Chronicles, Bob Dylan
I selected this memoir because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about in Dylan’s play within the history of rock. Sure, I know his songs, have listened to them, and read the poetry within the lyrics… but what’s the big deal about this guy? I found out. He is a genius in the realm of music, poetry, art, writing, creativity. This book is selections of times in his life, not a linear progression of his life. Snippets of the man In 1962 – NYC – the flavors, the atmosphere, what he saw, the blood on the tracks of Greenwich – he puts you there with him. His experiences broke the habit of thinking in short song cycles as he began reading longer poems to train the mind. A nobody – the beauty of that anticipation. His beliefs behind why he didn’t think he was a protest singer. He jumps to 1968 recovering from a motorcycle accident, living in Woodstock NY with a wife and children. By 1968 he relays the misery of the response of the music scene, pressuring madness, no relief, no privacy. His home in the woods being a nightmare due to people wanting him to lead them, coming to his door… lead their generation, take charge, lead the masses… all of it. He was stuck there in Woodstock, vulnerable and with a family to protect. Then on to 1987 in New Orleans recording a new album of songs. He had a clear road ahead and wanted to keep or regain his musical freedom now that he was ‘forgotten’ by mainstream media. Let the line go straight. He takes us back to 1959 in Minneapolis just getting his legs in the world. And then we end up in 1961 mid-winter NYC – music of that era, the scene in NYC, people who influenced him, who spent and shared time… getting his own place. This is when he really began to break apart songs, phrases, melodic structures, new stimulants for the senses, free verse associations.. his growth into becoming a songwriter. He became rightly impressed by the physical and ideological possibilities within the confines of the lyric and melody. The construction of verses, patterns, closely examining, the construction of old-style lines, the sparkling allegories, truths wrapped in the hard shell of nonsensical abstraction- themes that flew through the air with ease. Then he writes of his signing at Columbia Records that began it all. This book we are at the window looking in at the man.