Thursday, November 6, 2014

Best bio yet on Bob Dylan!

Although it was published way back in 2001, I hadn't come across what I consider the best biography yet on Bob (Zimmerman) Dylan from Hibbing, Minnesota, until I found it about a month ago and put it on my Kindle. It's called Down the Highway: the Life of Bob Dylan by Howard Sounes; published by Grove Press.

What I immediately like about this particular book on Dylan is that it covers his early Hibbing years in interesting detail. Then he hits Dylan's time at the University of Minnesota, a campus I arrived at about the time he was leaving. Interesting to note that Garrison Keillor, the sage of Minnesota and America's modern-day Mark Twain, were at the U of M at the same time. That factoid wasn't in the book, it's mine. In fact, I was there at the same time Keillor was, but I was working over at KSTP, the 50,000-watt NBC affiliate while Keillor worked at the student station, KUOM. However, he zoomed ahead of me, gaining national prominence with A Prairie Home Companion on public radio. He has books on Amazon but I don't, at least not yet. We're both the same age.

But that's me jumping off on a tangent - I do that often, sort of "hyper-linking" mentally when something strikes my fancy in a story I'm telling. Drives my friends nuts. Sorry.

Back to the Dylan book: Sounes' writing is easy to read; well researched and documented. His description of the star's brief work in Fargo, N. Dakota, with Bobby Vee's band - just prior to Vee's leap to the national stage - was accurate and interesting. I checked with Dick Dunkirk, one of the players in Vee's "Shadows" band during the time Dylan tried to play piano with them. He went by the name "Elston Gunn" during that foray. The bio goes on - for 432 pages - covering is entire career and life, up to this point. I learned what a romantic fellow and ladies' man Bob was during his younger days. He knew how to "get the girls."

You'll read about his successes and more challenging times in recordings, concerts, the works.

All in all, if you're a Dylan fan and/or buff, as I am, this is a must-have book. You can find out more information - and order if you wish, in print or Kindle, click on this link to Amazon.