Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track Kindle Edition
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"...hardcore aficionados from the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol will be thrilled with its scope and intricacy."
About the Author
- File size : 6634 KB
- Print length : 1200 pages
- Publisher : Black Dog & Leventhal; Illustrated edition (October 27, 2015)
- ASIN : B012OS1IK6
- Publication date : October 27, 2015
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #672,854 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Just in time for Christmas comes Bob Dylan: All the Songs (Amazon.com, Amazon UK). Written by French journalist Philippe Margotin and musician and engineer Jean-Michel Guesdon, this book follows the duo’s All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release. In this book, the authors present each Dylan album, and each song it contains, discussing how the songs were recorded, when, with which musicians, and discussing, it times, lyrics, cover versions, and trivia (in “For Dylanologists” sidebars).
Dylan all the songs
It’s a light-hearted book, designed to be skimmed rather than read. You might be listening to a Dylan album and want to read up on the songs it contains; or you might want to just flip through it and look up information about your favorite songs. There are lots of pictures, and the texts are short. It’s much more interesting than the recent Dylan: Disc by Disc (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), by Jon Bream, who simply transcribes interviews with mostly C-list musicians and unknown journalists about each album. And it’s a lot less dry than Clinton Heylin’s Revolution in the Air (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) and Still on the Road (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), which present similar information in a pretty boring manner.
There’s nothing earth-shattering in this book; the “stories” behind every track don’t explain what the songs are about (as if that were possible), or try to interpret Dylan’s inspiration when he was recording them. But for Dylan fans who are curious about the creative process, it does give some insight into how the songs were recorded and how, in many cases, they changed throughout recording sessions.
If you’re a hard-core Dylan fan, you’ll want to buy this book, especially at the price at the time of this writing, around $28 or £26 (Amazon.com, Amazon UK). It won’t change the way you listen to the music, but it will provide hours of interesting reading.
Top reviews from other countries
This book is a mighty tome - almost A4 format, 2.5 inches/ 6cm thick, running to around 700 pages. It covers every track on every one of Dylan's 36 studio albums from 'Bob Dylan' to 'Shadows in the Night'. There is one chapter per album. Each starts with a description of the album, the context of Dylans' life in which it was made, how, where and when it was recorded, details of the recording equipment used (especially on the earlier albums), the specific instruments played by Dylan (where known) interesting biogs of the producers, their relationship with Dylan, description of all the artwork on the album cover and sleeves. In all but a few cases, the album artwork itself is not reproduced, but the book is well illustrated with many photos of Dylan and the numerous other musicians he worked with, often taken in recording studios. There then follows a section on each track on the album, giving some context to world events, events in Dylan's life and relationships that were relevant at the time and notes on the production itself. Except for occasional snippets, the lyrics themselves are not reproduced. In addition, there are occasional call outs boxes for 'Dyalanologists' containing a short paragraph with additional details, some of which are more relevant than others, boxes titled 'In your headphones' with comments such as ' A noise in the studio can be heard at 2.10' The most interesting of these points out that the sound of Dylan's jacket sleeve buttons can be heard repeatedly clicking against his guitar, most notably in sessions for Blood on the Tracks. As well as all the tracks recorded for each album, those tracks that were not eventually used on the album but which can be heard on the many 'Bootleg' albums are also described.
For me, having come to Dylan relatively late in both our lives, this book is a revelation. I had not been enthused by much of his earliest works, but reading about each track as I listened to them, opened up a whole new dimension to me, and understanding the context of the times and Dylan's life has increased my appreciation exponentially!
What do we learn of Dylan himself form this book? Clearly, a towering genius poet and musician who has been pretty much at the top of his game for more than 50 years. In fact, and especially, considering that his singing voice isn't his strongest attribute, the longevity of his success is all the more remarkable.
As a person? Well, to me, it seems he may not be the most approachable of individuals. He appears not to have formed many really long-term musical relationships - numerous musicians and producers have come and gone. To be fair, he has outlived many of them! Also, I get the impression he is not that approachable even to people working closely with him at the time. He didn't join the tribute 'Concert for George' in 2002 which, on the surface, seems unforgivable. The oft quoted occasion where he kept his musicians waiting for 10 hours until 4am whilst he completed the lyrics to 'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands' and than failed to disclose to them the number of verses before they started recording is indicative to me of his distance.
Back to the book - if you're interested in gaining more understanding of his work, get this book. Don't forget to strengthen your bookshelf first!
Don’t get me wrong, All the Songs is a fascinating read but it is definitely for the hardcore Dylan fan. It is for the fan who loves the nuances of his songs. One who can recognise if he is playing his harmonica in a different key or has questioned whether or not there was a someone coughing in the track (believe me, that information is in the book).
I can honestly say I feel more prepared for a question to come up in a quiz about Dylan and further to that, my ability to give a decent shot at answering it. However, if I had known just how detailed this book was going to be I may not have picked it up. If you are a die-hard fan then this needs to be in your collection. If you just like certain songs then maybe just pick it up now and again or just read the information you want to know.
Bob Dylan – All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon is available now.
C'mon Amazon & the publishers, sort this out. Why can't you offer a simple / illustrated download option depending on what I want to read it on?
I like the writing style. There is little discussion of the songs' meanings, but such discussion doesn't tend to be very helpful since songs aren't text books. They mean whatever the listener wants them to mean. There is plenty of discussion of how the songs and, more importantly the records, came into being and what has happened to them since and I found this all very interesting.
In many ways this is one of those books that makes most sense in electronic form. The hardback version looks very impressive, but it is too big and cumbersome to read properly and costs a lot of money.