A major strength of the book is Negus’s ability to pull apart the presuppositions of Dylan history with alacrity. In this respect, the book does a lot to counteract the epistemological deficiencies that underscore so many Dylan commentaries. In his reproach of those titles that completely divorce the performer from his musical and performative context, Negus may have started a trend of musically-driven analysis that will further inform the inevitable flood of (often-unwarranted) Dylan titles that will undoubtedly surface in the future. As the man himself recently lamented in Rolling Stone, ‘most people who write about music, they have no idea what it feels like to play it’ (Dylan, in Lethem 2006). Negus’s lively, aesthetically informed Dylan primer can surely withstand any such accusation.
John Scannell, Macquarie University, Perfect Beat, 11.1 (2010)
Negus is an informed scholar and an avid Dylan fan. Recommended.
Choice, December 2008
Keith Negus’ new book is an indispensable primer on Dylan’s art. It’s original, smart, finely written, and concise (but not slight). Highly recommended.
Gerry Smith, The Dylan Daily
Author Keith Negus, of Goldsmiths College at the University of London, offers an interesting and authoritative examination of Dylan’s music and his exploration of Dylan’s use of voice, guitar playing, piano and harp, and his perhaps contentious thinking on Dylan’s ‘John Wesley Harding’ / ‘Nashville Skyline’ / ‘Self Portrait’ post motorcycle accident period are all worthwhile additions to the plethora of available Dylan literature. Negus is not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom (which is fine) and many of his arguments are quite convincing.
Derek Barker, ISIS: The Bob Dylan Magazine