Self Portrait

Self Portrait

by Bob Dylan

Vinyl LP(Long Playing Record)

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There has never been a clearer attempt to shed an audience than Self-Portrait. At least, that's one way of looking at this baffling double album, a deliberately sprawling affair that runs the gamut from self-portrait to self-parody, touching on operatic pop, rowdy Basement Tapes leftovers, slight whimsy, and covers of wannabe Dylans from Paul Simon to Gordon Lightfoot. To say the least, it's confusing, especially arriving at the end of a decade of unmitigated brilliance, and while the years have made it easier to listen to, it still remains inscrutable, an impossible record to unlock. It may not be worth the effort, either, since this isn't a matter of deciphering cryptic lyrics or interpreting lyrics, it's all about discerning intent, figuring out what the hell Dylan was thinking when he was recording -- not trying to decode a song. There are times where it's quite clearly played for a laugh -- if his shambling version of "The Boxer" isn't a pointed parody of Paul Simon, there was no reason to cut it -- but he's poker-faced elsewhere, and the songs (apart from such earthed gems as "Mighty Quinn," which aren't presented in their best versions) are simply not worth much consideration. But, in a strange way, Self Portrait is, because decades have passed and it still doesn't make much sense, even for Dylanphiles. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's worth the time to figure it out -- you're not going to find an answer, anyway -- but it's sort of fascinating all the same.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/27/2009
Label: Sundazed Music Inc.
UPC: 0090771512215
catalogNumber: 5122
Rank: 33584

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bob Dylan   Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Keyboards,Vocals
Doug Kershaw   Violin
David Bromberg   Guitar
Kooper   Guitar,Horn,Keyboards
Robbie Robertson   Guitar,Vocals
Rick Danko   Bass,Violin,Vocals
Pete Drake   Steel Guitar
Fred Carter   Guitar
Martin Katahn   Vocals
Ron Cornelius   Guitar
Byron Bach   Violin
Brenton Banks   Synthesizer,Violin
George Binkley   Violin
Albert Wynn Butler   Horn
Kenny Buttrey   Drums
Marvin Chantry   Viola
Charlie Daniels   Bass,Guitar
Bubba Foller   Guitar
Fred Foster   Guitar
Dennis Good   Trombone
Emanuel Green   Violin
Hilda Harris   Vocals
Levon Helm   Mandolin,Drums,Vocals
Freddie Hill   Trumpet
Karl Himmel   Drums
Garth Hudson   Keyboards,Saxophone
Sheldon Kurland   Violin
Richard Manuel   Drums,Keyboards,Vocals
Martha McCrory   Cello
Ollie Mitchell   Trumpet
June Page   Vocals
Albertine Robinson   Vocals
Rogers   Drums
Maretha Stewart   Vocals
Gary VanOsdale   Viola
Bob Wilson   Organ,Piano
Stu Woods   Bass
Dorothy Ann Dillard   Vocals
Charlie McCoy   Guitar,Harmonica
Bob Moore   Bass

Technical Credits

Norman Blake   Contributor
Bill Pursell   Contributor
Alan Lomax   Composer
Delores Edgin   Contributor
Anthony Ferron   Contributor
Solie Fott   Contributor
Lilian Hunt   Contributor
Elmore James   Composer
Bob Johnston   Producer
Millie Kirkham   Contributor
Barry McDonald   Contributor
Carol Montgomery   Contributor
Gene A. Mullins   Contributor
Rex Peer   Contributor
Frank Smith   Contributor
Frank Warner   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Tom Six   Composer
Dave Lazer   Composer
Albert Frank Bedoe   Composer
London   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Self Portrait 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This may not be a Blonde On Blonde or a Blood on the Tracks, but it is truly amazing!
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
There are some interesting things here but this is one of the few Dylan albums you can skip without missing much. For they die-hard Dylan fan only.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well after the promise of " When I paint my masterpiece..." Everyone thought this was it. Ha Ha and it was him doing a self portrait using other people's music.. It was so cool... I remember when friends came home with the albumn and we just scrambled to put it on the turntable... What a surprise! ha ha... Love ya, Bob
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I saw Bob Dylan in concert a couple years ago, I shouted out a request for "Wigwam." Everyone looked at me like I was insane. Admittedly, I did it for a laugh and a reaction, just because "Self Portrait" is perhaps the most controversial Dylan album ever released. I personally think it's Dylan's most underrated record, but it's obviously not for everyone. It was Dylan's cosmic goof in '70- a tongue-in-cheek attempt to shrug off his overblown fame and obsessive fans. He certainly succeeded in that. Unfortunately, I still love the record despite his efforts. If you like "Nashville Skyline," you might the country rock of this one too. I personally prefer Dylan's country to a lot of more authentic country artists. No offense intended, of course. Yes, there are some covers, but I like some of the covers even more than their originals. It was like Dylan was covering everyone to get back at everyone who was covering him at the time. It's a good, relaxing record. Make sure you hear it if you are a Dylan fan, before you slag it off. The samples on this page will give you a taste of what to expect. And no, it's not his worst album. At least this album doesn't have a Jewish man singing Christian rock....."Saved" anyone?