Revealing, poetical, passionate and witty, Chronicles: Volume One is a mesmerizing window on Bob Dylan's thoughts and influences. Dylan's voice is distinctively American: generous of spirit, engaged, fanciful, and rhythmic. Utilizing his unparalleled gifts of storytelling and the exquisite expressiveness that are the hallmarks of his music, Bob Dylan turns Chronicles: Volume One into a poignant reflection on life, and the people and places that helped shape the man and the art.
©2004 Bob Dylan; (P)2004 Simon & Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.
"Volume 1 of Dylan's memoirs was pretty cool to begin with. But to have it read by Sean Penn on audio takes it to a new level: the most talented songwriter of all time as performed by the most talented actor of his generation. Mr. Penn clearly has a blast inhabiting the role and navigating Dylan's jagged, impressionistic prose." (The New York Times)
It's a warm summer's day in the interlude between summer school and fall quarter in the late 60's. We're all on the front porch of the adobe looking out over the valley. The big event of the day is that eventually the train will ramble by the back fence. The music is Dylan. Some say that if you can remember the 60s, you weren't there. I say that if you can't remember the words to your favorite Dylan tune, you weren't there.
There is a reason that Dylan is considered the poet laureate of the Twentieth Century. And now he's back. Add to that the amazing reading by Sean Penn. Occaisonally you hear in his voice the sing-song verse of Dylan's early work. Occaisonally Penn sounds just like him.
A definite read if you were there (and maybe styill are).
This is a really fine autobiography, with plenty of fascinating insights into what has made Dylan tick. It's great as a companion to the new Martin Scorsese documentary picture No Direction Home, providing more detail, background and color on much of the same material. For my taste, Sean Penn's reading is good, certainly very listenable (even if he doesn't know how to pronounce Don Juan). Unfortunately, the abridgement seems to be terrible, leaving out huge chunks and ruining any sense of continuity. I don't mind the jumping back and forth, but completely excising a whole decade and suddenly Bob has a wife and 5 kids - it doesn't work. Still worth 4 stars for what remains.
Dylan is one of very few musicians in the English speaking world whose lyrics one can print out, read like poetry, and not laugh. While this compliment is clearly subjective, it would be difficult to argue otherwise and be taken seriously. If any musician has ever had "a way with words", Dylan is certainly a candidate for that praise.
In "Chronicles" however, Dylan has profoundly little to say, yet manages to say it proudly. There's an astonishing shortage of quotable (or otherwise memorable) passages. I now understand why Jonah Lehrer, after searching for a quotation, felt constrained to make one up. Having read Chronicles, I no longer blame him for this (though I would be more approving if the quotation were just absurd: "I like my lagers light and my women thick" or some such).
If you're a devoted Dylan fan, you'll still get something out of the investment. For example, I had no idea Dylan was so fond of rap (and more specifically, Ice-T).
If you're only somewhat devoted (i.e., if you CAN get enough of Dylan), you'll probably feel the five hours could have been condensed to 20 minutes without losing any worthwhile content.
Regarding the narration: Sean Penn is an incredible actor ("the Dylan of the matte white screen"), but those skills don't seem to translate very well to reading books out loud.
I am a miracle worker. Doing what I can to choose love over fear.
I have never even seen the written book. The audio might be abridged, however listening to Sean Penn is beyond everything. It is like getting a hug by the "hot-boy" Sean Penn.
It is just like being a very extremly happy listener: Like a fly on the wall.
This is a memoir...
Yes: Over and over and over. It is a sleeping pill with no side effects.
This is a snack bar. Yes: It might be abridged but if you love Sean Penn, Bob Dylan, N.Y.C. then this is highly credit proof. It will always be within the reach of my app.
If you want to know Bob Dylan, if you've seen Don't Look Back but felt that it scratched the surface and you wanted more, if you want to see how Mr. Dylan saw his relationship to the folk scene, his roots, the milieu that the artist tapped into for creative inspiration and how he responded to it, check out Chronicles Volume 1. It's at one time, a fluid, lucid account, written in as imaginative a style as his most dreamlike work, which may not appeal to some, and at the same time, a disparate journey through the mind of the artist. Almost as much can be learned about him by how he says it, as by what he says. A candid account that strikes a questioning note when you think about the paths he took to get where he wanted to go, and the alternate routes he needed to take to avoid those paths that others wanted him to take and be who others wanted him to be. Do Moon River and polkas really provide the inspiration he says? Or is he still creating that alternate Him, still hiding out? A Dylanesque look into the source of his imagery, fortitude, passion. While I'm not clamoring for the Old Him, I happen to be one of those fans that never made the transition to Mr. Dylan's later works, post John Wesley Harding, but when Volume 2 comes out, it will be high on my list.
I first saw Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in the summer of 1963 and have followed his songs and career with great interest. May be hard to believe but the book is easy listening and superbly read by Sean Penn. You begin to understand the many levels of music, both creating and performing, and the man behind it.
I can?t wait until we get ?Volume Two?.
I have just listen to this book for 5 hours straight, I just wish it was 5 hours longer, best narrator voice I have ever heard, and what an unbelievable story. It felt like when my father would read me my favorite bedtime story, and I wish it would never end.
Thank you Sean Penn and Bob Dylan
Been thinking about Charles question about Shot Rabbits -- The description Dylan gave of music littering the floor like the aforementioned shot rabbits. I kinda liked it... it brought an image of activity, frenetic, lively and not too controlled being stilled and discarded... an " off" image no doubt but one that allowed me to get a picture of what he was seeing/experiencing
I had looked forward to this book. It doesn't make it. It is disjointed, with little chronological flow. Although the book starts when Dylan was a nobody, it then skips to when he was over the hill. The most interesting part---the years in the 1960's and early 1970's, when Dylan achieved superstar status---is ignored. While Dylan skips the most important part of his career, he dwells on many irrelevant or nearly irrelevant subjects. The book is filled with filler, including painful descriptions of the weather and over-use of adjectives and metaphors relating to meaningless subjects. He spends seemingly endless time talkabout his making of an album that didn't work, but no time talking about his major hits. The only plus: Sean Penn sounds like Dylan. Other than that bright moment, Dylan would do us all a favor if Volume 1 were the last volume. This is sad because I love Dylan's early music.
Not the autobiography I was hoping for, Chronicles Volume One has some interesting tales of Bob Dylan and his brushes with music legends. Though, Sean Penn did an excellent job of reading the work, I found Dylan?s prolific use of similes and metaphors almost comical. I haven?t heard the word ?like? used this much since the movie ?Valley Girl.? I wish I had counted how many comparisons he made in this book.
He was talking about writing music and said ?music was covering the floor like shot rabbits.? Shot rabbits? What the heck does that mean? Oh well, the book has some entertainment value, but I doubt I will read volume Two.
In typical Dylan-esque ?reading this book was like riding a tricycle in a river of molasses with eagles pecking at my head.?
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