Morecambe author pens book about musician Bob Dylan
A Morecambe-based poet and author has penned a book celebrating one of the most influential musicians of all time - Bob Dylan - who turns 80 this year.
The release of 'Determined to Stand - The Reinvention of Bob Dylan' written by Chris Gregory, coincides with Dylan turning 80 in May.
As a writer on popular culture and media, Chris Gregory is passionate about making work such as Dylan's accessible to more people.
Chris Gregory said: "Dylan was a university dropout so I'm in good company!"
He has seen Dylan in concert many times and says that he always feels or learns something new.
"I am fascinated by the powerful meaning of Dylan's words, but they really come to life when they are performed. By writing the book I am hoping to enhance listeners' experience of listening to Dylan and to communicate my passionate enthusiasm for his work. Even if I'd heard the song a million times before, Dylan just brings something new to each and every performance. He will often change the songs' arrangements, their pacing, their instrumentation and even the lyrics. It has been said that he never really sings a song the same way twice."
Determined to Stand is an in depth study of Bob Dylan's songs from 1997s Time Out Of Mind to 2020s highly acclaimed and best selling Rough and Rowdy Ways. It also focuses on the crucial role that the live performances on Dylan's Never Ending Tour (1988 to present) have played in his battle to find ways of remaining creative despite the onset of ageing.
Chris explains that, although Bob Dylan's music of the 1960s and 70s was vastly successful and innovative, by the mid 1980s his creativity had dipped so low that he was seriously thinking of retiring.
Yet from the late 90s onwards he began to produce work that was comparable in quality to that of his heyday.
In the book Chris examines Dylan's personal battle to reclaim contact with country and gospel music, he was able to reinvent both his art and his persona to create a new and unique body of work.
Throughout his career Dylan has been upsetting the expectations of his fans, as he has moved through many different musical styles.
In his recent shows he looks and sounds almost unrecognisable as the iconic figure of the 1960s.
Regarding Dylan's 'late work' Chris said: "The action in these extraordinary songs appears to take place in an indeterminate historical period, sometime between the American Civil War and the present day; in a mythic landscape of noisy, smokey honky tonks and juke joints; haunted by the ghosts of the great blues and country music legends, along with various long-lost crooners and torch singers....The songs reference a vast number of literary texts, ranging from Ancient Greek epics and the King James Bible to Shakespeare, the Romantic and Symbolist poets.
"His modern work is often so layered and full of allusions to a huge range of cultural influences that the songs are often very difficult to interpret. In my book I hope to help listeners get more meaning out of the songs and to follow up the references. Almost all the folk, blues and country songs he refers to and quotes from can be found on youtube. So reading the book can become an interactive multimedia experience.
"Dylan also refers to writers from the entire history of literature, from classical authors such as Homer and Ovid to Shakespeare, the Romantic poets and the Beat poets of the 1950s.
"I also hope that my book will encourage readers to seek out these writers, making the book - like Dylan's work itself - a kind of education in wider cultural references."
Alongside the launch of his book and the new posts on his website, Chris is also in the process of releasing a podcast called 'A Headful of Ideas' (also on youtube, Podbean and Buzzsprout) which will showcase more of his work on Dylan here.Determined to Stand - The Reinvention of Bob Dylan retails at £12.
It is available to pre-order at https://chrisgregory.org/ and will soon also be available via Amazon. It is also available as an e-book or an audio book.
Visit the website at www.chrisgregory.org.