A batch of “recently discovered” song lyrics that Bob Dylan wrote in 1967 for the recording sessions in the basement of Big Pink,The Band’s pink house in West Saugerties (near Woodstock), have been turned over to T Bone Burnett by Dylan for the purpose of making a new album.
However, Dylan himself may not appear on the album. In a press release announcing Burnett’s new Electromagnetic Recordings label, the Basement Tapes project was mentioned in a list of recordings Burnett has planned:
The Basement Tapes…Continued: Bob Dylan’s music publishing company recently discovered lyrics Dylan wrote in 1967 for informal sessions with members of The Band that later became known as The Basement Tapes. Dylan has entrusted Burnett with these lyrics, and early next year – nearly 47 years since the legendary original sessions – Burnett will assemble a select group of contemporary recording artists in the famed Capitol Studios to complete the songs and record them as a band. Fans will experience this historic creative collaboration through an album release, as well as a documentary film and book of photography by award-winning filmmaker and photographer Sam Jones (The Wilco documentary, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, and his interview show, Off Camera with Sam Jones). Burnett’s association with Bob Dylan began in 1975 when he became a guitarist on Dylan’s famed Rolling Thunder Revue tour.
Now I’m a big T Bone Burnett fan, but this one makes me wonder. What I love about the original Basement Tapes recordings is the ragged quality, and Dylan’s voice, and how The Band supports the songs, and The Band’s background vocals, which fit perfectly with Dylan’s singing.
That said, there are amazing covers of Dylan’s Basement Tapes songs including The Band’s version of “I Shall Be Released,” and more recently, Jim James version of “Goin’ To Acupulco.” So I guess I’ll wait and see how this turns out.
And who know, maybe Dylan himself will put in an appearance.
But what I’m waiting for is an official release of all the Basement Tapes recordings. What a box set that would make. Some on Sony Legacy! Come on Bob! Come on Jeff Rosen! I’m not the only one waiting.
Good story about the Burnett album here.
Some successful covers:
Jim James & Colexico, “Goin’ To Acupulco”
The Band, “I Shall Be Released”
Sonic Youth, “I’m Not There”
The Byrds, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”
These next aren’t covers of a Basement Tapes song but they’re great.
Fairport Convention, “I’ll Keep It With Mine”
Nico, “I’ll Keep It With Mine”