Savoy Brown – Blue Matter (1969)

FrontCover1Blue Matter is the third album by the band Savoy Brown. Teaming up once again with producer Mike Vernon, it finds them experimenting even more within the blues framework. Several tracks feature piano (played by Bob Hall, guitarist Kim Simmonds, and vocalist Chris Youlden, who even plays guitar here) as well as trombone.
This album featured a mix of live and studio recordings. The live tracks were recorded on December 6, 1968 at the now defunct City of Leicester College of Education because the band was scheduled to tour the USA and needed additional tracks to complete the album in time for the tour. The booking at the college represented their only chance to record the extra tracks in a live venue before embarking on the tour. An offer to perform the concert free of charge was accepted by Chris Green, the college Social Secretary, who had made the original booking, and the concert was duly recorded, a number of the live tracks being added to the album.
Because Chris Youlden was suffering from tonsillitis, Dave Peverett stood in as lead vocalist on the live tracks.
The album track “Vicksburg Blues” had first appeared as the B-side of Decca single F 12797 (released June 1968), fronted by “Walking by Myself”. (by wikipedia)
The third release by Kim Simmonds and company, but the first to feature the most memorable lineup of the group: Simmonds, “Lonesome” Dave Peverett, Tony “Tone” Stevens, Roger Earl, and charismatic singer Chris Youlden. This one serves up a nice mixture of blues covers and originals, with the first side devoted to studio cuts and the second a live club date recording. Certainly the standout track, indeed a signature song by the band, is the tour de force “Train to Nowhere,” with its patient, insistent buildup and pounding train-whistle climax. Additionally, David Anstey’s detailed, imaginative sleeve art further boosts this a notch above most other British blues efforts.(by Peter Kurtz)

Side One is marked “Studio”; Side Two is marked “Live” and was recorded at The City of Leicester College of Education, Friday 6th December 1968.

SavoyBrownLive1969
Savoy Brown, live in 1969
Personnel:
Roger Earl (drums, percussion)
Bob Hall (piano)
“Lonesome” Dave Peverett (guitar, vocals)
Kim Simmonds (guitar, harmonica, piano)
Tone Stevens (bass)
Chris Youlden (vocals, guitar, piano)
+
Rivers Jobe (bass on 01., 02. + 04.)
Mike Vernon (percussion on 01.)
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trombones on 01:
Terry Flannery – Keith Martin – Alan Moore – Brian Perrin – Derek Wadsworth

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Tracklist:
01. Train To Nowhere (Simmonds/Youlden) 4.12
02. Tolling Bells (Simmonds/Youlden) 6.33
03. She’s Got A Ring In His Nose And A Ring On Her Hand (Youlden) 3.07
04. Vicksburg Blues (Hall/Youlden) 4.00
05. Don’t Turn Me From Your Door (Hooker) 5.4
06. Grits Ain’t Groceries (All Around Te World) (bonus track) (Turner) 2.46
07. May Be Wrong (Peverett) 7.56

08. Louisiana Blues (Morganfield) 9.05
09. It Hurts Me Too (London) 6.51
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Alternate frontcover from Australia

The Herd – Lookin’ Through You (1968)

frontcover1The Herd were an British pop rock group, founded in 1965, that came to prominence in the late 1960s. They launched the career of Peter Frampton and scored three UK top twenty hits.

