Venerated for his lyrics, Bob Dylan in fact is a songwriting musician with a unique mastery of merging his words with music and performance. Larry Starr cuts through pretention and myth to provide a refreshingly holistic appreciation of Dylan's music. Ranging from celebrated classics to less familiar compositions, Starr invites readers to reinvigorate their listening experiences by sharing his own—sometimes approaching a song from a fresh perspective, sometimes reeling in surprise at discoveries found in well-known favorites. Starr breaks down often-overlooked aspects of the works, from Dylan's many vocal styles to his evocative harmonica playing to his choices as a composer. The result is a guide that allows listeners to follow their own passionate love of music into hearing these songs—and personal favorites—in new ways.
Reader-friendly and revealing, Listening to Bob Dylan encourages hardcore fans and Dylan-curious seekers alike to rediscover the music legend.
1 Not by Words Alone 1
2 Folksinger, Bluesman, Rocker, Crooner: The Many Voices of Bob Dylan 11
3 His Other Voice: Bob Dylan’s Essential Harmonica 33
4 Bob Dylan as Composer, I: Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm 47
5 Bob Dylan as Composer, II: Musical Form 65
6 Accompanying Bob Dylan: Instruments, Instrumentalists, Singers 81
7 Arranging an Album 89
8 Bob Dylan in Live Performance: Documenting a Musical Shape-Shifter 97
9 Bringing It All Back Home (Pulling It All Together) 111
A Very Selective Bibliography 123
Subject Index 125
Song Index 131
Larry Starr is emeritus professor of music history at the University of Washington. He is the author of George Gershwin and coauthor of American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MP3, sixth edition.
"Starr's approach is fresh and stimulating. . . . Highly recommended." --Choice
"Starr’s deep passion for helping listeners hear the intricate musical patterns of Dylan’s songs and albums provides the foundation for this out-of-the-ordinary guide to Dylan. The best way to read this book, of course, is to have Dylan’s music playing in the background to hear the patterns and sounds Starr encourages us to hear." --No Depression
"Compact and cogent, Listening to Bob Dylan is directed to the general public, not musicologists. Starr describes Dylan’s sophisticated development of nuances, musical stress points that shift the tone of his performance and the meaning of his words. " --Shepherd Express