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.