Forever Young: Bobby Turns 70

25 May

Bob Dylan turns 70. Which reminds me and,I would hope you, that he has been making compelling music for about 50 years. He most certainly filled many of my youthful and subsequent years with thoughtfull and thought provoking song. That makes him special to me and probably to many of my generation

Dylan has been a musicological cottage industry for years And there have been some recent worthwhile contributions to the Dylan bibliography— I am thinking of Sean Willentz and Greil Marcus’s works— which continues with two new tomes that have arrived to coincide with Dylan’s birthday. Personally, I am not inclined to read about music— there are a handful of books about music and musicians that I have read and can enthusiastically promulgate and which are worth mentioning: David Hadju‘s Lush LIfe, Peter Guralnick’s bio of Sam Cooke, Arthur Kempton‘s Boogaloo, Bob Dylan’s Chronicles I, Crystal Zevon’s oral biography of Warren Zevon, and Leroi Jones’s Blues People.

Syracuse mentor and music critic’sDavid Yaffe’s concise monograph Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown (Yale University Press) is a new entry into that press’s Icons of America series and as the publicity notes explain considers Dylan from four perspectives: “his complicated relationship to blackness (including his involvement in the civil rights movement and a secret marriage with a black backup singer), the underrated influence of his singing style, his fascinating image in films, and his controversial songwriting methods that have led to charges of plagiarism.”

The Ballad of Bob Dylan by Daniel Mark Epstein (Harper) builds on conversations with Dylan acquaintances and confidantes such as Eric Andersen, Tom Paxton, Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott,Happy Traum, D. A. Pennebaker, Pete Seeger, Maria Muldaur and John P. Hammond and cleverly utilizes four seminal concerts to explore Dylan’s talent and impact as a musical titan.

Here’s a more recent iteration of the haunting ballad, Forever Young:

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One Response to “Forever Young: Bobby Turns 70”

  1. Genaro Delalla May 29, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Excellent!

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