The Band

Music From Big Pink - Capitol 1968

Tracks: 1. Tears Of Rage 2. To Kingdom Come 3. In A Station 4. Caledonia Mission 5. The 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 12. Yazoo Street Scandal 13. Tears Of Rage 14. Katie's Been Gone 15. If I Lose 16. Long Distance Operator 17. Lonesome Suzie 18. Orange Juice Blues 19. Key To The Highway 20. Ferdinand The Imposter


It was very brave of the Band to open their debut album with the long, slow and dark "Tears of Rage" . They were praised for this at the time, but now more than three decades later, the song may scare away new listeners which is really a big shame because is one the Band's greatest and probably their most influential album. It's not that "Tears of Rage" is a bad song; it just may take some time to get into it.

"Music From Big Pink" was actually the only Band album with two equally important songwriters; by their fourth album "Cahoots" keyboard player and occasional drummer Richard Manuel had completely stopped writing. This was really a shame, because his material on "Big Pink" equals that of Robbie Robertson. The relaxed and slightly whimsical "We Can Talk" is one of the catchiest tunes on the album and in my opinion an early Band classic. Another outstanding Manuel tune is "In a Station", which somehow reminds me of the legendary Danish band the "Savage Rose".

Darker Manuel tunes like "Tears of Rage" and "Lonesome Suzie" may be harder to get into, especially for people who have not grown up with the music of the Band. Interesting to hear the jazzier and faster alternate version of "Lonesome Suzie" among the bonus-tracks; actually I find that version more appealing.

Of course Robbie Robertson turned out to be their main song-writer and he also shines here on the debut-album. "The Weight" is more or less their signature tune; a great song showcasing all three lead-singers. In fact one of the great things about this great group is that it had these three singer whose vocals blended uniquely; especially on their earliest albums.

Another Robertson classic is the organ-riff based "Chest Fever" which eventually becane a Garth Hudson live tour-de-force.

The bonus-track are all good, though several lack in sound - "Basemant Tapes" sound. The last tune "Ferdinand the Imposter" could really have been great; also the country-inpired "If I Lose" is also quite charming

Back to Band pages