[BOOKS] ✭ Chronicles: Volume One Author Bob Dylan – Ebooks2020.co



10 thoughts on “Chronicles: Volume One

  1. says:

    I m going to do something I try not to do here, since I consider this to be a site about other people s words I m going to ramble on autobiographically for a bit.I bought this first volume of Dylan s Chronicles the day it came out in 2004, was anticipating the hell out of it Back then I was managing a used record store in College Park, Maryland I studied poetry and creative writing at UMD, big waste of my time, could ve learned all that on my own, learn now on my own than I did then anyway, except from maybe two or three professors who had something to say, and besides reading a lot of Shakespeare, it was a big snooze Though I did find Frank O Hara and John Ashberry and Fernando Pessoa and I feel like I learned a great deal about ol Will s plays I wouldn t have come to on my own Other than that, I should have studied languages or education or linguistics or history or something that could have landed me a better job after I graduated When I did graduate, the world was so opaque to me I didn t know how to take the next step The reality that I considered the adult, professional world to be seemed so dead and vacant to me that I wanted no part of it, but I knew that my consciousness and my conscience were no longer with the style and opinions of my youth I had always played music, written songs, shitty as they were, and my circle of friends were mostly wanna be artists and musicians, some skateboarding punks, pot heads, some real dim and bright lights I got a job managing a used record store a few of my friends worked at That way I didn t have to move home after graduation, could stay around DC, which I loved coming from a small town in southern Maryland, the DC Balti duality is almost overwhelmingly fertile, experience wise, especially if you are young and don t know other cities So I started working at this record store that was, in retrospect, at the same time the best and the worst decision I could have made.But it suited me because I knew music inside and out I knew punk, weirdo rock, jazz, little no name labels, blues, pop, rap, R B, African music, Brazilian music, folk singers, composers I had an infinite catalog of songs always running through my head, felt like I knew millions of lyrics by heart, could name jazz artists by the first four or so bars of a tune, dove deep into every style of music And I was playing music, writing it myself, so it was an ideal situation, but one I still wanted to keep extremely temporary, employment wise My favorite bands came out of the 80 s noise scene, SST bands, stuff like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Spacemen 3, Pelt, bands like Minor Threat and Fugazi, I got into Pavement because they were like nothing I d ever heard, I dug The Velvet Underground as much as anyone could, Pale Blue Eyes still makes me weepy, I loved those strange little short lived mathematical bands like June of 44, A Minor Forest, Hoover I also loved jazz, all jazz, from Louis Armstrong to the most wild Albert Ayler tunes, Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, the European improvisers of harsh noise like Peter Brotzmann, Mats Gustafsson, especially drummers like Hamid Drake, Paal Nilssen Love, and the masters like Elvin Jones and Buddy Rich, Philly Joe Jones the great tenor players Sonny Rollins and Lester Young, and those ethereal beings such as Sun Ra, Bobby Hutcherson, Anthony Braxton, who you couldn t really define or pin down I came to exalt Django Reinhardt as if he was the real Jesus, the three fingered Jesus, striking and straight to the point than the other Jesus I had all kinds of music coursing throughout my entire being, pulsing through me all day, all night, I worshiped these people, had shrines to them, treated vinyl records like idols I played music all day in the store, just put everything on Heard so much Found so many things I would never have known about unless I had those hours to just explore a vast quantity of random records at my leisure The only stuff I didn t really get into was the watered down stuff, the stuff that sounded too polished, too clean, like pretty college boys made it, or like it cost a million dollars to record Anything gritty, anything that had something a little off to it, something that didn t quite sit right, that made you wonder just what the hell was up with this person, I could get into All genres, all types The common thread was originality and heart, and something mournful or odd about the tune It wasn t until those long, strangely paced hours of digging through the stock of that record store that I came to know Bob Dylan s music.Dylan had always eluded me, don t know why, I came to him relatively late in the development of my tastes I guess it was that I was well versed in obscurities, but big names of the popular music world seemed instantly repugnant to me it s a fault of youth, wanting things to be just for yourself I just thought that if the masses liked them they couldn t hold any kind of secret That the secrets were held by a chosen few, who spoke in tongues, and that those kind of revelations wouldn t, couldn t reach a mass audience The weirder the better, it seemed to me, and the authentic So when I put on The Times They Are A Changin , I just expected it would be another 40 minute write off Not that I didn t know Dylan you can t grow up in America and not know the name Bob Dylan It s like not knowing the names Abe Lincoln or Lee Harvey Oswald But I don t think I had ever seriously listened to one of his records until now, and in retrospect I think that was the singularly best time for me to hear him, maybe the only time up until then that I was ripe to understand what he was doing, the immensity of what he means, as a songwriter, as a cultural figure, as a presence in the American twentieth century You can t be a child or of a child like mind to get Dylan You have to have experience, you have to have known some kind of pain and loss and redemption of some sort like the great blues artists Charlie Patton, Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly you can t be kidding around and get what these guys are trying to put across.Dylan hit me like a brick in the face With God On Our Side and Chimes of Freedom were the first songs I remember being utterly enraptured with and destroyed by from him Starry eyed and laughing as I recall when we were caughtTrapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspendedAs we listened one last time an we watched with one last lookSpellbound an swallowed til the tolling endedTolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursedFor the countless confused, accused, misused, strung out ones an worseAn for every hung up person in the whole wide universe To Ramona was perhaps the greatest love song I d ever personally heard The flowers of the city, though breath like, get death like sometimes Corrina, Corrina , Girl of the North Country , etc., the big ones hit me too, Hard Rain A Fallin , Only A Pawn in Their Game Those first few acoustic records of his seemed like liquid fire, lightning and stone all at once, all of it telling utterly real and bleak truths And then I moved on through his catalog Bringing It All Back Home and the rock a billy blues forms, the humor in the lyrics, the takes they kept of Bob laughing at himself, the searing rhythm of the band, Highway 61 Revisited which is probably in the top 5 greatest records ever cut, and on through the weirdness of the early seventies, the mid seventies masterpieces Planet Waves , Blood on the Tracks , Desire , and then off into the cosmos of the 80 s and 90 s when he was throwing all this stuff at the wall to see what would stick, and the eventual renaissance of his late 90 s records and albums from this century, when he really found his form and his tongue again, when you realized he never lost anything but was just out for a long walk what it was and this took me a lot of listening to pin down was that Dylan captured it