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5.0 out of 5 stars Vade mecum, goes all the way from blues to visionary stars..
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...
Published on March 14 2004 by Rob Wilson

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3.0 out of 5 stars Long-Winded and Heavy on the Religion
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...
Published on April 19 2000 by Amazon Customer

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4.0 out of 5 stars Midwestern teen turns radio on; world never the same since., March 7 2000
Tiernan Henry (Galway, Ireland) - See all my reviews
I couldn't disagree more with the disappointed reviewer from New York; where he found this book too academic and removed I found it wonderfully illuminating. Where Paul Williams' writes well about Dylan's performances of the songs, Gray writes brilliantly about the routes to the songs, and the roots of the songs. Far from alienating the listener, Gray is likely to allow you hear more in the songs. His chapters on "Street Legal", "Shot of Love" and the biblical and blues influence in Dylan's mid- and later-period work are not only well researched, but are immensely readable. Gray really does shine a new light on areas or aspects of Dylan's work that have perhaps been overlooked, or glossed over. Dylan himself, over the years, has offered glimpses of his vast and seemingly bottomless knowledge, understanding and love of American music (witness the exchanges with David Gates in the Newsweek interview from a couple of years back). Gray offers the reader a chance to peek into this deep well of song, and in doing so enhances the power of Dylan's writing and singing. Where I found the book weak was in the early chapters, which date from the first edition. Though Gray rigorously footnotes errors or changes of opinion these early chapters feel dated and lacking in depth. Lumpen and leaden they may be, but stick with it; the book takes off when Gray gets the blues. (A quick note on the footnotes: they are copious, packed with information, and offer a map to a treasure trove of long forgotten blues, gospel and folk songs and singers. They are also very often very, very funny.) Gray doesn't attempt to "explain" the songs but he does illuminate them, allowing the reader (and listener) to explore the territory of the songs. "Angelina", "Jokerman" and the three versions of "Caribbean Wind" receive a lot of attention from him, and what he writes (and boy does he write) is fascinating and intelligent, and it made me revisit the songs again and again. This is a great big lump of a book that would be a worthwhile addition to any Dylan fan's library. While there is lots here that will provoke outrage (Gray's merciless, and wickedly funny, skewering of "Empire Burlesque" and "Unplugged" immediately spring to my mind) there is lots here that will delight too. Getting agreement among Dylan fans about which bits are outrageous and which delightful will be hard to do. Which, to me, is high praise for this wonderful book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars years waiting and so sad, March 1 2000
I looked forward to this book being published for years. I bought the hardback copy I am so disappointed. The book is nothing other than meaningless conjecture and analysis (even if it is well researched?). Two decades on and what we have here is a work that is 'just bigger and more extravagant' than the original S&D Man book. This is a shame really from a writer clearly deeply involved in his own passion. God knows what Bob himself would make of this but I would guess not too much. This book is far too long, clearly decades of indulgence. It takes one so far away from the songs and the mastery of Dylan through deep and meaningless wordy drivel, (wrapped -up in a masterful command of English) only to possibly spoil them for listening and enjoment. These songs were writ ten and sung to be listened to not discept, dissect and generally hawk over. Please don't waste your money on this academic extravagance. Go back and read Clinton Heylin and Anthony Scaduto, their frankly better books. It's not unusual for Dylanologists to say more about themselves than about the mystery of Dylan! Better to rake through garbage Weberman style than to profit here.
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Song and Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan
Song and Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan by Michael Gray (Hardcover - Nov. 1999)
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