Blood on the Tracks

Michael writes: “‘Blood on the Tracks’ continues the introspective theme, but presents such introspection through rock music in a more sober, wider-ranging and helpful context. This is a chapter about balance, about restoring one’s equilibrium, about keeping one’s influences in perspective, learning from them and using them to grow. This is also a chapter about the genius of Bob Dylan. Dylan at his best is simply peerless, whether he’s commenting on social or political issues, reflecting on love and relationships, or engaging in playful self-mockery and subverting his own art form and public image. Dylan is a man of many masks. You can’t catch him. You shouldn’t even try. But he has created a body of work that is simultaneously rousing and edifying, sad and joyful, personal and impersonal: a body of work that sits somewhere in the gap “between despondency and hope”. Nowhere is this more true than on the masterful Blood on the Tracks, an album which contains little of the anger and protest for which Dylan is still perhaps best known, but which is the most perfect and timeless rock album I know. It is an album that grows with you and invites you to grow with it. I could not have written a book about being a rock fan without acknowledging its greatness.”

The chapter focuses heavily on the work of Bob Dylan, spanning his entire career. It includes passing references to a range of other bands and artists including Jim Morrison, Van Morrison, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Woody Guthrie, The Band, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits,  Europe, Squeeze, Bon Jovi, Crowded House and The Grateful Dead. It also includes a discussion of the origins of Bob Dylan’s name, drawing on both Dylan’s own account of the matter (in his autobiography ‘Chronicles’) and The Mabinogion – the famous book of Welsh folk tales.

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