Saturday, August 03, 2013

Baez-Dylan and Dr King

I've never understood why Bob Dylan never went on an anti Vietnam war protest. The reflections of Joan Baez place this into perspective in a generous and gracious way.
"We have, and had, nothing in common," she says of Dylan in her memoir, "except that he was my mystic brother; we have been street twins, bound together by times and circumstances."

Unlike Baez, Dylan was no activist. He looked at the world, saw its flaws and took them for granted. She wanted to change the world. Fifty years ago this month, she dragged Dylan along to the March on Washington - where "my beloved Dr King [set] aside his prepared speech and let the breath of God thunder through him". While Dylan drifted away from the topical folk milieu, Baez's commitment to the civil rights movement just intensified. There is a memorable anecdote about the time an exhausted King was napping through a scheduled appearance at a church. Intimidated by the prospect of his wrath, his aides sent Baez into his bedroom to rouse him with a song. When she hit the high notes on Pilgrim of Sorrow, he stirred with a moan and murmured: "B'lieve I hear the sound of an angel. Sing me 'nother one, Joan."

More than 40 years later, in 2010, performing We Shall Overcome at the White House, she recalled: "One day, Dr King realised that [the] non-violence fight went well beyond the shores of this great country, went far across the sea to a war that was being fought by God's children on both sides of that great fight. And he knew that he had to speak out against that. And he was afraid. He was very afraid. So we all raised our voices just a little bit louder, and we said: 'We are not afraid today'."
-How sweet the sound as Joan Baez starts her Australian tour, The Australian, August 03, 2013

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