Category Archives: Tree With Roots

“Ain’t my cup o’ meat”

Bob Dylan and the Band – “Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) – take 2” from A Tree with Roots (1967/2001) and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – “Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)” from The Best of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1996)

Rock went through some profound changes in the 1970s: genres like jazz and funk seeped into mainstream sounds, musicians became more proficient with rock instruments, and new technologies like the synthesizer changed the timbre of popular rock.

This shift is illustrated well by Bob Dylan’s “Quinn the Eskimo” recorded by Dylan with the Band in the basement of Big Pink in 1967 and a live version performed by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in 1978.

Also see Manfred Mann (sans Earth Band) performing it on TotP in 1968.

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“We carried you in our arms”

Bob Dylan and the Band – “Tears of Rage – Take 1,” “Tears of Rage – Take 2” and “Tears of Rage – Take 3” from A Tree with Roots [Basement Tapes sessions, 1967]

The Band – “Tears of Rage” from Greatest Hits comp [2000], orig. on Music from Big Pink [1968]

Happy Independence Day from your patriotic friends at SWR.

Here are a few takes of a Dylan/Band classic from A Tree with Roots.  A cleaner version of the third take later appeared on the official Basement Tapes record released in 1975.  Bob shares a writing credit for this song with the late Richard Manuel who sang “Tears of Rage” when the Band recorded it for 1968’s Music from Big Pink.  Dylan’s efforts, while insightful, never really matched the pained plaintiveness of Manuel’s pinched tenor.

More Tree with Roots at SWR

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On a rainy afternoon

Bob Dylan and the Band – “On a rainy afternoon” from Tree With Roots (1967, 2001)

When I first heard TwR, I paid particular attention to this song because it shares a name with a half-finished Dylan song recorded on Eat the Document. However, I can’t find any other real parallels between the two songs.

Watch/listen to Cate Blanchett-era Dylan perform it here with Robbie Robertson and compare it to the enclosed recording. The former is delicate and beautiful while the latter is an outright foot-stomper featuring the whole Band.

At any rate, both of these songs could have been classics had they been cultivated a bit more.

Other Tree with Roots tunes at SWR

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“Just grin from ear to ear”

Bob Dylan and the Band – “All you have to do is dream – take 1

and “All you have to do is dream – take 2” from Tree With Roots (2001)

Here are two takes of one of the more coherent tunes from the Basement Tapes sessions. It has a pretty infectious groove courtesy of R. Danko (bass) and R. Robertson (lead guitar).

Anyone know what a “floor bird” is?

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“I try so awf’ly strong.”

Bob Dylan and the Band – “Sign on the Cross” from A Tree With Roots (bootleg, 2001)

These Basement Tapes recordings (1967) are all partially baked and often leave you wondering what the songs could have been had they been worked on more. Nevertheless, the sheer volume of great musical ideas here is overwhelming. I my imagination, the group was so excited about each new song that they couldn’t polish one before moving on to the next.

On this track, Dylan sounds worn out, tired and manic. Yet he’s still capable of reaching ragged and inspired crescendos.

Garth Hudson, as on nearly all BT takes, is fantastic on the organ.

More Tree With Roots to come.

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Filed under 1960s, Americana, Folk, Gospel, Rock, Tree With Roots