Retur til Dyland: The New Basement Tapes

20. august 2014

Det er næsten 50 Ã¥r siden Bob Dylan og The Band udsendte dobbeltalbummet The Basement Tapes. Helt nøjagtigt var det i juni 1975. Men flere af sangene – med Dylan selv i forgrunden – stammer helt tilbage fra 1967, hvor Band og Dylan indspillede dem i Woodstock, hvor de alle boede pÃ¥ det tidspunkt. Musikken stammer altsÃ¥ fra en periode, hvor Dylan var et stort og etableret navn (pladen var hans nr. 16) og The Band var ved at kaste deres fortid som The Hawks pÃ¥ historiens store bÃ¥l. En meget produktiv tid, og konstellationen indspillede i følge forlydender i omegnen af 100 skæringer, hvoraf kun en lille del er kommet ud til offentligheden (inkl. bootlegs). The Basement Tapes anses af mange for at være en vigtig brik i etableringen af den sÃ¥kaldte americana-genre og som en understregning af, at Dylan var pÃ¥ vej hovedkuls ind i rockmusikken.

Mange år senere bliver produceren T Bone Burnett kontaktet af Dylans forlægger, der fortællerom en bunke sangtekster, der er blevet fundet i en æske. Tekster, som Dylan angiveligt har skrevet i tiden omkring de originale Basement Tapes-optagelser, altså ca. 1967. Og forlæggeren spørger Burnett, om han er interesseret i at gøre noget med teksterne? Burnett fortæller:

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.

All good wishes,

T Bone

Resultatet af anstrengelserne ser nu dagens lys i udgivelsen Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, der kan erhverves i forskellige formater fra den 10. November. Det skal blive spændende at høre, hvad de har fÃ¥et ud af Dylans gamle tekster…

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