BOB DYLAN – The Golden Years: 1962-1978
“Dylanology” has become quite an industry over the decades. You can fill a library with the books that have been written about the guy, and there are academic conferences dedicated to interpreting his work and significance. A couple of the more interesting documentaries made in the past 50 years look at various periods of his life. (I’m thinking of D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back and Martin Scorcese’s No Direction Home.)
I confess to having a deep passion for much of Dylan’s work. He’s as iconic as Elvis and he writes better songs. Even more remarkable is his artistic renaissance in recent years during which he has created some truly great records.
For all of the above reasons, I was pretty excited to get a hold of this two-DVD set. If nothing else I figured it would satisfy any Dylan jones I might be having. But honestly there’s something just a little overwhelming about this collection. It was made in conjunction with the Dylan fanzine, ISIS, and ultimately it really is for “collectors only.”
The first DVD surveys Dylan’s life from 1941 to 1966; the second from 1966 to 1978. Altogether, we’re talking about 206 minutes of Dylan trivia. Oddly enough, the film is “unauthorized” so the filmmakers were unable to use any of Dylan’s music. Instead, we’re left with some Dylanesque strumming to go along with the plethora of images and interviews. For all of its heft the first DVD doesn’t really tell us much that’s new. We do hear from Dylan’s English teacher — but all he remembers is that Bob sat in the front row, three rows from the door. (Oops…hope I didn’t spoil it for you.)
The second DVD was a little more interesting, if for no other reason that we don’t often hear as much about that period of his career. I found the material on the Rolling Thunder Revue to be excellent. Overall, I’d say you’d be better served picking up any number of other sources for all your Dylan needs. But if you’re a completist of sorts then what the heck? Snag the sucker.
(Music Video Distributors, PO Box 280, Oaks, PA 19456)