By Tony Attwood
This is it. The End. The Very End.
Not of the Untold Dylan website, (no worries there) but of the Basement Tapes Complete – the last album containing previously unheard compositions that Bob Dylan has released as of 10 July 2018. Of course we hope that there will be more new songs from Bob, but for now this is it.
So, if you have not got a copy, how does the 138 track Basement Tapes Complete (Vol 11 of the Bootleg Series) end? And did anyone actually get there by playing the whole of disc six through as one CD from start to end paying full attention throughout? No chatting, no sending text messages, no quick trip off to make a sandwich…
If so, you get an award for stamina. But I rather suspect that for many people, and certainly for me, interest and focus started to pale a little once the first half hour had passed.
But disc six of the Complete keeps on keeping on up to Track 21 (The Spanish Song – Take 2). And then for anyone still alert there is the Hidden Track. It’s just a regular track in terms of the Basement, and is in fact a re-write of 500 Miles. It’s just not listed on the list of tracks either on the back of the box itself, nor within the booklet that holds the six discs.
However I get ahead of myself. I’m reviewing the last three songs (Bring it on home, The Spanish Songs (takes 1 and 2) and the Hidden Track, all together here, because really, there’s not enough I can say on each to make it worthwhile creating three separate pages.
Bring in on home is a one liner of a song (and that line is “Bring it on home”). It has a great beat and a lot of potential, and we have discussed one liners before (“I need your loving” – which I mentioned at some length in the discussion of Gonna Get you now.) So this is not to say “Bring it on home” does not have possibilities. The problem is that those possibilities are not realised. Haiku 61 still makes a superb effort:
This dude caught his train.
You should get ready for him.
He’s on his way home.
The Spanish Song Takes 1 and 2… well this is what in English English we call larking around (I don’t know if that translates directly into American English – one might say “just messing about”).
It is a song of whoops and whistles sung in Spanish or mock Spanish (since I don’t speak Spanish I can’t tell you which). And here Haiku 61, my help and support in moment’s of desperation throughout the whole 6.5 hours of the Basement Tapes, let’s me down, for the writer doesn’t even mention the track. Maybe he’d had enough. Maybe he doesn’t speak Spanish either. I hope he’s ok and has good health insurance.
The song is based on “To Ramona”, and really I don’t quite see the point, but maybe someone else does and maybe much more to the point, there isn’t any point. It is not that I am absolutely precious about “To Ramona”, although I do like the song, but this is just a bunch of guys who may have taken some stuff, and who think they are being funny are not (as I hear it) being very funny.
I make no allegations of course. Maybe they hadn’t taken anything and just thought they were being funny. Take two is much the same.
The Hidden Track is “500 miles from my home” in a broken hillbilly style which stops suddenly and then starts again with a re-write of “You’re my teenage prayer revisited”. It ends with Bob saying “All right ladies and gentlemen thank you thank you thank you thank,” and some other words that I don’t get.
To dwell just a moment longer on this, “500 miles from my home” has been recorded seriously by Bob on “No Direction Home”
And there we are.
So at least you can distinguish between the people who have tried to consider all of the Basement Tapes Complete, and those rather annoying websites that have taken the names of the songs printed on the CD and put up a page for each song, which contains no lyrics, no information and the rather annoying little note saying “Be the first to make a comment.” In writing all these reviews of the Complete, I’ve sometimes been tempted, but I suspect they’d just wipe it out.
As for disc six of the Basement Tapes, well, to be fair they do call it a “Bonus Disc” and make the point that the songs are often recorded with poor quality, so no one is pretending they are anything other than what they are.
In a way it is a sad ending, but I live in hope that “Bring it on Home”, “The Spanish Song” and the Hidden Track won’t be the last songs of Dylan I review. Maybe there are some songs which an engineer recorded and which have seeped out into the public domain, which I have missed. If so, once I find them, or they find me, I can offer my thoughts. Maybe even at this very moment Bob is preparing to release a new album of original work.
But for now, on 10 July 2018, as far as I know, all the songs that Bob Dylan has written and which I can get hold of in a recorded format, are reviewed herein. From here on it’s updates, albums, cover versions, and anything else that may be suggested.
Just in case you are interested, here is the complete list from the Basement Tapes Complete. Disc six songs are given an asterisk, and may not be listed in the order in which they were recorded.
- Edge of the Ocean
- One for the road
- Roll on Train
- Under control
- I’m guilty of loving you
- I’m a fool for you
- See you later Allen Ginsberg (1 and 2).
- Tiny Montgomery
- Big Dog
- I’m Your Teenage Prayer
- One’s Man’s Loss
- Lock your door
- Baby wont you be my baby
- Try me little girl
- I can’t make it alone
- Don’t you try me now
- Million dollar bash
- Yeah heavy and a bottle of bread
- Please Mrs Henry
- Lo and behold
- Crash on the Levee
- Dress it up, Better have it all
- I’m not there (lost love, regret)
- You ain’t going nowhere
- This Wheel’s on Fire
- I shall be released
- Too Much of Nothing
- Tears of rage
- Quinn the Eskimo – The Mighty Quinn (surreal characters)
- Open the Door Homer
- Nothing was delivered
- Sign on the cross
- Sante Fe
- Odds and Ends
- Clothes line saga
- I’m alright (note: the dating of this song is just a guess).
- Apple Suckling Tree
- Get your rocks off
- Silent Weekend
- Don’t ya tell Henry
- Going to Acapulco
- Bourbon Street
- My Woman She’s a Leavin’.
- Mary Lou I love You Too
- What’s it gonna be when it comes up?
- It’s the flight of the Bumblebee
- All you have to do is dream
- Wild Wolf
- Gonna Get You Now
- Two dollars and 99 cents*
- Jelly Bean*
- Any Time*
- Down by the station*
- That’s the breaks*
- Pretty Mary*
- The King of France*
- She’s on my mind again*. Note 56 & 57 are reviewed in the same article
- On a rainy afternoon* Note this is not the same as the 1966 song of the same title
- I can’t come in with a broken heart*
- Next time on the Highway*
- Northern Claim*
- Love is only mine*
- Bring it on home* (see above)
- The Spanish Song* (see above)
- The Hidden Song* (see above)