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Time Out of Mind The Lives of Bob Dylan

read & download ↠ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ✓ Ian Bell

Spent his life reading about and listening to Dylan but who never sounds like a fanboy or longing to be hip academic Also as in the first volume Bell sometimes editorializes too long about American politics or the electorate but the writing is good enough that the reader can bear it for a few pages at a time He is as wrong about Reagan as he is about the Grateful Dead But if Bell is sometimes off base with politics he is dead on with poetics Beginning with 1975 s Blood on the Tracks and ending with 2013 s Tempest Bell examines the career of Dylan or Dylan as American troubadour artist and icon His life Bell states had become a mixture of high art and low commerce of thoughtful statements one the state of man and the modern world interspersed with textbook examples of the kind of behavior that gives stardom its disreputable name Bell spends a hundred pages or so on the inaccurately named Gospel trilogy and Dylan s conversion which Bell argues was never really so much a conversion as another of Dylan s identities that he had since Greenwich Village and which runs throughout his work To his credit Bell lets Dylan do the talking here and never tries to explain away or ndermine his subject s faith in Revelations or doubt his sincerity even when his music suffered Bell takes Slow Train Comingas seriously as Dylan might wish and his seriousness is illuminating for the reader who wonders what Dylan was thinking in the literal as opposed to the ironic sense That Slow Train Coming sold copies than Blood on the Tracks is another revelationThe book is also a terrific study of the relationship between art and money In Moby Dick Ishmael states the obvious regarding the difference between paying and being paid What will compare with it The The Reunion Mission \ Tall Dark Defender urbane activity with which a man receives money is really marvelous considering that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly ills and that on no account can a moneyed man enter heaven One of Bell s themes is the shocking notion that Dylan likes being paid as much as anyone else His Victoria s Secret commercial the Rolling Thunder Review the Never Ending Tour the Bootleg Series even the selling of limited edition harmonicas are all examined in light of Dylan srge to capitalism Bell s book ends before the Superbowl Chrysler ad but the effect is the same thing anyone who groused that Dylan was somehow betraying his art in making a car ad seeks to speak from a position of innocence and cast the first stone One interesting minor note neither of the two volumes feature a single photograph pointed out here to reflect the strength of Bell s writing Who needs picturesBell often treats Dylan s incomprehensible choices of producers material touring bands and most of all songs left off of albums He as in the first volume offers long examinations of songs that strike him as worthy of comment but not always positive Thus the reader gets long analyses of Blind Willie McTell and Jokerman as emblematic Dylan achievements and one just as long on Isis in which Bell states that the listener has to muster a certain tolerance for a laboring melody and lyrics filled with New Age bric a brac Bell examines the plagiarism issue which for him is ridiculous the reception of Chronicles Volume One and Dylan s voice which he calls a magnificent ruin Nothing is left Her Brooding Italian Surgeon unsaid ornexamined Bell treats each album each phase and each incarnation of Dylan with similarly impeccable judgment For the Dylan fan this is reuired reading This volume along with its companion edition Once Upon A Time is one of the best Dylan biographies to emerge in recent years The books Once Upon A Time covers Dylan s early life and career The Venetians Mistress up to the release of Blood On The Tracks Time Out Of Mind continues through the release of 2012 s Tempest combine biography and critical analysis in eual parts and provide social and historical context notnlike the recen Firstly I am not a Dylan fan But I acknowledge his place in the popular music pantheon I have read several books about him including his own memoir This is one of the best kicking off in 1975 with the release of Blood On The Tracks continuing pretty much Two Steps Forward up to the publication date of 2013 Bell is clearly from the credit where it s due school praises Dylan s best work during this period while rubbishing his worst He also chronicles the artist s never ending live performances Forensic in its detail it is still a personal evaluation Highly recommended for music fans The second and concluding part of Ian Bell s biography maintains theality of the firstThese are essential books for any serious Dylan follower to read Bell grapples with the many contradictions surrounding Dylan in robust fashion without suggesting that his artistic achievements are other than immenseSadly Bell died not too long after this book was published I d have been seriously interested in his thoughts on the recent Bootleg Series releases not least given his comments about the periods in both books as well as Dylan s most recent trilogydang there s another one I now know about Bob Dylan than I ever thought I would Where do I even begin when talking about this part two of a biography 535 pages of Dylan starting in 1975 I ended my last review of part one Once Upon A Time The Lives Of Bob Dylan with the realization that Bob Dylan is indeed a life as performance artist And here I am to say it s the most realistic realization about Dylan It helps me grasp what he s doing in his music even when it s the records of his I don t want to listen to It helps rationalize his stupid weird behavior It helps me nderstand the game he s playing I wrote in this book and dog eared pages I had no idea Visions of Joanna was about Dylan s heroin
