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Self Portrait

3.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 34.69
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 19 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada Inc.
  • ASIN: B0000024W3
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,793 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. All The Tired Horses
2. Alberta #4
3. I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know
4. Days Of 49
5. Early Mornin' Rain
6. In Search Of A Little Sadie
7. Let It Be Me
8. Little Sadie
9. Woogie Boogie
10. Belle Isle
11. Living The Blues
12. Like A Rolling Stone
13. Copper Kettle
14. Gotta Travel On
15. Blue Moon
16. The Boxer
17. The Mighty Quinn (Quinn, The Eskimo)
18. Take Me As I Am
19. Take A Message To Mary
20. It Hurts Me Too
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

Slapping together bizarre new songs, apparent parodies (as with Paul Simon's The Boxer ) and Basement Tapes outtakes, this 1970 double-album seemed designed to confuse-yet it still hit #4! Versions of Like a Rolling Stone; The Mighty Quinn , and It Hurts Me Too join All the Tired Horses; Wigwam; Woogie Boogie , and more.

Self Portrait stands as a truly perverse collection. Released in 1970 at a time when those on the radical left were hungering for their then-unimpeachable hero to reclaim his role as the conscience of his generation, Bob Dylan instead delivered a pop-inflected collection largely made up of rather indifferently performed covers. Youth culture was at a boiling point and the one figure the vanguard of The Movement hoped would galvanize all those street-fighting men and women was . . . crooning "Blue Moon"? In hindsight, Self Portrait is, at best, pleasant. The uncharacteristically lush likes of "All The Tired Horses," "Wigwam," and "Copper Kettle" are mighty nice, in fact. But then the tepid covers of "The Boxer," "Early Mornin' Rain," and "Gotta Travel On," as well as perplexingly lifeless live versions of "Like a Rolling Stone" and "She Belongs to Me" drag the whole set down and leave one wondering what Dylan was thinking when he selected such a provocative title for such an unrevealing album. --Steven Stolder

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I can't believe Dylan himself panned this album! It's hard to argue with that, but I'd like to anyway. In a nutshell, Self-Portrait is a chronicle of Dylan kickin' back, unwinding, enjoying the country air, taking a load off. Possibly dealing the corporate world a joker, to see just what they'd do with it? Listen to the Basement Tapes, Nashville Skyline, and The Band's Music From Big Pink before even trying to approach this album. The landscape will then seem quite familiar: the laid-back country blues of Living The Blues, the timeless balladry of Days of '49. the gentler side of the great man in Early Mornin' Rain. Yes, there are clunkers on this album. In Search of Little Sadie is an interesting experiment in melody gone embarassingly awry, and All the Tired Horses, while lush and poignant, only needed to be about a minute long. The heart of the album is his cover of "Copper Kettle," ostensibly the narration of a bootlegger. Here Dylan is clearly reveling in his bucolic idyll: "You'll just lay there by the juniper while the moon is bright.." It's the anthem of his Woodstock sojourn if there were such a thing. At least one reviewer has noted that the Isle of Wight tracks peppered throughout break up the continuity of the album; think of the album as a documentary and I think the puzzle pieces fit together a little more nicely, all spread out to give you a feel of the larger picture. The so-called "lackluster" Isle of Wight performances sound just like the Dylan and Band I would expect from this period: laid back, more than a little bluesy. It sounds like they might even be- gasp- enjoying themselves. Just perfect. To sum it up, leave it behind if you would be disappointed by anything less worthy than Blonde on Blonde. But if you are already into The Band, or american roots music, or dig Bob's country stylings, this album may surprise you.
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Format: Audio CD
The AMC online review says one must either be a diehard Dylan fanatic or someone with a perverse sense of humor to enjoy this. I guess I'm both. This album is part of the "Woodstock" continuum of albums--Basement Tapes, John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, New Morning, and Planet Waves--my favorite period of Dylan. In terms of artistic quality, this album doesn't rate with Dylan's five-star albums such name 'em. However, this remains one of my most-played albums. In the summer of '70 when this came out, we were all tired horses in the sun. After two years of protest marches, I was sitting around waiting to be drafted. The country was psychologically exhausted, and frankly we didn't need any more angst from anyone for a while. Dylan seemed to understand this, and he gave us an album that basically says, "Hey, take it easy. Enjoy simple pleasures and see things (including my music) in a broader context. Be able to laugh, including at yourself. Hang in there for the long run." I'm glad that Bob has.
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Format: Audio CD
The first time I heard this album I nearly laughed myself unconscious. I had recently seen "Don't Look Back" in which Dylan gives surrealistic and absurd press conferences, makes fun of Donovan, and pretty much shows he's not your conventional performer. Then I heard the opening notes of "All the Tired Horses" and I was pretty sure that this album was in the same league as the "Oh! I though you'd ask me about the lightbulb" or "I consider myself a song and dance man" press conference clips from "Don't Look Back." I laughed and laughed, played it for friends, who usually didn't understand what I found funny, and more or less made up my mind that this album represented Dylan giving the middle finger to his fans. For some strange reason that belief endeared the album to me.
Years later, when I finally opened enough musically to appreciate Dylan's "country phase" (beginning with, roughly, "John Wesley Harding" and roughly ending with this album) I now think about this album very differently, and I actually enjoy listening to it, with the exception of a few tracks.
Dylan's first decade was spent continually changing styles. The "protest singers" hugged him to their bosoms until "Another Side of Bob Dylan" and then became violently offended when he completely ditched the protest scene, went electric and didn't seem to care what they thought. Simultaneously, an entire new scene opened up to him with "Like A Rolling Stone." Now Dylan was cool, and cooler than could ever be imagined. He was on the pop charts and in the spotlight. The fans at the time probably thought that Dylan had found himself and looked forward to years and years of the same kind of thing. But he unexpectedly turned coat on the "cool rock" scene as well and dove head first into its seeming "uncool" antithesis: country music.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the album Dylan recorded probably for the sake of throwing the Dylan-worshipping masses a curve ball. After all - he'd gone electric, gone acoustic again, gone country, and now he was country with a twisted edge - and not to mention the only Dylan originals are half-baked live recordings from the Isle Of Wight. So did Dylan do what he wanted? Yes. This album, along with "Dylan" (which, although culled from "Self Portrait" session tapes, Dylan did not authorise) gets a bad rap. He sounds, throughout, as if he's having fun. The album has a 'Dylan in the living room' feel. It's as if we're listening to a personal informal jam session between Dylan and session guys. As far as Dylan boots go, I've heard worse 'home' recordings than this. This give a unique view of Dylan (had it not been taken already, maybe "Another Side Of Bob Dylan" would have made a good title, right??). Listen to it and rate accordingly. This isn't a bad Dylan album, quite good, but not his best either. It's worthy of a 3...
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