The Band is returning to Big Pink for its 50th anniversary.
On August 31, Capitol/UMe will reissue the seminal Music from Big Pink on CD, 2-LP vinyl, digital, and in a CD/BD/2-LP/1-7 inch single Super Deluxe Edition.
Though few groups would have had the audacity to name themselves The Band, that’s exactly what Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel did. Big Pink was the album where the former Hawks (and former Bob Dylan backing band) crystallized the sound that spawned a thousand imitators, returning rock to its most stripped-down American roots melding country, folk, rock and roll, blues, gospel, and soul into a seamless whole.
The Band worked its magic in the house that lent the album its title. “Big Pink,” a house of that color in West Saugerties, New York, was the same home where Bob Dylan and the Band created the legendary Basement Tapes, which introduced songs like “The Mighty Quinn” into Dylan’s catalogue. The bard of Hibbing, Minnesota was a major presence on Big Pink. He co-wrote two of its tracks (“This Wheel’s on Fire” with Danko and “Tears of Rage” with Manuel) and wrote one solo (“I Shall Be Released”), and even contributed the album’s cover art! Yet by the time of the album’s release, it was clear that The Band could step out of the master’s shadow, with a unique and original voice that was the perfect antidote to the FM hard rock sounds starting to proliferate. Although Robbie Robertson’s “The Weight” only managed No. 63 on the singles chart, the song has become a part of the American pop standard songbook. The album itself got as far as No. 30.
It’s no surprise, then, that Music from Big Pink has been the recipient of quite a few reissues. For its 50th, Big Pink has been spruced up by engineer Bob Clearmountain, who has produced a new stereo mix of the album from the original four-track analog masters, promised to incorporate some previously unreleased chatter from the studio sessions. The 50th Anniversary Edition’s CD, digital, and box set configurations also include five outtakes and alternate recordings from the sessions and a previously unreleased a cappella version of “I Shall Be Released.” While five of the bonus tracks from previous CD reissues are here, some are absent: the outtakes “Katie’s Been Gone,” “If I Lose,” and the demos of “Ferdinand the Imposter” and “Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast).”
Additionally, for the Super Deluxe box, Clearmountain has produced a new 5.1 surround mix for the album and the bonus tracks, included on Blu-ray with the new stereo mix in high resolution audio (96kHz/24bit). (A previous surround mix has been released on DVD-Audio.) All of the audio in all formats has been remastered by Bob Ludwig. The box set also includes a replica 45 of The Band’s 1968 single for “The Weight” / “I Shall Be Released” in Clearmountain’s new stereo mixes. It’s all housed within a hardbound book with a new essay by David Fricke and photos by Elliott Landy.
For the two new album-only vinyl editions of 180-gram black vinyl (available everywhere) and 180-gram pink vinyl (available exclusively at Universal’s uDiscover webstore), Chris Bellman has cut the vinyl lacquers at 45rpm at Bernie Grundman Mastering, expanding the album to two LPs for optimal sound quality. The LPs were pressed at GZ Vinyl / Precision. A standard CD will also be released with just the new album mix.
You can join in the Big Pink 50th celebration on August 31 from Capitol Records and UMe! You’ll find preorder links and the track listing below!
The Band, Music from Big Pink (Capitol LP SKAO 2955, 1968 – reissued Capitol/UMe, 2018)
Super Deluxe Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2-LP Black Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2-LP Pink Vinyl: uDiscoverMusic.com
New Stereo Mix:
- ‘Tears Of Rage’
- ‘To Kingdom Come’
- ‘In A Station’
- ‘Caledonia Mission’
- ‘The Weight’
- ‘We Can Talk’
- ‘Long Black Veil’
- ‘Chest Fever’
- ‘Lonesome Suzie’
- ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’
- ‘I Shall Be Released’
- ‘Yazoo Street Scandal’ (Outtake) (*)
- ‘Tears Of Rage’ (Alternate Take) (*)
- ‘Long Distance Operator’ (Outtake) (*)
- ‘Lonesome Suzie’ (Alternate Take) (*)
- ‘Key To The Highway’ (Outtake) (*)
- ‘I Shall Be Released’ (A Cappella)
(*) previously released