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. lou

    lou Fast 'n Bulbous

    Interesting that when he rerecorded it for Greatest Hits 2 he did a JWH arrangement of it. Could have fit perfectly on that album. Crash on the Levee also.
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  2. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident

    There are images of two tape boxes, one clearly labeled "#10," with Richard/Delivered, and a second box with the same two tracks plus Tears of Rage and Mighty Quinn, which I'm calling #11. I can't figure out which one came first. Here's how they're sequenced on the box set:

    72 Tears of Rage (Take 1)
    73 Tears of Rage (Take 2)
    74 Tears of Rage (Take 3)
    75 Quinn the Eskimo (Take 1)
    76 Quinn the Eskimo (Take 2)
    77 Open the Door Homer (Take 1) a/k/a Open The Door Richard
    78 Open the Door Homer (Take 2)
    79 Open the Door Homer (Take 3)
    80 Nothing Was Delivered (Take 1)
    81 Nothing Was Delivered (Take 2)
    82 Nothing Was Delivered (Take 3)

    These are the only images that I could find of the reels themselves:


    (All images/screenshots from the "Complete" box set and the Rolling Stone video.)
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  3. JL6161

    JL6161 Forum Resident

    Michigan, USA
    Oh god I hope that's true. I realized while walking my dogs just now that I'm probably an outlier on this topic because I've spent the last 35 years living in college towns, where music and counterculture stuff are totally compatible with mundane family life and the living rooms of half the people you know look more or less like this:


    Or at least that used to be the case; it has changed somewhat during the Wal-Martification and general rightward drift of American culture in recent years.
    Kermit27, cc-- and jamesmaya like this.
  4. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo, Endless Mikelovemoney

    This thread is more complete than the Warren Commission report!
  5. a sound painter

    a sound painter The no drama drumma

    A few quick thoughts now that I've lived with the complete set for a few days:

    This thread is way too long to wade through again, so I don't know if it's been mentioned yet, but I love hearing the Hawks evolve into the Band on this set. Their vocal and instrumental interplay seems to develop as the set moves along, as does their ability to play with more nuance and subtlety than they had before.

    Of course, this is also where we are introduced to songs that would later appear on Big Pink, but it's also fascinating to hear Dylan teaching/exposing them to songs like "Down on me", "Po' Lazarus", "Ain't No More Cane on the Brazos" and even "Wildwood Flower". Many would argue that the Band's roots in traditional and folk musics are a big part of their charm and something that really set them apart from the beginning. So cool to hear this all coming together for them here, and I think many a Band fan would find much to fall in love with here.

    Finally, I think they've done a bang up job with mastering and stereo separation given what they had to work with. The instruments come across clearly for the most part, with Danko's bass parts no longer a gelatinous mass, really clearly coming to the fore. His vocals have always added so much to the Band's harmonies, and it's a real treat hearing his contributions throughout this set. It's also great to hear how much Garth contributed to the airy and ethereal feel of this music and to the Band's signature sound. Richard is versatile, solid and a great singer. It really is too bad we don't hear more of him on his own as we do in the first verse of "One too many Mornings". Finally, the influence of Curtis Mayfield on Robbie's guitar playing is in plain sight, and makes for many warm sounding runs, fills and solos.

    So happy I splurged on this set, it continues to reveal new pleasures, and I know there are many more in store.
  6. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident

    I have no "single-reel theory," though, sorry!
  7. JL6161

    JL6161 Forum Resident

    Michigan, USA
    I'm with stepeanut on this one; my non-religious ears hear it as more a figurative rumination on fame etc. in the same vein as "Minstrel Boy," or, as the other fellow said a couple years later:

    You have set them all on fire
    They think they've found the new Messiah
    And they'll hurt you when they find they're wrong

    I remember when this whole thing began
    No talk of God then, we called you a man
    And believe me
    My admiration for you hasn't died
    But every word you say today
    Gets twisted 'round some other way
    And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied

