Jonathan Taplin`s book is part personal history, part rock and roll journey in multimedia iPad book
You know me – I`m into all things Bob Dylan and 60s rock and roll. When Apple released Outlaw Blues – Adventures in Counter-Culture Wars by Jonathan Taplin I was like `show me the store`.
Soon I was trapped in the iPhone store.
The book promised first person narrative from Jonathan Taplin who now teaches at USC. He was Bob Dylan`s tour manager.
Outlaw Blues is a searing tale of the rock and roll and film revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s told by an insider who worked with Bob Dylan and The Band, George Harrison and Martin Scorsese to change the cultural landscape of America.
The book is one of the first Enhanced E-Books with more than 100 video clips embedded throughout the story of the American counter-culture. iTunes
I downloaded the 22 page sample of Outlaw Blues with anticipation.
iTunes shopping experience
Within a few minutes I felt trapped in an iTunes shopping experience. The e-book is filled with hyperlinks on cool musical topics; however, the links don`t provide more information. They lead the reader to the iTunes store to spend more money on music.
Some links you might get lucky – the message is `Your request could not be completed`. Incongruously, Dylan`s Highway 61 Revisited got the error message every time.
Outlaw Blues from Bob Dylan`s Bringing it All Back Home
After each link, you have to navigate back to the iPad home screen and click on iBooks again. My fingers got tired of the click, click, swipe.
In just 20 pages of the e-book, it was suggested that I spend between $34 and $364 on music references. By extension, 460 pages of Outlaw Blues could cost a whopping $680 to $7,200 at the iTunes store. I hope Taplin is getting commission.
In reality, the book is an $11 history course in American rock and roll with $7,000 in course materials. Perhaps if Bob Dylan and 60s folk and rock are new to you it might be a choice.
Video short clips
The video clips are just that – 26 to 29 second clips that leave you more frustrated than someone trying out the 1992 Grolier`s Multimedia Encyclopedia on CDROM.
Grolier`s had multimedia video clips way back then but they were short and never satisfying. At least Grolier`s did have complete clips like Armstrong landing on the moon, Kennedy`s Ask Not speech and Martin Luther King`s I have a dream.
Take your favorite Bob Dylan song and cut it to 26 seconds. Songs end in the middle of words, mid beat and mid phrase.
If Taplin wanted to have a multimedia eBook he could have licensed the material or just linked to YouTube like we all do.
Outlaw Blues by The White Stripes
The e-Book contents
“Everybody knows by now that there’s a gazillion books on me.” Dylan predicted in a recent blog, “either out or coming out in the near future.”
“So I’m encouraging anybody who’s ever met me,” wrote Dylan, ” heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them.” NJN
The first chapter in the sample reads like a first person account of life on the folk and rock stage during the 60s. Taplin was hired to manage the Kweskin Jug Band as a 16 year old. Later he worked on Bob Dylan`s tour. Other gigs included George Harrison and Martin Scorsese.
The book has the insider`s view on what was happening behind the scenes. If that is worth something to you, the $11 price is reasonable despite the frustrations.
For a more complete view of Dylan`s early career, Bob Dylan – No Direction Home DVD is the best place to start. Dylan narrates on camera and there are plenty of full length videos and interviews.
Where to buy or try – Outlaw Blues – Adventures in Counter-Culture Wars by Jonathan Taplin