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Bootleg Series, Vol. 11


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  • A double-disc distillation of the six-disc box The Basement Tapes Complete, The Basement Tapes: Raw can't quite be seen as an expansion of the 1975 double-LP The Basement Tapes but rather a necessary revision. Shepherded by the Band's Robbie Robertson, that 1975 double-vinyl inserted Band recordings where they didn't belong, suggesting the group were equal partners when it was really Dylan's show. The Basement Tapes: Raw rights this wrong, stripping away the excess overdubs and excising the ten Band songs -- a process which includes handing some of the tunes back over to Bob, including a wildly careening version of "Don't Ya Tell Henry" -- and then adding in all the major Dylan originals missing from the 1975 LP ("I'm Not There," "Santa-Fe," "Minstrel Boy," "Quinn the Eskimo," "Get Your Rocks Off," "Sign on the Cross") and then adding hints of the covers and general madness that can be found in the complete haul. Naturally, some gems are available only in the big box, including a bunch of folk tunes, a rangy "Big River" and "Kickin' My Dog Around," plus the goofs "See You Later Allen Ginsberg" and "All American Boy," but that's the kind of stuff that seems better in context, when it's surrounded by the heavyweight songs showcased here. On their own on this superb two-disc set, those songs amount to a version of the Basement Tapes that not only represents what happened at Big Pink more accurately, but is a thrilling, endlessly captivating listen in its own right. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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