Greil Marcus has been called ""simply peerless, not only as a rock writer but as a cultural historian"" (Nick Hornby). It's appropriate, then, that he should choose to explore one of the most defining moments in American music: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes.
It was 1967--the Summer of Love. Bob Dylan and five other musicians (later known as The Band) met in a bungalow in Woodstock, New York, and wrote and produced music that ignored the psychedelic sounds of the time, songs that would eventually become known simply as ""The Basement Tapes."" The group mined the history of American music and their own talents to produce legendary tracks that were bootleg issues before appearing in official release.
That is the alchemy that was practiced in the Basement Tapes laboratory, and ""in that alchemy,"" Marcus writes, ""is an undiscovered country, like the purloined letter hiding in plain sight."" Marcus explores this music and the cauldron of the American experience in which it was formed in a book that illuminates America, then and now.
""This book is terminal, goes deeply into the subconscious and plows through that period of time like a rake. Greil Marcus has done it again.""--Bob Dylan
""[Marcus's] work is very likely the most imaginative criticism being done, but it's more than that: It's a light in dark times.""--Luc Sante, New York magazine""