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Bob Dylan Back In the Basement (stream the first song off the album as well)

johnny's in the basement...

johnny’s in the basement…

I have a really really bad feeling about this one. rock nyc have already voiced serious concerns about the T Bone Burnet (the man who gives bad taste a bad name) produced high concept album, where in big time pop stars of a certain type, let’s call em Americana follies wherever they might come from, write the music to recently discovered Bob Dylan lyrics from when he was 26 years old. the album drops November 11th.

Far be it for me to write when I can cut and pasties:

The Basement Tapes – Background

 Bob Dylan is universally regarded as one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed songwriters, musicians and performers, having sold more than 125 million albums and performed literally thousands of shows around the world spanning six decades. His influence and impact on our culture is unparalleled, and his artistic output of recordings and songs are both cultural landmarks and the genesis of countless great songwriters and musicians that have emerged in the decades since Dylan exploded onto the global stage.

 Among Dylan’s many cultural milestones, the legendary Basement Tapes – dozens of songs written and recorded by Dylan in 1967, backed by members of his touring ensemble who would later achieve their own fame as The Band – have long fascinated and enticed successive generations of musicians, fans and cultural critics alike. Having transformed music and culture during the preceding five years, Dylan had reached unparalleled heights by 1966 through the release of three historic albums, the groundbreaking single, “Like A Rolling Stone,” a controversial and legendary ‘electric’ performance at the Newport Folk Festival and wildly polarizing tours of the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. Dylan’s mercurial rise and prodigious body of work in that decade came to an abrupt end in July, 1966 when he was reported to be nearly killed in a motorcycle accident in upstate New York.

 Recovering from his injuries and away from the public eye for the first time in years, Dylan ensconced himself, along with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson (and later, Levon Helm), in the basement of a small house in West Saugerties, New York – dubbed “Big Pink” by the group. This collective recorded more than a hundred songs over the next several months – traditional covers, wry and humorous ditties, off-the cuff performances and, most important, dozens of newly-written Bob Dylan songs, including future classics “I Shall Be Released,” “The Mighty Quinn” and “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.

 When rumors and rare acetates of some of these recordings began surfacing, it created a curiosity strong enough to fuel an entirely new segment of the music business: the bootleg record. In 1969 an album mysteriously titled Great White Wonder began showing up in record shops around the country, and the music from that summer of 1967 started seeping into the fabric of our culture and penetrating the souls of music lovers everywhere. With each passing year, more and more fans sought out this rare contraband, desperate to hear new music from the legendary Bob Dylan. The actual recordings, however, remained commercially unavailable until 1975, when Columbia Records released a scant 16 of them on The Basement Tapes album.

 Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes is a music event 47 years in the making. The album celebrates the discovery of never-seen Bob Dylan lyrics from that legendary 1967 period and marks a creative highpoint for the album’s participants – Burnett, Costello, Giddens, Goldsmith, James and Mumford – who have brought them to life nearly 50 years later. As Burnett explains, “What transpired during those two weeks was amazing for all of us. There was a deep well of generosity and support in the studio at all times, which reflected the tremendous trust and generosity shown by Bob in sharing these lyrics with us in the first place.

I wish I was nicer to T Bone because the one time I met him he was very nice despite my being paralytic drunk at the same time. However, I’m not so let’s get on with it:

A Message from T Bone Burnett

 Last autumn, I received a message from Bob Dylan’s publisher telling me that a box of lyrics had been found, all hand-written by Bob in 1967, during the time of the original Basement Tapes recordings. The question to me was, “Would you like to do something with these?” Shocked, I asked if Bob was into this, and having been told he was, I asked no more questions, but rather set out to come up with something that would do justice to Bob and be true to the spirit in which the lyrics were originally written. Bob had been collaborating with an extraordinarily talented group of musicians at the time, any of whom could have led their own bands. So, the first step was to find a group of song writers/band leaders who would be able to work together to write, sing, and perform melodies for these soulful and playful lyrics.

 The artists we invited – Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford – were equal to the task. Not only do they have the talent and the same open and collaborative spirit needed for this to be good, they are all music archaeologists. They all know how to dig without breaking the thing they are digging. We sent sixteen lyrics to each artist ahead of time, and they all showed up at Capitol Studios in the basement of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood in March of this year. Some had written a melody or two, others had written a dozen, but a couple of days before the sessions started, an additional eight lyrics from that same period showed up. Those lyrics, which no one had time to think about, led to some of the freest recordings.

 The first day, we recorded one song – the killer “Down On The Bottom,” led by Jim James and supported mightily by the others. At the end of that day, we started looking at the number of songs we had in front of us – there were going to be multiple versions of many of the songs – and we didn’t want to turn this into any sort of competition, so we decided to record everything.

 What transpired during those two weeks was amazing for all of us. There was a deep well of generosity and support in the studio at all times, which reflected the tremendous trust and generosity shown by Bob in sharing these lyrics with us in the first place. More than 40 recordings were created, the first 20 of which will be released this fall on Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes. Sam Jones captured all of it on film, and we’re creating a documentary that will give audiences an inside look at the making of this album and explore the historical context of Bob’s original Basement Tapes recordings and their enduring influence. We are all looking forward to sharing this project with you.

 All good wishes,

 T Bone

One more thing, this is already sold out (10 copies only!) but here is the $250 super deluxe deal, a boat load of money for 20 songs and T Bone’s signature… a selfie maybe but signature???

Produced by T Bone Burnett, Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes was written and performed in creative collaboration by Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford. The artists and Burnett gathered in Capitol Studios in March to write and create music for a treasure trove of recently discovered lyrics handwritten by Bob Dylan in 1967 during the period that generated the recording of the legendary Basement Tapes. Pre-order the exclusive box set now, and yours could include one of 20 LPs autographed by the artists and T Bone Burnett! When you pre-order the album in a bundle with the 18×24” fan poster, your name will be integrated into the actual poster art. All pre-orders will unlock an instant download of one of the album’s tracks, “Nothing To It.”

 

This bundle includes:

Final test pressing vinyl autographed by T Bone Burnett. Only 10 available

Deluxe double vinyl album

Exclusive fan poster

Deluxe digital album

 

Deluxe Album:

1. Down On The Bottom

2. Married To My Hack

3. Kansas City

4. Spanish Mary

5. Liberty Street

6. Nothing To It

7. Golden Tom – Silver Judas

8. When I Get My Hands On You

9. Duncan and Jimmy

10. Florida Key

11. Hidee Hidee Ho #11

12. Lost On The River #12

13. Stranger

14. Card Shark

15. Quick Like A Flash

16. Hidee Hidee Ho #16

17. Diamond Ring

18. The Whistle Is Blowing

19. Six Months In Kansas City (Liberty Street)

20. Lost On The River #20 

 

*Artwork is subject to change.”

 

 Here is the link if you

Here is the Jim James first song off the album, “Nothing To It” and I can’t say I am very thrilled but I am not throwing up either. A little over arranged to make up for Mumford not knowing what he is doing but not deeply ofensive. Not that great a lyric either, come to think of it.

Grade: B-

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