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Invisible republic : Bob Dylan's Basement…

Invisible republic : Bob Dylan's Basement tapes

by Greil Marcus

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404526,397 (3.86)5

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Ate this one up. Not sure if it is just the old Romantic story-under-the-story trick, or if Bob Dylan really was onto myths so ancient that they are practically DNA -- at least in Appalachia. I got interested in this topic when Joni Mitchell called Bob a plagiarist. Of course an academic would be interested in stolen songs right out in public with his own name right on them. Outrageous. But the back story is: plenty of popular music is recycled recycled recycles. Bob just knows it and borrows freely. In fact, he takes the old song one level deeper, as Marcus shows in the book which is formally about Bob and The Band hanging out in a basement writing and recording for fun one summer. NB: Marcus is sometimes as impressionistic as Bob's stranger lyrics, hence the 4 stars. But if you ever read gonzo journalism, you know what s up anyway and expect as much. ( )
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
Almost written in a stream of consciousness style itself the well-known Marcus imitates Dylan's approach to lyrics as he dissects the influential Basement Tapes.

A reference in the work recalled the answer song to Barry McGuire's, Eve of Destruction.

The Spokesmen were an American pop music trio. They scored a hit single in the U.S. in 1965 with the tune "Dawn of Correction", which was a patriotic answer record to Barry McGuire's protest song, "Eve of Destruction". The song was written by the group's members, John Medora, David White and Roy Gilmore. The tune hit #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
  gmicksmith | Jul 21, 2012 |
this ain't a book on Dylan..it's a book about Doc Bloggs ~ ( )
  JoHnny999 | May 7, 2012 |
I love Dylan's music to begin with, but even for me this book seems...weird. About half way through though,there's a digression on Henry Smith that's absolutely fascinating. If you don't know who he is (and I didn't), it's worth finding out. ( )
  Cymie | Feb 23, 2010 |
Marcus's prose is a bit fractured at times, to the point of being occasionally unintelligible (to me, anyway), but very good, if perhaps a little over Romantic, on the sources of Dylan's musical weirdness. ( )
  desultory | Sep 9, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805058427, Paperback)

While focusing on a select group of musicians performing privately in a brief window of time, noted music and culture writer Greil Marcus cuts to the core of the American musical legacy to study it as a slightly blurred snapshot, full of shadow and mystery. Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes centers around the now legendary recordings made by Bob Dylan and The Band in 1967, and how this music signaled a change in American music by capturing the essence of the moment within the context of a rich folk tradition. During these casual sessions they recorded more than 100 songs, some originals, but most borrowed from barely remembered folk, blues, and country musicians.

This music they derived from had been part of the American fabric in an anonymous way that can only be explained as folklore and myth, and they breathed new life into it while adhering to its legacy. Though never intended for release, these recordings molded into the tradition of music as oral history, and appropriately, a few tapes were passed hand to hand, then some were pressed as bootleg records, which then spread like rumors. This folk revival conjured up a collection of timeless stories that many had heard in a slightly different form without ever knowing who started them. Just as Dylan did with the Basement Tapes, Marcus's exhilarating book extends beyond music and into the psyche of America, making the present more clear by putting the past into focus.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:48 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Analyzes the recordings made by Bob Dylan and the Band in the basement of a house called Big Pink near Woodstock, New York, in 1967, which were Dylan's response to the criticism he received for "betraying" folk music. Marcus places these tapes in the larger contexts of folk music and rock and roll of the late 1960s.… (more)

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