In the late 60's, Bob Dylan retreated to Woodstock. He was recovering from a brutal motorcycle accident, plus trying to out run that whole "voice of a generation" thing. But with no album at the ready and no tour on the horizon, he needed to earn some money. So, he started writing songs with the idea of other people recording them, generating some cash flow with the royalty checks. Some of the songs did get covered by others (The Band, The Byrds, Manfred Mann) and some were officially released on "The Basement Tapes" in 1975. A handful even slipped out on various bootlegs. But many of them never made it past pen and paper. Then in 2013, Dylan's publisher discovered some of these manuscripts and recruited legendary producer T-Bone Burnett to set them to song. Enter The New Basement Tapes, a collective assembled by Burnett, that included Marcus Mumford, Elvis Costello, Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Rhiannon Giddens from the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes, who recorded these discarded gems for the album, "Lost On The River." Of the song Kansas City, (which Mumford sang on the record), T-Bone said this:
“In 1967, he (Dylan) had gone, in five years, from being an obscure folk singer to an international rock ‘n’ roll icon of the highest magnitude. And, in the process, his original supporters turned on him and it seems like he’s saying: ‘Just how long can I keep singing the same old song?'”
“There’s a great line: ‘You invite me into your house, then you say you got to pay for what you break.’ I think that resonated very strongly with Marcus, because he has had a similar trajectory. He came out of the box very strong, became internationally successful and suffered an extreme backlash. Kansas City is his song as well.”
Marcus has given his solo version of "Kansas City" to KBCO Studio C Vol. 32. Since you're on the website, all the details about getting your copy is here.
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)