Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued (Blu-ray Review)

Basement Tapes‘Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued’ is a film by director Sam Jones that accompanies the album ‘Lost On The River’ released by Harvest Records in November 2014. The project focuses on sixteen sets of lyrics that were written by Bob Dylan during the legendary ‘The Basement Tapes’ sessions in 1967 but only recently rediscovered. Under the auspices of producer T-Bone Burnett and with the approval of Bob Dylan an extraordinary collective of musicians was brought together to set the lyrics to music: Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford. The film presents an exclusive and intimate look at the making of the ‘Lost On The River’ album set against the important and historical cultural backdrop of Bob Dylan and The Band’s original ‘The Basement Tapes’.

Basement Tapes


Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued was an original SHOWTIME documentary that focused on the creation of a new album consisting of newly discovered Bob Dylan lyrics that were not used during the original “Basement Tapes” recording back in the day. With Bob Dylan’s full blessing – super producer T Bone Burnett has assembled an American/British group consisting of: Elvis Costello, Jim James, Marcus Mumford, Rhiannon Giddens, and Taylor Goldsmith. They are tasked with breaking the lyrical content down and creating original music to Bob Dylan’s written words.

Everyone converges at the Capital Records building in Hollywood, CA to lay down some tunes. Everyone is talented in his or her craft and you will see how good these musicians really are. They’re all multi-instrumentalists, so seeing someone that you’re used to seeing play guitar all of sudden start playing bass, drums, or keyboards is pretty neat. The main film does feature Bob Dylan’s voice over some dramatized footage of he and his original band mates getting together to record the original Basement Tapes. I think the dramatization stunts the overall production, because I wanted to get back to the studio as fast as possible.

Watching the band members work with each other was rather amusing and of course when a certain member is put on the spot to compose a melody in 24 hours – he throws a fit *coughs* Mumford *coughs*. The rest of the members kind of look at him and ask if that’s the end of that day’s session or what. T Bone excuses everyone and that’s a wrap. Mumford then tells the camera that he’s not used to working that fast, because it usually takes him 6 months to compose tunes – not 24hrs.

Outside of that little hiccup – Johnny Depp drops by to jam on a song, which was pretty cool to see. The overall atmosphere of the sessions was that of collaboration and respect, because up until then, most of these musicians had never each other let alone worked with each other. Friendships were forged and possible-working relationships in the future may have been cemented. If you’re a Bob Dylan fan and want to see what a bunch of American/British folk can come up with to his lyrics then Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued is right up your alley. You can skip through the dramatization segments and stick to the meat and potatoes of the jam sessions.


Spanish Mary

Lost On The River

Florida Key

Card Shark

Hidee Hidee Ho #16

Nothing To It

Down On The Bottom

Kansas City

Liberty Street

When I Get My Hands On You

Duncan And Jimmy

Six Months In Kansas City (Liberty Station)


Basement Tapes


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: Eagle Rock, for the most part, always comes through with some lovely video encodes and this Blu-ray is no different. The scenes of the musicians jamming out in the studio are great but the stylized scenes in the dramatization sequences are tweaked, so that you’re watching archive footage, which you are not.

Depth: Remember that fly on the wall analogy? Well, watching this Blu-ray will make you feel as though you’re flipping switches on the boards.

Black Levels: Black levels – what few there are look great.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is nice and natural. Everything looks to have been shot outdoors/indoors, with natural lighting. This is not a Skittles commercial.

Flesh Tones: Everyone has a nice Southern California tan.

Noise/Artifacts: The main feature is clean and crisp – it’s the “archive” footage that has stylized scratches and debris.


Basement Tapes


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1, English LPCM 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish

Dynamics: Since the studio is the stage I was surprised at how clean and clear the overall audio tracks came through. Whether you’re listening to the sessions in full 5.1 or just the stereo track – you’ll be that extra member of the jam – a literal fly on the wall, as they say.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer channel is used only to enhance the bass levels.

Surround Sound Presentation: The rear mix is on point – and it never drowns out the front. The channel separation is awesome on this Blu-ray.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels – vocals, lead and backing, etc., are exquisite. I should mention that this is a reference music track.



Basement Tapes


The only extra on this Blu-ray, and it’s a doozy, are the full performance of the some of the songs from the main feature played in their entirety. This supplemental section alone is worth the price of admission, folks. It’s presented in full 1080p, with a LPCM 2.0 mix.

  • Bonus Tracks – Full Performances of:

Diamond Ring

Down On The Bottom

Hidee Hidee Ho #16

Kansas City

Six Months in Kansas City (Liberty Street)

The Whistle Is Blowing


Basement Tapes


Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued is a fairly entertaining account of fellow musicians getting together for a nice jam session utilizing Bob Dylan’s un-produced lyrics and turning them into fully fleshed out songs. I do think the overall product should have focused more on the tunes than the dramatizations that flashback to what Bob may or may not have been thinking. The fact that stand-in’s were used to illustrate this takes away from the task. On the upside of things: the jam sessions were fantastic and the video and audio specifications on this Blu-ray rocked. The full version of some of the songs included and not included make for some great listening in the extras department. I enjoyed The Basement Tapes Continued and it is recommended!




Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued is now available on Blu-ray & DVD!


Basement Tapes


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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