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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible Dylan Biography
Aside from Bob Dylan's own book 'Chronicles', 'Down The Highway' is one of the truly indispensible books written about Bob. It's perhaps less scolarly in its approach than Michael Gray's predominantly lyrical thesis 'Song And Dance Man' and although it does share in common with Clinton Heylin's 'Behind The Shades' a desire to write a more conventional biography its...
Published on 26 Sep 2006 by Jervis

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So - what's so great about this?
I'm pretty confused about the amount of praise lavished on this book.
First off - this seems like a very BIG book but, when examined, the print size is large and so the actual text probably doesn't amount to half that of Clinton Heylin's Dylan biography "Behind the Shades".
When I started reading this Sounes book I was struck by a certain freshness since it...
Published on 15 Jun 2005 by G. J. Mcintyre


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible Dylan Biography, 26 Sep 2006
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Jervis - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan (Paperback)
Aside from Bob Dylan's own book 'Chronicles', 'Down The Highway' is one of the truly indispensible books written about Bob. It's perhaps less scolarly in its approach than Michael Gray's predominantly lyrical thesis 'Song And Dance Man' and although it does share in common with Clinton Heylin's 'Behind The Shades' a desire to write a more conventional biography its approach is a little different placing more emphasis on Bob's non-musical activities.

Howard Sounes does an excellent job of uncovering information particuarly about Bob's relationship with women which also includes his second marriage which up to the point of this book's appearance was pure speculation. Although Howard Sounes is not a music journalist like many of Bob's biographers he leaves little doubt that he does have a sincere love of Bob's music as well as a desire to uncover what he can about Bob's private life.

Of course Bob has always been careful to cover his tracks to maintain his privacy so 'Down The Highway' is always going to lack some of the fine detail that can be found with biographies written about many of Bob's contemporaries. Despite seemingly decidedly sketchy in places it is most definitely an illuminating read. I find Bob's poor treatment of women the book's main talking point and i do feel at a loss to understand how someone who can write such meaningful music which has such a strong moral thread running through it can be so callous, uncaring and deceiving.

