Blind Boy Grunt and Columbia have been holding out on us. Back in March of 1970, Dylan ran through “Pretty Saro,” an 18th century English folk song, six consecutive times during his Self Portrait sessions. However, none of the six versions made it onto the album, and the song was kept locked up in Columbia’s vault for 43 years. It never even made it onto any bootlegs. But it will finally make it out of the vault on Aug. 27, when it will be released on Another Self Portrait, a 35-track box set of songs recorded for Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning.
To promote the new collection, filmmaker Jennifer Lebeau used pictures from the Farm Security Administration at the Library of Congress to create a video for the lost song. And it was no easy job; Lebeau went through over 1,000 photos from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to create the video. “His vocal delivery is so haunting,” Lebeau told Rolling Stone. “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.”
The photos portray images of people going through their everyday lives, working and doing chores. “It literally goes from women on farms with wagons to Rosie the Riveter,” she said. “They were doing laundry and tilling the land, and at the end, they’re building planes and really in charge of everything at the work place. We wanted to include as many of these magnificent faces as we could and tell this story across the years.”
Lebeau also worked on Dylan’s MTV Unplugged video in 1994 and his unreleased 1993 show at the Supper Club. However, the Supper Club video remains in the vault. “I have some amazing film,” Lebeau said. “I have hopes and prayers it’ll one day see the light of day. In the 20 years I’ve been working with Bob, I’ve learned to be patient. I remember how long they worked on No Direction Home. If Marty [Scorsese] has to be patient, I can be patient, too.”
You can watch Lebeau’s video for Dylan’s “Pretty Saro” below.