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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on March 21, 2000
Gray on Dylan is just wonderful. I bought this book early in December as a Christmas present for my partner, a veteran Dylan fan, and had to force myself to wrap it up before it ended up looking well and truly well read. Yes, I'm afraid it was the hefty 900 plus page paperback and not the limited hardback edition. Start dipping and you will be hooked - astonishing info on favourite songs, songs you can't quite remember, and certainly in my case, songs I have never heard of. Out have come the albums, a few getting the first airing for years if not decades, to be listened to again and again. But as well as Dylan, Gray has opened up to me another world of music and musicians of this century, making me want to find out more about them, and most of all, listen to their music.
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on March 13, 2004
If asked at the pearly gates, who was the best poet you ever encountered in your days on earth, I would not hesitate to say with great gladness, Bob Dylan, him of the sacred heart. And if Saint Peter pressed me for the best book of cultural criticism I had encountered in relation to poetry and religious vision, I would say Michael Gray's Song & Dance Man 3: the Art of Bob Dylan, and just sit there in mute prayer and lyric praise. This book gives back to the Dylan visionary blues project much of the joy and politics that went into its lifelong creation, see the chapter on Willy Mctell as "Willy Mctell," santa cleopatra there is nothing more to say on these ghostly trails of poesy, love, and theft. I will just give praise and 10 stars if I could.
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on April 19, 2000
Here is an example of why this book is 900 pages long: "Verse two begins with this compelling, audacious, witty, idiosyncratic, fresh, imaginative and playful line...."
Similarly, to make the not very interesting point that one of Bob's songs uses the same meter as some Blake poems, Gray quotes 4 separate passages from that poetry, taking up almost a page to do what should have been done in a few lines.
There are thoughtful observations in this book, but a better writer could have conveyed them all in half the space.
Also, Gray makes constant reference to the Bible, something which will gall the many listeners who hate religion-based interpretations of Bob's work.
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