addiction i didn 
I didn realize how awful he was to women specifically to his first wife Sara The breaking point in their marriage was when Dylan s mistresses would show p at the breakfast table without him while his kids and Sara were there I find that disturbing on so many levels He slept around cheated and was never there for his kids simply because the road called calls to him At first The Never Ending Tour was explained because he owed Sara alimony but really I think it s because he doesn t know how to exist in any other way He doesn t need the money there s Victoria Secret commercials for that his no longer Bob Dylan s Theme Time Radio Hour his art and the etched signed harmonicas for sale online he s a performer and nothing else Also another astounding fact about his divorce from Sara in addition to custody of their five children houses and money she won half the royalties to the song written during their marriage 1965 1977 Part two helped me discover Blood On The "Tracks And Desire Throughout The "and Desire Throughout the the trilogy theory of Dylan "S Albums Is Discussed That They Always " albums is discussed that they always in threes Dylan is famous for the three that came out in succession Bringin It All Back Home 65 Highway 61 Revisited 65 and Blonde On Blonde 66 For the most part these are the only Dylan records you need Blood On The Tracks 75 and a few latter ones are inspiring and just as encouraging to listeners reminding The Ranchers Surprise Marriage us that yes Dylan is a wonderful songwriter and knows how to mold melodies He gets it But I believe that because of that trilogy from the 60s he was able to do anything he wanted There is a cult following that allowed him to paint his face wear masks and spend millions on The Rolling Thunder Revue 75 76 my GOD the face painting someone yesterday told me they think it s Dylan s answer to glam a genius theory that gave Dylan four records with Columbia after his born again trilogy that. Hinkable came to pass the “voice of a generation” began to sound irrelevant a tale told to grandchildrenYet in the autumn of 1997 something remarkable happened Having failed to release a single new song in seven long years Dylan put out the euivalent of two albums in a single package In the concluding vol. I didn t read Bell s first book on Dylan though I may I started this sone not really expecting to finish it as I ve read most every book on Dylan It was a mixed bag where Bell really got serious about discussing the albums and songs it was for the most part fascinating His discussion of the songs on Desire especially Hurricane was great as was the discussion of the Christian songs especially their disastrous theology But between those discussions were a lot of not biography but discussion of the times Maybe this historical stuff would be interesting to younger readers who don t remember it but I got impatient with it a lot I also very much enjoyed the discussion of the late period renaissance albums Time out of Mind Love and Theft and Modern Times I willse his discussion of Tempest as a template for a revisit of that album as I don t like it much I like Modern Times but not a lot and Blair gave me respect for it He did a great job of defending Chronicles and the late period lyrics against the plagiarism charges and considered things seriously than a lot of writers do I did get tired of his freuent references to the inner circle or whatever he called it of Dylan fans yes there s a bubble and it feeds off itself and is freuently too apologetic but it felt to me like he didn t take it seriously enough Still maybe with the first book this one would be a good first book on Dylan for the newbie Good overview of Dylan s career from mud 70 s to near present 2013 Could be of particular relevance now with the Blood on the Tracks bootleg recordings just b Wasn t going to bother with this after reading volume 1 But I m glad I did Second time around there s much less theorising and philosophising and a much stronger narrative There s still the occasional self conscious hipness that jars like referring to Joseph Conrad as Joe Conrad But on the whole this is an excellent account of the great man s second act Full of information I ve not read elsewhere and written in a economical style it proves the adage or cliche as Bell himself calls it that less is definitely Starting at Blood on the Tracks Ian Bell was faced with a daunting task How to discuss so many years of career without falling into repeating what he was saying in the first part about Dylan What could really change And the simple answer is not much and everything Dylan s guitar playing never improved nor did his voice find a new timbre The Ancient Central Andes unless we count the death s door croak His songwriting so instinctive and possibly chemically aided in the 1960s went through some stunning reversals of fortune He had moments of being