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Rave Ups:  Chronicles – Volume One by Bob Dylan

Rave Ups: Chronicles – Volume One by Bob Dylan

By in Blog on December 24, 2011

My opinions of Bob Dylan have always been conflicted… I have always enjoyed his early recordings but have been mystified by his post-1970 output.  As I have aged, I have come to understand the extremely important role he holds in popular music and American culture.  This realization has brought me to put more effort into understanding his music and the easiest way for me to interface better with an artist’s output is with hearing the story behind it. After researching the myriad of book options available on the life of Bob Dylan, I’ve decided to start with the one written by the man himself. Dylan’s writing is powerful, yet still conversational.  Throughout the book I felt as if I was chatting with him over dinner.  His tone is of someone who is reluctantly, sometimes self-possessedly, getting things off his chest.  The book was not as structured as I had expected… but having known something of his past, as everyone does, I should have expected the books structure would be a bit abstract.  My main surprise was that he jumps around his life, each chapter a different time period which is not clearly defined.  I, like many fans, were hoping for Volume One to chronicle his life before fame and his early career much like Martin Scorsese’s film No Direction Home. The book is broken up into 5 parts (“Dylan breaks the book into 5 parts”?).  Here is a guide to give you an idea of exactly what periods he covers. 1.  Making up the Score (takes place in 1961 soon after signing on with John Hammond) 2.  The Lost Land (continues the narrative from the previous chapter with more scenes from 1961 and flashes of his upbringing) 3.  New Morning (focuses on the recording of the album of same name – recorded 1970) 4.  Oh Mercy (focuses on the writing and recording of the album of the same name – 1987-89) 5.  River of Ice (takes place in 1962 right after making his first Demos with Lou Levy of Leeds Music with more flashbacks) It seems like years pass while Dylan is telling his story, and in some ways, they do as he gets sidetracked and gives little glimpses of his upbringing or his pre-NY life.  The highlights there are info on his upbringing in Hibbing MN, his brief stop-off in Minneapolis/ Dinky Town before he took the train to New York City.  He also touches upon his experiences in early Rock N’ Roll bands which give you a little more insight into his musical influences.  Those portions were of most interest to me as I have first-hand knowledge of that geography, being from Minnesota myself.  Mainly though, he is engaged in telling the story of when he first arrived in New York or, in the case of chapters 2 & 3, what happened during the recording of two of his post-1960’s.  Dylan gives little info on his family members, probably out of respect for his and their privacy.  He doesn’t really talk much about his parents and only mentions his wife in passing.  Only 4-5 years of his life are covered in the book (plus bits and pieces of his pre-NY life.)  Some of my favorite parts of the book are when Dylan makes references to things or events that are more recent.  For example he, at one point, references the classic Dylan book Invisible Republic by music writer Greil Marcus… Or when he tells the story of his failed attempt to retrieve Woody Guthrie’s unused song lyrics and he goes on to (almost bitterly) report that those lyrics were used 35 years later by Billy Bragg & Wilco for Mermaid Avenue Volumes 1 & 2. What is left is a tremendous amount of ground for him to cover and, considering this is supposed to be a 3 part series.  As a reader, I worry that he won’t finish it or at least get to the most interesting bits. It’s obvious that Dylan is a great artist, on par with the great painters or classical composers.  In fact he seems at times to be the complete embodiment of the archetype.  He is a man that is extremely creative, self-absorbed to a fault, 100% left brain.  I found myself wondering if he had been born in a different time if he would have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, considering his behavior at times.  He even seems to portray himself as quite the narcissist, but then again what artist or musician isn’t at least a bit of one?  One of the things that struck me about Dylan was the shear amount of powerful cultural figures he crossed paths with, so much so he almost seems like a magnet for brilliant people. In the end I was left a little disappointed.   Although the book is enjoyable it doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Dylan has to offer. If you have a curiosity for this fellow I would suggest reading a biography (not an auto-)… although I do not have a specific one to suggest.  Beyond that is the wonderful documentary I mentioned before, directed by Martin Scorsese.  In the end though, even that cuts off a little abruptly and doesn’t cover him past his late 60′s material. A wonderful audio accompaniment to this book (for at least the NYC chapters) is The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (buy it /listen to it) that Columbia Records released last year.  Consuming them together is an ideal way to do it but alone it sheds a lot of light on the kind of material he built his style on… mainly a lot of old folk and blues songs.  Originally Pubished at:

Advance Review: Whispers #1

Advance Review: Whispers #1

By Sarah Sed, Outhouse Contributor in Reviews on December 23, 2011

An advance review of the new series by Joshua Luna.

