Michael Fremer Rated 9/10 Music
Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time – Rated 292/500!
Bob Dylan The Basement Tapes on Numbered Limited Edition 180g 2LP from Mobile Fidelity! Pressed at RTI! Gatefold Jacket!
Audiophile Sound at Last: Sonic Subtleties, Loose Interplay, Organic Spirit, Warm Textures Presented Like Never Before on Definitive Mobile Fidelity Reissue!
Recorded in Basement of Big Pink with The Band: Modern Americana Starts Here. Dylan at His Most Humorous, Unguarded, Loose: Folk Tales, Weird Narratives, Rock Ballads, Inside Jokes, Allusions Pepper Alchemic Material. Ranked 291 on Rolling Stone’s List of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time! Includes “This Wheel’s on Fire,” “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” “Tears of Rage,” “Million Dollar Bash,” “Yazoo Street Scandal”.
Basements have long been associated with raw, off-the-cuff rock n’ roll, the damp and dark spaces serving as the woodshedding venues for countless bands. Yet no basement is more famous, and none yielded music as familiarly weird, wholesomely American, joyously loose, and identifiably humorous as that in the upstate New York house dubbed Big Pink—the location where, during the summer and early fall of 1967, Bob Dylan and The Band played a vivid tapestry of covers, originals, and traditionals that signaled the advent of Americana. Once again, the Bard changed the world.
“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, occasionally sounding like 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.” – Jeff Dorgay, TONEAudio, No. 46, May 2012
As part of its Bob Dylan catalog restoration series, Mobile Fidelity is thoroughly humbled to have the privilege of mastering the iconic LP from the original master tapes and pressing it on dead-quiet LPs at RTI. The end result is the very finest, most transparent analog edition of The Basement Tapes ever produced—and the first-ever analog reissue. Inimitable, the particulars of The Basement Tapes—especially, the gather-‘round-in-a-huddle assembly of the instrumentalists, home-made character, domestic vibe, and low-volume nature of the recordings—come to fore here in a manner that takes the listener down the stairs at 2188 Stoll Road and brings the images of Dylan, Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson, and Co. to life.
Fresh off experiencing a motorcycle accident and the wrath of audiences hostile to his embrace of amplified music, Dylan elected to retreat to the comforts of rural and family life. He soon began collaborating with members of the Band in his house, ultimately moving the sessions to Big Pink. Informal, peaceful, relaxed, open-minded: The collaborations blanket country stomps, roots hootenannies, forgotten spirituals, earthy originals, chaotic marches, dreamscapes, dance tunes, folk laments, catch-as-you-can improvisations. On The Basement Tapes, mythical ghosts and dead legends reappear, reveling in the absurdity, comedy, mystery, aura, and alchemy.
In Invisible Republic, his scintillating book about the sessions, cultural critic Greil Marcus states: “At a time when the country was tearing itself apart in a war at home over a war abroad, the music was funny and comforting; it was also strange, and somehow incomplete. Out of some odd displacement of art and time, the music seemed both transparent and inexplicable when it was first heard, and it still does.” Indeed, The Basement Tapes appear to emanate from an indefinable chasm between modern and ancient, self-evident and mysterious, shapeless and fully formed, abstract and concrete, histories unwritten and chronicled. But every note chimes with freeness—a liberating fun, humble simplicity, and bond-creating camaraderie felt in every hoot, holler, laugh, and false start.
The Basement Tapes’ capacity to remain so gloriously honest and timeless—performances that genuinely could’ve been made today, ten years from now, or back in the 1930s—helps account for their emotional resonance and unsurpassed reputation as a snapshot of how unencumbered American music, and art with deep historical roots and connective cultural tissues, is supposed to sound.
Mobile Fidelity’s reissue squares away the late-night bleariness, jovial atmosphere, low-ceiling dimensions, and ensemble-based perspective of the sessions, allowing the listener to become Hamlet, the dog who slept nearby Dylan, Robertson, and Co. as it all went down. This is not to be missed!
“To get to the point: Mobile Fidelity’s remastering is close to miraculous, especially for anyone who grew up on the murky original. The Basement Tapes have long been out of print in any format, so to have them back on 180g vinyl cut from the original tapes and presented with pristine clarity for the first time (and sequenced as sides 1-2, 3-4) is great news for fans of Dylan and The Band. ” – Michael Fremer, analogplanet.com, Music 9/10, Sound 7/10
“MoFi’s remastering… delivers a warm, nuanced, intimate performance (listen to the rich tones on the percussion). The result is stunning: it feels like you’re standing at the top of the basement stairs listening to Bob and the boys spin their magic.” – Greg Cahill, The Absolute Sound, October 2012
• Numbered, Limited Edition
• Half-Speed Production and Mastering by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab
• Specially Plated and Pressed on 180 grams of High Definition Vinyl
• Special Static Free – Dust Free Inner Sleeve
• Heavy Duty Protective Packaging
• Gatefold Jacket
• Mastered from the Original Master Tapes
• Pressed on Dead-Quiet LPs at RTI
2. Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast)
3. Million Dollar Bash
4. Yazoo Street Scandal
5. Goin’ to Acapulco
6. Katie’s Been Gone
2. Bessie Smith
3. Clothes Line Saga
4. Apple Suckling Tree
5. Please, Mrs. Henry
6. Tears of Rage
2. Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread
3. Ain’t No More Cane
4. Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)
5. Ruben Remus
6. Tiny Montgomery
2. Don’t Ya Tell Henry
3. Nothing Was Delivered
4. Open the Door, Homer
5. Long Distance Operator
6. This Wheel’s on Fire