I was just about to post the same old thread about "authenticity" when I saw smoke
had already done so. There has been a lot of talk about "authenticity" over the years in various threads on ER. If you are interested in checking some of them out, along with the one smoke
cites, do a search of "authentic" where Long Johnny
was the author and you will come across a treasure trove of great old threads.
For the record, I have always been suspicious of the word "authenticity" in relation to music as I have never been sure what it means. With regard to Dylan, I have never found him to be particularly authentic. That being said (and as I have said before
), I would also say that being "authentic" is not all that it is cracked up to be and I personally find Dylan to be his best in the period when I consider him the least "authentic" (ie. his early 60s "I'm a Woody Guthrie jukebox" period). Dylan did not grow up in a dust bowl. He did not ride the rails. He did not run away and join the carnival. He hadn't been doing a whole lot of Hard Travelin'. Rather, he was the talented son of an appliance salesman, with access to a good record collection.
Being accused of being "inauthentic" is not the same thing as being accused of not being good.
woody nicked songs left and songs right.
ramblin jack was from brooklyn
little richard used to hang with esquerita
there was a sonny boy 1 before there was sonny boy 2
just about everybody is unauthentic in these type of studies.
As many have noted before, the 'problem' of authenticity pervades almost all forms of non-cotton-candy-pop american music.
In a way, I think it may be a product of our particular way of (not) addressing our differences in class, race, other identity forms. It is codified very deeply that to overtly acknowledge difference, especially as it relates to opportunity, is taboo. That said, such differences are absolutely unavoidable without some very complex group think techniques, and still regardless of our mythology, they come squirting out the edges of our cultural sandwich like so much Miracle WhipTM
This particular discussion thread seems to further confuse the issue by substituting 'authenticity' for 'originality'. To my mind, Authentic rock and roll is inherently Unoriginal.
When it comes to later day Dylan lyrics and music, I sincerely doubt that he is trying to fool anyone about his originality and/or authenticity. If anything, he is being more honest about his sources and inspirations than early in his career. He has come full circle, back to what Pete would call the Folk Tradition, of stealing, twisting, borrowing, reusing, repurposing, that which came before.
Which is not to confuse Honesty with Authenticity either.