tabloid fodder His pronouncements on politics were almost calculated to create a furore among his followers dovetailing with Reagan s America and the rise of evangelicals and their influence Just 4 years after Blood on the Tracks Dylan was transmuting the Simple Twist of Fate into the omnipresent hand of God see the Saved cover and say no In fact I consciously faded in on Dylan s journey in 1983 with the release of Infidels which I heard concurrently with Masterpieces a 3 album greatest hits set with a couple of odd choices Like a Rolling Stone in the Self Portrait live version Lay Lady Lay and Idiot Wind from live album Hard Rain The two routes then had to coexist for me as I delved into what he d done in the past I had to somehow reconcile that figure with the man who went on to release Empire Burlesue Knocked Out Loaded and Down In The Groove I already instinctively saw and felt the multiplicity of Dylans that there were I loved some and hated others Howevernderneath it all there was a Lover Extraordinaire (Extraordinaire, uest within him a perpetual search for a writer s identity and it was palpable He turned back towards history and his own ante Dylanian past in particular on Time Out of Mind Hesed found words whether from books he was reading or lines he remembered as the basis for storiesIn some ways one of the key tracks in this particular strand is Black Diamond Bay on Desire a number he has possibly never played live it is suggested he played it once in Denver but this has yet to be satisfactorily corroborated It s a bit of a shaggy dog story but it s a story A sung story On the same album Hurricane is also a story a story lent importance by its topicality and its musical attack In the 1990s and the early part of the 21st century he would find literary sources for the songs and put them to old time music styles Back there in 1975 he was still in the game putting on a communal live show the often thrilling Rolling Thunder Revue making an arty film Renaldo and Clara and even experimenting with confessional singer songwriting see Blood on the Tracks and in particular Sara "but he was empty so the story goes "he was empty so the story goes he was visited in a motel room by the Lord Which led to preachy Dylan on Slow Train Coming and Saved Musically there are plenty of things to like on both these albums Lyrically the first is tedious you re all doomed nless you repent and see the light and the second is shallow don t know about you but I was saved In any case this was not what Dylan s secular followers wanted at all Shot of Love was of the same but with half a head out of the window while Infidels was trumpeted as the return to secular life It is not But it was a decent album which if it had included Blind Willie McTell and Foot of Pride would have been hailed as a comeback classic and possibly changed the way the next few years played outBut then that has become the head scratching obsession of Dylan observers why does he leave certain songs off his albums and leave other obviously weaker ones on And one of the answers is that he is saving these famous outtakes for his parallel career with the Bootleg Series And while that would an absurd way to do things the truth is that the Bootleg Series is something nheard of in music on the one hand the artist remains active and on the other his past is anthologised and reassembled and reconceived In some ways he gets to have his cake and eat it too He says he only looks forward but then he sanctions a reimagining of Self Portrait which is essentially a blanket case for the artist putting all of the recorded work from the period into a box set and bypassing the responsibility for the choices made in 1970 And he gets away with itThen there are all the live shows Dylan plays around 100 shows a year He has trashed his voice with them Some of the shows are great others are shambolic He doesn t need to do this but he does it anyway Or maybe he really does need to do them the same way that Bruce Springsteen only really feels safe from his depressive attacks when he is on a stage somewhereIan Bell who sadly died at 59 "not long after this second volume was published is an erudite observer He " long after this second volume was published is an erudite observer He a passionate believer in Dylan s gift a tireless observer of the man s ntruths and fictions a campaigner for Dylan s case for the Nobel Prize which Bell did not live to see a fairly astute critic of the albums and a rather gobsmacked disentangler of all the contradictions has managed to wind around himself and s over all these years And that s effectively it we re witnessing a time elastic postmodern semi fictional gloriousshambolic lyric poetic bower bird like primal but sophisticated overindulged and ltimately compelling career And this book captures all of that better than pretty well any other of the many
many many dylan 
many Dylan around This second volume of Ian Bell s treatment biography is the wrong word of Dylan is as good as the first As in Once Upon a Time Bell s writing is muscular and energetic every sentence is written by someone who has. By the middle of the 1970s Bob Dylan’s position as the pre eminent artist of his generation was assured The 1975 album Blood on the Tracks seemed to prove finally that an ncertain age had found its poet Then Dylan faltered His instincts formerly A Ta Place unerring deserted him in the 1980s what had once appearednt. .
