Tuesday, November 4, 2014

If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Street Date: 11/4/14


For some, this is the greatest thing since string cheese. Bob Dylan & The Band's Basement Tapes, as commercially complete as ever, makes up Volume 11 of the ongoing Dylan "Bootleg Series." 140 songs, in excellent quality over six CDs, with, it's been said, 30 songs never seeing the light of day not even on the countless previously released bootlegs, until now.

While I never loved string cheese, I do like The Basement Tapes, just as not as much as so many and though I am still working my way through this set, I can say, as overblown, expensive sets go, this is pretty damn good. If there are any Dylan experts reading, would you do the work for us and tell us which of the 140 tracks make their debut here?

Thanks in advance.

Two McCartney and Wings records get the deluxe treatment this week, the bad "Venus & Mars" and the badder "Wings At The Speed Of Sound," with remastering and bonus tracks. "Venus & Mars" was a huge disappointment following "Band On The Run," but I remember picking up "Speed Of Sound" at Crazy Eddie's on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn the day it came out, and after the first run through, thinking "Venus & Mars" was "Revolver" compared to this crap. But that was then...

Uncut Magazine had an interesting take on "Speed Of Sound":

"At The Speed Of Sound" has dated well...gentle AOR with a blue-eyed soul tinge and a sonic palette not unlike that of Rumours. (Speed Of Sound) is a record that defines late 70's soft-rock as well as any."

I never thought of this record quite that way and I still feel if Paulie loved Linda so much, he would have insisted her painful contribution "Cook Of The House" NOT be included, thus NOT subjecting her to the critical abuse. But the Denny Laine tracks work, as do most of Paul's, including the oft-maligned "Silly Love Songs," which most are satisfied by remembering the relentless chorus of "I love yous," and not the beautifully layered production or killer horn arrangement.

One real treat is the early version of "Beware My Love" featuring John Bonham on drums. Listen to that baby, below. Holy 28" Bass Drum, Batman!


Someone mentioned how absurd it was that Suzi Quatro has a 4 CD boxed set. (I don't remember who, sorry.) Well compared to "Starless," the 27 disc set focusing on just one King Crimson record, "Starless & Bible Black," that Quatro set seems to skimp. Thing is, this is not the first KC box of its kind. Robert Fripp has done this with almost all the KC releases prior. Good stuff if you've got the time and the money...and a clear head.


Drums And Wires is the second in a series of expanded XTC album reissues, including 5.1 Surround mixes, new stereo mixes and High-Resolution stereo mixes by Steven Wilson, along with a wealth of extra audio and visual material.  Steven Wilson's work on the first in this series, "Nonsuch," was breathtaking and "Drums & Wires" is no different. I highly recommend both of these sets for both sound and content. Talk about bangs for your bucks.

Neil Young's "Storytone" was also released today. Enjoy that.

If anyone wants to read my review of last night's Todd Rundgren performance, it is HERE.


Shriner said...

Venus & Mars/Speed of Sound -- I don't think I hate them as much as you do -- but the versions of the songs from them on Wings Over America are my "go-to" versions of those songs. "Silly Love Songs" is a dynamite track, though.

And Crimson -- I just don't get those immersion box sets. And I like that period of KC. I couldn't even bring myself to hunt down the stuff from the Red box set (probably my favorite KC album) because that's just too much Crimson for me. Not enough hours in the day to sift through 27 concerts like that.

XTC box set -- I'm waiting for some more reviews of this. I have no BluRay player, so I feel I'd be missing out of a significant part of it. I think my ears have lost too much of the ability to hear subtleties anymore. I couldn't really distinguish a lot of difference in the Nonesuch set (unlike the "Corrected Polarity Version" of Skylarking -- *that* was a revelation as to how low the bass was mixed...)

The Basement Tapes -- I have never listened to in any format, so maybe I'll wait and see if my local library gets that set.

(Oh, and I'd love to hear a boot of TR's cover of Muskrat Love...)

Sal Nunziato said...

I don't really "hate" those records. As I said, Speed Of Sound has grown on me, but both seem weak and uneven, especially following BOTR.

William Repsher said...

I'm excited to get The Basement Tapes, but I already know what I'm getting for the most part. I, too, don't get the Greil Marcus "holy shrine" treatment these tracks get, but I do grasp the cultural impact of this set birthing bootleg record culture -- there really was none before this. This is the one Dylan release most of his fans have been waiting for since this whole series was started.

Speed of Sound: I tried in vain to win that eight track on the spinning wheel on the Point Pleasant boardwalk, Summer of '76. For that reason alone, I'll always think fondly of the album. But he let the guys in the backing band have too much creative leeway, ditto Venus & Mars. I've heard Linda carp that Paul could never find musicians on his level to play with him ... but I doubt musicians on that level would have taken his shit. He did pretty well with backing bands, but should have encouraged solo albums along the way!

Sal Nunziato said...


I "won" Red Rose Speedway" on the Asbury Park boardwalk in 1973. Only cost me $34 in quarters, but what a great memory.

Noam Sane said...

I've said it before - I don't get the all-or-nothing approach to records. Band on The Run has some weak spots, Venus and Mars has some strong stuff, to call one crap and the other a masterpiece is overstating both (I'm exaggerating your position a bit Sal, just to make my point.)

Production on V&M is particularly nice, a gorgeous sounding record and plenty of trademark Macca stuff. Letting Go and Rock Show are as good as anything he did solo-wise.

Speed of Sound, a bit light in the loafers. Back to the Egg and Londontown, I will not defend.

Sal Nunziato said...

Noam, I know you said you were exaggerating my position a bit to make a point, but using the words "crap" and "masterpiece" throws things a bit. "Venus & Mars" was both a critical and commercial disappointment following BOTR. That's a fact.

I agree it has moments, but personally, I love "Back To The Egg" and think the handful of strong songs on "London Town" are as good as the strong songs on "Speed Of Sound."

As a long time Burning Woodster, you know I defend even the lightest work from some of our legendary artists. I don't think I have ever been all or nothing in my approach and I rarely if ever give up on a fave artist, which is why I love records like "Chaos & Creation In The Backyard," "Flaming Pie," "Flowers In The Dirt" and "New" more than V&M and SOS.

vanwoert said...

Didn't someone once review Speed of Sound by saying " Five dead in air disaster"?

A walk in the woods said...

Interesting dialogue here about the Macca reissues. For me, I share some of the rush-back-to-youth feeling some of you seem to get from this period of Paul's solo work.

To this day, nothing in the world takes me right back to being 8 and 9 years old, respectively, like hearing "Listen To What The Man Says" and "Let 'Em In." They are Proustian madeleines for me in a way that is, oddly, unmatched even by seeing photos of me and family from that time. Play them, and I'm right back in that El Camino in '75 or '76, cruising along with my young parents. (Parents are all older nowadays; at that time, my parents listened to the same thing I wanted to listen to)

And so, I'll have to at least get the demo versions of those tunes on these reissues (at least, demos of Let 'Em In and Silly Love Songs, another madeleine). Not sure the whole albums hold up enough to replace my existing vinyl with the reissues, though.