Category Archives: Review

How Jack Kerouac Influenced Bob Dylan & More

Cover of the upcoming “Kerouac On Record.”

In a 12,000 word essay, “Bob Dylan’s Beat Visions (Sonic Poetry),” that appears in the upcoming book, “Kerouac On Record: A Literary Soundtrack,” I explore how Bob Dylan was profoundly influenced by the Beat writers, and especially Jack Kerouac.

The book is being published by Bloomsbury and will reach book stores online and off on March 8, 2018. Rock’s Back Pages will be publishing an excerpt from my essay, and the April issue of Mojo magazine (see full review below) includes a rave review that says in part: “Among the strongest in a strong lot are Michael Goldberg’s examination of Dylan’s lit roots and Kerouac’s own musicological piece — ‘The Beginning Of Bop’ – that attempts to capture jazz in words – and succeeds.”

Nice to be mentioned in the same sentence as Kerouac!

In addition my Dylan piece, I also have an interview with writer (and one time rock critic) Richard Meltzer in which he talks at length about Kerouac.

The book also contains essays on the influence of Kerouac on a number of musicians including Tom Waits, the Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison, Van Morrison, Patti Smith and others. And there are excellent pieces about the influence of jazz on Kerouac’s writing style.

As we get closer to the publication date I’ll share more about this fascinating book.

Here’s the Mojo review in full:

Review in the April issue of Mojo.
  • A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –

Simon Warner Reviews ‘The Flowers Lied’: ‘Beat spontaneity meets punk insolence’

tfl-fb copy

Great review by author Simon Warner, who wrote the excellent “Text and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture.”

Beat Spontaneity Meets Punk Insolence

By Simon Warner

4 stars

Delivered in a sparky, yet splintered, patois, falling somewhere between Beat spontaneity and punk insolence, Michael Goldberg’s The Flowers Lied picks up where 2014’s True Love Scars left off, as the second part of the ‘Freak Scene Dream’ trilogy carries his narrator protagonist Michael Stein into further labyrinths of neurotic insecurity, a campus caper where boy might meet girl but where the roses of romance are snared with the jagged thorns of rejection and betrayal.

Not that this is any mere love story: it’s the tale of the would-be rock ‘n’ roll writer who still believes that his new journalistic prose, and his passion for Dylan and Beefheart, can lead him towards some kind of elevated self-fulfilment. But will an enthusiasm for the Stones or the New York Dolls, a blind belief in the existential promises of the electric guitar, be enough to compensate for wretched affairs and failing friendships?

Achingly self-conscious, riddled with agonising self-doubt, Stein has the flavour of a re-cast Holden Caulfield, as this raw-nerved rite of passage travels some way from Salinger’s immediate post-war world and places itself in the early 1970s at a moment when the hippie dream seems to have lost its enticing glow.

The very title of the novel is a comment on the fact the hopes and dreams of the Sixties have largely evaporated and Stein feels caught on the lip between the fading utopian buzz and a decade hurtling towards a state of nihilistic disillusion. Writerman, as he styles himself, is keen to reject the cynicism of the age but the pallor of personal crisis tends to cloud his day-to-day judgement.

Goldberg’s skill in this dark comi-tragedy is to energetically convey his feelings – the gauge on the emotional candour button is set to 9 – and he does this through a variety of techniques: a version of the gonzo syntax, occasional stream of consciousness ramblings and a secondary internalised narrative providing commentary on his own inner curdlings.

For readers who recognise the names – the rock stars, of course, but also the great rock writers of the day, like Christgau and Willis, who also pepper the pages from time to time – this is an engaging affair, as hot music, the powerful influence of music criticism and the spice of emotional turbulence become entangled in a tornado of twisting moods: the brief elation of a Fender lick is quickly balanced by a carousel of catastrophe; the ups are fleeting, the downs last longer.

The Flowers Lied, like its predecessor, has an edgy, fractious manner, but once you get used to the frenetic style, the prose moves forward with impressive vigour and the story, quite self-indulgent in many ways, has a definite resonance for a certain generation. The fact that this second instalment ends somewhat in mid-air might be a criticism, but it certainly leaves you hungry for the concluding episode, due in 2016.

Simon Warner, author of “Text and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture”

Win A Copy of My Rock Novel, ‘The Flowers Lied’

Thrashers Wheat

Today my friends over at the awesome Neil Young site, Thrasher’s Wheat, are helping celebrate the release of my new rock ‘n’ roll coming-of-age novel, The Flowers Lied.

