Music from Big Pink [Bonus Tracks]

( 5 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Although the five musicians who came together in the late '50s and early '60s to back up Canadian rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins probably had played thousands of shows and had made numerous recordings, none of these public appearances gave much of a clue about how they would sound when they released their first album as the Band in July 1968. If people at that time had heard the 1967 sessions later dubbed The Basement Tapes that the musicians had made with Bob Dylan, they would have been better prepared. 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, the arrangements giving alternating ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Although the five musicians who came together in the late '50s and early '60s to back up Canadian rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins probably had played thousands of shows and had made numerous recordings, none of these public appearances gave much of a clue about how they would sound when they released their first album as the Band in July 1968. If people at that time had heard the 1967 sessions later dubbed The Basement Tapes that the musicians had made with Bob Dylan, they would have been better prepared. 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, the arrangements giving alternating emphases to 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. "Tears of Rage," the leadoff track, was a lament by parents about a rebellious child; "The Weight" considered various acts of kindness that went wrong; and "I Shall Be Released," the closing track, expressed the hopeless hope of a prisoner who determined his salvation by viewing the world in reverse "I see my light coming shining from the west unto the east," he sang, as if the earth were spinning in the opposite direction from its usual course. Other songs took on the theme of declining institutions less clearly, 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, even when he wasn't singing lead especially his moans in "The Weight", while Rick Danko's and Levon Helm's rough-hewn styles reinforced the songs' rustic fervor. The dominant instrument was Garth Hudson's organ, which could be icy and majestic, his other keyboards introducing novel sounds, while Robbie Robertson's unusual guitar work further destabilized the sound. The result was an album that reflected the cultural and political turmoil of the late '60s in a way that emphasized the tragedy inherent in the conflicts. Nevertheless, Music from Big Pink came off as a shockingly divergent musical statement only a year after Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, when rock had moved toward ornate productions. Bob Dylan, the Band's mentor, had begun a move back to a simpler, if more ambiguous style with John Wesley Harding six months earlier, and Music from Big Pink initially attracted attention because of the three songs "Tears of Rage," "This Wheel's on Fire," and "I Shall Be Released" he 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 more 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. [The CD reissue released on August 29, 2000, was remastered for a clearer sound that produced a more detailed sound picture, making those rambling arrangements easier to appreciate. The reissue featured extensive liner notes by Band expert Rob Bowman and included nine bonus tracks, expanding the running time from 42 to 74 minutes. Among the new material, there were alternate takes of "Tears of Rage" and "Lonesome Suzie" the former only marginally different, the latter a completely different approach to the song; versions of four songs previously released on the 1975 album The Basement Tapes "Yazoo Street Scandal," "Katie's Been Gone," "Long Distance Operator," and "Orange Juice Blues [Blues for Breakfast]"; covers of country and blues material "If I Lose," "Key to the Highway"; and one original song probably from the group's initial demo session "Ferdinand the Imposter". None of these recordings sounded like they should have been included on the original album, but they provided interesting addenda, especially for aficionados who might need a reason to invest in yet another reissue of this classic album.]
Entertainment Weekly - Tony Scherman
Big Pink ('68) and The Band ('69) are two of the best albums in rock history. These remasterings sound incredibly rich, and each has an alternate take.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/29/2000
  • Label: Capitol
  • UPC: 724352539024
  • Catalog Number: 25390
  • Sales rank: 26,014

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Band Primary Artist
Rick Danko Group Member
Levon Helm Group Member
Garth Hudson Group Member
Richard Manuel Group Member
Jaime "Robbie" Robertson Group Member
Technical Credits
Bob Dylan Cover Painting
Albert B. Grossman Arranger
Don Hahn Engineer
Tony May Engineer
Charlie Poole Composer
Shelly Yakus Engineer
Rex Updegraft Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An Amazing Debut

    This is one of very few albums that can be called landmark. The Band's influence can be found in almost any group that plays in an ensemble style, and yet bands like Little Feat or the country era Grateful Dead could not duplicate their style. It is worth noting that on this record Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm were not the dominant forces they came to be. Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson seem to be more prominent than they were later.This collection features bonus tracks that help us understand the musical processes at work here. Some of them (Ferdinand the Impostor especially) have sub par sound and the country tracks like Long Black Veil and If I Lose were a direction they never fully explored.. I also think the Rock of Ages version of This Wheel's On Fire is superior. But those are quibbles. This is still a 5 star collection

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bringing the basement to the studio

    The album itself is very good and is enjoyable even without knowing the history behind it. This album has songs that were first worked on in the so-called Basement Tapes and recorded in the studio long before those tapes were released (although the boots were beginning to surface). This album had two songs co-written by Bob Dylan and so, in a time when Dylan was in exile, it was exciting to have those songs come out. People may have originally bought this album out of curiosity about what Dylan was up to but they ended up appreciating just how good Dylan's Band was, so much so that The Band ended up with its own following, and rightly so. A classic album.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    one of the warmest, most beautiful albums ever made

    Feeling a bit blue? Stick on Music from Big Pink. This album has got the remedy and then some. Now I've never heard the vinyl version, or the CD version that was initially released. I've only got the most recent version that has all the bonus tracks. I don't know if they've done any real tinkering with the sound here, but this version of Big Pink sounds really cosy, really warm and simultaneously sounds like music that should be played in the great outdoors, or in a house by a warm fire on a cold winter's night. Absolute top marks for opener 'Tears of Rage', which is one of the most chilled, slow and mellow songs that have ever opened an album. It's really lovely. In fact, all the way, The Band make playing music sound so easy: they just sound so relaxed, so in tune with each other, so effortlessly on top form. Take 'The Weight', which I've noticed being used in a few films now and then, which just strolls gorgeously, boasting a lovely harmony break at the end of each chorus. Or 'Chest Fever', which has a great organ intro before settling into a cool beat. Or 'In a Station', which just feels so good to listen to, thanks to the amazing vocals. Or 'Lonesome Suzie', a beautiful bittersweet thing of wonder. 'I Shall Be Released' is an incredible closer. Slow, catchy, brilliant, Music from Big Pink is essential listening.

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    Posted June 24, 2009

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    Posted January 22, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews