How would it feel for any artist to be told that his best work, his most profound statement, his most mysteriously compelling, enduring, penetrating and memorable compositions, the stuff that people write whole BOOKS about are a bunch of throw away sketches that he never intended to show anyone? It would drive me nuts! Here I work to craft real albums and spend real money to record them with great sound quality and the public wants this garbage that I literally threw together in my spare time. It boggles the mind!
Poor Bob. But I'll tell you what; I put the Basement Tapes among the greatest rock albums of all time, right up there with the Who's Next, the Beatles White album and The Dark Side of the Moon. Yes but why? Why, why, why?
It's hard to put my finger on but the answer lies in the mood that these recordings create, a feeling that few if any modern day city folk or automobile enslaved rurals get to feel anymore. Picture no TV, no canned music, no supermalls. Nothing to do but get with the boys to sit around the stove at the General Store, drink whiskey and spit tobaccy juice. These songs seem to come from an age when people had to make their own entertainment, create their own fun. And when you entertain yourselves it's much more entertaining than all the CDs at Amazon.com. I haven't felt that way since I was a kid and I miss it.
That's the feeling that these home made practice sessions evoke for me. That's what makes the Basement Tapes a work of art that really speaks to people accustomed to road rage and computer crashes. Get the Columbia five CD set when it comes out... If Bob ever gets around to it.