Pretty Saro was not released on “Self Portrait” but will be on “Another Self Portrait” revealing again Bob Dylan’s persistent love of folk music
Bob Dylan “Pretty Saro” from video by (Photo Library of Congress public domain)
To promote the release of Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10
Anyone who owns last year’s dark and gritty Bob Dylan release Tempest may wonder what happened to Bob Dylan since he recorded “Pretty Saro” six times in 1970 then discarded the song.
Dylan sings “Pretty Saro” with a sweet plaintive voice, showing his respect for the folk material. The performance is soft and lilting. The version in the video and Bootleg 10 is pretty in fact.
“Pretty Saro” by Bob Dylan (the video is repeated at the end of the story if this embed does not work in your browser)
“His vocal delivery is so haunting,” she stated. “I wanted to be able to visually represent that sort of unrequited love in a world that seems like it should be sad, but the people are always happy and fine.”
Filmmaker Jennifer Lebeau has worked with Bob Dylan on Bob Dylan: Unplugged, the unreleased 1993 NYC Supper Club sessions and the video for the 2010 The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964.
As a side note, the 176,000 photographs taken by FSA photographers of American rural life during the 1930s and 1940s are in the public domain. So if you want to create your own video montages like Jennifer Lebeau, you do not have to pay image royalties. Many of the color photos are posted on Flickr.
Self Portrait the “odd” Bob Dylan album
Back in 1970, most people thought Dylan had lost his way recording old folk songs, weird Dylan compositions and covers of Gordon Lightfoot on the original Self Portrait.
Rock critic Greil Marcus wrote “what is this sh**” when reviewing “Self Portrait” but has written a revisionist appreciation for the CD to go with Bootleg 10.
“Self Portrait” isn’t that unusual. By 1969 Bob Dylan had moved away from the drug driven rock and roll of “Like A Rolling Stone” and delivered the odd and elliptical “John Wesley Harding” album followed by the mainstream country music of “Nashville Skyline.”
Dylan has been morphing his output consistently over his career and we’ve learned to expect and accept the changes as part of his artistic freedom. “Self Portrait” may not be one of Dylan’s top albums but it is worth owning.
For a complete listing of the songs and the various (standard, deluxe and vinyl) versions of Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 see