Outtakes On Bob Dylan by Michael Gray Now on General Release


Outtakes On Bob Dylan by Michael Gray is now on general release and is available in all major outlets, with free shipping options.

Here are some order links:

Amazon | Waterstones | Book Depository (Free international shipping) |

Kindle Edition UK | US | CA | FR | DE | NL | ES | IT | AU | JP | MX | IN | BR |

The book was initially published in a collector’s numbered edition, five months ahead of general publication. Here are a selection of early readers’ responses to the book.

‘I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Reading it is like having the world’s largest box of chocolates to dip in to (but without the coffee creme one you dislike)… I read and read and read until I ran out of pages! It has deepened my appreciation of Bob Dylan. It is wonderful to experience that.’

‘An absorbing and characteristically provocative read. Staggering attention to textual and performance detail throughout.’

‘If you buy one book on Bob this year, buy this. It’s wonderful. Follow Michael Gray’s obsession (in the best sense of the word) from his student days to Rough And Rowdy Ways.’

‘Just finished reading Outtakes On Bob Dylan about two hours ago. I’ve enjoyed the book immensely. So many interesting articles and so well written. The writing really is a cut above the others. I particularly loved the article on Christmas In The Heart and the pieces on the 1978 concerts. And the final chapter is monumental: by far the best piece of writing yet on Rough And Rowdy Ways.’

‘A really cracking miscellany – honest, forthright and compelling. I enjoyed this immensely!’

‘I thought it was great. Best fun I’ve had reading a BD book for years. Many great pieces but I loved the Blood on the Tracks, 16 Years and Chelsea Hotel sections especially and the R&R Ways essay was terrific. Lots of acute observations, all of them anchored by MG’s various, sometimes hilarious, always well-described misgivings, distastes and scepticisms as to the whole Bob industry. I didn’t agree with everything (the Xmas album for one) but, in the end, it amounts to the best argued case for our ongoing pleasure, awe and respect. A huge boost to the author’s authority.’

‘Relaxing in the summerhouse with [Michael Gray’s Outtakes] and a few hours of blissful solitude dipping in and out of his great great tome of essays appreciating detail, honesty & knowledge. His love of Dylan’s artistry shines through but it’s real, raw and not sugar-coated.’

‘The book was a great pleasure. The writing was consistently fine and the various articles, in addition to being endlessly interesting and often very funny (the Stockholm account is hilarious), were always illuminating. I especially enjoyed the Isle of Wight, Chelsea Hotel, Minnesota footsteps pieces. The Rough and Rowdy Ways section is excellently done and full of interesting insights and information.’

‘I started with Chapter 1, then about Rough And Rowdy Ways and now reading chronologically. Ah, the bootlegs and what we knew about them – and always searching the real gems. There’s so much I’d like to talk about.’

[Re the R&RW essay: ‘The] measured and tempered enthusiasm is far more valuable than the ecstatic response the album seems to have had more generally. I enjoyed it so much. An astonishing compendium of fact and opinion, all managed with stylish flair, discriminating intelligence, and some wit and good humour. I’m grateful to have had the chance to think about this in response to [the] very fine piece. [Gray is], par excellence, the no bullshit Dylan critic.’

‘It’s so great (and so rare) to read serious writing about Dylan that isn’t academic or pedantic or obscurantist, or vapid and tabloidian, but writing that actually deals with and elucidates Dylan’s art. But that’s always been [Gray’s] m.o. and I have always appreciated [his] approach.’

‘After 11 months of people trying to talk about, write about, make sense of and capture the essence of Rough And Rowdy Ways, it unsurprisingly turns out that we’ve all just been waiting for Michael Gray’s book.’

‘Most critics get lost in the foothills and briars of Bob Dylan studies, entangled in the abrasive personality. Michael Gray is one of the only authors who have ascended the Everest of Dylan and written beautifully about the Shanghai La beyond. Brill to get an early copy of Outtakes.’

‘It’s very nice to be reacquainted with [Gray’s] way of approaching Dylan, particularly with regard to some of the more recent years.’

‘[Gray’s] long and astute appreciation of Rough and Rowdy Ways is worth the price of admission all on its own and is easily the most perceptive reading I’ve yet seen of this flawed yet fascinating album. What a pleasure still to be enjoying [his] ideas on new Dylan records in 2021!’

‘An essential addition to the Bob Dylan bookshelf and Michael Gray collection.’

‘Always a good day when a new Bob Dylan book from Michael Gray arrives. Respected, informed, writing.’

‘Very pleased to have the book. A scan through the contents was enough to move all other books to the back burner.’

‘I’m delighted by it. I immediately read the lovely preface and then jumped straight to the essay about Rough And Rowdy Ways. As always [Gray’s] writing is excellent and a very rich learning experience for me.’

‘I read the RARW chapter first. It’s the definitive word on that album. I look forward to reading it again.’

‘I’ve been snacking away at random bits of the book since it arrived and finding it deliciously interesting and fun.’

‘[I’m] halfway through and am glad to report that it’s a fascinating read, throwing out Dylan connections in all directions.’

‘Not the least of the pleasures that comes from having a substantial new album from Bob for the first time in so long is that it has prompted a wonderfully alert and sympathetic reading from [Gray]: I’m getting so much off of every page in the Rough And Rowdy Ways chapter in Outttakes.’

‘It’s been a while since the book hit my door, but since tonight it has been on my bedside table, facing me and whispering : read me, I’m yours. Never opened it until tonight, for too many reasons, but… I want to share this. I started from the introduction, but then I jumped to the last chapter on Rough And Rowdy Ways. That is really something… You must have this book.’

‘Enjoyed the book very much. The early parts of the book brought back memories of my own Dylan journey… Well worth the price, the postage, the wait and the Swedish VAT. Glad to see a serious in-depth review of the current album. I say current because there’s still so much to discover and digest.’

‘It’s a great book, not only because of Michael’s observations and critical analyses but especially because of being written in a wonderful, meticulous and witty language. (Which sets it apart from too many other books on Bob.)’

‘Well that’s my weekend reading sorted. Always a good day when a new Bob Dyaln book from Michael Gray arrives. Respected, informed writing.’

‘This is worth getting for Michael’s 60-page essay on Rough And Rowdy Ways alone – wonderful piece of writing which made me go back to the album and listen to it all over again. Lots of other gems too – highly recommended.’

‘Just got my copy and it’s a lovely looking book and what makes it intriguing is that these are Michael’s contemporary takes on Bob.’

‘Highly recommended! Even Michael’s asides are very much worth reading.’

Click here for more details on Outtakes On Bob Dylan.

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