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Robbie Robertson says Bob Dylan wanted to destroy 'The Basement Tapes'

The Band's Robbie Robertson says that forget about releasing the music from the 1967 Basement Tapes sessions -- Bob Dylan wasn't even sure they should exist. Fans are counting the days until November 4th when Dylan releases the six-CD box set, The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11. The 138-track collection features 30 1967 songs that have never appeared before -- either on the official 1975 collection -- or the numerous bootlegs which have chronicled the low-key and historic sessions.

Robbie Robertson, who curated The Basement Tapes -- the 1975 double-album release of the tracks -- told Rolling Stone, that the original tapes reveal a bunch of musicians playing music for no other reason than to hear it: “We weren’t doing anything we thought anyone would ever hear, as long as we lived. . . It was like the Watergate tapes. A lot of the stuff, Bob would say, "We should destroy this.'"

A "source close to the Dylan camp" told the magazine that this will be the absolute, most definitive collection representing Dylan and the Band's upstate New York recordings: "Everything is coming out, besides four or five things that just sound like distortion. We usually curate these packages more, but we knew the fans would be disappointed if we didn’t put out absolutely everything.”

When pressed about what fans can expect for the next volume in Dylan's Bootleg Series, the sourced revealed: "We’re thinking we’ll revisit the 1975 era and Blood On The Tracks. The unheard stuff from there is crazy. You hear the first day of recordings before they put all that echo on. It’s amazing.”

The Basement Tapes is just one in a long line of left turns which have constituted Dylan's game-changing career. Dylan told the BBC that when it comes to his life and work, he's his own man -- period: "It's not me, it's everybody, y'know? Everyone is a puppet-master. Everyone likes to control puppets and pull their strings, well, I'm saying, 'I'm nobody's puppet, nobody pulls my strings.' I'm sorry, I just don't. . . I don't like that scene."

Bob Dylan will next perform on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (September 3rd, 4th, and 5th) in Sydney, Australia.

Bob Dylan North American tour dates (subject to change):

October 17, 18, 19 - Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
October 21 - Portland, OR - Keller Auditorium
October 24, 25, 26 - Los Angeles, CA - Dolby Theatre
October 28, 29, 30 - Oakland, CA - Paramount Theatre
November 1 - Denver, CO - Bellco Theatre
November 4, 5, 6 - Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theater
November 8, 9, 10 - Chicago, IL - Cadillac Palace Theatre
November 12 - Cleveland, OH - State Theatre
November 14 - Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
November 15 - Providence, RI - Providence Performing Arts Center
November 17, 18 - Toronto, ON - Sony Center
November 18 - Toronto, ON - Sony Center
November 21, 22, 23 - Philadelphia, PA - Academy of Music
November 25 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall
November 26 - Newark, NJ - New Jersey Performing Arts Center
November 28, 29 - New York, NY - The Beacon Theatre
December 1, 2 - New York, NY - The Beacon Theatre

Did you know?

• In June 27th, 1975 -- eight years after Bob Dylan & The Band’s first sessions for The Basement Tapes -- a double album compiled and produced by Robbie Robertson. The album topped out at Number Seven on the Billboard 200 album charts.

• Prior to its release, Robertson and the other members of the Band augmented the original recordings with carefully placed and era-appropriate overdubs.

• In addition to Dylan’s songs with the Band, the 1975 version of The Basement Tapes features songs recorded by the Band at a later date than the Dylan tracks and without his participation.

Side Notes:

• Recently released is The Basement Tapes. . . Continued. Following the discovery of long-lost Basement Tapes-era lyrics, Bob Dylan entrusted producer T Bone Burnett to form a musical collective to complete and record the songs. Among the high profile collaborators in the set are Elvis Costello, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, among others.

• Out now is possibly the most original Bob Dylan book in a decade, the critically acclaimed Dylanologists: Adventures In The Land Of Bob, by noted author David Kinney. Rather than retread Dylan's well-covered personal life, artistic triumphs, near misses, studio sessions and live dates; Kinney breaks new ground by shedding light on the masses that keep Dylan in business: his die-hard fan base who pore over his writings and lyrics -- and ultimately travel the world and find themselves all due to their belief in Dylan.

Photo by PRPhotos.com

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