all, all the influences, all the currents, all the sounds, all the weirdness and nostalgia, the Americana, the high lonesome sound of the mountains as well as the chaos of the city streets, the resonance of the abandoned plains and the reverberation of both ocean coasts, the silence of the hermetic shepherd under the stars and the cockiness of the hard boiled city kid, the upstart everything I liked about all the music I had discovered, it all flowed through that great flame of hair, burned in those eyes, seared in that voice and echoed in those plucked stringsI came to say things like the Elizabethans had Shakespeare, we have Dylan and I believe that Dylan is twentieth century America to me Somehow it all became amassed in this slight, skinny Jewish kid from the North Country He seems like the ghost of everyone who ever lived, singing all their laments.So when the first volume of his autobiography came out in 2004 I had my copy set aside at the now long gone but always loved Vertigo Books, and eagerly ran over from the record store to pick it up But for whatever reason, the first few pages didn t catch me I don t know why I thought of Dylan as the great artist of our times, of the times preceding mine, of the times to come, and yet, it may have been because of the other reading I was into then a lot of Joyce, reading and rereading Ulysses , it didn t grab me I set it aside It s seven years later, I m working a much better job, just put a record out under my own name, Dylan is still with me as strong as ever, and I m closing the last page of this remarkable first volume of his memoirs.The book itself is most definitely not only for Dylan aficionados, mostly because so much of what is in the book is Dylan observing the world and times around him, going deep into specifics of memories, fixing time and place by weather, news, architecture, the personalities he encounters, the particularities of the sky and trees, the shadows on streets, the vibe of rooms, the ambience of smoky cramped clubs basically he writes with an eyes open style, absorbing the physical world, not self involved but totally observant Dylan the man disappears into the spaces he evokes, and then he emerges, startles one with some strange sentence or description, and then the earth is spinning on again, and he is immersed in discourses on folk songs, bars, cities, literature, politics, human nature, history, specifics of music theory, recording techniques, travels the narrative is utterly non linear, too he leaps from memory to memory, associations taking him across decades, and this being the first of what is to be a three volume series, you can see Chronicles becoming this big time, shuffling, always in motion mosaic.It s no surprise that the most literate of song writers loves books so much, and one of the early pleasures in Chronicles is Dylan discovering the books he was to adore, rifling through the libraries of different friends whose couches he happened to be crashing on Tolstoy, Pushkin, Chekhov, Gogol, Maupassant, Poe, Byron, Shelley, Milton, Ovid but above all Balzac, Rimbaud, and Baudelaire As recently as Love and Theft Dylan was still lifting lines like Time and love has branded me with its claws , in Po Boy , straight out of Baudelaire s Le Spleen de Paris He can t help but quote Nietzsche and Von Clausewitz and he keeps returning to Kerouac, who he adored as a youth but then came to de romanticize Kerouac is to him another emblematic, problematic American figure He cites Robert Graves The White Goddess, and then tells how he eventually met Graves and wanted to ask him all these things about that book, and the poetic muse, but by that time he had forgotten everything about it.Dylan came from Duluth, near where Highway 61, the main thoroughfare of the country blues, begins, near where the Mississippi River starts, the cold North, steel country, where foghorns blast over Lake Superior, almost mythical territory in itself, and it is in the mythos of America, the mythical Americana of the twentieth century, that Dylan immerses himself, his music, and his recollections the America of radio plays, general stores, one room schoolhouses, frost hewn meadows, coal mines, church bells, patriotic heroes and heroic villains, cowboys and bank robbers and sheriffs and train jumpers, county fairs, Woody Guthrie esque wandering minstrels above all else, delta blues men and call and response holler sessions even if you don t love Dylan, Chronicles is a gigantic, rich, full catalog of all of this kind of lore One of his song writing techniques in the early Greenwich Village days was to spend hours in the New York Public Library, reading endless newspapers from the 1850 s and 1860 s, picking up random, strange, peculiar stories about the daily life of antebellum Americans All of that shows in his early songs, and it shows in the particular distance he kept from the movements and currents of his own times when the entire 60 s youth culture was demanding him to take a stand and be their voice and leader, he could not have felt less in common with them characters like Stagger Lee and Ulysses S Grant were of his peers and contemporaries than the hippies marching on Washington or at Woodstock His reality was formed by folk songs, which were formed by the lingering smoke of history and personal experience He was to take those folk forms and blow them all to pieces, make them than contemporary or futuristic, was to mold something completely new and different from that material, but the American past and American folk stories are the generating point of all he did or has ever done, and the fashions and causes of the times only seem like drops in the great ocean of history he was drawing on.Beyond all of this, Dylan can write prose very well, very interestingly, and in a style that is all his own If you have heard Theme Time Radio Hour or any recent interview, that is the voice of this book the blown out, craggy, father time voice that sounds and talks like it is centuries old, like a petrified forest s would be The strange rhythms of his speaking voice are not lost in his sentence structure, neither is his ability as a striking wordsmith On New Orleans The city is a very long poem Everything in New Orleans is a good idea Bijou Temple type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain Roman Catholic art Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast iron balconies, colonnades thirty foot columns, gloriously beautiful double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn t move In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions There s only one day at a time here, then it s tonight and then tomorrow will be today again On Johnny Cash ten thousand years of culture fell from him He could have been a cave dweller He sounds like he s a the edge of a fire, or in the deep snow, or in a ghostly forest On Dave Van Ronk Every night I felt like I was sitting at the feet of a timeworn monument his voice was like rusted shrapnel On an 8 second, 8mm film clip of Robert Johnson He s playing with huge, spider like hands and they magically move over the strings of his guitar There s a harp rack with a harmonica around his neck He looks nothing like a man of stone, no high strung temperament He looks almost child like, an angelic looking figure, innocent as can be He s wearing a white linen jumper, coveralls and an unusual gilded cap like Little Lord Fauntleroy He looks nothing like a man with the hellhound on his trail He looks immune to human dread and you stare at the image in disbelief I particularly like structures of wild grace and nothing like a man with the hellhound on his trail Chronicles is full of this kind of stuff If you have any notion of or interest in the history or the music of what is called Americana, of everything us Americans here in the United States are culturally perched upon in the twenty first century, this first volume of Dylan s memoirs seems like a proper portal that can lead you to into its great depths it s fascinating and I can t wait for the next volumes.


