Jochen Markhorst on Cold Irons Bound
The #TOOM25 Event Series
The multitudes that Dylan contains is never more clear than when listening to wise and articulate people discuss his writing and performing.
For episode three Jochen Markhorst shared his views on one song from this great album.
Having just finished a book with over 300 pages of details and insights into the 15 songs associated with the Time Out Of Mind recording sessions (11 of which made the album) Jochen chose Cold Irons Bound to dive into and present to us.
He begins by describing the song’s origin, as drummer David Kemper is playing a beat in the studio one morning when Bob Dylan walks in.
One of Jochen’s gifts is being able to link certain lines and sounds in Dylan’s songs to other performances that may have inspired him. In the case of Cold Irons Bound, it’s The Stanley Brothers – and we’re told about the first of many links between their music and this song.
The Stanley Brothers Connection
The line ‘The fields have turned brown’ is from the Stanley Brothers, and also shows up in a telegram that Bob sends to Ralph Stanley – which we’re shown while being treated to an interesting story from Mr. Stanley’s biography.
The Stanley Brothers connections continue, with Bob playing a Stanley Brothers cover just after Cold Irons Bound in a soundcheck in December of 1997, and quoting more lyrics (the church on Sunday) from the Stanley Brothers – Specifically the Stanley Brothers Series 3 Volume 4.
What Jochen does for us is reveal some more of how songs echo in Dylan’s head, how themes that come from these old songs he loves so much, and how his own poetry mixes and infuses all of these echos. It brings to mind Dylan’s own Music Cares speech when he linked specific songs he listened to with the later songs he wrote.
After his presentation, we spoke with Jochen and asked both how this awareness of all these influences in Dylan’s work effects his listening, and what effect it should have for fans just learning how much is there if you’re willing to scratch the surface of Bob’s lyrics and music.
We agreed that the awareness is enriching and impressive, and Jochen makes the interesting analogy of how a miner finds nuggets and then a jeweler turns them into new precious art.
“Before Time Out Of Mind, Dylan was influenced — after it he quotes directly.” Jochen told us to describe the changes he’s seen while analyzing so many Dylan songs and albums from throughout his career. He also told us of his preference for the studio recordings over their live counterparts.
Finally, Jochen tell us why his new book as the subtitle ‘The Rising of An Old Master’ saying of the period after Time Out Of Mind: “From this point on, every album sells well, front his point on, he gets oscars and Nobel prizes, from this point on he’s beyond criticism, from this point on he’s an old master.”
Watch Jochen’s 19 minute presentation, and 12 minute Q&A discussion
Watch Highlights of Jochen’s presentation