Tag Archives: marcus mumford

the new basement tapes

The Story

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Bob Dylan is universally regarded as one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed songwriters, musicians and performers, having sold more than 125 million albums and performed literally thousands of shows around the world spanning six decades. His influence and impact on our culture is unparalleled, and his artistic output of recordings and songs are both cultural landmarks and the genesis of countless great songwriters and musicians that have emerged in the decades since Dylan exploded onto the global stage.

Among Dylan’s many cultural milestones, the legendary Basement Tapes – dozens of songs written and recorded by Dylan in 1967, backed by members of his touring ensemble who would later achieve their own fame as The Band – have long fascinated and enticed successive generations of musicians, fans and cultural critics alike. Having transformed music and culture during the preceding five years, Dylan had reached unparalleled heights by 1966 through the release of three historic albums, the groundbreaking single, “Like A Rolling Stone,” a controversial and legendary ‘electric’ performance at the Newport Folk Festival and wildly polarizing tours of the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. Dylan’s mercurial rise and prodigious body of work in that decade came to an abrupt end in July, 1966 when he was reported to be nearly killed in a motorcycle accident in upstate New York.

Recovering from his injuries and away from the public eye for the first time in years, Dylan ensconced himself, along with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson (and later, Levon Helm), in the basement of a small house in West Saugerties, New York – dubbed “Big Pink” by the group. This collective recorded more than a hundred songs over the next several months – traditional covers, wry and humorous ditties, off-the cuff performances and, most important, dozens of newly-written Bob Dylan songs, including future classics “I Shall Be Released,” “The Mighty Quinn” and “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.

When rumors and rare acetates of some of these recordings began surfacing, it created a curiosity strong enough to fuel an entirely new segment of the music business: the bootleg record. In 1969 an album mysteriously titled Great White Wonder began showing up in record shops around the country, and the music from that summer of 1967 started seeping into the fabric of our culture and penetrating the souls of music lovers everywhere. With each passing year, more and more fans sought out this rare contraband, desperate to hear new music from the legendary Bob Dylan. The actual recordings, however, remained commercially unavailable until 1975, when Columbia Records released a scant 16 of them on The Basement Tapes album.

Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes is a music event 47 years in the making. The album celebrates the discovery of never-seen Bob Dylan lyrics from that legendary 1967 period and marks a creative highpoint for the album’s participants – Burnett, Costello, Giddens, Goldsmith, James and Mumford – who have brought them to life nearly 50 years later. As Burnett explains, “What transpired during those two weeks was amazing for all of us. There was a deep well of generosity and support in the studio at all times, which reflected the tremendous trust and generosity shown by Bob in sharing these lyrics with us in the first place.  (source.)

 

These people, man!  These are my top picks right here:

Also, Johnny Depp.

-j

 

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Mumford Magic

created some very high expectations for this post. But I think the bigger pressure is coming from Mumford’s latest announcement. As the NY Daily News pleads to the band: “Mumford and Sons, we will wait for you.” But how long you might ask? “There won’t be any Mumford and Sons activities for the foreseeable future following Friday’s show.”

I was at the Friday show they speak about, ladies and gentlemen, so maybe I got the news before anyone else (even before Rolling Stone?). They announced to us that they were taking a break, they explained that they have been touring nonstop and they need a break. The crowd cheered–I didn’t (because it was sad)–but I think they were cheering out of support. Like, take a break but come back soon PLEASE.

So now for the show. We drove 4 hours from St. Louis to Kansas City and back in one night–can we say dedication? My response to everyone who asked me about the show was that it was “magical.” It was a cool 65 degrees with stars painted in the sky. We found a spot in the middle of the lawn and got comfortable, which is more than I can say for the hundreds of people who lined the sidewalks.

I’m going to skip and go straight to the encore. They boys came back out and sung two songs around one microphone–they basically told the audience to shut the f*** up, and of course we listened! It was magical. They ended the show with a little Bruce, “Atlantic City,” and that is definitely a sure way into my heart.

I reveled in their energy. My (face) cheeks hurt after the show from non-stop smiling. To say this was the best show I’ve ever been to would be an understatement. The band makes you feel in a crowd of thousands like they were just singing for you and that is priceless. To those of you who haven’t seen Mumford in concert, you might have to wait a while, but even if you have to drive 8 hours in one day it is BEYOND worth it. I am a lover of the light. c. 