  2. says:

    Conscience impels me to remove one star from my original 5 I m bewitched, bothered and bewildered.When this gorgeously written, completely eccentric and endearing memoir came out in 2004 I loved it, and my original review is included below In the years since then, Dylan fans and commentators have been finding out stuff, and it opens a big can of worms, the worms ofPLAGIARISMBecause, it seems, if the rabid batgooglers and archive monkeys are to be believed, large parts maybe all of Chronicles are not original writing by Bob Dylan at all but an original mosaic of other people s phrases stitched together by Bob Dylan I quote from some of these findings on the Expecting Rain website from a book called Really the Blues 1946 by Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe, in which a hipster introduces his chick to Mezzrow Baby this that powerful man with that good grass that ll make you tip through the highways and byways like a Maltese kitten Mezz, this is my new dinner and she s a solid viper.And now, part of Dylan s description of his friend Ray s girl, Chloe Kiel She was cool as pie, hip from head to toe, a Maltese kitten, a solid viper always hit the nail on the head I don t know how much weed she smoked, but a lot Chronicles, p 102 And later in Really the Blues, a black man was sitting there actually talking to a white woman cool as pie Really The Blues, page 241 I never tried to make a real business out of the gauge, but the demand for it just sprang up by itself, and even after giving the other guys their cut I always had a couple of hundred bucks come the end of the week I was able to take care of Bonnie and her kid real good, with some new furniture in the house, plenty of clothes, and everything else they needed My name was getting around the country like wildfire Chronicles, page 103 Maybe someday your name will get around the country like wildfire, she d say If you ever get a couple of hundred bucks, buy me something.Really The Blues, page 245 and empty garbage cans loaded with bricks on the heads of the Irish cops on the beat Chronicles, page 103 104 I crossed over from Hudson to Spring, passed a garbage can loaded with bricks and stopped into a coffee shop Really The Blues, page 174 There was The Big Apple dangling right in front of my nose, shiny red and round and juicy Chronicles, page 104 The whole city was dangling in front of my nose Chronicles, page 47 The kind of people who come from out of nowhere and go right back into it a pistol packing rabbi, a snaggle toothed girl with a big crucifix between her breasts all kinds of characters looking for the inner heat Really The Blues, page 6 I found myself running with a literary ex pug, a pistol packing rabbi, and a peewee jockey whose onliest riding crop was a stick of marihuana Really The Blues, page 203 These two fly chicks got up on their high horse when we quizzed them about it one insisted she was pure Spanish, and sported a crucifix right over her breastworks to prove it Really The Blues, page 210 He had razor legs, snaggle teeth and dribble lips Chronicles, page 47 A frantic atmosphere all kinds of characters talking fast, moving fast some debonair, some rakish Really The Blues, page 212 a light gray felt for me with the brim turned down on one side, kind of debonair and rakish Chronicles, page 47 Some people even had titles The Man Who Made History, The Link Between The Races that s how they d want to be referred to Really The Blues, page 210 On The Corner I was to become known as the Reefer King, the Link Between the Races, The Philosopher, the Mezz, Poppa Mezz, Pop s Boy, the White Mayor of Harlem, the Man about Town, the Man that Hipped the World, the Man that Made History, the Man with the Righteous Bush, He Who Diggeth the Digger, Father Neptune From Chronicles page 4 Outside the wind was blowing, straggling cloud wisps, snow whirling in the red lanterned streets From The Return of Dr Fu Manchu 1916 by Sax Rohmer The moon sailed clear of the straggling cloud wisps which alone told of the recent storm From Chronicles page 95, regarding Monk Even then, he summoned magic shadows into being From The Return of Dr Fu Manchu 1916 by Sax Rohmer To night the moon was come, raising her Aladdin s lamp up to the star world and summoning magic shadows into being Ed Cook had noted a passage in Chronicles that comes from a different Sax Rohmer novel Sax Rohmer, Dope 1919 , A tiny spaniel lay beside the fire, his beady black eyes following the nervous movements of the master of the house.Chronicles, p 167 A tiny spaniel lay at the guy s feet, the dog s beady black eyes following the nervous movements of his master.Then there s this Chronicles, page 50 Suspense always had a creaking door horrible sounding than any door you could imagine nerve wracking, stomach turning tales week after week Raised on Radio by Gerald Nachman, page 313 The writing of each play, over the years, has been a nerve wracking, stomach turning, head spinning series of week after week crises Chronicles, page 51 I asked the guy who made the sound effects for the radio shows how he got the sound of the electric chair and he said it was bacon sizzling What about broken bones The guy took a LifeSaver and crushed it between his teeth Raised on Radio by Gerald Nachman, page 313 His scare tactics included the sound of a man frying in the electric chair sizzling bacon , bones being snapped spareribs or Life Savers crushed between teeth Chronicles, page 26 he was like an old wolf, gaunt and battle scarred Call of the Wild Then an old wolf, gaunt and battle scarred, came forward Walking back to the main house, I caught a glimpse of the sea through the leafy boughs of the pines I wasn t near it, but could feel the power beneath its colors Chronicles, p 162 Compare that to this longer passage from Marcel Proust s Within a Budding Grove But when, Mme de Ville parisis s carriage having reached high ground, I