Bob Dylan's lyrics never explicitly invoke his Jewish roots, but Jewish influences are never far from the surface.
Or, just as likely, the recipient of the folk tradition might move on. The sons and daughters of Hibbing's miners no doubt preferred Elvis to Woody Guthrie, just as Robert, in common with so many American Jews of his generation, preferred the singing of Woody and Little Richard to those of his rabbi.
Dylan's music was that of an outsider posing as a dispossessed insider. He claimed an American folk tradition that had not belonged to his grandparents. In taking over this tradition and claiming to be its guardian, he could not but subvert it. His imagination would not stand still. He had to keep moving--to keep wandering--as if fearing exposure, just as, when a young man, he had feared being revealed as "Zimmerman." The result has been an uncomfortable but undoubtedly genuine originality that resists easy summary.
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