Friday, October 21, 2011

Finally Reading Alias Bob Dylan by Stephen Scobie

Scobie, Stephen. Alias Bob Dylan. Red Deer, Alta., Canada: Red Deer College Press, 1991. Print.

I am going to turn the clock back to November 11, 2002 when we saw Bob Dylan play at the main arena of Madison Square Garden.  I chatted with the gentleman sitting next me who  was Stephen Scobie who wrote book listed above.  I vaguely remember reading a book review of that, but I don't think I ever read it.  Anyway this week I was able to get it from the Queensborough Public Library.  I am quoting from the book jacket "Bob Dylan has taken on many guises.  Engimatic and elusive, he has never once given his vast audience anything close to what is expected.  He has preferred instead to be "Alias" the character that he played in Sam Peckinph's film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

I just started the book and read only the first chapter, so I will have write a revised entry later.  Anyway when I see the alias theme I think of my two favorite Dylan songs Maggie's Farm and (Stuck Inside of Mobile) With the Memphis Blues Again .  Maggie is a person I know very well while the farm is a place I must visit quite frequently.  Likewise Memphis and Mobile are not cities in the South.

Certainly much has been written by and about Bob in the 20 years since the publication of Alias Bob Dylan.  I first think of the film Masked and Anonymous where Dylan plays Jack Fate who fronts a band called Simple Twist of Fate.  Of course there is the surrealistic biopic I'm Not There where 5 actors and one actress play Dylan with 6 different names.

I will have to use my library skills to see if Stephen Scobie has written articles since 1991 on Dylan and the alias theme.  I have three books on my Amazon Kindle that I have not finished, but I think I am going to have to drop to read one more Bob Dylan book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Bruce, if you are enjoying Steven Scobie's book, take a look at mine.

Understanding Bob Dylan: making sense of the songs that changed modern music is a comprehensive analysis of Dylan’s songs.

To read six excerpts from the book, go to the Understanding Bob Dylan blog at:

Understanding Bob Dylan is meticulously researched, with references to 90 Dylan songs, detailed textual analysis of 20 songs including “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”, “Simple Twist of Fate” and “Visions of Johanna”, as well as hundreds of other lyricists, musicians and literary critics. It also draws on Dylan’s archive, and his hand-written notebook for Blood on the Tracks.

Understanding Bob Dylan examines the literary themes Dylan has used since his early days to the present to shape an extraordinary body of work. Understanding Bob Dylan explores Dylan’s writings about love, sex and money; his interest in creativity (letters and writing are always negative in Dylan’s song); his lyrics on the highway and boundaries (no-one goes through a door in any of Dylan songs, except one); and his writing about time, memory and depth (did you know Dylan is an insomniac and obsessed with time?).

To order a copy of the book, go to:

Please note Understanding Bob Dylan is available only on

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