O.k. folks, I'm gonna come out of the closet and say I actually like that least defendable of Bob albums, the 1973 Columbia Revenge Bastard album DYLAN. You know the one, with the atrocious foil and vomit-colored cover and the Self Portrait _outtakes_. (Self Portrait _outtakes_--what a scary thought.)
It was the last Dylan album I bought after I had everything and I couldn't avoid it any longer. And it's still not among the most often played of my Dylan, but I have to say it actually has some pretty good tunes on it. It's surprisingly good, better than Self-Portrait. . . That's not hard, though.
I guess the first reason is that, contrary to what I'd read about it, it doesn't seem to be mostly from the Self-Portrait sessions but from New Morning sessions. I'm just guessing from the sound of his voice and the instrumentation, but it seems like only Lily of the West, Spanish is the Loving Tongue, and A Fool Such As I are the only SP songs on it. (Not coincidentally, they are the weakest songs on the album.)
Ira Hayes always strikes me as cheesy for the first 30 seconds or so, but it always gets me in the end--it's simply effective, and Bob is obviously interested in what he's singing. Sarah Jane is a hoot, manic silly glee always rare and welcome in Bob's work, and really should have made it to New Morning (the way he manages to sound both tough and giddy when he sings la la la la is amazing). Mary Ann is a great pastiche of various folk verses and really works. Even the covers such as Can't Help Falling in Love and Big Yellow Taxi are eminently listenable, because Dylan is singing so well on them.
Even A Fool Such As I is kind of fun. He's in his Country Voice on this one, but it manages the same goofy exuberance that makes Nashville Skyline such a hoot (and the lack of which makes Self Portrait such a bore).
Spanish is the Loving Tongue is the real disappointment, because of the version included. The version on this album is a dog, pure and simple. But the version on Masterpieces, just Bob and piano, is probably the best thing to come out of his whole country period, really an incredible vocal performance.
Am I right that these are mostly New Morning sessions? And does anybody else like this album?
Adios mi corazon