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Bob Dylan Lives (and Greil Marcus is Still Writing About Him)

Some people really don't like Bob Dylan. They look for reasons and find them in his voice, his mercurial politics and what some interpret as his contempt for his audience. Others think he can do no wrong. eyes refuse to see his human flaws and suffer no criticism of their god. Greil Marcus, on the other hand, opens up Dylan's songs and reveals phantasms and realities often missed or ignored by both of the aforementioned extremes. Histories of all kinds are explored; their roots and branches exposed in ways tangible and otherwise. Marcus seems to operate from the perspective that, like any top-notch wordsmith, Bob Dylan's words manifest multiple meanings, imply duplicitous deceptions and speak the truth; a truth understood in as many ways as the meanings it comes from. Nominally seven songs, Marcus's newest title Folk Music: A Bob Dylan Biography in Seven Songs , is actually about a hell of a lot more. Beginning the text with 1963's “Blowin' in the Wind” and ending with 2020's “Murder Most Foul,” Marcus takes the reader back and forth in a river of time, bouncing from the 1960s to the aughts and with stops at different points upon the shore. In between the hopeful questions of “Blowin' in the Wind” from a time that some consider innocent and the dark, occasionally sarcastic and thoughtful epic that is “Murder Most Foul,” the text explores four more songs by Dylan and one Australian folk song (“Jim Jones”) that Marcus convincingly […]

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