Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March 12, 2008

Highway 61 Revisited
Mark Polizzotti
2007, paperback
6 cards and notes on back cover

Highway 61 Revisited is the type of 33 1/3 book that I love. It gets into the album, the history, the musician, the cover and more while shedding new light on Bob Dylan. Polizzotti's book about Andre Breton has been on my bookshelf for a long time since I picked it up years ago. After this book I look forward to reading his take on Breton. Polizzotti writes about Dylan as "the thinking person's rock star," and also quotes Joan Baez, "Some people are just no interested. But if you're interested, he goes way, way deep." I'm interested. Polizzotti also keys into the simple but profound workings of Dylan and songs with statements like "Every great song has one moment that stands out above the rest..."

Highlights from the cards
p. 5- opening line about gaze
"The outer photo is as much performance as the music inside"
-glowering rock stars
p. 6 "...he knows the music is good, the best he's ever made, but he doesn't expect you to recognize it and he's gearing up for a fight."
-baby stroller
p. 7- Sergei Eisenstein
"Music that still has the rare quality, after all this time, of making us hear what we want to hear."
p. 8- this record being "too good"
p. 9 "The album is a road map into new territory..."
-"As the thinking person's rock star..."
-"...it pushes one to confront is again and again..."
-Joan Baez, "Some people are just no interested. But if you're interested, he goes way, way deep."
p. 10 "...the supposed turn toward electric music was really a return"
-Dylan, "...I played all the folk songs with a rock 'n' roll attitude..."
p. 12 Dylan, "'Protest' is not my word." ... "amusement-park word"
-"...There are many sides to us, and I wanted to follow them all."
p. 13 "poetical" approach
"he not busy being born and then reborn, is busy dying"
p. 14 Harry Smith
-Greil Marcus
p. 16- Suze
Dylan to Nora Ephron in 1965, "Folk music is the only music where it isn't simple."
-vegetables and death
p. 17 and 18- painters including Red Grooms
p. 19- singing when he writes
-Al Kooper's organ playing
p. 20- Kant and Mallarme
p. 21- Freud
p. 23- Midwestern
p. 24 BD "I left where I'm from because there's nothing there."
p. 25 Bessie Smith
-flipping the record
p. 31- Greil Marcus misses...
-boredom and the writing of "Like a Rolling Stone"
-D.A. Pennebaker
p. 32- "rhythm thing on paper"
-interviews as theatrical performances
-ghost writing "Like a Rolling Stone"
p. 33 "Also rare for a chart-topping hit, the lyrics focused not on love but its opposite."
p. 35- discussion of who Miss Lonely is (makes a good case its not Edie Sedgewick who I was thinking it was)
p. 37- ultimately...
-any of the phonies
p. 38 "It's up to you to figure out who's who"
-language used in Like a Rolling Stone
p. 39- French Symbolists
-Rimbaud, "I is someone else"
p. 41- Tarantula
-"the sun is still yellow. some people would say it's chicken" from Tombstone Blues
p. 43- writing songs
p. 52- Al Kooper's organ story
p. 53- the result...
p. 55- promo copies
p. 62- did sound check at Newport
p. 63 "sellout jacket"
p. 65- "...the sound of the street..."
p. 70 Woody Guthrie
p. 71 "Woody made each word count. He painted with words."
p. 75- names famous and obscure
p. 85- magpie's nests
p. 89 his voice
p. 90 (voice) "...it exists on its own terms..."
p. 92 "Love Minus Zero"
p. 93 Chelsea Hotel
p. 94 "If he was really serious about her, she had to be unknown..."
p. 110 "...the man Dylan's listeners swore to themselves they'd never become, and with whom most eventually all grew all too familiar."
-Jones vs. Smith for rhyming
-songs on the album- "those addressed to someone...and those...that flash by like glimpses through a car's window as it speeds across this frantic carnival of a nation."
p.111 "Once we have walked into this room, it is not certain we will ever find our way out.
-"Thin Man" song he often performs live
-rhyme scheme
-"Every great song has a moment that stands out above the rest..."
p. 117 BD "My songs are just me talking to myself."
p. 128- Rimbaud's "My Bohemian Life"
p. 129 warning "stepping off the road can leave you very lost"
p. 130- Kooper playing a Hohner Pianet
130-131- Tom Thumb
p. 134- postcards, cultural memory
p. 135- circuses and carnivals and carny life
p. 144

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