Bob Dylan 101: Autorretrato
Self Portrait – Columbia – 1970
It seems like everyone—even Bob—does not care much for this album and yet beware of those naysayers (yes, even including Bob) because this album is not only a trip down the rabbit hole, but is also quite majestic at its stab at finding and holding onto some honest to God solitude. One part roots record and in large part a record of covers (even when performing his own songs they feel more like covers from a completely different and somewhat disguised Bob Dylan), this collection of songs really is a portrait of self that is quite out of sorts with itself, which all truly inspired and intoxicating self-portraits should be. The entire affair begins with the lush “All the Tired Horses” leading us by the hand past all the junk cars and other debris into an open expanse of new frontiers and even newer possibilities. You’ve not really heard Bob sing, and I mean really sing (he can croon with the best of them when the moment and the material strikes a match in him), until you’ve heard his version of “Copper Kettle,” a song written by Alfred Frank Beddoe. Other songs where Bob the crooner shows up and hits a homerun are “Days of 49” (Alan Lomax, John Lomax, Frank Warner), "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know" (Cecil A. Null), and “Take Me as I Am (Or Let Me Go)" (Boudleaux Bryant). Also included are four performances recorded live on August 31, 1969, at the Isle of Wight Festival. Some hear this rendition of “Like A Rolling Stone” and scream blasphemy when actually the spirit of this song has never been more self-evident, as Bob Dylan and The Band show us just how dangerous country gentlemen can be when their backs are up against the wall.