Bob Dylan and The Band – The Basement Tapes – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More Bob Dylan / More The Band

More The Basement Tapes

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This Columbia Double LP pressing has some of the very best sound we’ve heard for this album, with all four sides finishing strongly in a recent shootout. Of course, given the nature of these recordings, you don’t get stunning sonics along the line of, say, Magical Mystery Tour or Dark Side Of The Moon, but at least you get to hear these great songs sound the way they were intended to, without the complications of bad mastering and pressing getting in the way. 

Most of the copies we’ve heard wouldn’t be fit to list on the site at any price, but we felt strongly that this copy did justice to the music in a way that the typical pressing does not.

This is of course a famous album, with The Band backing up Dylan (and adding some of their own material) in the famous Big Pink House which would later be the place where The Band’s 1st album was born. The sound varies from track to track, but for the most part it’s about what you’d expect given the title. Beyond that, The Band is not a band we associate with top-quality sonics, and this album is no real exception.

While this may not be a Demo Disc, it’s a much better sounding pressing than the ones we usually come across. We had a bunch of these on hand and most of them paled in comparison to this one. Some of the tracks on here sound better than most of The Band’s recordings do, so at least we have that to be thankful for.

Side one earned an A+++ grade while the other three sides all clocked in at A++. Remember — “Master Tape Sound” just gives you what’s on the tape, and I don’t think the master tapes themselves would blow you away. Enough disclaimers though, as I’m sure you get the point.

Bottom line? If you want a Hot Stamper LP to make your jaw drop, this ain’t the one, but if you want to hear THIS batch of great songs sound better than you’ve ever heard them before, this Super Hot Stamper pressing will show you just what these songs can do.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Odds and Ends 
Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast)
Million Dollar Bash 
Yazoo Street Scandal 
Goin’ to Acapulco 
Katie’s Been Gone

Side Two

Lo and Behold! 
Bessie Smith 
Clothes Line Saga 
Apple Suckling Tree 
Please, Mrs. Henry 
Tears of Rage

Side Three

Too Much of Nothing 
Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread 
Ain’t No More Cane 
Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood) 
Ruben Remus 
Tiny Montgomery

Side Four

You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere 
Don’t Ya Tell Henry 
Nothing Was Delivered 
Open the Door, Homer 
Long Distance Operator 
This Wheel’s on Fire

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

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 by being 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 measures — 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; expert song selection, even if there’s a bit too much Band) rank among the greatest American music ever made.