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4.5 out of 5 stars
148
4.5 out of 5 stars
Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£15.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 9 September 2016
I'm a recent convert to Dylan, having bought the utterly magnificent 'Original Mono Recordings' vinyl box set earlier this year, grouping together Dylan's first eight albums. Hence I found myself hooked, and I decided to invest in the most recent release of Dylan's Official Bootleg series, "The Best of The Cutting Edge 1965-1966", also on vinyl. The packaging and quality of that set is excellent - the vinyl sounds wonderful, and the records are accompanied by a stunning 12 x 12 inch soft back book.

I craved for more, so next I went for "Another Self Portrait - Bootleg series Vol. 10", which is similarly presented in a very beautiful card slip-cased collection of 3 LPs plus book. The record company's art department have once again done a wonderful job. I should also say that both these Bootleg sets helpfully include 2 CDs which contain exactly the same tracks as the LPs, presumably for playing in the car or as a useful back-up to the vinyl.

"Another Self Portrait" covers the period 1969-1971 which is often regarded as Dylan's so-called 'fall from grace' amongst fans and critics alike. Yes, some of it is homespun - it was recorded while Dylan was raising a family and wrestling with the consequences that fame had thrust upon him. It is often said that marriage, contentment and rock don't mix too well, but what I hear here is someone who has escaped the madness to re-charge himself, re-connecting himself with the old music of his roots. This was a process that had begun during the "Basement Tapes" sessions (which were themselves seen as rough demos) in 1967. To me, 'Another Self Portrait' is a distillation of that period, but here the music is much better recorded than the Basement Tapes, and without the much-criticised overdubs of the original 'Self Portrait' and 'New Morning' albums, from which these recordings derive.

With most of the vinyl versions of the Bootleg series now out of print or being sold for crazy money, I'm glad that I grabbed these two volumes to accompany the mighty 'Original Mono Recordings' vinyl set. Maybe I'll just stretch to grabbing a vinyl copy of the "Witmark Demos" while it's still available, and settle for CD copies of the rest. These vinyl sets are gorgeous and a real joy to own and listen to.
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on 14 October 2017
Absolutely marvellous mid Dylan. Contains treasures beyond belief. So glad I splashed out.
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on 8 October 2017
V. Good as expected.
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on 11 June 2016
For those who thought Dylan's original Self Portrait was the nadir of his creative career, think again! This collection of original takes from those sessions plus works in progress from New Morning show just how Dylan was digging back into the rich seam of folk and popular music to produce something new which we now call Americana. And what a relief it is to hear Dylan singing in a style where you can hear every word crisp and clear. This is sing-along Dylan at its best.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 August 2013
First of all, a confession: I've always loved 'Self Portrait'. For my money, it's one of Dylan's easiest, warmest and most listenable albums - and, of course, an 'Americana' masterpiece decades before the term was even coined. Perhaps 'Self Portrait' was Dylan's attempt to capture the elusive Basement Tapes spirit with the full resources of Columbia's studios at his disposal. Even if not, as with the 'Basement' sessions, many, many yards of tape were recorded for 'Self Portrait' and, more than once, Dylan did indeed capture lightning in a bottle. What 'Another Self Portrait' proves is that not all of these moments of magic were released on the original album.

So, here's the good news. 'Pretty Saro' is without doubt one of the most gorgeous performances of Dylan's entire career, and is most certainly worth the price of admission all by itself. Close behind are 'Thirsty Boots', 'Tattle O'Day', 'Railroad Bill', 'This Evening So Soon', 'Annie's Gonna Sing Her Song' and yet another outing for one of Dylan's perennial favourites 'Spanish is the Loving Tongue'. All of these are excellent tracks that inexplicably missed the cut for the 'Self Portrait' album. Some are sung in a sensitive tenor folk croon that recalls his very earliest (pre-1961) voice, but with a depth of expression wrought from a decade of performing experience. These are some of Dylan's very finest folk performances, and are an absolute 'must' for any collector.

There are other real goodies here too. In particular, the 'New Morning' out-takes are a revelation. The 'big band' overdubs on the title track give it a real swagger, and an electric piano version of 'Went To See The Gypsy' with the same fuzzy warmth as the Stones' 'Fool To Cry' is simply jaw-dropping. And a 'straight' rendition of 'If Dogs Run Free' make me want to shoot that scat singer all the more. This and a couple of other outtakes show that 'New Morning' could clearly have been a very different and maybe more compelling album than the one eventually released.

