Posts tagged #Los Angeles Review of Books

Ordinary Life: Greil Marcus' New Books and Extended Thoughts

I was fortunate enough to review Greil Marcus' two new books, Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations and Real Life Rock, for the Los Angeles Review of Books. The review is now up. Please consider checking out the many fantastic writers and thinkers at LARB, which has quickly become one of my favorite sites.

I don't have much in the way of extended thoughts, but here's a bit more....

Extended Thoughts on Scenes of Love and Theft

I said I'd post some extended thoughts on Elijah Wald's Dylan Goes Electric! and Stephen Witt's How Music Got Free and by God I'm going to do it. But, if you haven't read my review of those books in the Los Angeles Review of Books, do that first, otherwise none of what follows will be in context. And hey, show LARB some love. I enjoyed working with my editor Michael Goetzman on what became a long review essay of something like 3700 words. Usually, as I work, I keep a "notes and outtakes" document running; that document for this essay was nearly 12000 words. There's a lot to discuss, but some of it I'll hold off on because it may show up in the chapter on Dylan I'm writing for Nothing Has Been Done Before.

When I decided to review the two books together using the theme of transgression with Great White Wonder as the link between them, I underestimated just how much I was tackling. So I had to make some hard decisions about what made the cut and what didn't. With both books, some of the more typical "book review" elements got cut. That's not uncommon with review essays, which function in a different way, but I've included a lot of those below.

Scenes of Love and Theft and the Midwestern Work Ethic or Something

Scattered updates must mean I'm busy, which is a good thing. My article "Scenes of Love and Theft: Bob Dylan, Piracy, and Cultures of Transgression" for the Los Angeles Review of Books should be up today. It reviews two new books: Elijah Wald's Dylan Goes Electric! and Stephen Witt's How Music Got Free. (Edit: Here's the link.) Further thoughts? You bet. The "leftovers and notes" document was 11k words. I'll have much less than that in a day or two.

Meanwhile I think my proposal for Nothing Has Been Done Before, my book of music criticism, is in good hands and headed in the right direction. Hope to have more to say about that in the near future.

The last few weeks have been devoted to revising my novel from its bloated 450 pp. incarnation down to 346 pp. at the moment. It's been exhausting but good work. More on that later, too.

A new PopMatters column is in the pipeline, as is my long overdue review of Tom Williams' excellent novel Don't Start Me Talkin', which will appear in Heavy Feather Review

The Blind Engineer appeared a couple weeks ago, a fact I neglected to advertise here. We're working on some new songs today, as it happens. Still planning on releasing an EP this year if we can. Here's our newest member, Jesse Charles, and myself:

Thanks to  John Garrett  for the caption.

Thanks to John Garrett for the caption.


And now, Sonny Boy Williamson performing "Nine Below Zero," which it thankfully hasn't been here since, what, January?