We've seen Bob Dylan and His Band twice in the past few years. When he comes through the Western Mass area, the homage to this poet-songwriter legend is a tradition. No photos, no fanfare, no announcement, just the show.

In my research, preparing to write up the review of the recent live performance, I revisited, Self Portrait. From Columbia Records, Dylan released a highly criticized double album of covers, 'as a joke' to 'get everyone off his back, and end the spokesman of a generation tags.'

Despite reactions from Greil Marcus of Rolling Stone, 'What is this shit?'* the album went gold in the US, where it hit #4, and gave Dylan yet another UK #1 hit before it fell down the charts.

One of the songs that has stayed with me from this double album of covers and varied folk productions is 'Early Mornin' Rain'. A Gordon Lightfoot tune from Lightfoot! , I could swear I heard Dylan smile while he was singing this song. Understanding the context of the entire record, maybe he was!

*Greil Marcus, "Self Portrait No. 25", in Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader (1970), p. 74 (Benjamin Hedin, ed., 2004).


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