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Million Dollar Bash Paperback – October 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jawbone Press (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906002053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906002053
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,016,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. Hill on October 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a somewhat obsessive researcher of written information and comments on the Band, I am familiar with a lot of the sources Sid Griffin used for this book. However, he does seem to have managed to get new talk about what went on in the basement - there is considerable information about the recording process Garth Hudson used and comments from experienced recording engineers about what was done. There are also some detailed notes, sometimes speculative, about who played what when, and who sang various backup vocals. I appreciate having this from skilled musician ears rather than my own guesses.

This book complements Greil Marcus's work on the topic. Marcus usually focuses on the history of Dylan's possible sources; Griffin concentrates on Dylan's results, and what went down on tape. One hopes that readers of this book have managed to track down some of the more recent booklegs of the Basement Tapes; otherwise the book will only cause sadness and frustration.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Lee on November 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I pretty much agree with all of Sherringford Clark's points. This should have been a great book, but it's disappointing. Outside of a few interviews, I don't think Griffin did any new research at all. He repeats errors (songwriting credits, details about Dylan's career, even the address of Big Pink!) from other books, showing that he didn't really double-check on things. And yes, his informal, smarmy writing style can really get on your nerves. For a really fun drinking game, take a swig every time Griffin mentions the fact that Danko, Hudson, Manuel and Robertson are Canadian. You'll get pretty smashed. Still, there are some good things here. If you're technically-minded, the discussion of the equipment used in the Basement Tapes recording is interesting. Griffin seems to have gotten the song-by-song musician credits right, and his timetable for when the tapes were probably made is convincing. And while Robbie Robertson's direct quotes in the book aren't too enlightening, I got the sense that for a lot of the book, Griffin was acting as mouthpiece for Robertson. Robertson, of course, has gotten a lot of criticism for his handling of the official album (throwing unrelated Band outtakes on there, overdubbing the original songs, collpasing them into mono), so I guess he deserves a forum to present his own side. According to the book Dylan declined Griffin's request for an interview, but I wonder if he tried to talk to Garth Hudson? As the one who ran the tape recorder and set up the equipment, he could have answered a lot of the questions Griffin asks in the book.
The song-by-song section is all right, especially if you've never heard the complete tapes.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John Spettell on October 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is much superior to Greil Marcus' bloated "Invisible Republic." Unlike Marcus - who seems focused on impressing readers with his musical knowledge versus telling them about the Basement sessions - Griffin dives into the meat and potatos of the sessions. We learn about the recording equipment, who likely played what, who sang what, and most important, the process by which the songs were written and recorded. Details such as what time of day the boys were down in the basement and how long the daily sessions lasted are provided. Most important, Griffin does a good job of getting inside Dylan's head and has researched where he was at in mid-1967: his rejection of fame; hatred of the counter-culture and psychedelia; obsession with privacy; and most important, his growing religiosity and its influence on his work.

I have long agreed with Griffin that the Basement sessions and John Wesley Harding represent Dylan's greatest body of work. Griffin leaves no doubt that Dylan's creative genius and productivity peaked during this period - no doubt influenced by the musical genius of the 4 (later 5) members of the Hawks/Band. By the time the sessions were done, both parties were ready to go their separate ways but they had through their colloboration spelled the death knell of psychedelic rock and laid the blue print for the Americana movement.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bennett Theissen on January 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
When I first got this book last summer, I have to admit I skimmed through it and generally agreed with the tones of these other reviewers, that this was just a secondary source repeating other writers on the subject. But now I have read it through again and while I will disagree with some of Griffin's conclusions, like the order of some of the tracks and who plays percussion, etc., I now find it to be an excellent source and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Basements. Since I have never been able to track down either the original Genuine Basement Tapes 5 disc bootleg or the more recent A Tree With Roots 4-CD set, I had to compile my own set from various boots and file-sharing sources. This is to me the greatest period of music in Dylan's career, and Griffin's book does it justice. At least it doesn't sidetrack obsessively like Marcus' Invisible Republic, and unless Clinton Heylin devotes an entire book to the Basements, this is the one to use. You won't regret it.
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