"What is this shit?"
-Greil Marcus, 1970
That was the very first line of Greil Marcus' review for Bob Dylan's Self Portrait LP. To my ears, as well as the ears of countless other Dylan fans, those words are horribly true. Self Portrait sounds like a hodge podge of the crappiest crap mixed crappily, and packaged in a crappity crap crap crap. Just listen to this terrible (although intentionally so, and to hilarious result) cover of Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer, where he duets with himself:
And there's two records of this crap. So when it was announced that Volume 10 of The Bootleg Series would revolve around the Self Portrait sessions I was more than a little puzzled. Why would anybody want to revisit this album? Dylan himself said they threw all the crap they had against the wall and anything that stuck they put out. For him it was a failed attempt at destroying the mythology surrounding him. Despite his best efforts (or worst efforts) the LP still hit #3 on the charts. Three million people went out and bought it.
Here's the thing about Dylan's outtakes: They're usually better than the official output of most bands, and often times they're better than HIS official stuff. That instantly elevates any collection of his table scraps to must listen status. Surely what he didn't release must be better than the crud that made it onto Self Portrait, right? So where am I going with all this?
On Thursday, August 29th, we're going to play the ENTIRE Another Self Portrait album on the morning show. All six sides on sweet sweet vinyl will be unleashed, and from all accounts it's going to be a revelation. The few tracks I've heard have been stunning. It's almost a shame that we won't have time to play the original Self Portrait LP, if only to marvel at how much greater these tracks are. Maybe we'll save that for another day.