Friday, July 25, 2008

Album of the Day #6: SELF PORTRAIT - Bob Dylan

Title: Self Portrait
Artist: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Year: 1970
Songs: All The Tired Horses/Alberta, No. 1/I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know [Cecil A. Null]/Days Of ’49 [Alan Lomax & Frank Warner]/Early Morning Rain [Gordon Lightfoot]/In Search Of Little Sadie/Let It Be Me [Gilbert Bécaud, Mann Curtis & Pierre Delanoé]/Little Sadie/Woogie Boogie/Belle Isle/Living The Blues/Like A Rolling Stone/Copper Kettle (The Pale Moonlight) [Albert F. Beddoe]/Gotta Travel On [Dave Lazar, Fred Hellerman, L. Wolfe Gilbert, Larry Ehrlich, Lee Hays, Paul Clayton & Pete Seeger]/Blue Moon [Lorenz Hart & Richard Rodgers]/The Boxer [Paul Simon]/The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)/Take Me As I Am (Or Let Me Go) [Boudleaux Bryant]/Take A Message To Mary [Boudleaux Bryant & Felice Bryant]/It Hurts Me Too/Minstrel Boy/She Belongs To Me/Wigwam/Alberta, No. 2
Written by: Bob Dylan, except where noted
Produced by: Bob Johnston
Thoughts: What did it mean? Who knows…personally, I don’t think Dylan himself truly knew. Nevertheless, it came out as the third part of the ‘Country Trilogy’ (John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline as the first two parts), and confused just about everyone. The set is filled with songs that I’ve never heard of, and while some are good (“Copper Kettle” and “Days of ‘49”), the vast majority are just embarrassing (“Blue Moon” and “The Boxer” is a laugh). The originals here are awful. What makes it hard to believe is that this is the same guy that, four years earlier, wrote Blonde On Blonde. “The Mighty Quinn” finally makes its’ first legal appearance…as a sloppy live recording. “Like A Rolling Stone”, “She Belongs To Me” and “Minstrel Boy” are also live tracks, seemingly coming out of nowhere between the studio tracks. “Like A Rolling Stone” and “She Belongs To Me” are awful versions of the classic tracks. “Wigwam” (which was bizarrely released as a single) and “Woogie Boogie” are actually instrumentals! Nevertheless, it isn’t all a freak show, so maybe if you really enjoyed Nashville Skyline, you’ll like this.
Rating: 5.5 (bordering on 6)/10

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