Saturday, March 15, 2008

Posnanski Interviews James

A wide-ranging interview of Bill James by Joe Posnanski. Given the interviewer and subject, there are too many fun points to block quote just a couple, so I'll simply suggest that you click through and read the whole thing. A couple of quick comments of my own, though:

  • James -- who has written a true crime book which will come out soon -- says that the O.J. Simpson verdict is 1% the fault of investigators, 5% the fault of the jury, 30% the fault of the prosecutors and 64% the fault of Judge Ito. Personally, I'd filp the prosecutors' and Ito's numbers there. I hope Marcia Clark and Chris Darden send those jurors Christmas cards each year thanking them for taking so much of the heat;

  • Asked about his favorite and least favorite Dylan songs, he he lists "Neighborhood Bully,"and "Man of Peace" from Infidels as tops. He defends "Wiggle Wiggle" from Under the Red Sky -- normally cited as Bob's worst -- and instead goes with "Positively 4th Street" and "Like a Rolling Stone" due to what he feels are their adolescent posing. While I could go about 5000 words on this subject, I'll leave it with this: Infidels is not a good album. Two songs left off it -- "Blind Willie McTell" and "Angelina"* "Foot of Pride" are ten times better than anything on it. I agree that "Wiggle Wiggle" is unfairly maligned. No one knew it until a couple of years ago, but Bob had a really young daughter he was raising when Under the Red Sky came out, so we should cut him some slack on the juvenile simplicity of those songs. Worst Dylan song: In my mind, "Ballad in Plain D" is a failure on just about every level you can name.

Anyway, he talks about baseball too, so definitely check out the interview.

*OK, Angelina was originally intended for Shot of Love. I sort of knew that once, but forgot it. Still, "Foot of Pride" is better than the songs James names too, so there.

7 comments:

Jacob said...

Have you seen Dylan's performance on Letterman from around the time Infidels came out? The songs sounded much, much better than they did on the album. I know he played "Jokerman" and at least one, maybe two, others.

Pete Toms said...

ATTENTION! ALL BOB DYLAN FANS, ATTENTION!:

STEP AWAY FROM YOUR BONGS, I REPEAT, STEP AWAY FROM YOUR BONGS!

Chris H. said...

And for a different take on Dylan's work, there's always Sebastian Cabot...

Shyster said...

Pete: would it be better if we obsessed about Rush? ;-)

Pete Toms said...

C, no it wouldn't. Nor Zappa for that matter.

Thanks to the federal government mandating minimum amounts of Canadian Content over the airwaves here my whole life, I haven't been able to escape RUSH. Ever, never.

There are drawbacks to living here.

Marcel said...

They HAVE to play Rush in Canada? Holy crap, I've been living in the wrong country. :-P

Osmodious said...

Personally, I'd have to put "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream" toward the top of the list...along with "Motor-psycho Nightmare". But I DO really enjoy "Man of Peace", probably because it reinforces my anti-religious tendencies...

As to "Positively 4th Street", there was an article or show I saw a few months back that made an excellent point...at a time when most pop songs were about love, won (mostly) or lost, this song came out spouting venom at someone who had hurt the singer. In other words, real and not bubble-gum. I always loved the way that first line is practically spit at the listener...