One Last Strike
Dylan got a book deal for volumes of Chronicles on his 65th birthday Those three records from 1965 and 1966 are proof that if you have one really good idea if you re given enough money and freedom you might just have another The middle of this book dragged for me The aftermath of the Presidential election got to me and I found it harder to read anything but the news for a week or two That s on me But there s the middle phase of Dylan s work where the music loses interest even it itself Once I found my footing in the pages again the 1980s and 1990s had flown by A majority of the prose was spent discussing Dylan s relationship to politics Reagan Clinton and Dylan s inability to address the fact that even though for decades he says he s not a protest song writer that he actually is one I think he just doesn t like labels Again as in part one a lot of time is spent on the continuing Bootleg series and the Basement Tapes Dylan knows what he s doing Bell writers allowing a constant flow of music to be released for purchase Bell spends a hundred or so pages discussing Dylan s plagiarism of Ovid Shakespeare and multiple photographer and sketch artists even Dylan s physical art was based on someone else s ideas Bell writes back to back stanzas of poetry that Dylan took lines and overarching themes from He follows them Mortal Sin up with interview clips of Dylan saying that that s just what folk music is We re all taking from one another It s maddening But that s what Dylan does Ian Bell passed away before he got to see Dylan win the Nobel This is a major bummer considering how much time Bell devotes in both books to the complicated history of Dylan and the Nobel Dylan was nominated every year since 1997 and Bell dives right into all the hullabaloo about how Dylan doesn t deserve it he s only a songwriter not a poet or novelist and his lines look like shit on the page Playwrights were awarded the Nobel so why is it different for Dylan who s art also needs to be performed to benderstood Bell asks I wish Bell was around to write an How to Win an Argument... Even When You Lose updated afterword but maybe Bell s great life work needed to be incomplete the same way nothing is ever finished If anyone were tonderstand Wabi Sabi it would be Dylan The day after I finished this book it was announced that Bob Dylan s Nobel speech wouldn t be delivered by him Instead Patti Smith would show p in his honor and sing A Hard Rain s A Gonna Fall Some people have told me they think it s Dylan spitting in the face of the Nobel committee that it s a waste of time But I think it s an idiot savant move It s a great song choice it s a great performer choice it s a woman in his place Patti Smith is one lucky girl from NJ and he is technically allowed to do whatever he wants I think it s genius and I honestly wouldn t expect anything else from him I was looking forward to hearing what he d have to say during his Nobel speech that is if we could nderstand him but this is another kind of mystery legacy tale that Dylan is telling Bob Dylan is such a fake always asking in interviews Who Am I Am I You When he took off his mask during The Rolling Thunder Revue to reveal Bob Dylan a white painted face and all he s telling Aquinass Way to God us something there maskface paintc mon people He plays with time it helps that he has had so much of it but he is truly committed to the being Bob Dylan It s a persona he is often not sure of and it is a fascinating piece of art I never thought I d read than a thousand pages on one person but here we are I joked that it would ve been better if he was dead in the end but it only lead me to something else perhaps when he dies the answer to aestion no one knew to ask will come out Perhaps there s something behind him that he s hiding Maybe there s something there no one knows to look for because we can t see its borders I will be very sad when he passes away Until then his antics and songs entertain me and make me always Bijoux en origami uestion what art can be I truly think henderstands it better than anyone else Just take a look at his