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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" - A New Series Created By William Mesnik, The Mind Behind “Mesmerized”- EPISODE # 16 - "WHAT WAS DELIVERED?" - FEATURING THE ALBUM "THE BASEMENT TAPES" By BOB DYLAN & THE BAND IN HIGH DEFINITION WITH NARRATIVE

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“CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL” -EPISODE # 16 – “WHAT WAS DELIVERED?” – FEATURING THE ALBUM “THE BASEMENT TAPES” By BOB DYLAN &THE BAND IN HIGH DEFINITION WITH NARRATIVE BY CAPTAIN BILLY

“WHAT WAS DELIVERED?”

EPISODE #13 THE BASEMENT TAPES by Bob Dylan and the Band (1975, Columbia)

This thing had been legendary, and feverishly anticipated since 1967. Now it was being released into the world, despite the fact that 2/3 of it had been available in bootleg form, (as The Great White Wonder), since it’s recording, eight years earlier. The remaining cuts were done by the Band without Dylan during the intervening years. As the release was being prepared, overdubs were added for sweetening, and the thing got packaged as a double album by Columbia. The whole enterprise left people shaking their heads.

In ’75, after the critical success of Blood on the Tracks, Dylan unexpectedly gave permission to Columbia to release some of the Basement cuts, to which Robbie Robertson added extra “homemade” Band material, keeping with the spirit of the originals. In the early 1990s, a complete collection of the Basement Tapes was finally released in a 5 CD set, revealing the width and depth of the initial enterprise, demonstrating how Dylan gifted the young Canucks with the history of American Folk music.

The subsequent years have exposed the soap opera that played out among the creators of this album, and how, when the halcyon summer of love in Woodstock ended, a splintered Band was exposed – the result of publishing inequities, some would claim.

I am fascinated by so many aspects of this story: The Band is my second favorite band, after the Beatles. What they accomplished was gargantuan – literally changing the entire course of Rock and Roll. Their canon embodies the entirety of our American musical history – ironically, with only one member being an actual American citizen.

Levon Helm was the defining voice of the Band, the physical manifestation of our nation’s Southern character, and Robbie Robertson, his one-time apprentice, supplied the words and notes for that voice to utter – inspired by him, and using him as the primary vehicle for his writerly expressions. I didn’t realize at the time that Levon didn’t benefit from the copyrighting rewards- (as opposed to, say, The Doors, who shared them all). On a recent documentary, Robbie claims that he repeatedly implored to Levon to write with him, but couldn’t get him to buckle down and do it. Given that he is the last surviving member of the group (aside from Garth, who isn’t talking), we have to concede the adage: History is Written by the Winners.

TRACK LIST: Odds and Ends, Orange Juice Blues, Million Dollar Bash, Yahoo Street Scandal, Goin’ to Acapulco, Katies’s Been Gone, Lo and Behold, Bessie Smith, Apple Suckling Tree, Please Mrs. Henry, Tears of Rage, Too Much of Nothing, Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread, Ain’t No More Cane, Crash on the Levee, Ruben Remus, Tiny Montgomery, You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, Don’t ya Tell Henry, Nothing Was Delivered, Open the Door Homer, Long Distance Operator, This Wheel’s On Fire.


By Rich Buckland 06/28/2021 05:01 AM

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