A Series of Dreams

I was thinking of a series of dreams
Where nothing comes up to the top
Everything stays down where it’s wounded
And comes to a permanent stop
Wasn’t thinking of anything specific
Like in a dream, when someone wakes up and screams
Nothing too very scientific
Just thinking of a series of dreams

Thinking of a series of dreams
Where the time and the tempo fly
And there’s no exit in any direction
‘Cept the one that you can’t see with your eyes
Wasn’t making any great connection
Wasn’t falling for any intricate scheme
Nothing that would pass inspection
Just thinking of a series of dreams

Dreams where the umbrella is folded
Into the path you are hurled
And the cards are no good that you’re holding
Unless they’re from another world

In one, the surface was frozen
In another, I witnessed a crime
In one, I was running, and in another
All I seemed to be doing was climb
Wasn’t looking for any special assistance
Not going to any great extremes
I’d already gone the distance
Just thinking of a series of dreams

Dreams where the umbrella is folded
Into the path you are hurled
And the cards are no good that you’re holding
Unless they’re from another world

I’d already gone the distance
Just thinking of a series of dreams

Bob Dylan

Mountains and Valleys – The Making of a Second Album

Jordan in the studio

The first time I heard Jordan Ware was while preparing for a special event hosted by Bishop John and Meg Guernsey of the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. There was such a flurry of activity as we prepared, but when Meg put on the CD for us to listen to as we worked, it filled the place with such joy and inspiration that suddenly I started to see how “work” really can be a form of worship.

Jordan is now working on a new album called Mountains and Valleys and the pieces I have heard so far have just blown my socks off.

Click here to hear a sample of Jordan’s music.

“For the last 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of leading worship in local churches and on weekend retreats,” Jordan writes. “I love the variety of people and music that you experience in these settings.

“More often than not, I play with different musicians each time, which has taught me a lot about flexibility, and has given me the chance to lead the same songs with completely different instrumentation. Sometimes I play with a full band and other times with only a cellist and a trumpet player. Because of this, we get to experiment with building the sound from the ground up—beginning with my voice and guitar as the foundation.”

This week Jordan finished her vocal studio work and now the magic begins as the the album goes through the production process.

“The songs on this album are a mix of originals and those you might have heard before,” Jordan writes.  “All of them contain the common thread of how we find the Lord as we walk through the highs and lows of our life this side of heaven.  I’m a visual person, so I love how the images of scripture teach us about who God is and how he transforms us: light and darkness, the potter molding us like clay, washing away our sins, the refuge found under His wings, the valley of the shadow, and the joy of the mountaintop.”

You can also make a difference and support album project! A Kickstarter is currently underway and it’s been awesome to be able to support the making of this album from the ground up. To learn more about the Kickstarter and what you can do, click here.

Also visit Jordan’s website and  Jordan Ware Music on Facebook for more information.

Photo: Andy Zipf of The Coward Choir (Producer) and Matt Williams of Clubhill Media (Co-Producer & Engineer) and Jordan Ware in the studio on Monday, April 4, 2016. Photographer: Caren L. Hoehner.      


The story of Allegri’s Miserere – The world’s first bootleg

Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy great goodness. According to the multitude of Thy mercies do away mine offenses. Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my faults: and my sin is ever before me.

Against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified in Thy saying, and clear when Thou art judged. Behold, I was shapen in wickedness: and in sin hath my mother conceived me. But lo, Thou requirest truth in the inward parts: and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly. Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness: that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Turn Thy face from my sins: and put out all my misdeeds.

Make me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. O give me the comfort of Thy help again: and stablish me with Thy free Spirit. Then shall I teach Thy ways unto the wicked: and sinners shall be converted unto Thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou that art the God of my health: and my tongue shall sing of Thy righteousness.

Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord: and my mouth shall show Thy praise. For Thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it Thee: but Thou delightest not in burnt-offerings. The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt Thou not despise.

O be favourable and gracious unto Zion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and oblations: then shall they lay calves upon Your altar.

Psalm 51

Camille Paglia takes on Bob Dylan

Camille Paglia writes today about Bob Dylan in her essay Camille Puglia’s history of music: The politics and poetry of Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye and hip-hop. Here’s an excerpt:

To my dismay, Dylan was a very hard sell in my classes throughout the 1980s. His voice struck many students as thin and grating, while the relentless hyper-verbalism and attack style of his protest songs seemed out of sync with the times. That thankfully changed in the 1990s, probably because of the impact of aggressively political rap, which had become hugely popular among white male teenagers trapped in the blandness and materialism of suburban shopping-mall culture. Dylan’s message-heavy intensity seemed relevant again, a recovered stature happily sustained in the new century.

“Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Dylan’s 1965 breakthrough radio hit, is actually a proto-rap song in the rural “talking blues” tradition. Its delirious barrage of satiric blows at a surveillance society of corrupt authority figures, economic exploitation, and assembly-line institutions speaks directly to our time. I have repeatedly used the song to demonstrate how much can be packed into a very short space (two minutes, twenty seconds).

