Bob Dylan Encyclopedia
Fans of Bob Dylan have a multitude of choices when it comes to
biographies and retrospectives, but author Michael Gray outdistances
them all with this voluminous collection of all things Dylan.
Over the course of 823 pages Gray considers everything from railroad
imagery in Dylan's songs to his use of nursery rhymes, covering the
topics thoughtfully and thoroughly.
While Gray is certainly a fan, it's this impartiality that fuels the
book and gives it weight. Insightful and entertaining, Gray's tome will
broaden appreciation of the artist, his influences and his legacy.
Gray offers a detailed volume featuring entries related to Dylan's
life, artists who influenced him and were influenced by him, musical
styles he created, and background stories of specific Dylan songs and
Most of the entries are sketches of musicians, although Gray includes
actors, authors, and other nonmusicians. These entries provide brief
biographies and then explain how the people are connected to Dylan: how
they worked with him, influenced or were influenced by him, and which
of his songs they performed or recorded.
This makes for unique entries, such as Interviews and the myth of their
rarity (in which he claims Dylan actually averaged one interview per
month over 40 years) and Dylan being "bored" by his acoustic material
1965-66, the myth of. In fact, the entire book is written in a
refreshingly relaxed manner, as befits a music critic and fan.