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.


Bob Dylan’s 39th Best Studio/ Bootleg Album

The name of the album in black on a white background

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid

Grade – D+

After abandoning his star status after 1970 to spend some down time with his young children and wife, Dylan was set to add another first to his repertoire. His first, and ultimately the only to feature all new material, soundtrack to a movie. The movie was a mess however, being skewed from the original vision that director Peckinpah had in mind. CBS completely moved around the movie to leave out important scenes and alter the order of said scenes. Dylan’s music was also shuffled, leaving the movie to be assumed a mess.

For a soundtrack, its not really that disappointing, as music is usually tertiary or quaternary in a movie unless ones like “O Brother Where Art Thou”, “Phantom of the Opera”, etc. As an album however, it fairs relatively poorly, with most cuts being instrumentals.

There is nothing wrong with this style of music, however Dylan is not listened to for his guitar. He is fairly skilled at the guitar, sure, but people listen for his lyrics and his voice. The album is therefore mostly a bore, as what sounds nice in a motion picture does not always translate well to the record player.

Of course there are a couple exceptions, including one of the biggest hits of his career, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” Eric Clapton and Guns and Roses both have covered the Top 20 hit, and its one of Dylan’s most played songs for his own shows as well.

“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” is a song of near-fatality relating to the movie, and almost single-handedly makes this album a good one. Almost.

“Turkey Chase” is a fairly good instrumental, and some of the others are good, but again, not what Dylan’s best at. There aren’t really any bad songs like “Ugliest Girl In the World”, but lots of boring flute solos and guitar picking. Entertaining for some, but for Dylan fans, a bit to be desired.

If you want to see the music and movie at their best, check out Peckinpah’s cut, made in the 1980’s.

I can only find live versions of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” so here’s one of my favorites off of MTV Unplugged. –

Enjoy the classic song over 40 years later.

My Next Countdown – Bob Dylan Albums

There are far too many people that don’t know of this artist’s existence. Its always odd when I meet someone who blankly stares at me when I mention the name, even know the music they were just talking about was heavily influenced by Robert Zimmerman. His more common alias, Bob Dylan, has shaped music by turning the Beatles onto ‘their inspiration’ and turning the Hawks into the rock and roll icons, The Band. His singing is mocked, but copied even more. The unparalleled lyrics are what he’s most commonly sited for, and his words have become a part of society for the long term.

Bob Dylan has had his ups and downs in his career. Peaks and valleys ranging from being unwillingly stapled to the protest movement with Joan Baez, to being ridiculed for making some of the best music in history because he sold out. With a swelling of talent after a grueling end to a relationship with his wife, he later saw the light as a born-again Christian, and eventually became an 80’s washup. After a heart attack and a break from songwriting, he has indeed made a comeback over the past 2 decades, renewing that old rebel’s spirit.

Dylan has one of the largest musical portfolio’s in history, which continues to grow because of new studio albums, and old content surfacing because of the Bootleg Series. Besides the Man in Black and a few other exceptions, Dylan has some of the largest collections of music in history, with 75 or so albums.

I’m here to bring the studio and bootleg albums into the chair next to me, and dissect each one directly. For me to tackle the most influential man in 20th and 21st century music is something I’ve tried before, but come up short. I shall try to be as thorough as possible, and if you don’t agree, that’s fine. There are so many different combinations (I have 43 albums to write about after all) that I can’t be 100% right. It’s all a matter of opinion, as any list is.

So join me as I tackle the jew-fro himself, Bobby D.

I do not own that photo.