Fricke's Picks: Dylan's Basement Bash


"At 2:12 Dylan plays a tender if slightly clumsy lead guitar solo on his acoustic twelve-string. At 3:18 Bob bumps his guitar on his chair." That is the kind of detail you're in for when Sid Griffin gets to the track-by-track heart of his book Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band and the Basement Tapes (Jawbone Press). But Griffin, a singer-guitarist who has played Dylan songs with the Long Ryders and the Coal Porters, is a soulful detective who frames his colorful, precise descriptions of every circulating performance from Dylan's 1967 Woodstock sessions with revealing context: Dylan's daily creative life in retreat after his 1966 motorcycle accident, the brilliant shoestring engineering by the Band's Garth Hudson, the evolution from alcoholic boys'-club fun on the early reels to the home-brewed majesty of "Tiny Montgomery" and "I'm Not There (1956)." If you don't have the bootlegs in full already, Griffin's sharp, witty analysis and articulate passion will get you hunting.

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David Fricke

Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke has more than 10,000 albums in his New York apartment. His first record review for the magazine was Frank Zappa's 'Sheik Yerbouti' (RS 290).

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