They’ve got a review of the book. Here’s an excerpt:

“Goldberg’s rock ‘n’ roll trilogy is an innovative coming-of-age experience tracing love and music-of-an-era. While nostalgic, it’s a beautiful evocation of a distant soundtrack still reverberating across the moonbeams like a lost Jack Kerouac in a 21st century Twitterverse with a kind of staccato amphetamine grammar that is fractured, deranged, unsettling yet compelling. A Catcher in the Rye 50+ years on, Holden Caulfield is now a hipster-hippie on a trip of misadventures in a counterculture world that’s more counter than culture where the Summer of Love turns into a Winter of War. Our hero “Writerman” careens through the haze and confusion to the true high of finding redemption and transformation.”

Also, an excerpt from a chapter in which the 19-year-old narrator and his college friend Jim attend a Neil Young concert in 1973. The narrator gets caught trying to film the concert with his Super8 camera (no cell phones back then), and they are both thrown out. While trying to find a way back in at the rear of the auditorium, they run into Neil Young as he’s about to board his tour bus. Read the excerpt to find out what happens and to get sense of what the book is like.

And finally, there’s a contest in which five winners will get print copies of the book, and five will get digital copies. The contest ends March 31, 2016 at 5 PM ET.

It’s all happening at Thrasher’s Wheat right now.

Bruce Springsteen’s Manager Jon Landau’s Review Of ‘Blood On The Tracks’ – March 13, 1975

Forty years ago, just after rock critic Jon Landau became Bruce Springsteen’s manager and record producer, his review of Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks appeared in the March 13, 1975 issue of Rolling Stone.

What is most interesting to me about the review, some of which is printed below and the rest of it you can link to, is how, what complains about in critiquing Dylan’s recording style and records — that Dylan makes records too quickly, that he doesn’t use the right musicians, and so on — are the things he made sure Bruce Springsteen didn’t do. What I mean is, Dylan might record an album in a few days and record just two or three takes of a song; Springsteen sometimes would spend a year on a record, recording an infinite number of takes with musicians he worked with for years and years.

Anyway, today we can read Landau’s review of an album that has certainly stood the test of time.

Bob Dylan, Blood On The Tracks

Reviewed by Jon Landau (for Rolling Stone)

Bob Dylan may be the Charlie Chaplin of rock & roll. Both men are regarded as geniuses by their entire audience. Both were proclaimed revolutionaries for their early work and subjected to exhaustive attack when later works were thought to be inferior. Both developed their art without so much as a nodding glance toward their peers. Both are multitalented: Chaplin as a director, actor, writer and musician; Dylan as a recording artist, singer, songwriter, prose writer and poet. Both superimposed their personalities over the techniques of their art forms. They rejected the peculiarly 20th century notion that confuses the advancement of the techniques and mechanics of an art form with the growth of art itself. They have stood alone.

When Charlie Chaplin was criticized, it was for his direction, especially in the seemingly lethargic later movies. When I criticize Dylan now, it’s not for his abilities as a singer or songwriter, which are extraordinary, but for his shortcomings as a record maker. Part of me believes that the completed record is the final measure of a pop musician’s accomplishment, just as the completed film is the final measure of a film artist’s accomplishments. It doesn’t matter how an artist gets there — Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie (and Dylan himself upon occasion) did it with just a voice, a song and a guitar, while Phil Spector did it with orchestras, studios and borrowed voices. But I don’t believe that by the normal criteria for judging records — the mixture of sound playing, singing and words — that Dylan has gotten there often enough or consistently enough.

Chaplin transcended his lack of interest in the function of directing through his physical presence. Almost everyone recognizes that his face was the equal of other directors’ cameras, that his acting became his direction. But Dylan has no one trait — not even his lyrics — that is the equal of Chaplin’s acting. In this respect, Elvis Presley may be more representative of a rock artist whose raw talent has overcome a lack of interest and control in the process of making records.

Read the rest of this review here.