The Herd were founded in 1965 in south London, England. The group recorded three unsuccessful singles with the record label Parlophone. In 1966 three members in succession (Terry Clark, Louis Cennamo and Mick Underwood) quit the Group and the group got the line-up that made it famous. The singer, Peter Frampton, was 16 when he joined the group in 1966 and had just left school. The other members were a few years older. Parlophone did not want to go on with them, but Fontana was willing to give them a try.[2] They also sent their manager Billy Gaff away and brought in the songwriters/producers Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley instead. This pair had been largely responsible for a string of hits by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.
Howard and Blaikley orchestrated for them a unique blend of pop and flower power. After a UK Singles Chart near-miss with “I Can Fly” (1967), the haunting “From the Underworld”, based on the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, reached Number 6 later that year with help from copious plays on pirate radio. It was a hit in other countries too. In the Netherlands the song reached Number 3. “From the Underworld” was followed by “Paradise Lost”, which made it up to Number 15 in 1968.
Their greatest success came with “I Don’t Want Our Loving to Die”, a Number 5 UK hit single (also in 1968).
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The Herd appeared at The Saville Theatre, London on Sunday 8 October 1967 supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Also on the bill were The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Eire Apparent.
With his boyish photogenic looks, Frampton was dubbed “The Face of ’68” by teen magazine Rave.
The last months of 1968 were tempestuous times for the group. Steele left the group, to be replaced by Henry Spinetti. The group dumped their managers Howard and Blaikley, and briefly found a new mentor in Harvey Lisberg who after three months found himself so bogged down with their personnel problems that he politely withdrew his services. Most songs on their first and only album Paradise Lost were written by Peter Frampton and Andy Bown, just like their next single, “Sunshine Cottage”.
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Dissatisfied with mere teen idol status, and disappointed with the failure of “Sunshine Cottage”, Frampton left by the end of 1968 to form Humble Pie with Steve Marriott.[2] The remaining members Bown, Spinetti and Taylor made another flop single, “The Game”,[5] then minus Taylor, formed the short-lived Judas Jump with Allan Jones, saxophonist from Amen Corner, and Welsh vocalist Adrian Williams. Taylor, who became a disc jockey, and Steele, reunited briefly for a one-off single “You’ve Got Me Hangin’ From Your Lovin’ Tree” in June 1971, to almost universal lack of interest.

By the late 1970s, after a stint back with a pre-“Frampton Comes Alive!” Peter Frampton band from 1973-1975, Bown had become a member of UK rockers Status Quo and both Taylor and Spinetti had joined up with Gerry Rafferty’s band. (by wikipedia)
And this is their debut Album … a superb mix of  Pop and psychedelic music … (listen to “From The Underworld” and “Paradise Lost” !)
singles
Personnel:
Andy Bown (keyboards, vocals, bass)
Peter Frampton (guitar, vocals)
Andrew Steele (drums)
Gary Taylor (bass, vocals, guitar)
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Tracklist:
01. I Don’t Want Our Loving To Die (Blaikley) 2.59
02. Come On – Believe Me (Taylor) 2.51
03. Our Fairy Tale (Bown/Frampton) 2.40
04. On My Way Home (Bown/Frampton) 2.03
05. Goodbye Groovy (Blaikley) 2.46
06. From The Underworld (Blaikley) 3.16
07. Paradise Lost (Blaikley) 3.33
08. Sweet William (Bown/Frampton)  2.19
09. I Can Fly (Blaikley) 3.13
10. Understand Me (Warland/Bown) 2.30

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Personnel note:
During the Seventies I played the bass in a prog band called “Cold Fever” (organ – bass -drums) and we did a few gigs and someday we went in a Studio and did a prog version of “From The Underworld” – we mixed it with “Paradise Lost” …(still unreleased *smile*)

“Cold Fever” was led by my brother, who died in 2013 …

I would like to dedicate his entry to him !

 

Out of the land of shadows and
darkness, we were returning
Towards the morning light
Almost in reach of places I knew
Escaping the ghosts of Yesterday
You were behind me following
closely
“Don’t turn around now”
I heard you whisper in my ear
“If you should turn now,
All that you won
Will vanish just like a passing dream.
Just on the very verge of the
morning, daylight was dawning,
freedom was but a step away
Now with the deep dark river
behind us,
what could go wrong if I stayed
strong in mind.
What was the sudden lapse into
madness, what was the urge that
turned my head around to look at you?
What was the stubborn will
to destroy the love and the joy
I nearly held?
three times the thunder roared
in my ears
In all of my years I’ll see that lost
look in your eyes.
As, with a sigh like smoke in the wind
You slipped from my grasp into
the waiting shadows
so much I longed to say,
but my touch found only the
empty air and a black nights
coldness.
lnto another world you entered
And never again I can reclaim you.

