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Details of The Band bonus tracks

by Paul Cantin

Copied from JAM! Showbiz, Tuesday, May 16, 2000.

The first four albums by classic Canadian rockers The Band will be reissued this summer with a slew of bonus tracks, including outtakes, a rehearsal tape, radio commercials, alternative takes and alternate mixes.

EMI Music Canada gave JAM! Music the details of the new versions of "Music From Big Pink," "The Band," "Stage Fright" and "Cahoots," which will be enhanced with anywhere from four to seven additional cuts per CD.

The Band -- drummer Levon Helm, bassist Rick Danko, pianist Richard Manuel, keyboardist Garth Hudson and guitarist Robbie Robertson -- came together in Southern Ontario in the 1960s under the aegis of expatriate Arkansas rockabilly hellion Ronnie Hawkins.

After touring as The Hawks and splitting with Hawkins, the group (minus Helm) joined Bob Dylan for his epochal 1966 "electric tour" before settling into the rustic scene in Woodstock, New York. Demos recorded there with Dylan would later be widely bootlegged and then legitimately released in 1975 as "The Basement Tapes." But it was after that period that the group began recording their own songs as The Band, with Helm back in the fold.

The new CD reissues, which reach stores Aug. 1, begin with their 1968 debut, "Music From Big Pink." Here are the details of the bonus tracks for each release:

1) "Tears Of Rage" - alternate take (take 8) - recorded 1/10/68 at A&R Recorders (studio A) - NYC

2) "Katie's Been Gone" - outtake - probably recorded in NYC at either A&R Studios or CBS Studios - 1968. A version of this song was included on the Dylan/Band album "The Basement Tapes," even though this release seems to confirm that the song was not recorded at the same time as Dylan's songs.

3) "Long Distance Operator" - outtake - recorded 2/21/68 at Goldstar Studios (studio B) - Los Angeles. Bootlegs from Dylan's first electric dates supported by members of The Band include a version of this song.

4) "Orange Juice Blues" - outtake - recorded 9/5/67 at CBS Studios (studio E) - NYC. Like "Katie's Been Gone," a version was included on "The Basement Tapes."

5) "Yazoo Street Scandal" - outtake (take 10) - recorded 1/10/68 at A&R Recorders (studio A) - NYC. A version of this song appeared on "The Basement Tapes."

6) "Key To The Highway" - outtake - recorded 9/10/68, probably at Bearsville. Although the group performed this song at some concerts, it wasn't included on any of their studio albums.

Their 1969 sophomore album, simply titled "The Band," was recorded in Los Angeles in the pool house of a Beverly Hills home rented from Sammy Davis, Jr. The sessions yielded classic songs "Up On Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." Here are the bonus tracks:

1) "Get Up Jake" - outtake - original stereo mix (mixed 7/9/69). The mono version was used as the B-Side to the single "Ain't Got No Home." This is the previously unreleased stereo version mixed by The Band. The song was later covered by Ian and Sylvia Tyson and their band, The Great Speckled Bird.

2) "Rag Mama Rag" - alternate version - recorded in the Spring of 1969 - this is a rough mix from the first set of California mixes.

3) "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" - alternate mix - this mix features unused overdubs - mixed by The Band 6/3/69

4) "Up On Cripple Creek" - alternate take (take 9) - earlier performance than the released version. Recorded in the Spring of 1969.

5) "Whispering Pines" - alternate take (take 14) - recorded 6/16/69 at A&R Studios in NYC

6) "Jemima Surrender" - alternate take - earlier take than released version recorded in the Spring of 1969. This version features Helm on drums, as opposed to the released take, which featured Manuel on drums.

7) "King Harvest" - recorded at a house in Woodstock. EMI says Robertson remembers this taking place after the record was complete. Film footage of The Band performing this version of the song was included in the recent VH1 "Classic Albums" feature on the making of "The Band."

"Stage Fright" from 1970 was recorded in The Woodstock Playhouse Theatre in Woodstock, N.Y., with producer Todd Rundgren. Both he and British producer Glyn Johns prepared mixes of the songs. The bonus tracks will likely show the two different visions Johns and Rundgren had for the album.

1) "Daniel And The Sacred Harp" - alternate take (take 1) - recorded 6/4/70 at the Woodstock Playhouse (this is an uptempo version)

2) "Time To Kill" - alternate mix - mixed by Glyn Johns 6/13/70 at Island Studios in the UK. This is a final mix that was not chosen for the LP. The Rundgren mix made the original album.

3) "W.S. Walcott Medicine Show" - alternate mix - this mix is from Rundgren's first set of mixes (mixed in late June, 1970 at the Record Plant in NYC). This version is said to feature the horns more prominently.

4) :30 Radio Spot produced to promote "Stage Fright"

"Cahoots" was released in 1971 and included one of the group's undisputed classics, "Life Is A Carnival," as well as a Dylan collaboration, "When I Paint My Masterpiece." The bonus tracks:

1) "Endless Highway" - alternate version - recorded 2/8/71 at the Bearsville Barn. This version features Manuel singing the lead.

2) "When I Paint My Masterpiece" - alternate take (take 10) - this earlier take was mixed but unused. Recorded at Bearsville Studios, it is missing overdubs that are found in the final master, which used take 17, not take 10, as its foundation, according to EMI.

3) "Bessie Smith" - A version of this song was initially included on Dylan's "The Basement Tapes, but Robertson told the reissue producers he believed this was cut in between albums and fit in best with "Cahoots."

4) "Don't Do It" - same situation as "Bessie Smith." This Marvin Gaye cover was an in-concert favorite (it was the final track the group performed at their farewell concert, "The Last Waltz,") but the version included here is taken from an acetate, cleaned up from the version that has circulated among bootleg collectors.

5) :30 Radio Spot produced to promote "Cahoots."

There's no indication so far on if or when we can expect similar reissues of other Band albums -- "Rock Of Ages," "Moondog Matinee," "Northern Lights - Southern Cross," "Islands" and "The Last Waltz" -- the latter of which was issued by Warner Bros. in conjunction with the concert film.

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