Dylan’s first guitar was from a Sears-Roebuck catalogue, but he replaced it with a solid-body Surpo costing $60. He met two musicians, LeRoy Hoikkala and Monte Edwardson at the Erickson Music Centre, Hibbing and in October 1956, they became the Golden Chords, so-called because of LeRoy’s gold-coloured drum kit and so Dylan’s musical voyage began.
As well as Dylan’s heritage and family background we are treated to a Woody Guthrie biography, recollections from The Liverpool folk group The Spinners and Greenwich Village, lower Manhattan nostalgia and memories.
Dylan hadn’t released anything new in eight years and then in the past three months, three new songs have come along in quick succession. First, Murder Most Foul, a 17 minute long composition addressing the assassination of JFK, then the Anne Frank referencing, I Contain Multitudes, followed by False Prophet. All have been received with universal acclaim with fans looking forward to the release of Dylan’s new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways on 19th June.
Since he was young, Dylan has had the phrase, ‘Voice of a Generation’ assigned to him, almost like an albatross around his neck. But he has always been a superb master of rhyme and has always appreciated poets who produce the best rhymes. As he has said himself, he is a man of many contradictions and a man of many moods and he has, throughout his life and career, engaged in all kinds of mythological and spirited biographical fabrication.
This in-depth account of Dylan will fascinate both Dylan fans and his critics as it captivates the reader from its first paragraph. It chronicles new information and captivating views from both the author and his interviewees. It is a true tale of the Nobel prize-winner which could easily pass for creative fiction. It is enlightening and informative and thoroughly investigated and cross-referenced. Spencer’s breadth of information is exhaustive and makes for compelling reading. He walks us through Dylan’s life with ease, relating wide-ranging anecdotes and unfolding fascinating information.
Enough words cannot be written about Bob Dylan, the songwriter, poet, guitarist, pianist, vocalist, harmonica playing enigma and considering all he has gone through in his life, some might say, Dylan’s greatest achievement could be in reaching his 80th birthday.
Spencer has managed to capture the life and career of the diverse paradox which is Bob Dylan in a meticulous account which is both thought-provoking and captivating. This insightful biography compliments Spencer’s previous catalogue of written works on artists of popular music and includes a list of interviewees, a Bob Dylan Bibliography, a Bob Dylan US and UK Discography, The Band US and UK Discography plus a list of tribute albums and cover versions. It is a must for all Dylan devotees.