    Nazareth's most famous son
    Should have stayed a great unknown
    Like his father carving wood
    He'd have made good
    Tables, chairs and oaken chests
    Would have suited Jesus best
    He'd have caused nobody harm
    No one alarm
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  8. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident

    re: Bob, the "family guy" --

    The middle-class son of an appliance dealer from the Iron Range digs C&W, R&B and rock n' roll, reads Kerouac, finds folk music and Woody Guthrie, gets wanderlust, travels to NYC, quickly becomes a rising young star, lives the nomadic life of a touring musician, often staying at the Chelsea Hotel and his manager's country home, hooks up with a woman named Sara, becomes an influential millionaire rock star by the age of 25. Pressures? Wanting to escape from it all for awhile? Suspicious of management's motives, feeling used? Needing amphetamines to help him keep "pumping it out"?

    How about he settles into a "rural retreat" with his wife and kids and lets everything settle down a bit, under "certain things are evened up"?
  9. George P

    George P Notable Member

    It's more complete than the 6CD set.
  10. asdf35

    asdf35 Forum Resident

    Austin TX
    I guess this ties in to the comments on the last few pages, but my take on the Basement Tapes
    has always been: What do musicians do for fun? Well, they play for themselves. Not for you!

    I always took the recording and accumulation of reels to be like a higher form of record collecting.
    Then when the songs evolved into finished "keepers," pushing the private-jokes off as "demos" for
    other artists to cover must have deeply entertained the mischievous Saugerties Crew to no end.

    Those thoughts entertain me, at least.
    Thelonious_Cube and HominyRhodes like this.
  11. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo, Endless Mikelovemoney

    I too would like to hear Dylan eat cereal drenched in beer.
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  12. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Out of My Element
    The true identities of the other shooters were left out of the Warren Report because it was all distortion.
  13. Thelonious_Cube

    Thelonious_Cube Epistrophe of Light

    Oakland, CA
    I like what you're saying here a lot, but I have two responses

    1. How do you see the "preacher" bit playing into this? I can definitely see him telling himself "you think you're weak, but you're really strong and if you sing your song it'll be okay" but how do you think the earlier part of that bit plays into this reading?

    2. I don't really think it's a question of either/or - I expect that all of our interpretations are teasing out some of the emotional/psychic influences on the song and that trying to pin down "the meaning" is a misguided quest. No surprise, I think that's true of art in general and Dylan in particular (In my view, BOTT isn't so much "about" divorcing Sara as it is "informed by" that experience, if that makes sense).
  14. Carserguev

    Carserguev Forum Resident

    Madrid, Spain
    Let's hope it's more accurate!
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  15. notesfrom

    notesfrom Forum Resident

    NC USA
    Maybe cut a completely different set of songs so that it wouldn't in any way be an affront to the Band, since he went to Nashville to record. I do believe that Dylan would have taken Robbie and Garth with him to be on JWH if he could have temporarily pried them away from the other guys (like how he brought Robbie and Al Kooper to the Blonde On Blonde Nashville dates), but of course that would be even more of an affront if he only took key Band members with him. Later on he even asked Robbie and Garth to overdub on the JWH tapes, which they ended up not doing. Maybe Bob wasn't as fond of the multi-vocal approach that a lot of the Basement Tapes material took; Richard, Rick and company's vocals and exhortations are certainly a large part of the BT vibe.
    Thelonious_Cube and streetlegal like this.
  16. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo, Endless Mikelovemoney

    Does the organ sound too quiet? What specifically sounds wrong when you two combine to mono? I found another track on one of the first two discs that had phasing problems when I combined channels, but "Tears of Rage" 3 sounds fine to me in mono.
  17. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident

    re: That's The Breaks (Disc 6, track 6)

    At first this song reminded me of Ray Charles' Top 40 version of Crying Time from 1966, previously a Buck Owens C&W hit, with several added middle-eight sections of the type that Dylan would later use in Living The Blues and Watching the River Flow. I definitely hears strains of other country tunes, including the tag line "the other side of life."

