Say What? Dept.: T Bone Burnett To Complete ‘Basement Tapes’ Dylan Songs, Record Album

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”

About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael has had three novels published that comprise the "Freak Scene Dream trilogy": "True Love Scars," "The Flowers Lied" and "Untitled" which can be ordered here. His new book, "Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey," can be pre-ordered from HoZac Books. In November Backbeat Books will publish "Addicted To Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg," which can be be pre-ordered here.

13 thoughts on “Say What? Dept.: T Bone Burnett To Complete ‘Basement Tapes’ Dylan Songs, Record Album

      1. Hey! no problem we all do them.
        ‘Everybody will help you,
        Discover what you set out to find
        But if I can save you any time’
        In my Dylan covers Blog ….the only comments I get are mistakes…I am often tempted to make little errors and wait for the response….set ’em up!

  1. ill keep it with mine was a earlier song recorded by Dylan during the BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME sessions in 1965 later released on the BIOGRAPH boxside

  2. I’ll Keep It With Mine isn’t a Basement Tapes song (both released Dylan versions — from Biograph & The Bootleg Series — predate the Big Pink recordings). Plenty of other great covers though, including The Bands own versions of This Wheel’s on Fire & I Shall Be Released.

  3. I’ll Keep It With Mine is not a Basement song. Apparently the eventual release of a Bootleg Series Basement Tapes is assured. They are tracking down the best source tapes

  4. Would be great to get a Bootleg Series of The Basement Tapes but I doubt if I’ll Keep It With Mine would be on there. It was an out take from Bringing It All Back Home in 64/65

  5. I too would love to have an official release of the REAL basement tapes, not Robbie Robertson’s version with added instrumentation and reworked vocals. Would be nice for Bootleg Series.

  6. Big YES to Mike A. that he would love to hear a “REAL” basement tape, not a R. Robertson version. I am also concerned about anyone other than Dylan himself, putting music to Bob’s magical lyrics. Only the real, the one and only Mr Dylan can do that.
    Thanks for posting this – my first ever online comment.

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