Highway 61 Revisited
Bob Dylan’s Road from Minnesota to the World
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote
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Colleen J. Sheehy, John Barner, Thomas Swiss
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In Todd Haynes’s film I’m Not There (2007), two of the characters who play oblique versions of Bob Dylan—Billy the Kid (Richard Gere) and a young (black) Woody Guthrie (Marcus Carl Franklin)—converge in the small frontier town of Riddle, Missouri. ...
Part 1. Highway 61, From North to South
1. Hibbing High School and “the Mystery of Democracy”
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Those are the first words of “Ain’t Talkin’,” the last song on Bob Dylan’s Modern Times, released in the fall of 2006. It’s a great opening line for anything: a song, a tall tale, a fable, a novel, a soliloquy. The world opens at the feet of that line. How one gets there—to the point where those words can take on their true authority, ...
2. Jewish Homes on the Range, 1890–1960
Marilyn J. Chiat
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Robert Allen Zimmerman was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, on May 24, 1941, to Beatrice and Abraham Zimmerman, children of Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants who had fled persecution in eastern Europe. Their families were among the nearly two and half million Jews who arrived in the United States between 1881 and 1924, when immigration closed. ...
3. Not from Nowhere: Identity and Aspiration in Bob Dylan’s Hometown
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In his Bob Dylan biography No Direction Home, Robert Shelton ponders the similarities between the storefronts of downtown Hibbing, Minnesota, and Sinclair Lewis’s fictional Gopher Prairie.1 As a native of Hibbing myself, I have always thought that if Carol Kennicott had stepped off the train there in the early twentieth century, she would have found plenty of willing participants in her cosmopolitan under takings. ...
4. “A Lamp Is Burning in All Our Dark”: Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash
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In the spring of 1969, in the midst of the loud, psychedelic rejection of tradition and convention, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash joined forces at the establishmentarian epicenter of country music: Ryman Auditorium. The two singers stepped onto the stage with the seemingly obvious agenda of rehearsing a few songs for Cash’s new television program. ...
5. Allowed to Be Free: Bob Dylan and the Civil Rights Movement
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On October 16, 1992, three weeks before election day, Stevie Wonder took the stage at the Bob Dylan Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration to revisit the song that in 1966 gave him a number one rhythm-and-blues hit. His fingers striking stately gospel chords, Wonder introduced “Blowin’ in the Wind” with personal, historical testimony: ...
Part 2. Planet Waves
6. Lives of Allegory: Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol
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Bob Dylan’s British tour in May 1965 had given him his first real taste of pop-star adulation, both in terms of ecstatically adoring crowds and record sales that thrust his older albums simultaneously into the UK top twenty—a phenomenon that reverberated back to America but without the same degree of chart success.1 ...
7. Like the Night: Reception and Reaction Dylan UK 1966
C. P. Lee
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In 1956 film director John Huston wanted the sea shanties for his epic movie Moby Dick to be as authentic as possible. To create that authenticity, he selected a former whaling man, singer, and political activist called A. L. “Bert” Lloyd to be his adviser. ...
8. Oh, the Streets of Rome: Dylan in Italy
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My purpose in this essay is to illustrate the impact Dylan had on Italy and the impact Italy had on Dylan. I begin with an assessment of Dylan’s trip(s) to Rome at the start of 1963. In January, while he was in Rome, he performed at the Folkstudio Club and traveled to Perugia in search of his girlfriend Suze Rotolo. ...
9. Bob Dylan’s Reception in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s
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Since the mid-1960s, Bob Dylan has enjoyed a strong presence in Japan, and today he has followers among people of different ages. Many musicians and artists credit Dylan for inspiration. On October 9, 2006, for example, Japanese rock musician Koji Wakui organized a concert and talk show in tribute to Dylan to celebrate the release of Modern Times. ...
10. Borderless Troubadour: Bob Dylan’s Influence on International Protest during the Cold War
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Alone onstage, the singer strummed his guitar and sang a song about a woman’s reaction to war: “I have two hands free / I have two lips free / All the men have died / And I forget the human language.”1 In the audience, composed primarily of college students, several young women wept. ...
