Daily Word of Grace # 218 (April 13, 2021)

One of the best parts of Bob Dylan’s 1965 masterpiece “Like a Rolling Stone” is the organ, perhaps the most famous organ sound in the history of rock ‘n roll.  It was played by Al Kooper, a 21-year old guitarist who had been upstaged in the studio by a much better guitarist, Mike Bloomfield.  But as Kooper recounted in the 2005 documentary No Direction Home something very special happened that day: “They moved the organ player over to the piano and I said, ‘Well, here’s another chance for me’ so I said to Tom Wilson (the producer) ‘Why don’t you let me play the organ?  I got a great part for this.’  And Tom Wilson said, ‘You don’t play the organ; you’re a guitar player’ and just then someone came in to tell Tom he had a phone call…so Tom didn’t say, No.”  Al snuck to the organ before the next recording began—“At that point Tom really could have just busted me and got me back to the control room, but he was a very gracious man and so he let it go, and I began to play.  In the verses in the beginning you hear me come in always an eighth note behind the band to make sure I played the right chord…After about a verse or two Bob Dylan said to Tom Wilson, ‘Hey, turn the organ up!’  And Tom Wilson said to Bob, ‘Oh man, that guy’s not an organ player, he’s just’…but Bob said, ‘I don’t care—turn the organ up.’”  When you find yourself upstaged by someone better than you, God, who like Tom Wilson is “very gracious”, will always give you another opportunity…and maybe even ask you to “turn the organ up.”

Love and Prayers,