Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Bob Dylan, "Pretty Saro"


Bob Dylan's 1970 album Self Portrait seemed, almost as much as Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, to be a raised middle finger to his audience and his critics. Now, as part of his "Bootleg Series," Dylan has released Another Self Portrait, made of tracks recorded for the original album, without the later addition of horns, strings, or background vocals, but adding some songs that were not included in the 1970 album. One of these is the folk ballad "Pretty Saro" (video above). My friend Michael Simmons, in his review of the new album (Michael also wrote one of the two sets of liner notes for Another Self Portrait; the other was written by Greil Marcus) has this to say:

Pretty Saro is a knock-out: a swooping tenor that leaps tall octaves in a single bound. Why it was left off Self Portrait is puzzling, maddening, but The Bard works in mysterious ways.
"[A] swooping tenor that leaps tall octaves in a single bound"? Yes, this is Dylan.