Come all without, come all within, you’ll not see nothing like The Basement Tapes, Complete. On November 4, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will grant an official release to perhaps the most coveted collection of songs in Bob Dylan’s storied catalogue. The eleventh installment of Dylan’s acclaimed Bootleg Series presents, for the very first time, six discs of The Basement Tapes – as recorded in the summer of 1967 by Dylan and the group that would later become The Band, and per the label, including “every salvageable recording from the tapes, including recently discovered early gems recorded in the ‘Red Room’ of Dylan's home in upstate New York.” In addition, this set – meticulously restored by The Band’s Garth Hudson and Canadian music archivist Jan Haust – is being presented “as intact as possible. Also, unlike the official 1975 release, these performances are presented as close as possible to the way they were originally recorded and sounded back in the summer of 1967. The tracks on The Basement Tapes Complete run in mostly chronological order based on Garth Hudson's numbering system.”
In addition to the 6-CD, 138-song box set, a 2-CD, 38-song highlights version of The Bootleg Series Volume 11 will be released as The Basement Tapes Raw. This iteration will also be presented as a 3-LP vinyl set. All versions are due on November 4.
After the jump: a look further into the world of The Basement Tapes, plus the full track listing and pre-order links!
When Bob Dylan suffered the most famous motorcycle crash in rock and roll history on July 29, 1966, just a couple of months after the release of Blonde on Blonde, he was at a commercial and artistic peak. The crash near his Woodstock, New York home sidelined the superstar troubadour in one sense, but in another, gave him the freedom to come to terms with his skyrocketing career and its punishing pace. In early 1967, Dylan reconvened with Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson – who, as The Hawks, had backed him on his famous (infamous?) 1966 world tour including the Manchester Free Trade Hall stop with its immortalized cry of “Judas!” to the newly-electrified folk singer. Dylan and the Four Hawks began their casual recording explorations in the Red Room of Dylan’s Woodstock home, soon moving to the basement of Big Pink, the West Saugerties home that would give its name to The Band’s 1968 debut Music from Big Pink.
Dylan and the future Band blended traditionals and covers with some of the most inspired songs of Dylan’s still-young career – songs that were pouring forth from him like “Quinn the Eskimo,” “I Shall Be Released,” “This Wheel’s on Fire,” “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and “Tears of Rage.” Some of these Basement songs were co-written with Band members, and all were deeply entrenched in the lo-fi, homespun sound that set them apart from the increasingly elaborate productions being spearheaded by the likes of The Beatles and The Beach Boys. This fertile period of musical activity came to an end in October 1967 when Dylan decamped for Nashville to record his commercial comeback, John Wesley Harding, but not before Hawks/Band drummer Levon Helm had returned to the band’s fold in Woodstock.
Word of The Basement Tapes spread quickly with the release of a 14-song demo tape circulated by Dylan and manager Albert Grossman via their Dwarf Music company. Soon, the songs took on lives of their own. Folk and pop artists alike swarmed to these new Dylan compositions. Peter, Paul and Mary, managed by Grossman, had the first hit with a Basement Tapes song when "Too Much of Nothing" reached number 35 on the Billboard chart in late 1967. The Grossman-managed duo Ian and Sylvia recorded "Tears of Rage", "Quinn the Eskimo" and "This Wheel's on Fire". Manfred Mann went all the way to No. 1 U.K./No. 10 U.S. in early 1968 with “The Mighty Quinn” (a.k.a. “Quinn the Eskimo”) The Byrds released “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” as a single in April 1968, the same month that Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and The Trinity took “This Wheel’s on Fire” to the U.K. Top Five. The Byrds also tackled “Nothing Was Delivered,” and when The Hawks emerged on Capitol Records as The Band with July 1968’s Music from Big Pink, the album contained "This Wheel's on Fire", "I Shall Be Released" and "Tears of Rage.” Just one month earlier, Jann Wenner had insisted in the pages of Rolling Stone, “Dylan’s Basement Should Be Released!”
