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Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes

Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes
File:LOTR TNBT Cover 713px.jpg
Studio album by The New Basement Tapes
Released November 11, 2014 (2014-11-11)
Recorded March 2014,
Capitol Studios
Genre Blues rock, folk rock, country rock, psychedelic rock
Length 74:00
Label Electromagnetic Recordings / Harvest
Producer T Bone Burnett

Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes is an album produced by T Bone Burnett featuring a collective of musicians recording under the moniker The New Basement Tapes—Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford.[1] The album consists of a series of tracks based on recently uncovered lyrics handwritten by Bob Dylan in 1967. Probably written in the period between his motorcycle accident (July 29, 1966) and the first recordings in the spring of 1967 in the "Red Room" in Dylan's house, where the first recordings of The Basement Tapes took place.

Early May 1967 Dylan told reporter Michael Iachetta: "Songs are in my head like they always are, but they are not going to get written down until some people come forth and make up for some of the things that had happened", probably referring to his conflict with his manager Albert Grossman.[2] During the period in which he started recording with the Hawks, Dylan changed his writing habits and wrote his text directly on a typewriter.[3] The album was released November 11, 2014.

Recording

In a Los Angeles Times article published on March 25, 2014, writer Randy Lewis wrote,

The album aims to honor the freewheeling musical spirit and collaborative creative process of the original sessions. One intriguing facet is the collaboration among the participants. Each has come up with his or her own music for many of the lyrics, resulting in multiple versions of the same songs and allowing a perspective on the ways different artists respond to Dylan's lyrics. Each artist took the lead on the tracking of his or her song, and all provided suggestions and whatever instrumental and vocal support the others required, with Burnett overseeing production. During the first week of recording, Burnett said, they had laid down nearly 48 tracks, and they expected to have more than 50 to draw from by the time recording sessions wrapped up at the end of March 2014.[4]

On August 4, 2014, it was reported that Johnny Depp played guitar on "Kansas City", filling in for Elvis Costello, who couldn't attend one of the recording sessions due to a previously scheduled concert with The Roots in Las Vegas.[5]

Background

Dylan's publisher contacted Burnett regarding the box of handwritten lyrics that had been found, dating back to Dylan's Basement Tapes days, and asked if he had any interest in doing something with them. As soon as Burnett was assured that Dylan was on board with the project, he agreed to it.[6] Burnett selected his band based on their talent and collaborative style, as well as their interest as "musical archaeologists".[6] Each member of the group was sent the collection of lyrics, and each arrived at recording session with a selection of tunes, some having set only some of the lyrics, others having set all of them. Not wishing to encourage competition, the group decided to record all the tunes, including multiple settings of the same lyrics. Of the resulting 40 tracks, 20 are included on the present album.[6]

Bob Dylan's original Basement Tapes

Main article: Basement Tapes

Among Bob Dylan’s many cultural milestones, the legendary Basement Tapes – dozens of songs written and recorded by Dylan in 1967, backed by members of his touring ensemble who would later achieve their own fame as The Band – have fascinated and enticed successive generations of musicians, fans and cultural critics alike. Having transformed music and culture during the preceding five years, Dylan had reached unparalleled heights by the mid-1960s through the release of three historic albums, the groundbreaking single, "Like a Rolling Stone", a controversial and legendary "electric" performance at the Newport Folk Festival and wildly polarizing tours of the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. Dylan's mercurial rise and prodigious body of work in that decade came to an abrupt end in July, 1966 when it was reported that he had nearly been killed in a motorcycle accident in upstate New York.[7]

Recovering from his injuries and away from the public eye for the first time in years, Dylan ensconced himself, along with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and, later, Levon Helm, in the basement of a small house in West Saugerties, New York – dubbed "Big Pink" by the group. This collective recorded more than a hundred songs over the next several months – traditional covers, wry and humorous ditties, off-the cuff performances and dozens of newly-written Bob Dylan songs, including "I Shall Be Released", "The Mighty Quinn", "Tears of Rage", and "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere".[8]

When rumors and rare acetates of some of these recordings began surfacing, an album mysteriously titled Great White Wonder began showing up in record shops around the country[which?] in 1969 as one of the very first bootleg records. The actual recordings, however, remained commercially unavailable until 1975, when Columbia Records released 16 of them on The Basement Tapes album.[8]

