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Bob Dylan – Mixin’ Up The Medicine (Hollow Horn Encore)

Mixin’ Up The  Medicine (Hollow Horn Encore)

(77:04):  Million Dollar Bash, Yea Heavy and a Bottle of Bread, I’m Not There (1956), Please Mrs Henry, Down in the Flood, Lo and Behold, This Wheel’s On Fire, You Ain’t Going Nowhere, I Shall Be Released, Too Much Of Nothing, Nothing Was Delivered, Odds and Ends, Get Your Rocks Off, Clothesline Saga, Apple Suckling Tree, Open the Door Homer, Nothing Was Delivered (aka Nothing Is There), Tears Of Rage, Quinn The Eskimo.  BONUS TRACKS:  Tiny Montgomery, Sign On The Cross, Going To Acapulco, All You Have To Do Is Dream

Mixing’ Up The Medicine contains one of the seven tapes that make up what are collectively called the basement tapes.  This portion is called the “basement safety” which were understood to have been made by Garth Hudson in early 1968.  Previous releases used a 15 i.p.s. transfer from the original tapes, but Hollow Horn Encore use, according the label, the master tape.  The sound quality of the transfer is very clear stereo, but this tape is a noticeable improvement over all previous releases with absolutely no hiss present whatsoever.  The stereo separation still has Dylan and the guitars in the right channel and the backing vocals, bass and keyboards in the left.

Four songs, “Tiny Montgomery,” “Sign On The Cross,” “Going To Acapulco” and “All You Have To Do Is Dream” are taken from other sources that are not in the same sound quality as the rest but are included for completeness’ sake.  In fact “Tiny Montgomery” and “Sign On The Cross” were never included in any transfer of the basement safety.  The packaging is the expected high quality fold out sleeve with a booklet included in the middle with notes decorated by classic William Stout illustrations from the vinyl Little White Wonder released in the seventies.

This tape has been referred to as the link between Blonde On Blonde and John Wesley Hardingand is the one singled out by Jann Wenner in his article “The Missing Bob Dylan Album” published in the June 22nd, 1968 issue of Rolling Stone although this is not the tape heard by Wenner which he describes as “fairly poor … a one-track, one-take job with all the instruments recorded together.”  It also is not good enough, as he suggests, “to make an entirely new Bob Dylan record…with a distinct style of its own.”  The quality of the songs is vastly disparate with gems like “This Wheel’s On Fire” and “Tears Of Rage” standing alongside inferior songs like “Lo And Behold” and “Clothesline Saga.”  Nevertheless this is one of the more important Bob Dylan releases to be released so far this year and is worth having.   

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. I’ve seen this recently listed on the web:


    Is this a new/recent release? How’s it stack up to other comps of basement tapes? Anything never before on silver disc? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks so much for your great web site and thoughtful/insightful reviews.

  2. This release is worth getting excited about. While these songs have been available for years, they’ve never been presented with this clarity. I’ve heard every incarnation of the Basement Tapes and nothing tops this collection.

  3. A fair and accurate review. However, wearing my bob-tinted spectacles (not to mention headphones) I would rate it even higher: I thought I had heard the Basement Tapes (and I have the Scorpio and the Tree with Roots editions) before I heard this. I hadn’t: this is the definitive edition. It simply doesn’t get any better!!

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