In 1966, Bob Dylan got into a motorcycle wreck that nearly killed him. It also saved his life: he ditched the pills, the booze, and the speed-influenced lifestyle that makes Dont Look Back a fascinating, if hard to watch documentary, and retreated to Woodstock, New York, where he could make music with the Band without fans poking through his garbage. Through these sessions, recorded mainly in the infamous Big Pink, The Basement Tapes were born. They’re some of the best music either Dylan or the Band ever recorded, although not in the version released in 1975, which includes too many studio overdubs.
That’s why this is such good news.
This November, Sony/Legacy will issue volume 11 of Bob Dylan’s enduring Bootleg Series, which in its deluxe box form is a 138 track “complete” chronicle of the legendary Bob Dylan and the Band’s Basement Tapes recordings.
The Basement Tapes Complete is compiled from the original tapes (many found only recently, apparently) and features “every salvageable recording” from said tapes. Also, the performances are presented as close as possible to the way they were originally recorded in ’67 which presumably means they will lack the 1975 overdubs. (Via)
Two discs and 24 songs will be expanded into six CDs and 138 tracks. Not that I would ever download an unofficial Complete Basement Tapes bootleg on one of the Dylan websites that I used to refresh every 15 minutes, but I know who a guy who did (his name’s Kosh Jurp), and the whole thing’s incredible. The songs are scattered and out of tune, but that’s part of their beauty: it sounds like a bunch of dudes dicking around, expect these dudes happen to be some of the most influential rock musicians of all-time. Be sure to listen to gorgeous standout “Sign on the Cross.”
That organ, though.