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue (New York Version 1974 Stereo)

Bob Dylan – You’re A Big Girl Now (New York Version)

Bob Dylan – Idiot Wind (New York Version 1974 Stereo)

Bob Dylan – Lily, Rosemary & The Jack Of Hearts (New York Version Stereo 1974)

Bob Dylan – If You See Her, Say Hello (New York Version 1974 Stereo)

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

[I published my novel, True Love Scars, in August of 2014.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book. Read it here. And Doom & Gloom From The Tomb ran this review which I dig. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

A Journey Towards Cultural Freedom (And Bob Dylan) ‘On Highway 61’

The musicians and writers whose art presaged and influenced and influenced The Sixties.

By Michael Goldberg.

On Highway 61 – Music, Race and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom, Dennis McNally, Counterpoint Press (471 pages)

Let me start at the end and tell you that the final section of On Highway 61, some 120 pages, provides the best portrait of Bob Dylan and his creativity, what nurtured it, and how it evolved, that I’ve read to date.

Additionally, author Dennis McNally focuses on how Dylan’s worldview – and the songs he wrote and/or sung – can be characterized as part of the ongoing search for freedom in all it’s manifestations, physical, spiritual and cultural. And more. Dylan was at least as influenced by the music made by African Americans, as he was by white country and folk musicians. And this is important, as it is simply one of many examples in this terrific book that make the case that African Americans are primarily responsible for what is truly great in American music.

But there are other reasons it’s appropriate to start with Dylan. Like some of that artist’s surrealist (or perhaps hyper-real) songs of 1965 – “Desolation Row,” “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” — McNally has populated his book with an incredible array of iconic figures — including Henry David Thoreau, Miles Davis, Mark Twain, Bessie Smith and Jack Kerouac – who, like Dylan, have allowed those who have paid attention to their art to experience, as McNally puts it, “a widening of vision, a softening of the heart, and an increase in tolerance.”

No Anita Ekberg (“to make the country grow”)) and no Shakespeare (“with his pointed shoes and his bells”), but what the hell. As artfully as Dylan in his songs, McNally has made his superhuman crew fit seamlessly into this treatise on cultural freedom. In fact, those artists and their work is the story of cultural freedom.

And what is cultural freedom?

Taking from the past and making something new.

Leave it to Mr. Dylan, who McNally quotes from a 1987 US magazine interview, to give us a clue.

“When I first heard Elvis’s voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody and nobody was gonna be my boss,” Dylan said. “Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.”

Art that makes you feel like busting out of jail. That would be one definition.

Or, as Dylan sang it, “I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.”

Yeah, cultural freedom.

But there’s more to it…

Read the rest of this review at Addicted To Noise AU.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

[I published my novel, True Love Scars, in August of 2014.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book. Read it here. And Doom & Gloom From The Tomb ran this review which I dig. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

‘True Love Scars’ Makes Four ‘Best-Of 2014’ Lists – ‘a gonzo look back at misspent youth’

I’m thrilled that my novel, “True Love Scars,” made four best-of lists for 2014.

Perfect Sound Forever publisher Jason Gross included “True Love Scars” in his best books of 2014 list. (His list of best books is down past the music lists.)

Triple R Radio host/ Addicted To Noise Australia publisher Brian Wise included True Love Scars in his ten best books of 2014 list. (Brian’s list is down the page a bit.)

Former Billboard magazine columnist/ current “Trakin Care Of Business” columnist Roy Trakin included “True Love Scars” in his best books of 2014 list.

StompBeast blogger Matthew Duersten included “True Love Scars” in his “notable books” of 2014 list.

And while I’m at it, there’s a cool review of “True Love Scars” in the latest issue of Ragazine. Writer M. Sedlof manages to both write about my novel (he digs it) and provide some insight into my subtle approach to marketing “True Love Scars.” You can read his review here.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Goldberg’s virginal sex scenes unwind at the same racing-heart-awkward-self-conscious-anxious pace one can almost remember from those good old, bad old days when the forbidden fruit was all one ever wanted then-and-forever-after, only how to get it without letting it slip through your hands like sand, when all you ever did was what it took to make like you cared, when all you knew about caring was what you heard at home, an attitude you didn’t know you didn’t have that may have cost you big time. …

“This was life in California during the denoument days-months-years of Summer of Love, Altamont, the winding up-down of Vietnam, of Roman Polanski and Charlie Manson, Sharon Tate … of Haight and Half Moon Bay, of kids who didn’t surf, who confused and burned-out ended up discovering what the core of life is really like, deep inside, where if you’re lucky enough to find yourself before you die you might even claw your way out. It’s one kid’s story, and then some.”

