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4.7 out of 5 stars26
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 April 2005
This tome contains all of the lyrics up to and including "Love and Theft". Dylan's lyrics have always been held in high esteem, but usually as performed with music. Most of Dylan's albums don't come with lyric sheets, so this is the only way to study the lyrics in depth. The question is, how do they stand up on their own in a chunky book like this?

The answer is quite well. Many of the lyrics are too familiar to read without hearing the music that goes along with them as you read them. It is difficult, for instance, to read Mr Tambourine man without that melody floating to the surface.

Presented in this naked way it is easier to see the influence of figures like Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg on some of his work.

Can you read this book as poetry? In most cases you can, the familiarity of the songs not withstanding. The effect of lyrics as varied as "Desolation Row" and "Every Grain of Sand" take on new resonances when read in this way. Reading them allows you to go back and hear the songs with new insight.

So, who is this book for? Well the obvious group is Dylan fans. For them this is an essential companion to the albums. Fans of poets like Ginsberg and Whitman would also find much that is rewarding in this volume. Its variety of lyrical approaches makes this a useful demonstration on how to construct an effective lyric.

The book is well presented sectioned into the albums with addenda of lyrics associated but not included on the relevant album. There is an index of Publishers and Copyright Dates at the back of the book which serves as an alphabetic list of songs so you can find them quickly.

All in all a quality, well bound book that is well worth the price tag.
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on 27 April 2005
Well basically, if you're a diehard Bob freak like me, this is an absoloute must-have item. Ever listened for years to a Bob song, thought you knew the lyrics, then discovered you'd been singing something completely different all this time? I certainly did. Only a couple of songs, but having bought a copy of this book, I smiled at my own stupidity when I finally read the correct lyrics.
A lovely edition, very well presented, and highly recommended.
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on 17 September 2009
As a preamble I'd like to say that I first bought this book in Hardback 'Coffee Table Style' unwieldy and with a tendency to soon look older than it was because its silver cover was very easily marked by the softest things and, after a few days looked as though midgets had been iceskating on it.

I notice that a previous reviewer lamented the absence of 'World Gone Wrong'. Well you won't find 'Good As I Been To You' here either simply because all of the songs on those two albums were not written by Dylan. No point in blaming the publisher.

Anyway Bob has been pretty prolific of late so this [nice handy format paperback] edition is useful for poring over and guessing just what roots a line sprang from or to simply sit amazed at the sheer volume of material this man has composed over the years. His first eight albums are enough to earn him a place in the songsters pantheon, sat right at the top. For songster is what he is. Few of his songs could stand without the music, sprung from genius as they are. They NEED the music to wind the words around into a holy chrysalis from which his genius will emerge in all its radiant beauty. So NO, I don't think he is a contender for the nobel prize for Literature but I do think there should be a Nobel prize for songwriters.
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It doesn't matter how many times you flick through this book you will never cease to be astonished by the quantity, quality, the depth of feeling and knowledge Bob Dylan brings to his work. To say he is the voice of a generation is both a cliche and an under-estimation of his contribution to 20th century literature. If Dylan is not awarded the Nobel Prize there's even more wrong with this world than his lyrics often detail on our behalf. Genius is a word that should be rarely used. This is that rare occasion.
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on 29 August 2012
I am delighted with this book. It is a good size, printed in quality matt paper and well put together, with albums listed at the front, in date order and songs in alphabetical order with dates at the back. Lovely black and white illustrations at the beginning of each album make this an attractive book to own. I am seriously thinking of buying a pair of white cotton gloves (the kind worn when handling important books or documents)to wear when I read it, as I will certainly be making reference to it often. I always find it hard to make out the words of any songs and it is a joy to reach for my book and quickly find the track to which I am listening. It is also like having a fabulous book of poetry, which of course Dylan's work is. I would have loved to buy the hard back copy, but it was too expensive and after seeing this paperback, I am truly happy. Good price from Amazon.
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on 29 May 2014
This is a beautifully produced, high quality collection of lyrics by the closest thing to Shakespeare in the modern era. A genuine collectors' item and an essential addition to the bookshelf or coffee table for anyone who rightly believes Dylan to be the greatest social commentator of our time, an observer of life without equal in the 20th century.
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on 13 February 2006
Prospective purchasers hoping to clarify obscure bits of the lyrics on the albums might be disappointed. It works to a degree, but the printed lyrics to most of the songs contain obvious differences from the records. If it's not right on the bits you know, how can you trust it on the bits you don't know?

On many songs, the book shows large chunks of lyric that simply don't appear in the song, and omits chunks that do. It's interesting for Dylanophiles, as long as you don't expect the lyrics in the book to match those of his recordings.

(Later note: whilst all the above is true, I do think keen Dylan fans should have this book. I have found it a useful reference work)
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on 27 May 2010
I bought this as a gift for a Dylan afficianado and he absolutely loved it. A must have so far as he was concerned, for anyone who loved good music and great poetry. The work speaks for itself.
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on 7 April 2014
As a huge fan of Bob Dylan I love this book. Always wanted to know all the wonderful .lyrics he wrote and this covers the most well known and there are some I didn't know.
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on 18 May 2013
This was well received - particularly as he has forgotten that he had mentioned wanting a book of Bob Dylan's lyrics, in one volume. Brownie points or me!
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