Self Portrait stands as a truly perverse collection. Released in 1970 at a time when those on the radical left were hungering for their then-unimpeachable hero to reclaim his role as the conscience of his generation, Bob Dylan instead delivered a pop-inflected collection largely made up of rather indifferently performed covers.
Youth culture was at a boiling point and the one figure the vanguard of The Movement hoped would galvanize all those street-fighting men and women was . . . crooning ˝Blue Moon˝? In hindsight, Self Portrait is, at best, pleasant.
The uncharacteristically lush likes of ˝All The Tired Horses,˝ ˝Wigwam,˝ and ˝Copper Kettle˝ are mighty nice, in fact.
But then the tepid covers of ˝The Boxer,˝ ˝Early Mornin’ Rain,˝ and ˝Gotta Travel On,˝ as well as perplexingly lifeless live versions of ˝Like a Rolling Stone˝ and ˝She Belongs to Me˝ drag the whole set down and leave one wondering what Dylan was thinking when he selected such a provocative title for such an unrevealing album. --Steven Stolder