Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued

“Lost time is not found again,” Bob Dylan and The Band sang in 1967 in “Odds and Ends,” one of two dozen songs released as The Basement Tapes in 1975.

Lost Dylan lyrics can be found, though.

Previously unpublished Dylan writings and drawings from that period inspired music producer T Bone Burnett and fi lm director Sam Jones to assemble a group of all-star musicians to write and record new songs. They try to emulate the esprit that Dylan and The Band had during their legendary sojourn to the Woodstock, N.Y., area, between Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding releases.

Assembled are Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons. Some come with several completed songs, while others bring ideas that need fleshing out. Mumford brings one song and one other riff.

The doc comes to life when we see and hear these artists at work, stressed to deliver the goods in the presence of the likes of Costello. Giddens, just starting out as a songwriter, credits Mumford with pushing her to finish her take on “Lost on the River,” lyrics that other band members have also set to music.

Add in current commentary from Dylan and some grainy actor re-enactments of him and The Band, and the fi lm is a successful stew that sounds as good as it looks.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.