Author: Andy Gill & Kevin Odegard
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Retail Price: 9.99
Buy on Amazon.com link
Given Dylan’s reluctance to talk to press, bios about him and his work tend to be disappointing, repetitive and full of conjecture. Even though this book was coauthored by one of the guitarists on BOTT, it is barely different.
The sole difference lies in the eyewitness descriptions of the re-recording of the album in Minneapolis, which offers new, if banal and uninteresting insights. The rest of the book is a poorly written rehash on the background of Dylan, his career, his breakup with wife Sara, his relationship with his brother, and irrelevant tangents about the era in which the album was recorded.
There are other annoyances: I don’t like the way in which Odegard puts himself into the book in the third person it reads dopey and the quotes from himself reeks of false modesty. The breathless and awed view of the album is also an irritant. It is NOT the greatest album of all time; it is not even the greatest Dylan album. It may be in the top five or six, but it doesn’t even touch Bringin’ It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, etc. I even like Planet Waves more than BOTT. I agree that BOTT is the last great album he did (which says a lot about his canon of crap over the past 30 years), but I don’t consider it a legendary masterpiece. It’s simply a great album.
In a way, I’d like to see to the book do well so that Odegard, one of the uncredited Minneapolis musicians, could make some dough off Dylan’s name. But there’s no way the $25 price tag is justified on this sloppy, breezy, and unnecessary bio.
Bottom Line: Simple twist of crap.