IN REFERENCING ONE of Bob Dylan’s most critically disparaged albums, Columbia Records and the Dylan camp are clearly attempting an act of artistic reclamation with Vol. 10 of the highly acclaimed Bootleg Series.
On the evidence of this three-and-a-half-minutes on the BobDylanTV YouTube channel, they are operating from a position of supreme confidence.
Based around a rediscovered tape of early mix-downs from Dylan’s June 1970 double album of (mostly) pop and folk cover versions, The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) sounds warm, intimate, laid-back and just beautiful. While overdubs, production tricks and track selection on the finished album suggest that Self Portrait might well have been an act of artistic game-playing as well as a piece of musical autobiography, heard here in their raw form the Self Portrait sessions glow with a strange lonesome arcadian intimacy.
As an added delicious bonus, Another Self Portrait also contains outtakes from Dylan’s October 1970 album, the shimmering country-folk surrender to quotidian magic that was New Morning.
Stop Press: Amazon now have full track details of the package: 35 previously unreleased, alternate takes, demos and live versions, with liner notes from Greil Marcus, and MOJO’s own Michael Simmons, plus many rare and unseen early ’70s Dylan photographs from John Cohen and Al Clayton. Apparently, there is also a “Deluxe Version” with two bonus CDs featuring a newly remastered version of Self Portrait and the complete 17-song recording of Dylan & The Band performing live at the Isle Of Wight in 1969. A vinyl version contains 35 tracks across three LPs (and two CDs). Place your orders now: via your local recommended retailer, naturally.