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sigh no more, camden

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As told in Rolling Stone‘s recent Mumford & Sons story, “The members of Mumford & Sons have no trouble saying sorry.  ‘We’re not, like, hard men,’ Marshall says.  ‘We’re emotional, weeping pussies.  We’re not, like, rock and roll.  If AC/DC had ever apologized, that’d be the end of their career.'”

If you haven’t read that story, I highly suggest you do because you’ll learn every band members’ strengths, and their weaknesses (of being weak) as a band.  You’ll also learn why the second album, Babel, sounds very similar to their first, Sigh No More.  If you listen closely,  every song tells a different story; they are much more instrumentally sound on Babel.  This is what it is like to be an artist.  It’s the same reason why painter Mark Rothko’s work is a variation of another.  It’s important for everyone who says that “every song sounds the same” to understand that they were simply not ready to stop making the music they wanted to make.  Why would they stop if it sounds so good?

The sold out show at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden on February 16, was a w e s o m e.  Mumford & Sons have some Jersey mojo because when I thought their kickoff show in Hoboken was outstanding, they just had to put on another outstanding show in South Jersey.  Haim opened the show for Ben Howard who preceded Mumford.  Haim, a band of sisters, didn’t do it for me, although many of the Philly hipsters were thrilled to see their dramatic performance.  While I favor this tribal-drum-beating trend that was featured in all three sets, words can’t explain how nice it was to have Ben Howard break up the night.  Actually, they can: he was a breath of fresh air.  You should probably listen to him right now.  Or I’ll make you in my next post.

It’s easy to lose yourself in Mumford’s songs when Marcus Mumford seems to be pouring his heart and soul out, confessing his rage, and passionately apologizing for being incredibly attractive and good and what he does.  Well, maybe I exaggerated the latter, but every word he sings he sings to me and you and the person who inspired the song.  When you sing along, you feel like every word you sing is to that person (and maybe to Marcus, too).  Like they said in Rolling Stone, they have no problem apologizing.

The night ended with an encore of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.”  Everyone poured back on stage: Mumford with Marcus at the drums, Ben (who I think was MIA), Haim, and all of the outstanding string and horn accompaniments.  Imagine a packed bar down the shore around closing time.  Everyone has their last beer of the night in one hand and someone else in the other.  Well, this bar was a few thousand deep.  Blissful, everyone bounced up and down, sloppily shouting the words to a New Jersey anthem.  Bruce’s song or not, that’s how every Mumford & Sons show ends…with a smile on your face.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

-j

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summer sunset

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Wednesday, August 1st was dreary, hot, and humid.  The humidity broke when rain hit the East Coast up until minutes before show time.  And just like that, the skies cleared and there was the most picturesque sunset for the kickoff of Mumford and Son‘s month long U.S. tour.  Having never performed in Jersey, the British group made their first time memorable by playing an outdoor concert at Hoboken’s Pier A Park.  It’s no wonder the show was sold out to 15,000 fans in a matter of a few hours.  Other than the unique talent, the views of the Manhattan skyline were breathtaking–and the sunset was a gift with purchase.

The quartet has a choir before them as they cheerfully played “Winter Winds,” “Little Lion Man,” and “White Blank Page” (during which I would bet Marcus shed a tear…or was that me?) from their first album Sigh No More.   Between praising the vibe of the venue and boasting the site of the Olympic Games, Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane were eager to share several songs off of their new album, Babel. (due September 24th!!!!)  Much to our surprise, Marcus put down his guitar and assumed position at the drums.  The newer songs are more rock than folk as you will notice a heavy focus on the drums and electric guitar.

As the show came to a close, the men thanked Hoboken native, Frank Sinatra with a rendition of “New York, New York,” not to be slighted by a cover of Paul Simon’s “The Boxer.”  It was eerie how they could manipulate the energy of some 15,000 people.  Not moment before we all were stopped dead in our tracks at the opening of “The Boxer” were we all jumping around like drunks at a jamboree.

A surge of energy spread across the sea of people, again, as Mumford and Sons concluded the show with harmonious melodies of “The Cave” beneath fireworks.

-j

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