Bob Dylan in America

Bob Dylan in America

Book - 2010
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One of America's finest historians shows us how Bob Dylan, one of the country's greatest and most enduring artists, still surprises and moves us after all these years.

Growing up in Greenwich Village, Sean Wilentz discov­ered the music of Bob Dylan as a young teenager; almost half a century later, he revisits Dylan's work with the skills of an eminent American historian as well as the passion of a fan. Drawn in part from Wilentz's essays as "historian in residence" of Dylan's official website, Bob Dylan in America is a unique blend of fact, interpretation, and affinity--a book that, much like its subject, shifts gears and changes shape as the occasion warrants.

Beginning with his explosion onto the scene in 1961, this book follows Dylan as he continues to develop a body of musical and literary work unique in our cultural history. Wilentz's approach places Dylan's music in the context of its time, including the early influences of Popular Front ideology and Beat aesthetics, and offers a larger critical appreciation of Dylan as both a song­writer and performer down to the present. Wilentz has had unprecedented access to studio tapes, recording notes, rare photographs, and other materials, all of which allow him to tell Dylan's story and that of such masterpieces as Blonde on Blonde with an unprecedented authenticity and richness.

Bob Dylan in America --groundbreaking, comprehensive, totally absorbing--is the result of an author and a subject brilliantly met.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385529884
0385529880
Characteristics: x, 390 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

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BertBailey
Oct 02, 2012

I'm partial to the historical approach of this author to one of the key artists of our times. In many ways this is an instructive book that supports taking the wider angle of a historian to the subject, even though Wilentz does stray a bit often into neighbouring fields with dubious results. For instance, there's much scho:len detail about Blind Willie McTell, all for a song that he reckons is iconic - all to elucidate a few phrasing choices. Well, ok if you're serious about yr subject. Also spends dozens of pages to establish some recondite echoes between his career and Aaron Copland's. Some, on the other hand, such as his exam of the masterful 'Love and Theft,' is eminently worthwhile. More obscurantist stuff pads out this book, 'though not a word is truly boring. Also, much of it's intriguing, such as Dylan's links to the jazzy beat poets and the folksy, pro-union songster traditions - very different backdrops to his core. In all, a highly recommended read. In fact, one of the few *re-reads* in pop music biosketching I can recall!

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