Jesse Rosemond, a guitar student at New York's Julliard School of Music, recently discovered the music of a little-known folk singer-songwriter named Bob Dylan from Duluth, Minnesota.
Jesse explained that although Julliard's musical focus tends toward the classical, he himself enjoys exploring a wide variety of musical genres ranging from old-time swing jazz to reggae. One of his favorite hobbies is finding talented musicians who never realized their full potential and remained largely unknown, and bringing them to the public light. Bob Dylan was one such singer.
Bob was a born-again Christian who spent time in New York City and Boston. According to Jesse, Bob performed mostly covers of songs by prominent musicians like Little Richard and Kris Kristofferson. The closest Bob came to commercial success, he says, was with his cover of the hit single "Mr. Bojangles."
But surprisingly, "Mr. Bojangles" is not Jesse's best-loved Dylan cover; that honor is reserved for Bob's rendition of Peter, Paul and Mary's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right."
"It's riveting," says Jesse. And somehow when Jesse says it, you believe it.
Although covers were the bread and butter of Bob Dylan's attempted musical career, Jesse learned through his research that the singer also wrote and performed several original pieces. A particular favorite of Jesse's is "The Times They Are a-Changin'", a patriotic number expressing the singer's family values and commitment to the then-existing political structure.
Jesse admits that Bob Dylan's work may be too stodgy and traditional for the average, liberally-minded Julliard student. But he hopes that people will see beyond singer's outdated ideology, which, as Jesse points out, merely reflects the social values in place when Bob Dylan was alive.
"If they can just look beyond the simplistic lyrics to the music, I think they'll find it's worth a listen," he says.
This reporter is guessing that Jesse just might be right.