Music: Out of the Cellar

In the summer of 1967, a year after his near-fatal motorcycle accident, Bob Dylan got together with his favorite musical collaborators, The Band, near Woodstock, N.Y. Settling into a house called Big Pink, they hunkered down in the basement in front of a home recorder. Over several months, they played and sang in long informal sessions.

The tapes were not released, but over the years various tracks kept popping up in bootleg editions. Vexed by such fragmentation and by the inferior quality of the pirated versions, Dylan recently allowed Columbia to release the original material. The two-LP set, called The Basement Tapes,...

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