The Old, Weird America
The World of Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes
Author: Greil Marcus
Previously published as Invisible Republic and already considered a classic of modern American cultural criticism, this is an updated edition of Greil Marcus's acclaimed book on the secret music made by Bob Dylan and the Band in 1967, which introduced a phrase that has become part of the culture: "the old, weird America."
Marcus's widely acclaimed book is about the secret music (the so-called "Basement Tapes") made by Bob Dylan and the Band while in seclusion in Woodstock, New York, in 1967 a folksy yet funky, furious yet hilarious music that remains as seductive and baffling today as it was more than half a century ago.
As Mark Sinker observed in The Wire: "Marcus's contention is that there can be found in American folk a community as deep, as electric, as perverse, and as conflicted as all America, and that the songs Dylan recorded out of the public eye, in a basement in Woodstock, are where that community as a whole gets to speak." But the country mapped out in this book, as Bruce Shapiro wrote in The Nation, "is not Woody Guthrie's land for made for you and me . . . It's what Marcus calls 'the old, weird America.'" This odd terrain, this strange yet familiar backdrop to our common cultural history--which Luc Sante (in New York magazine) termed the "playground of God, Satan, tricksters, Puritans, confidence men, illuminati, braggarts, preachers, anonymous poets of all stripes"--is the territory that Marcus has discovered in Dylan's most mysterious music. And his analysis of that territory "reads like a thriller" (Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly) and exhibits "a mad, sparkling brilliance" (David Remnick, The New Yorker) throughout.
This special edition includes a new introduction, an updated discography, and never-before-seen photographs of the legendary recording sessions.
“This book is terminal, goes deeply into the subconscious and plows through that period of time like a rake. Greil Marcus has done it again.” -- Bob Dylan