Erase Self Portrait from history. Wind forward 40 years and imagine, if you will, latest Columbia Records release Bootleg Series Vol. 0. A single disc showcasing 13 unearthed cuts from Dylan’s notoriously fallow Nashville Skyline - New Morning interregnum. Prime proto-Americana: glowing string arrangements; female backing singers ten years before ubiquitous gospel backline wailers; instrumentals before official light of day on Pat Garrett soundtrack; front porch old-timey vibes prefiguring Theme Time Radio Hour by almost half a century. Suddenly, the Johnny Cash duets make perfect sense. Ye critics collectively poop thems drawers…
Weird Brother has posted a brilliant reimagining of Bob Dylan's most-maligned album. This sounds great - and even if it's covers, the choices are imaginative, the arrangements beautiful and all in all this is a gorgeous album. It's not the Dylan you know, but it's still as good as anything you'll hear this year.
There’s also a pretty good write up here at NuVoid, quoting Dylan in Rolling Stone in 1984:
"I said, “Well fuck it. I wish these people would just forget about me. I wanna do something they can’t possibly like, they can’t relate to. They’ll see it, and they’ll listen, and they’ll say, ‘Well, let’s get on to the next person. He ain’t sayin’ it no more. He ain’t givin’ us what we want,’ you know? They’ll go on to someone else.” But the whole idea backfired…"
Here is a delicious feast of mutual love-ins. Wilkommeners covering Wilkommeners; 18 tracks layering up like a big folky cream cake orgy. My small offering is a cover of the darling Alessi’s Ark’s ‘Hands in The Sink’- one of my favourite songs ever.
The Willkommen label have done themselves proud with this rather brilliant little compilation, rushed out to aid the PIAS fire recovery fund and their own Foxtrot gathering at the historic Stanmer House on Sunday.
My current personal favourite tracks are Rachel Dadd’s take on the beautiful Laish song ‘Happy Accident’ and the extraordinary Animal Magic Tricks cover of Birdengine’s ‘Heads off dogs’.
Other highlights on a first listening include the Atlas Crease and Woodpecker Wooliams tracks. But this is all very good (except the final Richard Dawson melange, which someone may need to explain to me…)