When then only the four stars? Quite a few reasons, in fact. Firstly, this is a collection that casts its net very widely indeed, and to my mind it loses coherence as a result. In addition to the various 1970 studio out-takes, there are a couple of discarded takes from 'Nashville Skyline', a 1967 'Basement' recording of 'Minstrel Boy' [begging the question as to when the Basement Tapes will FINALLY get a proper Bootleg Series re-issue], two previously-unissued takes from the 1969 Isle of Wight Concert, a demo of 'When I Paint My Masterpiece', a track from the 1971 session from Happy Traum... In other words, it's a real mixed bag - kind of a 'Tell Tale Signs' for 1967-71 - but sequenced in a way that makes no sense at all and provides a really stop-start listening experience. And despite the period-hopping it's far from comprehensive. A really complete overview of the period would have given us the Cash-Dylan and Dylan-Harrison sessions, the 1968 Woody Guthrie memorial concert and would also have dusted down the 1973 'Dylan' compilation for a long-overdue CD re-release.

Finally, a huge raspberry to Columbia for reserving the full 1969 Isle of Wight concert for the insanely expensive 'executive' version. Sheer greed. Disgraceful. The right thing for Columbia to have done would have been to have re-issued (as separate releases) an extended 2-CD version of 'Self Portrait', an extended 1-CD 'New Morning', a single live CD of Dylan and the Band in 1968-69, covering the Guthrie gig and the Isle of Wight concert, a single CD remaster of 'Dylan', and then a further 2-CD set of other 1968-71 session work, with the Cash-Harrison sessions, the unissued Happy Traum collaborations, plus the remaining outtakes from Nashville Skyline - oh, and both sides of the 'George Jackson' single as well, please. I'd buy the lot!

All in all then, this is a worthwhile set, and is lovely to have, but it's still a pale shadow of being a proper representation of this interesting, transitional and rewarding period in Dylan's career.
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on 22 September 2013
When I put in CD 1 into the player I was immediantly impressed with the beautiful demo Went To See The Gypsy. This demo is far greater than anything that was on the original Self Portrait and this is only the 1st track !
CD 1 continues with many brilliant tracks with a more acoustic guitar and bass/organ mix and less overblown extra's the original album had. This is a revelation for me as I prefer Dylan's albums such as Blood On The Tracks and my favourite The Billy The Kid Soundtrack.
This set of songs is a treasure trove of Dylan that has pleasantly surprised many fans with the more simpler mixes that bring out Bob Dylan's songwriting and his voice has never sounded better.
I am very impressed with the vocals, the great guitar playing and beautiful melodies.
CD 2 contains more tracks of tracks from Self Portrait in remixed form. Even a few tracks from Isle Of Wight 1969 that were previously unreleased.
This is a great collection of hidden gems from the master.
On the downside the booklet is a disappointment with poorly written notes by someone who had originally hated Self Portrait. I would have liked to have read some notes by someone who actually gives a damn.
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VINE VOICEon 26 August 2013
Why spend extra money on this 4 disc `deluxe edition' box set instead of the standard 2 disc Another Self-Portrait?

The main reason is because you get the full 1969 Isle of Wight Bob Dylan and The Band Concert. This has a reputation for being a rather lack-lustre affair because the four tracks originally released were badly mixed and the quality of bootlegs was very poor. In fact this lovingly remastered version shows what a great concert it actually was, with Dylan fully committed to his material and The Band at the top of their game in accompanying him. Dylan's voice was light and lyrical, and nowhere better on display than in the acoustic versions of It Ain't Me Babe, To Ramona and Mt Tambourine Man. Close your eyes and you are transported back over forty years to the front row of a classic Dylan concert.

You also get two hard-back books, the first including essays by Greil Marcus and Michael Simmons. Greil Marcus is at his best here, and his analysis of Little Sadie is very perceptive, perfectly capturing what is so good about Dylan's strange and compelling treatment of this song. The second book contains lots of photos of a relaxed and unguarded Dylan from the Woodstock and New York years, many of which I have not seen before.

And finally - you get a pristine-sounding remastered version of the original Self-Portrait album, which was never as bad as the critics made out anyway.

