NPR

The New Basement Tapes, 'When I Get My Hands On You'

Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford are The New Basement Tapes. (Courtesy of the artist)

Since 1967, a series of recordings known as The Basement Tapes has loomed large in music history. Bob Dylan and The Band casually recorded more than 100 songs — many of them captured in archival collections — in the upstate New York ranch house known as Big Pink. The recent discovery of even more Dylan writings from that fruitful period has helped inspire an unusual project: The New Basement Tapes, a supergroup that breathes new life into 47-year-old lyrics.

Led by producer T-Bone Burnett, the band features Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons). The New Basement Tapes spent two weeks together at Capitol Studios in Hollywood to record this batch of songs — working, appropriately enough, in one of the label's basement studios.

"When I Get My Hands On You" is a sweet Dylan love song: "And now you know 
/ everywhere on earth you go /
 you're gonna have me as your man." Mumford's expressive voice rings out starkly and clearly over Costello's simple keyboard riff, which drives the melody and leaves the emotion to the vocals. The result provides yet another reminder that music, when done right, can sound vital and timeless at once.

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