caught a glimpse of the sea through the leafy boughs of trees, then no doubt at such a distance those temporal details which had set the sea, as it were, apart from nature and history disappeared But on the other hand I was no longer near enough to the sea which seemed to me not a living thing now, but fixed I no longer felt any power beneath its colours, spread like those of a picture among the leaves, through which it appeared as inconsistent as the sky and only of an intenser blue.I don t think there can be any doubt that Bob had to have consciously taken these sentences and, with some revision, passed them off as his own.Another example is from a book that I imagine Dylan knows well, Huckleberry Finn Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of lights not a house could you see There warn t a sound there everybody was asleep.And now look at Chronicles, p 165 One night when everyone was asleep and I was sitting at the kitchen table, nothing on the hillside but a shiny bed of lights My last exhibit a less exact quote comes from a book called Really the Blues 1946 by Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe, in which a hipster introduces his chick to Mezzrow Baby this that powerful man with that good grass that ll make you tip through the highways and byways like a Maltese kitten Mezz, this is my new dinner and she s a solid viper.And now, part of Dylan s description of his friend Ray s girl, Chloe Kiel She was cool as pie, hip from head to toe, a Maltese kitten, a solid viper always hit the nail on the head I don t know how much weed she smoked, but a lot Chronicles, p 102 And later in Really the Blues, a black man was sitting there actually talking to a white woman cool as pie Now what are we to think of these borrowings I know that borrowing and revising tunes and song lyrics is standard practice in folk and blues music, and Dylan has done plenty of that, quite openly, as have others That doesn t bother me But in a sustained piece of prose that is not meant to be sung or played, but taken as the author s own composition, it is not standard practice In the instances given above, I think Bob comes pretty close to real plagiarism, and for all I know there are instances in Chronicles yet to be identified Frankly, as a Dylan fan from way back, I m a little disappointed Say it ain t so, Bob.UPDATE A couple .Jack London, Children of the Frost Rum meeting place, though, he added, casting an embracing glance over the primordial landscape Chronicles, p 167 I cast an embracing glance over the primordial landscape Jack London, Tales of the Klondyke Another tremendous section of the glacier rumbled earthward The wind whipped in at the open doorway Chronicles, p 217 Wind whipped in the open doorway and another kicking storm was rumbling earthward.UPDATE II Yet Sax Rohmer, Dope 1919 , A tiny spaniel lay beside the fire, his beady black eyes following the nervous movements of the master of the house.Chronicles, p 167 A tiny spaniel lay at the guy s feet, the dog s beady black eyes following the nervous movements of his master.London, Children of the Frost And then they are amazingly simple No complexity about them, no thousand and one subtle ramifications to every single emotion they experience They love, fear, hate, are angered, or made happy, in common, ordinary, and unmistakable terms.Chronicles, p 169 Yet to me, it s amazingly simple, no complications, everything pans out As long as the things you see don t go by in a blur of light and shade, you re okay Love, fear, hate, happiness all in unmistakable terms, a thousand and one subtle ramifications.UPDATE III Oct 2 Jack London, Tales of the Klondyke Through this the afternoon sun broke feebly, throwing a vague radiance to earth, and unreal shadows.Chronicles, p 112 The afternoon sun was breaking, throwing a vague radiance to the earth.Jack London, White Fang He carried himself with pride, as though, forsooth, he had achieved a deed praiseworthy and meritorious.Chronicles, p 63 He didn t need to say much you knew he had been through a lot, achieved some great deed, praiseworthy and meritorious, yet unspoken about it.R L Stevenson, Providence and the Guitar As Leon looked at her, in her low bodied maroon dress, with her arms bare to the shoulder, and a red flower set provocatively in her corset, he repeated to himself for the many hundredth time that she was one of the loveliest creatures in the world of women.Chronicles, p 127 I bought a red flower for my wife, one of the loveliest creatures in the world of women On and on it goes They found dozens of phrases from a single issue of Time magazine April 1961 embedded in Dylan s text clearly he wanted to give a lot of pungent contemporary detail in his memories of Greenwich Village and instead of doing what most writers would do, soaking himself in the writings of the time then writing his own account in his own words, he assembled his memoir by taking the phrases he liked verbatim Plagiarism I think is legally defined as consisting of seven words in an identical sequence, and I don t think Bob ever does precisely that, so, legally, maybe, he isn t a plagiarist But it sure feels like he is.I loved this book and I m quite shaken up to find out all this stuff Rabid Dylan fans are brushing the whole thing aside, saying oh well, if you scrutinised any book by anyone else as much as Chronicles has been you d find the same But that s just insane, of course you wouldn t So there it is SOME INVESTIGATIVE WORK IS TO BE FOUND HERE THE ORIGINAL RAVE REVIEW Everybody s wearing a disguise To hide what they ve got left behind their eyes okay, so what s Bob got left behind his eyes A billion synapses connected to a million memories, that s what, and they burn with an intensity that only sharpens as he finally gets some of them down on paper Quotable quotes leap from every page On Guthrie For me it was like an epiphany, like some heavy anchor had just