Chronicles, Volume One

Chronicles, Volume One

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Chronicles, Volume One 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bob Dylan is known as a spiritual man, but also a loner, often offering opaque answers (or none at all) to direct questions. True to form, in Chronicles I there are many biographical omissions, and we are not given any real insights into his spiritual beliefs. However, what this autobiography does offer is a very engaging look at one man¿s evolution with his own creative voice, both in light of, and in spite of, the public attention it has received. It is on this level that Chronicles I interested and challenged me. Unlike Bob Dylan¿s previous book, 1966¿s Tarantula, which was a psychedelic roll through his subconscious, Chronicles I features an introspective Dylan writing plainly and openly about his creative process. For a famous recluse Dylan is remarkably exposed however, many of the elements that defined Dylan¿s musical path are dealt with only in passing¿sometimes in a single sentence. In fact, in some cases the moments that made Bob Dylan into Bob Dylan are ignored completely. Counter to what many music critics and fans may have wanted or expected, we are not offered an autobiography that is a full, wide-screen disclosure. What we are given is an invitation into the creative process of one of popular music¿s most significant icons. We are given snapshots of the formation of the man at different stages of his career: the young man striving for success the successful man striving for authenticity the older man striving for inspiration. The book is an account of process, perseverance and passion, and we see Dylan struggling to form and understand the voice that he feels is uniquely his, recognized now as one of the most significant in pop culture in the last fifty-odd years. To me, Chronicles I is at its best when it is showing the Dylan of the early 1960s, when he first arrived in New York City. Virtually alone in an unfamiliar city, Dylan began playing shows in folk clubs around Greenwich Village. We are told of how he forged his identity on hard-scrabble folk music and emulated the parts of other artists that he admired, in a slow opening of his creative scope and a honing of an authentic voice of his own. Collectors of rare folk albums provided source material that became Dylan¿s foundation, and with a few specific musicians providing artistic epiphanies, Dylan¿s unusual vision took over. Dylan¿s writing is a cadence of shortened sentences and clipped asides, and often reflects a wry humour that surprised me. But most impressive about Dylan¿s prose style was how similar it is in tone to his music. Chonicles I displays the same combination of simple words and sentence structures, mixed with vivid and unusual metaphors that are characteristic of Dylan¿s lyrics. Open the book to nearly any page and read for a paragraph or two and a voice you already know is reading to you. These lyrical skills have inspired a whole raft of pale imitators in a variety of genres, but are best used in the practised hands of an old pro. I was also struck by Dylan¿s admission that he notices details more than narrative, a trait that informs his music and his writing. When I think of any significant Dylan song, it is the frayed snippets of sepia-toned characters that emerge. There are vagabonds, dilettantes and debutantes in his songs, and so too, in his recounting of his life, where he tells stories about the people and the times that were forming around him. As one of the most heralded and most revered musicians in modern times, it is revealing to see the processes of the man behind the myth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had never been a Dylan fan, knew only what any 40-something American knows of his public life, and the only song I ever listened to carefully enough to enjoy it was *Tangled Up In Blue*. Attracted by nothing but curiosity and the luscious noirish cover, I bought this and read it. Okay, yes, I'll make a fool of myself here---just about every word did indeed glow like burning coals. I was entirely unprepared for the rich rich ride this book provides. The untethered chronology is wonderful precisely because the voice is so present, so immediate in every epoch it offers--we are always living a *now* with this voice. I had to read it with a highlighter because by the 3rd page I found there was no way I'd be able to memorize the passages whose loveliness/ingenuity/wit/feeling burned like, well, you know. So engrossed was I in this book, that it wasn't till about page 50 that it occurred to me: Oh, wait a minute--is this why people are Bob Dylan fans??? And now, a mere two weeks after reading Chronicles, I find that I want to restrategize my longterm life plans to maximize the number of times I can listen to Bob Dylan's 115th Dream, or Fixing to Die, or Gates of Eden, or Shelter from the Storm, or Lonesome Day Blues..okay you get the picture. I hope ardently that other people will open the Dylan door through this book--it's an amazing experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very impressed with this book. I have always been a huge fan of Dylan's and was very familiar with his work.It could be a little dry to some depending on your taste in writting and music of coarse. What makes this book so great to me is that he is very percise on small details. He does not leave anyting out about the moves he makes. You get a thourough understanding of all the things he does once he hits New York. From the people he meets, to the books he read, to the shows he plays, you get a little bit of everything. I would recommend this to anyone interested in music or poetry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To say that Dylan doesn't care about his fans is a lie. You don't write an autobiography just to write one, you do it for the fans. He doesn't need any more money, he did this one for the fans. Everyone needs to take this book and embrace it if they haven't already. What you need to understand is that Dylan isn't some stupid punk bad boy who writes lyrics that don't make sense. He is a poet, and probably the greatest lyricist ever. He has given us a chance to take a look at his life. This book is his own account, and when the critics embrace a book as one of the Best of 2004 in over 15 different legitimate magazines and newspapers you know there is something special. That something special is the autobiography according to the artists' memory. We could pick at little pieces and say that it didn't happen, but you look at the big picture and take it all in. Imagine if Beethoven, Jim Hendrix, or Jerry Garcia would've done something like this. A man who will never be forgotten, a living legend who has just given us a piece of his life, a piece of history. This book really shows the genius behind the songs, shows the poet even when he's writing a paragraph. Bob Dylan didn't start out as a star when he entered New York, it would take more work than most imagine. Everyone and their brother ought to read Chronicles, Volume One by Bob Dylan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the things I liked best about Chronicles is Dylan's focus on songs and musicians, which after all have been the focus of his life. Songs are living things for him, they DO things, have personalities, and he is brilliant at describing what the music and songs do. I also appreciated his description of his mind when he was on the cusp of re-creating modern music, the sense that something new had to be imagined, and the