Bob Dylan Another Self-Portrait

Bob Dylan Another Self-Portrait
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Although it contained more than ten great songs, Self-Portrait was detested as a work of schmaltz — Dylan doing Perry Como. Therefore it's funny that in 2013, with Bob's voice shot and many critics callously demanding he stop performing, that nothing else could soothe and appease fans like Another Self-Portrait, an album of gorgeous crooning and soul-singing. Advance single "Pretty Saro" is the collection's Rosetta Stone; Dylan's voice is clear and emotive over limited accompaniment on a song that's as simple as it is heartbreaking. Like most of the record, it finds Dylan in perfect form. The four-CD edition contains 53 tracks, including a remaster of the original Self-Portrait, outtakes from Self-Portrait and New Morning, as well as miscellaneous demos. Almost every song is worthy of inclusion. Alternate takes of "Time Passes Slowly," "Went to See the Gypsy" and "Only a Hobo" are as good, and often better, than the previously-released versions, while seldom-heard traditional numbers "Thirsty Boots" and "Railroad Bill" are major revelations. Most exciting is a crystal-clear recording of a 1969 Isle of Wight performance. After a three-year hiatus from performing, which led to death rumours, Bob was suddenly in front of 200,000 people, backed by the Band, singing in his brand new Nashville Skyline warble. Dylan bootleggers are unparalleled for their ability to unearth every recorded moment from his career, but no Wight recording has come close to this one, which was, in its previously-available iteration, only a cruddy audience tape. Dylan's album-closing concert would make this collection essential, if it wasn't already by the third track. (Columbia)