So when trying to find the song to listen to for this assignment I was very confused because I couldn’t find it anywhere. In every video or site I looked I would find the song and a reference or two to Bob Dylan but not a version where Bob Dylan played it himself. I then realized through some further research that Bob Dylan never played this song (well he did but he never released it as single) rather he wrote a song “Blowing in the Wind” loosely based on No More Auction Block for Me which he converted into a protest song. So to address this I will instead give my thoughts on the original song performed by Odetta and then give my thoughts on Dylan’s song.
The original song also titled “Many Thousand Gone” Definitely had a somber feel and a spiritual tone. Odetta utilizes her one vocals and a choir adding a polyphonic melody with the only instrument I can detect being a bass guitar or cello. While I feel like the song is supposed to make me feel sad or melancholy I had trouble trying to decipher an exact message from the song. I could understand that the singer is conveying that they are no longer enslaved and they will no longer have to suffer the trials and tribulations of that. However then the singer ends each strophic verse with /many thousand gone/. If I were to assume she is talking about the many fallen slaves who died then I could conclude that the song is meant to be almost a memorial for them.
As for Dylan’s song I felt that a lot of what gave the song meaning was stripped away. Obviously his song was made to convey the frustrations of his time and he chose a song from an era of brutality to make a point. Personally I feel like the connection between these two songs is very superficial and the original definitely has a better resonance to me.