Finally, the excellent blog, Doom And Gloom From The Tomb, just reviewed “True Love Scars”:

An excerpt:

“… a gonzo look back at misspent youth in the 1960s called True Love Scars — the first in a projected Days of Crazy Wild trilogy. It’s a crackling good read, fillled with humor, pathos, drug use and Dylan references (seriously, I think there’s one on every page). Some of the book is quite harrowing — The Wonder Years, this ain’t. But Goldberg’s freewheelin’ style captures a certain late 60s/early 70s vibe (think the autobiographical writings of Lester Bangs) that makes True Love Scars a pleasure through and through. Check it out.

Jason Gross’s blog:

[I published True Love Scars in August of 2014.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Bob Dylan Reinvents Himself – One More Time

Improbable as it might seem at first, Dylan has recorded Shadows In The Night, an album of songs associated with Frank Sinatra – and it’s damn good.

By Michael Goldberg.

I hated Frank Sinatra. As a teenager, Sinatra, who was my mother’s favorite singer, represented my parents’ middle class world, a world I was desperate to escape. I wrote Sinatra off as one of those puppets, a Hollywood-invented pop star who sang Tin Pan Alley love songs, the kind that rhymed moon and June.

Silly love songs. That was what Frank Sinatra was all about. Trivial.

And worse still, I read that he hated rock ‘n’ roll.

In 1957, in the Paris magazine Western World, Sinatra called rock ‘n’ roll “the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear … It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people. It smells phony and false. It is sung, played and written for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations and sly, lewd—in plain fact dirty—lyrics, and as I said before, it manages to be the martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the earth. This rancid smelling aphrodisiac I deplore.”

So yeah, for me Sinatra was Public Enemy #1.

Sinatra was, in my opinion, the polar opposite of my idol, Bob Dylan, the brainy rock ‘n’ roll star who had in rapid succession released three of the greatest albums ever: Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde.

Dylan wrote his own songs, sang with a voice like no other, was a poet, brought the art of songwriting to a level it had never previously reached and was the hippest of the hip.

In 1965, while Sinatra was singing retro pop like “The September Of My Years” and “Last Night When We Were Young,” Dylan was spitting out such modern cubist masterpieces as “Ballad Of A Thin Man,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Like A Rolling Stone.”

Sinatra was ancient history, the pop singer my mother’s heart beat fast for during her teenage years as a bobby soxer.

I had no interest and no time for Frank Sinatra.

But 23 years later, in 1988, thanks to Beach Boy Brian Wilson, my attitude towards Sinatra changed. I was on assignment for Rolling Stone, writing a feature story about Wilson, who had a debut solo album about to be released. I was hanging out with Wilson at his townhouse in Malibu, and I was checking out some of his favorite CDs, which included recordings by Randy Newman and Phil Spector. There was one by Frank Sinatra, possibly In the Wee Hours or it might have been September Of My Years. Whichever it was, I listened to it there at Wilson’s place, and I opened up to Sinatra. I heard him for the first time.

I came to appreciate Sinatra, and the songs he sang, and I came to dig the often sentimental arrangements provided by Nelson Riddle and others.

Still, when I learned that Bob Dylan, BOB DYLAN, had recorded Shadows In The Night, a full album of songs previously recorded by Sinatra, my initial reaction was that of my 15-year-old self: horror.

Dylan singing those songs? Those corny Tin Pan Alley songs? How could he?

Read the rest of this column at Addicted To Noise.

[Last August I published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of the book. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Michael Goldberg’s Best Of 2014 – Albums & Books – Dylan, Jolie Holland, Greil Marcus & More

The major musical event of 2014 was the release of Bob Dylan and The Band’s ‘Basement Tapes’ recordings – 140 of them (if you include the two songs included in the hidden track at the end of disc six). But beyond the six-plus hours of mostly better quality versions of these songs than we’ve heard before (along with a batch of songs that haven’t made the bootlegs – at least the ones I got my hands on), a lot of other noteworthy albums were released during the year.

The list that follows is based on what I heard and what I liked. No one can listen to everything, and I don’t pretend to try. But these albums are good ones, and if you haven’t heard some of them, I hope you’ll check them out.

