suiza repletas... mientras el borreguerío no se entera de la película, así que ¿a quien importa la ruina y el crack de las pensiones, a los que estamos aguantando como sea la crisis con nuestras empresas, para no perder lo poco que hemos conseguido durante toda nuestra vida... ? El día que salte alguien a cortar cuellos de políticos y vividores, yo estaré a su lado, necesitamos otra revolución social contra los apesebrados, contra la casta de malnacidos que viven de nuestra sangre sin importarles para nada nuestras vidas, !! guillotina otra vez, guillotina ya!!
Y si las pensiones peligran, los que estamos a punto de jubilarnos vamos a seguir en activo hasta el "Día del Juicio Final, por la tarde", con lo que los jóvenes entrarán a trabajar en los puestos que dejemos, cuando "las ranas críen pelo", lo que implica aumento del paro en las generaciones mas jóvenes que aun estan por licenciarse.

Si las pensiones peligran, los viejos serán los paganos de las veleidades zapateriles. ¡Que se vayan preparando los "jubilatas"!.

¡Como estará la cosa para que un socialista tan sectario como MAFO, dice que hay que contener el gasto!. No preocuparse, Zapatero ya dijo que el gasto en pensiones, sanidad y salario de los trabajadores, no se iban a contener por que no iban a ser ellos quienes "pagaran el pato".

¡Lo que nos tenemos que reir!, .... por no llorar.

¡Mas no importa!. Pobres, pero progres, los mas progres del mundo, como Cuba, Birmania y Corea del Norte..... pero aqui con monarquía.
16/04/2009 09:01. plotino #. ESPAÑA / SPAIN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Milan, Italy April 15, 2009

Milan, Italy
Assago DatchForum
April 15, 2009

1. The Wicked Messenger (Bob on keyboard)
2. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob on guitar)
3. Just Like A Woman (Bob on keyboard)
4. Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
5. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob on keyboard)
6. High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob on keyboard)
7. Sugar Baby (Bob on keyboard)
8. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
9. Blind Willie McTell (Bob on keyboard)
10. Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard)
11. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard)
13. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
14. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)

(encore)

16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

16/04/2009 09:04. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Is Together Through Life co-written - yes, with Robert Hunter

www.huffingtonpost.com]|bobdylancom|20090415

In anticipation of the release of his 33rd album, Together Through Life, Bob Dylan sat down with rock critic and MTV producer Bill Flanagan for a rare and unusually candid conversation. The first three portions of their meeting can be read at bobdylan.com, and the fourth installment can be read here on the Huffington Post).

In the fifth installment, published below, Dylan reveals his favorite songwriters, discusses whether he's a cult figure, and gives his thoughts on trading on nostalgia and if he's a mainstream artist.



Bill Flanagan: Going back to that song you wrote for the movie that you mentioned earlier, "Life is Hard," has the formality of an old Rudy Vallee or Nelson Eddy ballad right down to the middle eight ("Ever since the day..."). Do you figure that if you start a song in that style, you stick with the rules right down the line?

Bob Dylan: Sure, I try to stick to the rules. Sometimes I might shift paradigms within the same song, but then that structure also has its own rules. And I combine them both, see what works and what doesn't. My range is limited. Some formulas are too complex and I don't want anything to do with them.

BF: "Forgetful Heart" - how do you decide to put an Appalachian banjo on a minor key blues? Is it something you think of ahead of time or does it come up in the session?

BD: I think it probably came up at the studio. A banjo wouldn't be out of character though. There is a minor key modality to "Forgetful Heart." It's like Little Maggie or Darling Cory, so there is no reason a banjo shouldn't fit or sound right.

BF: You wrote a lot of these songs with Robert Hunter. How does that process work?

BD: There isn't any process to speak of. You just do it. You drive the car. Sometimes you get out from behind the wheel and let someone else step on the gas.

BF: You must have known Hunter a long time. Do you remember where you first met?

