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66 of 72 found the following review helpful:
One of the twenty greatest albums ever Oct 08, 2000
By David Wheeler
Before I bought this CD I had only heard The Weight and it was the main reason I bought this CD. To put it simply I was blown away by it. This album is the reason Eric Clapton disbanded cream and it is easy to see why. Every aspect of this album is beautiful and every song is great, not one stands out above the rest. I have since compiled a large collection of The Band, but this one will always be my favorite. The blending of the three voices is heard most on this album, with Richard Manuels standing out the most. In my opinion his voice is one of the most beautiful ever, and one listen of I shall be released should convince anyone of this. The album is a drastic departure from anything being recorded around the same time. It starts of with a slow song, Tears of Rage, very uncommon for the day. The songs all have a very old feel to them, and there is a lot of gospel flavor incoporated into them. It is basically the perfect album. Every band member was equally important to every song and each is one of the best at their respective instrument. In my opinion this is one of the best albums ever and this new remastered version is even better. The bonus tracks are pretty interesting especially if you don't already own the basement tapes. If you are looking to get into The Band start with this album and work your way through their catalog. It is the kind of album that gets better each time you listen to it and no music fan should be without it.
24 of 24 found the following review helpful:
The Best of The Band Dec 27, 2000
By Nathaniel D Grotte
Allow me to preface this review by saying that I'm not any sort of Band scholar, more of just a casual patron of the arts...but hot damn, is this one hell of a CD. In my vast collection of albums, I can't think of one that boasts instrumentation as innovative as "Big Pink." Each song's a symphony in itself, seemingly composed by a roots-rock Phil Spector or something. There's not a single bad song on here, although they're all very different; if you're only familiar with the acoustic sound featured on "The Weight," you may be surprised to hear the lush organs, synths and strings on all of the other tracks. Believe me though, it works perfectly. The scope of this album is so vast that you wouldn't believe it was possible to achieve, but The Band really pulls it off. Truly, The Band is the superlative example of a band, where each member contributed equally to the group effort. This reissue is so clutch, too: the sound is great, and the bonus tracks add what is essentially a companion album to the original tracks. Whomever was in charge of compiling the tracks really knew his stuff. Kudos for including "Ferdinand the Imposter," a terribly recorded favorite from "The Genuine Basement Tapes," because it is such a damn fine song.
37 of 40 found the following review helpful:
More Than A Classic! Aug 29, 2000
By Steve Bottino
It's great to see such a terrific album finally get the treatment it deserves-remastered sound quality, an expanded CD booklet, and the real "gravy"-all the bonus tracks! This is the album that created a musical revolution in 1968 (no small feat for the 60's!) Influencing everybody from the Beatles to Eric Clapton (whom even went so far as to make a pilgrimage to Big Pink to hang out and jam!) This was honest, well-written (by Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan , Richard Manuel, Rick Danko) well-played (three superb singers), just plain great music! The classics are here "The Weight", "I Shall Be Released", "This Wheel's On Fire"-but others in the original line-up are just as good: "We Can Talk", "Long Black Veil", and " Tears of Rage" also standout. The bonus tracks are reason to buy this CD alone!-These are rare songs that only collectors have been able to hear: "Ferdinand The Imposter", "If I Lose" and "Orange Juice Blues" are finally available in pristine CD quality! Can we give this album 6 stars?!!
11 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Buy it. Sep 08, 2000
By Greg Tobias
A highly respectful remix and repackaging, with great liner notes. The Band declined rather quickly once the 60s ended, but "Big Pink" and the eponymous followup album "The Band" are essential recordings that everyone should own.
A word about the bonus tracks: in my opinion, these are rarely a good idea with CD re-releases. The artists chose a song lineup and song order with a particular flow, and the bonus songs tend to feel rather jarring. Surely a lovely silence should follow the majestic "I Shall Be Released"!
In addition, about half the outtakes here are songs that appear in very similar versions on the seminal Band/Dylan collaboration, "The Basement Tapes". In all, I would have preferred a simple repackaging of the original lineup of songs.
Having said that, this is a record everyone should have.
11 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Band buyers begin here Mar 19, 2005
Largely influential on the currently voguish Americana and alt. country scene, this first album grew out of the music the Band were creating with Bob Dylan at the house Big Pink, near Woodstock NY in 1967, and includes several new Bob Dylan songs - I Shall Be Released, This Wheel's On Fire and Tears Of Rage, the latter two co-written with the members of the Band who sing them. Probably the best known song was the single The Weight, which also appeared in the film Easy Rider (but was not licensed for the soundtrack album). There is one cover, Long Black Veil, which was influential on Robbie Robertson's writing style, and which he learned from Lefty Frizell's version.
If you need to own one Band album, this is the one to go for. It was hugely influential, an album unlike any other, and caused huge ripples across the music fraternity, changing the way people like Eric Clapton experienced and created music.
Beautifully re-mastered this new edition has copious notes and is almost doubled in length with bonus tracks, mostly appearing for the first time. It is fascinating to hear alternative arrangements of some of the songs, such as Lonesome Suzie which turns up with a big band horn arrangement. Musically, it sounds great, but was discarded, rightly, for being inappropriate for the song. A couple of covers recorded for fun, never intended for release on the album, are included - the Stanley Brothers' bluegrass If I Lose, and a less successful stab at the Jazz Allum and Big Bill Broonzy blues standard, Key To The Highway.
Some of the songs were included on The Basement Tapes, the Bob Dylan and the Band album of demos and home-recordings made at Big Pink. Orange Juice Blues and Yazoo Street Scandal are alternative versions, but of especial interest are Katie's Been Gone and Dylan's song Long Distance Operator. These are presented here as full stereo studio recordings, but are clearly the same takes that appeared on The Basement Tapes, demonstrating that the eight tracks by the Band on that album had not been recorded at Big Pink at all but had been muddied up to sound as if they had. Long Distance Operator now spawns an extra verse, but unfortunately there is a mistake in the editing so that the first line of the last verse is missing. Clearly these and other Band tracks from that album and any others from the same period need to be rounded up and given a proper release in restored sound quality
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