The drama of Bob Dylan's early years as a songwriter and recording artist is well known. Through his songs and recordings, he rapidly established himself as a major artistic force at a very fertile time in American and world culture.
The young artist was so much an embodiment of that politically and socially turbulent time that the next period in his life and work was shaped by the further drama of his struggles with his own myth (his seven-year withdrawal from performing and his dramatic return to the world and the stage, and the very public self-explorations of his Rolling Thunder Review, his album Blood on the Tracks, his film Renaldo & Clara, and his "gospel period").
A decade later, in the view of many observers, Dylan's career reached a low point with such albums as Down in the Groove and Dylan & the Dead and his starring role in the unrewarding film Hearts of Fire.
Now the long-awaited third volume in Paul Williams's acclaimed Performing Artist series, Bob Dylan - Mind Out of Time, portrays this difficult patch (Dylan later spoke of not being able to remember the meaning of his own songs as he sang them onstage in summer 1987) as a breakthrough moment that led to the extraordinary mature work of Dylan's life as a performer known as "The Never Ending Tour," and culminated in his rediscovery of himself as a songwriter and recording artist in the universally praised 1997 and 2001 albums Time Out of Mind and Love And Theft.
Like the earlier volumes in this series, Bob Dylan - Mind Out of Time provides the basis for a reassessment of Bob Dylan's work as an artist and a deeper understanding of what motivates him and how he views himself and his work...while giving us an in-depth look at his artistic struggles and triumphs during a particular moment in his life and art.
After focusing on the start and roots of the Never Ending Tour, Williams surveys Dylan's work in 1990, and the 1997 Time Out of Mind and 2001 Love and Theft albums. There's also an essay on a fine examples of a Never Ending show from 1998. Paul William's writing about Bob Dylan has been praied by such distinguished Dylan fans as Sam Shepard, Jerry Garcia and Allen Ginsberg. One member of Dylan's band says he found reading William's books on Dylan helpful when he first joined the band and needed to become more familiar with his new boss's huge output of work.