Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes by Sid Griffin(Book). Million Dollar Bash tells for the first time the whole story of the Basement Tapes, recorded in summer 1967 when Bob Dylans career was at a crossroads. Recovering from a mysterious motorcycle crash, he gathered together a few musician friends in Woodstock, New York, and informally recorded a bunch of songs intended to be heard by no one but themselves. Instead, they changed music forever. In this new book, musician and author Sid Griffin examines the recordings in detail, demonstrating on every page a musicians insight into the Basement Tapes, the men who recorded them, and the times in which they were made. Every Dylan fan needs this book.
The Basement Tapes
It was also one of the most frequently bootlegged. It was written about, dissected, discussed and heralded as a masterpiece before Dylan's record company finally decided to put out some of the songs that were recorded by the singer and his onetime backing band eight years earlier. Following a July motorcycle accident, Dylan retreated to his home in Woodstock, N. Most of these compositions, which were sprinkled among the covers the group also playfully worked their way though, were to be passed on to Dylan's publishing company, which would then pair the songs with other artists though Dylan initially balked at this commercial proposition, he eventually relented. Nobody involved in the recordings that were laid down during the summer of expected anyone outside of a few industry executives, and perhaps a few potential clients, to hear the ragtag songs, which totaled more than by the time the tapes stopped rolling. But word started to spread among Dylan fans, who hadn't heard anything new by the singer since Blonde on Blonde was released in May In addition to other Dylan rarities, including some recordings he made before he released his debut album in , were seven songs from the Woodstock sessions.
The official release of The Basement Tapes -- which were first heard on a bootleg called The Great White Wonder -- plays with history somewhat, as Robbie Robertson overemphasizes the Band 's status in the sessions, making them out to be equally active to Dylan , adding in demos not cut at the sessions and overdubbing their recordings to flesh them out. As many bootlegs most notably the complete five-disc series reveal, this isn't entirely true and the Band were nowhere near as active as Dylan , but that ultimately is a bit like nitpicking, since the music here including the Band 's is astonishingly good. 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 through its 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 measure -- 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 with its expert song selection, even if there's a bit too much Band rank among the greatest American music ever made.