Album cover

The album cover image is a photograph by Jacob Riis titled "Mullen's Alley". It was taken in New York City in 1888.[9]

Videos

As of October 26, 2014, five lyric videos had been released for tracks from the album, each of them featuring Bob Dylan's actual handwritten lyrics inhabiting an animated environment:

"Nothing to It", with lead vocal by Jim James, [1] on August 19, 2014.
"Married to My Hack", with lead vocal by Elvis Costello, [2] on September 2, 2014.
"When I Get My Hands on You", with lead vocal by Marcus Mumford, [3] on September 23, 2014.
"Spanish Mary", with lead vocal by Rhiannon Giddens, [4] on October 14, 2014.
"Liberty Street", with lead vocal by Taylor Goldsmith, [5] on October 26, 2014.

Track listing

Vinyl side 1
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Down on the Bottom"  Bob Dylan, Jim James 4:29
2. "Married to My Hack"  Dylan, Elvis Costello 1:57
3. "Kansas City"  Dylan, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith 4:04
4. "Spanish Mary"  Dylan, Rhiannon Giddens 5:31
5. "Liberty Street"  Dylan, Goldsmith 2:45
Vinyl side 2
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
6. "Nothing to It"  Dylan, James 3:32
7. "Golden Tom – Silver Judas"  Dylan, Costello 2:39
8. "When I Get My Hands on You"  Dylan, Mumford, Goldsmith 3:10
9. "Duncan and Jimmy"  Dylan, Giddens 4:10
10. "Florida Key"  Dylan, Goldsmith 3:19
Vinyl side 3
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
11. "Hidee Hidee Ho #11"  Dylan, James 4:45
12. "Lost on the River #12"  Dylan, Costello 3:42
13. "Stranger"  Dylan, Mumford 4:22
14. "Card Shark"  Dylan, Goldsmith 2:36
15. "Quick Like a Flash"  Dylan, James 3:17
Vinyl side 4
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
16. "Hidee Hidee Ho #16"  Dylan, Giddens, Costello 3:51
17. "Diamond Ring"  Dylan, Goldsmith 2:54
18. "The Whistle Is Blowing"  Dylan, Mumford 5:10
19. "Six Months in Kansas City (Liberty Street)"  Dylan, Costello 3:36
20. "Lost on the River #20"  Dylan, Giddens, Mumford 3:47
Total length:
74:00

Personnel

Charts

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Chart (2014) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[13] 69

See also

References

  1. "The New Basement Tapes". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  2. Uncut: Clinton Heylin
  3. Williams, Richard. "Bob Dylan's New Basement Tapes - A First Listen". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  4. Lewis, Randy. "'Lost' Bob Dylan Lyrics Make For 'New Basement Tapes' Project". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  5. "Johnny Depp To Feature On New 'Lost' Bob Dylan Lyrics Album". NME. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Burnett, T Bone (20 July 2014). "T Bone Burnett: How I set lyrics for Bob Dylan's new Basement Tapes to music". The Guardian. 
  7. Gilmore, Mikal. "Bob Dylan Unleashed: A Wild Ride on His New LP and Striking Back at Critics". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Marcus, Greil (2011). The Old Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes. Picador. ISBN 1429961589. 
  9. Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, CD booklet, p. 8
  10. Illegal name entered The New Basement Tapes/The+New+Basement+Tapes/chart?f=305 "The New Basement Tapes Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for The New Basement Tapes.
  11. "Illegal name entered The New Basement Tapes/The+New+Basement+Tapes/chart?f=1071 The New Basement Tapes Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Folk Albums for The New Basement Tapes.
  12. "Illegal name entered The New Basement Tapes/The+New+Basement+Tapes/chart?f=326 The New Basement Tapes Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Independent Albums for The New Basement Tapes.
  13. "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 17 November 2014" (PDF) (1290). Pandora Archive. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  14. "The New Basement Tapes – {{{album}}}" (in Dutch). Ultratop.be. Hung Medien.
  15. "The New Basement Tapes – {{{album}}}" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien.