Monday, August 26, 2013

Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) / Talking 37th Dream with Rainbow (2013)

"... 'Copper Kettle' stood out on the original Self Portrait.  Dylan's commitment to this instant folk song -- it was written in 1953 -- was too strong.  But now, with the same vocal, on the undubbed master, you are in a different world. Here, Bob Dylan really does disappear.  1970 disappears.  The sixties never happened.  A moonshiner is telling you why he does what he does:  so he can lie back and think about nothing, forever.  The voice is so clear, so convincing, so plainly the voice of someone who has weighed life's choices and made his, that it shames your own compromises.  With the guitars so slight they could be hands waving in the air and Al Kooper's piping organ, which would be erased on Self Portrait, coming up slowly as the voice of the singer's nighttime dreams, it's as if the words too have disappeared, as if the song doesn't need them, as if the singer can communicate without even opening his mouth, by pure will."

(from the booklet written by Greil Marcus, accompanying the two-CD Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)

Everyone who was there has their own story of the years 1969-1971, when Bob Dylan recorded these songs.  In spring of 1969, my beloved Richard was drafted into the U.S. Army.  We were 19 years old.  He was in Vietnam for year of 1970.  We turned 21 years old in October of that year.  In 1971, we lived through the dark aftermath of his year in Vietnam and separated, "both agreeing it was best," just after our 22nd birthdays that year.  We listened to Bob Dylan's music before, during and after those years.  In one of the last letters I received from Richard, he asked, "How's Bob doing?" My copy of the CD arrived in the mail today.  I'm listening to it right now.

Richard was someone who weighed life's choices and made his.  I have tried not to compromise my life as a result.   I hear Richard's voice in Bob Dylan's voice.  Always have.

I recommend Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) The Bootleg Series Vol. 10.   I can't imagine someone not loving these recordings, but I know by now that not everyone will.

Here's Bob Dylan's 1970 version of "Copper Kettle":

You'll have to buy Another Self Portrait to hear the version without overdubs.  You won't regret it.  I promise.


The Solitary Walker said...

Looking forward to hearing it, am.

Goat said...

I love it! I haven't stopped playing it. The Isle of Wight numbers are great versions, often way different to the LP ones but fully committed and there's a feeling of the band having fun there too.

am said...

Goat -- I love it, too, but I bought only the 2CDs, thinking I could do without the Isle of Wight numbers. I already have the original Self-Portrait LP from 1970 and was okay without the books. Now, I'm listening to the Isle of Wight excerpts on iTunes and deciding if I will buy them that way.