Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968–2010
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He interprets the record as a weird sort of concept album, one gleaned from the cutting-room floor and artfully constructed as a "cover up, not as a revelation".
Certain songs, such as "Living the Blues" and "Copper Kettle", get an unambiguous thumbs up, while others, such as Dylan's parodic version of Paul Simon's "The Boxer" thought by some to be about Dylan , get smartly dismissed: "Jesus is it awful. That's a phrase that must have coursed through the mind of even the most ardent of Dylan fans on more than one occasion over the four decades that have passed since Self Portrait.
Dylan is now approaching his 70th birthday, and the uneven, often baffling trajectory of his career, with all its astonishing peaks and dispiriting troughs, is at last developing a degree of clarity.
For every great "comeback" album such as Blood on the Tracks or Infidels there has been a Down in the Groove or a Christmas in the Heart , for every sublime reconnection with his genius, a shambolic shuffle down a blind alley. In recent years both trade and academic presses have been rolling out book after book on the man who transformed popular music for ever.
That transformation took place primarily in the years , when Dylan released his great trilogy of albums, Bringing It All Back Home , Highway 61 Revisited , and Blonde on Blonde , and embarked on a world tour with the Band that is often called the greatest rock'n'roll tour of all time. It reached its apotheosis in the famous concert on 17 May at Manchester Free Trade Hall, at which Dylan responded to a cry of "Judas" from a disaffected folkie with an instruction to the band to "play fucking loud", and an incendiary performance of "Like a Rolling Stone".
Footage of this concert provides the climax to Martin Scorsese's superb documentary of Dylan's early career, No Direction Home , although we get to see only the first verse of the song: no doubt the rest is stored in the vaults awaiting some further lucrative release. Marcus, who is four years Dylan's junior, was just old enough to see the pre-electric, folk-singing and "finger-pointin'" Dylan in action.
This book opens with Marcus's memories of a scruffy young singer-songwriter appearing as a guest act at a Joan Baez concert held in a field in New Jersey in the summer of The year-old Marcus was mesmerised by Dylan's stage persona, and he records the occasion as if it were a coup de foudre : "Something in his demeanour dared you to pin him down, to sum him up and write him off, and you couldn't do it.
The first piece is from , three years after Marcus witnessed one of the legendary Dylan and Band concerts — "a show that without any question was the most powerful performance I've ever seen by anyone. Could it possibly, possibly be him, the audience wonders? About a year earlier Dylan had composed and sung in the course of The Basement Tapes sessions — about which Marcus wrote brilliantly in an earlier book on Dylan called Invisible Republic — the perfect response to all the unrequited longing that had built up during "three years of memories, of waiting, scares of the end and false starts toward another chance": "I'm not there.
As in Invisible Republic , Marcus often uses Dylan songs or performances as an entry into extended riffs on the history of American music. He also enjoys testing the power of early Dylan songs such as "With God on Our Side" to serve as responses to recent events, such as the invasion of Iraq. Greil Marcus weaves individual moods and moments into a brilliant history of their changing times. This book begins in Berkeley in , and ends with a piece on Dylan's show at the University of Minnesota on election night In between are moments of euphoric discovery: from Marcus' sleeve notes for the Basement Tapes to his exploration of Dylan's reimagining of the American experience in 's Time Out of Mind.
And rejection; Marcus' Rolling Stone piece on Dylan's album Self Portrait - often referred to as the most famous record review ever written - began with 'What is this shit? Marcus follows not only recordings but performances, books, movies, and all manner of highways and byways in which Bob Dylan has made himself felt in our culture. Together, the dozens of pieces collected here comprise a portrait of how, throughout his career, Bob Dylan has drawn upon and reinvented the landscape of American song, its myths and choruses, heroes and villains.
They are the result of more than forty years' engagement between an unparalleled artist and a uniquely acute listener. Greil Marcus was born in San Francisco in He was described by John Rockwell in the New York Times as 'a writer of rare perception and a genuinely innovative thinker. No writer has followed Bob Dylan as closely or as passionately as Marcus, who makes the man's whole career seem like one wild American adventure. And nobody has ever written about Dylan with so much savage wit In this essential anthology, Marcus chronicles Dylan's ups and downs The collection reads like the journal of a year love story Through it all, Marcus' words are restless and probing—a true match for Dylan's voice.
Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus : Greil Marcus :
These pieces create a vivid, fascinating portrait of how, through his long and trailblazing career, Dylan has drawn from and utterly reinvented the landscape of traditional American song. Marcus' collected celebrations and occasional disappointed criticisms of Dylan are must-reading for Dylan devotees everywhere. A clutch of dispatches from a correspondent grown skeptical but still capable of being surprised -- who in fact wants to be surprised Marcus is simply one of the few in his field who can match Dylan on a subject they both find fascinating: America.
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Language: English. Brand new Book. The book begins in Berkeley in , and ends with a piece on Dylan's show at the University of Minnesota on election night And rejection; Marcus's Rolling Stone piece on Dylan's album Self Portrait - often referred to as the most famous record review ever written - began with 'What is this shit? Marcus follows not only recordings but performances. Seller Inventory AA Begins in Berkeley in , and ends with a piece on Dylan's show at the University of Minnesota on election night This title follows not only recordings but performances, books, movies, and various manner of highways and byways in which Bob Dylan has made himself felt in our culture.
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