Sunday, 1 September 2013

Art of the Cover - Bob Dylan's "Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10" (2013)

The never ending Bootleg Series rolls on and steps into double figures with this double-CD collection of unreleased recordings, demo recordings, and alternative takes from Dylan's 1969/70 albums New Morning and, oddly, the much maligned Self Portrait. Thirty-five tracks in all.

Like the original "Self Portrait", the cover features a Dylan painting (presumably, not knocked up in five minutes like that on the original) but is far less minimalist - daring to include both the album title and the  artist title this time!

Actually seems like a portrait of former Republic Of Ireland footy manager, Mick Mc Carthy (of whom, Bob is famously a big  fan!)

Yap, it's Another Side Of Bob Dylan's Self Portrait and New Morning  Revisited ... a re-exploration of both Bob's under-rated New Morning and his highly controversial 1969 collection, which caused much brouhaha amongst Dylan fans and especially amongst delicate music critics.

The latter was as album that received extremely poor reviews upon release, with the Rolling Stone review by Greil Marcus' famously opening with the sentence ...."What is this shit?"


The over-reaction was only to be expected after a string of era-defining masterpieces from a man who had been almost deified by fans (and critics.) And then, totally out of leftfield, after a long period of silence comes this melange of session out-takes, live performance, odd cover versions! And lots of it ... a double album, no less! 

An album which has been described by Dylan as many different things during various interviews down the years; things like a fuck-you to the legion of crazy fans that were making his life in Woodstock a living hell; a fuck-you to the record company who he considered leeches; his own version of a Dylan bootleg; an LP in the tradition of heroes like the Everlys; a concept album of sorts! .... So, take yer choice!

Or was it, as  weirdbrother nicely puts it .....
Prime proto-Americana: glowing string arrangements; female backing singers ten years before ubiquitous gospel backline wailers; instrumentals before official light of day on Pat Garrett soundtrack; front porch old-timey vibes prefiguring Theme Time Radio Hour by almost half a century. Suddenly, the Johnny Cash duets make perfect sense. 

A blurb for this goes ...
Another Self Portrait reveals fresh aspects of Dylan's vocal genius as he re-imagines traditional and contemporary folk music as well as songs of his own. Across these unvarnished performances, Dylan is the country singer from Nashville Skyline ("Country Pie" and "I Threw It All Away"), an interpreter of traditional folk ("Little Sadie," "Pretty Saro") who's right at home singing the songs of his contemporaries (Tom Paxton's "Annie's Gonna Sing Her Song" and Eric Andersen's "Thirsty Boots") before returning to writing and singing his own new music ("Went To See The Gypsy," "Sign On The Window".)

Bizarrely, The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 features liner notes written by the aforementioned Marcus! ... Is this what's meant by post-modern irony?!

Also included is an extensive essay from journalist Michael Simmons.

The set also contains rare photographs of that era from John Cohen and Al Clayton

As well as the standard two disc configuration, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) will also be available in special four-disc deluxe boxed set which will include, for the first time ever, the complete historic performance by Bob Dylan and The Band from the Isle of Wight Festival on August 31, 1969 as well as a remastered version of the original Self Portrait.

Housed in a slipcase, the deluxe edition will include the newly remastered version of the Self Portrait album, in its entirety with original sequencing, in addition to two hardcover books featuring revisionist liner notes penned by Greil Marcus.

A vinyl version of The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 will include the album's 35 tracks on three LPs plus a 12" x 12" booklet,

The various configurations dropped August 27, 2013.


Disc 1
No. Title Length
1. "Went To see The Gypsy" (demo version) 3:00
2. "Little Sadie" (without overdubs, Self Portrait) 2:02
3. "Pretty Saro" (unreleased, Self Portrait) 2:16
4. "Alberta #3" (alternate version, Self Portrait) 2:37
5. "Spanish Is The Loving Tongue" (unreleased, New Morning) 3:51
6. "Annie's Going To Sing Her Song" (unreleased, Self Portrait) 2:22
7. "Time Passes Slowly" (alternate version, New Morning) 2:18
8. "Only A Hobo" (unreleased, Greatest Hits II) 3:25
9. "Minstrel Boy" (unreleased, The Basement Tapes) 1:39
10. "I Threw It All Away" (alternate version, Nashville Skyline) 2:25
11. "Railroad Bill" (unreleased, Self Portrait) 2:44
12. "Thirsty Boots" (unreleased, Self Portrait) 4:06
13. "This Evening So Soon" (unreleased, Self Portrait) 4:49
14. "These Hands" (unreleased, Self Portrait) 3:43
15. "In Search of Little Sadie" (without overdubs, Self Portrait) 2:26
16. "House Carpenter" (unreleased, Self Portrait) 5:59
17. "All The Tired Horses" (without overdubs, Self Portrait) 1:15
Total length:
Disc 2
No. Title Length
1. "If Not For You" (alternate version, New Morning) 2:29
2. "Wallflower" (alternate version, 1971) 2:18
3. "Wigwam" (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait) 3:10
4. "Days Of '49" (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait) 5:13
5. "Working On A Guru" (unreleased, New Morning) 3:43
6. "Country Pie" (alternate version, Nashville Skyline) 1:27
7. "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" (at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1969) 3:31
8. "Highway 61 Revisited" (at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1969) 3:39
9. "Copper Kettle" (without overdubs, Self Portrait) 3:35
10. "Bring Me A Little Water" (unreleased, New Morning) 3:58
11. "Sign On The Window" (with orchestral overdubs, New Morning) 3:51
12. "Tattle O'Day" (unreleased, Self Portrait) 3:49
13. "If Dogs Run Free" (alternate version, New Morning) 4:10
14. "New Morning" (with horn section overdubs, New Morning) 4:04
15. "Went To See The Gypsy" (alternate version, New Morning) 3:33
16. "Belle Isle" (without overdubs, Self Portrait) 2:35
17. "Time Passes Slowly" (alternate version #2, New Morning) 3:02
18. "When I Paint My Masterpiece" (demo version) 3:53
Total length:

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