A 1969 bootleg entitled Great White Wonder had further stoked the legend of The Basement Tapes, containing seven of the tracks alongside other Dylan material, but it wasn’t until 1975 when Dylan and Columbia Records officially gave the green light to The Basement Tapes. The release immediately courted controversy, however. The Band had overdubbed some of the recordings, and eight of the double album’s 24 tracks didn’t feature Dylan at all. “Dylanologists” opined that several of the tracks were actually recorded after The Basement Tapes sessions. Yet, such was the strength of the music that the album went to the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic, and received its fair share of critical acclaim.
Now, Columbia and Legacy are poised to offer the unexpurgated Basement Tapes, free of overdubs and in mainly chronological order beginning with the Red Room sessions. In addition to the familiar, oft-covered songs – many of which are presented in multiple takes - listeners will also hear covers of Johnny Cash (“Belshazzar,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Big River”), The Carter Family (“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”) and Hank Williams (“You Win Again”) tunes, Dylan’s own “oldies” (“Blowin’ in the Wind,” “One Too Many Mornings”) and more unexpected fare like Tim Hardin’s “If I Were a Carpenter,” Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” and The Rays’ doo-wop “Silhouettes.” This heady “roots music” blended blues, country, rockabilly, folk, pop and soul into a heady brew that was uniquely American, and uniquely Dylan and The Band.
Word should also be made of another recently-announced release. One week following the release of The Basement Tapes, Complete, Harvest Records will unveil Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, a T Bone Burnett-produced project featuring Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Carolina Chocolate Drops' Rhiannon Giddens, Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith and Mumford and Sons' Marcus Mumford. Burnett's collective set melodies to "lost" Dylan lyrics handwritten during The Basement Tapes period, and recorded the new, completed compositions earlier this year a long way from Big Pink, at Hollywood's Capitol Studios. Burnett promised that the group recorded many more songs than the 20 included on the deluxe edition of Lost on the River, so future volumes might be forthcoming.
The three versions of The Bootleg Series Volume 11: The Basement Tapes – 6-CD “Complete”, 2-CD “Raw” and 3-LP “Raw” – arrive on November 4. Full details on each release can be found below, along with order links!
Bob Dylan and The Band, The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Volume 11 (Columbia/Legacy, 2014)
(all songs written by Bob Dylan unless otherwise noted)
- Edge of the Ocean
- My Bucket's Got a Hole in It (written by Clarence Williams)
- Roll on Train
- Mr. Blue (written by Dewayne Blackwell)
- Belshazzar (written by Johnny Cash)
- I Forgot to Remember to Forget (written by Charlie A Feathers and Stanley A Kesler)
- You Win Again (written by Hank Williams)
- Still in Town (written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard)
- Waltzing with Sin (written by Sonny Burns and Red Hayes)
- Big River (Take 1) (written by Johnny Cash)
- Big River (Take 2) (written by Johnny Cash)
- Folsom Prison Blues (written by Johnny Cash)
- Bells of Rhymney (written by Idris Davies and Peter Seeger)
- Spanish is the Loving Tongue
- Under Control
- Ol' Roison the Beau (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- I'm Guilty of Loving You
- Cool Water (written by Bob Nolan)
- The Auld Triangle (written by Brendan Francis Behan)
- Po' Lazarus (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- I'm a Fool for You (Take 1)
- I'm a Fool for You (Take 2)
- Johnny Todd (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- Tupelo (written by John Lee Hooker)
- Kickin' My Dog Around (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- See You Later Allen Ginsberg (Take 1)
- See You Later Allen Ginsberg (Take 2)
- Tiny Montgomery
- Big Dog
- I'm Your Teenage Prayer
