MICHAEL Gray, author of definitive books on Bob Dylan’s 50-year body of work, is coming to Dorchester this week to share his expertise on one of contemporary music’s greatest composers.

At Dorchester Arts Centre on November 9, he will trace how rock’n’roll arrived for the teenage Robert Zimmerman, left, how it had disintegrated into safe and shallow pop by the time Dylan was ready to launch his own career and how it lured him back after his folk singing days.

He celebrates Dylan’s crucial role in modernising rock music when he went electric and highlights some of Dylan’s more recent rocking moments, using great records and rare footage.

“I don’t think many other musicians measure up to him,” said Michael.

“The people who might be considered to be on the same planet are Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen.

“The difference is that, since the 60s, singer-songwriters have decided that their gift is to expose their own incredible sensitivity by creating work out of their own head.

“But Dylan has always mediated that by being aware of and soaked in all American culture and draws on the Bible and Blues, Gospel and country, folk and all different kinds of influences. Even when he’s doing the most ridiculous risk-taking, he’s on a par with nobody else.”

Michael’s talk takes his audience through Dylan’s life and career and includes the time he met him backstage at Earl’s Court way back in 1978.

Michael’s witty and lively style guarantees a thoroughly entertaining, fresh account of Dylan’s achievements.

The talk starts at 8pm and tickets are £10 plus concessions from the Dorchester Arts Centre box office on 01306 266926, from the venue in School Lane, The Grove, Dorchester and online from dorchesterarts.org.uk