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Highway 61 Revisited in Under the Radar

Welcome back from the holiday weekend. Highway 61 Revisited got a nice mention in Under the Radar magazine. It got 8 blips out of 10. I think a blip is a kind of star only music cognoscenti know about.

As one of the greatest albums in the history of recorded music, a turning point that forever grafted the depth and integrity of folk music into the flourishing tree of rock and roll, Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited has long deserved the kind of focused treatment that Mark Polizzotti gives it with his examination for the always excellent 33 1/3 series. Going behind the scenes and into the memories of those who were present at the album’s recording, with particularly insightful recollections from keyboardist Al Kooper and producer Bob Johnson, Polizzotti adds to the legend of an album that helped complete Dylan’s transition from folkie icon to genuine ranconteur. As expected, Polizzotti examines the album’s significance in the rock canon, but he also goes deep into the myth and mystery of the album, from Dylan’s rancorous fallout with purebred folkies to the enigmatic cover shot on the album. The sheer volume of annotated quotes and behind the scenes revelations that Polizzotti has dug up is mind numbing, but the material flows together well, and the studious nature of the examination is never less than enlightening. It’s an essential read for anyone who wants to engage the mythology behind the man and the album.

And don’t miss Mark’s reading at the Harvard Co-op this Thursday, November 30th.

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