J.J. Goldberg

On Bob Dylan's Birthday, 4 Israeli Artists Reminisce

By J.J. Goldberg

  • Print
  • Share Share

In honor of Bob Dylan’s 73rd birthday on Saturday (May 24), Maariv asked four Israeli singer-songwriters — Eran Tzur, Sun Tailor, Dan Toren and Uzi Ramirez — to write about the “defining moment” in Dylan’s influence on them personally “as musicians, artists and listeners.” Each brief contribution is accompanied by a musical clip that the artist chose to accompany his words (yes, they’re all “he”).

The article is here (Hebrew only). I’ve translated some excerpts, which I’m posting along with the clips they picked and links to a few selected clips by the contributors themselves. (The above photo, by the way, was taken by his ex-wife Sara in Jerusalem, where they were celebrating their son’s bar mitzvah at the Kotel. It appears on the inner sleeve of his Infidels album.)

Maariv’s Ohad Ezrati, introducing and describing the project, writes:

Besides his being one of the great musicians of all time, Dylan has established himself as a symbol of freedom and equality, of independent creativity and thinking outside established frameworks.

Eran Tzur

Hear Eran Tzur sing his “Hu veHi” (“He and She”).

In the summer of 1998 I was headed out for a long vacation on tropical island in southern Thailand and I took along Dylan’s new album Time Out of Mind, which had come out a year earlier.

I’d been on a long timeout from Dylan, and this captured me all over again. I remember trying to write under his influence. I came up with a song, “Blues for the North,” that follows the blues chord pattern of his “Highlands,” which closes the album.

Bob Dylan sings “Highlands”:

Sun Tailor (Arnon Naor)

(Hear Sun Tailor sing his hits “Fay” and “I’ll Make My Way Home.”

“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” The first time I heard it was on a train from Cambridge to London. I fell in love with it. It put words to what I was feeling then, in real time.

Dylan speaks of a love that comes to him after years of disappointment and longing, and he’s deep within a beautiful tale and yet finds himself thinking about the heartbreak that’s coming soon.

It’s amazing how it’s possible to write a song about love in the present that suddenly becomes a song of mourning for the future, and make it all sound so right and real.

Sun Tailor sings Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”:

Dan Toren.

(Hear Dan Toren sing “Lot’s Wife.”

“Finally, Bob Dylan in Israel. On Tuesday, June 20, 8:30 p.m., Bob Dylan, one appearance at Ramat Gan stadium.” It was 2011, two months before Amichai Katz lost his long battle with cancer at age 36. It had attacked a year earlier while he was working on his doctorate in history.

Katz — everyone just called him “Katz” — was known to music lovers as the man who started and for eight years ran the Syndrome bar in Jerusalem.

Katz loved Dylan. He’d dreamt of seeing him live, bought a ticket to one of his shows while he was undergoing treatment in the States, but he was too sick to make it. When his Israeli appearance was announced, his wife Shulamit called Castel and asked if she could buy two tickets and bring her husband on a stretcher. The girl in the ticket office asked us to wait, then came back and said they were invited, that they’d bring the ambulance in through a special gate. And so we met them there, and he listened while lying on his gurney, surrounded by his musician friends.

(Incidentally, here is what I wrote about the Ramat Gan concert at the time. I enjoyed the evening a lot more than my article lets on — I was trying, as I usually do, to report my perceptions of the broader mood, not to express my own feelings.)

Amichai Katz sings a song he composed to words by Hanoch Levin, “In the Heart of the Sea There Lies an Island”:

Uzi Ramirez (Feinerman)

Hear Uzi Ramirez sing his own hit “Bodean,” his “Talking A-Bomb Blues” and Woody Guthrie’s “Do Re Mi.”

I remember the day I first got hooked on Dylan. I was driving with my brother to the Kanyoter in Nes Tziona to see “Wayne’s World,” and on the way he put in a cassette of Dylan’s album Desire. Somewhere between “Mozambique” and “Joey” it got into my blood. I couldn’t wait for the movie to end so I could get back the car and keep listening.

Every song, like a short movie, tells a story and brings you inside from the first moment, and Bob’s voice cuts you deeper with every syllable. It was a short distance from there to buying all his albums along with a harmonica and neck brace and learning the songs.

One of the things I love about him is the ability and need to keep changing his songs. I saw him a few years ago and he was still playing with the words and tunes of songs he’d written 50 years ago. Besides that I learned a lot of new music thanks to him, people like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, [Rev.] Gary Davis and lots more greats.

Bob Dylan sings “Joey” from the “Desire” album — later version.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Woody Guthrie, Uzi Ramirez, Uzi Feinerman, Time Out of Mind, Thailand, Sun Tailor, Rev. Gary Davis, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Pete Seeger, Ohad Ezrati, Maariv, Infidels, Eran Tzur, Dan Toren, Bob Dylan, Arnon Naor

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.