Bob Dylan fans are an odd lot. We're not talking about the average fan who digs Highway 61 Revisited
and Time Out of Mind
. We're talking about the folks who said rude things in print and on the radio when Dylan released albums like Self Portrait
and Nashville Skyline
in the late 60s and early 70s.
A good chunk of Dylan's memoir Chronicles
was centered around these albums. But instead of apologizing for them, Dylan praised this era as the real turning point for him as a musician. Either Dylan, or Sony, or all of us will get the last laugh when a newly expanded version of Self Portrait
--one of the most hated albums in rock--is reissued with newly stripped down versions that might at long last reveal the secret behind the albums: what Dylan really needed was a producer sober enough to leave the original tapes alone.
If you didn't like the original Self Portrait,
you'll now have four compact discs to either declare that Dylan's best work was left in the tape vaults or that he indeed should have retired in 1966 and become a Robert Johnson-like phantom of rock. Rolling Stone
(who else) goes into depth on all the goings-on behind the scenes
As for all of us at Epiphone, we know the cuts can't be all bad since Bob was picking on an Epiphone Caballero
at the time. And if the current crop of Americana bands is any indication, both Nashville Skyline
and Self Portrait
might have a longer lasting cultural impact than Blonde On Blonde
. With the possible exception of "Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35."