Jesse, I'm not sure I understand your question.
As I understand it, the phrase 'heading straight for a fall' refers to the voice on the other end of the phone -- that is, Dylan, but long after he had broken up with Baez, married another woman, and then gotten into trouble in that relationship. If he was heading straight for a fall, it does make it sound intentional, as if he was deliberately going down a wrong path, going in a bad direction of his own choosing.https://www.bradshawjewelers.com/music-friday...
Still, I don't know that 'headed' would have been much different in meaning, since people making bad choices in life, hurting themselves and others, are often driven by unconscious emotions, so that it may not be as intentional as it looks.
Another possible factor is that the -ing
form is softer to sing, without the consonant D that could interrupt the line of melody a little more. Baez is definitely an artist who pays attention to details of phrasing and poetry.
harambee, yes, the course of the pandemic, or anything else that just happens to people without their choice, is more likely to be 'headed' in a bad direction.
One very typical example is a hurricane that's headed for a particular city, like New Orleans. You wouldn't use 'heading' in that context, unless you wanted to personify the storm, give the impression that it was malicious, targeting a particular location by intention.
Maybe now we could generate some translations for some of these examples, if that would be useful for the archive?