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Dylan goes electric! : Newport, Seeger,…
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Dylan goes electric! : Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the night that split… (udgave 2015)

af Elijah Wald

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926237,606 (4.09)1
One of the music world's preeminent critics takes a fresh and much-needed look at the day Dylan "went electric" at the Newport Folk Festival, timed to coincide with the event's fiftieth anniversary. On the evening of July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at Newport Folk Festival, backed by an electric band, and roared into his new rock hit, Like a Rolling Stone. The audience of committed folk purists and political activists who had hailed him as their acoustic prophet reacted with a mix of shock, booing, and scattered cheers. It was the shot heard round the world-- Dylan's declaration of musical independence, the end of the folk revival, and the birth of rock as the voice of a generation-- and one of the defining moments in twentieth-century music. In Dylan Goes Electric!, Elijah Wald explores the cultural, political, and historical context of this seminal event that embodies the transformative decade that was the Sixties. Wald delves deep into the folk revival, the rise of rock, and the tensions between traditional and groundbreaking music to provide new insights into Dylan's artistic evolution, his special affinity to blues, his complex relationship to the folk establishment and his sometime-mentor Pete Seeger, and the ways he reshaped popular music forever. Breaking new ground on a story we think we know, Dylan Goes Electric! is a thoughtful, sharp appraisal of the controversial event at Newport and a nuanced, provocative, analysis of why it matters.… (mere)
Medlem:LarkinAround
Titel:Dylan goes electric! : Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the night that split the sixties
Forfattere:Elijah Wald
Info:New York : HarperCollins, [2015]
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Nina

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Dylan Goes Electric!: Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night That Split the Sixties af Elijah Wald

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Elijah Wald is one of my favorite music writers for his ability to break down commonly held beliefs about popular music and show the reality of musicians and their music in the context of their time. Dylan Goes Electric! does the same for the notorious moment at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan played amplified rock music, the crowd was outraged, and Pete Seeger tried to cut the cables to his amplifier with an ax. Pretty much everything told about that night is incorrect, or at least incomplete.Dylan's performance, significant as it was, could not provide enough material to fill an entire book. What this book is instead a history of the Folk Revival in the 1950s and 1960s with a focus on key figures like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie among others. Wald also traces the history of the Newport Folk Festival and how it grew and changed in the years from its origin in 1959 to 1965. Finally, Wald also details the early career of Bob Dylan, from his early influences in blues and R&B, to his quick rise to becoming a widely-renown folk musician, and his discomfort with fame and being the "voice of his generation."At the heart of all three stories - the Folk Revival, the Newport Folk Festival, and Bob Dylan - is a conflict between the ideas of authenticity and music for music's sake, and the lowbrow ideas of pop music and commercial success. Wald details that the Newport Folk Festival welcomed performances of electric blues and R&B bands while being uncomfortable the collegiate pop-style folk music of the Kingston Trio. And while the festival promoted workshops that presented the music of rural folk performers, it was the young, urban and pop-oriented folk musicians drew the largest crowds. As a result of the conflict over the meaning of folk music, new genres such as folk rock and singer/songwriter emerged.Bob Dylan's electric performance turns out not just to be a defining moment in Dylan's career but part of a bigger story within American folk music, and a conflict that in many ways continues to this day. The stories of what actually happened that night are so disjointed, because the meaning of what happened is different to many of the people involved (and those who hear about in later retellings). ( )
1 stem Othemts | Mar 11, 2019 |
Abandoned this halfway through. There's more on the folk scene than I wanted, although if anyone wants to learn about the split between the real folkies and those seen as posers, this is a good source. I just have a hard time getting excited about "the sixties."
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
A terrific and fascinating look at Folk Music and the event that almost singlehandedly brought it down.

Folk was the music of the people, popular (to the chagrin of some of its practitioners) and important. Pete Seeger, a disciple of Woody Guthrie, was its gatekeeper. And Bob Dylan was seen as the next standard-bearer.