All in all this deluxe edition is definitely worth having - a fantastic celebration of a period of Dylan's career which turns out to have been full of musical gold that no way justified those `What is this shit?' taunts.
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on 7 November 2013
Further evidence that Dylan rewards his fans more than anyone in releasing not only unreleased material but stuff that is worthy of the original releases themselves. Self Portrait for sure is flawed but had many highlights. So here are some highlights:
1) Great sleevenotes. Love the way Greil Marcus' original review from Rolling Stone 'What is this s***?' is turned into 'what this s*** is'.
2)Tattle O Day Hilarious lyric, should have been on the album, in place of Minstrel Boy for example.
3)Alberta 3 so much better than 1 and 2. What was Bob thinking?
4)The live Isle Of Wight tracks: both better than what turned up on Self Portrait. I love Levon's shouted backing vocal! I am a little pissed off that the entire Isle of Wight concert is only available on the super expensive box set edition, but that is not what I am reviewing here.
5)When I Paint My Masterpiece: good demo, although I prefer the original lyrics to the rock'n rolla lines here. Bob's piano is great.
6)Railroad Bill simple but effective
7)Thirsty Boots easily should have made the album. At the expense of the pretty poor and incongruous 'Like A Rolling Stone' Isle Of Wight version. Why did Self Portrait include such live tracks as they just destroy the continuity of the album.
8) Annie great song, should have replaced Alberta 1 or 2 or 'I've Forgotten More'
9) This Evening So Soon Genuinely moving.
10) Copper Kettle without overdubs, same: moving
11) Working On A Guru: fun song,not great but featuring George H so of specila interst to us Beatles/Dylan fans
12) Spanish Is The Loving Tongue: perhaps the best track here,superb and much better than the later released version (although the 'Dylan' album from 1973 is mysteriously unavailable still!
13) Pretty Saro amazing

Personally the New Morning songs don't do much for me or improve on the album versions. The Nashville outakes are tantalising but I would have preferred a full set of those! But there is so much value for money here that I doubt you will be disappointed.

35 tracks here for a very reasonable price. Wish Bob's contemporaries would reward us so richly. Maybe the reason is because there isn't as much good material still to be released from those folks. We can quibble over the original albums' song selection but here we have it both ways.

'All the tired horses in the sun. How am I supposed to get any ridin' done?' Even that is a great line. So evocative. Even Greil Marcus has reversed his opinion.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 August 2013
Well we all know what Greil Marcus thought of 'Self Portrait' back in 1970. Now I'm no Dylan nut, but I do own his greatest albums, all the Bootleg releases and I know that he is one of the most important artists of the past 50 years. His influence cannot be denied and in my opinion it is equal to The Beatles. Back in the mid 60's when The Beatles heard Dylans first albums they realised there was more to lyric writing than 'she loves you yeah, yeah' and equally when Dylan heard The Beatles albums he realised there was more to making music than strumming an acoustic guitar. But despite my love for many of his albums I know there are those that need to be avoided, 'Saved' 'Under The Red Sky' for instance, and I'd always been led to believe that 'Self Portrait' and 'New Morning' fell into that category. So when I saw that this was the next release in the Bootleg series I was wary. Was this a case of scraping the bottom of the barrel and trying to get more money out of Dylans fans or had something truly revealing been discovered in the vaults? I held back on ordering until I read David Fricke's review in Rolling Stone which indicated it was the latter.

I've never listened to the albums 'Self Portrait' and 'New Morning' (Even in these days of Spotify), but that maybe an advantage as I've come to these recordings with no baggage and can listen to them from a different perspective to many others. All I can say is this really is quite an amazing set of recordings. Dylan had reached a crossroads in his career here, the end of his first decade as a recording artist. He'd been the 'spokesman for a generation' acoustic troubadour on his first albums, and then ventured down the rock'n'roll route, where was he going to go from there. Well, the evidence here suggests he was looking back towards his earlier style, on the whole these are quite bare recordings, mainly acoustic guitars, harmonica and piano, none of the raucous rock'n'roll from Highway 61 etc but a continuation of the styles he had explored on 'John Wesley Harding' and 'Nashville Skyline'. Speaking of Highway 61 there is an amazing recording of this song with The Band from the Isle of Wight festival, along with 'I'll Be Your Baby Tonight'. The whole of that concert is available on the Deluxe edition of this release but I wasn't prepared to fork out £75 for that. But let's concentrate on this edition rather than complain about Columbia's marketing strategy. This really is an outstanding release, when 'The Witmark Demos' was released a few years ago I thought the well had run dry. It has not only not run dry there seems to be plenty more in there if this is anything to go by. I'll even go so far as to say that this could be the most satisfying of all The Bootleg series, and that is saying something as none of them have disappointed me.

To think that over 50 years after his first recording not only is Dylan still able to amaze us with new recordings, but there are 10 volumes of bootleg recordings as well, and for me none of those belong in the category 'scraping the bottom of the barrel'. There are only a few other artists I wish would undertake a similar program (Mick, Keef are you reading this)Dylan really has led the way here. If you were wondering whether or not to buy this volume of the series, wonder no longer it really is quite a revelation.
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on 6 August 2017
BRILLIANT
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