Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes - where we're currently at (Part 6)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by hodgo, Nov 8, 2014.

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  1. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident

    I've got Heylin-on-the-brain...I'm still struggling to decipher Mr. H.'s accounting of the reels that were used to remaster the BTs.
    "NOTE: The reel numbers cited were supplied by Jan Haust, either from what was on the tape boxes or other information residing in his Garth Hudson Archive. On one occasion I have deviated from his assignments. Reel #6 on his master-list is clearly listed as Reel #2 on the 1992 cassette, and since this is a Red Room reel, that makes far more sense."

    How does he know that it's from the Red Room? Does anyone think that the Belshezaar reel could have been recorded between reel #5 and reel #7? It doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility, especially if Heylin is basing his opinion on a bootleggers source cassette from 1992.

    Near as I can tell, there are supposed to be "20 extant reels." Here is the list I came up with; please inform me if I'm somehow mistaken.

    - REEL #1: "Red Room" (2-sided, 60 minutes)
    - REEL #2: Belshazaar [Red Room, per Heylin -- REEL #6 per HAUST]
    - REEL #3: Spanish Is...

    - MISSING: REEL #4 -- I'm A Fool For You [1st generation cassette dub used - 40 min]
    - REEL #5: Baby Ain't That Fine
    - MISSING: REEL #6 -- All American Boy(?), Sign on the Cross(?) [+ tracks used for reel #16 comp?]
    - REEL #7: Try Me Little Girl
    - REEL #8: Million Dollar Bash
    - REEL #9: You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

    - REEL #10: Open the Door Homer, NothingWas Delivered
    - REEL #11: Open the Door Homer, NothingWas Delivered, Tears of Rage, Mighty Quinn
    - MISSING: REEL #12 -- Goin' to Acapulco, Gonna Get You Now [dub reel found in Dylan archive]

    - REEL #13: Odds and Ends
    - REEL #14: LOST (used for #16 comp)
    - REEL #15: LOST (used for #16 comp)

    - REEL#16 (composite reel, found in Sony archives)
    - REEL #17: LOST
    - REEL #18: LOST
    - REEL #19: LOST

    - REEL #20: Wildwood Flower

    + (3) REELS: SAFETY TAPES (1969)
    + (1) REEL: COPYRIGHT DEMO, MARCH 1971 (11 songs, per Heylin, taken from #6, #15, #16)
    + (1) REEL: 10-song publishing demo, songs copyrighted in October 1967 (mono -- not used on box set?)
    + (1) DAT tape copy: of All You Have To Do Is Dream, takes 1 & 2

    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  2. JL6161

    JL6161 Forum Resident

    Michigan, USA
    Since many of us in this thread have said we think the "counter-counterculture" narrative is hogwash, I assume the "people" you're talking about here are the bloviating music critic types or biographers. I know plenty of family folks (in various permutations of family) who also manage to be psychedelic, iconoclastic, dope-smoking, freak-flag-flying artsy creative weirdos who keep odd hours, and I doubt even the most moronic critics would suggest that Dylan somehow became Rob Petrie or Ward Cleaver in 1967.

    I doubt Bob's work ethic or need for productivity has anything to do with his personal life or "good ol' Amurrican values" or "settling down." It's pretty apparent throughout his career. My best friend and her father are/were like that: not really good at downtime, always seeking out some sort of task or project. If he had a routine in Woodstock, it's probably just because that worked for him and his household. None of these guys were going to be working at 8 am, and afternoons would be when Dylan was least needed around the house; by evening Sarah would probably be utterly spent and need him to pitch in again. That doesn't MEAN anything profound about Bob or his music; it's just a fact of life for an adult who lives and works in a house with 3 infants/toddlers and their primary caregiver. Why should any of that be controversial or discomfiting?
  3. stepeanut

    stepeanut In a Woodpile

    I'd like to offer a different interpretation of this song to the ones I've read over these last few pages.

    Could it be that, rather than a crisis of religious faith, this song is about Dylan's own fall from the position of musical messiah that had been foisted upon him during the previous five years?

    The sign placed on Jesus' cross was an ironic, mocking message to the people of Judea: set yourself up an a king and you will be brought down to size. It's why Gregory Peck's character in The Gunfighter (later referenced by Dylan in his "Brownsville Girl") is uneasy with his reputation as the best gunslinger in the West; he knows it can't last, that he's a target for every ambitious young buck passing through town.