BD: It was either back in '62 or '63 when I played in the Bay area. I might have met him in Palo Alto or Berkley or Oakland. I played all those places then and I could have met Hunter around that time. I know he was around.

BF: Didn't Hunter play in a bluegrass band with Jerry Garcia?

BD: Yeah, it was either that or a jug band.

BF: Have you ever thought about composing anything with those Nashville songwriters?

BD: I've never thought about that.

BF: Neil Diamond did an album years ago where he co-wrote with different Nashville songwriters.

BD: Yeah, that might have worked for him. I don't think it would work for me.

BF: You don't think it would work for you?

BD: No. I'm okay without it. I'm not exactly obsessed with writing songs. I go back a ways with Hunter. We're from the same old school so it makes it's own kind of sense.

BF: Do you listen to a lot of songs?

BD: Yeah - sometimes.

BF: Who are some of your favorite songwriters?

BD: Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.

BF: What songs do you like of Buffett's?

BD: "Death of an Unpopular Poet." There's another one called "He Went to Paris."

BF: You and Lightfoot go way back.

BD: Oh yeah. Gordo's been around as long as me.

BF: What are your favorite songs of his?

BD: "Shadows," "Sundown," "If You Could Read My Mind." I can't think of any I don't like.

BF: Did you know Zevon?

BD: Not very well.

BF: What did you like about him?

BD: "Lawyers, Guns and Money." "Boom Boom Mancini." Down hard stuff. "Join me in L.A." sort of straddles the line between heartfelt and primeval. His musical patterns are all over the place, probably because he's classically trained. There might be three separate songs within a Zevon song, but they're all effortlessly connected. Zevon was a musician's musician, a tortured one. "Desperado Under the Eaves." It's all in there.

BF: Randy Newman?

BD: Yeah, Randy. What can you say? I like his early songs, "Sail Away," "Burn Down the Cornfield," "Louisiana," where he kept it simple. Bordello songs. I think of him as the Crown Prince, the heir apparent to Jelly Roll Morton. His style is deceiving. He's so laid back that you kind of forget he's saying important things. Randy's sort of tied to a different era like I am.

BF: How about John Prine?

BD: Prine's stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs. I remember when Kris Kristofferson first brought him on the scene. All that stuff about "Sam Stone" the soldier junky daddy and "Donald and Lydia," where people make love from ten miles away. Nobody but Prine could write like that. If I had to pick one song of his, it might be "Lake Marie." I don't remember what album that's on.

BF: A lot of the acts from your generation seem to be trading on nostalgia. They play the same songs the same way for the last 30 years. Why haven't you ever done that?

BD: I couldn't if I tried. Those guys you are talking about all had conspicuous hits. They started out anti-establishment and now they are in charge of the world. Celebratory songs. Music for the grand dinner party. Mainstream stuff that played into the culture on a pervasive level. My stuff is different from those guys. It's more desperate. Daltrey, Townshend, McCartney, the Beach Boys, Elton, Billy Joel. They made perfect records, so they have to play them perfectly ... exactly the way people remember them. My records were never perfect. So there is no point in trying to duplicate them. Anyway, I'm no mainstream artist.

BF: Then what kind of artist are you?

BD: I'm not sure, Byronesque maybe. Look, when I started out, mainstream culture was Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Sound of Music. There was no fitting into it then and of course, there's no fitting into it now. Some of my songs have crossed over but they were all done by other singers.

BF: Have you ever tried to fit in?

BD: Well, no, not really. I'm coming out of the folk music tradition and that's the vernacular and archetypal aesthetic that I've experienced. Those are the dynamics of it. I couldn't have written songs for the Brill Building if I tried. Whatever passes for pop music, I couldn't do it then and I can't do it now.

BF: Does that mean you create outsider art? Do you think of yourself as a cult figure?

