1968 album. 2018 stereo mix produced by Bob Clearmountain from the original four-track analog masters, incorporating some previously unreleased chatter from the studio sessions with 6 bonus tracks. I Shall Be Released (Acapella) is previously unreleased. Also available on 2LP and deluxe box set.
On July 1, 1968, The Band’s landmark debut album, Music from Big Pink, seemed to spring from nowhere and everywhere. Drawing from the American roots music panoply of country, blues, R&B, gospel, soul, rockabilly, the honking tenor sax tradition, hymns, funeral dirges, brass band music, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll, The Band forged a timeless new style that forever changed the course of popular music. Fifty years later, the mythology surrounding Music from Big Pink lives on through the evocative storytelling of its songs including “The Weight,” “This Wheel’s On Fire,” “Tears of Rage,” and “To Kingdom Come,” its enigmatic cover art painted by Bob Dylan, the salmon-colored upstate New York house – ‘Big Pink’ – where The Band wrote the songs, and in myriad descendant legends carried forth since the album’s stunning arrival.
For Music from Big Pink’s recording sessions, The Band traveled to New York’s A&R Recording and Los Angeles’ Capitol Studios, with some additional session work done at Gold Star Studios in LA. David Fricke sets the scene in his essay for the new box set’s book: “The album was made just as The Band wrote and played the songs in that house – in a circle, as if in ceremony…”
“We had all of that gathering – the woodshedding and paying our dues, all of that dripping into the music,” Robbie Robertson explains. “This didn’t sound like anything we had done with Ronnie Hawkins, what we had done as Levon and the Hawks, or what we played on the Dylan tour. This was a music that – hopefully – lived in a time and space that you couldn’t quite put your finger on.”
In his 1993 memoir, titled This Wheel’s On Fire, Levon Helm wrote, “We wanted Music from Big Pink to sound like nothing anyone else was doing. This was our music, honed in isolation from the radio and contemporary trends.”