The Murgatroyd Band (Spencer Davis Group) – Magpie + Twice A Week (1971)

frontcover1Let´s take a look back in the history of British TV Shows:

Magpie was a British children’s television programme shown on ITV from 30 July 1968 to 6 June 1980. It was a magazine format show intended to compete with the BBC’s Blue Peter, but attempted to be more “hip”, focusing more on popular culture. The show’s creators Lewis Rudd and Sue Turner named the programme Magpie as a reference to the magpie’s habit of collecting small items, and because of “mag” being evocative of “magazine”, and “pie” being evocative of a collection of ingredients.
The programme, made by Thames Television, was first transmitted on 30 July 1968 which was Thames Television’s first day of broadcasting, and was shown weekly until 1969. From that point, until it ended on 6 June 1980, it went out twice a week with approximately 1,000 episodes being made, each 25 minutes in duration. It was not fully networked to all other ITV companies until the autumn of 1969.
The first presenters were the former BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Pete Brady, Susan Stranks and Tony Bastable. Brady left the show in 1969 to be replaced by Douglas Rae, and Bastable left in 1972 when he was replaced by Mick Robertson. Jenny Hanley replaced Susan Stranks in 1974. This lineup remained until 1977, when Tommy Boyd replaced Rae.
Like Blue Peter, Magpie featured appeals for various causes and charities. Notably, however, it asked for cash donations rather than stamps or secondhand goods, familiar on Blue Peter. The cash totaliser was a long strip of paper which ran out of the studio and along the adjacent corridor walls. Unlike the BBC programme, Magpie was unscripted and the presenters were free to improvise the presentation of the show.
The show’s mascot was a magpie called Murgatroyd.
promolabela
Extremely rare promo Label

The theme tune was played by the Spencer Davis Group under the alias of The Murgatroyd Band, and composed by Eddie Hardin (lead voc., keyb.), Ray Fenwick (harm. voc., guit.) and Spencer Davis (harm. voc.guit.). The main lyric was cribbed from an old children’s nursery rhyme:

    One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a story never to be told
Eight for Heaven
Nine for Hell
Ten for the Devil himself.
or, alternatively,
    Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss, and
Ten for a big surprise!
The first seven lines of this song (from “One for sorrow” to “Seven for a secret never to be told”) have been used in the last verse of the song “Magpie”, by Patrick Wolf.
The rhyme refers to an old English superstition concerning the portent of the number of magpies seen together in a flock. The TV programme version altered the final lines to:
    Eight’s a wish and
Nine a kiss
Ten is a bird you must not miss.
(by wikipedia)
And here´s one of the rarest recordings by The Spencer Davos Group … the single to this TV Show ..
Side one is a more or less psychedelic track … and side two is fun, just fun !.
I guess they had to use the pseudonym “The Murgatroyd Band” because of the fact, they a in 1968/69 a contract with United Artists and not with Decca Records.
thecrew
The Magpie Crew
Personnel:
Spencer Davis (guitar, background vocals)
Ray Fenwick (guitar)
Eddie Hardin (keyboards, vocals)
Pete York (drums)
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Tracklist:
01. Magpie (Fenwick/Hardin/Davis) 2.26
02. Twice A Week (Hardin/York/Fenwick) 3.01

Savoy Brown – Getting To The Point (1968)

lpfrontcover1Getting to the Point is the second studio album by the British blues rock band Savoy Brown. It marks the debut of a vastly different lineup, still led by Kim Simmonds but fronted by new vocalist Chris Youlden.

