Blood in the Tracks: The Minnesota Musicians Behind Dylan’s Masterpiece

Univ. of Minnesota. Sept. 2023. 216p. ISBN 9781517914271. $24.95. MUSIC
Musician/songwriter Metsa (Alphabet Jazz) and journalist Shefchik (Everybody’s Heard About the Bird) delve deeply into the creation of Bob Dylan’s critically acclaimed 1975 album Blood on the Tracks. It was recorded in New York City in September 1974, but Dylan wasn’t satisfied with the songs. When he went home to Minnesota for the December holidays, he recruited some local musicians to rework five tracks that appeared on the album. These musicians did not receive any official credit for their work until volume 14 of the 2018 “Bootleg Series,” More Blood, More Tracks. The authors profile the six musicians: Chris Weber (guitar), Billy Peterson (bass guitar), Bill Berg (drums), Gregg Inhofer (keyboard), Kevin Odegard (guitar), and Peter Ostroushko (mandolin/violin). Dylan had an easy rapport with them, and the account of the Minneapolis sessions makes for compelling reading, although some of it was covered in A Simple Twist of Fate by Odegard and Andy Gill. The book’s last 70 pages are devoted to the post-Blood careers of the musicians, with tales of bands, studio work, non-music careers, divorce, and addiction.
VERDICT Not entirely new, this book’s stories focus much more on the musicians and their brief brush with music history.
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