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Even more Bob....
on 5 September 2005
Old Bob seems to have more product out this autumn than anytime in the last decade. What with 'Chronicles' due in paperback in November, more volumes to come, and the upcoming 'Arena' documentary 'No Direction Home', you do get a feeling of it being time to set the record straight, while he's still around to do it his way. This book, containing facsimile pull-outs of tickets, posters, flyers etc, may sound little more than an anorak's gimmickry, overkill or xmas marketing ploy maybe. Until you see it, that is.
Santelli's insightful text covers the same time frame as the Scorcese documentary, and indeed Bob's own 'Chronicles,' and does a good job of filling in all the background without reading like the dry, factual chronology other books tend toward. You can read the whole thing in a couple of hours, probably less if you don't get caught up in all the truly pleasurable business of pulling out sheets of lyrics in Bob's hand on 60's 'Waldorf Astoria' notepaper, foldouts of 'Melody Maker' from 1965, assorted letters, contact sheets, and photos from his school yearbook. OK, maybe I am an anorak, but it's hard to describe the joy of seeing how the original cover of Guthrie's 'Bound for Glory' looked. Peppered with photographs and marketing paraphernalia, providing the kind of authentic period information it's hard to get from text alone, nothing in this book feels either out of place, or cynical at all. There's also a CD with 14 tracks of Bob interviews, from his first radio interview in 1961, to interviews with Scorsese from the forthcoming film. Hearing Dylan going from nervy, enthusiastic teenager to an engaging oldster recollecting early days with all the wit and humour of someone half his age is never less than fascinating, and somehow completely moving. There's an honesty and integrity here that's seldom seen.
The best recommendation is that even those who've never really been Dylan fans might enjoy this book. Oh, and on page 44, you get a pull out, cardboard stand-up Bob too. Now who wouldn't want that?