A nice Random Weekend selection today from Bob Dylan’s album The Basement Tapes, which was released in 1975 but largely recorded in 1966. Dylan was backed by members of The Band on many of these songs, which were recorded in various homes in Woodstock, New York.
‘Tears of Rage,’ the closing track of Disc One, was written by Dylan and Richard Manuel. It is widely interpreted as an indictment of American materialism in the aftermath of the Vietnam war.
As befits an album called The Basement Tapes, pulled together as a collection of odds and ends recorded by friends who didn’t know if they’d ever see the light of day, the songs on this double album are all over the place.
About a quarter of the tracks are written and performed by The Band, and recorded apart from the Dylan tracks, but those songs maintain the same vibe as the rest. I’ve read some negative comments about The Band’s material on the bobdylan.com message boards but I’ve always been a fan of their work on this album. I see the mix of sounds and styles as appropriate for a collection like this.
I’m always amazed by the release schedule of Bob Dylan’s early career. As somebody who is used to waiting three or four years between my favorite artists’ albums, I can’t even fathom what it must have been like to have a new Dylan release available every six months or so.
And not just new releases, but new releases containing his best material. I already documented that 18-month span that saw the release of Bringing it all Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde. And this weekend I’m writing about the second in another trilogy of spectacular albums, these released within a 12-month period.