Rec.Music.Dylan Article on
Dylan Lyric Analysis Books


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                  Good car to drive, after a war

An anonymous source <102650.1043@CompuServe.COM> writes:
>Can anyone suggest a good book that goes over Bob Dylan
>lyrics. A sort of survey of symbols and historical figures.
>Any help would be great.

The original classic (but now out of print) taking such an approach to Dylan's lyrics was:

_Song and Dance Man_ by Michael Gray
New York: E. P. Dutton, Nov 1972  336 p.   
ISBN: 052520685-X   
Also London: Hart-Davis, MacGibbon, 1972  337 p.   
     London: Abacus, 1973   
     London: Hamlyn, 1981 (rev & updated)    
     New York: St. Martin's Press, 1981 236 p.   
John Herdman followed up on Gray's approach, analyzing lyrics through the Saved album, in:
_Voice Without Restraint: Bob Dylan's Lyrics and Their Background_
New York: Delilah Books, 1982  164 p.
ISBN: 0-933328-18-4 (pbk)    LCCN: 81-69870
Edinburgh, Scotland: Paul Harris Publishing, 1982
ISBN: 0-86228-019-2 (cased) 0-86228-037-0 (pbk)
In more modern times, we should not omit one from our own:
_Alias Bob Dylan_ by Stephen Scobie
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada: Red Deer College Press, 1991  192 p.
ISBN: 0-88995-069-5  LCCN: 91-188326 /MN
And even more recently:
_Bob Dylan's Words: A Critical Dictionary and Commentary_
   by Richard Wissolik and Scott McGrath. 
Greensburg, PA: Eadmer Press, 1994  Vol 1  ISBN: 0-929914-11-2 (hb)  
Greensburg, PA: Eadmer Press, 1995  Electronic edition ISBN: 0-929914-17-1 
                 LCCN: 95-5048  
[An analysis of 800 terms in every Dylan song between 1962-1985, as well 
as _Tarantula_.]   
There are many other books that address this topic for specific albums, but the above take a broad approach to his output. There have also been a number of recent articles in On The Tracks (Issues #5-7) by our own Andrew Muir taking this approach.

As for historical figures, you might want to look up the ones you're interested in at the EDLIS Who's Who maintained online by Karl Erik Andersen at .

Finally, as long as we're on the subject of lyric analysis, perhaps we're obligated to mention A. J. Weberman, who claims to have developed the first Dylan concordance on computer, as well as his "Dylanological Method" of lyric analysis. A starting point for this would be his recent article in On The Tracks Issue #6 (which ends with his asking Dylan for forgiveness!) or the interview of him in Issue #5. For an example of his early work, dig up the Jul-Aug 1968 Broadside Magazine for his John Wesley Harding album review. Anyone with a family history of addictive personalities is advised to steer clear of the Weberman approach. And if Dylan offers you a job as his chauffeur, take it!!

Ron Chester
EDLIS Bibliographical Agent

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===========================  Thanks Bob!  =============================

Last updated: 12/20/96
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