Bob Dylan – A Tree With Roots (no label)

A Tree With Roots (no label)

Disc 1:  Lock Your Door, Baby Won’t You Be My Baby, Try Me Little Girl, Young But Daily Growin’, Bonnie ship The Diamond, The Hills Of Mexico, Down on me, I can’t make it alone, Don’t you try me now, One for the road, I’m alright, One single river, People get ready, I don’t hurt anymore, Be careful of the stones you throw, One man’s loss, Baby ain’t that fine, Rock salt and nails, A fool such as I, Silhouette, Bring it on home, King of France, Nine hundred miles, Goin’ down the road, Spanish is the loving tongue, Po’ Lazarus

Disc 2:  On A Rainy Afternoon, I Can’t Come In With A Broken Heat, Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies, Under Control, Ol’ Roison The Beau, I’m Guilty Of Loving You, Johnny Todd, Cool Water, Banks Of The Royal Canal, Belchazaar, I Forgot To Remember To Forget Her, You Win Again, Still In Town, Waltzin’ With Sin, Big River (take 1), Big River (take 2), Folsom Prison Blues, Bells Of Rhymney, I Can’t Come I With

Disc 3:  Four Strong Winds, The French Girl (take 1), The French Girl (take 2), Joshua Gone Barbados, I’m In The Mood For Love, All American Boy, Sign Of The Cross, Santa Fe, Silent Weekend, Don’t Ya Tell Henry, Bourbon Street, Million Dollar Bash (take 1), Yea Heavy And A Bottle Of Bread (take 1), Million Dollar Bash (take 2), Yea Heavy And A Bottle Of Bread (take 2), I’m Not There, Please Mrs Henry, Crash On The Levee (take 1), Crash On The Levee (take 2), Lo And Behold (take 1), Lo And Behold (take 2), You Ain’t Going Nowhere (take 1), Too Much Of Nothing (take 1), This Wheel’s On Fire, You Ain’t Going Nowhere (take 2), I Shall Be Released

Disc 4:  Too Much Of Nothing (take 2), Tears Of Rage (take 1), Tears Of Rage (take 2), Tears Of Rage (take 3), Quinn The Eskimo (take 1), Quinn The Eskimo (take 2), Open The Door Homer (take 1), Open The Door Homer (take 2), Open The Door (take 3), Nothing Was Delivered (take 1), Nothing Was Delivered (take 2), Goin’ To Acapulco, Gonna Get You Now, Wildwood Flower, See That My Grave Is Kept Clean, Comin’ Round The Mountain, instrumental jam, Flight Of The Bumble Bee, Confidential To Me, Odds And Ends (take 1), Nothing Was Delivered (take 3), Odds And Ends (take 2), Get Your Rocks Off, Clothesline Saga, Apple Suckling Tree (take 1), Apple Suckling Tree (take 2), All You Have To Do Is Dream (take 1), All You Have To Do Is Dream (take 2)

A Tree With Rootsis a release covering the important Bob Dylan and The Band’s basement tapes.  It was the discussion and desire to hear these tapes, made in the spring of 1967, that launched the underground record industry in the first place and in the almost forty years since their first appearance on vinyl have seen numerous releases including some official.  The one hundred and eight tracks in this collection are sourced from seven separate tapes.  According to the liner notes, they are in chronological order of discovery:

  1. A Ten Song Demo.  This demo tape was copyrighted in October 1967, and was utilized as a source for all subsequent acetates/Dwarf Music demo tapes that circulated in the ensuing years.  Unfortunately, all songs were folded into mono from their original panned stereo. 

  2. A five-song demo.  This demo tape was copyrighted in January 1968.  The first four songs, along with the previous demo tape, comprised a 14-song acetate from which many bootlegs were drawn.  Again all songs were folded into mono from their original panned stereo.

  3. The ‘Basement’ safety.  This 15 i.p.s. transfer from the original tapes was made at some point in 1968.  All songs are in their original stereo.  However, there are at least two strange omissions.  ‘Tiny Montgomery,’ already an acetate song, and ‘Sign Of The Cross.’  The tape boxes are reproduced in Clinton Heylin’s The Recording Sessions 1960-1994.

  4. A Dwarf Music demo tape.  Two songs (“Sign Of The Cross” and “Don’t Ya Tell Henry”) copyrighted in 1970.  The demo tape, though generational, is stereo.

  5. The Robertson-Fraboni compilation reels.  Compiled in preparation for the official 1975 double set on Columbia, these reels presumably represent the songs short listed.  Through songs have been paned in, not all songs were the full-on mono of the official set.  Though a version of this tape was drawn upon for the 5-CD set, it was a poor generational dub, now superseded by a significantly superior version.

  6. The Band roadie reels.  These reels, accessed in 1986 and subsequently bootlegged on two double-albums, are in their original stereo.  Songs on this release from the 1986 reels appear direct from the master for the first time.

  7. The 1991 cassettes.  The primary source for the Genuine Basement Tapes Vols. 1-5, these cassettes are all in the original stereo, though some suffer from over-recording in their transfer from reel.  An alternate dub of the same material for this set has yielded some better transfers.  Also included in this collection of cassettes was misc. Dylan/ Band material from 1965-1966 as well as a dub of the 10-song Dwarf Music demo.

This is another release of the basement tapes material that appeared in 2001 on both the White Bear and Wild Wolf labels and issued again in 2002 on Vagabond Wilbury Records.  The sound quality is as good as the latter release.  The manufacturers include several inserts with a detailed description of the tapes, track listing, and a reproduction of the Jan Wenner article from Rolling Stone magazine “The Basement Tapes Should Be Released.”  Since these tapes are seminal for the hobby, they are still relevant in order to have the complete picture of these sessions despite the official release of many of these tracks over thirty years ago.  This comes packaged in a fatboy jewel case to house the four discs and is very much worth having. 

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