- Four Strong Winds (written by Ian Tyson)
- The French Girl (Take 1) (written by Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson)
- The French Girl (Take 2) (written by Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson)
- Joshua Gone Barbados (written by Eric Von Schmidt)
- I'm in the Mood (written by Bernard Besman and John Lee Hooker)
- Baby Ain't That Fine (written by Dallas Frazier)
- Rock, Salt and Nails (written by Bruce Phillips)
- A Fool Such As I (written by William Marvin Trader)
- Song for Canada (written by Pete Gzowski and Ian Tyson)
- People Get Ready (written by Curtis L Mayfield)
- I Don't Hurt Anymore (written By Donald I Robertson and Walter E Rollins)
- Be Careful of Stones That You Throw (written by Benjamin Lee Blankenship)
- One Man's Loss
- Lock Your Door
- Baby, Won't You be My Baby
- Try Me Little Girl
- I Can't Make it Alone
- Don't You Try Me Now
- Young but Daily Growing (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- Bonnie Ship the Diamond (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- The Hills of Mexico (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- Down on Me (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- One for the Road
- I'm Alright
- Million Dollar Bash (Take 1)
- Million Dollar Bash (Take 2)
- Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Take 1)
- Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Take 2)
- I'm Not There
- Please Mrs. Henry
- Crash on the Levee (Take 1)
- Crash on the Levee (Take 2)
- Lo and Behold! (Take 1)
- Lo and Behold! (Take 2)
- You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Take 1)
- You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Take 2)
- I Shall be Released (Take 1)
- I Shall be Released (Take 2)
- This Wheel's on Fire (written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko)
- Too Much of Nothing (Take 1)
- Too Much of Nothing (Take 2)
- Tears of Rage (Take 1) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
- Tears of Rage (Take 2) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
- Tears of Rage (Take 3) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
- Quinn the Eskimo (Take 1)
- Quinn the Eskimo (Take 2)
- Open the Door Homer (Take 1)
- Open the Door Homer (Take 2)
- Open the Door Homer (Take 3)
- Nothing Was Delivered (Take 1)
- Nothing Was Delivered (Take 2)
- Nothing Was Delivered (Take 3)
- All American Boy (written by Bobby Bare)
- Sign on the Cross
- Odds and Ends (Take 1)
- Odds and Ends (Take 2)
- Get Your Rocks Off
- Clothes Line Saga
- Apple Suckling Tree (Take 1)
- Apple Suckling Tree (Take 2)
- Don't Ya Tell Henry
- Bourbon Street
- Blowin' in the Wind
- One Too Many Mornings
- A Satisfied Mind (written by Joe Hayes and Jack Rhodes)
- It Ain't Me, Babe
- Ain't No More Cane (Take 1) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- Ain't No More Cane (Take 2) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- My Woman She's A-Leavin'
- Mary Lou, I Love You Too
- Dress it up, Better Have it All
- Minstrel Boy
- Silent Weekend
- What's it Gonna be When it Comes Up
- 900 Miles from My Home (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- Wildwood Flower (written by A.P. Carter)
- One Kind Favor (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- She'll be Coming Round the Mountain (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- It's the Flight of the Bumblebee
- Wild Wolf
- Goin' to Acapulco
- Gonna Get You Now
- If I Were A Carpenter (written by James Timothy Hardin)
- Confidential (written by Dorina Morgan)
- All You Have to do is Dream (Take 1)
- All You Have to do is Dream (Take 2)
- 2 Dollars and 99 Cents
- Jelly Bean
- Any Time
- Down by the Station
- Hallelujah, I've Just Been Moved (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- That's the Breaks
- Pretty Mary
- Will the Circle be Unbroken (written by A.P. Carter)
- King of France
- She's on My Mind Again
- Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- On a Rainy Afternoon
- I Can't Come in with a Broken Heart
- Next Time on the Highway
- Northern Claim
- Love is Only Mine
- Silhouettes (written by Bob Crewe and Frank C Slay Jr.)
