Bob Dylan’s 38th Best Studio/ Bootleg Album

A painting of the profile of Bob Dylan's face with red, yellow, purple, and black stripes

Dylan (1973)
Grade — C-

Later the same year Pat Garrett was released skewing Peckinpah’s vision due to CBS , Bob Dylan ran into some troubles with studios of his own. These troubles stirred with the record company he had always been a part of, Columbia Records. Working on a new contract, negotiations soured with higher ups, and Dylan fled to Asylum records for a year or two, temporarily ending his run with Columbia.

None to happy about one of their solid stars jumping ship, they released outtakes from his albums “Self Portrait” and “New Morning” sessions entirely without the artist’s consent. Hand picked as ones executives chose to be the most fruitless and embarrassing, they slapped on the horrid cover and shipped it to entirely negative reviews from critics.

Dylan was appalled, requesting the record not be made for CD in North America, and renamed it after one of the songs on the piece, “A Fool Such as I”.

Is there anything salvageable? Sure.

That track “A Fool Such as I” is quite fun, as well as the overly goofy “Sarah Jane” and the traditional favorite covered by many, “Lily of the West.”

However the cover of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” is not a song Dylan does especially well, as its — well — an Elvis song. The corny lyrics are perfect for the king of cool, but for the Wizard of Wheeze, it falls flat.

“The Ballad of Ira Hayes” and “Mary Ann” are even worse, as while Cash’s version of Ira Hayes is at the very least entertainingly grating, Dylan’s is just…well, grating.

The album has enough good moments to not be as abysmal as Dylan himself makes it out to be, but if you were in his shoes, you’d probably say the same thing. Definitely something I have in my collection for my record player, but only played for the three good songs I mentioned and the very interesting “Spanish Is the Loving Tongue” cover to end it.

Song from the album is quite certainly Dylan’s given name to it, but its unavailable, so here’s “Lily of the West.” —

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan are the two best versions I’ve heard so far, what a coincidence.


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