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Trouble In Mind: Bob Dylan's Gospel Years - What Really Happened Hardcover – 14 Dec 2017
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"Trouble in Mind, documents the tours and recording sessions with an obsessive detail that, at the very least, encourages the reader to come at it all afresh. . . . his interrogation of what it was all for is, to fans like me, highly illuminating." ―NewStatesman
About the Author
He has been an invited speaker at Dylan conventions all around the world; in Britain, America, Australia and most recently, in Vienna and at a university conference in Potsdam in June 2013 on the subject of why Dylan should be nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature - as he now has been. He was also chosen as the annotator of the 2013 49-CD boxed-set of Dylan's Complete Columbia Recordings by Sony, for which he was nominated for the 2014 ASCAP Drew Taylor Award; and he has contributed 'historical notes' for the 6-CD set of Basement Tapes released in November 2014 and for the 36-CD set of 1966 live recordings, released in November 2016, both by Sony Music.
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The tedious repetitiveness comes from the endless quoting of Dylan rants from the live concerts... Clinton often quotes rants from different concerts in which Bob says roughly the same thing. He could have done with paraphrasing and editing and giving a general gist of Dylan's frame of mind rather than pages of quotes.
But most jarring of all is his attitude throughout the book of being cooler than thou for liking Dylan's reli years... he thrashes critics, he names them and then rather viciously tears them apart for not being on board with this phase in Dylan's career.. in the end he just ends up sounding petulant and bitter (although exactly why he should be bitter is beyond me).
To be fair, to balance out all the bile thrown at the critics, Clinton also seems to have no real time for the (cultish) people around Dylan in those years who lead him down the hellfire and brimstone track... I get the impression that they are all, apparently, idiots too. The only really cool bible basher is Bob... and Clinton is the only other really cool guy in this world because he GETS Bob.
I wouldn't recommend this. Which is a shame, because I was looking forward to reading a good, well written book (which to be fair to Heylin, his books usually are) about, what was/is perhaps, Bob's most misunderstood period. But this book isn't it. Shame.
Having now purchased the book i think it is a very good companion to the recent 'Trouble No More' box set highlighting one of Dylan's more controversial periods. If you have any interest in this period it is worth investigating especially if you want to understand how Dylan came to make such thrilling inspired and powerful music at this time.
Time I think to re-evaluate the whole era with perspective.
Ocassionally Heylins use of Dylan lyric quotes in sentences grates and he doesn't hide his prejudices of certain other artists and Dylan writers.
But if you want to know what happened during Dylan's Gospel Years of 1979/82 this is the book that tries to tell you.
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