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.
New CDs, DVDs, and movies you should check out
HEAR IT: LeAnn Rimes, Family
BRINGING THE TWANG BACK: LeAnn Rimes has called her new album "countrier" than anything else she's done lately. Countrier? Um, okay. While Family is definitely not as country as Rimes's old-school, ballad-filled debut, Blue, it is a lot, yeah, countrier than This Woman and her other recent crossover attempts.
HEAR IT: R.E.M., R.E.M. Live
LUCK FROM THE IRISH: Inexplicably, R.E.M. has never released a live-concert CD or DVD until now. Filmed in 2005 in Dublin, Ireland, where the group has also been recording its next studio effort, R.E.M. Live offers 22 songs and more than 100 minutes of old and new music - plus Michael Stipe's head-shaving secrets. Not really.
HEAR IT: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, 100 Days, 100 Nights
A BAND GROWS IN BUSHWICK: The Dap-Kings own a studio (an all-analog facility in Brooklyn) anddistribute their music on a self-owned label, Daptone Records. That maybe why their soul and funk ring so true - well, that and Sharon Jones'scaptivating voice, which can sink to Captain Nemo depths and is inconstant demand from various artists, from Rufus Wainwright to TheyMight Be Giants.
SEE IT (BIG SCREEN): The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D
THAT PUMPKIN IS COMING RIGHT AT US: Are you ready to see, perhaps, Huckleberry Hound in three dimensions?You'd better be. Because if the digital reworking of Tim Burton's. The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-Dis successful at the box office - and judging by its stunning looks, it may well be - then it won't be long before other two-dimensional works of animation get a third side. As Huckleberry might say, "Golly!"
SEE IT (BIG SCREEN): Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
AND THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE … The five main actors - Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney, and Rosemary Harris - and director Sidney Lumet have a combined 16 Oscar nominations, including two wins. So bring a pen and make your Oscar predictions as you follow this movie's twisting plot involving family betrayal, robbery, and adultery. Sorry, Seymour, but our money is on Finney in a supporting role.
SEE IT (BIG SCREEN): My Kid Could Paint That
YOU CALL THAT ART? If a four-year-old kid can paint like modern-art master Wassily Kandinsky, does that mean the kid is a genius, or does it just make Kandinsky and other modern-art artists laughable? That's roughly the highbrow query that director Amir Bar-Lev started with when making this documentary. And when he began to question whether little Marla Olmstead had, in fact, painted her works at all - well, that's when things really got interesting.