Bob Dylan
The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)


4.5
superb

Review

by Arjun Sajip USER (5 Reviews)
September 15th, 2013 | 7 replies | 1,245 views


Release Date: 08/27/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Whether or not you're a fan of Dylan's 'country' period, this album is essential if you have even a passing interest in English and/or American folk music.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Sometimes it’s hard not to lose faith in Columbia Records. Sure, Columbia/CBS has been the label for many of the greatest musicians in history: the Clash, Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis. But then it goes and makes dumb mistakes on prominent front-covers. The subtitle of the new Dylan release is ‘Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)’, despite there being music on there from 1967. Still, never mind. I guess we should be grateful.

Anyone with even a fleeting interest in old anglophone folk music needs to hear this album. It’s fresh, fertile, and fantastically (if occasionally gratingly) sung, and provides a crucial new perspective on some of Dylan’s most maligned years: 1969-1971, a period that saw him settle down in cosy domesticity and croon at people, often accompanied by luminaries such as Johnny Cash and George Harrison. There are a couple of songs on this 35-song double-disc set that feature the former Beatle, both of which are great fun: ‘Working on a Guru’, which makes about as much sense as its title suggests, and a version of ‘Time Passes Slowly’ that betters the version released on 1970’s underrated New Morning.

Folk music, in its truest sense, is not constituted simply by an artist sitting on a stool and plucking away at an acoustic guitar. There are histories, narratives, characters and traditions to incorporate, and strident protestations or pointed social commentary are not prerequisites. (Ironically, Dylan played a key role in synonymising folk and protest.) This two-hour set contains no protest songs. All the tracks are simple, though often profound; nearly half are covers, and most of the songs deal with characters colourful (‘This Evening So Soon’); elusive (‘Pretty Saro’, ‘Went to See the Gyspy’); impoverished (‘Minstrel Boy’, ‘Only A Hobo’); and/or hallucinatory (‘Tattle O’Day’). We meet whiskey-brewers and drunkards, murderers and victims, lovers and the beloved. And we’re fortunate to encounter, in a stroke of centuries-old, non-Dylan-patented surrealism, a bellowing bull who stands four inches high. Presumably not as high as the ditty’s author, then.

Some of the most interesting material springs from Dylan’s interpretations of British folk traditionals; he’s perfect for them. If you’d rather not shell out £13 (an investment I’d recommend), download ‘This Evening So Soon’, ‘Pretty Saro’, ‘Went to See the Gypsy [Demo]’, ‘Copper Kettle’, and ‘Belle Isle’. Those five are essential: Beautiful with a capital ‘b’.


user ratings (8)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
September 15th 2013



5681 Comments


I haven't listened to this one yet but his Bootleg series are excellent.

Review is well written, pos.

Digging: Donovan - Sunshine Superman

NightmareCinema16
September 15th 2013



2016 Comments


I like Bob Dylan's early 70s works, so I'll prob give this a listen. POS.

Rawben
September 16th 2013



168 Comments


Cool. Really like Bob Dylan, I wonder if he'll release another studio album. Anyone else notice Tempest might be his last one as "The Tempest" was Shakespeare's last play?

AgainAnd
September 16th 2013



152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm a tad bothered by the paragraph opening:

"I mentioned folk music earlier."

You'd make for a better transition to the next topic if referring backwards to the text wasn't quite as heavy-handed. Some little rephrasing could work, or you could consider dropping the sentence completely. The paragraph works quite fine without it.

As you can probably tell from how small a thing my criticism is directed at, there's really nothing more wrong with your review, which is very solid. Hence, Pos.

Digging: Casualties of Cool - Casualties of Cool

thinbrownduke
September 22nd 2013



7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the feedback, guys! @AgainAnd, I'll edit the piece accordingly.
Sorry to sound ignorant, but what does 'pos' mean?

AgainAnd
September 22nd 2013



152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No problem. Pos is just an established Sputnik shorthand for "positive". That is, going for the positive option (Yes) on the question

"Was this Review Well Written? Yes | No"

thinbrownduke
September 23rd 2013



7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@AgainAnd - thanks. Thought it was something like that. And I have also recently been enjoying the Good Cap'n's 'Safe As Milk'



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