Bob Dylan & The Band: The Basement Tapes

Album review
Bob Dylan & The Band: The Basement Tapes

Bob Dylan & The Band

The Basement Tapes

Label: Mobile Fidelity
Media: LP
Genre: Rock/pop

Dylan fans have waited a decade for an audiophile edition of The Basement Tapes, two discs of demos recorded in 1967 in the cellar of the Band’s upstate New York ranch house, but excluded from Columbia’s 2003 hybrid SACD reissues of Dylan’s catalogue. These relaxed, acoustic-oriented demo sessions, widely bootlegged but unreleased until 1975, were recorded on a Revox A-77 tape machine in a cinder-block cellar with a churning furnace, clanging pipes, and oil- stained concrete floor. The tracks evoke what Dylan biographer Greil Marcus has called “that weird old America” and are a window into one of the most productive collaborations in pop-music history. This 180-gram double LP—a forthcoming SACD wasn’t yet available at review time—is the first in Mobile Fidelity’s Dylan reissue series. It bodes well for audiophiles. MoFi’s remastering has scrubbed the sonic crud from the aggressive Redbook CD (on which the Band sounds like a garage band) and delivers a warm, nuanced, intimate performance (listen to the rich tones on the percussion). The result is stunning: it feels like you’re standing at the top of the basement stairs listening to Bob and the boys spin their magic. Justice at last for these culturally important tapes.

More Info

  • primary artist, Bob Dylan & The Band

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