The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Three: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Four: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- With super Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on three sides out of four, this is one of the best copies of The Basement Tapes to ever hit the site
- The recording may not be an audiophile dream come true, but this pressing is far better than any other we can ever recall playing, and lets the music come through in a way that we guarantee you have never heard before
- 5 stars: "... the music here (including the Band's) is astonishingly good. The party line on The Basement Tapes is that it is Americana, as Dylan and the Band pick up the weirdness inherent in old folk, country, and blues tunes, but it transcends mere historical arcana through its lively, humorous, full-bodied performances. Dylan never sounded as loose, nor was he ever as funny as he is here, and this positively revels in its weird, wild character... among the greatest American music ever made."
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This vintage Columbia Double LP pressing has some of the best sound we've ever heard for this album.
Of course, given the nature of these recordings, you don't get audiophile quality along the lines of Magical Mystery Tour or Dark Side Of The Moon, but at least you get to hear these songs sound the way they were intended to, without the complications of bad mastering and pressing getting in the way.
Many of the copies we've heard wouldn't be fit to list on the site at any price, but we felt strongly that this copy did justice to the music in a way that the typical pressing does not.
While this may not be a Demo Disc, it's MUCH better sounding than most copies we've come across. We've played a bunch of these over the years and most of them paled in comparison to this one.
This is a famous album, with The Band backing up Dylan (and adding some of their own material) in the famous Big Pink House which would later be the place where The Band’s first album was born.
What the Best Sides of The Basement Tapes Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1975
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We Listen For on The Basement Tapes
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Odds And Ends
- Orange Juice Blues (Blues For Breakfast)
- Million Dollar Bash
- Yazoo Street Scandal
- Goin' To Acapulco
- Katie's Been Gone
- Lo And Behold!
- Bessie Smith
- Clothes Line Saga
- Apple Suckling Tree
- Please, Mrs. Henry
- Tears Of Rage
- Too Much Of Nothing
- Yea! Heavy And A Bottle Of Bread
- Ain't No More Cane
- Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)
- Ruben Remus
- Tiny Montgomery
- You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
- Don't Ya Tell Henry
- Nothing Was Delivered
- Open The Door, Homer
- Long Distance Operator
- This Wheel's On Fire
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
... the music here (including the Band's) is astonishingly good. The party line on The Basement Tapes is that it is Americana, as Dylan and the Band pick up the weirdness inherent in old folk, country, and blues tunes, but it transcends mere historical arcana through its lively, humorous, full-bodied performances. Dylan never sounded as loose, nor was he ever as funny as he is here, and this positively revels in its weird, wild character.
For all the apparent antecedents -- and the allusions are sly and obvious in equal measure -- this is truly Dylan's show, as he majestically evokes old myths and creates new ones, resulting in a crazy quilt of blues, humor, folk, tall tales, inside jokes, and rock. The Band pretty much pick up where Dylan left off, even singing a couple of his tunes, but they play it a little straight, on both their rockers and ballads. Not a bad thing at all, since this actually winds up providing context for the wild, mercurial brilliance of Dylan's work -- and, taken together, the results (especially in this judiciously compiled form with its expert song selection, even if there's a bit too much Band) rank among the greatest American music ever made.