Bob DYLAN, Chronicles10 janv. 2017
It is not a common, banal autobiography telling his story from the beginning to now or a settling of scores, neither do we learn about his love stories or other spicy revelations. No, instead, he recounts only some important moments of his life in 5 long chapters and it is far more interesting. It deals with the gist, the essence of creation. In the two first chapters he tells about his early days in Greenwich Village, New York in the 60's, when he wasn't known yet, there he led a Bohemian life, sleeping at friends' places, playing and singing in small clubs, meeting all sorts of people. He explains how the books he read and the musicians he discovered at this time have built the future material of his songs. He was interested in every sort of books, history, political books as well as novels and poems (he chose his stage name after Dylan Thomas). And he listened to Classic music, as well as country, blues or jazz. He tells that he was storing up all this knowledge and all what he had to do was waiting for these elements to reappear in a new and personal way, which would be his very way. At this time he regularly went to see Woody Guthrie at the hospital, bringing his own guitar to play for him. Woody Guthrie, the father of the protest singers, who played country music from the South, who depicted in his songs the devastation caused by the Great Depression as described in Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, because he himself was one of these Okies (from Oklahoma) chased away by poverty and who was committed in all the social struggles in California in the 30's and 40's. Woody Guthrie was sort of one of Dylan's spiritual father.
Then in the third chapter entitled New Morning he recalls the genesis of this album. At this time he was fleeing celebrity he was rid of being seen as a sort of prophet, he was no more inspired, he wanted to live quietly with his family and to recharge his batteries; he was lost, felt drained, empty, besieged. It is a fascinating and anxious thought, a heart-searching about fame and notoriety, where it can lead, how to deal with it. New Morning (1970) was considered to be a return album. The fourth chapter, Oh Mercy, is the one I prefer. He tells about the birth of this album (1989) with Daniel Lanois in New Orleans. It wasn't an easy delivery and the town is the most important character of this genesis, with its ghosts from the past, its particular atmosphere, its slowness, and its oppressive and damp heat, its twilight glow.
I haven't yet finished the book...