BD: A cult figure, that's got religious connotations. It sounds cliquish and clannish. People have different emotional levels. Especially when you're young. Back then I guess most of my influences could be thought of as eccentric. Mass media had no overwhelming reach so I was drawn to the traveling performers passing through. The side show performers - bluegrass singers, the black cowboy with chaps and a lariat doing rope tricks. Miss Europe, Quasimodo, the Bearded Lady, the half-man half-woman, the deformed and the bent, Atlas the Dwarf, the fire-eaters, the teachers and preachers, the blues singers. I remember it like it was yesterday. I got close to some of these people. I learned about dignity from them. Freedom too. Civil rights, human rights. How to stay within yourself. Most others were into the rides like the tilt-a-whirl and the rollercoaster. To me that was the nightmare. All the giddiness. The artificiality of it. The sledge hammer of life. It didn't make sense or seem real. The stuff off the main road was where force of reality was. At least it struck me that way. When I left home those feelings didn't change.

BF: But you've sold over a hundred million records.

BD: Yeah I know. It's a mystery to me too.

16/04/2009 16:48. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Rome, Italy April 17, 2009

Rome, Italy
PalaLottomatica
April 17, 2009

1. Cat's In The Well (Bob on keyboard)
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob on keyboard)
3. Things Have Changed (Bob on guitar)
4. Boots Of Spanish Leather (Bob on guitar)
5. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
6. Sugar Baby (Bob on keyboard)
7. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
(Bob on center stage - no harp or keyboard)
8. Make You Feel My Love (Bob on keyboard)
9. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
10. Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
12. Love Sick (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Return To Me (Bob on keyboard)
15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)

(encore)

16. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

18/04/2009 11:21. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Bob Dylan’s official historian-in-residence, Sean Wilentz

Bob Dylan’s official historian-in-residence, Sean Wilentz, gets an early listen of the bard’s new album. Protest anthems? Out. These are the songs of the consummate American musician.

 

Listening to the third track of Bob Dylan’s new album, Together Through Life, it hit me. The melody of the song, “My Wife’s Home Town,” is basically a note-for-note reprise of the Muddy Waters classic, “I Just Want to Make Love to You," written by the Chicago blues great Willie Dixon, first recorded by Waters in 1954, and later recorded by, among others, Etta James and the (early) Rolling Stones. The tempo is a little slower; and David Hidalgo’s accordion drifts in and out of lines played on the original by the pianist Otis Spann and the harmonica virtuoso Little Walter; but the melody’s the same, and the arrangement comes mighty close.

Dylan’s voice, with age, has mellowed (if that’s the word) into a blues rasp close to that of yet another Chicago blues great, Howlin’ Wolf.

I wondered if Dylan was paying homage to Waters or Dixon or James or Mick Jagger, or maybe all of them. But what hit me was something else: how Dylan’s voice, with age, has mellowed (if that’s the word) into a blues rasp close to that of yet another Chicago blues great, Howlin’ Wolf. And so, on an old song that Dylan has rewritten into a wicked number about an archetypical Evil Woman, strange revenants appear—ghosts from Chess Records sessions dating back more than half a century that suddenly take flesh as Dylan, Hidalgo, and the rest of the band that Dylan has assembled for Together Through Life. An album of songs about women and love (with all but one of the songs’ lyrics co-credited to Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead writer who has written with Dylan before), it is also about music that Dylan has travelled with through his own life.

The new recording is in some ways very much of a piece with Dylan’s recent work dating back to Love and Theft, released in 2001. Sounds, melodies, country and pop-song lyrics (“the boulevard of broken dreams” becomes “the boulevard of broken cars”) and snatches of classical poetry (Ovid makes a brief appearance here, unnoted, as he did on Dylan’s last album of original songs, Modern Times) get permuted and recombined into something new that also sounds old. And as in Dylan’s other work of late (including his deeply underrated film, Masked & Anonymous), the simplest of the songs can contain layers that approach allusion, but only just. In her 1973 hit, “Jolene,” Dolly Parton pleads with a raving beauty, “with flaming locks of auburn hair” and “eyes of emerald green,” begging her not to steal her man. In Dylan’s version—a toss-off steady rocker with the same title and a nice guitar hook—Jolene’s eyes are brown and Dylan sings as the king to her queen, packing a Saturday night special and grabbing his dice. A plain enough sex song—but lurking in the lyrics and the music there are also hints of Robert Johnson’s “32-20 Blues,” as well as Victoria Spivey’s album recorded in early 1962, Three Kings and the Queen (on which a 20-year-old Bob Dylan, no king, played harmonica in back of Big Joe Williams).

