Want to Read About Dylan’s Work but Don’t Know Where to Start?
I can help with that!
- No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan. Written by NY Times journalist Robert Shelton, who was not only very knowledgeable of the folk scene in the early sixties but also knew Dylan personally. Drags a bit towards the end but serves as a good introduction.
- Bob Dylan, Performing Artist. Paul Williams was the founder of rock & roll magazine Crawdaddy, and his opinionated Dylan books are a fun and breezy read.,
- Song and Dance Man. Ready to kick it up a notch? Try Michael Gray’s tomb. I’m not sure I buy a lot of his comparisons of Dylan’s work with literature, but what do I know. I do think overall the book provides some dandy insight.
- Performed Literature. Betty Bowden, a literature professor, got on the Dylan-train early, writing this brilliant book way back in seventies. Betty long ago answered that tired question about whether Dylan was a poet or not. (Yes, this book is filled with English lit jargon, but still definitely worth a read).
Reading these books will provided a solid foundation for understanding the work. Of course, literally hundreds of other books are out there. Many are worth a read. Off the top of my head: The Formative Dylan, by Todd Harvey. The Nightingale’s Code by John Gibbens is another excellent, lesser-known book. Alias bob dylan revisited, by Stephen Scobie. A Darker Shade of Pale, by Wilfrid Mellers (the reader needs to know music to get anything out of it). All the Clinton Heylin books are enjoyable. Tim Riley’s Hard Rain is a good read. Although not about Dylan per say, Dave Van Ronk’s autobiography The Mayor of MacDougal Street provides a lot of insight into the early sixties folk scene (and is a fun read).
Are there any good websites about Dylan?
Most of the many, many websites dedicated to Dylan have fallen by the wayside. It’s a dirty rotten shame, a lot of good information gone. But a few sites still exists.
- Expecting Rain. Perhaps the granddaddy of them all. Bookmark it. News, discussions, much else.
- The mysterious EDLIS organization has collected much information.
- UseNet Groups were early vehicles for people to discuss topics in the early internet days. Many of us old-timers remember the spirited conversions on rec.music.dylan. Edlis has saved some of the more informative threads for those years.
- Who Has Which Boot
- Who’s Who
- List of Books About Dylan
- The Dylan Atlas
- Roots of Bob
- Bread Crumb Sins
Know Anything about Fanzines Devoted to Dylan?
Well, yes, thanks for asking.
- The Bridge.
- Homer the Slut.
- The Dylan Review (not really a fanzine, more of a periodical, but whatever).
How About Podcasts?
Which Facebook Groups Should I Follow?
- Edlis Cafe. The Group where the hardcore fans lurk.
- Bob Dylan’s influences. This group is unfortunately lightly used. But it does contain some good information.
- Johanna’s Vision. Lots of informative posts.
Is There Anything on YouTube?
Yes, Dylan actually has a channel on VEVO. You’ll want to check that out.