Chronicles ( CD)
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|From the Publisher:|
"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 else."
So writes Bob Dylan in Chronicles, Volume I, his remarkable, book exploring critical junctures in his life and career. Through Dylan's eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan's New York is a magical city of possibilities - smokey, 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 I is an intimate and intensely personal recollection of extraordinary times.
By 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 I into a poignant reflection on life, and the people and places that helped shape the man and the art.
Possibly less than his readership had hoped for but more than they'd imagined, the first volume of Bob Dylan's long-awaited CHRONICLES is, as its author suggests, a mere cut of the cards: truncated excerpts from a public life so analyzed and picked over throughout the years that one's first reaction is to almost mistrust the simplicity of his language and his message. Dylan's point here is to emphasize his humanity; the shock of reading the anguished reactions of an ordinary mortal to the unrelenting public analysis of his life only accentuates how unreal he has become to his audience. He describes himself as having "very little in common with and knowing less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of...more a cowpuncher than a Pied Piper." In his retelling, his life has been a constant cat-and-mouse game with an admiring, annoying, and sometimes threatening public; he's often reminiscent of the luckless antihero mistaken for the Messiah in the Monty Python movie THE LIFE OF BRIAN. Ultimately, the biggest revelation here for hardcore Dylan fans is that the object of our dissection is a living, breathing, feeling entity, often badly in need of a little down time.The first volume of the long-awaited Bob Dylan autobiography, CHRONICLES, is a first-person journey through three decades. Dylan travels in time from his Minnesota youth to his 1960s Greenwich Village early years--a period of cultural upheaval whose idiosyncrasies and charming eccentricities he describes in stunning detail--and the equally rich atmosphere of 1980s New Orleans, where he records with producer Daniel Lanois. With genuine enthusiasm, Dylan relates the thrill of meeting his early heroes, like the pioneering folk singers Cisco Houston and the awe-inspiring Dave Van Ronk, and poignantly depicts his visits to the legendary, ailing Woody Guthrie. Flashing forward, Dylan also describes his outraged reaction to the continual invasion of his privacy at his Woodstock home, characterizing himself as having "very little in common with and knowing less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of," and adding, "I was more a cowpuncher than a Pied Piper." CHRONICLES emphasizes Dylan's humanity--there's a genuine shock in reading the anguished reactions of an ordinary mortal to the unrelenting public analysis of his life and work. Ultimately, the biggest revelation here for hardcore Dylan fans is that the iconic object of their dissection is a living, breathing, feeling individual, often badly in need of a little down time.
"[L]ucid without being linear, swirling through time without losing its strong storytelling thread." - Janet Maslin 10/05/04 Rolling Stone
"[W]e're inside Dylan's head like we've never been before, and it's a mesmerizing place....Dylan tells these stories unflinchingly, from an internal vantage that few, if any, ever expected from him....[A] story that opens up the times that it portrays, and then reveals the possibilities of the human spirit." - Mikal Gilmore 10/28/2004 New Yorker
"If 'What is Bob thinking?' is the catechism of Bob Dylan fanatics, this first installment of his memoirs is a kind of Holy Grail--Dylan telling us what he thinks he thought while he did what he did." 10/25/2004 New York Times Book Review
"...[T]he major surprise...is its literary cunning....[T]he real literary achievement...is the voice Dylan has devised for his youthful self, which is spellbinding in its hokum....The book is an act, but a splendid one...it's a zesty, nugget-filled read." - Tom Carson 10/24/2004 Mojo
"[A] fine piece of writing, remarkable in its clarity....surprisingly self-revelatory....Unputdownable." 12/2004 Entertainment Weekly
"[F]inally learning how he views himself is, like the man's greatest songs, a truly mind-blowing experience." 01/07/2005 Nation
"[S]hockingly lucid and brilliantly counterintuitive." 04/25/2005 Literary Review
"Dylan writes beautifully, in a wry, muscular bop-prosody, rich in metaphor and hipsterese--laconic and wide-eyed with wonder at the same time." 01/31/2005 Bloomsbury Review
"The book's gentle, straightforward tone atrophies the poular conception of Dylan as an eccentric genius incapable of communicating with anyone but the demons and muses." 04/30/2005 New York Review of Books
"Readers...might have expected [Dylan's] memoir to be variously inscrutable, gnomic, bilious, confused...or even ghost-written. Instead Dylan had to outflank them by exercising candor, warmth...and vulnerability." - Luc Sante 03/10/2005