One early summer evening I came back to my parents’ house, the warm glow of the sun cut across the living room turning the place orange, I heard a sound coming from the back of the house, mystical and wiry. As I traced my way to the source the voice in the air became clearer, it was thin and strange but the pattern of words was nothing like I’d ever heard, unusual characters popped in & out of the frame, scenes from an odd play unfolded from the speakers, all of it seemed so rich with winding melody.
My dad was sat in the corner of the room with a paper in his hands & a beer by his side, the record span round as I stood in the doorway trying to take it in, I was 14 years old. “What is this Dad?” … He stirred a little from beyond the paper and muttered, “Oh this is Dylan, Bob Dylan”.
I sat quietly next to the record player & gazed at the smartly dressed yet messy haired young man on the album sleeve, he was clutching a smokey grey cat, I noticed the bags under his eyes and a woman in red peered from behind him with a cigarette raised in her hand, looking out at me as if I’ve disturbed their conversation. Bringing It All Back Home stretched across the top of the sleeve in bold blue letters & above in red was that name again, Bob Dylan.
As time passed I got to know the album inside out, taping it onto cassette & listening to it on my Walkman wherever I rode my bike. The songs and words became emblazoned on my memory. Mr. Tambourine Man and Gates of Eden were like looking through an otherworldly prism, Love Minus Zero / No Limit had melody that flowed as effortlessly as the story did.
Near the place I a grew up in Derby there were fields I’d ride out to. I would head to a group of trees between two farmers fields, a quiet spot away from the disturbed suburbs and troubles of school and look up through the branches, lost to the new sound on my headphones. I soon moved on to the next Bob Dylan album my dad had, Blonde on Blonde. The song, Visions of Johanna was a firm favourite, to my mind it showed me how mystical & freeing music can be.
Sadly my dad passed in 2010 so the album carries more wait for me now, maybe I have rose tinted glasses on but each time I return to the record it brings me back to a simple but treasured time I shared with him.