Bob Dylan Book, With Deep Dive Into His Archives, Due

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Several years ago, a treasure trove containing some 6,000 original Bob Dylan manuscripts was revealed to exist. Their destination? Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The documents, as essential as they are intriguing—draft lyrics, notebooks, and diverse ephemera— comprise one of the most important cultural archives in the modern world. Along with countless still and moving images and thousands of hours of riveting studio and live recordings, this priceless collection now resides at the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, just steps away from the archival home of Dylan’s early hero, Woody Guthrie.

Nearly all the materials preserved at The Bob Dylan Center are unique, previously unavailable, and, in many cases, even previously unknown. As the official publication of The Bob Dylan Center, Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine is the first wide-angle look at the Dylan archives, a book that promises to be of vast interest to both the Nobel Laureate’s many musical fans and to a broader national and international audience as well. The 608-page title, from Callaway Arts & Entertainment (the same company that published 2021’s The Beatles: Get Back book, the companion to the Peter Jackson documentary), arrives Oct. 24, 2023. It’s available for pre-order in the U.S. here and the U.K. here. Watch a trailer for the book below.

A companion compilation album of the same name is being released on Oct. 20 via Legacy Recordings. The new career-spanning collection contains 12 of Dylan’s greatest songs on a single CD and LP, including “All Along the Watchtower,” “Knocking On Heaven’s Door,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Hurricane.”

More from the publisher’s announcement: Edited by Mark Davidson and Parker Fishel, Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine focuses a close look at the full scope of Dylan’s working life, particularly from the dynamic perspective of his ongoing and shifting creative processes—his earliest home recordings in the mid-1950s right up through 2020’s Rough and Rowdy Ways, his most recent studio recording, and into the present day.

The centerpiece of Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine is a carefully curated selection of nearly 1000 images including never-before-circulated draft lyrics, writings, photographs, drawings and other ephemera from the Dylan archive.

The inspiration for “Mr. Tambourine Man” from Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine

With an introductory essay by Sean Wilentz and epilogue by Douglas Brinkley, the book features a surprising range of distinguished writers, artists and musicians, including Joy Harjo, Greil Marcus, Michael Ondaatje, Gregory Pardlo, Amanda Petrusich, Tom Piazza, Lee Ranaldo, Alex Ross, Ed Ruscha, Lucy Sante, Jeff Slate, Greg Tate and many others. After experiencing the collection firsthand in Tulsa, each of the authors was asked to select a single item that beguiled or inspired them. The resulting essays, written specifically for this volume, shed new light on not only Dylan’s creative process, but also their own.

A sample spread from Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine

The book’s editors are Mark Davidson, the Curator of the Bob Dylan Archive and the Director of Archives and Exhibitions for the Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie Centers in Tulsa, and Parker Fishel, an archivist and researcher who was co-curator of the inaugural exhibitions at the Bob Dylan Center.

Watch  the trailer for Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine

Dylan is in the midst of his 2021-2024 “Rough and Rowdy Ways” tour. Tickets are available here and here.

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4 Comments so far

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  1. Jay
    #1 Jay 28 March, 2023, 18:45

    It would be like if Mozart had his own archival center…

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  2. muddywatersmann
    #2 muddywatersmann 29 March, 2023, 03:08

    to be a young man in MPLS when Dylan went electric was a riveting glorious time for me/my friends…we all sang like him, knew his lyrics & poetry/some could even play harmonica like him…we would have ‘group dylan’ improvs and laugh and try 2 outdo each other, but so intrigued by our collective bond w/ dylan & each other..dylan add the byrds/brit invasion/all the folkies/beatles on ed sullivan/elvis/chuck berry/little richard/bo diddley/motown…great time 2 be alive musically

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  3. Psyfolk
    #3 Psyfolk 6 September, 2023, 11:22

    If Any Album Ever Deserved To Include Bob Dylan’s First (Rock) Single Mixed Up Confusion It Was This One – Why All The Same Old Stuff…?

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  4. Grant
    #4 Grant 18 October, 2023, 11:20

    It’s hard to impossible to come up with something new to say about Bob, his life and work and contributions–all that. And so I’ll say only this, which is not new and is obvious, but maybe worth repeating. We are some variation of fortunate to be living at the same time he is, to have listened to his work as he was and is adding to it, to be among those who remember pre-electric, who remember the shock of Self-Portrait, who remember the later-in-life revelation of how wonderful that album is and felt slight shame that we didn’t recognize that when it was new…to still, now, get obsessed with a single-line lyric that we’ve heard a thousand times, but are now looking at in a new way. “Seen the arrow on the doorpost…” And then the special kind of sadness (not the best word) at understanding how, because of his volume, so many songs and lyrics that would have been career-building for anybody else, get lost in the mix, or just don’t get their due. Well, it’s all kind of neat. We’re lucky.

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