Even when the songs tell of loss and longing, the album has a musically warm, at times almost sunny atmosphere, which comes largely from the Tex-Mex strains from Hildalgo’s squeeze box (best known from the recordings of Hidalgo’s regular band, Los Lobos), at times paired with Dylan’s current road band regular, Donnie Herron, playing a mariachi trumpet. And there is a good deal of throwback here, to Dylan’s own music as well as to that of others. Dylan has used Tex-Mex sounds effectively in his own work since at least 1965, when he added, at the last minute, brilliant guitar swirls, (reminiscent of Grady Martin’s on Marty Robbins’s ballad, “El Paso”) by the visiting Nashville sideman, Charlie McCoy, to the studio version of “Desolation Row.” At the very moment he broke with the more conventional forms of 1960s folk music, Dylan publicly acknowledged his admiration for the work of his friend, the San Antonio genius Doug Sahm, and Sahm’s Tex-Mex rock band with a British invasion name, The Sir Douglas Quintet.

The sound of much of Together Through Life fits well with the mythic Old West setting, which (along with the Civil War and the bluesmen’s land, from Mississippi to Chicago, circa 1938 to 1955) have repeatedly sparked Dylan’s imagination: matrices of American myth. Hildalgo is also the latest in a string of master keyboard players with whom Dylan has played and recorded over the decades, including Bobby Griffin, Al Kooper, and Augie Meyers, not to mention his own often overlooked piano and organ playing. Dylan’s fans and critics have made a great deal out of what he once called “that thin… that wild mercury sound” that he captured on Blonde on Blonde. Dylan built that sound out of a vortex of guitars, harmonica, and, above all, Kooper’s organ. Together Through Life bears no obvious resemblance to Blonde on Blonde, but the metallic glow Dylan was talking about reappears, sometimes shining softly, sometimes shimmering in a rollicking jump.

As the early press reports have revealed, the album grew out of a commission for a song to appear in a forthcoming film directed by Olivier Dahan. Nothing odd about that either: At Dylan’s live shows, he shows off, perched on one of the amps, the Oscar he won for “Things Have Changed” (and which makes him, along with the likes of Aaron Copland, one of the few artists ever to receive both a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award). That initial movie song, “If You Ever Go to Houston,” takes us back for a little while to the 1870s or so, in the voice of a veteran of the Mexican War, instructing the listener on how to walk in that city (the album has a thing about keeping your hands in your pockets), with some site check-offs for Texas cities (like the Magnolia Hotel in Dallas), but mainly with a lush soundscape of Tony Garnier’s bass, what sounds like Mike Campbell on a gut-stringed acoustic guitar, and Hidalgo, playing a repeating tune of descending note-pairings.

 

There are no Dylan epics like “Highlands” here, nor too much, really, to tax the brain, but there is plenty to dance to, shake to, even laugh to. Together Through Life is above all a musical album, which may disappoint the Bob Dylan wing of English departments throughout the land. The album’s look drives that home. The front cover, already spread around the Internet, is one of Bruce Davidson’s photographs of a Brooklyn gang taken in 1959, depicting a serious make-out session in the backseat of a speeding car: Love and Sex. But the album’s back cover is completely musical—a Josef Koudelka photograph, taken in the mid-1960s, of a band of Romanian gypsy musicians, with an accordionist right in the middle.