It was released by Decca in 1968 with catalog number SKL 4935 and finds the group taking on more of the songwriting load, as opposed to their debut, which consisted mostly of covers. One of the covers is “You Need Love” by Willie Dixon, which served as a blueprint for “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. Deram released the CD with three bonus tracks in 1990 with catalog number 820 922-2. (by wikipedia)

1967 saw Savoy Brown tour as backing band for Hooker’s UK tour and also open for Cream’s first London performance.
Extensive touring was followed by personnel changes after a drugs ‘bust’ which saw in new bassist Bob Brunning from Fleetwood Mac and singer Chris Youlden. Youlden was a true find, his rich, often mournful vocal harnessed to Simmond’s fluid guitar lines levered in home grown material from both men that trademarked the Savoy Brown sound, the line-up soon enriched by the arrival of bassist “Lonesome” Dave Peverett and drummer Roger Earle.
Getting to the Point followed in March 1968, the mix now reversed with just two covers and seven originals by Youlden and Simmonds. Initially something of a downer after “Shake Down”, the album picks up half way and begins to rattle along, showcasing an individual style and a growing dynamic within the band.
Winning contemporary media plaudits for the album, this chemistry was to grow to even better purpose with subsequent releases in the last gasps of the decade.(by Greville Rob)

single

The first single with Chris Youlden (with the wrong line-up on the cover !)

Getting to the Point marks the debut of a vastly different lineup, still led by Simmonds but now fronted by new vocalist Chris Youlden. The pair got off to a good start by writing or co-writing most of the album. The playing is solid blues revival, and though Youlden’s vocals are often overly imitative of B.B. King and Muddy Waters, he has a confident voice and frontman persona. Originals like “Flood in Houston” and “Mr. Downchild” provide the highlights. (by by Keith Farley)

usfrontbackcover

US front+back cover

Personnel:
Roger Earl (drums)
Bob Hall (piano)
Rivers Jobe (bass)
Dave Peverett (guitar)
Kim Simmonds (lead guitar)
Chris Youlden (vocals)
+
Bob Brunning (bass on 11. + 12.)
Hughie Flint (drums 11. + 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Flood In Houston (Simmonds/Youlden) – 4:00
02. Stay With Me Baby (Peverett/Simmonds/Youlden) 2.35
03. Honey Bee (Morganfield) 6.25
04. The Incredible Gnome Meets Jaxman (Simmonds) 3.30
05. Give Me A Penny (Traditional) 4.20
06. Mr. Downchild (Simmonds/Youlden) 5.25
07. Getting To The Point (Simmonds) 4.20
08. Big City Lights (Hall/Youlden) 3.25
09. You Need Love (Dixon) 7.40
+
10. Walking by Myself (Single A side, 1967) (Rogers) 2.25
11. Taste And Try, Before You Buy (Single A side, 1967) (Youlden) 2-21
12. Someday People (Single B side, 1967) (Simmonds) 4.35

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kimsimmonds2016
Still alive and well: Kim Simmonds in 2016

The Candymen – Bring You Candy Power (1968)

frontcover1Bring You Candy Power is the second and last album by the American Sunshine-Pop Band The Candymen.

The Candymen started as a Rockabilly influenced Pop Band in the Mid-60′s on the American State of Alabama, as The Webs. They were heavily inspired by figures like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley, but also by the Pop Sound that had came with the new Generation, which ended up creating a very appealing sound to the Locals, leading to them being picked up by Local Producers to make a couple recordings and enabling them to live off their act. When Roy Orbison was looking for a Band to back him on his American Concerts, he chose The Webs to do it, leading to the name change to The Candymen. It was the worst moment in Orbison’s career, and although his Albums and Concerts were getting a lot of attention in Europe, his American gigs went unnoticed, and so did The Candymen, never getting a huge amount of attention from anyone (they had a reputation as a very good live Band it seems). ABC Records picked them up and recorded two LP’s with them (The Candymen and Bring You Candy Power), which never achieved any kind of success. Eventually, by the end of the 60′s, they merged into what was to become the Atlanta Rhythm Section. (by 60-70rock.blogspot)

