Bob Dylan ran through the 18th century English folk song “Pretty Saro” six consecutive times during the Self Portrait sessions in March 1970, but none of those versions made the final cut for the album and the song remained in Columbia’s vault for the past 43 years. The track never even leaked onto bootlegs, but on August 27th, it’s finally coming out on Another Self Portrait, a 35-track box set of songs cut for Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning.
To promote the set, filmmaker Jennifer Lebeau created a video for “Pretty Saro” utilizing images from the Farm Security Administration stored at the Library of Congress. “His vocal delivery is so haunting,” she tells 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.”
Lebeau went through roughly 1,200 photos from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to select the handful of images in the final cut of the “Pretty Saro” video. “It literally goes from women on farms with wagons to Rosie the Riveter,” she says. “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.”
This is not Lebeau’s first time working with the Dylan camp. She worked on his 1994 MTV Unplugged video, as well his unreleased 1993 show at the Supper Club. The latter is a fan favorite, through it remains in the vault. “We used five cameras and shot four shows over two nights,” Lebeau says. “I have some amazing film. 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.”