Three weeks ago I sent a pal an email. Not the kind of drunken rant fest that brings an after effect of head bowing/avoid all eye contact for at least 6 months afterwards. Conceived in an Evangelical state of purity, my friend’s cyber telegram arrived with a link to the lyrics of Idiot Wind and precise instructions to be followed to the letter; these words should be used as bullets against me should I ever again allow myself to become entangled in the fancies of a Praying Mantis.
Not just satisfied with nurturing the greatest album of all time, namely Blood On The Tracks, Bob Dylan wanted to leave something more than a vague idealistic sense of workman like contentment. Shrapnel from a poisoned relationship with his erstwhile in all but legal terms wife Sara, was the bricolage for the whiney voiced one to trigger a perfectly tuned explosion of cold showers across the mid 70s Rock N’ Roll horizon. Part of the deal for Dylan was getting his claws into that most delicately assembled of patterns and tearing it all apart again. Idiot Wind doesn’t wait until the album’s finale like some kind of pre-programmed, spectacle of vengeance, side one (let’s keep it old school, shall we) hasn’t even come to terms with its own shaky devices when Zimmy spits out some of the most toxic rants liable to be permitted before the watershed.
Imagine being in the shoes of Bob and Sara’s kids as mom and pop sacrifice the domestic bliss of New York 1970 for something so dark, that whispering neighbours are given license to indulge in “big ideas, images and distorted facts.” It’s the Christmas party scene where the tension is so bulbous everyone automatically takes on the shame and guilt, where silence burns like napalm and “everythings a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped.”
Watching divorce proceedings on second rate, two to a penny U.S. attorney shows can never be good preparation for Blood On The Tracks, this is where we find out the fate of the broken hearted, no longer content to drag their feet in the halls of mercy, there is a much more potent form of adrenalin rampaging through the veins now. Some will turn to matters so completely cloaked in darkness, it actually makes the more docile among us be thankful for poetic blessings, however vicious they may be. And therein lies the lesson, Idiot Wind is not just the gritty dirt rising in the storm, it’s the electric shocks that come for years afterwards, whenever the heart goes where the head knows better, these silver bullets are Dylan’s greatest weapons of all, and will gun down naive pleasures as quick as he is able to tell us that “I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free.” Take the advice then, for even ‘simple’ words are liable to lose patience with slow witted lovers…