049 – “Odds and Ends”

Episode 49
“Odds and Ends.” 
Basement Tapes
Bunker. 
Recorded March 1, 2018.

Context (3:30)

The song was recorded at Big Pink in Woodstock, New York in the summer of 1967. The reel of tape that includes “Odds and Ends” also has “Get Your Rocks Off,” “Clothes Line Saga” and “Apple Suckling Tree.” This song has never been played live.

Song Itself (9:00)

First things first: is that Levon Helm on drums? Clinton Heylin notes first that “neither Griffin nor Marcus thinks this is Levon Helm, who found his way to Woodstock by early November” then continues

Helm himself suggests, in his autobiography, ‘When [Dylan] came back after Thanksgiving [i.e., after the last JWH session], we cut “Nothing was Delivered.” ’ And the only possible candidate for said recording of said song lies between the two takes of ‘Odds and Ends’ (Helm refers to hearing ‘a great rock & roll song called “Odds and Ends” ’ on his arrival, just to confuse things further). Even if these recordings predate Helm’s return (in which case, hats off to Richard), methinks it is only by a matter of days.

Greil Marcus wrote the liner notes for The Bootleg Series, Volume 11: The Basement Tapes which are quoted below, with “Odds and Ends (Take 1):”

When you listen to the basement tapes it’s easy to forget that this was the exact same group that just a year earlier had played the British Isles to enormous controversy. They were loud, aggressive, forceful and bombastic. Fans expecting folk music came away short. Many booed, many walked out. “Odds and Ends” has a glimmer of the fire left over from that tour. A great rock and roll band with a great singer and a songwriter rockin’ the basement.

and “Odds and Ends (Take 2):”

This is the version that was used for the 1975 The Basement Tapes release. Both versions are equally as good and it must have been difficult to decide which to include on the official release. You get the feeling Dylan and The Band could have done 20 takes, each peerless.

There’s a reason that this opens the 1975 release: it’s fun! The guitars are bright, there’s tons of organ talk between both takes, like “Clothes Line Saga,” it’s all nonsense disguised as wisdom. Or is it? Someone online brought up the song in the context of raising a child (a new endeavor for Dylan at the time of this recording): they’re always so sure of themselves, have places to go, things to see but end up just spilling juice all over you. It certainly makes the refrain of the song – Lost time is not found again – much sadder. 

Recommendations (23:00)

Kelly has been playing Mass Effect: Andromeda while Daniel has been listening to our playlist above.

Endings

There are 482 songs left. Kelly guessed #50, for what’ll be our 50th episode. “Most of the Time.” Nope. It’s #161, fittingly, Highway 61 Revisited.

1 thought on “049 – “Odds and Ends”

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