"But Wait! There's More!" Department: Dylan Bootleg Series Vol. 11, The Basement Tapes Complete

Original tape sources, including "many found only recently" of Bob Dylan's legendary "Basement Tape" sessions have been meticulously restored and will be released on November 4th by Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings in a complete 6 disc CD set (The Basement Tapes Complete:The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 and in a 2 CD/3 LP 180g highlights edition (The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11.

The set marks the first time that the legendary tracks will be issued in "...mostly chronological order based on Garth Hudson's numbering system" (on the 6 CD set).

According to the press release "The Basement Tapes Complete brings together, for the first time ever, every salvageable recording from the tapes, including recently discovered early gems recorded in the "Red Room" of Dylan's home in upstate New York. Garth Hudson worked closely with Canadian music archivist and producer Jan Haust to restore the deteriorating tapes to pristine sound, with much of this music preserved digitally for the first time."

In 1966 Dylan withdrew from public attention to recover from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident (which wackier fans insisted was a fabrication) and at a Saugerties, N.Y. house dubbed "Big Pink" he connected with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and, later, Levon Helm; the core group having been members of The Hawks, Ronnie Hawkins' back-up band. They would become Dylan's back up band and then The Band.

They produced and recorded these tracks, which went unreleased officially until 1975's woefully incomplete 16 track The Basement Tapes (eight songs of which were by The Band without Dylan) but only because of pressure from bootleggers who got ahold of some of the acetates produced during the sessions. It created an entire bootleg industry back then that today we call "the Internet".

The bootlegs such as The Great White Wonder set off a speculative feeding frenzy among Dylan fanatics, especially after some of the songs had reached the U.K. as publisher's demos that were recorded by artists like Manfred Mann, members of McGuinness Flint and Fairport Convention.

So here, finally after all these years, we get the "Basement Tapes" complete or as complete as is possible. It would be a stretch to think the 3 LPs were cut from analog sources but hopefully high resolution digital audio was the source, though Dylan fans will want the 6 CD set. Why no hybrid SACDs?

cdb3's picture

Exciting news, except that the 6 CD version is currently priced at £110 on UK Amazon!

Martin's picture

I will certainly be getting the vinyl.
I've always loved the basement tapes and that eras stuff.

Would be nice to have it all as SACDs. Though I can imagine the cost would have been prohibitive. Six SACDs in a box set.
I guess the high resolution digital tracks will turn up on HD Tracks - at least that's what I would hope.
If anyone has any influence to pass the digital hi resolution masters on to HD tracks that would be great.

Again, Wow!!

SimonH's picture

Wow - Really looking forward to this! I have orderd the vinyl from the US on the expectation of a better "cut" than the European Issues, as witnessed in Vol. 10. An then will there be another 50th Anniversay 1964 lp copyright protection box set just before Christmas?? (sorry just having a flight of fancy)

julio's picture

Call me crazy but I am a huge Dylan fan who loves most of his albums even self portrait but for some reason I just never liked the Basement Tapes. I was really hoping that volume 11 was going to focused on Blood on the tracks, the New York sessions. Also, I wish the pressing quality on some of these was better because another self portrait which is a great sounding collection is pressed on couple of slabs of crap. Someone also needs to reissue bootleg 1-3 on vinyl.

SimonH's picture

One of the records in the UK box was diabolical and it took a long time to get a replacement but I thought the US copy was ok.
Anyway I must admit to not liking the Basement Tapes double lp but hearing the unadulterated tracks "A Tree with Roots" changed my opinion hence my anticipation.

funknik's picture

yeah, A Tree With Roots really made me excited about the Basement Tapes -- the original 1975 LP sounds intentionally degraded to sound basement-y, but these recordings were made pretty well, I think.

Devil Doc's picture

Just when you think you have every Dylan album they release another. Satisfaction is fleeting in this hobby.

Dobro910's picture

The 3 lp vinyl release will only present 38 out of 138 tracks. If this is supposed to be the Complete Basement Tapes, why not release the entire compilation on vinyl? If that was cost prohibitive they, could release it as a series to vinyl.

Once again vinyl enthusiasts are left out in the cold (Tell Tale Signs, Isle of Wight). I hate to think that this release may have stay in the digital domain, and I'll probably be forced to buy the 6cd set.

funknik's picture

Despite being cost-prohibitive, I have clamored for this set for too long not to buy in. I'll buy the 6 CD box when it comes out and have pre-ordered the vinyl. I hope the vinyl is well done -- Columbia has done a pretty decent job on the Dylan LP releases, IMO -- Side Tracks sounded very good, I thought -- hopefully some real love and care is put into this - it has been a long time coming.

And, for the record, I have never believed the motorcycle accident story.

bomogu's picture

While it is true that Garth Hudson worked closely with Canadian music archivist and producer Jan Haust to restore the tapes, the person who actually captured and re-mastered the signal from the tapes was Peter J. Moore www.peterjmoore.com/pjmeroommastering.html