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Song and Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan Paperback – 16 Dec 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 994 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.; 3rd Revised edition edition (16 Dec. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304705888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304705887
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 4.2 x 14.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,638,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

"Immensely illuminating… wonderfully comic and serious and sharp." -- Christopher Ricks

"Many books on Bob Dylan have appeared... this book is truly the best." -- Book Choice USA

"The best Dylan study yet-with massive quotation from his lyrics and a careful balance held in assessment of his work" -- The Sunday Times

"This book can give you a lot of kicks. It is stimulating and provocative." -- Rolling Stone Magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Michael Gray spent most of the 1990s working on the massive third edition of Song and Dance Man, which was the pioneering critical study on Bob Dylan at its inception.

The new anniversary edition, Song and Dance Man III, runs to over 900 pages and provides a comprehensive study of the work of an artist whose writing crosses traditional boundaries, including:

The fusion of the poetic power of folk balladry with electric music.

An astonishing use of blues lyric poetry (see Chapter Nine, "Even Post-Structuralists Oughta Have the Pre-War Blues").

A surprising use of nursery rhyme.

Prolific use of the King James Bible.

A blend of radical creativity and conservative tendencies that make for 40 years worth of multi-layered work which has been widely influential and which can bear the weight of critical scrutiny . --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Tony Floyd VINE VOICE on 4 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback
What, no review yet of this superb book?
If you're a fan of Bob Dylan, then there are no half measures, you can't just be a 'fan', you're also obsessed, besotted, infuriated, intrigued and alarmed by every move the man makes. Well this book is by a man besotted with Dylan, but not blindly so, and a man who has an incredible range of reference, cultural and literary and musical and plenty more, to bring to bear in his analysis of Bob's work. It's not a biography, not concerned with what Mr D has for breakfast, but a passionate and critical study of the man's huge body of work. Incorporating the text of the earlier editions, this huge updated third edition adds many substantial chapters to cover Dylan's output since the previous edition was published in 1982. (I hope this date is right because I'm doing this from memory and don't have the book to hand at this precise moment). The early chapters are devoted to Bob and the folk tradition, Bob and rock and roll, Bob and the literary tradition and so on. The new chapters include a major evaluation of the Blues and its relation to Dylan's work (as inspiration, as influence, as lyrical and musical wellspring), a fascinating exploration of Every Grain of Sand, a hilarious survey of books about Bob, a portrait of the growing relationship between the author and the album Time Out Of Mind (unfortunately Love and Theft is not covered in the book, though I'm mightily curious about Michael Gray's feelings about it) plus in depth analysis of Blind Willie McTell and the two solo acoustic 'covers' albums. And that ain't the whole of it. This book is intelligent, dense, bitchy, insightful, vigorous and rigorous, and completely and utterly compelling. As Gray says in his introduction, the book is a labyrinth, but it's a pleasure to get lost in it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jan. 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a TERRIFIC book! I am fortunate to own a hardback copy but I intend to buy a softback version for reasons that shall become obvious. But first, the author whilst obviously a passionate admirer of his subject, is not so overawed that he is incapable of objective, critical analysis. One can only guess at the amount of time he must have spent painstakingly researching and writing this tome. This is not only a masterly academic effort, but his style is engagingly witty throughout, making this book FUN to read as well. You may not always agree with his views, but they are always interesting and provocative. History will prove this to be an essential read for all Dylan followers. The author deserves to make his fortune from this and if you take my advice, you could find you own what may prove to be a worthwhile investment. Buy the softback version to read from cover to cover, make index notes in, flick through, allow your children to read, do with what you will, but make an investment in the hardback. For hard as it may be to contemplate, even this icon will one day make his home in the sky. I am going to lay down my cherished, limited edition, signed, hardback copy, for the future. I strongly recommend that you buy either version of this book, but if you can afford to, better than that, buy both so that you may do the same!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Jan. 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. It is erudite, provocative, intelligent, civilized, funny, lively and beautifully written. It is a joy to spend time slowly moving through through this scholarly, but never dull, book, occasionally rushing to the hi-fi to check out Gray's always illuminating thoughts and judgements on Dylan's work. It is THE definitive critical work on Dylan and is essential reading for anyone interested in the great singer/songwriter although the breadth of its scope also makes it essential reading for anyone interested in 20th Century popular art or in great art in general. It is, simply, a masterpiece. Book of the Year - no contest.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
The best book on Dylan ever - not just my opinion but also that of the poet laureate. This book is thoughtful, funny, provoking, well-researched and simply the standard by which all popular music criticism should be judged. You'll not only find out about Dylan's work but also about the wide range of his influences, sources and history. Not to be missed by anyone with an interest in popular culture...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By john on 16 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a vast and extremely detailed survey of Dylan's long career, concentrating chiefly on the lyrics, in a lit crit manner. The in-depth studies of blues lyrics and nursey rhymes/fairy tales are very well done, and opened a whole new world for me. Gray obviously has a bible almost as well-thumbed as Dylan's own, but there's surprisingly little about the folk tradition.
Gray writes well, but many of his studies drag on just a little too long, especially the chapters devoted to individual songs like Jokerman and Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar, as well as the long section on Brownsville Girl. Even Dylan's best songs don't need Gray's line-by-line analysis.
The earlier part of the book is best because Gray approaches Dylan's output up to the mid 70s as a single body of work. After the 'born again' period he tackles each album chronologically and it becomes a more predictable plod. I just kept thinking: 'you've made your point - move on!' and I was skimming a lot by then.
One thing lacking is virtually any mention of the other people involved in making Bob Dylan's music. Hardly any musician gets a name check and the only producer given credit is Daniel Lanois. Even co-writers like Jacques Levy and Sam Shephard are brushed aside.
Gray is no Dylan insider and gives no real biographical detail. He gives quotes from interviews and books about Dylan but Gray doesn't seem to have done any face-to-face research. He's listened to a lot of bootlegs and read a lot of books. At the end of this book I didn't feel I knew much more about Dylan the man. Of course, it's a critical work not a biography, but for a book 900 pages long this is pretty one-dimensional stuff, close-to-the-text analysis all the way.
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