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Bob Dylan: Modern Times (Columbia)

Mark Mordue, Neumu, September 2006

THIS RECORD came in a wooden box. When I opened it, the hinges creaked. Inside there was an old phonograph and a dusty 78, cracked. The label said Modern Times. Next to it was a cowboy hat with a snakeskin band. And a green Bible with a passage marked, dealing with the Nazarene in the garden before he was kissed. A pin-up of the singer Alicia Keys lay curling and grimy. On the back someone had written "Tennessee". Beside it was a small drum, of the kind a boy might have once played as he marched into war. There were stranger things I found it hard to give credence: the sound of an old man's rasp floating in the air like wet sugar or sand.

Total word count of piece: 393


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