After abandoning “The Black Swan”, I picked up Bob Dylan’s “Chronicles, Volume One” and started to read it. I had bought it a few weeks ago second hand at the excellent @chaptersbookstore.
“Chronicles” is excellent. Slowly, as I’ve got older, I have grown a greater appreciation for Dylan and his rich body of work. . “Chronicles” was published in 2004 originally. The memoir covers three distinct periods of Dylan’s life - his early days in New York prior to the recording and release of his first album, his discomfort in the late 60s with his fame and influence and recording of the “New Morning” album, and the recording of the “Oh Mercy” album in the late 80s. .
Dylan’s account of his early time in New York is fascinating. His rich descriptions of the various venues he frequented and characters he crossed paths with are excellent. I found it very easy to visualise the New York folk music scene of the early 60s. The various musicians he met or listened to at the time are covered, as is the political/social backdrop of the time, and the poetry, novels and other written word works which influenced him. It culminates with descriptions of his visits to Woody Guthrie in hospital. Guthrie was a huge influence on Dylan. . “Chronicles” jumps ahead to the late 60s, and ultimately the recording of 1970’s “New Morning” album. Dylan discusses his extreme discomfort of being held up as a spokesperson for a generation, his annoyance of people hanging around and bothering him at his house, and even putting out mediocre music as a way of dispelling the myth which had formed around him. His wife and kids were of central importance to him, and everything else was unwanted.