In June of 1970, Bob Dylan released his tenth album, a two-record set with the weighty title of Self Portrait. It had a self portrait on the cover done in a style similar to the painting he did for The Band’s Music From Big Pink the year before. For most of the previous four years, with a couple of exceptions, Dylan kept out of sight, hoping to lose the voice of a generation title that had been bestowed upon him, and all that went with it. Six years before, Dylan had sworn off any direct political involvement and had phased the songs that originally made him famous out of his concerts. In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival brought unwanted attention to the town (really a village) he lived in, even though it was actually held miles away in another county. Dylan refused to appear and rubbed it in by appearing a couple of weeks later at a music festival in England on the Isle of Wight. But his fans as well as the music press, especially the then-growing alternative music press, still expected him to deliver the word. Self Portrait was clearly not the “word” by anyone’s definition.
Read the rest at CounterPunch.