1 Bob Dylan, The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 (Columbia): As I wrote when the set was released: Dylan’s best songs are not the straightforward protest songs from the early ‘60s – “Masters Of War” or “The Times They Are A-Changing.” Rather, it’s songs like “Visions Of Johanna,” songs that are opaque. Songs that defy literal understanding. Those are the great ones. I’ve listened to “Visions Of Johanna” 100s of times and still its mysteries remain intact. And a song such as “I’m Not There” – do you know what it’s about? … The lyrics to many of Dylan’s Basement songs are opaque too; as if they’re written in an invisible ink, or in a language that defies translation. And it’s that mystery that keeps bringing me back. One line stands out, gives up something one day, then pulls it back on another.

“Ain’t No More Cane (Take 2)”:

2 Jolie Holland, Wine Dark Sea (Anti): Jolie Holland moved into a whole other zone with the avant-garde guitar sounds that help define “Wine Dark Sea.” She takes her idiosyncratic version of Americana, integrates some wild noise (think Sonic Youth) rock guitar and the result is thrilling. Holland is an incredible singer and songwriter. Perhaps my favorite here is “The Love You Save,” which finds Holland trumping the late Janis Joplin with her take on the Stax/Volt soul of the mid-‘60s.

Jolie Holland – Full Performance (Live on KEXP):

Songs:

First Sign Of Spring
On and On
Out On The Wine Dark Sea
Who Are you

3 Angel Olson, Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar): At times on Angel Olson’s moving second album, as on “White Fire,” she sounds like a female Leonard Cohen. At other times it’s the Velvets I hear a faint echo of, but on the final track, “Windows,” what I hear is Angel Olson, what I hear is an exquisitely beautiful sound, even as she sings about a man who is oblivious to those around him. Her voice has a fragile quality, but there’s strength too.

“Windows”:

4 Wadada Leo Smith, The Great Lake Suites (Tum): A musician friend of mine compares this album favorably to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, and I agree. Over two discs composer/band leader Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet), Henry Threadgill (alto saxophone, flute and bass flute), Jack DeJohnette (drums) and John Lindberg (double bass) deliver music as intense and spiritual as Coltrane and his combo. And an hour and a half after you start listening, when the music’s over, you’ll want to start it up all over again. This is one for the ages.

5 Karen O, Crush Songs (Kobalt): This low-fi bedroom recording of Yeah Yeah Yeah front woman O’s “crush” songs is intimate and addictive. There’s a hint of the Velvets’ third album here, and that’s a good thing. Proof that anyone with the songs and the voice can make their own “Basement Tapes.”

“Body”:

6 Spoon, They Want My Soul (Loma Vista/Republic): The album title nails what’s going on these days, when corporate America won’t settle for anything less than turning us into unthinking all-consuming zombies. I’ve been a Spoon fan since the mid-‘90s and this album of smart poppy rock is up there with their best. “Rainy Taxi” is intoxicating, and “knock Knock Knock” as well, but the whole album is a keeper. These Austin rockers are fighting the good fight, and winning.

7 Sharon Van Etten, Are We There (Jagjaguwar): The trials of a woman trying to deal with a (sometimes not-so-good) relationship is the theme running through Are We There. Whether these songs are about Van Etten’s real life, when one listens to this album they might as well be – these songs feel so confessional. With haunting voice and music that perfectly suits her theme, Sharon Van Etten has turned pain into songs that are deep, self-reflective and at times confrontational. Check these lyrics from “Your Love Is Killing Me”:

“Break my legs so I won’t walk to you.
Cut my tongue so I can’t talk to you.
Burn my skin so I can’t feel you.
Stab my eyes so I can’t see
You like it when I let you walk over me.
You tell me that you like it.
Your love is killing me.”

Wow!

“Your Love Is Killing Me”:

8 Tweedy, Sukierae (ANTI):Tweedy and his son Spencer recorded this 20 song album with help from a few musician friends. It’s beautiful and moving and wonderful. Tweedy says it’s a two record set and suggests the vinyl version is the best way to listen. Very Beatlesque at times – check out “Summer Noon.”

“Summer Noon”:

9 Ex-Hex, Rips (Merge): Mary Timony’s new band delivers a garage-rock explosion of a debut album. There are echoes of The Ramones and Patti Smith and Timony’s friends, Sleater-Kinney in the 12 songs. Great guitar riffs from Timony. There’s a priceless energy in these tracks. This trio is on fire.

