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The Band: Live at the Academy of Music 1971

Levon Helm: Ramble at the Ryman

The Band: Three of a Kind

Robbie Robertson: How to Become Clairvoyant

Garth Hudson Presents a Canadian Celebration of The Band

Levon Helm: Electric Dirt

Garth and Maud Hudson: Live at the Wolf

Pulse

Dirt Farmer

Elliot Landy's Woodstock Vision

Music from Big Pink

[cover art]

[LP cover] [Liner notes] [LP back cover] [LP inner gatefold] [CD cover)] [CD Back cover] [Master Recording LP] [2000 reissue cover] [Limited edition Japanese CD] [DVD audio] [Big Pink] [Band photo] ["Next of Kin" photo] [Sheet Music] [Rolling Stone ad] [New York Times review] [Charts and ratings]

None of the Band's previous work gave much of a clue about how they would sound when they released their first album in July 1968. As it was, Music From Big Pink came as a surprise. At first blush, the group seemed to affect the sound of a loose jam session, alternating emphasis on different instruments, while the lead and harmony vocals passed back and forth as if the singers were making up their blend on the spot. In retrospect, especially as the lyrics sank in, the arrangements seemed far more considered and crafted to support a group of songs that took family, faith, and rural life as their subjects and proceeded to imbue their values with uncertainty. Some songs took on the theme of declining institutions less clearly than others, but the points were made musically as much as lyrically. Tenor Richard Manuel's haunting, lonely voice gave the album much of its frightening aspect, while Rick Danko and Levon Helm's rough-hewn styles reinforced the songs' rustic fervor. The dominant instrument was Garth Hudson's often icy and majestic organ, while Robbie Robertson's unusual guitar work further destabilized the sound. The result was an album that reflected the turmoil of the late '60s in a way that emphasized the tragedy inherent in the conflicts. Music From Big Pink came off as a shockingly divergent musical statement only a year after the ornate productions of Sgt. Pepper, and initially attracted attention because of the three songs Bob Dylan had either written or co-written. Soon, however, as "The Weight" became a minor singles chart entry, the album and the group made their own impact, influencing a movement toward roots styles and country elements in rock. Over time, Music From Big Pink came to be regarded as a watershed work in the history of rock, one that introduced new tones and approaches to the constantly evolving genre.
--William Ruhlmann, All-Music Guide

A special 180 gram vinyl LP reissue of Big Pink, produced using analog cutting from analog tapes, was released by EMI in 1999 as part of their Centenary series. A limited edition Japanese CD, with very nice artwork and covers, but horrible lyrics transcriptions, came in 1998.

In August 2000 Capitol Records released a remastered Music from Big Pink, produced (mostly) from the original master tapes, with 9 bonus tracks and a booklet with liner notes by Rob Bowman included (Band biographer Barney Hoskyns wrote the original liner notes for the 2000 reissue, but they were rejected by Capitol/ Robertson.)

EMI/Capitol Special Proucts released Music From Big Pink on DVD-Audio in January 2003. This disc, produced by Robbie Robertson, includes complete lyrics on screen, photo gallery and discography. An "audiophile" SACD version was put out by the Mobile Fidelity label in 2009.

Tracks

(*: bonus track on 2000 CD re-issue)

1. Tears of Rage MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
2. To Kingdom Come MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
3. In a Station MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
4. Caledonia Mission MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
5. The Weight MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
6. We Can Talk MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
7. Long Black Veil MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
8. Chest Fever MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
9. Lonesome Suzie MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
10. This Wheel's on Fire MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]
11. I Shall Be Released MPEG3-file (94K) [RealAudio]

 

12.* Yazoo Street Scandal
MPEG3-file (94K)
Outtake (take 10) - recorded 1/10/68 at A&R Recorders (studio A) - NYC. A version of this song appeared on The Basement Tapes.
13.* Tears Of Rage
MPEG3-file (94K)
Alternate take (take 8) - recorded 1/10/68 at A&R Recorders (studio A) - NYC.
14.* Katie's Been Gone
MPEG3-file (94K)
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.
15.* If I Lose
MPEG3-file (94K)
Stanley Brothers original, sung by Levon Helm. Available on several "basement" bootlegs.
16.* Long Distance Operator
MPEG3-file (94K)
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.
17.* Lonesome Suzie
MPEG3-file (94K)
Alternate take.
18.* Orange Juice Blues
MPEG3-file (94K)
Outtake - recorded 9/5/67 at CBS Studios (studio E) - NYC. Like "Katie's Been Gone," a version was included on The Basement Tapes.
19.* Key To The Highway
MPEG3-file (94K)
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.
20.* Ferdinand The Imposter
MPEG3-file (94K)
Robertson song, lead vocal by Danko. Available on several "basement" bootlegs.

