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The Definitive Bob Dylan Songbook (Bob Dylan) Paperback – October 1, 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Bob Dylan
  • Paperback: 788 pages
  • Publisher: Amsco Publications; First Edition edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082561774X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825617744
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.7 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What's wrong with the songbook is outweighed by what's right about it. Every song has complete lyrics. Almost every well-known Dylan song is included, including those he covered or co-wrote. There are no photos, graphics or pics to get in the way when you're trying to turn pages as you perform a song. Simple (i.e. melody) sheet music with guitar tablature is included, giving most Dylan wannabes or admirers with acoustic guitars and harmonicas more than enough to get by on for a nice set.

Problems: The songs are arranged in ROUGH chronological order, making it frustrating to find what you need in a hurry--especially if you're playing "unplugged and seated" at a coffee house and need to get to the next song quickly. Also, the guitar tabs and melody notation is nice, but how hard would it have been to include piano chords and bass lines for our non-guitar playing musician friends? Here's the big hurdle you'll face if you buy this book: The sheet music is hit-or-miss when it comes to getting the correct keys and chords of the original songs. Though many of them are close enough that a savvy player can make a quick mental note to transpose (eg., songs listed in F major that are actually in E major can be played by thinking 1/2 step down), some of them are not only in the wrong key--their chords are nothing at all like the original versions! I'm talking about substituting minor chords that should be major and augmented chords that should be simple triads (i.e. basic "cowboy chords" in the first position).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent example of the addage "you can't tell a book by its cover."
Overall, the collection makes an excellent one-stop resource for a majority of Dylan's work. Others have commented that some lyrics are incorrect (true to a point, but then who has ever heard Dylan do ANY of his songs twice the same way?)or that the chords, or tunes are not quite on the money. All that is more or less acceptable and curable with even a modicum of musical chops.
As far as the book's organization, that's more problematic. It departs from its primarily alphabetical format at the most inconvenient of times, leaving the reader scratching his or her head. An index of first lines would have been worth its weight in gold.
Ultimately, however, the single greatest drawback to this collection is the shabby quality of its binding. The cover on my copy completely broke loose by the time I'd played 10 songs. While this problem was easily corrected with a liberal application of good quality contact cement, it's the principle of the matter. To charge more than $35 for a volume with a binding that's less adequate than an old ten-cent Scrooge McDuck comic is unacceptable.
Great book - lousy cover.
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Format: Paperback
Back in 1968 or 1969, I bought my first Bob Dylan Song Book. Published, in paperback, by M. Mitmark & Sons, it cost $4.95 and was, at the time, a reasonably thorough compendium of his songs - most of which he was still performing in something close to their original incarnations at the time. It has 46 tune in it from his earliest truly creative era. I still have and use it! Many years have come and gone - for Bob, for me and for the world we live in.

IN 2004, a volume called Bob Dylan: Lyrics was published by Simon & Schuster. (See my review of this on epinions on 7/9/06) and, unlike the earlier book I mentioned, is a compilation of lyrics only -organized one album at a time - from 1962 to 2001 - emphasizing the poetry sans music. As a tome of poetic achievement, it is a monument to one of our most prolific and generationally expressive writers. However, it deliberately did not include the music.

I recently discovered the book at hand, first published in 2001 by Amsco Publishing. It combines the best of both worlds (for an amateur musician and long-time Dylan aficionado) by laying out the melodies, chords AND full lyrics to over 325 of his songs.
This is a BIG book, even in paperback -788 pages. A full sampling (not all-inclusive) of each of his periods - from the earlier years when he modeled himself after Woody Guthrie and took up social causes, to the creative boom of the 60's when his savant-like creativity flowed like a veritable tsunami of music with meaning to the latter phases where he has continued to write - but, by his own admission, without the `magical' and inexplicable inspiration that flowed spontaneously from him earlier in his career.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A couple other reviewers noted that the chords here are wrong. I figured I would give the book a shot anyway, thinkin I could just transpose it or use a capo. No. I've had to pick out the correct chords and just write them in. I guess it is good ear training, but it is not why I bought the damn book. As was said before, you buy it for convenience. If you want lyrics and rhythm go ahead and buy this book, if you want to be able to play the songs approximately, but in the wrong key, buy this book. However, if you want the songs as ol' Bobby wrote 'em, this is not what you are looking for. Nor is Bob Dylan Anthology for that matter, also by Amsco. Dylan needs to cancel Amsco's rights and let Hal Leonard put out a songbook for him like they did for the Beatles. Alfred would be even better.
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