Bob Dylan The Basement Tapes on Numbered Edition 180g 2LP from Mobile Fidelity
Recorded in Basement of Big Pink with The Band: Ranked 291 on Rolling Stone’s List of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
Audiophile Sound at Last: Sonic Subtleties, Loose Interplay, Organic Spirit, Warm Textures Presented Like Never Before on Definitive Mobile Fidelity Reissue
Dylan at His Most Humorous, Unguarded, Loose: Folk Tales, Weird Narratives, Rock Ballads, Inside Jokes, Allusions Pepper Alchemic Material
Basements have long been associated with raw, off-the-cuff rock n’ roll, the damp and dark spaces serving as the woodshedding venues for countless bands. Yet no basement is more famous, and none yielded music as familiarly weird, wholesomely American, joyously loose, and identifiably humorous as that in the upstate New York house dubbed Big Pink—the location where, during the summer and early fall of 1967, Bob Dylan and The Band played a vivid tapestry of covers, originals, and traditionals that signaled the advent of Americana. Once again, the Bard changed the world.
As part of its Bob Dylan catalog restoration series, Mobile Fidelity is thoroughly humbled to have the privilege of mastering the iconic LP from the original master tapes and pressing it on dead-quiet LPs at RTI. The end result is the very finest, most transparent analog edition of The Basement Tapes ever produced—and the first-ever analog reissue. Inimitable, the particulars of The Basement Tapes—especially, the gather-‘round-in-a-huddle assembly of the instrumentalists, home-made character, domestic vibe, and low-volume nature of the recordings—come to fore here in a manner that takes the listener down the stairs at 2188 Stoll Road and brings the images of Dylan, Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson, and Co. to life.
Fresh off experiencing a motorcycle accident and the wrath of audiences hostile to his embrace of amplified music, Dylan elected to retreat to the comforts of rural and family life. He soon began collaborating with members of the Band in his house, ultimately moving the sessions to Big Pink. Informal, peaceful, relaxed, open-minded: The collaborations blanket country stomps, roots hootenannies, forgotten spirituals, earthy originals, chaotic marches, dreamscapes, dance tunes, folk laments, catch-as-you-can improvisations. On The Basement Tapes, mythical ghosts and dead legends reappear, reveling in the absurdity, comedy, mystery, aura, and alchemy.
In Invisible Republic, his scintillating book about the sessions, cultural critic Greil Marcus states: “At a time when the country was tearing itself apart in a war at home over a war abroad, the music was funny and comforting; it was also strange, and somehow incomplete. Out of some odd displacement of art and time, the music seemed both transparent and inexplicable when it was first heard, and it still does.” Indeed, The Basement Tapes appear to emanate from an indefinable chasm between modern and ancient, self-evident and mysterious, shapeless and fully formed, abstract and concrete, histories unwritten and chronicled. But every note chimes with freeness—a liberating fun, humble simplicity, and bond-creating camaraderie felt in every hoot, holler, laugh, and false start.
The Basement Tapes’ capacity to remain so gloriously honest and timeless—performances that genuinely could’ve been made today, ten years from now, or back in the 1930s—helps account for their emotional resonance and unsurpassed reputation as a snapshot of how unencumbered American music, and art with deep historical roots and connective cultural tissues, is supposed to sound.
Mobile Fidelity’s reissue squares away the late-night bleariness, jovial atmosphere, low-ceiling dimensions, and ensemble-based perspective of the sessions, allowing the listener to become Hamlet, the dog who slept nearby Dylan, Robertson, and Co. as it all went down. This is not to be missed.
Given the sonic and artistic merit of this album, we anticipate huge demand. Secure your numbered collector’s copy by ordering from Music Direct today!
"Mobile Fidelity’s reissue features much richer timbres and dynamics than the original. While it’s still crackly in parts, occasionally sounding like it was produced on the Revox A77 tape recorder shown on the album cover, overall quality is very high, particularly given the stripped-down environment in which the record was captured—essentially, Dylan’s basement, concrete walls and all. Where the original is consistently flat, lacking air and decay, the new pressing comes alive."
-Jeff Dorgay, TONE Audio, Issue 46
"Mobile Fidelity’s remastering is close to miraculous, especially for anyone who grew up on the murky original. …To have [The Basement Tapes] back on 180g vinyl cut from the original tapes and presented with pristine clarity for the first time (and sequenced as sides 1-2, 3-4) is great news for fans of Dylan and The Band. Don’t expect polished studio sound of course, but also don’t expect the murky sound found on the original 1975 set. The clarity and transparency here will thrill fans of the original, though the mysterious fog of the lyrics and the dense, informal arrangements, remain thankfully intact."
-Michael Fremer, Analog Planet, May 30, 2012
"If for no other reason than the sheer historical importance of this 1975 double LP, and so many levels, it deserves this month's [Album Choice] position."
--Ken Kessler, Hi-Fi News, October 2012, Sound Quality: 90%
Bob Dylan The Basement Tapes Track Listing:
1. Odds and Ends
2. Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast)
3. Million Dollar Bash
4. Yazoo Street Scandal
5. Goin’ to Acapulco
6. Katie’s Been Gone
7. Lo and Behold
8. Bessie Smith
9. Clothes Line Saga
10. Apple Suckling Tree
11. Please Mrs. Henry
12. Tears of Rage
13. Too Much of Nothing
14. Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread
15. Ain’t No More Cane
16. Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)
17. Ruben Remus
18. Tiny Montgomery
19. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
20. Don’t Ya Tell Henry
21. Nothing Was Delivered
22. Open the Door, Homer
23. Long Distance Operator
24. This Wheel’s on Fire