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Two Songs Off The Bob Dylan Tribute Album "The New Basement Tapes" Reviewed

The Band

The Band

We know what a hacker is but what’s a hack? That’s the question that emerges from the Dylan lyric, Costello composed “Married To My Hack” off the T-Bone Burnett produced Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes.

What appears to have happened here is that while archiving the Bootleg Tapes volume 11, the complete Basement Tapes, some lyrics written by the then 25 year old Dylan were discovered and handed over to Burnett. Burnett matched lyric to composer and recorded the result. Think of the Wilco-Billy Bragg efforts on Arlo Guthrie only with Dylan still alive.

I expected the worst and panned the first song, the Jim James (aka leader of My Morning Jacket) composed “Nothing To It” and now comes the Costello song.

A hack, in my definition here at least, is a trickster. According to “The Meaning Of Hack”: ” Hacking might be characterized as ‘an appropriate application of ingenuity’. Whether the result is a quick-and-dirty patchwork job or a carefully crafted work of art, you have to admire the cleverness that went into it.” i think dylan means he is married to his art.

Costello sounding much like he did with the Roots nevertheless comes up with a nice bluesy low key very rhythmic take that works for me, Rihannon Giddens, of Carolina Chocolate Drops,sings back up.  And it took me back to “Nothing to It”and it is better than I thought it was. A little over ranged, and the coda is a disaster, too repetitive. Even so, it isn’t the nightmare I claimed earlier. The horn at least is very very good.

Married To My Hack – Elvis Costello – B

Nothing To It – Jim James – B-

 

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