|You're a famous folkie turned rocker who just survived a terrible motorcycle accident. Some of your close musician friends live nearby in this idyllic country setting. But, you're bored—the recouperation process is taking longer than you thought. So you get the guys together and just hang out and play. Oldies, folk tunes, and, "Oh, hey, here's a couple things I jotted down. Wanna try 'em out?"
In an ugly house|
Well, it is BIG and it is PINK... in upstate New York, legends were born. For years, all we could hear of these magical meetings were scratchy bootlegs, like Great White Wonder (7 tracks, which came from a 14-song demo disc Albert Grossman was shopping around). Fans begged and pleaded with the suits in the city (and with the man himself) but they refused to let you hear them. You could hear other peoples versions, but not the genuine tapes.
Oh they teased us alright: Newer, more polished versions with Happy Traum and a ragged live version on a greatest hits package. No! We wanted the real deal. Finally, in 1975, our dreams were about to be realized: The Basement Tapes would finally see the light of day! We eagerly paid our money and took the record home, about to hear the magic for ourselves.
Wait, why is Ringo on the cover? Hey, these songs don't sound quite right—it's as if someone sweetened things a bit. And, what the hell are these rejects from The Band doing here? Turns out ole Robbie got his mix happy fingers all over the place. In desperation, we turned to the underground for The Genuine Basment Tapes, lovingly compiling as much of the tapes they could and gift wrap them in nice packages (with liner notes and everything).
When Sony began to issue the old stuff we'd been clamoring for, first with Biograph then The Bootleg Series, some real tracks started showing up. What were the chances we'd see the rest? With each new magnificent Bootleg Series release Halloween Concert, "Royal Albert Hall," No Direction Home soundtrack, Whitmark Demos our hopes were dashed and now leftovers from Self Portrait? Why do you hate us? We love you!
Then word spread about another volume to the series: #11 would be The Basement Tapes. You could spend hours on Steve Hoffman's always entertaing Music Corner to get the latest rumours. Two CDs, no 10, don't be daft—it'll be six—with a book.
And lo and behold, it came to pass: On November 4, 2014—47 years later and we got everything. And I mean everything! 139 tracks, almost overwhelming. Well, it is actually, so they also released a 2-CD cutdown, which is shown here.