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Chronicles: Volume One
Chronicles: Volume One
by Bob Dylan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric and human, 3 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Chronicles: Volume One (Paperback)
You have to remember that this did not start as an autobiography - it started as a series of notes to some re-releases of his albums. Dylan happened to tap into a seam of memories and kept going. That explains the strange structure of this book. It starts at the beginning: Dylan arrives in New York and enters the coffeshop scene of Greenwich Village and all its artists, poseurs and freaks. It then jumps to 1969 and the semi-retired Dylan visiting the playwright Archibald McLeish. Then we're in the late 80's, Dylan struggles with a lack of inspiration, contemplates quitting, has a bad accident, learns how to sing like a jazz singer and invents a new way to play the guitar based on a technique taught to him by old blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson. All this without touching upon Newport 65, or the Christian conversion of the late 70s. The pen portraits are fascinating, as is his account of visiting Woody Guthrie in an asylum. He creates a vivid sense of place of New York in the early 60s and New Orleans in the 80s - both vanished worlds now. But best of all, he outlines how he came to write those early songs and the books he read that influenced him - this seems genuine and generous to me, like Dylan is handing on the flame to whoever can understand. Just remember it's structured around the creation of his albums - it is not a chronological history. If you love his music you will find this rewarding. If you don't know the music, I think you'll find it confusing.

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Price: £11.54

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bliss indeed, 24 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Bliss (Audio CD)
For those of you who only remember Vanessa Paradis for "Joe le Taxi" all those years ago, or as Mrs Johnny Depp now, this album from 2001 will come as a revelation as it did to me. It covers many styles, from the folky ethnic sound of "L'eau et le vin" to the rock of "Commando" and a couple of songs in English "When I say", and "La La La Song" which are soulful but it's in the jazzy chanson style of Les Acrobates and the highlight of the album for me, the self-penned "St Germain" that she really comes into her own with guitar,piano and bass accompaniment and beautiful harmonies throughout. I can't think of anything to compare it to. The ballads about her children are touching and the album finishes with the beautiful, hummable title track "Bliss" where English and French come together nicely in the final chorus like the merging of her identities. Johnny Depp gets a few credits for writing music as well. If you're concerned about not understanding the French there are plenty of websites with translations. Apparently, this sold less than all her other albums which is a real shame because it is hard to imagine her bettering it.

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