Forty-four years ago, on June 8, 1970, Bob Dylan’s most controversial album, Self Portrait, was released.
At the time the album was almost universally disliked by rock critics.
The album found Dylan covering an eclectic group of songs. Most were covers. A few were live versions of older songs. And there were three new songs — surprisingly Dylan didn’t even sing on one of them.
I was 17 when I got the album. I loved it. This was Dylan doing something new and different.
My mind was open. Dylan was going through changes and this two-record set was how he chose to express himself.
I published a rock magazine, Hard Road, that summer of 1970, and I wrote a review of Self Portrait.
It began like this:
“All the tired horses in the sun, how am I supposed to get any writing done?”
That may well be the theme for the new Dylan album. An album of few new Dylan compositions but many new surprises anyway. Self Portrait is a cumulation of nine years of recording. From the simple structure of the first Dylan album through the complexities of Blonde On Blonde, and back to the country melodies of Nashville Skyline. It’s all documented here for your listening pleasure. It’s an album abut Bob Dlan, poet, folk singer, folk-rock originator and rock and roll star.
Last year saw the release of Another Self Portrait.
That album, which includes alternative takes and unreleased songs from Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait, and New Morning plus a few others, is a completely different album than Self Portrait. An even better album.
Below is a very cool 11 minute mini-documentary on the making of Another Self Portrait. If you haven’t yet seen it, now is the time.
Bob Dylan – Another Self Portrait Documentary Short from Columbia Records on Vimeo.
Here’s a Spotify sampling from Another Self Portrait:
Or listen to the entire deluxe version of the album including the Isle of Wight live tracks here.
And here’s the original Self Portrait:
By the way you might want to check out the “True Love Scars” soundtrack playlist here. It’s the music that goes with the first two chapters of my novel.
–- A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –