Vinyl

Bob Dylan – The Basement Tapes

Volumes are written about this famous album, celebrating the collaboration of Bob Dylan and his backing band, the Hawks, whose members ended up becoming The Band. Not officially released until the summer of 1975, the set was recorded in 1967, the year after Dylan’s motorcycle crash, which marked a pivotal point in his career.

In a 1969 interview, the Bard told Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner: “[This is] really the way to do a recording—in a peaceful, relaxed setting—in somebody’s basement. With the windows open…and a dog lying on the floor.” The mellow vibe certainly comes through in the presentation.

Mobile Fidelity’s reissue features much richer timbres and dynamics than the original. But remember Dylan’s comment about being relaxed. While it’s still crackly in parts, (remember 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.

Sure, various members of the Band, and even Dylan himself, are still not in agreement about what tracks should have been (or not been) included on the Columbia release. Debates aside, it’s a phenomenal time capsule, a stellar collection of songs.

And there’s more Dylan coming from the Chicago-based audiophile imprint. Josh Bizar, Mobile Fidelity’s Director of Sales and Marketing, says, “The Basement Tapes is one of the most important releases in our history and the perfect title to start the Mobile Fidelity Bob Dylan series.” We anxiously anticipate all of them.

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