On the eve of a crucial election in the USA, Joe Locke looks at Bob Dylan's lyrics as a metaphor for the state of racial justice in 2020.

"I was sitting at the piano not long ago, toying with Bob Dylan's 'All Along The Watchtower' when I began singing a new set of lyrics as if I were taking dictation. I don't know how or why this happened, but it caused me to re-examine Dylan's words, this time through the lens of the racial justice movement. Though I realize it was probably not his intention, Dylan's 1967 song somehow spoke to what our country is experiencing today.

I could hear how this new version of the song would sound, and imagined the visual narrative which could accompany it. With the help of Raul Midòn, KJ Denhert, Clarence Penn, Simone Pittau, Tim Holley and Lorin Cohen, I was able to document what I was hearing. And by collaborating with the artful and expert Nadja von Massow, was able to realize the visual component of the song, with its references to the 1921 Greenwood Massacre (the 100th anniversary of which is this coming year) and a flipbook style acknowledgement of fifty leaders who moved the movement forward, each in their own way.

Frederick Douglass' exhortation at the end of the video indicts present-day America for the stasis it has been in since he wrote those words. We need to listen to them and take action."

– Joe Locke

Joe Locke
vibes, concept + arrangements

Raul Midòn

KJ Denhert

Clarence Penn

Simone Pittau

Tim Holley

Lorin Cohen

Nadja von Massow
video editing + realization


  1. Comment by dane

    dane 29th September 2020 at 19:18

    Awesome Joe!! Totally down with it. You’ve always known what to say at the correct moment. Sure appreciate your art during this mess up time. Be safe, Brother!
    love from WI (Jude and Dane)

  2. Comment by Richard Mason

    Richard Mason 30th September 2020 at 01:52

    Nice!! I love it!!!

  3. Comment by stuart cate

    stuart cate 6th October 2020 at 20:30

    magnificent, joe. well done.

  4. Comment by Harold Smith

    Harold Smith 21st April 2021 at 19:23

    Fantastic piece! Very relevant!

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