    Transcription of lyrics, Take 1
    end of previous song (Love Is Only Mine?), then brief spoken intro: " goes something like this.")
    On my pillow last night, I thought I saw you dreaming
    Just a sudden glance of happiness gone by suddenly came to me, you see
    Just a while ago when you left me, say your heart would be broken, little girl
    But that's just(?) the breaks of life when you're breaking me

    Well, it's a time of day you like, but you're not that nice
    If it'd only come and go awhile with me
    But when you're olden days, sweetheart, you're my devotion(?)
    But that's the breaks, of life, you see, that's the breaks

    (middle eight)
    We-e-ell, when the sun breaks down and beats your heart
    And you know it ain't out and bright
    Why you know it's just a lie what I say, it's deny your appetite
    We-e-ell, in the mornin' when you hope and send me
    Ple-ease send a-me mine
    You'll hang your head down and lonesome
    And then cry - my please be mine

    Cryin' that my head - and my pillow
    Just my break, break that the whole be light
    Please be emotional, my darling, hope and go by mine to break
    But that's the breaks, you see, on the other side of life

    (middle eight)
    We-e-ell, if your flowers are growing my way
    And your rain/brain is just all a dew
    Hang your head down, it's as lonesome that way, y'know
    It's a hard way, mine as well, too
    That's when your picture's often cloudy
    Like your morning's all go away
    All hidden by the teardrops - don't you - think that's a dis-grace?

    Now you went away from me (until I?) broke my heart, and...
    Now it's too late to cover all that up, you see
    But when your future's hangin' low, but it's always right down here, my wife
    But that's the breaks, on the other side of life

    (In a lyrical sense, Dylan's song bears little resemblance to this old favorite, but I love to post Ol' Hank's recordings here whenever I can, whether they're relevant or not.)

  18. wdp33

    wdp33 Forum Resident

    I understand that there may have been different motivations for these recordings at different times (pleasure, demos for other artists etc.), but what is the prevailing view about why they came up with different arrangements for and recorded some of Dylan's older songs -- Blowin' in the Wind, One Too Many Mornings, It Ain't Me a Babe?
  19. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident

    Prevailing wisdom is that they were rehearsing them for possible inclusion in the Guthrie tribute show in January 1968. :shrug:
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  20. fangedesire

    fangedesire Well-Known Member

    No way. That's very unlikely. The only songs played at the Guthrie tribute show were GUTHRIE songs....of which there's not one on the Basement Tapes! Dylan would not have been rehearsing his own songs for that show.
    Maybe Levon suggested revisiting some old tunes....the arrangements are pretty worked-out so you'd think there was some purpose, but no one knows what it was.

    While Dylan was revisiting some old songs with the Band in the basement, I wish he'd done Long Distance Operator there too.... Heck, he probably did -- just not on our tapes. At the least, he must've been aware that the Band was recording it.
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  21. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident

    900 Miles...Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad...Hills of Mexico...

  22. fangedesire

    fangedesire Well-Known Member

    Not that baffling. They'd already been put on 'the acetate' to distribute to other artists....I think in his mind Dylan thought of that whole group of songs as just being for other people to cover.
    Then there's the Band's album. I think, even as early as the JWH sessions, he would've known that the Band were soon to record their own album; and they were planning to record 'Tears of Rage,' 'This Wheel's On Fire' and 'I Shall Be Released' themselves. In effect, he was giving the songs to them.
  23. soniclovenoize

    soniclovenoize Forum Resident

    Minneapolis, MN
    Hmm, imo that's simply a copy of Reel 10, since it's marked Copy. ;)
  24. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident

    Yes, I'm sure it is a copy, but I'm unsure whether or not Heylin counts it as one of the "extant" reels.

    EDIT: Reel "10" doesn't list Tears of Rage and Mighty Quinn, but the "copies" reel does.
  25. fangedesire

    fangedesire Well-Known Member

    I should clarify: as far as I know, all the songs played at the Guthrie memorial concert were songs Guthrie wrote. (Not folk 'traditionals' like these.) I believe Dylan never would have considered playing his own songs there, though others may disagree!

    That said, Dylan may or may not have originally learned these tunes from Guthrie's versions, way back when... But considering Guthrie died in October '67, mid-Basement Tapes, his influence in the known basement songs is very slight.
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