Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes by Sid Griffin(Book). Million Dollar Bash tells for the first time the whole story of the Basement Tapes, recorded in summer 1967 when Bob Dylans career was at a crossroads. Recovering from a mysterious motorcycle crash, he gathered together a few musician friends in Woodstock, New York, and informally recorded a bunch of songs intended to be heard by no one but themselves. Instead, they changed music forever. In this new book, musician and author Sid Griffin examines the recordings in detail, demonstrating on every page a musicians insight into the Basement Tapes, the men who recorded them, and the times in which they were made. Every Dylan fan needs this book.
Bob Dylan and the Band: The Basement Tapes Complete review – rickety, strange and utterly timeless
It was released on June 26, , by Columbia Records and is Dylan's 16th studio album. Two-thirds of the album's 24 tracks feature Dylan on lead vocals backed by The Band, and were recorded in , eight years before the album's release, during sessions that began at Dylan's house in Woodstock , New York , then moved to the basement of Big Pink., It was also one of the most frequently bootlegged.
The official release of The Basement Tapes -- which were first heard on a bootleg called The Great White Wonder -- plays with history somewhat, as Robbie Robertson overemphasizes the Band 's status in the sessions, making them out to be equally active to Dylan , adding in demos not cut at the sessions and overdubbing their recordings to flesh them out. As many bootlegs most notably the complete five-disc series reveal, this isn't entirely true and the Band were nowhere near as active as Dylan , but that ultimately is a bit like nitpicking, since the music here including the Band 's is astonishingly good. The party line on The Basement Tapes is that it is Americana, as Dylan and the Band pick up the weirdness inherent in old folk, country, and blues tunes, but it transcends mere historical arcana through its lively, humorous, full-bodied performances. Dylan never sounded as loose, nor was he ever as funny as he is here, and this positively revels in its weird, wild character. For all the apparent antecedents -- and the allusions are sly and obvious in equal measure -- this is truly Dylan 's show, as he majestically evokes old myths and creates new ones, resulting in a crazy quilt of blues, humor, folk, tall tales, inside jokes, and rock. The Band pretty much pick up where Dylan left off, even singing a couple of his tunes, but they play it a little straight, on both their rockers and ballads. Not a bad thing at all, since this actually winds up providing context for the wild, mercurial brilliance of Dylan 's work -- and, taken together, the results especially in this judiciously compiled form with its expert song selection, even if there's a bit too much Band rank among the greatest American music ever made.
No one must bootleg The Basement Tapes; that seems to be the message. Still, the preponderance of Basement Tapes bootlegs tells you something about the importance heaped on the music they contain. The rough recordings Dylan made in Woodstock in the spring and summer of had a profound effect, widely held to represent the third time in as many years that he altered the course of music. Sometimes he sounds shattered and rueful, like a man reeling from the experience of being Bob Dylan. The beatific idealism of the Summer of Love had begun to curdle, the appeal of the sonic experimentation Dylan never countenanced in the first place was wearing off: evidence of the havoc LSD could wreak on artists who used it to blast their music into the unknown began washing up. In spring , Dylan and the Band were out of step, but ahead of the curve. Topics Bob Dylan Alexis Petridis's album of the week.