I owned four of the five Dylan Albums I’ve posted links to. I wasn’t impressed by John Wesley Harding, so I didn’t purchase it. The direction he was moving in was of no real interest to me in 1967 and after. I had other things to deal with: going back to school left little time nor money for such luxuries as a ‘sound system’. And with exposure from my personal reading Dylan seemed at the same moment to be derivative and original, especially the liner notes on some of the Albums read like a combination of Allen Ginsberg and E.E. Cummings. But a great many artists begin their lives, as artists, in a derivative mode and evolve as they mature. Joni Mitchell’s churlish remarks about Dylan can be attributed to her feeling of being under-appreciated, yet she is one of the greatest popular artists of her or any other generation. Leonard Cohen is in a class by himself!
For just a small span of time Dylan seemed like the ‘Voice of a Generation’ born of the Civil Rights struggle, and his self-reinvention as the new Woody Guthrie, that resonated with the American Folk revival of the early 1960’s. That is until he evolved into a ‘Rock Star’ for another brief moment and then, for me, he faded into the background in the Celebrity Culture dominated by Television, Radio and Print of the pre-internet era.
Does Dylan ‘deserve’ the Nobel Prize? Here is a link to the other recipients of that Literature Nobel: