It took a little extra time, but the vinyl edition of Bob Dylan and the Band’s “The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes – Raw,” a 3 LP version of the 2 CD sampling of the mammoth 6 CD set, “The Basement Tapes – Complete,” has finally been released.
But after 47 years, what’s a few more weeks among fanatics?
As previously reported, the “The Basement Tapes – Raw” includes 38 of the 138 tracks (plus two hidden bonus cuts) which make up “The Basement Tapes – Complete,” concentrating on, but not limited to, Dylan originals.
The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast the vinyl edition to both CD versions, but especially “Raw.” The packaging on the vinyl set mirrors the thorough and well-thought-out artwork of the 2 CD set, with some slight variations. Everything in the vinyl package is formatted to take advantage of the 12” x 12” box, except the CDs and their cases, and one insert.
The front and rear artwork is, for all intents and purposes, identical in both sets, except for the track listing on the back cover. The 3 LP version lists the tracks for all six sides above the picture of Dylan and the Band/Hawks at the January, 1968, tribute to Woody Guthrie at Carnegie Hall.
Inside the outer box, one can barely make out the map of the Woodstock area and the number “11” against a maroon backdrop. The same map can be found in the inner back CD tray of “Raw.”
The vinyl set includes the exact same CDs included in the 2 CD-only version. (Note the catalogue number in the U.S. edition includes the number sequence “1967.”) In this version, however, the additional CDs are housed in thin cardboard sleeves, with the artwork replicating the original reel-to-reel tapes used, updated with the new audio contents included on the discs. The original reel-to-reel packaging can be found in the 6 CD set.
The vinyl discs are made to look like original acetate lacquer discs, each with a different label and outer sleeve (“Audiodiscs,” a “Presto” sleeve with a “Dismorphic” label, and “Spacio-dynamic”), and housed in a plain green inner sleeve. Only “Audiodiscs” appears in the exclusive “The Basement Tapes Complete” book, “Lo & Behold,” for the song “Tears of Rage,” although with different artwork. There are also images of acetates pressed by Presto online.
I have so far listened to half of the vinyl set, and to these ears, the sound is as crisp, clear, warm, and present as can be expected, considering (or because of) the source, and, it almost goes without saying, much better than any previous vinyl version I have owned.
The 12″ x 12″ booklet is similar to the 5″ x 5″ one included in the CD version, although there are differences, mostly in the formatting, coloring, and order of the photographs. See the slideshow for examples.
Also included is a larger version of the insert announcing the 2015 release of Dylan’s next album, “Shadows in the Night,” included in both CD editions.
For more details, please check on the still-in-progress “The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes” page at Searching For A Gem.
Amazon: Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes
- Raw 2CDs, 38 tracks amazon.com – .co.uk – .de
- Complete (Deluxe edition) 6CDs, 138 tracks:amazon.com – .co.uk – .de
- Vinyl: 3LP + 2CD, 38 tracks: amazon.com – .co.uk – .de
Of the dozens of Dylan Internet sites … Expecting Rain … and the zoomdune.com Bob Dylan blog by Harold Lepidus are the best places for up-to-the-minute Dylan news – David Kinney, “The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob.” (Simon & Schuster, 2014)
Keep up with Bob Dylan Examiner news. Just click on Subscribe above, or follow @DylanExaminer on Twitter. Harold Lepidus also writes the Performing Arts column for zoomdune.com. Thanks for your support.