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February 26, 2009 Posted by | Sean Penn, Tilda Swinton, _CARTOON, _CINEMA | Leave a comment

Sean Penn reads an eight–part abridgement of Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, Volume 1.

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Sean Penn reads an eight–part abridgement of Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, Volume 1.


Chronicles Vol. 1 (Abridged) – BBC Radio 2.
52.8 MB @ 64 kbps, 15 min x 8, MP3.
Recorded from BBC Radio 2 Audio stream.


Chronicles Vol. 1is a supreme work. Not only in terms of the fascinating story to be told, but also in the immaculate quality of the writing itself. You really need to read the book. Then re-read it!

One of the finest non-fiction books of recent times. No fucking doubt! I love it!

I normally hate audio versions of literature. It really doesn’t make any sense if the book is of high enough literary quality. In such cases, you need to absorb every word, line, paragraph, every nuance, every item of punctuation on every page. Listening to it is of negligible worth.

Unless of course it’s some rubbish book – like 95% of modern literature – say, a Nick Hornby book, for example!

Here, we make an exception to a certain degree. Mainly because of what Sean Penn brings to the piece. Also mainly too because of the excellent snippets of music it contains.

It’s for sure an excellent accompaniment to the book itself. It’s still no replacement, however!

This is slightly different to what I already posted ages ago – the full original audio version.

This is from a series on BBC Radio 2.

Here’s some blurb on the wonderful Chronicles, Volume 1.

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The uncompromising Bob Dylan tells his story in his own words and lets the reader discover his early motivations and frustrations breaking into the 1960s New York folk scene.

This is a fascinating insight into the man’s mind as we follow him through his struggle to get a record deal, his battle to write songs, recording sessions, influences both literary and musical, his accidents, his traumas and his highs and lows as he becomes probably the greatest singer songwriter of his generation.

To read this classic autobiography we have not only one of America’s greatest contemporary actors but also a friend and neighbour of Bob Dylan’s, Sean Penn, punctuated of course by snatches of some great music from Dylan, Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie, Jack Elliott, Joan Baez and of course Dave Van Ronk.

Dylan’s voice is quintessentially American: generous, engaged, fanciful and rhythmic with a great turn of phrase as one would expect from someone who has written some of the greatest lyrics of our time. It is a poignant reflection on his life, the people whom he has met, the places he has played in, and his many influences all shaping the character of the man and his art.

Summaries of the first 5 episodes:


Episode one: DYLAN SIGNS

Episode one does not commence with the beginning of Bob Dylan’s career (we come to that later) but at the start of his recording career as he signs to both Columbia Records for recording and to Leeds Music for his song-writing, the latter for an advance of one hundred dollars!

We meet Lou Levy the top man at Leeds Music who was married to one of The Andrews Sisters and had been recommended to Bob by Columbia Records. Lou who had dealt with Al Martino and Nat King Cole could never quite get to grips with Dylan’s songs and later at the advice of his new manager Al Grossman, Dylan bought himself out of the contract for one thousand dollars.

We meet John Hammond the man who signed him to Columbia Records. Hammond was a great talent scout and had been responsible for signing great artistes like Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and had recently brought Pete Seeger to Columbia. And we meet the great blues artiste Robert Johnson whose record Hammond had given him on the day of the signing.


Episode Two: THE BIG APPLE

We now go back in time to the day Bob was born in the Spring of 1941 and his school days under the threat of Communist infiltration in the McCarthy era.

In 1961 he arrives in New York and goes straight to Geenwich Village and to the Caf? Wha ran by Fred Neil (he later composed Everybody’s Talking) and asked if he could play…mainly for ‘gastronomic reasons’ – “all the French fries and hamburgers I could eat”.

One of his co-performers who joined him in the kitchen was Tiny Tim. Fred said that he could accompany him on harmonica but he was never given a solo spot. He soon left and hung around The Folklore Centre where he finally met up with one of his heros…Dave Van Ronk.

Bob asked Van Ronk how he could start playing at the gaslight? Van Ronk surlily asked him whether he was a Janitor and then asked him to play something for him. Bob Dylan gave a rendition of Nobody Loves You When You are Down and Out and he got the gig.


Episode Three: AT RAY AND CHLOE’S

Still in the early 60s with Bob Dylan in New York sleeping wherever he could find a sofa. Mainly however he stayed at Ray and Chloe’s place.

