Bob Dylan could sure pack a lotta words into songs, but has been notoriously reluctant to offer up many when speaking or answering questions and almost always avoids industry gatherings. Not so Friday night (2/6), when he accepted the MusiCares Person of the Year honor in Los Angeles. Dylan spoke for more than a half hour, paying homage along the way to the musicians and songwriters that inspired him and making scathing remarks toward critics that have singled him out for criticism over the way he has reinterpreted his own songs in recent decades. Among the artists he had praise for were Joan Baez, the Byrds, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Jimi Hendrix, who Dylan said, '...took some small songs of mine that nobody paid attention to and brought them to the outer limit of the stratosphere, turning them all into classics', and added, 'I wish he was here.' He was clearly glad Merle Haggard and Tom T. Hall were not. Haggard, Dylan said, '...didn't even think much of my songs', but Buck Owens did and according to Bob, Buck's opinion meant a lot more to him; 'Buck Owens or Merle Haggard, if you had to have somebody's blessing, you can figure it out.' Of Hall, who penned a number of hook laden, catchy tunes and apparently let it be known somewhere along the line that he had little appreciation of Dylan's writing, Bob said to those gathered to honor him that he was not, '...going to disparage another songwriter' and then sideswiped Hall by dismissing songs like Harper Valley PTA Valley as '...over cooked'. To those that find the state of his voice objectionable, Bob questioned why he gets singled out and singers like Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen don't.
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