basement tapes
and the legacy

basement tapes

Wildwood Flower
Basement Tapes Vol. 1
Recorded Oct./Nov., 1967

I'm Not There
Basement Tapes Vol. 2
Recorded June-August, 1967

No shoes on my feet
Basement Tapes Vol. 2
Recorded June-August, 1967

Down on Me
Basement Tapes Vol. 2
Recorded June, 1967

Following his 1966 motorcycle accident, Dylan retreated to Woodstock, N.Y., where he assembled a musical entourage known as simply, The Band. Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm and Richard Manuel were formerly "The Hawks," under the wing of rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins. After breaking with Hawkins, The Band toured the United States, Europe and Australia before the met up with Dylan "to regroup" (Marcus, p. xiii).

Daily music sessions soon returned more than 100 new recordings of either traditional or original material. The material was not immediately released to Columbia, who would release an abated version eight years later. Pressed as an acetate disc entitled "The Basement Tape," the recordings were sent to fellow musicians. Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Byrds both garnered top hits off the material. By 1968, the recordings were public knowledge and Rolling Stone magazine futilely demanded their release.

Dylan's relationship with the media to this point had been a caustic one. Now he made a full retreat. The press attempted to contact Dylan, to understand the extent of his injuries from the accident. In January, 1967, a New York Post reporter was chased off the property by two watchdogs before Dylan's wife, Sara, called the police. (Source: Shelton, p. 375)

The result of Dylan's most reclusive stage are "The Basement Tapes" -- Volumes 1 - 5. Columbia released 24 of the 105 recordings on their Basement Tapes. While Columbia's sound is superior, their song choice is questionable. The provided material is not on Columbia's Basement Tapes.

The true accomplishment of the Basement Tapes was the span of music covered in the 105 songs. Dylan and the band cover Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready." They cover the Carter Family's "Wildwood Flower," borne out 1928 Appalachia. "No shoes on my feet" or "Goin' down the road" is a song the Grateful Dead familiarized to countless music fans. Johnny Cash is covered twice - Big River and Folsom Prison Blues - both recordings that surpass Dylan's sessions with Cash in 1969.

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