 

There is, yes, a protest song, but more humorous than accusatory, sending up the inane, omnipresent, motivational-speaker cliché, “It’s all good!” (Politically minded fans who might have expected a Dylan song entitled “Feel a Change Coming On,” to pick up where Sam Cooke or maybe Barack Obama left off will be surprised by its reflective later-in-the-day love lyric in which the singer announces his high-low taste in books and music, and which has a bridge that some will hear as Dylan himself truly speaking: “Dreams never worked for me, anyway/ Even when they did come true.” The song also includes a lovely, poignant lifting from Nehemiah 9:3 about “the fourth part of the day” —a time of confession and prayer in the Bible—being nearly gone.)

In 1965, the year that Dylan famously played electric at the Newport Folk Festival, the fetishists of authenticity (along with fans who just loved great American music) clung to the re-discovered black blues artists who were enjoying a last taste of celebrity singing the songs they had recorded in the 1920s and 1930s for the Vocalion and Okeh and Bluebird labels. There was Son House (who was 63 years old), and Mississippi John Hurt (in his early seventies), and Mance Lipscomb (exactly 70), as well as a younger cohort that included Willie Dixon and Memphis Slim, who were both 50. Now the untamed young musical expeditionary of 1965 is right up there with the old guys—he turns 68 in May—yet he’s not just reinventing and performing his old songs for college kids, but turning the old into the new and then back again, with fresh myth-laden music that achieves the amazing feat (which Dylan says has noticed in Obama’s writing, which he say he admires) of making you think and feel at the same time. This time out, though, maybe more than ever, he also rouses you to dance and dance, and then dance some more, before heading for the exits, and then, well… then seeing what more might develop.

Sean Wilentz is a history professor at Princeton University whose books include The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln and The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and historian-in-residence at Bob Dylan’s officialWeb site.

18/04/2009 11:29. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Geneva, Switzerland April 20, 2009

Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva Arena
April 20, 2009

1. Watching The River Flow (Bob on keyboard)
2. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob on keyboard)
3. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob on guitar)
4. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
5. Million Miles (Bob on keyboard)
6. Tough Mama (Bob on keyboard)
7. Tryin' To Get To Heaven (Bob on keyboard)
8. The Levee's Gonna Break (Bob on keyboard)
9. When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
10. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob on keyboard)
11. Beyond The Horizon (Bob on keyboard)
12. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)

(encore)

15. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

21/04/2009 08:58. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

On the situation today

Yo nací y vivo en Mallorca. Creci hablando Castellano e inglés. Sufro este problema porque tengo que ayudar a hacer los deberes en Catalán a mis hijos. Esto genera mucho rechazo por mi parte y por parte de mis hijos e incluso mi madre.
Mi madre nació en Mallorca y su lengua materna es el Mallorquín, pero rechaza el catalán y no tiene miedo de cecirlo al que quiera escuchar. Mucha gente está de acuerdo en que los niños deberian estudiar MALLORQUIN como asignatura en la escuela, no el catalán como lengua oficial. Y el Castellano deberia ser lengua vehicular. Esto daría a nuestros hijos las mismas oportunidades que en el resto de España.
Esta gentuza nos ha robado el Mallorquín y nos ha impuesto una lengua que no es la de aquí.
Por la calle se distingue a los catalanistas porque hablan una cosa que no es mallorquín, pretenden ser mas cultos que los demás y hablan con palabras y usos catalanes.... y también porque van por todos lados con cara de culo... porque no soportan la realidad, que el Castellano es la lengua favorita en Mallorca.
21/04/2009 10:55. plotino #. ESPAÑA / SPAIN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

The Big Question: Why does Bob Dylan keep touring and is he still the best?

 

Why are we asking this now?

