Thought You’d Heard All Of The Basement Tapes? Think Again!

What an incredible body of work Dylan has put out, and he (or his record company) continues to do so at an ever-increasing rate, both new material and, with the Bootleg Series, a large archive of previously unreleased music. And for fans, almost all of it is precious in one way or another.

The Basement Tapes

Marjorie and I fell in love with the original Basement Tapes when we got the album way back just a few years after it was finally released on LP, a staggering eight years after it was recorded. I know, it doesn’t quite seem the eon that it did at the time. In 1975, 1967

Bob Dylan-basement-tapes-Bootleg-Series-Vol-11

seemed almost antediluvian!  And these recordings, made by Dylan and the band in the basement of their Woodstock abode, Big Pink, and in various other domiciles, had become the stuff of legend. Some of the tapes had been passed around as demo tapes for other artists to cover, and had found their way into the hands of collectors, eventually being released on what is considered the first ever bootleg, The Great White Wonder.

I’ve been listening to that original release again very recently and it’s still amazing. Sure, you have to have a certain appreciation of absurd humour to appreciate most of the original songs, seemingly composed on the spot in many cases. And it’s not glossy, it’s jammy, offhand playing, although it’s actually a lot more sophisticated than the home-recorded circumstances might have suggested.

The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11

So now we have SIX CDs of it to look forward to!

Newly discovered tapes have added to the archive, and the compilation has been overseen by Garth Hudson and Canadian music archivist and producer Jan Haust.

The original release focused on original songs, but this hugely expanded release ranges from traditional folk, country, blues and gospel to more recent and contemporary songwriters such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, even the likes of Bob Crewe and Curtis Mayfield.

I actually found out about this when I reloaded the fascinating and ground-breaking iPhone app: “Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series“, which originally only dealt with the recent expanded Self Portrait release. The app takes the old art of liner notes to a new level, being an extensive compendium of photos and information about the music, and the ability to play the songs while reading about them.

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Cover of the original 1975 Basement Tapes album

Anyway, as I was saying, I went back to the app last night and discovered that there’s a new song on there! “Odds And Ends” from the upcoming expanded Basement Tapes! How cool!

There will also be a 2-CD condensation for the more casual listener: BOB DYLAN- THE BASEMENT TAPES RAW: THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 11

Listen to the preview track, courtesy of Rolling Stone, at the link below from Dylan’s official website:

http://www.bobdylan.com/us/news/bob-dylans-basement-tapes-complete-bootleg-series-vol-11-set-november-4-release

And look at the mouthwatering track listing!

John Lennon at his most eloquent – enhanced!

To me, this is John Lennon at his most eloquent, his thoughts beautifully animated in this short film produced in 2008 by Jerry Levitan, who interviewed him as a 14-year old in 1969.

You should watch this if you’ve got five minutes, and even if you don’t agree with everything John says or the way it’s interpreted, you might agree that a masterful work of art has been built on his generous impromptu interview.

The film was directed by Josh Raskin and the illustrators, James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina, have beautifully enhanced and elevated an amateur “rock interview” with arguably the greatest rock star of them all.

I Met The Walrus - screenshot from video

Click on the screenshot to watch the video!

PS: John’s kindness to this kid, in contrast to the more acerbic (or worse) way he might often treat other people, reminds me of the scene in that Imagine film where the stoner guy comes to the door of his house, and Lennon really goes out of his way to spend time talking with him and try to help him. It conjures up in me an idea that he may well have been being similarly nice to Mark Chapman in his last moments.


Dunluce Castle as seen from the Wild Goose

I took this picture of Dunluce Castle (Northern Ireland) from the Wild Goose, 2009. This is the castle pictured on Led Zeppelin‘s “Houses Of The Holy”. The Wild Goose is a small yacht which was the first vessel to navigate the entire coast of Russia. The tale of how it now belongs to my sister and brother-in-law is rather interesting in itself! Perhaps I’ll tell it in another photo – watch this space…


Imported from DC Cardwell’s Instagram account (instagram.com/DC_Cardwell)

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DC Cardwell now on Pandora Radio!

My music is now on Pandora!

I think this is good! To tell you the truth, I’d never previously used the service before, although I’ve signed up for it now, as a user as well as an artist. I’m sure a lot of you are already familiar with it. (At least those of you who live in the US, Australia and New Zealand – it’s restricted to those territories for the time being.)

What is Pandora Radio?

