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Album Reviews
Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012

Tempest (Columbia)

 The title track of Bob Dylan’s remarkable, 35th studio album delves into the sinking of the Titanic with the innovatively poetic songwriting style developed by Dylan in the ’60s and brought into the 21st...
Album Reviews
Monday, April 30, 2012

Blunderbuss (Columbia/Third Man)

Beginning with a penetrating progression that rapidly explodes into choral dexterity and poetic narrative unequalled in rock music today, “Missing Pieces” opens Jack White's first solo album, Blunderbuss. The song is brief. The impact is not...
Monday, April 23, 2012

'True Vine' biography details vital musician

Mike Seeger was a founding member of the folk-blues revival string band the New Lost City Ramblers as well as a distinguished solo artist, concentrating on early American music. He was a virtuoso on many instruments, such as banjo...
Monday, March 12, 2012

Life, writings captured in 'Everything Is an Afterthought'

Paul Nelson was one of the first critics to analyze popular music with the seriousness that had previously been reserved for classical and jazz. All of the notable, first-generation rock critics such as Lester Bangs, Ellen Willis, Richard Meltzer...
Monday, Sept. 19, 2011

Simon Reynolds delivers insightful 'Retromania'

Nostalgia has become the password for entry into contemporary music. With ease and elegance, Simon Reynolds describes this complex condition in Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past (Faber & Faber) and delivers an insightful polemic...
Monday, Aug. 22, 2011

Rob Young delves deep into strange, wonderful characters

Very few of the artists featured in Rob Young's Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music (Faber & Faber) have left a legacy clearly discernable to anyone who is not a serious observer of the British folk scene of the 1960s. Donovan, Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span...
Monday, June 13, 2011

Dorian Lynskey offers a history of protest songs

By Dorian Lynskey's definition, a protest song “addresses a political issue in a way which aligns itself with the underdog.” This is clear enough. But the wide-ranging material in his 33 Revolutions Per Minute (Ecco Press) ultimately proves limiting. The 660-page book is comprehensive and will be a lasting...
Album Reviews
Sunday, May 1, 2011

In Concert: Brandeis University 1963 (Columbia)

Recorded on May 10, 1963, as part of a college folk festival, Bob Dylan performed what would become his finest recorded version of “Ballad of Hollis Brown.” We hear the passion that comes from merging a mythic story that should be true with a sermon on justice that never comes. There is an unintended...
Monday, April 25, 2011

Writings illuminate artist and critic

If any critic has permission to enter the linear progression of Bob Dylan's presence in American popular music through a quirky but at once astute perspective, it is Greil Marcus. Often mixing in his own personal experience of Dylan's music, he gives an...

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