The Basement Tapes

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Click for availability and more information The Basement Tapes, by Bob Dylan with The Band

Every fan knows about the period in 1966-67, after the infamous motorcycle accident, when Bob Dylan retreated to upstate New York and recorded a number of songs with his backing band The Hawks (later The Band) in his home studio. Through several of the songs were subsequently covered by other artists like Manfred Mann and The Byrds, the demo tapes of these sessions were constantly being bootlegged throughout the rest of the 60s and into the 70s. Pressure from the critics and fans finally resulted in a collection of some (not all) of these sessions released as a double album, The Basement Tapes (the name given to these sessions), in 1975. Now Columbia, after a previously released compressed CD edition in the 80s, has reissued the album digitally remastered on compact disc, with the original photo layout/artwork and liner notes/booklet by rock critic Greil Marcus. This new release doesn't have any extras like more songs, outtakes or updated program notes, but the sound is much better than the previous 80s version and the music, which combines country, blues, folk and even garage rock genres, still sounds fresh and exciting. Dylan himself sounds more loose and witty than he had on his previous releases at the time. (One quibble which I've had since the original vinyl release: WHY did The Band's Robbie Robertson, who put together this collection, insist on redoing his group's contributions? The Band's solo work on the album, while sounding great, seem more slickly produced -several of their demos from the original sessions were actually re-recorded for this album- and sound more like selections from another, later period.) Highlights from the album include (by Dylan) "Odds and Ends", "Goin' to Acapulco", "Tears of Rage", "Too Much of Nothing", "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"; and from The Band, "Yazoo Street Scandal" and "Katie's Been Gone". You won't find any duds in this collection. Now let's hope all the other sessions not yet released from this period make it out to the public soon.
-Ed

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This page contains a single entry published on July 9, 2009 4:07 PM.

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