Book Review: Chronicles, Volume I

Image result for dylan chronicles volume 1



Through his tears a memory is fading
Something he wasn’t certain of
And his friends who kept on saying
“You don’t have to let yourself fall in love”
(You don’t have to let yourself fall in love)

Through the years his energy is failing
As he forgets what he’s letting go
And his friends who kept on saying
“Nobody has to know”

You’ll be sorry if you let him leave
Without a taste of what you’re thinkin’ of
And you’ll be sorry if you believe
You don’t have to let yourself fall in love
No, you don’t have to let yourself fall in love


John Sebastian, “Baby, Don’t Ya Get Crazy”


Bob Dylan fell in love and kept on falling in love.


That is the message of this book, “Chronicles, Volume I,” and it is the bright and distinguishing mark of his phenomenal life.   Yes, there have been women, lots of them, in his life and, yes, he loved them with passion sometimes near delirium, but his book makes plain that Dylan fell in love, over and over, with everything around him.

In fact, a great deal of this book is taken up with Dylan trying to communicate what went on in his heart and soul when he saw and heard and touched the flames of music and art and, well, life.   That kind of intense, internal experience is hard to describe.  Probably can’t be put exactly into words, but Dylan tries.

He was and is a man who forgot the notion of being tied down and knew that his life would consist of chasing those things that pulled at his heart.  He did not quash his desires, he went for them head first and this life of his – now issuing in the award of the Medal of Freedom and the Nobel Prize – is what came of it.

Have you ever seen the movie “Moonrise Kingdom?”  It’s a story of a couple of thirteen- year- olds who dream and fantasize of running away with each other into the wilderness.  That’s not an unusual juvenile fantasy, but in the movie it actually happens.  They really do get away into the wild and away from the structures that had been confining them and they really do fall in love and they really do, as much as anybody ever does, get it right.

Dylan’s life is like that.  He bet the ranch early on, and never looked back.  He kept scanning the sky and caught the bright birds of imagination as they flashed before him and he fell in love, kept falling in love, like a hurricane, like a lightning strike.  With the songs of Woody Guthrie, Jack Elliot, Joan Baez, Berthold Brecht and Robert Johnson.  With the poetry of Rimbaud and the art in the museums of New York City.

All of those answers, my friend,  blowin’ in the wind.




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3 Responses to Book Review: Chronicles, Volume I

  1. Did you understand the Lonnie Johnson music theory?

  2. labeak52 says:

    I can’t remember what he said about it.

  3. 1987, he was in a funk. Couldn’t bring his music to life. Thought about retiring from music. Then he tried singing his songs using the Lonnie Johnson theory. A mathematical solution to music that revived him. I have not idea what he’s talking about.

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