Angry Citizens: Beatdown in the Alley!

Angry Citizens: Beatdown in the Alley!

By J.M. Hunter in Webcomics on December 23, 2011

Mr. Cynic's epic beatdown of all lowlife's continues!!

Angry Citizens: To Beat Mr. Cynic You Gotta Have Brass Ones!

Angry Citizens: To Beat Mr. Cynic You Gotta Have Brass Ones!

By J.M. Hunter in Webcomics on December 23, 2011

{hide_in_full_view}Our Angry End of the Year Bash continues with more Angry Citizens featuring the debut of Mr.Cynic!! Get you some!!{/hide_in_full_view}

Marvel Preview: ALPHA FLIGHT #7

Marvel Preview: ALPHA FLIGHT #7

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of ALPHA FLIGHT #7, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: ANNIHILATORS: EARTHFALL #4

Marvel Preview: ANNIHILATORS: EARTHFALL #4

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of ANNIHILATORS: EARTHFALL #4, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: ASTONISHING X-MEN #45

Marvel Preview: ASTONISHING X-MEN #45

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of ASTONISHING X-MEN #45, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE #8

Marvel Preview: AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE #8

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE #8, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: AVENGERS: SOLO #3

Marvel Preview: AVENGERS: SOLO #3

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of AVENGERS: SOLO #3, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE #527

Marvel Preview: BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE #527

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE #527, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: CAPTAIN AMERICA #5

Marvel Preview: CAPTAIN AMERICA #5

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of CAPTAIN AMERICA #5, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY #625

Marvel Preview: CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY #625

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY #625, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: DEADPOOL #48

Marvel Preview: DEADPOOL #48

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of DEADPOOL #48, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: DOROTHY AND WIZARD IN OZ #4

Marvel Preview: DOROTHY AND WIZARD IN OZ #4

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of DOROTHY AND WIZARD IN OZ #4, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: FF #13

Marvel Preview: FF #13

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of FF #13, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: IRON MAN 2.0 #12

Marvel Preview: IRON MAN 2.0 #12

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of IRON MAN 2.0 #12, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: KICK-ASS 2 #6

Marvel Preview: KICK-ASS 2 #6

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of KICK-ASS 2 #6, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: THE MIGHTY THOR #9

Marvel Preview: THE MIGHTY THOR #9

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of THE MIGHTY THOR #9, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: SECRET AVENGERS #20

Marvel Preview: SECRET AVENGERS #20

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of SECRET AVENGERS #20, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: MARVEL ADVENTURE SPIDER-MAN #21

Marvel Preview: MARVEL ADVENTURE SPIDER-MAN #21

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of MARVEL ADVENTURE SPIDER-MAN #21, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #5

Marvel Preview: ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #5

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #5, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #5

Marvel Preview: ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #5

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #5, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: UNCANNY X-MEN #3

Marvel Preview: UNCANNY X-MEN #3

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of UNCANNY X-MEN #3, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: VENGEANCE #6

Marvel Preview: VENGEANCE #6

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of VENGEANCE #6, in stores on 12/28/2011!

Marvel Preview: X-MEN LEGACY #260

Marvel Preview: X-MEN LEGACY #260

By PREVIEWtron in Previews on December 23, 2011

Courtesy of Marvel Comics, here's an advance preview of X-MEN LEGACY #260, in stores on 12/28/2011!

American Horror Story Finale:

American Horror Story Finale: "Afterbirth"

By Tricia Long in Reviews on December 23, 2011

This one's for all the ghosts out there livin' the dream.

Why I Love Comics #64: Star Wars Talk is Forbidden! With the Atomic Robo Guys!

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By Eric Ratcliffe in Podcasts on December 22, 2011

In this episode of the podcast, Eric completely butchers Scott's name as he sits down...

Character Spotlight: ROM: Spaceknight

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By Zenguru in Features on December 21, 2011

Read about one of the Outhousers' favorite characters in the weekly Character Spotlight! This week, we look at ROM: Spaceknight!

Angry Citizens: Meet Mr. Cynic...He's a Cynic.

Angry Citizens: Meet Mr. Cynic...He's a Cynic.

By J.M. Hunter in Webcomics on December 22, 2011

{hide_in_full_view}Welcome back artists Shannon Hall! Are you ready for 12 angry updates to bring a close to 2011?{/hide_in_full_view}

Marvel First Looks: Fantastic Four #602

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By SuperginraiX in Previews on December 21, 2011

Witness these first look pages from The World's Greatest Comic!

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