plunged into the waters of the harbour On reading American history I crammed my head full of as much of this stuff as I could stand and locked it away in my mind out of sight, left it alone Figured I could send a truck back for it later On the year 1962 The whole city was dangling in front of my nose I had a vivid idea of where everything was At least half of this book is Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bohemian Folkie What I was going to do as soon as I left home was just call myself Robert Allen but then there was a sax player called David Allyn, and that looked good So he changed to Robert Allyn exotic, inscrutable Then later I d seen some poems by Dylan Thomas Dylan and Allyn sounded similar Robert Dylan Robert Allyn I couldn t decide the letter D came on stronger He breathlessly captures the entrancement folk songs laid on his 19 year old self Folk music was a reality of a brilliant dimension It was life magnified I scheduled my life around it To us here in 2009, it looks like Bob became a folk star with very little effort, but he had to take a couple of lumps on the way After memorising the whole Woody Guthrie songbook, a guy he describes as the Minneapolis Commissioner of the Folk Police escorts him to a phonograph player and plays him Ramblin Jack Elliott, who d already been doing pinpoint recreations of Woody for years I felt like I d been cast into sudden hell Elliott was far beyond me After 100 pages on the Greenwich Village scene, we jump to 1966 and the tone darkens Since 1963 he d been continually hyped and glorified the conscience of a generation and so on It became intolerable He tried to get out of the pressure cooker by moving to Woodstock but he found that roadmaps to our homestead must have been posted in all fifty states for gangs of dropouts and druggies Under seige on all sides, he used the minor motorcycle accident of 1966 to get some breathing space but the pressure never let up Even his friends piled it on in one jarring page Dylan tells of a car ride during which Robbie Robertson asks Where do you think you re gonna take it Take what You know, the whole music scene Dylan It was like dealing with a conspiracy No place was far enough away I don t know what everyone else was fantasizing about, but what I was fantasizing about was a nine to five existence, a house on a tree lined block with a white picket fence, pink roses in the back yard That would have been nice After a while you learn that privacy is something you can sell, but you can t buy it back Around that time he went to see a business broker looking over a portfolio of businesses for sale, in a futile attempt to get out of the show business into something less insane, like curtain rods or freight haulage Sometimes the story of Bob Dylan is exactly like the Life of Brian Bob You don t need to follow me You don t need to follow anybody You ve got to think for yourselves You re all individuals Bob s many followers, after a pause Tell us how to think for ourselves, O Bob There s nothing at all about going electric, nothing about Christianity, nothing about Rolling Thunder Instead of those dramas, Bob regales us with ninety pages on the making of one of his albums song by song, session by session Wow which one Could it be Freewheelin , or Blonde on Blonde Blood on the Tracks perhaps Nope, of course it s Oh Mercy Expect similar treatment of Knocked Out Loaded in Volume Two This section includes six pages on a truly crackbrained theory about all popular music being based on the number 2, but Lonnie Johnson one time showed him how you could base it on the number three Hey, whoah there three I don t know why the number 3 is metaphysically powerful than the number 2, but it is He explains how this way of performing will revolutionise his art My playing was going to be an impellant in equanimity to my voice and I would use different algorithms that the ear is not accustomed to Say what, Bob Come again But a few pages later we also get Bob s delight in buying a bumper sticker which said World s Greatest Grandpa This is a man of many parts Chronicles is stuffed full of Bob s Most Memorable Characters Fred Neil, Dave Van Ronk, John Hammond, Ray Gooch and Most Memorable Records including a great section where Hammond gives him an advance copy of King of the Delta Blues Singers by Robert Johnson, and an account of How Pirate Jenny Changed My Life There s funny accounts of the folk purists versus the commercialisers The whole book is drenched in music You re tapping your foot as you read Well, okay, but what about the private life It s a little strange there I was thinking he s just going to avoid the whole subject but no right at the end, a sweet few pages on Suze Rotolo the tone of which is considerably at variance with her public reminiscences and a portrait of Joan Baez she seemed very mature, seductive, intense, magical Nothing she did didn t work before he got to meet her Aww But no, no Sara Discretion and the usual cabal of lawyers would have made sure of that And in the Oh Mercy section, many mentions of my wife but never is she named Pretty odd So Don t look back I should coco When Bob looks back, it s warm, inclusive, annoying, incomprehensible, panoramic, diamond hard, inspirational, and it s book of the month, no contest The Peter Lang AnecdotePeter Lang, a great fingerstyle guitarist, was booked to play at Stamford Arts Centre by my friend David who manages it After the gig Peter came back to David s house and amongst other things told us his Dylan Anecdote So this is from memory I was working on a project in Minneapolis with David Zimmerman, Bob s brother One day I called David A very famous voice answered the phone I said Er is that Bob He said Yeah, this is Bob Wow I thought hard What should be the first thing you ask Bob Dylan Eventually I said Is David there Bob said Sure, I ll get him And that was my first and last conversation with Bob Dylan.