But Dylan is nobody's hero. The iconoclastic singer/songwriter showed up at Newport and plugged in. The rest is legend (and some of the legend is wrong), but that moment marked the end of the folk phase of protest music and the beginning of rock as the voice of the new generation.

This book looks at the history of the music and personalities leading up to 1965, and touches briefly on the aftermath.

A great read for anyone who likes Dylan, pop music, folk music, the Sixties or just a good yarn.

I received a free review copy of this book.

More reviews at my WordPress site, Ralphsbooks. ( )
  ralphz | Jul 25, 2017 |
This book is actually more about the post-World War II folk boom and the fissure that developed within it between traditionalists like Pete Seeger, popularizers like the Kingston Trio, and performers who tried to keep a foot in both camps, such as Joan Baez and Peter, Paul, and Mary, than it is about any one night. Yet the Newport Folk Festival of 1965, where Bob Dylan plugged in with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, tried to perform an electric set of his complex new rock songs, and was "booed off the stage" (a phrase that the author dislikes) for his trouble is such an emblematic moment that I say more power to the author for trying to make some sense of it.

As Wald states, the concert and the anguished reactions to it are more legend than history; eyewitness accounts are scrambled and contradictory--the blind men describing the elephant comes to mind. Seeger was running around with an axe threatening to cut the sound cables; no, Seeger was sitting in his car weeping; Seeger himself said he loved the songs but hated the sound system . Dylan was furious; no, Dylan was crying; no, Dylan was puzzled; no, Dylan was stoned and exhausted. And as for the crowd, some admitted to booing the songs, some said they were booing the sound system, some said they were booing MC Peter Yarrow for hurrying Dylan off the stage, and some said they were booing the people who were booing. Considerable audio and video of the event exists, but the author trusts little of it because it was monkeyed with afterward.

As a narrative, this is a fine book, but the book's true brilliance lies in the author's insight that the night was a cultural watershed: the night that the New Left broke with the Old and that rock-n-roll fused with folk to become rock. The first part of the book may be a little abstruse in its detailed portrait of the early-sixties folk scene--many more people are interested in Dylan than in Malvina Reynolds--but his telling is entertaining and insightful, and the book truly not to be missed by those interested. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Dec 7, 2016 |
The myth of Seeger’s Axe, like Wittgenstein’s Poker, has become a part of folklore. Wald tells the story well, and lets all the witnesses have their say; Newport as “Rashomon.” Everyone is sure that it was one of those “Which side are you on?” moments. (Go, Bob, go!)

Revolution Eugene Porter
Anderson Valley Kimmie, the Yink and the Holy Gose Ale
  MusicalGlass | Dec 19, 2015 |
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One of the music world's preeminent critics takes a fresh and much-needed look at the day Dylan "went electric" at the Newport Folk Festival, timed to coincide with the event's fiftieth anniversary. On the evening of July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at Newport Folk Festival, backed by an electric band, and roared into his new rock hit, Like a Rolling Stone. The audience of committed folk purists and political activists who had hailed him as their acoustic prophet reacted with a mix of shock, booing, and scattered cheers. It was the shot heard round the world-- Dylan's declaration of musical independence, the end of the folk revival, and the birth of rock as the voice of a generation-- and one of the defining moments in twentieth-century music. In Dylan Goes Electric!, Elijah Wald explores the cultural, political, and historical context of this seminal event that embodies the transformative decade that was the Sixties. Wald delves deep into the folk revival, the rise of rock, and the tensions between traditional and groundbreaking music to provide new insights into Dylan's artistic evolution, his special affinity to blues, his complex relationship to the folk establishment and his sometime-mentor Pete Seeger, and the ways he reshaped popular music forever. Breaking new ground on a story we think we know, Dylan Goes Electric! is a thoughtful, sharp appraisal of the controversial event at Newport and a nuanced, provocative, analysis of why it matters.

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