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Vinyl Reissue of The Band

by David Powell

Originally posted in The Band guestbook in December '97.

After a stressful, post-holiday Monday at work, the day suddenly brightened when the UPS man delivered the new LP reissue of The Band. As part of their Centenary series, EMI has released "the Brown Album", restored to its original form. Complete with the original packaging & artwork and pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl, this is an all analogue LP cut from the analogue master tapes. Imported from Great Britain with the original EMI/Capital labeling, the gate-fold LP cover is made to look like thick, pebble-grained leather. The great photographs by Elliot Landy have been restored as well, in the original larger format afforded by the LP jacket. The sepia-toned photos of The Band that grace the front & back covers clearly convey the mood of the music within.

Before I ramble on too long, let me just briefly describe the sound of this reissue. All the detail, complete with the warm, bottom end that the LP format offers, is accurately presented. The thump of Rick's bass, Levon's loosened drum heads & crisp cymbal work, Robbie's understated but amazing guitar playing, along with Garth's & Richard's keyboard playing are all cleanly discernable. The vocals--oh those trademark vocal harmonies--sound as warm & rich as ever.

Just a few highlights of this LP's great sound--On "King Harvest" Levon's cymbal & high-hat playing are crystall clear, against the backdrop of Rick's deep bass & Robbie's chicken-scratch lead guitar. At the end of the haunting Manuel/Robertson collaboration "Whispering Pines" when Levon sings & Richard repeats the lines, the echo created sounds as it they're present in the listening room with you..

Before I go on too much more, let me just heartily recommend this reissue of one of the true classics in rock history to all you Band fans that still enjoy music played on your turntables. Like all vinyl releases, you may have a hard time finding it at a local dealer, but it available by mail order. Two retailers that I have ordered from & can recommend, currently have this LP in stock. They are Music Direct in Chicago at 1-800-449-8333 and Acoustic Sounds of Salinas, Ks. at 1-800-716-3553. Like most "audiophile" vinyl reissues, The Band is relatively expensive at $25 plus shipping, but we're talking about "the holy grail" here, you won't be dissappointed.

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