“Another Self Portrait” Is Bob Dylan’s Latest Tribute to His Musical Influences

Dylan in Toronto, 1980.<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bob_Dylan_in_Toronto2.jpg">Jean-Luc Ourlin/Wikipedia Commons</a>

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Bob Dylan
Another Self Portrait: 
The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10
Columbia

Bob Dylan’s 1970 double album Self Portrait shocked and dismayed some of the faithful at the time of release, confusing audiences looking for another mind-boggling classic. Dominated by traditional songs and cover versions (“Blue Moon,” “Let It Be Me,” etc.) performed in a seemingly lackadaisical manner, it came off as a determined attempt to defy expectations and shed the pressure of being a messiah. In retrospect, Self Portrait makes more sense, being Dylan’s salute to music that helped make him who he is (hence the title), while sustaining the down-home vibe of John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline, though the cluttered arrangements are still distracting.

The mostly excellent Bootleg Series has allowed Dylan to explain himself more fully, something he never would have deigned to do so directly four decades ago, and the two-disc Another Self Portrait is especially useful in that regard. Drawing on sessions for Nashville Skyline and New Morning, as well as Self Portrait, it offers alternate takes, undubbed versions and revelatory outtakes, depicting a Dylan more interested in revisiting his folk beginnings than trying to exasperate the fans. The previously unheard “Pretty Saro” and “Annie’s Going to Sing Her Song” recall the young Woody Guthrie disciple, while “Belle Isle” and “Little Sadie” improve dramatically in their stripped-down settings.

After 10 editions, The Bootleg Series continues to surprise with fresh perspectives on the greatest songwriter of the rock’n’roll era, which is no mean feat. Completists will opt for the four-disc set, which adds the original Self Portrait and Dylan’s spirited 1969 concert with The Band at the Isle of Wight festival
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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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