Music From Big Pink - Capitol 1968
"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