For the first time ever, the entirety of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes sessions will be available to the general public. Due out November 4th, the six-disc collection spans an astonishing 138 tracks, 30 of which were never known to exist until earlier this fall. Several other tracks have only previously existed as subpar bootleg recordings.
Coming in the aftermath of Dylan’s infamous motorcycle crash in 1966, the sessions saw Dylan and The Band (then known as the Crackers) retreat to Woodstock, New York. They proceeded to record over 100 tracks together, some of which were given to other artists, including Manfred Mann (“Quinn the Eskimo”), The Byrds (“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”), and Peter, Paul and Mary (“Too Much of Nothing”). Dylan’s versions of these songs first surfaced on the 1969 bootleg Great White Wonder, and were later given an official release in 1975.
Already we’ve heard an early version of “Odds and Ends”; today, Columbia/Legacy further previews the release by unveiling an alternate take of “Lo and Behold!”. Recorded when Dylan was just 26 years of age, the whimsical, free-wheeling folk ballad sees the future music legend break down into a fit of giggling part way through. As the patron saint of weighty folk music, Dylan’s humorous side isn’t always put on display, but this track reminds us there’s a joker under all that profound emotional depth. And without making any implications, I think there may have been some tobacco of the wacky variety involved.
Listen in below (via Noisey).