During a day on his own in the flat in Vestry Place Greenwich Village we discover his influences as he wanders through the ‘library’ full of books, as he switches on the radio and hears the great Roy Orbison but compared to him the rest of the playlist is “dullsville”, and as he switches on and then off the black and white TV as Wagon Train appears to “be coming from a different country”.

We hear about his visit to a party at Camilla Adams’ place where he meets Cisco Houston, a great friend of Woody Guthrie’s and singer who had sung on many Guthrie recordings. He had a terminal illness and died a few weeks later.

At the party he also met another major influence, Mike Seeger, who was a member of The New Lost City Ramblers. Dylan had seen him play on his own and with the band and was very impressed indeed.

Episode Four: INFLUENCES

Bob Dylan hasn’t yet started writing his own songs but all the time he is searching for musical influences. In episode 4 he is introduced to his two main influences a) Woody Guthrie (songs like: Ludlow Masscre, 1913 Masscre, Jesus Christ, Pretty Boy Floyd – featured in the prog – Hard Travelin’ and This Land is Your Land) and then Rambling Jack Elliott (San Francisco Bay Blues – featured in the prog – Ol Riley and Red Bag Blues and so influenced was he that he started to sound first like Guthrie and then like Elliott.

His love of Guthrie’s music extended to his visiting Guthrie in a hospital where he had mental health problems… and while there he used to play Guthrie’s songs to him on the guitar.

On one occasion Guthrie told Dylan that he would use some songs he had written and to get them from his wife. Dylan went to his house but Guthrie’s wife was not at home and Arlo his son was only 12 and knew nothing about them so Dylan returned empty handed. Many years later these songs were recorded by Billy Bragg and Wilco and given a completely new treatment.

Episode Five: 1961

It’s 1961 and Bob Dylan has moved from accompanying Fred Neil on harmonica at Greenwich Village’s Caf? Wha to earning 60 dollars a week playing a 20 minute set at the Village Gaslight also in the Village.

Other performers there were Paul Clayton, Len Chandler, Stookey, Hal Waters, Romney and his idol Dave van Ronk. The jukebox mainly played Jazz and occasionally he would play Judy Garland’s ‘The Man that Got Away’. Judy also came from Minnesota and the song was written by one of Dylan’s most respected song-writers, Harold Arlen.

In this episode 5 we hear how he came to change his name from Robert Allan Zimmerman to Bob Dylan. Dylan is not writing his own material at this time but he is coming to terms with the fact that he will have to do so soon. So he buries himself in the New York Public Library reading history books in order to get some ideas.

Thanks to the original poster

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May 9, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_LITERATURE, OTHER_SPOKEN WORD, Sean Penn, _BOB DYLAN, _OTHER | Leave a comment

Sean Penn Reads Chronicles Volume One’ by Bob Dylan

Sean Penn Reads ‘Chronicles Volume One’ by Bob Dylan

Audio Book / 2005 / MP3 -192kps / 26 MB / Rapidshare

Now, everybody knows that Robert Zimmerman is the colossus that stands astride all of modern music. His work has, aside from a few dodgy spells in the late seventies and early eighties, been consistently, unprecedently and unfeasibly magnificent.

What’s more, Bob has now become a bit of a polymath. We won’t discuss his ‘acting’ work, but he has most recently put his genius hand to DJing with the incredible Theme Time Radio Hour and has also taken the time to write one of the greatest non-fiction books in recent memory. That self same great book was the very fine ‘Chronicles Volume One’ released in 2005 and I still treasure the wonderful hours I spent poring over every paragraph, every word, every letter therein.

The writing style is flawless, as you’d expect, in the tradition of the great american style laid down by Steinbeck, Faulkner, Carver et al. The imagery is beautiful and, of course, every detail of the story of this unique modern genius is absolutely fascinating in the extreme.

As for Sean Penn, Mr P. is a very fine actor indeed, since all the way back as far as Fast Times at Ridgemont High in 1982 until today, his work has been remarkably consistent and of remarkable quality – aside of course from a few blips such as the dreadful ‘I am Sam’ and ‘Shanghai Surprise’ (let’s blame that vile troll Madonna for the latter!)

So here we are, with this audio version of the fine ‘Chronicles Volume One’ read by Oscar winner Sean Penn.

Now, generally, audio versions of books for non-visually impaired persons, are anathema to me. Listening to a great book is akin to reading about a great album! It’s bullshit! You cannot gain anything real from it.