- Bring it on Home
- Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- The Spanish Song (Take 1)
- The Spanish Song (Take 2)
Bob Dylan and The Band, The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Volume 11 (Columbia/Legacy, 2014)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
(all songs written by Bob Dylan unless otherwise noted)
- Open the Door, Homer (Restored version)
- Odds and Ends (Alternate version)
- Million Dollar Bash (Alternate version)
- One Too Many Mornings (Unreleased)
- I Don't Hurt Anymore (Unreleased) (written by Donald I Robertson and Walter E Rollins)
- Ain't No More Cane (Alternate version) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- Crash on the Levee (Restored version)
- Tears of Rage (Without overdubs) (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
- Dress it up, Better Have it All (Unreleased)
- I'm Not There (Previously released)
- Johnny Todd (Unreleased) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- Too Much of Nothing (Alternate version)
- Quinn the Eskimo (Restored version)
- Get Your Rocks Off (Unreleased)
- Santa-Fe (Previously released)
- Silent Weekend (Unreleased)
- Clothes Line Saga (Restored version)
- Please, Mrs. Henry (Restored version)
- I Shall be Released (Restored version)
- You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Alternate version)
- Lo and Behold! (Alternate version)
- Minstrel Boy (Previously released)
- Tiny Montgomery (Without overdubs)
- All You Have to do is Dream (Unreleased)
- Goin' to Acapulco (Without overdubs)
- 900 Miles from My Home (Unreleased) (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
- One for the Road (Unreleased)
- I'm Alright (Unreleased)
- Blowin' in the Wind (Unreleased)
- Apple Suckling Tree (Restored version)
- Nothing Was Delivered (Restored version)
- Folsom Prison Blues (Unreleased) (written by Johnny Cash)
- This Wheel's on Fire (Without overdubs) (written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko)
- Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Restored version)
- Don't Ya Tell Henry (Alternate version)
- Baby, Won't You be My Baby (Unreleased)
- Sign on the Cross (Unreleased)
- You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Without overdubs)
(Lead vocals are sung by Bob Dylan. Harmony and instrumentation are unknown because all involved were multi-instrumentalists and vocalists, and no records remain.)
Glad that Robbie Robertson's desecration of the original tapes will finally be replaced by the real deal.
$150 for the six-disc version? I'd love to get it but that price feels like a rip-off. Yet another release I'll be passing on.
hans altena says
come on man, this took some research and all, plus you get 6 cd's, art is not for nothing, and you don't get it for nothing, like you people seem to think these days
I don't know which "you people" you mean. I don't expect something for free - I frequently purchase CDs (three this weekend) and also buy digital downloads; I've never downloaded illegal music. But I can also distinguish when something's overpriced, even when it's from one of my favorite musicians.
Comments on price are a little silly for material that fans have been dreaming about for over 47 years
Victor Dang says
Yes, how ungrateful peasants we fans are for not having the financial capabilities to look beyond price like you do 🙄
William Keats says
Interesting to see a number of titles not previously attributed to the BT: tracks 1-4 on CD1 and 1-7 on CD6, for instance.
I am just curious, do people really listen to these collections, other than when they first get them? I mean, do they just listen once through and then file the set away as I have done with numerous box sets I have purchased?
After several years I listen again in a sentimental mood.
You should start listening more. Enjoy the music.
Got to agree. I love Dylan, but there's a lot of dross on those six CDs. The two disc set sounds about right.
Zubb. Good point. Some of my behemoths just gather dust and take up precious space on my shelf. But sometimes when I feel inspired to pull one down, they prove their value. I broke out the SMiLE box a couple weeks back and played the sessions discs while working on a project that took most of my attention. Gave me the feeling of being in the other room while Brian & the Wrecking Crew were banging ideas into shape.
Other times, songs buried deep in huge box set will pop up while I'm playing my iTunes library on random. Songs that didn't catch my ear on the first listen through a box set will finally reveal themselves by happenstance. A lot of gems off the The Complete Motown Singles volumes hit me that way.
