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Chronicles, Volume One

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2005

    Chronicles, Vol. 1

    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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2005

    I picked this up out of ignorance and curiosity...

    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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2006

    A hometown hero

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2005

    We Should Embrace

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2005

    The songs, and the life that went into them

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2005

    It's the journey, not the destination...

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2004

    Essential reading for anyone interested in art and genius

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2004

    Definitely a MUST HAVE & MUST READ & MUST LISTEN!

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013

    Nettlewisker and raintalons den.

    Heyo.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2010

    books

    good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Just read it!

    Such freedom in writing! No other like him! An inspiration!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2007

    Big and worth the effort

    Even though I'm a huge fan of Dylan, I'm no scholar, and I was a little worried when my wife brought this home that I would never read it. But it is a GREAT book to just read any time you want to sit down for a minute. You can open it at any spot and just start, it's so fascinating. And of course, Dylan the poet has a great style with language. Just a great book that I enjoy looking at every night before I go to sleep to dream about the days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2006

    DYLAN SHOWS NO SHADOWS

    INCREDIBLE!! Thats the first thought that ran through my mind after the first couple chapters. Its poignant and a great piece of history as well as a bio. Going through certain parts of his life and mentioning James Dean, Brando, Tom Petty, even Public Enemy make his story just that much more interesting. Because in the end, isn't music for everyone? From the poor to the rich, to the losers and to the icons. Even if you're not familiar with his music, the history and storytelling is sufficient enough for any reader to imagine Dylan sitting at a campfire round midnight just talking to you. (and no one else)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2004

    BOB ALWAYS DELIVERS

    A MUST READ FOR THOSE WHO COUNT BOB'S MUSIC AS A MAJOR INFLUENCE IN THEIR LIVES

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2004

    A novel approach Mr. Dylan

    Curl up into your favorite chair.Listen to Sean Penn narrate Dylans words.If you are not transported back in time before the first paragraph has been spoken,please call for assistance from 911.Highly recommend purchase of book as well as audio.Cherish Bob Dylan while he is still among the living.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2004

    It's Bob

    Some insight into the greatest poet and performer of the past century. Bob lets you feel like you're there with him in those early days and then flits on to the late '80s and the recording of one of his best comeback albums, Mercy. If you're a Dylan fan then, obviously, it's a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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