Band, TheMusic From The Big Pink
Posted 21 August 2004 - 03:04 AM
Band: The Band
Album: Music From The Big Pink
First vinyl release: july first 1968 * Best CD re-masterised reedition: 2000 (Capitol/EMI)
The Band. Ah ! what to say about them ? A very delicate music like a national American treasure - Robbie Roberstson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, and Levon Helm, played together since 1959. They had been disciplined by the veteran Ronnie Hawkins when they sill played with the 'Hawks' ...
In 1965, Bob Dylan, the bard of an entire generation, declared 'The Band' to be the ultimate, and that's when they became his band, during a legendary concert at the 'Hollywood Bowl'. And finally it would be them who will influence the poet and they will cure his nerves burned by amphetamines, with the calm of a new repertoire 'Country' very basic and fundamental ...
"Music From The Big Pink" will mark the eruption of the band, those professionnals who played a subtile music that will bring the listener into other dimensions; higher and higher, better and better, their music was truly sublime, and they represented a Rocknroll with a totally new and different angle altogether.
People blessed with an incredible imagination, the member of 'The Band' will impose no limit to themselves and to their music.
Like old Bill Burrough, they'd choosen to wear suits so as not to attract the attention of the DEA. Their music can touch your feelings and emotions and try to make you imagine a different dimension; Robbie Robertson's guitar is doing the job, and he takes you to some pastures you never saw before.
This said, our epoch has cannibalized the world of RocknRoll three times already in rehabilitating the Beach Boys, and Black Sabbath, Motth The Hopple, and Gene Clark, so it would be fair to warn the reader, that with "Music From The Big Pink" , we approach the heart or even the Grail of all the origins ... after 'The Band' ? well it will be different it will never be the same, they'll mark the end of an epoch with that incredible album.
Robertson was able to play 'Who Do You Love' like no one before and most of all, Levon Helm, was able to insure all those multiple rhythmic changes with his drums, going from 'Funky Shuffle' to 'Chicago Blues'
Since Bob Dylan's motorbike 'accident' in 1966, the future seemed to beckon The Band, they'll take refuge in 'West Saugerties' not far from Dylan's house in Woodstock, and it's there that those enlightened musicians will write and record their Opus of a first album, "Music From The Big Pink".
To tell the importance of their music, we'll have to remember the story when Eric Clapton and George Harrison called The Band; they were just passing as they had come to visit Dylan and so the two guitarists had the privilege to hear that album in the making. According to sources they'll never get over it !
That's when Clapton decided to dissolve 'Cream' and create the first super-band 'Blind Faith'. And George Harrison, tried to convince Lennon/ Mc Cartney but in vain. What the hell was the secret of the band ? Experts musicians they were capable to handle any kind of music. Behind his organ and his mormon's beard, the keyboardist Garth Hudson never hesitated and his touch is one to be acknowleged ...
So again, here we have a first album from an unique Band, that time has not been able to touch; on the contrary, as the years pass 'Music From The Big Pink' sounds new and fresh. In his reminiscences, a book known by the very few, Levon Helm remembered: " as soon as we were well settled down, we had emptied the Big Pink's basement, Garth fixed a pair of microphones that were connected to a two track, and that became our own studio. For ten months from March to December 67' we all met down in our basement to play three hours a day, six days a week. Nothing else man we had written down a moutain of songs down in our basement".
On January the 10th 1968, The Band was in New York, on the seventh floor of the building A & R where the final mix took place ...
When it's been released, that album had been far from the success they were waiting for. Too different, that unique album was not sounding like the music everyboby heard on radio. So by words of mouth the rumour will be slow but sure to spread and by-pass that nice cover drawn by Dylan himself . "The Band ? what band ? and why was it so difficult to understand the lyrics ? and who was singing what" ? that's were the questions many asked themselves due to the absence of any photos or informations on the cover.
So that project has seen day light during that summer 1968, and in the charts, Janis Jopin, The Doors, Procul Harum, were sharing the lion's share between themselves. One young American critic will write enlightened articles on the album, and Clapton and Harrison wrote more than one communique about it.
That album will painfully reach at number 30, and sold a modest 250.000 copies. When Eric Clapton introduced the Band to the RocknRoll Hall Of Fame, he'll declare "in 1968, a record called "music From The Big Pink" hit the music store and that record has changed my life and the course of American modern music" ...
Listen to it !
Tears of Rage
To Kingdom Come
In a Station
We Can Talk
Long Black Veil
This Wheel's On Fire
I Shall Be Released
Posted 23 August 2004 - 05:49 AM
I'd like to recommend to anyone reading to get the DVD 'The Last Waltz', which is a movie documenting 'The Band's' final show in 1976. It changed my life, before that I was listening to the likes of Iron Maiden and Yngwie Malmsteen (both of whom I still enjoy).
Then one day toward the end of term, my geography teacher (a cultured soul if not a bit of an exaggerator) brought in a video for us to watch while he marked some papers. From the opening chords of their cover of Marvin Gaye's 'Don't Do It', I was smitten, and have been ever since. That also marked the first time I heard Joni. Like I said, a day that changed my life.
Posted 24 August 2004 - 03:05 AM
I've been toying with the idea of reviewing the last waltz as well, and will do so if no one send it to me before that.
Listening to the weight as i type, and can't agree more with guitarfreak that song is
just awexome with those vocals and piano and so is the live version (with Dylan) ...
Posted 17 October 2004 - 10:01 PM
Like Clapton said "that record has changed my life and the course of American modern music" ... " when they've been introduced to the American RocknRoll Hall Of Fame.
Sounds enough to include them in the American cultural patrimony; it's not a question wether Rick Danko and the others were born next door. As Dylan official band, like him, they're a part of the American Rock Patrimony.
That's why i've started the review with those words. Sounds clear and fair to me, cauz this doesnt mean that the Band is not a Canadian treasure too.
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