The Bootleg Series, Vol 10


If you liked the Dylan of The Basement Tapes and John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline and New Morning, you’ll like Another Self Portrait. If you are of a certain age, it may remind you of how you felt listening to the above albums when they were first released. I remember the relief I felt when in early 1968 I listened to “Down Along the Cove” and “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” the final tracks on John Wesley Harding. Dylan up in Woodstock; Dylan looking like a country gentleman on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post ; Dylan making laid-back country music. It felt right, and I too wanted to get back to the country, even though I had no country to get back to having lived my whole life in that house in Marin. Oh to have a cabin in the woods, a creek nearby, and maybe an old rusting pickup to get around in. The other records that followed – Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait, New Morning – contained music to accompany sitting on the front porch of that imaginary cabin.

At the time Dylan’s country voice was reassuring, a retreat from the craziness of Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde or an advance past that craziness. The songs on Another Self Portrait, and the way they are sung brings back the comfort I felt listening to those albums way back then. I guess it could be nostalgia, which I’m no fan of, but I think it’s something else.

What I think Dylan accomplished on his post-Blonde On Blonde, pre-Planet Waves albums was twofold. Not only did he change his voice and give up (temporarily) the rock ‘n’ roll he’d been playing since ’65, but he simplified his songwriting. It isn’t that the songs are simplistic – mostly they’re as sophisticated, maybe more sophisticated, than his previous writing, but he dispensed with the surrealism, and the layers and layers of wild images. According to Clinton Heylin, not long after his motorcycle accident Dylan told Allen Ginsberg “he was writing shorter lines, with every line meaning something.” Michael Goldberg

J’ai lu pas mal d’articles sur le disque qui sort demain. Les réactions sont positives, l’opération de réhabilitation a globalement réussi. J’ai apprécié cette chronique fouillée qui nous parle de manière subjective de choses assez difficiles à décrire au sujet de la musique du Dylan des années 69-70. A lire en entier sur addicted to noise.

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