On the other end of the spectrum is The Stooges Funhouse Sessions. I probably didn't need 20 almost identical versions of "Down On The Street."
I'll be getting the 6 disc Basement set. Dylan on random is always full of surprises.
Victor Dang says
1967-era Dylan without a beard?! What is this madness!
If Vol 10 Self Portrait was a zinger, then Vol. 11 is probably the set that everyone has been waiting for. Can't wait to hear these recordings stripped down.
(side note: Impact font, though? Eeehh, not really what I'd expect professionally from a major, but small quibble, as we're all in it for the music anyways)
John H says
I loved the Self Portrait box - completely altered my mind about the album, which is certainly lesser than what'll be on this box, but I found to be full of odd gems. I'm excited about this. Long overdue.
For the two-disc version, unless those descriptions are misleading, I wish they went with a restored version of the "master" take than an alternate one. That's basically the market for the two-disc version, someone who just wants a collection of the best - what the 1975 release should've been.
I wish they had a 6-disc version in smaller packaging without the book. All I want is the music but these deluxe editions typically take up way too much shelf space so I never buy them.
One of the most important releases in Dylan's history, and you say no because it is 1.5 inches thick?
I fully understand the importance of this collection, but $150 seems way too much for me, especially since I can well imagine listening to it a bunch early on, and then maybe ripping some favorites into iTunes and the box will mostly sit after that.
But the two-disc set may be just right. I can tell there will be tracks not available on it that I'd like to have, but that's OK.
Wondering now, isn't there supposed to be a Complete Albums Collection Vol. 2 this fall making up the Bootleg Series? Would certainly make holding off on this a no-brainer considering how the last one was priced. Haven't heard a peep on that in ages, hopefully it doesn't turn into Archives 2.
So while I'll settle for the two-disc set here, it occurred to me that we haven't seen any live Dylan releases in ages. I really enjoyed the live Bootleg Series stuff. Wasn't there supposed to be a release of the famed Supper Club shows from the '90s? It would be great to finally have an official live release from the Never Ending Tour era.
Unplugged - from 1994 - is NET live, and superb. But I agree, more would be great. Maybe a 20 CD box.
m. j. dorn says
If this is supposed to be the "complete" Basement Tapes, wasn't there a Basement Tapes song called Ferdinand the Imposter? Not listed... wonder what the deal is.
A number of tracks appearing on the original release, including Ferdinand, were recorded only by the Band, and were included on the original to heighten the Band's contribution to the final product. These have all appeared as bonus tracks on Band reissues. (E.g. Bessie, Orange Juice, Remus, Ferdinand)
I think you'll find that song was written and performed solely by 'The Band', so no Dylan involvement. Didn't a version of the song end up on one of 'The Band' re-issues from a few years ago?
sengge do says
I obtained a copy of the "Genuine Basement Tapes" a few years ago and have been heavily listening to these wonderful songs ever since. There is a synergy b/w Dylan and the Band here, especially in the more R&B type tunes, that is to be found nowhere else. Only about half of these gems, unfortunately, are on the 2 CD set. Much the same could be said for the more country oriented tunes. In other words, there are just too many extraordinary tunes from the full collection to pass over the 6 CD set. but each to his own.
hilarious that the new gimme gimme entitled bastards feel the price is too steep.
.."if i can`t have it for free
i don`t want it..."
this is the golden fleece kiddies, save your pennies..
Brendan Keane says
It's not "hilarious" when people cannot afford over priced commodities. I am 65 years old and have listened to Dylan for a very long time. Much as I would like to hear it, I will not buy this over priced set. "Money doesn't talk, it swears".
you know, sometimes we just can`t have everything Brendan. Too blame someone else because we cannot afford it is silly.This is a huge piece of work and I really doubt that Bob himself set the price. I won`t be buying it either but then again I won`t also be buying a 1952 stratocaster ofr a 56 t-bird and not because i don`t want them...