Greil Marcus re-evaluates his Self Portrait ‘what is this shit?’ Dylan review: “This is just terrific!”

Greil Marcus re-evaluates his Self Portrait ‘what is this shit?’ Dylan review: “This is just terrific!”

Greil Marcus has re-evaluated Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait in the new issue of Uncut, out now, over three decades after he wrote his infamous ‘what is this shit?’ review of the record for Rolling Stone.

The critic explains that his review wasn’t nearly as negative as many like to make out – that it in fact reflected varying opinions on and responses to Dylan’s album – and states that some of the tracks on the new Bootleg Series release, Vol.10: Another Self Portrait, “will be real revelations to people”.

“[Dylan’s manager, Jeff Rosen] started playing me some of the Dylan-David Bromberg collaborations [from Bootleg Series, Vol.10: Another Self Portrait],” says Marcus. “It’s just the two of them playing. And immediately, those songs just leapt out, they leapt out of all the overcoats that had been draped over them. You know: you suddenly saw people running through fields.

“It was just alive in a remarkable way. And I said, ‘God. I have to write about this. This is just terrific.’”

Also in the Dylan cover feature, Uncut editor Allan Jones takes an exclusive look at the new instalment in the Bootleg Series.

The musicians who played on Dylan’s albums from the period, including Al Kooper and Charlie McCoy, tell of their varied experiences working with the singer-songwriter, while Low’s Alan Sparhawk reviews Dylan live in 2013.

The new issue of Uncut, dated September 2013, is out now.

Photo: Al Clayton

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