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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 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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on 23 December 2017
Brilliant ......totally excellent. I was around when original self portrait was released, and I despised all those idiots queuing up to knock it.......anyone with half a brain, half a soul, and half an ear would be able to see what great music this was. This boxed set just confirms that.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 15 June 2016
With it's fine packaging, informative notes and superb sound, this 'Bootleg Series' re-appraisal of Bob Dylan's 'difficult' Self-Portrait era recordings sets the album in it's proper context; although not the greatest of his albums, this set forces the listener to re-evaluate the album, and over forty-odd years later...it doesn't sound half bad. I may not play this as much as, say the 'Tell Tale Signs' or 'Basement Tapes' bootleg sets, but I know there'll be times when only 'Another Self Portrait' will do. For deep catalogue fans, maybe, but a rewarding listen.
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on 18 November 2013
Dylan seems to be one of those artists that people really like or really can't find anything nice to say about. I am in the first camp and paid up, a bit much I think, for the deluxe version. Was keen to hear the IoW concert in full and all the other stuff that came with it. Have many Dylan albums and the linear notes are usually a good read. Overall I enjoyed hearing songs not previously released though suspect that this version that I purchased is for the big fan that can't seem to get enough of the man! Always interesting to note that the Dylan bandwagon rolls on and that there is likely a lot of stuff that Columbia have stashed away that they will eke out over a period of time. Let's hope they do it in my lifetime ! A good example would now be 'unseen ' footage of the IoW concert that has been hidden in someone's loft since 1969 or a live dvd of when he pitches up at The Albert Hall next week. I will be there !
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on 22 September 2013
I got off the 'must have everything train' some time ago when I ignored the CD release of duplicated material in order to get the only available version of Things have changed. A small gesture of defiance but a quite significant change for me. Tell Tale Signs was next when I simply refused to buy the astronomically priced 3 CD version and satisfied myself with a bootleg of that 3rd disc. This time around I simply couldn't resist shelling out for the deluxe Another Self Portrait in order to get the historically important I.O.W. performance but I don't agree with all those who say that the addition of a couple of (admittedly tasty) books justifies a £70 - £80 price tag. The claims that because the music on those first two CDs is so magnificent (true) makes them worth the money is to me the same as saying that Sony themselves, not Dylan, are responsible for their brilliance.

The point seems to me to be one of why, in these times of dizzyingly varying formats that these sets are released in, couldn't we have had a reasonably priced version that fell in between the 2 CD one and that with a remastered Self Portrait - i.e. with just the 2 studio CD's and I.O.W.? Well, I guess we all know the answer to that one. Shove in an upgrade of a CD we already have (and many of us don't want) and help that to make the purchase look better value for money (along, of course, with making it the only way to get the concert disc). I've no argument with those fans who will always buy the most complete product on offer - naturally that's their choice - but if you think we're not getting screwed again and again by Sony, I believe you're mistaken. I remember the early 70s outcry on the release of More Greatest Hits that, in order to get just 5 previously unreleased Dylan songs, one had to fork out for an entire double vinyl album. How times have changed!

Off the 'value for money' theme, I'd just like to add that I'm mildly surprised at the overwhelming praise Dylan's I.O.W. performance has garnered. I find it uneven, at best, with Dylan's affected Nashville Skyline voice woefully unsuited to much of the material. (Thank goodness his flirtation with this manner of singing was so brief!) There are great moments, sure - Highway 61, Quinn the Eskimo and pretty much all of Dylan's solo set, in particular - but some of his vocals are so bloodless that it's not hard to see why his performance was fairly widely reviewed as weak at the time. Don't misunderstand me, the concert's of such historical importance that I don't regret for a minute having obtained it, and yes, it has its moments, but so much of it is lacklustre with Dylan blowing lyrics and throwing away songs in deference to his (then) preferred singing style. Have a look back at the original Greil Marcus review's comments on Like a Rolling Stone - they're spot on. God, it's awful! (Laughingly, the Self Portrait songbook at that time included a review that claimed the song "has never sounded better" - at a time when it was obvious that the song had never sounded worse. Mind you, such tripe could be expected from a review that begins with such tepid enthusiasm as "I have been listening to the Bob Dylan Self Portrait album . I think it is a good record and that you should consider buying it ") Anyway, nice to hear Bob's continued shouts of encouragement and appreciation to The Band (not something you'll hear too often!) and they really do play their socks off. (Oh yeah, I nearly forgot to say, the studio CDs are truly wonderful.)
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on 3 March 2014
To buy the CDs is prohibitively expensive but the MP3 version is a bargain! There seem to be two versions on sale at Amazon - one with 20+ tracks and one with 50+ tracks, at the same price, so be careful which you buy. As for the content, it's brilliant. I have followed Dylan since his first LP and although I am still a fan and have seen him many times including in the last year, there is no doubt that his earlier stuff is the most consistently brilliant. This collection is so full of little gems it would take too long to describe them. Do yourself a favour and buy it and sit back and enjoy!
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on 30 November 2013
This makes fantastic listening. It's hard to judge Dylan after hearing so much over such a long period, but this is making me wonder whether, if all his releases had come out at the start, if this would have been regarded as one of the best. It's great value for money, and when I've played it in my house, people who love and/or hate Dylan all love this. For me, the production is great, the songs/versions are fantastic and the experience of delving into old and new is a complete joy. For a man who must read 'your new material doesn't compare to your old', it must be a great feeling to dip into the back pocket and pull out such a range of songs as this from a two year period. I wonder what's up his other sleeve...
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on 29 November 2013
When I was about 17 a friend of mine (another Dylan fan) played me some tracks from the original Self Portrait album. Have to say I thought it was the worse Dylan album I had ever heard, indeed maybe the worse thing I had ever heard! Still what did I know at 17??

So buying this album was for me even as a Dylan fantic a major leap of faith - how wrong was I! The album is an absolute gem! Too many great tracks to mention here, the entire CD has a fantastic sound and atmosphere!

Best Album of 2013!
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on 16 September 2013
You may have gathered by now that I am a Dylan fan.

I have always liked the original 'Self Portrait' album, and have taken substantial criticism and abuse :-) because of this.

The current new collection of alternative takes, original recordings without overdubs, and stuff not previously released is an absolute gem of great beauty and artistic merit. The inclusion of the remastered recording of Bob's (in) famous appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival is pure bonus!

I know it is a ridiculously expensive set, but I count every penny *very* well spent.
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