simultaneous immersion in the craft of song- writing. Besides prodding my own desires to create, I want to hear the musicians he writes about - Robert Johnson, Odetta, Woody Guthrie, not just others' renditions. This book is elusive, yes. That's what I expect from artists, and like about them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book truly is outstanding. Being a creative person, myself, I understand that Dylan does not feel the need to explain his songs to anyone. You either understand them or you don't. If they were all spelled out in plain english, they would lose all meaning. This book was an amazingly honest insight into Dylan's thoughts and feelings, which is what a memoir should be. He tells of his long journey from his small hometown to New York to New Orleans and everywhere in between. This book reads like one beautifully written song. He overlooks 'major' events and instead focuses on the images he remembers so vividly. His tale is an intriguing one, if that's what you are looking to get out of this book. This is not a book for those who narrow-mindedly search for the logical explanation behind the man and his songs. Highly recommended for those with a creative spirit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After a lifetime of playing with the press, Bob Dylan has started to come clean. This book not only gives intererting inside info about the man and his music, but the writing is elegant and stylish. No mere auto bio here, he jumps around in different time periods in his life and still only gives some of what you might want to know. STill, it is intimate, engaging and a wonderful read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This man is unbelievable. His music; timeless and powerful with lyrics to blow away ANY other artist ever. A sense of melody, time and songwriting unparalled in the music world. His voice always changing causing every drop of emotion to be felt. His ability to constantly move forward and never stay in one place over the years. Needless to say, once you hear it you want to know all about this guy. What makes him tick? Well, this book is beautiful. His storytelling, attention to detail, his passion. All of these things and more shine through in this book. Get his Lyrics 1962-2001 book too for another look at this brilliant mind. This book is a must have, no questions asked.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just from the excerpts I've seen so far (e.g., Newsweek, etc.), this is going to be a MUST HAVE & MUST READ & MUST LISTEN! Wow! This is almost better than the songs... Well, no, never, but still. I may have to get both the Vol. 1 book AND the Sean Penn audio. Checked at my local B&N today and they said come back Oct. 5th:-( I can't wait!
carka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book club selection. Was a very disjointed account of Bob Dylan's life... reading this, you'd think he was the epitome of the family man, just a little drink now and then. It jumps from experience to experience ... not exactly a chronological chronicle.
Jordan.Hunt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great, great book. Dylan doesn't cover what the gossip columnists want to hear, instead giving readers a glimpse into the way he thinks and feels.
rayski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gives you insight into the man¿s mind, what was going on in his head during his informative years, just before he started writing. Then he jumps later and tells about the difficulties in still creating records when the genius has worn off. Good stuff and lots of interesting name dropping during days in the Village.
desultory on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So much better than you expect it's going to be. It loses its way a bit later on (especially in the episode about recording with Daniel Lanois, which is heavy with studio squabbles), but the opening section about arriving in New York is fascinating and thrilling.
TimFootman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dylan hasn't made a truly satisfactory album since 1966. Despite the reviews, this book doesn't indicate that he's belatedly recovered his muse via a new medium. Better than Tarantula, I s'pose.
NicholasPayne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At his best Dylan's prose is lucid and lovely. At times, however, I haven't a clue what he's talking about. Much like his songwriting. For example, what the hell is he getting at when he relates the incident in which a guy named Robert Zimmerman is killed on a motorcycle in California? He goes so far as to stress his point - whatever it is - by saying something like, "You can check it out for yourself if you don't believe me." Huh? That aside, Dylan was and always will be one fascinating feller. And it's a pretty darn readable book.
cliffagogo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Long awaited autobiography by the world¿s best-loved troubadour. At times thoughtful and self-deprecating, the book is less gossipy than some would like, but incredibly fulfilling to those of us who have fallen in love with his music. Essential for fans and music lovers everywhere.
tetchechury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book by one of the greatest musical minds of this generation. Can't wait for volume II
yogipoet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
enjoyed it. i think he dictated it in a series of interviews. it's fair to say just about anything dylan does is interesting. i liked the way little of it seemed to be about him and a lot about what was going on around him at the time. a gemini trait no doubt. wasn't really what i expected. for his life story you'll have to ask someone else, he's too busy living it to write it.
seanj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Bob Dylan. This is an amazing memoir, whether or not you're a big fan of the music.
clark.hallman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent autobiographical chronicle of Bob Dylan's young life and early career. I found his prose to be enjoyable and extremely informative. The book reveals a Bob Dylan who was totally different from his ¿voice of a generation¿ image.
mr_rhumba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun but scattered bio. Jumps around in time.
Marjorie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amazing insights into the creative processes.
EbonyHaywood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is rich with references and lesson in American history and pop culture and literature. Bob Dylan may not be formally educated, but his depth of knowledge is fascinating. From this book I learned that Bob Dylan is a down-to-earth man who, during his life and career, just wanted to play his music. Nothing more, nothing less. I also learned that Spike Lee's father was a professional bass player.
jveezer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good book for a Dylan fan. It was written very much like a lot of his liner notes. It was interesting to hear him talk about how some of the recent albums came together but I was most interested in his early days.
djalchemi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's the surreal tangents and the anecdotal glimpses into Dylan's humility that I most love in this book. The mini-essay on Thucydides that goes on for several pages, the observations on Machiavelli (and where he went wrong), and the description of how - during the recording of Oh Mercy - he worried that he was stretching producer Daniel Lanois' patience and asked him, "Are we still friends, Danny?"