When I was eleven, my father bought a stereo system for the downstairs guest living room in my grandparents’ village home in Nigeria. On the weekends when my family would visit from Port Harcourt City, my father, his younger brother Chinedum, and I would splay ourselves over the old soft couches in the empty living room and sing along to Bob Dylan’s album Desire . Uncle Chinedum would sing from the lyrics in the CD booklet. Papa and I would make up words where we didn’t know what was being sung. (We did a bloody fine job butchering “Romance in Durango”.) As a child, I had never experienced such mysterious poetry as Dylan’s, nor had I heard such engaging storytelling through song. Today, he still blows me away.
For those looking to get into Dylan’s music (or for those who have concluded they don’t like it) I send you in Desire’s direction, and not just because I have fond memories of bonding with my father and uncle while listening to it, but because it is a record that is at once powerful and delicate. Also, he doesn’t sound like Kermit the Frog in this album.
Bio: Adaeze Elechi is Guernica’s blog editor. Read her last recommendation of Femi Kuti’s song “No Shame” “here”:https://guernicamag.com/blog/1593/rec_room_adaeze_elechi_no_sham/.