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Dylan Down Under

A new book takes us behind the scenes and into the basement with Bob and the Band.

By early 1967, Bob Dylan's controversial turn from acoustic folk to electric rock, along with the epochal world tours of 1965 and 1966, had left him damaged, dazed, and ravaged by drugs. So Dylan retreated to his new family home near Woodstock, New York, and under the guise of his mysterious and now infamous motorcycle accident, he disappeared from public view. In Woodstock, with an ensemble of backing musicians known as the Band, Dylan began a series of informal recording sessions. The songs would eventually leak out to the public and come to be known collectively as the Basement Tapes, the most famous bootleg in history.

Four decades (and an official, if somewhat incomplete, release in 1975) later, author Sid Griffin shows us why the myths about and the magic of those recordings endure. In Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes, Griffin notes that Dylan's work was - as always - revolutionary. It portended a return from the outrageous excesses of the psychedelic era, presaged the country-rock and Americana movements, and influenced everyone in the pop world, from the Beatles on down. Combining historical material and interviews with longtime Dylan confidants, Griffin, himself a noted songwriter as well as the leader of both the Long Ryders and Coal Porters, has created a true fan's delight and a remarkable road map to these historic recordings.

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