Polemics & Exchanges

The Other Dylan

I enjoyed Dr. Thomas Fleming’s “Topsy-Turvy” (Perspective, June).  But I thought his gratuitous denigration of Jakob Dylan both unnecessary and ill informed.  I am not some Jakob Dylan “fanboy”; in fact, the only album I had owned is the Wallflowers’ 1996 Bringing Down the Horse, which is a fine piece of pop music.  Dr. Fleming’s piece, however, motivated me to go out and buy a few more CDs.  Dr. Fleming cannot possibly be at all familiar with Jakob Dylan’s body of work if he claims that he is a no-talent riding on his father’s coattails.  I would encourage Dr. Fleming to explore Dylan’s repertoire and reconsider his comments.

Moreover, Dylan’s work is deeply infused with Christian themes, including the Wallflowers’ new song “Hospital for Sinners.”

I would rather listen to Jakob Dylan’s smoky voice than his father’s tedious nasal drawling any day.  Unlike, say, Carole King or Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan is one songwriter who should have avoided the microphone.

        —Nicholas J. Brannick
Newark, DE

Dr. Fleming Replies:

Mr. Brannick has a point: Anyone who likes Neil Diamond ought to love Jakob Dylan.  Interestingly, Jakob’s father said he admired Neil Diamond, especially his Vegas act.  I suppose it would be un-American to despise all these no-talent bums, including Carole King.  By whatever standards a reasonable man might use—country music, the great American popular songs, French café songs, Stephen Foster, Neapolitan canzoni—most rock ’n’ roll songs are as poorly put together as a jacket made in China.

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