Credits

  • Robbie Robertson , Guitar / Keyboards / Vocals
  • Rick Danko , Bass / Violin / Vocals
  • John Simon , Producer
  • Don Hahn , Engineer
  • Levon Helm , Guitar / Drums / Vocals
  • Garth Hudson , Keyboards / Saxophone
  • Richard Manuel , Drums / Keyboards / Vocals

Song-by-song Credits

  1. Tears Of Rage
    Richard Manuel: Lead Vocal & Piano
    Rick Danko: Back Vocal & Bass
    Robbie Robertson: Electric Guitar
    Garth Hudson: Lowrey Organ & Soprano Sax
    Levon Helm: Drums & Tamburine
    John Simon: Tenor Sax

  2. To Kingdome Come
    Robbie Robertson: Lead Vocal & Electric Guitar
    Richard Manuel: Lead Vocal & Piano
    Rick Danko: Bass
    Levon Helm: Drums
    Garth Hudson: Lowrey Organ

  3. In A Station
    Richard Manuel: Lead Vocal & Piano
    Rick Danko: Back Vocal & Bass
    Robbie Robertson: Electric Guitar & Acoustic Guitar
    Garth Hudson: Clavinette & Electric Piano
    Levon Helm: Drums

  4. Caledonia Mission
    Rick Danko: Lead Vocal & Bass
    Richard Manuel: Back Vocal
    Robbie Robertson: Electric Guitar & Acoustic Guitar
    Garth Hudson: Lowrey Organ
    Levon Helm: Drums
    John Simon: Piano

  5. The Weight
    Levon Helm: Lead Vocal & Drums
    Rick Danko: Lead Vocal & Bass
    Richard Manuel: Back Vocal & Hammond Organ (cut)
    Robbie Robertson: Acoustic Guitar
    Garth Hudson: Piano

  6. We Can Talk
    Richard Manuel: Lead Vocal & Piano
    Levon Helm: Lead Vocal & Drums
    Rick Danko: Back Vocal & Bass
    Robbie Robertson: Electric Guitar
    Garth Hudson: Lowrey Organ

  7. Long Black Veil
    Rick Danko: Lead Vocal & Bass
    Richard Manuel: Back Vocal & Electric Piano
    Levon Helm: Back Vocal & Drums
    Robbie Robertson: Acoustic Guitar
    Garth Hudson: Lowrey Organ

  8. Chest Fever
    Richard Manuel: Lead Vocal & Piano
    Robbie Robertson: Electric Guitar
    Rick Danko: Bass & Violin
    Levon Helm: Drums
    Garth Hudson: Lowrey Organ & Tenor Sax
    John Simon: Bariton Sax

  9. Lonesome Suzie
    Richard Manuel: Lead Vocal & Piano
    Robbie Robertson: Electric Guitar
    Rick Danko: Bass
    Levon Helm: Drums
    Garth Hudson: Lowrey Organ & Soprano Sax

  10. This Wheel's On Fire
    Rick Danko: Lead Vocal & Bass
    Richard Manuel: Back Vocal & Piano
    Robbie Robertson: Electric Guitar
    Garth Hudson: Clavinette (with Fuzz) & Lowrey Organ
    Levon Helm: Drums

  11. I Shall Be Released
    Richard Manuel: Lead Vocal & Piano
    Levon Helm: Back Vocal & Drums
    Rick Danko: Back Vocal & Bass
    Robbie Robertson: Acoustic Guitar
    Garth Hudson: Lowrey Organ

Music from Big Pink - The Band - (41:35) - 1968 - Capitol SKAO-2955
Gatefold sleeve LP
Original Master Recording released on vinyl in 1980 (Mobile Fidelity MFSL-1-039)
Compact Disc: Capitol 46069-2 (1986)
Ultra Disc released in 198? (Mobile Fidelity UDCD-527)
Limited Edition CD: Capitol Japan M57626 (1998)
Remastered CD with bonus tracks: Capitol/EMI 50837 (2000)
DVD-Audio w/complete lyrics on screen, photo gallery and discography: Capitol/EMI Special Products 77939 (2003)
Limited Edition "mini-sleeve" CD: Caroline Records 22199, UK (2008)
180 gram vinyl LP: Capitol 427931 (2008)
"Audiophile" SACD: Mobile Fidelity 2044 (2009)

AMG Rating: Best of Genre - Should be part of any collection


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