Because, like God, Dylan is everywhere. His ubiquity is extraordinary. His 33rd studio album Together Through Life will shortly be released, the fourth in an extraordinary late flowering of bluesy songs that kicked off with the brilliant Time Out of Mind in 1997. His Theme Time Radio Hour, available here on BBC6, has logged 100 hours of quirkily eclectic music from a slew of genres, even if it may be coming to a close (his most recent song "theme" was "Goodbye"). His recent exhibition of paintings, the Drawn Blank Series, in London's Mayfair may be followed by a travelling sculpture exhibition in Europe next year. This Sunday's one-off concert at the Roundhouse is a stroll in the park for a man who routinely performs 150 concerts a year. And if anyone ever mentions the world's most prestigious writing award, the Nobel Prize for Literature, somebody will tap his nose and sagely assure you that Bob Dylan has been "on the shortlist" for the last four years. Oh and Barack Obama brags about having Dylan's songs on his iPod. Like I say, ubiquitous.

Remind me: who is Bob Dylan?

Born Robert Zimmerman in May 1941. Family descended from Russian and Lithuanian Jews. Raised in Duluth and Hibbing, Minnesota, where formed bands in high school. Dropped out of University of Minnesota, determined to infuse US folk music with new seriousness. Went to New York, discovered art and books, sat at hospital bedside of his hero, Woody Guthrie. Began to perform songs in Greenwich Village. First album of cover versions from Columbia, 1962. Made reputation with second and third albums, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and The Times They Are A-Changin', as musical seer and prophet of social breakdown and political apocalypse in songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind", "Hard Rain's Gonna Fall", "Masters of War", "Chimes of Freedom", etc. His sandpaper rasp and unmelodious whine put off some listeners, but cover versions by Joan Baez, The Byrds and others showcased the melodies. His love songs and sardonic "talking blues" also impressed.

So he was the voice of the Sixties?

By 1964 he was considered the leading light of protest movement - but he soon rejected political rhetoric in favour of impressionistic, beautiful, image-driven songs of existential and cultural confusion: "Mr Tambourine Man", "Desolation Row", "Visions of Joanna", "Like a Rolling Stone". They introduced the concept of the long, thoughtful, poetic rock lyric and influenced everyone from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen. But he irritated many folk fans by embracing electric blues and rock'n'roll in 1965.

Enough of the Sixties. That was ages ago. What happened in the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and Nineties?

Dylan's finest period was 1963-66, three years of crazy fertility. In the Seventies, he hit a second stride with Blood on the Tracks and Desire, the first charting the end of his marriage, the latter returning to his early embrace of public political controversy with "Hurricane," about a wrongly -accused black boxer. The listening world sat up and took notice again. Dylan appealed to the stoned gypsy rover in his fans' hearts by embarking on the Rolling Thunder Revue with a dozen Greenwich Village folkies, commemorated in the documentary Reynaldo and Clara. He became a born-again Christian in the late 1970s and his output (Slow Train Coming, Saved) suffered.

The 1980s were a glum time: many albums flopped, his collaboration (eg with the Grateful Dead), charity singing (eg Live Aid 1985) and movies (eg the disastrous Hearts of Fire) were badly received. But he played new tricks. He revealed that he'd kept certain key recordings of the decade (like the epic "Blind Willie McTell") off his albums; they were later released as The Bootleg Series. He formed a casual, intensely melodic, folkie super-group called The Travelling Wilburys with George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne, to great acclaim. He also began the gruelling night-after-night gig schedule that became known as The NeverEnding Tour, which is still going strong.

In the 1990s, after another critical mauling, Dylan stopped making studios for seven years. He returned to his folk roots and made an album of classic blues and folk numbers. He needed a break. In spring 1997, he nearly died of a heart infection called pericarditis, but he bounced back to produce Time out of Mind later that year, his best-received work in years, which ushered in the current remarkable renaissance.

So the secret of his longevity is...?

