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Basement Tapes

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
$11.98 $0.11

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The Basement Tapes
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Basement Tapes + Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes (Deluxe Edition)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002552
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,625 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Odds And Ends
2. Orange Juice Blues (Blues For Breakfast)
3. Million Dollar Bash
4. Yazoo Street Scandel
5. Goin' To Acapulco
6. Katie's Been Gone
7. Lo And Behold!
8. Bessie Smith
9. Clothes Line Saga
10. Apple Suckling Tree
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Too Much Of Nothing
2. Yea! Heavy And A Bottle Of Bread
3. Ain't No More Cane
4. Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)
5. Ruben Remus
6. Tiny Montgomery
7. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
8. Don't Ya Tell Henry
9. Nothing Was Delivered
10. Open The Door, Homer
See all 12 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


The Basement Tapes can be heard as a manifesto for the '90s' underlying Americana agenda or as the greatest album never intended for commercial release. Homegrown 1967 recordings taped in the Band's fabled Big Pink hermitage in Saugerties, New York, many of the 24 songs resonated across American and English rock and folk long before their belated 1975 release through studio interpretations by the Byrds, Fairport Convention, Manfred Mann, Peter, Paul & Mary, and numerous other acolytes, as well as through myriad unauthorized bootlegs. Good as the covers were, Dylan and the Band rolled their own with an extraordinary coherence that sounds only more authentic in these rough-hewn, intimate, always musical performances, which dovetail with Dylan's stark John Wesley Harding and the Band's stunning debut, Music from Big Pink as well as the presciently lo-fi The Band. At a time when most rock culture was entranced with its post-atomic origins, these songs sounded timeless, plunging into pre-industrial folk, turn of the (20th) century barrelhouse and blues, and crackling, vintage rock & roll excursions with offhand verve and a thrilling disregard for what was hip. Time has only reinforced their visionary power. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

The remastering was done masterfully.
Constant Traveler
I love the way Dylan sings 'Tears of Rage'--tough on the surface, but with as much emotion as you can hear in his later albums.
Buddy Iodine
The Basement Tapes has some of the best recordings by both the Band and Bob Dylan.
M. Scagnelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 105 people found the following review helpful By tcbnyc on July 22, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The Basement Tapes revealed that Bob Dylan, the visionary voice of a generation, the man who changed the world with a guitar, a harmonica and a hound-dog voice, was also a funny guy. These legendary Saugerties, NY "Big Pink" sessions with the Band show Dylan, recovering from a mysterious motorcycle accident and raising young kids, kicking back and having some fun with his pals and some music. The tunes are great, and many of them are completely non-sensical which is quite a departure for the composer of "Chimes of Freedom," etc. If you've never heard songs like "Tiny Montgomery," "Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread" or "This Wheel's on Fire" (which is quite possible since radio doesn't play anything but "like a rolling stone") you may be surprised. It's a sound that isn't really comprable to anything else in his catalogue, perhaps because he never intended to release them. This is the closest you could ever come to being a fly on the wall at a Dylan recording session. My only regret is that they have never released more from the sessions; over 100 songs were recorded in this period, many of them covers like "Folsom Prison Blues," others original, like the hypnotic "I'm Not There (1956)" and majestic "Sign on the Cross." They are available if you know where to look. A "Complete Basement Tapes" would be my vote for the next volumes of the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series.
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349 of 387 people found the following review helpful By Francis Flannery on July 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
A few thoughts on the official Columbia Records Basement Tapes album:

The informal sessions recorded during the summer of 1967 mostly at Big Pink in West Saugerties, New York, are one of the essential bodies of work in the history of American music, as rich in their manner as the Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens, Robert Johnson's 1936 - 37 recordings, or Hank Williams' MGM recordings. Their beauty is such that even this dodgily compiled and inferior sounding official release from 1975 cannot diminish their importance and their influence on an entire generation of musicians.

As a few reviewers have noted on this page and elsewhere, the album as released is a bit of sleight-of-hand. The vast majority of tracks by The Band included here were not in fact recorded at the same time, or even in the same place (the legendary "Big Pink") as the Dylan tracks here. Partly, this is attributable to Robbie Robertson's disturbing tendency to obfuscate his own role i!n the formation of The Band's signature sound, and his de-emphasis of the collaborative nature of this wonderful group. In 1975, Robertson and Rob Fraboni compiled the official Basements album, and Robertson included a group of Band tracks on the official album, presumably to allege that he was writing songs along with Dylan at Big Pink. Unfortunately, there's little evidence to support this inference. The Band's earliest self-penned songs often came from Richard Manuel, who unfortunately is not alive to attest to his role in the Band's early years. Rick Danko is also no longer with us, while Garth Hudson and Levon Helm are generally disinclined to speak about the matter, leaving Robertson to parlay his falsehoods unchecked.
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105 of 117 people found the following review helpful By E. Hoffman on July 27, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I know, I know . . . it seems inevitable perhaps that one will be produced someday. But as Columbia (and Dylan himself) have made major errors in reading the public's desires (see Infidels and the upcoming Bootleg Series addition) when and if in fact this will happen is anyone's guess. So I propose that anyone who would like to see a re-mastered authoritative edition (and not another "best-of" watered down compilation of live or alternate versions of Dylan tunes that, while wonderful, have been packaged and re-packaged in some form or another over and over again - - how many live versions of "Blowin' In the Wind" do we need anyway?) of some of the finest material Dylan ever produced ("Sign On the Cross" and "I'm Not There (1956)" (the latter of which has provided the title for a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE for God's sake) as well as covers of "Four Strong Winds" and "A Fool Such As I" and alternate tracks of great, if lesser known, tunes too numerous to list here) please take the advantage of this forum and simply respond to this review as helpful. Perhaps then Columbia will get the message. And hopefully they'll have the wherewithal to hire someone like Greil Marcus or Paul Williams (and not Jeff Rosen, who should have been fired from the Bootleg Series long ago) to oversee the project and make sure this music is finally given the treatment it deserves. "Some of these bootleggers, they make pretty good stuff."
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By "" on May 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I'm an audiophile, and I must admit it sometimes gets in the way of appreciating great music. Possibly the greatest example of this is The Basement Tapes. Being a long-time Dylan fan I excitedly bought this album when it was finally released in '75. With all the mystique behind it, I had great expectations. But it just sounded so lo-fi, and the songs were not where my head was at in '75, so I never really gave it it's due. Of course, I purchased it again in the CD age, but still never really sat down and gave it my undivided attention. When I finally did, I realized what I'd been missing all those years. First, the album is not as lo-fi as I thought. Though recorded primitively, it is evident that great care was taken to get a good balance between the instruments and vocals. It's true that the fidelity is better on some cuts, but I don't buy the fact that the Band cut some of these tracks in the studio after the Basement Tapes sessions.
Anyway, what matters here are the songs and the way they are performed. Man, are these guys hot! To my ear, this is the best vocals you'll ever hear from Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Levon Helm. The instrumental backing is superb, at once totally sympathetic yet totally inspired. Oh, and Bob's in pretty good form, too. These songs have a wit, humor and accesability that seems to get stronger on every hearing.
There is a reason that these sessions are legendary. Buy it, listen to it, and discover why so much mystique surrounded these sessions in the first place. Absolutely timeless music.
Sony, please give us the entire sessions!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


Topic From this Discussion
Are the Basement Tapes getting a new reissue?
I think its on the schedule for March 31 along with New Morning (finally!) and Dylan and the Dead (why?!), but I don't know if it will have more songs. Unfortunatley, I doubt it.
Feb 15, 2009 by Rene M. Passarieu Jr. |  See all 5 posts
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