But Dylan’s true masterpiece, in my view, is “Desolation Row”, the more than 11-minute song that closes Highway 61 Revisited (1965). I submit that this lyric is the most important poem in English since Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (which influenced it) and that it is far greater than anything produced since then by the official poets canonized by the American or British critical establishment. The epic ambition, daring scenarios, and emotionally compelling detail of “Desolation Row” make John Ashbery’s multiple prize-winning Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) look like the verbose, affected academic exercise that it is. I have written elsewhere (in regard to the selection process for my book on poetry, Break, Blow, Burn) of my rejection of the pretentious pseudo-philosophizing of overpraised contemporary poets like Harvard’s Jorie Graham, none of whom come anywhere near the high artistic rank of Bob Dylan.

“Desolation Row” is so long—four printed pages taking three class days to discuss—that I rarely do it now. But it is a stunning achievement, with all the passion and vision missing from today’s writers in virtually every genre. When I first transcribed the song for classroom use, its elegantly symmetrical structure leapt into view: ten triads (sets of three stanzas), each ending in the rhythmic refrain, “Desolation Row.” As recorded, the song is accompanied by acoustic guitars that begin quietly and become lashingly emphatic.

Modeling himself on his mentor, the working-class bard Woody Guthrie, Dylan has chronically concealed and denied his wide reading. “Desolation Row” uses Rimbaud’s hallucinatory surrealism to fuse T.S. Eliot’s “Waste Land” vision of Western civilization to the comic archetypal mythologies of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The Bible, Roman history, fairy tales, Shakespeare, and Hollywood movies fly by. Dylan’s muse here is, I believe, Billie Holiday: “As Lady and I look out tonight/ From Desolation Row.” He is listening to a record by Lady Day (as she was reverently called by jazz musicians) and has assumed her melancholy insight and personal trauma as his own.

Each triad of “Desolation Row” exposes the lies, limitations, cruelties, or collateral damage in different sectors of society: politics, law enforcement, and racial injustice; heterosexuality (set in a hostile gay bar); religion; science; psychiatry; the legitimate theater; corporate careerism; universities and English departments. Desolation Row is a state of mind, a self-positioning at the margins, where the artist identifies himself, like the Romantics, with the dispossessed, the outcasts and losers.

In the final triad, after a mournfully piercing harmonica solo, Dylan himself appears, addressing someone whom I suspect is his mother. She has probably sent him a chatty letter about his Zimmerman relatives, whose name he had long cast off. Dylan the artist, taking Lady Day as his foster mother, bids goodbye to his old identity and to books and letters and everything processed by social norms. He will seek truth, if it is ever to be had, in direct experience and spiritual intuition.

Read it all here.


Here are the lyrics to Desolation Row

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row

Cinderella, she seems so easy
“It takes one to know one,” she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning
“You Belong to Me I Believe”
And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place my friend
You better leave”
And the only sound that’s left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row

Now the moon is almost hidden
The stars are beginning to hide
The fortune-telling lady
Has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel
And the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is making love
Or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing
He’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row

Now Ophelia, she’s ’neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic
She wears an iron vest
Her profession’s her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon
Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her time peeking
Into Desolation Row

Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes
And reciting the alphabet
Now you would not think to look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row

Dr. Filth, he keeps his world
Inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients
They’re trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser
She’s in charge of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read
“Have Mercy on His Soul”
They all play on pennywhistles
You can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough
From Desolation Row

Across the street they’ve nailed the curtains
They’re getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera
A perfect image of a priest
They’re spoonfeeding Casanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words
And the Phantom’s shouting to skinny girls
“Get Outa Here If You Don’t Know
Casanova is just being punished for going
To Desolation Row”

Now at midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone
That knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory
Where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

Yes, I received your letter yesterday
(About the time the doorknob broke)
When you asked how I was doing
Was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can’t read too good
Don’t send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them
From Desolation Row

Bob Dylan 1965

He is Risen!

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.

Matthew 28:6-7

What heart could hold
The weight of your love?
And know the heights
Of Your great worth?
What eyes could look on
Your glorious face
Shining like the sun?

What heart could hold
The weight of your love
And know the heights
Of Your great worth?
What eyes could look on
Your glorious face
Shining like the sun?

Your name alone
Has power to raise us
Your light will shine
When all else fades
Our eyes will look on
Your glorious face
Shining like the sun

Who is like You, God?

Who shall we say You are?
You’re the living God
Who shall we say You are?
You’re the great I Am
The highest name of all
You’re all You say You are


And You will come again in glory
To judge the living and the dead
Our eyes will look on
Your glorious face
Shining like the sun


Read more: Matt Redman – Holy Lyrics | MetroLyrics