  3. says:

    After being on my to read shelf for a while, this book jumped up a couple spots when Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature He didn t win the prize because of this autobiography or for his novel, but rather for the lyrics he wrote down and then placed over music This autobiography is well written and honest, but it is disjointed at times and didn t tell me much about the things I thought I wanted to know about I wanted to know what Dylan was thinking when he wrote songs like Blowin in the Wind, and I wanted to know something about his wife and his children These seem to be things he doesn t want to talk about and I should have known he wasn t going to He has always held a stance of not discussing his music or his personal life and I have to respect him for that Maybe I wouldn t like his music if I knew too much about it, or him, and maybe that is something Bob Dylan knows he did just win a Nobel Prize.


  4. says:

    Positively Fraud Street I see you on the streetI always act surprisedI say, How does it feel But I don t mean it I can t taste your words, You said, Your songs are just lies So I cried that you were deaf,You d lost the sight in your eyes.And I said that you were wrongWhen you accused me of theftBut all I really wanted to know wasWhat else have you got left No, I never wasted any time,And I never took much.I never asked for your crutch,Now don t ask me for mine.Well you got up to leaveAnd you said, Don t forget,Everybody must give something backFor something they thieve OK, you know it wasn t me,What I wrote was plagiarised.It was far easier justTo steal it.Lest I be misunderstoodThey weren t any heartbreaks I embracedNo, I was a master thiefAnd all I did was rob them.You think I got a lotta nerveTo say I am your friendBut in my academic gownI just stand here grinning.Love, Forgiveness and TheftSo you lost your way,But the way you made me feelHalts my turn away.Any Way the Idiot Wind BlowsSomeone s got it in for me, They re planting stories on GoodReadsWhoever it is I wish they d cut it out quick But when they will I can only guessThey d better hurry up and do it real soonOtherwise I ll have to shoot a man named Graye And take his wife to Italy.