    It has often been said that Dylan's 1966 motorcycle crash was as much metaphorical as it was physical. He was under tremendous pressure at the time to produce ever more shimmering works of genius -- as I said earlier, he was held up as a musical messiah by many -- and the crash released that valve. It must have been a tremendous relief. Dylan knew that to pursue the path laid out before him in the summer of 1966 would have led to a crash of a much more serious kind, perhaps even to his death: a musical messiah sacrificed on the cross of rock and roll.

    By the summer of 1967, Dylan's recovery -- the change in pace, the reinvention of himself as a family man -- was well under way, but the public's desire for the return of their messiah was strong, and there was still a doubt in Dylan's mind as to whether he'd shed the weight of expectation just yet. This doubt would ultimately lead to the release, several years later, of Self Portrait; an album consciously designed to throw the scent off his trail once and for all.

    Perhaps that's what "Sign on the Cross" is about. Just a thought.
  4. Bennyboy

    Bennyboy Forum Resident

    Dunno. Probably not. It's not as great as everyone goes on about though.
  5. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff Thread Starter

    East Yorkshire
    I replied to a post in another thread and thought it worthwhile repsoting it here for those with the deluxe edition.........

    Outside of moderation duties I don't normally visit this part of the forum (Marketplace Discussions) but I saw your post in the moderation queue and thought I'd reply.

    I use Nagaoka Antistatic CD Sleeves for this kind of box and they protect the discs very well indeed, I've listed an example below for you.......

    USA........... JAPAN ANTISTATIC Plastic Inner Sleeve CD 20 NAGAOKA

    UK............. Nagaoka Anti-Static Inner CD Sleeves (pack of 20) | eBay

    I can never understand it when I see people saying things like they've taken the discs out and put them inside regular CD cases, there's no need when you can put the CD's in sleeves and store them where they belong.

    Having said the above, it wouldn't kill the record labels to include them free of charge in the first place........ As They Do In Japan!!!
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  6. cartologist

    cartologist Just the son of an Iowa girl

    MA, USA
    This whole thread is a book waiting to be written; perhaps a book of essays on the Basement Tapes. A nightmare for the editor, to be sure. :agree:
    It is up there with some of the best writing on music out there. No BS.
    HominyRhodes likes this.
  7. soniclovenoize

    soniclovenoize Forum Resident

    Minneapolis, MN
    OK, well that copyright tape is just the original songs taken from Reel 16 (as well as Reel 15 at the beginnign and Reel 6 at the end), in the order they were recorded (just like the 14 song Acetate and just like the Safety tape). Except they skipped Minstrel Boy because they didn't need to copyright it, it was already done for Self Portrait.

    So when I say "Minstrel Boy put in it's proper place" I mean I put it between "Dress It Up" and "Silent Weekend", which was how it was originally recorded on the tape.
    Natural E likes this.
  8. Rob C

    Rob C Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, USA
    I think the fuller picture would have made a really great cover for the box!
  9. revolution_vanderbilt

    revolution_vanderbilt Forum Resident

    New York
    With Bob, we never really get the full picture...
  10. cc--

    cc-- Forum Resident

    I agree, it's much more interesting that way... it manages to evoke the 19th century and modern suburbia at the same time!
    Thelonious_Cube likes this.
  11. soniclovenoize

    soniclovenoize Forum Resident

    Minneapolis, MN
    This is all excellent!

    One question though, how do we know that the contents of Reel 10 and 11 were split over two reels?
  12. JL6161

    JL6161 Forum Resident

    Michigan, USA
    I do it just for convenience, so that I can grab the discs quickly for playing, keep all the artist's CDs together in their allotted alphabetical-chronological order on the shelves, and save wear and tear on the box and book.
    Thelonious_Cube likes this.
  13. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Arizona desert
    I agree. More interesting.
  14. notesfrom

    notesfrom Forum Resident

    NC USA
    This whole BT set has sent me into the arms of John Wesley Harding this morning.

    It's almost a respite from the Tapes due to the lessened load of sheer aural information. Out of the woodshed and into the fresh air, where Dylan was a solo artist again, family man, country squire, counter-counter-culture enthusiast (haha). And it really is a distillation of the Basement Tapes ethos, somewhat naturally. The chords and singing and wayward confounding humor-bent subject matter are all there, as well as the frequent stabs at absolute and utter solemnity.