DC Cardwell on Pandora Music

Yes, that’s me on right after Fairport Convention

It’s been around for a while. Much longer than Spotify, in fact it was founded in 1999 – that’s the last century! A long time ago in the world of music streaming. Many years ago I was visiting a new acquaintance and, to my amazement, she and her teenage kids were happily enjoying music streamed from Pandora into their living room. I’d vaguely heard of it but was actually quite surprised and impressed that people I knew were actually using it! It seemed a bit Jetsons to me. In a good way. Oh yes, this was just down the road, but my friend was American so that explained why she was using something so cool and modern! Some things never change – she probably had a microwave too.

If you’re not familiar with it, basically, the deal is that you tell it some of the artists you like, and it suggests other music that it feels is similar to what you like. You can then give  thumbs up or thumbs down to what you hear, and Pandora will refine the music it plays for you.  You can listen to it in a web browser (i.e. what you browse the internet with) or with an app on your iPhone or similar smartphone.

The Music Genome Project

This is all done by a combination of science and human experts, as far as I can tell. You may have heard of the Human Genome Project, which was (very loosely speaking) a massive scientific project to identify the components up of human DNA. Well, Pandora is based on The Music Genome Project, which, according to Wikipedia, was “developed by [Will] Glaser with musical input from [Tim] Westergren. The idea was to create a separate, individualized radio station for each user having just the “good” music on it, with none of the “junk” that other users like. In order to achieve that goal, they had to bring different styles

The Beatles followed up by John Lennon live on Pandora

The Beatles followed up by John Lennon live on Pandora

of music together into a predictable pattern for analysis. They created 400 specifications for each song that is then compared to the listener’s preferences in order to suggest other songs or artists with similar characteristics.”

The writer of this article assumes that “Pandora’s team of curators expects excellence from all the music they accept. As Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder, has said:  “You have to earn your way into Pandora.”

So that’s nice 🙂

Is it Really A Good Thing?

There has been some controversy recently about Pandora’s rates of payment to the artists. I’m not really interested in getting into that argument in this post.  At this point in my career I only know one thing for sure – that my main aim is to get my music heard by as many people as possible! And it seems to me that Pandora is a good way of getting it into the ears of the very people who might like it, but would never have heard it otherwise. We all know that algorithms are changing our lives in ways that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. Well, for me, right now, I’m happy to have the Music Genome Project’s algorithms on my side.

What can YOU do to help?

Don’t sign up for Pandora simply because of me! But, on the other hand, it’s easy to signup, and, well, I’ve had it trundling along in another browser tab while writing this post and, I have to admit, it’s been really effective at playing music I like.

I’m really fussy about the music I listen to (“No! You’re kidding!”my sarcastic friends), but it has kept it on the right path so far – I have enjoyed practically everything I’ve heard, to my amazement, really.

OK, I’ve helped it out by clicking the “Add Variety” button and typing in the names of artists I like, and you can do that to, but it’s also come up with a lot of other artists I wouldn’t have normally listened to. I’ve given two or three thumbs down, that’s all. (Not telling you who to!)

So if you’re already using it, or fancy giving it a chance, you could help me by typing in MY name. Or just find me at http://pandora.com/dc-cardwell – and when my songs are playing, click on the THUMBS UP button!

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How To Get Your Music On Pandora Radio

Having said that, until recently it really was difficult to be featured on Pandora unless you were signed to a major record label or publisher. But they have at last made it possible for anyone to apply for submission. There are certain conditions you have to fulfill, and even then you’re not guaranteed to be accepted. Obviously they still want to maintain their reputation of serving up good music for their listeners. But if you’re an artist, you can submit your music at Pandora Submission Page.  You should set up your own listener account first, unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have the service, in which case you should first email musicandcomedy@pandora.com and they will help you.

– DC  (http://pandora.com/dc-cardwell)

Derry/Londonderry, 2009. A statue symbolizing peace.

Another of my photos from Derry/Londonderry, 2009. A statue symbolizing peace. Sadly, a firebomb planted by the IRA went of at a hotel in that very city on Friday, but thanks to a swift midnight evacuation, no one was hurt. #peace


Imported from DC Cardwell’s Instagram account (instagram.com/DC_Cardwell)

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Gorgonzola and Vegemite. What? It was great

Gorgonzola and Vegemite. What? It was great!

Like many people, I detested it for many years – until I made the mistake of tasting it. Now my family despise me when they see me eating it and I’ve almost given up saying “You’ll love it!” I followed the instructions of friends to have it on thickly buttered toast – but only a tiny amount of Vegemite. It really does enhance the flavours of other things.

#gorgonzola #vegemite #foodmatch #pungent


Imported from DC Cardwell’s Instagram account (instagram.com/DC_Cardwell)

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Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 2009

Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 2009. (@hanfengshui asked me to post more photos of Ireland but I don’t live there any more so I’m digging into the archives!)

#archivegram #ireland #norrhernireland #derrystrokelondonderry #norniron #dccardwellarchives


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