The Worst of Bruce/Bob, Bourbon, and Books

This semi-regular series alternates between Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen songs that perfectly (or imperfectly in today's case) complement a good bourbon and a quality book. You can make your own suggestions and recommendations in the comments section or by tweeting @WritersBone.


Daniel Ford: Before you read my thoughts on Springsteen’s “Adam Raised A Cain,” become reacquainted with the lyrics and chorus. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Gah, even the lyrics make me wish I was Cain getting split open by a scythe.

I can defend most Bruce songs. (yeah)

But I hate this one. (yeah)

Adam raised a Cain? (yeah)

Okay, your father was a dick. (yeah)

You already wrote “Growin' Up” and “Independence Day.” We get it, Bruce. (yeah)

This tune is redundant and uninspired. (yeah)

Faux angst is the worst kind of angst. (yeah)

And it has the most awful backup singer cheers other than “Glory Days.” (yeah)

At least “Glory Days” knows what it is. (yeah)

“Adam Raised A Cain” is filler on an otherwise great Springsteen album. (yeah)

Dave Pezza: Let’s be honest with ourselves about something; even the best of the best phone it in sometimes. Every now and again, even power houses like Bob Dylan just come up with a total, utter dud. “Dignity” by Bob Dylan is most certainly that lemon. This song sucks out loud, in electric and acoustic. The most well-known versions of this song are probably from the “MTV Unplugged” and “Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8” albums. In both albums this song stops all recognizable audio and emotional flow. In the bootleg series it follows a double shot of prime rib Dylan blues and sorrow. This really, really, really good volume of Dylan’s outtakes/rarities series opens with a truly soulful and heart wrenching version of “Mississippi” and follows with what is, in my opinion, the best recorded version of Dylan’s hopeful heartbreak ballad “Most of the Time.” What could possibly follow up this tandem? A gritty version of “The Times Are a Changing” perhaps?  Or how about a much more listenable take on “Idiot Wind?” Nope. An aborted version of “Dignity,” a piano-based track that must have been recorded by some tramp Dylan pulled off the street in exchange for a ham sandwich. This is the Dylan equivalent of the Beatles’ “Piggies.” Not only is it a truly bad song, but it sticks it’s wretchedness right in the middle of pure audio art, like a middle-aged women who shoves her landslide of a shopping cart in front of you in line at the supermarket, just as you catch the eyes of the cute check-out girl.

Even in the “MTV Unplugged” version, Dylan punches you in the face with this preachy pile of sour milk by hiding it between a masterful eight-and-a-half minute live version of “Desolation Row” and a bluesy, harmonica-accented “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Bob should have left this one in the dumpster next to his Christmas horror movie theme song.


Even the logo is depressing.

Even the logo is depressing.

Dave: Old Grand-Dad is not good. It’s not good to taste; it’s not good for your body (they call it gut rot for a reason); it’s not even that good to mix. But it is cheap, like really cheap, and it is bourbon. So, there you go. Drink up.

Daniel: Dave mentioned the name of this bourbon and I grew an extra patch of hair on my chest. I know he’s going to make me drink this during a night out with Sean Tuohy when we’re trying to play the part of brooding writers. My hope is there will be multiple beer chasers nearby. 


Daniel: I hated A Separate Peace, but I really hated Lord of the Flies. Everyone in my high school class seemed shocked and saddened by Piggy’s death, but I considered him lucky that he didn’t have to suffer through the end of this dystopian turd. Instead of rescuing these young heathens, the adults should have dropped a few nukes and then built a luxury resort. I’m not a huge fan of allegories to begin with, so I don’t give a damn whether or not Ralph crying over Piggy’s death symbolizes “the end of innocence” or that the whole book is a critique of human impulses. Fuck you! I’m pretty sure an A-bomb would have been a more effective metaphor. Read 1984, The Road, The Giver, or A Clockwork Orange if you’re hankering for a dystopian novel. Or watch “Blade Runner” for Christ’s sake. Anything else is better than trudging through this jungle filled with prepubescent assholes that deserve napalm for Christmas.

Dave: I don’t like Lord of the Flies either. But I really hate The Awakening by Kate Chopin. There are numerous ways to make the book better, but the most satisfying way is to have Edna Pontellier walk herself into the Gulf of Mexico over and over again until it drowns away the time I just spent torturing myself. And I don’t believe for a second the myth that this book helped turn-of-the-century female authors break-out of the male, chauvinistic writing world. If anything, this novel sets women’s rights back a decade. Yea, the only way to solve this love triangle is to have the lead female character off herself. Jesus. Melodramatic much? Skip this work entirely and pick yourself up some top quality books written by some top quality female authors like To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf or 1970s' Desperate Characters by Paula Fox.

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