  5. says:

    UPDATE A good and memorable read but probably not why he won the Nobel.What a wonderful weird book about the influence of cities and sounds, knowing what you want and going for it and getting it thanks to talent, luck, attitude, and meeting the right people Funny how it emphasizes what no one really wants to know New Morning and Oh Mercy era stuff instead of everything from Hard Rain s Gonna Fall to Visions of Johanna to Shelter From the Storm to Isis Those songs are hardly mentioned at all maybe one or two mentions of Hard Rain Otherwise, this is a compulsively readable, folksy, lightly insightful, non linear self portrait of the mythic artist as regular guy from the North Country, a family man concerned with privacy than popularity, a devout Woody Guthrie fanatic of course, not someone particularly special emphatically NOT the messiah, NOT the chosen one, NOT the voice of his generation, NOT the leader of the revolution umm except he acknowledges that, for a time, he could see and describe and supercharge the deep truth of reality This ellipitically argues that his success came from casual, wide open exposure to the world and art than just music He s a super sensitive empty vessel blessed with the necessary restless desire for MORE, sufficient native critical faculties, just enough OCD, and than enough midwestern simplicity and charm that s pretty much it, says Dylan not that he can be trusted Looking forward to volume 2 where he colors in the circles he s drawn in this one Required supplementary viewing


  6. says:

    I awake this morning to the news that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2016, which I absolutely am happy about A bold move for the committee It made me think that the committee is probably quite old to do this, but also well aware of his lyrics, which I assume is the reason he wins I also read Paul Bryant s reviews of this book, the first of which, like mine originally, was very positive I loved the book and await Then I saw Paul has read a lot of research identifying plagiarized passages, and have to process all this I read the review thinking of him as Jokerman, and that movie made of him where others play him as characters throughout, and all the disguises he wore on stage, always, and always bullshitting us with lies at interviews, always spoofing Wondered if the plagiarism might be the same, or sampling But the research suggests something deliberate and not just kiddingly deceptive I need to think about that But I don t think he got the Nobel for this book, anyway, but for the lyrics, which I absolutely am ecstatic about


  7. says:

    I am not by any means a big fan of autobiographies or biographies written with the popular market in mind Autobiographies can all too often be divided into the self aggrandising, self serving, self promotion type, or alternatively the celebrity ghost written cut and paste, vacuous and pointless nonsense type or the pseudo warts and all expos type or sometimes a combination of all three Biographies on the other hand, often than not are written with the agenda either of the fan or the character and career assassin All of which for me seem ultimately pointless and futile Whilst I am sure that there may be many fine books within this genre, maybe I just haven t come across them yet Perhaps I should look to the accessible end of the literary historical types of biography although these can often be weighty and intimidated tomes It goes without saying that the reading and success of any biography does of course depend on the audience, the reader I am a big fan of Bob Dylan his music up until around 1976 which does of course cloud and prejudice my view of anything written about or by him I therefore approached this recommended autobiography with some caution but also with high hopes.Evident here, as you would expect, is Dylan s undeniable skill for storytelling and the story here is bookended by passages concerning the earlier part of his career Unfortunately though, the book is somewhat dominated by a very lengthy middle passage devoted to the lead up to and writing, recording of Dylan s 1989 album Oh Mercy with producer Daniel Lanois Whilst this album did represent something of a renaissance for Dylan, it is certainly not viewed in the same light as such great and classic albums such as Blonde on Blonde , Highway 61 Revisited , Blood on the Tracks and Whilst there may be an element of Oh Mercy representing a period when Dylan got his song writing muse back, a return to form of sorts it is hard to see how this is truly deserving of such a lengthy section of the book so many words dedicated to this.Far successful for me are the passages describing the New York, folk art cultural scene of the early 1960 s and convey well what an inspirational and exciting time this must have been The passages describing his discovery of Guthrie and others who influenced and inspired Dylan and who are clearly revered by him are also compellingly written Interesting too although nothing that we didn t really already know are the descriptions of Dylan s first experiences as a proto celebrity along with his discomfort and frustration at being deemed the conscience and voice of a generation I love the following quote from him in this book on that subject I really was never any than what I was a folk musician who gazed into the grey mist with tear blinded eyes and made up songs that floated in a luminous haze Ultimately and unfortunately, this book seems to me very much a missed opportunity I would like to have known about the creation of, and inspiration behind those classic albums rather than a late period partial return to form album such as Oh Mercy which pales by comparison Perhaps though, those great albums of the past have been deliberately left in the past with an all pervading and intact air of mystery and enigma Maybe they ve just been written about and over analysed to death by others over the years Maybe it would have been good to hear from Dylan on these albums and maybe not who knows Maybe demystifying them would have detracted from their greatness although I doubt it Interestingly enough, Dylan does clearly acknowledge that musically he no longer holds the flame, no longer saw the truth or had power and dominion over the spirits or sees into things to see the truth of things as they really are A realistic acknowledgement that his greatest song writing and recording days are well and truly over and long gone recognising that now it is someone else s turn, that someone else will come along Dylan seems in this book to be far comfortable when writing about others he is most compelling and engaging when writing of Woody Guthrie, Kurt Weill, Robert Johnson and others Perhaps he is just not that comfortable when writing about himself and in some respects he gives very little away there is precious little about his part in the civil rights movement, nothing about his religious period , nothing really about his private life so to speak of.As you would expect from Dylan, Chronicles is not what you would expect the uncompromising and obtuse even obscure attitude of Dylan throughout his musical career is something to be often than not lauded unfortunately here though this results in what is ultimately for the most part a dissatisfying read.