Several things. 1) His transformation of rock'n' roll in the mid-1960s casts a long shadow: anything new that he does is greeted with respect. 2) His shifting of genres (folk, rock, country, jazz, western swing, rockabilly, lounge ballads, even rap – he invented the rap song with "Subterranean Homesick Blues") means he remains musically unpin-down-able. 3) The air of mystery and aggressively-defended privacy he projects, about his early days in Minnesota to his motorbike crash to his marital status, are red rags to critical bulls. 4) The lexicon of literary, Biblical and filmic hints with which his songs are studded have delighted successive generations of fans and academics, eg former Oxford Professor of Poetry, Christopher Ricks. 5) Lately, he has delighted hard-core fans by suddenly embracing the truth. His first volume of autobiography, Chronicles Vol 1 was a miracle of clarity and warmth about his early musical and literary education; Martin Scorcese's documentary about his life, No Direction Home, saw him giving straight answers to straight questions on-camera – something unheard of 20 years ago.

Isn't he just a prolix singer-songwriter who takes himself too seriously?

Actually, no. He is a modern version of the baffling, shape-changing riddler or trickster archetype from world mythology. He has played games with listeners, fans, cultists, academics, biographers and thousands of journalists over the years. As for his seriousness – whimsy has come to play a big part in his appeal. Kenneth Tynan used to say he was sure God the Father would be just like Ralph Richardson – a puckish, unpredictable, whimsical grandee. Dylan's the same. Listen to him name-checking young women singers on his last album ("I was thinking 'bout Alicia Keyes... I was wonderin' where Alicia Keyes could be,") watch his hat-and-cane soft-shoe shuffle in the video to his Oscar-winning "Things Have Changed," marvel at the way he lent his endorsement to the Victoria's Secret lingerie company, or recorded a Pepsi commercial with the rapper Will I.am broadcast at this year's Superbowl, and allowed the Co-Op to edit the lyrics to "Blowin' in the Wind" for a TV commercial, and you're aware of a man laughing at his own past and his reputation. He's one of the few undisputed musical geniuses of the 1960s explosion, but has always seemed able to laugh at his status as "voice of a generation."

Is Dylan worth all the fuss?

Yes...

* He's a living legend, who connects us with the very beginnings of rock and youth protest

* He has a bigger back catalogue of fine songs (600) than the Beatles, Stones and Beach Boys combined

* He can still be the conscience of America; he knows Barak Obama wouldn't want to let him down

No...

* Not any more. Listen to the backing of his new songs and you can tell he's lost interest in melody

* Have you heard him in concert mangling his old classics? It's a desecration

* He's only revered because he'll be the first 1960s rock star to hit 70...

25/04/2009 21:30. plotino #. BOB DYLAN Hay 1 comentario.

London, England April 25, 2009

London, England
O2 Arena

April 25, 2009

 

 
1.Maggie's Farm (Bob on keyboard)
2.The Times They Are A-Changin' (Bob on keyboard)
3.Things Have Changed (Bob on keyboard)
4.Chimes Of Freedom (Bob on keyboard)
5.Rollin' And Tumblin' (Bob on keyboard)
6.The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll (Bob on keyboard)
7.'Til I Fell In Love With You (Bob center stage)
8.Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
9.Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
10.Ballad Of Hollis Brown (Bob on keyboard)
11.Po' Boy (Bob on keyboard)
12.Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
13.When The Deal Goes Down (Bob on keyboard)
14.Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
15.Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)
  
 (encore)
16.All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
17.Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
18.Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)
27/04/2009 00:04. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Birmingham, England April 29, 2009

Birmingham, England
National Indoor Arena (NIA)
April 29, 2009

1. The Wicked Messenger (Bob on keyboard)
2. It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob on guitar)
3. High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob on keyboard)
4. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard)
5. Man In The Long Black Coat (Bob on keyboard)
6. Desolation Row (Bob on keyboard)
7. Honest With Me (Bob on keyboard)
8. Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob on keyboard)
9. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard)
10. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob on keyboard)
11. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) (Bob on keyboard)
12. Ain't Talkin' (Bob on keyboard)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard)
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard)

(encore)

15. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard)
16. Spirit On The Water (Bob on keyboard)
17. Blowin' In The Wind (Bob on keyboard)

30/04/2009 12:21. plotino #. BOB DYLAN No hay comentarios. Comentar.

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