Marxist Monkey's Reviews > The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes

The Old, Weird America by Greil Marcus
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's review
Nov 29, 2008

really liked it
Read in January, 2004 , read count: 3-4

This book displays all of Greil Marcus's strengths and weaknesses. It is ostensibly a book about the Band's and Bob Dylan's work creating The Basement Tapes. But it is more about the history of land-deals and inter-kinship strife and the move away from subsistence farming to industrial labor in and around the mountainous areas of southern Ohio, West Virginia, eastern Kentucky--those places that still give us coal to burn to run these machines we type on and to fill our air with soot. One of Marcus's key points is that the sounds made by a people as music often tell their histories as well or better than any other source. Of course, no one else EVER hears all that Marcus hears in the songs by Dock Boggs or Clarence Ashley or the Carter Family (or even Dylan for that matter). But that is why we read him, isn't it? To learn to hear things we wouldn't hear otherwise, right?
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