20th Century, Americana, Folk, History, music, Uncategorized

Bob Dylan before his First Album

Bob Dylan Music as a Child. ca. 1953-57. Fizz.net

1961
Hibbing’s Bob Dylan, once a play-for-free minstrel at bars around the University of Minnesota, releases his first album. He takes folk into rock and rock into politics, and becomes a legend of American music. Born Robert Zimmerman, he assumes a new name that pays homage to Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. *

So many words have been spilt attempting to uncover the mystery of Bob Dylan. As an historian of Minnesota, I don’t want to play musicologist, but rather focus on a few early relational aspects of his youth that may have contributed to his character which may have contributed to his epic impact on the 20th century.

Louie Kemp began his friendship with Bob at Herzl Camp near Webster, Wisconsin during their preteen years. To his recollection, he witnessed Zimmerman’s first concert at camp in 1954 as an 11year old. The boys hung out in their teen years around Duluth, Minnesota where Kemp grew up. Dylan played around the U of M when Kemp when in attendance there. He likened their adventures to “a modern-day Jewish version of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.” **

Out of respect, let us allow Mr. Dylan to tell his own story of his Minnesota roots.

“My brains and feelings have come from there… The earth there is unusual, filled with ore,” Dylan said in a 1978 Playboy interview. “There’s a magnetic attraction there: maybe thousands of years ago some planet bumped into the land there. There is a great spiritual quality throughout the Midwest. Very subtle, very strong, and that is where I grew up.” ***

Now we turn to You, Adonai, and listen to Your music. You spoke and created. Did the music of Your voice assemble the matter of this universe? Only You know. Yet we remember, today, the place that writing and music has in Your heart! May we sit with You and watch this moment, Eternal Father? May we listen with You to this exciting beginning when You laid the foundation for Bob Dylan’s artistic release?

We remember first the importance of Herzl Camp. A place with the stated goal of the formation of lifelong Jewish friendships. We remember another after Your heart, David, who bound himself to Jonathan “in close friendship”. (I Samuel 18:1-5) We remember this place and thank You for its contribution in bringing root friendships into the lives of many. Will You bless and keep it in perpetuity?

Next, we thank You that friends give us the place to become. When we are safe, when we are accepted, we begin to believe that we have a self worth knowing. What a treasure You put into us; the longing to know and be known! We praise You that these boys, Louie and Bob, could experience this kind of brotherhood.

Additionally, we thank You for the importance of place and context to Your people and Your Kingdom. You made the tabernacle a place to intersect with Your Presence. You rescued Israel from the famine and placed them under Joseph in Goshen. You gave Your nation Canaan and established Jerusalem. And You gave Bob Dylan the context of Hibbing?!

Yet, in Your economy of purpose, it all makes sense; Hibbing is a place of great contrasts. It’s surrounded by silence and the noise of the largest iron mine on earth. It’s both “Anysmalltown, USA” and significant to the world. Maybe it’s like the writing of Dylan: compact, expansive, verbose, but not over-baked in its turns of phrase? Perhaps it’s like Your storytelling: only honesty, robust, mysterious, prophetic, and believable?

In any case, we remember and applaud this memory of Mr Dylan’s first record to You. We thank You of the inheritance and richness brought to Northern Minnesota through the Jews of Lithuania and all Eastern Europe. We commend You for seeing the talent of an 11 year old, in the middle of the woods, next to the largest open pit mine, in the center of a continent.

We thank You that this young poet participated in many of the most significant events of the next decade, but did not lose his identity. For some reason, Dylan could explore subjects that were misconstrued as political, but not yield to the generational political pressures of the Greenwich folk movement or the hippies. Similarly, though critics tried to place him in a religious box, he always seemed to know the secret of the Messiah; faith is an internal freedom and a permanent hat tip to the Eternal One.

Will You forgive the misbeliefs, unbeliefs, and offenses against You through the folk movement of this era? Will You commend the honest questions of this generation, and bring the inward as well as external peace they sought? Only the Messiah can radiate and impart such healing to our stumbling and prideful race because You know our brokenness, yet still CHOOSE to love us.

Will You speak words of life to this generation and the next and the next as You did through Bob? Will You bring chesed through the music of Minnesota?

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” ****

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19th Century, Business, Environment, Geology, History, Industry, Intercession, Mining, Minnesota, omnipresent history

Iron Industry Launch 1884

unknown

1884

“With the state’s first shipment of ore from the Vermilion Range, Minnesota’s iron industry is launched. Within 20 years, new immigrants will mine from the region a great majority of the iron for the nation’s industrial boom.” *

Ore is moved by train to ports like Duluth. From there giant ships carry it to the blast furnaces of Ohio and Pennsylvania where it is melted and processed by the heat of burning coal from mines in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. The result is steel, which goes to factories in cities such as Detroit to become the rails of railroads, the skeletons of skyscrapers, and the chassis of cars. 

The growth of iron mining brings tens of thousands of new people to northeastern Minnesota. They come from almost every country in Europe and elsewhere, bringing different languages and cultures from places like Canada, Wales, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Syria, Russia, and China. 

Father, we adore You! You have given us an earth full of blessings! We thank You for the gift of iron ore. We thank You for the impact of this gift on our state and peoples!

Father, we are full of bitter roots and rusty hearts! This blessing has been corroded by our mis-dealings. We are guilty of judging the owners of the steel business: Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller, etc. We have stolen and tainted the land of the individual, the Indian nations, our neighbor’s business, our state, and our nation. 

We have judged our fellow workers on the basis of his race or culture: Canadian, Welsh, Irish, Swedish, Finnish, Belgian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, Syrian, Russian, Chinese, and Native American! We have offenses based on interstate prejudices: Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Sioux, Dakota, Ojibway. 

Lord, will You have mercy on our humanity? Will You replace this heritage of curses with blessings for us? Will You reverse the curses against the land, and all the pathways it has travelled out this state through out the world? I want to pronounce the blessing of the Lord to every molecule of steel that has passed, is passing, or will pass from this state!  May You grant us humility, wisdom, and imagination to properly use the resources of this state! May the iron of Minnesota, regardless of its present use or form, ring with the unlimited, infinite blessings of its’ King! Hallelujah!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

 

 

 

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