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The Band

The Band

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Once the backing band of Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan during the latter's controversial transition from acoustic to electric, The Band—four Canadians and a singing drummer from Arkansas—cemented their unity with a generic name, and startled the rock music world with the otherworldliness of their 1968 debut Music from Big Pink. The follow-up, simply titled The Band (and fondly known as The Brown Album), is a near-perfect mix of American popular music, from country and blues to folk and rock. Recorded in a Hollywood Hills house once owned by Judy Garland, and at the time of the sessions, Sammy Davis Jr., it's one of rock's greatest albums and a foundational touchstone of today's Americana, filled with songs Rolling Stone described as "diamonds that begin to glow at different times."

Often favorably compared to Abbey Road, which was released the same week in September 1969, this 50th anniversary reissue features a fresh remix supervised by Bob Clearmountain and Robbie Robertson, and is supplemented with alternate takes and demos, as well as the first official release of the Band’s performance at Woodstock.

More coherent and with fewer rough edges than its predecessor, The Band's strengths are immediately audible. The likable and loping opener "Across the Great Divide," (with its unexpected brass and reed accents), followed by the barrelhouse piano romp of "Rag Mama Rag," signals the grounding and respect for the past.

Animated by Levon Helm's impassioned singing, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," later memorably covered by Joan Baez, is Robbie Robertson's (the other members' uncredited contributions are a source of controversy) melancholy paean to the South's demise in the Civil War, and perhaps the Band's best-known singalong number. Their biggest hit single, "Up on Cripple Creek," the loopy tale of "little Bessie," who's "a drunkard's dream if I ever did see one,"—most famous as the opener for the 1978 concert film The Last Waltz—is full tilt Americana at its finest. Other standout tracks include Richard Manuel's delicate, dreamy vocals on "Whispering Pines," one of the quintet's most tender performances. As a final twist, there's the super funky closer "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" with its building groove and Manuel and Helm's one-of-a-kind vocal performances. While none of the alternate performances are life-changing, a version of "Rag Mama Rag" with a slower tempo and fanciful piano intro is illuminating. The Woodstock performances which start out nervous and tight but grow warmer as the set wears on are highlighted by a shout from the crowd of "Where's Dylan?" before "Tears of Rage." Americana begins here. © Robert Baird / Qobuz

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The Band

The Band

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1
Across The Great Divide (Remix / 2019) 00:02:54

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Rag Mama Rag (Remix / 2019) 00:03:08

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Remix / 2019) 00:03:37

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
When You Awake (Remix / 2019) 00:03:25

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer - Richard Manuel, ComposerLyricist

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Up On Cripple Creek (Remix / 2019) 00:04:41

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Whispering Pines (Remix / 2019) 00:03:59

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer - Richard Manuel, ComposerLyricist

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Jemima Surrender (Remix / 2019) 00:03:33

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer - Levon Helm, ComposerLyricist

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Rockin’ Chair (Remix / 2019) 00:03:42

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Look Out Cleveland (Remix / 2019) 00:03:09

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Jawbone (Remix / 2019) 00:04:21

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer - Richard Manuel, ComposerLyricist

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
The Unfaithful Servant (Remix / 2019) 00:04:17

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
King Harvest (Has Surely Come) (Remix / 2019) 00:03:38

Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Re-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist - JOHN SIMON, Producer, Co-Producer

A Capitol Records Release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
Up On Cripple Creek (Earlier Version) 00:03:18

BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist

A Capitol Records release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
Rag Mama Rag (Alternate Version) 00:03:53

BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist

A Capitol Records release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

15
The Unfaithful Servant (Alternate Version) 00:04:50

BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist

A Capitol Records release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

16
Look Out Cleveland (Instrumental Mix) 00:03:09

BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist

A Capitol Records release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

17
Rockin’ Chair (A Cappella / Stripped Down) 00:03:43

BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist

A Capitol Records release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

18
Up On Cripple Creek (Instrumental Mix) 00:04:49

BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ROBBIE ROBERTSON, ComposerLyricist - The Band, Producer, MainArtist

A Capitol Records release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

Once the backing band of Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan during the latter's controversial transition from acoustic to electric, The Band—four Canadians and a singing drummer from Arkansas—cemented their unity with a generic name, and startled the rock music world with the otherworldliness of their 1968 debut Music from Big Pink. The follow-up, simply titled The Band (and fondly known as The Brown Album), is a near-perfect mix of American popular music, from country and blues to folk and rock. Recorded in a Hollywood Hills house once owned by Judy Garland, and at the time of the sessions, Sammy Davis Jr., it's one of rock's greatest albums and a foundational touchstone of today's Americana, filled with songs Rolling Stone described as "diamonds that begin to glow at different times."

Often favorably compared to Abbey Road, which was released the same week in September 1969, this 50th anniversary reissue features a fresh remix supervised by Bob Clearmountain and Robbie Robertson, and is supplemented with alternate takes and demos, as well as the first official release of the Band’s performance at Woodstock.

More coherent and with fewer rough edges than its predecessor, The Band's strengths are immediately audible. The likable and loping opener "Across the Great Divide," (with its unexpected brass and reed accents), followed by the barrelhouse piano romp of "Rag Mama Rag," signals the grounding and respect for the past.

Animated by Levon Helm's impassioned singing, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," later memorably covered by Joan Baez, is Robbie Robertson's (the other members' uncredited contributions are a source of controversy) melancholy paean to the South's demise in the Civil War, and perhaps the Band's best-known singalong number. Their biggest hit single, "Up on Cripple Creek," the loopy tale of "little Bessie," who's "a drunkard's dream if I ever did see one,"—most famous as the opener for the 1978 concert film The Last Waltz—is full tilt Americana at its finest. Other standout tracks include Richard Manuel's delicate, dreamy vocals on "Whispering Pines," one of the quintet's most tender performances. As a final twist, there's the super funky closer "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" with its building groove and Manuel and Helm's one-of-a-kind vocal performances. While none of the alternate performances are life-changing, a version of "Rag Mama Rag" with a slower tempo and fanciful piano intro is illuminating. The Woodstock performances which start out nervous and tight but grow warmer as the set wears on are highlighted by a shout from the crowd of "Where's Dylan?" before "Tears of Rage." Americana begins here. © Robert Baird / Qobuz

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