Bob Dylan Chronicles Volume 1 is a very enjoyable collection of ramblings by Bob Dylan about his trajectory into a performer and his thoughts and influences along the way. What I found most interesting was the naming of multiple musicians on the “folk scene” and references to traditional folk music. With that in mind I decided to capture some and provide links for further exploration. I hope you buy the book and enjoy this companion post.
Without a doubt Woody Guthrie is the most referenced influence in the book. It’s fascinating how Dylan figuratively follows Woody as an influence up to befriending him and visiting him in in hospital during the end of Woody’s days. Obviously I was off to check out as much Woody Guthrie as I possibly could. I found that in 2013 a 3 CD box set entitled “Woody at 100” was released.
I believe the next most referenced influence may be Dave Van Ronk. I’m not including any spoiler alerts so without going into detail on Van Ronk’s influence or involvement in Dylan’s career I just need to mention that Dave Van Ronk had a huge impact with respect to the revival of folk music, as a facilitator, musician and as the so called “Mayor of MacDougal Street” which was where the “scene” was taking place. The most popular and reflective of the period album by Dave Van Ronk is FolkSinger though “The Mayor of MacDougal Street” compilation released in 2005 may be a more interesting listen with more obscure tracks (notes as rarities in the albums subtitle), There is also a book also entitled “The Mayor of MacDougal Street” which I’m going to check,
John Henry Hammond, a prominent record producer at the time, is also listed as influencing in terms of exposing Dylan to music as well as getting him his first recording contract. Once I started looking into John Hammond the producer I was blown away by the stories. I wrote a separate post detailing just a few of the things we owe thanks to John Hammond for in addition to that first Bob Dylan recording. The references to John Hammond are short but important to the book and Dylan’s success. I highly recommend reading The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music for an entertaining time learning about John Hammond’s influence over the music we can all enjoy to this day.
Thanks for reading. I’ll add to this post with additional research on the more prominent influences mentioned in the book so please check back.