cover image The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob

The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob

David Kinney. Simon & Schuster, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4516-2692-6

Since he stumbled upon Dylan’s Biograph album as a teenager long after the album came out, Kinney has been consumed with the enigmatic bard from Hibbing, Minn. He eventually discovers he’s not alone in this fixation and uncovers an “entire nation of unreformed obsessives” like himself who are so fanatical about knowing more about Dylan that they collect bootleg tapes, travel on pilgrimages to Hibbing, and even dig through Dylan’s garbage in search of clues that will reveal his identity. In this unremarkable profile of a few of these Dylanologists, Kinney chronicles some of the reasons that they can’t get Dylan’s voice and music out of their heads, hearts, and homes. For example, Nina Goss and Charlie Haeussler make the pilgrimage to Hibbing to “see the coffee shop where he ate cherry pie with his girlfriend” and to get a feel for the small town that produced this genius. Alan Jules Weberman becomes famous for searching through Dylan’s garbage in search of signs that would help him understand the meaning of Dylan’s songs, eventually turning sour on Dylan. Michael Gray plumbs the depths of Dylan’s music in his own detailed book, Song and Dance Man III, as he illustrates the ways that Dylan weaves lines from blues songs into his own music. In the end, none of these die-hard fans comes closer to finding the real Dylan, but they discover over and over just why Dylan’s music means so much to them. (May)