By Nicholas Jennings on Sunday, 06 October 2013
Category: Reviews

Bob Dylan - Another Self Portrait

America’s most celebrated singer-songwriter confused fans when he released Self Portrait in 1970. With its folk tunes and pop covers, it wasn’t what people expected. Which was apparently the point: Dylan wanted to shake off his “messiah” image. Critics hated the album, which had been overdubbed with horns, strings and female voices. But the newly released box set Another Self Portrait strips away those sweeteners and adds 35 rarities and unreleased recordings to shed new light on the album. Featuring demos, outtakes and live recordings, it reveals that Dylan was celebrating American music. Traditional songs like “Pretty Saro” are some of his sweetest performances, while the moonshiner’s tale “Cooper Kettle” is stunning in its stark delivery. Most thrilling is the demo of his “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” “Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody,” Dylan sings over a lone piano. Presented in its new form, with much-needed context, Self Portrait now sounds a lot like a rhapsody.