10 tUnE-yArDs, Nikki Nack (4AD): Merrill Garbus has voice, a big soulful voice and she can really sing. And when you can really sing, and you have the knock for writing catchy songs with loads of hooks, you can go wild with the music and make it work. Sometimes it sounds like Garbus has utilized every object in the junkyard to make her unorthodox tracks, and at other times only her voice.

Also great:
11 Lykke Li, I Never Learn (Atlantic):
12 Lucinda Williams, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone (Highway 20)
13 The Hold Steady, Teeth Dreams (Razor & Tie)
14 The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground – 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (Ume):
15 The War On Drugs, Lost In The Dream (Secretly Canadian)

The Velvet Underground, “I’m Waiting For The Man”:

Books:

(In no particular order – these are all great!)

The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll In Ten Songs, Greil Marcus (Yale University Press): Greil Marcus’ latest book is all about what Marcus hears when he listens to ten songs, and what he hears is unexpected and sometimes revelatory. It’s not any kind of history of rock that you or I have ever read before, because Marcus sees no point in revisiting the same old story that we’ve read numerous versions of since the ‘60s. Not a history so much as a theory about rock ‘n’ roll, and then ten examples that, in different ways, back up that theory. Amazing.

I loved You More, Tom Spanbauer (Hawthorne): Tom’s Spanbauer’s book is 466 pages of heartbreak. Think about the love affair that went so wrong for you, the one that tore you down, left you devastated and in pieces. Yeah, that’s this book. Beautifully written. Every sentence is a gem.

A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, Holly George-Warren (Viking): A superbly written biography of Alex Chilton, who is best known as one of the leaders of Big Star. If you start to read it, you soon will find yourself deep into both the Big Star recordings and Chilton’s solo work before you know it.

Those Who Leave And Those Who Stay, Elena Ferrante, (Europa Editions): The third in what looks to be a four book series that follows two girls in Italy from childhood to old age. With this book, Ferrante adds politics to the volatile mix of love, sex, family, money and friendship that fuels the first two.

Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues, Joel Selvin (Counterpoint): More than just a biography of Bert Burns, who wrote such classics as “Here Comes the Night,” “Piece of My Heart,” and “Twist and Shout,” discovered Van Morrison, produced records including “Under The Boardwalk” for The Drifters and so much more, Selvin also manages to detail the history of the New York-based rhythm and blues business.

My Struggle (books 1, 2 & 3), Karl Ove Knausgaard (Macmillan): This year I read the first three books of this six volume epic semi-fictional autobiography. Knausgaard goes deep into his first person narrator’s psychology, as he lays out his life for us in minute detail. Somehow it’s fascinating, even when it seems like he’s telling us way more than we need to know. Mesmerizing.

On Highway 61, Dennis McNally (Counterpoint): Actually, I’m only a third of the way through this incredible book, but it’s so good I have to include it. McNally has written the history of how blacks and whites influenced each other musically, as they created what he calls cultural freedom. Along the way he tells the stories of Mark Twain, Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, John Hammond, Sr., Thelonious Monk and many, many others. More on this book in 2015.

— A Days Of The Cray-Wild blog post —

Dylan Expert Greil Marcus’ Column Has Moved Online Again – Read It Now!

Greil Marcus

Noted Dylan expert Greil Marcus has been writing his “Real Life Top 10” column since the ’70s, when it ran monthly in New West magazine.

The column has appeared in a variety of publications since then including Artforum, Salon, and most recently, The Believer.

Although I was able to reprint older columns at Addicted To Noise during the late ’90s and early 2000s, it wasn’t until Salon picked the column up in the mid-2000s that new columns appeared online each month.

And once Greil located it at The Believer, it was only available in print.

Well now that’s changed, and the column is currently available for all to read online each month at the Barnes & Noble Review.

A new column just went online here.

Marcus is the author many books including The Old, Weird America: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes, Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads and Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968–2010. His most recent book is The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs.

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

My Review of Bob Dylan’s 3rd Oakland Show Featured at bobdylan.com

Bob Dylan and band at the Paramount Theater, Oakland, CA.

I’m jazzed that the folks over at bobdylan.com have included a link to my review of Bob Dylan’s recent killer show on October 30, 2014 at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA in the “Hype” area of Dylan’s website.

“Hype” is where they link to articles about Dylan that they like.

You can get directly to the review with this link.

And if you haven’t yet read my new column about The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11, here.

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]