Bob Dylan: Another Self Portrait (and video promo)

Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Volume 10 Another Self PortraitVolume 10 of the continuing “Bootleg Series” of official Bob Dylan releases will mainly cover the period from 1969 to 1971; in other words sessions from Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning and other odds and ends from the time. The emphasis appears to be on outtakes and original stripped-down mixes of songs from the Self Portrait sessions. A three-minute video promo has been released by Sony (embedded at bottom). The release is titled Another Self Portrait.

Whenever the much-maligned Self Portrait album is mentioned, reference is nearly-always made to the first line of the review that the album received in Rolling Stone magazine, namely: “What is this shit?” That was written by Greil Marcus. While I do not know, I have to speculate that Bob Dylan himself must find it rather exquisitely ironic that the same Greil Marcus has now written the liner notes for this forthcoming release, extolling the music that comes from the vaults of the same sessions. Naturally Marcus would be well aware of the irony also.

Self Portrait, which Bob Dylan said in later years was deliberately concocted (and especially given that title) to alienate the kind of people who were demanding he make music with the right messages, contains twenty-four tracks in its original form, and in my view—despite terrible unevenness—it always has had at least ten very listenable and indeed lovely tracks. “Living The Blues,” “Copper Kettle,” “Minstrel Boy,” “Let It Be Me,” “Blue Moon,” and, well, you pick the other five.

Bob Dylan has long seemed to harbor a kind of secret desire to be a crooner and interpreter of other-people’s popular songs, despite his place in history as such a preeminent songwriter and folk-music interpreter, and to be honest I’ve always enjoyed it when he’s done this, schmaltz and all. I love those Dean Martin tunes he cut some years ago: “You Belong To Me” and “Return to Me.” And the Christmas album is just sheer delight from start to finish, and a deeply refreshing and loving take on those old standards. (In fact, that reminds me: I should put it on now. It’s just the thing to cool you down in July when it’s 96 degrees.)


So I for one am looking forward to everything about this new release. It’s set to come out on August 27th. The standard 2-CD release (and there will also be vinyl) will contain thirty-five tracks. Looking at the list, I think some of them may have been heard in some form as genuine bootlegs, but there seems to be a great deal here that has never been heard. A 4-CD “deluxe” boxed set (for a lot more money) will contain a remastered version of the originally-released album and a complete recording of Bob Dylan and the Band playing live at the Isle of Wight in 1969, which is said to be better-mastered than the few tracks from that show which were on the original Self Portrait.

So the track list of the 2-CD release is as follows (via BobDylan.com):

The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)

CD 1

1 Went To See The Gypsy (demo)
2 In Search Of Little Sadie (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
3 Pretty Saro (unreleased, Self Portrait)
4 Alberta #3 (alternate version, Self Portrait)
5 Spanish Is The Loving Tongue (unreleased, Self Portrait)
6 Annie’s Going To Sing Her Song (unreleased, Self Portrait)
7 Time Passes Slowly #1 (alternate version, New Morning)
8 Only A Hobo (unreleased, Greatest Hits II)
9 Minstrel Boy (unreleased, The Basement Tapes)
10 I Threw It All Away (alternate version, Nashville Skyline)
11 Railroad Bill (unreleased, Self Portrait)
12 Thirsty Boots (unreleased, Self Portrait)
13 This Evening So Soon (unreleased, Self Portrait)
14 These Hands (unreleased, Self Portrait)
15 Little Sadie (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
16 House Carpenter (unreleased, Self Portrait)
17 All The Tired Horses (without overdubs, Self Portrait)

CD 2

1 If Not For You (alternate version, New Morning)
2 Wallflower (alternate version, 1971)
3 Wigwam (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait)
4 Days Of ’49 (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait)
5 Working On A Guru (unreleased, New Morning)
6 Country Pie (alternate version, Nashville Skyline)
7 I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (Live With The Band, Isle Of Wight 1969)
8 Highway 61 Revisited (Live With The Band, Isle Of Wight 1969)
9 Copper Kettle (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
10 Bring Me A Little Water (unreleased, New Morning)
11 Sign On The Window (with orchestral overdubs, New Morning)
12 Tattle O’Day (unreleased, Self Portrait)
13 If Dogs Run Free (alternate version, New Morning)
14 New Morning (with horn section overdubs, New Morning)
15 Went To See The Gypsy (alternate version, New Morning)
16 Belle Isle (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
17 Time Passes Slowly #2 (alternate version, New Morning)
18 When I Paint My Masterpiece (demo)

Video promo:

Addendum: By the way, that new “self portrait” on the cover doesn’t look very much like Himself, does it? I would bet that it is indeed based on someone else. (But then, as Rimbaud said, “I is another,” right?) Well, one more thing people can enjoy trying to figure out.

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