Part 3. The Ancients, Whom All Moderns Prize
11. Bob Dylan’s Lives of the Poets: Theme Time Radio Hour as Buried Autobiography
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In 1777, Samuel Johnson was approached by a committee of booksellers to write biographical prefaces to the works of forty-seven poets whose writing they hoped to present to readers in a new popular edition.1 At the time, by the acknowledgment of his contemporaries, Johnson, in his sixties, possessed an unmatched command of English literature. ...
12. Bob Dylan’s Memory Palace
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You could call them “covers,” these invocations of poems and novels that Dylan slips into his songs on recent recordings, and the collections are effortlessly retitled: Bob Dylan Sings the Exile Poems of Publius Ovividius Naso, Henry Timrod Revisited, Ovid on Ovid, Live from the Black Sea, and From Twain to Fitzgerald: Nobody Sings Studies in Classic American Literature Better Than Dylan. ...
13. Among Schoolchildren: Dylan’s Forty Years in the Classroom
Kevin J. H. Dettmar
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“Dylanology,” the cynics call it, and if there is any doubt that the serious study of Bob Dylan’s work and legacy continues at an astonishing pace, the publication of this volume more or less simultaneously with The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, which I am editing, should put all doubts to rest. ...
Part 4. In a Voice without Restraint
14. Women Do Dylan: The Aesthetics and Politics of Dylan Covers
Daphne Brooks, Gayle Wald
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Any music wonk will tell you that Bob Dylan persists as a revered if surprisingly confounding racial trickster in popular music culture. His recordings must surely beckon thoughtful rereadings that take into account the politics of cultural appropriation and racial masquerade. Dylan would himself seem to be continuously beckoning this kind of scrutiny. ...
15. Crow Jane Approximately: Bob Dylan’s Black Masque
Aldon Lynn Nielsen
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“He speaks in your voice, American.”1 These are the opening words to Don DeLillo’s novel Underworld. In sorting through these slippery pronouns, we soon learn that the “he” who speaks in our voice is a black adolescent. This might have been surprising to many in the Hibbing, Minnesota, of Dylan’s youth, the time of the novel’s opening, ...
16. Not Dark Yet: How Bob Dylan Got His Groove Back
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June 7, 2004, was not just another gig for Bob Dylan. Sandwiching a show between one-nighters in Atlantic City and Delaware, Dylan went uptown to play the Apollo Theater, the legendary venue where Ella Fitzgerald passed the audition for the Chick Webb orchestra, and where, on a 1962 live album, James Brown made a gig in Harlem a chart-topping soundtrack for the world. ...
17. “Nettie Moore”: Minstrelsy and the Cultural Economy of Race in Bob Dylan’s Late Albums
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A particularly fascinating “controversy” surrounding Bob Dylan’s 2006 album Modern Times was the discovery that Dylan has been since at least 2001’s “Love and Theft” a concerted borrower from the poetry of Henry Timrod, the “Poet Laureate of the Confederacy.”1 ...
18. “Somewhere down in the United States”: The Art of Bob Dylan’s Ventriloquism
Michael Cherlin, Sumanth Gopinath
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That Bob Dylan has many voices will be an idea familiar to all readers who have followed his musical career. The wise country singer of the early recordings, the sneering hipster of the first electric phase, the weirdly rounded country voice after the “motorcycle accident,” the gruff, dejected old man of recent years—these voices are inseparable from the many style shifts in Dylan’s singing persona over the years. ...
19. Dylan/Disabled: Tolling for the Deaf and Blind
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This contemplation of the work of Bob Dylan from the perspective of disability studies is not primarily a consideration of lyrics, though Dylan often references disability, freakery, and “old, weird” social outcasts.1 It is not primarily biographical and certainly does not brand Dylan disabled, something rarely done in disability studies, ...
20. Bob Dylan and the Beats: Magpie Poetics, an Investigation and Memoir
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I invoke “magpie poetics” in this investigative memoir as a way of understanding Bob Dylan’s extraordinary creativity. He took what he needed from multiple places and sources—literary, musical, cultural—which included influences from and references to the Beat literary generation writers, particularly the works of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. ...
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The editors thank Doug Armato, director of the University of Minnesota Press, who recognized the value of bringing this new work on Dylan to a wide readership after the March 2007 Dylan symposium at the University of Minnesota. ...
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Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2009