Monday, October 23, 2006

127. The Band - Music From Big Pink (1968)

Track Listing

1. Tears Of Rage
2. To Kingdom Come
3. In A Station
4. Caledonian Mission
5. Weight
6. We Can Talk
7. Long Black Veil
8. Chest Fever
9. Lonesome Suzie
10. This Wheel's On Fire
11. I Shall Be Released


So, you think you don't know The Band... well you do, it's Bob Dylan's band, sans Dylan. And you are bound to know three maybe four tracks from this album alone, even if you only have a superficial interest in music. Possibly however, you might know them in other versions, like This Wheel's On Fire is well known for the version that shows up as the title track for Ab Fab. However, the best track in the album is something that we all know, and that is The Weight, with it's complex Biblical references and extremely catchy chorus it it almost a perfect track.

Of course the Weight has possibly been overplayed, but for good reasons. Although Bob Dylan is not present, he is a major influence and actually contributed with lyrics for some tracks, such as the great Tears of Rage. Really what you are getting here is a folksy band, which really owes a lot to Dylan, and I'd imagine Dylan owes a lot to The Band. The experience is a bit like listening to a slightly more ballady, poppier Dylan with a more pleasent voice. Of course the pleasent voice is both a grace and a disgrace, as it loses the particular edginess of Dylan. In terms of lyrics, even on the non-Dylan penned songs, they are quite good and have their own voice, Dylan lyrics are clearly Dylany, while the Band's one's have their own identity.

It is a refreshing detour from all-out psychadelia, frankly, this album resorts much more to traditional and countrier/ folkier song forms and instrumentation, and it is like a bolt out of the blue in 1968, and all the better for it! Followers would come along soon, the CSN's and Creedence's of this world, and good thing they did. You can stream this from Napster or buy it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. The Weight
2. Tears Of Rage
3. I Shall Be Released
4. Long Black Veil

Final Grade



The Band At Woodstock (bear with the Intro):

From Wikipedia:

With a rough sound, seemingly chaotic arrangements, and a distinctive blend of country, rock and folk, Music From Big Pink is generally considered one of the best albums by the Band, along with their 1969 sophomore release The Band. The album follows the band's backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as The Hawks) and time spent at a shared house in upstate New York recording what would become the Basement Tapes, also with Dylan. The shared house, in Saugerties near Woodstock, was painted pink, providing the title for the album.

The initial critical reception of the album was generally positive, though sales were slim; Al Kooper's rave review of the LP in Rolling Stone helped draw public attention to it. The fact that Bob Dylan had composed three of the songs also helped to increase sales.

At the time, "The Weight" peaked at #63 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart (North America). The album peaked at #30 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000 . The song "The Weight" has gained widespread popularity, in spite of its dismal chart ranking, due partially to its inclusion in the cult favorite film Easy Rider, though it was left off of the soundtrack.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 34 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The laid-back feel of the album drew the attention of many other artists. For example, Eric Clapton cites the album's roots rock style as what convinced him to quit Cream, and pursue the styles of Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie and his debut album.

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