Lost Bob Dylan Lyrics Being Completed By All-Star Band
Posted by Joseph Lee on 03.25.2014
Marcus Mumford, T Bone Burnett and more...
The Los Angeles Times reports that two dozen unfinished Bob Dylan songs, written around 1967 during his Basement Tapes era are being completed by a band put together by producer T Bone Burnett. The group includes Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Carolina Chocolate Drops singer Rhiannon Giddens and Dawes lead guitarist/songwriter Taylor Goldsmith. The songs will be released as an album and Showtime special later on this year called Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes.
Burnett and Costello said they are trying to honor the spirit of the original recordings. The original Basement Tapes were recorded by Dlan and the Band while they were in a large upstate New York house called Big Pink. They weren't supposed to be released but eventually became the first widely circulated bootleg tapes by a major rock artist. Columbia Records, Dylan's label at the time, finally released them in 1975. Songs included "I Shall Be Released," "Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)," "Tears of Rage" "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and "Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)." They wrote and recorded at least thirty new songs but Dylan had many more lyrics that were never set to music.
Costello said at the control room of Capitol Records Studio A: "This is the exact opposite of ‘The Basement Tapes': We're in the best recording studio in the world, and we're not in a basement.' "
The project is being filmed by Sam Jones for the Sho: Close Up documentary Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued. No photographs were taken during the original session but film footage has been said to exist. The people involved are collaborating and creating multiple versions as each has come up with their own music for the lyrics. This shows how different artists respond to Dylan's lyrics. Each artist is the lead on the tracking of their song and then give suggestions and whatever support that's needed. Burnett handles the final production. During the first week of recording, Burnett said they recorded almost 48 songs and they will probably have over fifty to choose from when the recording concludes this week. Songs include the title track, "Florida Key," "Card Shark" and "Hi-De-Ho."
Giddens said: "It runs the gamut from everybody having a blast in the studio to being really serious about doing things right"
It's unknown how many of the songs will be released. Dylan, in addition to providing the lyrics, gave the project his blessing. Dylan hasn't explained why he gave the songs to Burnett to finish. Dylan previously helped put together songs based on unfinished Hank Williams songs (after his death in 1953) for 2011's album The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams.