Chapter 13. Beyond Here Lies Nothing

Bob Dylan wasn’t too happy with his 1974 tour, complaining that it was a failed attempt to do the same show he and The Band did in 1966.  He did, however, mention that he thought the shows in Texas went pretty well, suggesting   people closer to Mexico had a better feel for what he was doing than those in the rest of the country.  He made a similar statement some years later about England having more receptive audiences than those in the US because they understood where the music came from, referring to the English ballads that form the structural basis for much of his writing.

“Beyond Here Lies Nothing” is one of Dylan’s better attempts at Tex-Mex music, even though it doesn’t push the genre the way “Romance in Durango” does or expands the possibilities of a cowboy ballad as does Billy.

Unlike the many gringos that think Texas needs a firing squad and not a border patrol along the Rio Grande, Dylan knows that the world doesn’t end at the river, Last year at this time, he was on a Latin American tour that was the beginning of the revitalization we are seeing now. “Beyond Here Lies Nothing” was a staple of that tour, but it had an aggressive lurch whereas it is now locked in to one of Bob’s favorite bass lines. Also, the harmonica has supplanted the guitar solos. Although little of the Tex-Mex feel remains, we still feel we are somewhere near the edge of a flat world.

And that is exactly where so many denizens of the Northern hemisphere have placed their Southern neighbors.  US president Obama, who refused to attend the funeral of Hugo Chavez, will not acknowledge Nicolas Maduro as his successor.  As if anybody in Venezuela gives a crap about what a foreign government might think about their internal affairs… They have enough to worry about, with the raw sewage flowing through streets where people will not walk at night for fear of being murdered.  Relationships between the two countries have been strained for several years now, but today Maduro has made a diplomatic overture to the United States, which concluded with both an invitation and a challenge for the future.

“We hope one day to have respectful relations with the United States, a dialogue between equals, state-to-state,” Maduro said.  “Sooner rather than later, the elites running the United States will have to realize there is a new, independent, sovereign and dignified Latin America.”