That the complete sessions recorded by Bob Dylan and The Band in the basement of Big Pink in 1967 are coming out these days is a sensation. But the fact that Dylan obviously also dug up some lyrics from that time and left this producer to T-Bone Burnett is more than just an interesting footnote. Burnett drummed a handful of musicians together to write music to the Dylan originals: Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Rhiannon Giddens took over the job and recorded the songs together with some other musicians (among others Haim and the great Larkin Poe). The result is very heterogeneous, which is very good for the songs. James' rocky approach competes with Costello's sometimes exaggerated flippancy. Mumford focuses on his ingenious sense of melody and drama. Giddens shines with a wonderful vocal performance and Goldsmith turns out to be a master of melancholic Americana. But the real achievement is that the Dylan lyrics harmonize so beautifully with the new songs. A worthy compendium.
Top track: Liberty Street