  8. says:

    Each phrase comes at you from a ten foot drop, scuttles across the road and then another one comes like a punch on the chin.So goes Dylan on the marvel of Pirate Jenny, the haunting number by Brecht Weill in their Three Penny Opera Apparently seeing this performed life indelibly changed Dylan s approach to songwriting I bought myself G.W Pabst s film version of TPO for this recent Christmas and I was absolutely riveted by Lotte Lenya s performance of the song, she s so cold , so decisive, much like Thomas Mann s Naphta I was not a stranger to the song, having been moved for years by Nina Simone s rendition My first encounter, however, happened years before when I was vacationing in Rome Foot sore, yet exhilarated, we had been walking all day and came across publicity posters for an Italian performer scheduled to play that evening the songs of Brecht Weill in both German and Italian For the life of me, I can t remember the name of the young woman but she owned the songs and all of us in attendance One of the documentaries on the Three Penny Opera relates Brecht s penchant for appropriation, he stole, but with genius I ve heard many similar references to Picasso and it is simply coincidence that Dylan next speaks of Guernica and Pablo P after his rumination on Pirate Jenny How better could one loop the wonky arc of Chronicles than to situate the book and its legion of complains of plagiarism alongside such earlier masters of Love and Theft.


  9. says:

    Mark my words, this book is going to be considered as an American classic piece of literature Students in the year 2035 will study it, and young men wearing plastic rain coats will be holding this book as a fashionable prop in the most elegant nightclubs As for me, this was such a surprise remarkable read I didn t expect it to be so great What makes it so great is Dylan personal observations on the world around him The way he goes through his frirends library was one of my favorite parts of the book as well as his observations on the craft and genius of Tiny Tim It s a masterpiece It really is.


  10. says:

    Bob Dylan takes us from his boyhood in northern Minnesota to his start as a folk singer in Greenwich Village in 1961 His biggest influence was Woody Guthrie, and he had a great mentor in Dave Van Ronk who got him started at the Gaslight, a folk club Dylan read widely and listened to the folk greats, especially the storytellers, in his quest to become a singer songwriter He spent his first months in New York sleeping on the couches of generous friends It was an exciting day when he was signed by Columbia Records.Dylan also writes about a couple other points in his career, but they are not about his most popular albums He tells about the frustrations involved in making New Morning in 1970, and recording Oh Mercy in 1989.In the 1970s, Dylan wanted privacy and time with his family Some people considered him to be the voice of a generation and wouldn t leave him alone, running through his yard and tramping on his roof He had to move several times to protect his wife and five children He does not write about the origins of his famous protest songs that were used as anthems during the war in Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement.Dylan does a lot of name dropping of musicians, songs, authors, and historical events that influenced him, so the book might be appreciated by readers who have lived through the Dylan era One has to remember that Dylan is a great storyteller in his songwriting, and take some of his stories in the book with a grain of salt Chronicles, Volume One is an entertaining memoir that shows Dylan at some important high and low points in his life.


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Chronicles: Volume One download Chronicles: Volume One, read online Chronicles: Volume One, kindle ebook Chronicles: Volume One, Chronicles: Volume One 9d61d56d5c8e I D Come From A Long Ways Off And Had Started A Long Ways Down But Now Destiny Was About To Manifest Itself I Felt Like It Was Looking Right At Me And Nobody ElseSo Writes Bob Dylan In Chronicles Volume One, His Remarkable Book Exploring Critical Junctures In His Life And Career Through Dylan S Eyes And Open Mind, We See Greenwich Village, Circa , When He First Arrives In Manhattan Dylan S New York Is A Magical City Of Possibilities Smoky, Nightlong Parties Literary Awakenings Transient Loves And Unbreakable Friendships Elegiac Observations Are Punctuated By Jabs Of Memories, Penetrating And Tough With The Book S Side Trips To New Orleans, Woodstock, Minnesota And Points West, Chronicles Volume One Is An Intimate And Intensely Personal Recollection Of Extraordinary TimesBy Turns Revealing, Poetical, Passionate And Witty, Chronicles Volume One Is A Mesmerizing Window On Bob Dylan S Thoughts And Influences Dylan S Voice Is Distinctively American Generous Of Spirit, Engaged, Fanciful And Rhythmic Utilizing His Unparalleled Gifts Of Storytelling And The Exquisite Expressiveness That Are The Hallmarks Of His Music, Bob Dylan Turns Chronicles Volume One Into A Poignant Reflection On Life, And The People And Places That Helped Shape The Man And The Art