weird genius idiot life Bob Dylan I love you I hate you Thank you for making art Old Man Dylan as good as Young Man Dylan and better than Middle Man Dylan Here s a The Hokku or Epigram Versus of Basho uick trip through the last 16 years1997 Time Out of Mind first album of new songs for 7 years half of them great A whole new style to go with them a massive pessimism a steady gazingpon death betrayal futility you know Dylan was back and this time he stayed back1998 1966 live concerts released in all their glory2001 Love and Theft a really brilliant peculiar niue album2003 Masked glory2001 Love and Theft a really brilliant peculiar niue album2003 Masked Anonymous never saw it but there it was2004 Chronicles This book kicked the debate about plagiarism p a whole gear from some accounts it seems that the entire book is a mosaic of previous texts2005 No Direction Home For fans this was a real treat but of course hellishly annoying too we wanted the whole ncut performances as well as everything else we ain t never satisfied2006 Modern Times This made Dylan the oldest performer ever to have a No 1 album in America but in Britain he only got to No 3 The oldest No 1 album artist here is Vera Lynn who is currently 96 she hit No 1 four years ago aged 92 with an album which featured The White Cliffs of Dover That famous song includes the greatest ornithological error in the history of modern pop music It was written by a couple of Americans and they had no idea that there are no bluebirds in Dover or anywhere in England2006 9 Theme Time Radio A whole new style to go with them A hilarious series of one hour internet radio shows2007 I m Not There Well I thought the whole thing was really wonderful especially the genius idea of getting Cate Blanchett to play mid 60s thin androgynous amphetamine Dylan which she did as if to the manor born2008 Tell Tale Signs Although composed of outtakes and random songs composed for obscure movies no one saw it can t be a surprise to anyone "That This Was Bob S "this was Bob s late masterpiece after Love Theft2009 Together Through Life Great title these artists who last so long like Dylan Neil Young Leonard Cohen they really are with you through your life if you been listening as long as me2009 Christmas in the Heart A surprise career move but don t dismiss it Fearful Symmetry until you see this video2012 Tempest I stick my neck out and say I believe this will probably turn out to be the last original Dylan album But it s a mug s game making Dylan predictions2013 Another Self Portrait A fabulous example of why Dylan never fails to be interesting Extracted from some of the apparently worst years musically of Dylan s career we find many gorgeous versions of old folk songs Have we seen the last of these remarkable exhumations from the Dylan mines I don t think so THIS BOOKI was only interested in the last 250 pages the account of this latter golden autumnal Dylan period I already read about Dylan s earlier years too many times to count This book is an excellent meditation on all the curious singing for the Pope already aggravating too many bad concerts depressing Victoria s Secret advert delightful and serendipitous aspects of the whole story and particularly he takes many pages to debate the major charges of plagiarism which certain critics called wussies and pussies by Dylan himself have made much of since Love Theft and Chronicles It s the debate I ve been needing to read for a long time Recommended to diehard Dylan fans I know there are way too many Dylan biographies but this one is much an affectionate journey through the music itself with a serious guy who knows his stuff and covers pretty much everything in detail rightp to about June this year. Ume of his ground breaking study Ian Bell explores the The Beast on the Brink unparalleled second act in aintessentially american career It is a tale of redemption of an act of creative will against the odds and of a writer who refused to fade away Time Out of Mind is the story of the latest perhaps the last of the many Bob Dylan.

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