Bob Dylan’s reinvented New Basement Tapes will be released in November.
When Dylan recorded The Basement Tapes many songs written at the time were left unrecorded. Producer T. Bone Burnett has gathered a collection of Dylan’s famous fans and friends to put the music to the lyrics that had previously been left unfinished.
Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons) are some of the name who contributed to the new album.
47 years after the recording of the original The Basement Tapes, the unfinished songs have been completed.
T Bone Burnett explains the project:
Last autumn, I received a message from Bob Dylan’s publisher telling me that a box of lyrics had been found, all hand-written by Bob in 1967, during the time of the original Basement Tapes recordings. The question to me was, “Would you like to do something with these?” Shocked, I asked if Bob was into this, and having been told he was, I asked no more questions, but rather set out to come up with something that would do justice to Bob and be true to the spirit in which the lyrics were originally written. Bob had been collaborating with an extraordinarily talented group of musicians at the time, any of whom could have led their own bands. So, the first step was to find a group of song writers/band leaders who would be able to work together to write, sing, and perform melodies for these soulful and playful lyrics.
The artists we invited – Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford – were equal to the task. Not only do they have the talent and the same open and collaborative spirit needed for this to be good, they are all music archaeologists. They all know how to dig without breaking the thing they are digging. We sent sixteen lyrics to each artist ahead of time, and they all showed up at Capitol Studios in the basement of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood in March of this year. Some had written a melody or two, others had written a dozen, but a couple of days before the sessions started, an additional eight lyrics from that same period showed up. Those lyrics, which no one had time to think about, led to some of the freest recordings.
The first day, we recorded one song – the killer “Down On The Bottom,” led by Jim James and supported mightily by the others. At the end of that day, we started looking at the number of songs we had in front of us – there were going to be multiple versions of many of the songs – and we didn’t want to turn this into any sort of competition, so we decided to record everything.
What transpired during those two weeks was amazing for all of us. There was a deep well of generosity and support in the studio at all times, which reflected the tremendous trust and generosity shown by Bob in sharing these lyrics with us in the first place. More than 40 recordings were created, the first 20 of which will be released this fall on Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes. Sam Jones captured all of it on film, and we’re creating a documentary that will give audiences an inside look at the making of this album and explore the historical context of Bob’s original Basement Tapes recordings and their enduring influence. We are all looking forward to sharing this project with you.
The New Basement Tapes tracklisting
1. Down On The Bottom
2. Married To My Hack
3. Kansas City
4. Spanish Mary
5. Liberty Street
6. Nothing To It
7. Golden Tom – Silver Judas
8. When I Get My Hands On You
9. Duncan and Jimmy
10. Florida Key
11. Hidee Hidee Ho #11
12. Lost On The River #12
14. Card Shark
15. Quick Like A Flash
16. Hidee Hidee Ho #16
17. Diamond Ring
18. The Whistle Is Blowing
19. Six Months In Kansas City (Liberty Street)
20. Lost On The River #20
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