    Instrumentally, it's set apart from his last two albums and seems like it's from another era entirely when compared to Bringing It All Back Home - which, being recorded almost three years apart, it kind of is. What it revokes is the use of a whole band for most of it (as did the Basement Tapes itself to a lesser degree - compared to the live '66 show band). Seems that Dylan was ready to hit record for reel (sic) without cannabis clouds and alcohol swells hovering over the proceedings. His supporting cast of, more or less, straight Nashville session guys wouldn't necessarily induce Bob to burst out into laughter mid-song. Is there any harmonica at all on the Basement Tapes? It's all over JWH. Just add some organ to JWH and it doesn't sound too unlike the Tapes.

    And while JWH somehow seems, mentally and experientially at least, like a long album, seven of its twelve songs are under three minutes. 'Wicked Messenger' clocks in at 2:05 (while centerpiece saga, 'The Ballad Of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest', is five and half). Perhaps the brevity of most of the individual titles is something brought on by the Tapes sessions - the whole 'this song has three minutes of life before it falls apart' reality…

    The baffling thing might be why songs like 'I Shall Be Released' and 'This Wheel's On Fire' didn't make it onto JWH. But a closer look at the writing credits probably explains it: Dylan wasn't ready to share writing credit on his song releases yet. And where was he hiding these JWH songs during the Basement Tapes sessions? I guess it was all in his mind.

    And we thought the Basement Tapes were mysterious… There's scads of old and new information about the Tapes now. John Wesley Harding? No session pictures. No outtakes, yet. All we know about it is where (it was recorded) and when, maybe as it should be. I, however, believe it is a conscious/unconscious (Dylan dubious as he is) direct reaction to Sgt. Pepper in construction and form. Dylan was going to shoot to wound and inadvertently kill, even if he was outgunned.
  15. Heart of Gold

    Heart of Gold Forum Resident

    I'm at the first cd. I love Edge of The Ocean, Spanish Is The Loving Tongue and the fragment of I'm Guilty of Loving You, The Old Triangle. So far great collection!
    Thelonious_Cube and HominyRhodes like this.
  16. Cheepnik

    Cheepnik Overfed long-haired leaping gnome

    Apparently Schaefer really was the one beer to have when you're having more than one.
    Natural E, spindly, JL6161 and 2 others like this.
  17. hollowhorn

    hollowhorn In Memoriam In Memoriam

    Isle of Asda
    From 'Searching For A Gem on the withdrawn 'Biograph' set:

    "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" [NCO 120961] lasts five seconds longer and comes to a full ending, with no fade-out. A minor variation, true; but this is, as far as I know, the only variant/alternate/oddity to ever emerge from the John Wesley Harding sessions"

    The harmonica solo at the end of the song is waaaaaaaaay off key :)
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
    notesfrom and HominyRhodes like this.
  18. Heart of Gold

    Heart of Gold Forum Resident

    The sales are very high in Europe, in the top 10/20. The complete has sold more than 10,000 units in US. That means that the pricey Bob Dylan release in the long term gets the same revenue of a younger star as Taylor Swift.
  19. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Out of My Element
    Didn't one of the Dylan sons (Jesse?) say that he'd often find his father at the breakfast table reading The Bible while having cornflakes with beer?
    revolution_vanderbilt and JL6161 like this.
  20. stephenlee

    stephenlee Forum Resident

    East Coast
    Ahh, now I understand. That makes sense. Thanks for the explanation!
  21. notesfrom

    notesfrom Forum Resident

    NC USA

    'Tears of Rage' - rather, song credits-wise.

    'I Shall Be Released' not being released or attempted for JWH is still a head-scratcher. Maybe he didn't think it was that good?
  22. cublowell

    cublowell Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    That explains a lot more about the BT songs than everything else I've ever read about them combined.
    Moth, glewes and JL6161 like this.
  23. a sound painter

    a sound painter The no drama drumma

    I think it's important to keep in mind that there has always been conflict and tension within Christian religious music. The tunes to many Sacred Harp songs originate in drinking tunes and sea shanties, and many a Sunday morning gospel sensation was recorded by a Saturday night blues singer (and sinner in the eyes of the devout). Finally, it may be difficult for some people, but it is always possible to separate a love of music from a belief in the message it puts across. I love religious music of all stripes, and I'm a secular Jew to the core.
    Thelonious_Cube likes this.
  24. a sound painter

    a sound painter The no drama drumma

    I could also swear he's harmonizing on "Minstrel Boy".
  25. fallbreaks

    fallbreaks Forum Resident

    I Shall Be Released may fit with the JWH material lyrically, but the music is derived from a pretty standard 60s soul chord progression, and maybe wouldn't fit with the sparse country folk vibe of the album. I wouldn't be surprised if Dylan at the time thought of ISBR as a rough early throwaway on the path that led him to the JWH material.
    cc-- likes this.
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