I raise my hands to Howard Sounes for bringing this (and many other details relating to Bob) to my attention.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly researched and very readable., 23 May 2002
This review is from: Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan (Paperback)
"Down the Highway" is an enjoyable and readable Dylan biography. Sounes has interviewed a very large number of people who've known Dylan, as well as consulting a wide range of documentary sources, and he weaves this raw material into an atmospheric and convincing narrative that really captures the excitement of Bob's early career, as well as the difficulties and pathos of his more recent years. There's not a lot of detailed appreciation of the music, although there are some interesting observations (Did you know that no song on John Wesley Harding has a chorus?) as well as vivid descriptions of some of Dylan's varied live performances over the years.
Sounes is broadly sympathetic towards his subject, whilst steering well clear of sycophancy, and he builds up a believable and subtle picture of a unique and enigmatic man who, with all his faults, remains for fans and friends alike a strangely compelling figure.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well, I mean 4 and a half stars....., 9 July 2002
This review is from: Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan (Paperback)
I'm an avid reader of Dylan biographies and this, to a point, is one of the finest. It is flawlessly detailed, with the stories of not only himself but brief detail of his parents', grandparents' and friends' lives! It even tells you Dylan was 7lb 1oz at birth! Impressive.
I enjoyed this book very much, until it got to the chapter on 'Faith'. The author couldn't have expressed more clearly his disregard for the Christian religion. He expressed his feelings freely but subtly, claiming that during Dylan's time in this faith, 'Dylan had lost touch with his audience and lost touch with his talent'. He dismisses every album during this period as religious babble. A true understander of Dylan's work would see the beauty in all his work whether it has God in it or not! And, as a past reveiwer said, the author shows no understanding of what Dylan is really all about. He talks more about his scandellous love affairs and the million dollar law cases than the depth of his songs or the causes he fought for.
So guys, I admit, it is a good read, VERY informative, but dont be out off by the personal remarks the author may make. Finding out about the genius is always interesting!
Enjoy!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fascinating story of a living legend, 10 May 2003
This review is from: Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan (Paperback)
whata great book,this is the best dylan book i have read it gives such depth and knowledge of the great man ,who has always managed to keep him self to himself.the writer must have done years and years of reserching. the book expands from bobs mother and father to bobs early school friends and girl friends.then on to his first arrival at grenwich village and his meeting with his hero woody guthrie this book just covers it all even secret wives bob has had .over all this gives you more understanding of the man his music and his life than any other book made
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to write a rock biography., 7 May 2009
This review is from: Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan (Paperback)
A straightforward chronological account of Dylan's life exploring the development of his music and his live performances, Howard Sounes. biography is a great introduction to the life of one of music's most enigmatic performers.Sounes leaves the detailed discussion of Dylan's lyrics to other writers but makes sure we understand how Dylan has developed his working processes as he has recorded his work.
This biography develops a fascinating portrayal of Dylan's complex personal relationships, his care for his children and his problems with those who have profited from his performances. It tells the story of some of the obsessive fans who have invaded his privacy and discusses some of his business dealings.
The book however never loses its admiration for Dylan as a musician even though it is not afraid to criticise some of his less successful recordings.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best biography of Dylan, 31 Aug 2002
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This review is from: Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan (Paperback)
Having read all the major books about Bob Dylan, I have to say that this is probably the best, in the sense that it gets the balance right of the music and the life of the man. I found plenty that I didn't know, and was convinced that the revelations, such as they are, are true and fairly presented. Most of all, though, it's a very good and engrossing read. Dylan die-hards and new fans should enjoy it alike.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So - what's so great about this?, 15 Jun 2005
This review is from: Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan (Paperback)
I'm pretty confused about the amount of praise lavished on this book.
First off - this seems like a very BIG book but, when examined, the print size is large and so the actual text probably doesn't amount to half that of Clinton Heylin's Dylan biography "Behind the Shades".
When I started reading this Sounes book I was struck by a certain freshness since it seemed clear that Sounes wasn't what you might call one of the Dylan initiated writers like Heylin or Michael Gray. These people give the impression that they have been huge fans for most of their lives and litter their writings with lots of implicit Dylan references. This can sometimes be tiresome and Sounes gives the impression that he was approaching Dylan from a virgin perspective i.e. taking nothing for granted.
However after a while I realised that what I'd taken for freshness was really a complete lack of insight and imagination. Sounes even starts quoting Heylin at one point. There are a couple of memorable observations e.g. that Dylan's wild singing style may have been based on Woody Guthrie's voice as it sounded when he was deteriorating from Huntingdon's Chorea. But on the whole this is a turgid rehash of all too familiar territory. It's especially embarrassing whenever Sounes lapses into direct speech as on page 118 when the young Dylan has been asked to work a certain gig:
"With who?", asked Bob, knowing he would be supporting a name act.
"With John Lee Hooker"
"Ooo yeah", said Bob excitedly.
Is Sounes writing for children?
I'm left with the feeling that Sounes could have written about anyone - Elton John or Max Bygraves or whoever - and he would have employed the same automatic pilot procedure with no special feeling for his subject. Heylin's biography has its flaws. It's very opinionated but I feel that's the price you have to pay for a book with distinction and wit. He also makes you feel that all those Dylan stories you probably already know seem fresh with all the additional detail he provides. That's the book to read. Definitely not this.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 24 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan (Paperback)
As someone who's listened and loved Dylan's music for years, but never read much about him, I thought this was a great introduction to his life and music. Well-researched and informative, but at the same time never boring or overly-pedantic. It also felt a really balanced and intelligent book to me: one that didn't gloss over Dylan's personal difficulties, but also didn't try to paint him more negatively than need be. It conveyed both his strengths and his weaknesses, and ultimately much of his humanity.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and enjoyable, 3 May 2001
By A Customer
I loved this book. It's packed with new information, well-written and entertaining. There isn't a lot of nonsense about what the songs really mean, man, just the facts, cool pictures and a great read.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars approach with caution, 18 Mar 2002
By A Customer
Sounes is a good writer, but, and it's a big but, he has a tabloid mentality. Well researched and all that, the big scoop of this book is the 'revalation' of Dylan's second marriage. Ther rest of the detail is about Dylan's cash flow, properties he owns. I'm sure you're starting to get the picture. Not really too much about music though. I suspect the author has little interest in any kind of music let alone Dylan's. He measures the success of an album by its highest position in the US chart rather than attempt any kind of insightful account of the musical or lyrical content. Sounes shows little empathy for Dylan's art and despite the tempting quotes from the hardback reviews he is little more then a hack, albeit a good one. Read Heylin's 'Behind The Shades, Part 2', he tends to pass off opinion as fact but at least he writes out of a passionate interest in his subject.
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Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan
Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan by Howard Sounes (Paperback - 4 Mar 2002)
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