The Basement Tapes – Bob Dylan and the Band

The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan and the Band were originally recorded in 1967. The 1969 bootleg The Great White Wonder contained some of the songs. Other artists released covers before the original versions were released. The Basement Tapes (1975) was an official release of 24 songs. We didn’t know then that some had overdubs and some of the Band tracks were recorded later. The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete (2014) has 138 tracks. Greil Marcus wrote The Old Weird America about the recordings.

Some of Dylan’s best songs are here.

Commander Cody RIP

George Frayne, leader of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, died on September 26th. They did booze and drug-infused country and were most popular in he 1970s. The biggest hit was a cover of “Hot Rod Lincoln” which I posted about already.

Ranking the Kinks albums 1969-1975

Elizabeth Nelson, who posts on Twitter as The Paranoid Style, linked to the list prepared by Timothy Bracy and her ranking all of the Kinks albums. I don’t agree with every ranking but it’s an excellent list.

I don’t know them all. Prior to 1969, I was only familiar with the singles. After 1975, I heard some of the albums but don’t know them nearly as well. Their list does not include the fine compilations The Kink Kronicles (covering 1966-70) and The Great Lost Kinks Album (late 1960s/early 1970s outtakes). I saw the Kinks live in 1972, 1974 and 1993.

This is how I rank the albums I know

  1. Muswell Hillbillies
  2. Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
  3. Arthur
  4. Everybody’s in Show Biz
  5. Preservation Act 1
  6. The Kinks Present A Soap Opera
  7. Preservation Act 2

Muswell Hillbillies (1971)

The best Kinks album I know. It took guts to do something this English and understated after the hard rock success of Lola. Davies has a lot of affection for his characters.

Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (1970)

“Lola” may be the best Kinks song. The album is louder than its predecessors and successors. There are many fine songs – “Apeman”, “This Time Tomorrow”, “Powerman”, “Strangers” and “Denmark Street” among them.

Arthur (1969)

Would any other band have single about Queen Victoria?

Everybody’s in Show Biz (1972)

“Celluloid Heroes” is one of the best Kinks songs. I like the live disc of the 2 LP set which accurately reflects their sloppy but very entertaining concerts of that era.

Preservation: Act One (1973)

The beginning of the decline. “Sitting in the Midday Sun” reminds me of their 1960s classics. I am also partial to “Cricket”. I can’t imagine that they thought anyone in the US would care.

The Kinks Present a Soap Opera (1975)

“Everybody’s a Star” is good but some songs are so slight, they could just blow away. I’m thinking of “Ducks on the Wall”, an inferior cousin of “Supersonic Rocket Ship” from Show Biz.

Preservation: Act 2 (1974)

Very small percentage of memorable songs here. I like “Scum of the Earth” and “Mirror of Love”.

John Prine (the album) is 50

This is a great album. Our college radio station was giving away albums and one of my friends took this one because John Denver had covered “Spanish Pipedream”. We didn’t know anything else about it. It’s full of great songs and showcases Prine’s ability to inhabit the lives of a variety of people including women and the elderly. My favorite song here is “Angel from Montgomery”. I have other posts on songs from this album that were covered.