By 1970, Bob Dylan had already weathered his share of highs and lows. He had gone electric in ’65 at Newport and survived the backlash. He released “Blonde on Blonde,” a masterpiece, the next year, not long before a motorcycle accident sidelined him. And when he returned to recording, he ventured into a rootsy country sound on the albums “John Wesley Harding” and “Nashville Skyline.”
Then he lost his way with “Self Portrait’’; at least that was the critical stance upon the double album’s release in 1970. It was arguably Dylan’s first piecemeal effort, an odds-and-ends collection of covers of traditional songs and modern pop and folk hits. Bob Dylan doing Paul Simon’s “The Boxer” was not exactly what his disciples wanted to hear at that point.