Route is delighted to publish a new edition in the Wanted Man Study Series, starting with Take II – Vol.1, Clinton Heylin’s monograph No One Else Could Play That Tune: The Making and Unmaking of Bob Dylan’s 1974 Masterpiece. Here’s a note from Clinton outlining the rebirth of the series.
Between 1983 and 1986, the Bob Dylan Information Office that I had co-founded in 1981 with John Bauldie, Dave Dingle and other friends – known to one and all as Wanted Man – published five monographs in its own, self-proclaimed Study Series.
Each volume, according to the series editor, the late John Bauldie, was supposed to be a ‘stud[y] of [an] individual LP record by Bob Dylan, or of particular themes in Bob Dylan’s written and recorded work’.
The first two volumes published were indeed devoted to specific albums: John Hinchey’s fine essay on Slow Train Coming and John B.’s own monograph on Dylan’s ‘other’ mid-seventies masterpiece, Desire. The intention was to produce work with an academic rigour outside of the rigid confines of academia, which back then was wholly disinterested in Dylan.
If academia has slowly woken up to Dylan’s cultural and artistic importance in the intervening decades – so much so that there is now an Institute of Dylan Studies at the University of Tulsa – the rigour that these Wanted Men displayed then (and now) is still disappointingly hard to find inside most mausoleums of higher learning.
As such, methinks now is the time to revive the Wanted Man Study Series, beginning with an account of what many fans consider the greatest of ‘individual LP records by Bob Dylan’: Blood On The Tracks; in it, I draw on new first-hand interviews and access to the full session histories for the original, so-called ‘New York’ album, recorded between September 16th and the 19th, 1974.
It is hoped that the rebirth of the Study Series will prompt others to follow in the footsteps of John Hinchey, Aidan Day, Nick de Somogyi and Bert Cartwright, submitting further potential volumes to myself – as John’s successor in the role of self-appointed series editor – via Route Books, our new publisher. After all, as the mercurial bard himself said, ‘You can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea.’
– Clinton Heylin, September 2018.