Granted, audio versions might work in cases the likes of John Grisham and such shit, where all you have there is some dumb plot and zero style. Therefore, you don’t lose much by listening rather than reading…. and, if you’re dumb enough to want to waste time on that type of material, you wouldn’t notice any difference anyways!

However, although dealing with complex subject matter both stylistically and content-wise, here Penn brings a real veracity to the reading and there is a very nice harmony between the writer, the content and the narrator. This is, of necessity, an abridged version of the magnum opus and focuses on the key areas of the book. Check it out and decide for yourself.

I have mixed feelings about “Chronicles” the book. I have none about the audio version. It’s read by Sean Penn, who has, as an actor, the most perfect pitch for accents and who nails Dylan here. He’s hip, but not too. Annoyed, but not self-righteous. He is, in short, the Dylan you imagine when you think of the private Dylan. I can’t imagine a better road trip than to listen to Sean Penn read Dylan — and then to listen to Dylan. Even a daily commute would be ennobled by Sean and Bob. Heck, I can almost see putting it into my iPod …..
— by Jesse Kornbluth, for HeadButler.com

Here she be dylanite dogs;

Chronicles.zip



Now, I only grant you here an opportunity to get an aural taster of the work. Please delete the download within 24 hours and buy the original work!

January 8, 2008 Posted by | OTHER_SPOKEN WORD, Sean Penn, _BOB DYLAN, _MUSIC, _OTHER | Leave a comment

Sean Penn Reads Chronicles Volume One’ by Bob Dylan

Sean Penn Reads ‘Chronicles Volume One’ by Bob Dylan

Audio Book / 2005 / MP3 -192kps / 26 MB / Rapidshare

Now, everybody knows that Robert Zimmerman is the colossus that stands astride all of modern music. His work has, aside from a few dodgy spells in the late seventies and early eighties, been consistently, unprecedently and unfeasibly magnificent.

What’s more, Bob has now become a bit of a polymath. We won’t discuss his ‘acting’ work, but he has most recently put his genius hand to DJing with the incredible Theme Time Radio Hour and has also taken the time to write one of the greatest non-fiction books in recent memory. That self same great book was the very fine ‘Chronicles Volume One’ released in 2005 and I still treasure the wonderful hours I spent poring over every paragraph, every word, every letter therein.

The writing style is flawless, as you’d expect, in the tradition of the great american style laid down by Steinbeck, Faulkner, Carver et al. The imagery is beautiful and, of course, every detail of the story of this unique modern genius is absolutely fascinating in the extreme.

As for Sean Penn, Mr P. is a very fine actor indeed, since all the way back as far as Fast Times at Ridgemont High in 1982 until today, his work has been remarkably consistent and of remarkable quality – aside of course from a few blips such as the dreadful ‘I am Sam’ and ‘Shanghai Surprise’ (let’s blame that vile troll Madonna for the latter!)

So here we are, with this audio version of the fine ‘Chronicles Volume One’ read by Oscar winner Sean Penn.

Now, generally, audio versions of books for non-visually impaired persons, are anathema to me. Listening to a great book is akin to reading about a great album! It’s bullshit! You cannot gain anything real from it.

Granted, audio versions might work in cases the likes of John Grisham and such shit, where all you have there is some dumb plot and zero style. Therefore, you don’t lose much by listening rather than reading…. and, if you’re dumb enough to want to waste time on that type of material, you wouldn’t notice any difference anyways!

However, although dealing with complex subject matter both stylistically and content-wise, here Penn brings a real veracity to the reading and there is a very nice harmony between the writer, the content and the narrator. This is, of necessity, an abridged version of the magnum opus and focuses on the key areas of the book. Check it out and decide for yourself.

I have mixed feelings about “Chronicles” the book. I have none about the audio version. It’s read by Sean Penn, who has, as an actor, the most perfect pitch for accents and who nails Dylan here. He’s hip, but not too. Annoyed, but not self-righteous. He is, in short, the Dylan you imagine when you think of the private Dylan. I can’t imagine a better road trip than to listen to Sean Penn read Dylan — and then to listen to Dylan. Even a daily commute would be ennobled by Sean and Bob. Heck, I can almost see putting it into my iPod …..
— by Jesse Kornbluth, for HeadButler.com

Here she be dylanite dogs;

Chronicles.zip



Now, I only grant you here an opportunity to get an aural taster of the work. Please delete the download within 24 hours and buy the original work!

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Sean Penn, _BOB DYLAN, _MUSIC, _OTHER, _SPOKEN WORD | Leave a comment