withroyorbinson

The Candymen with Roy Orbinson

The Candymen were really journeymen: several were formerly with Roy Orbison’s backing band, the Candy Men, and broke away to do their own thing. They got one minor national hit out of it: “Georgia Pines” got to #81(a bigger hit in their native south than anywhere else), but little else. Their debut Lp got to #195. Their only other album, THE CANDYMEN BRING YOU CANDYPOWER(ABC ABC/ABCS-633)didn’t chart at all. Why? Possibly because a good single(“Sentimental Lady”/”Ways”)didn’t take off, and the cover art suggested a psych band, while their name suggested the nascent bubblegum genre. Too bad, because it’s a pretty good Lp(“Sentimental Lady” is not to be confused with Bob Welch’s Fleetwood Mac/solo song, also very good).

This one’s a bit dated by “The Great Society” and a pity-me-I’m-headed-to-the-chair death song, “Goodbye Mama,” but otherwise has its moments, including Rodney Justo wailing on “Crowded Room”(which almost sounds like a tune-up for Three Dog Night), and a cover of Dylan’s “Memphis Blues Again.”

Three of the group would go on to help form the Atlanta Rhythm Section, which signed to Decca(it would take years for them to make it, and they’d go to Polydor to get there). The early ARS isn’t much unlike the Candymen sound, and a bit of southern cool followed these guys wherever they went. Solid musicians and decent songwriters, but at the time, America wasn’t interested. (by Ed Bishop)

candyman01

Personnel:
John Rainey Adkins (guitar)
Dean Daughtry (keyboards)
Billy Gilmore (bass)
Rodney Justo (vocals)
Bob Nix (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Ways (Buie/Adkins) 2.25
02. Great Society (Buie/Cobb) 2.23
03. Sentimental Lady (Buie/Cobb) 3.10
04. Crowded Moon (Buie/Cobb) 2.04
05. Candyman (Clark) 2.00
06. Blues At Midnight (Hunter) 3.16
07. The Memphis Blues Again (Dylan) 2.26
08. I’ve Lost My Mind (Gilmore/Buie/Adkins) 2.27
09. Goodbye Mama (Buie/Cobb) 2.56
10. Bottled Up (Buie/Adkins) 2.30
11. I’ll Never Forget (Gilmore/Buie/Nix) 2.02

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innersleeves

 

Lee Michaels – Recital (1968)

frontcover1After a somewhat uneven debut album, Lee Michaels found his footing on this record. Michaels, a keen student of R&B as well as classical music, was obviously able to wrangle a bit more artistic control at A&M, and it shows. Overdubs of piano, harpsichord, and organ by Michaels created a wonderful sonic depth, and along with John Barbata’s solid drumming, the result is staggering. Michaels was not exactly a singer/songwriter, but on this record, songs such as “Blind” and “Fell in Love Today” find a real voice for his R&B leanings. The record also contains the fabulous single “If I Lose You,” which should have been a Top 40 hit. In the end, Recital is a very funky pop album that was ahead of its time. (by Matthew Greenwald)

RECITAL is Lee Michaels second album, released on vinyl as A&M SP 4152. There are still some guitar solos, but this time out Lee is in the foreground playing harpsichord, organ and piano while belting out blues vocals with uptempo percussion. “Spare Change” is an instrumental experiment which is fascinating. Other great cuts are “The War,” “Grocery Soldier” and “If I Lose You.” This one was more of a critical than commercial success, but definitely worthwhile.(by an amazon customer)

Truth be told, this isn’t my favorite Lee Michaels production. In fact, it’s not even in second or third place. I’d rank Lee’s best to be ‘Fifth’, followed by his self-titled third album, followed by ‘Live’, a two disc vinyl release. That being said, how many 1960’s lee-michaelsartists made effective, prolific use of the harpsichord? Only an odd guy named Lurch who sat behind the pearly whites once a week comes to mind. Still, it’s the presence of the harpsichord and occasional piano displacing Lee’s compelling Hammond B3 organ runs that lowers my opinion of this, Lee’s sophomore effort from 1968. When I’m in the mood for some Lee Michaels, I’m in the mood for some thick, solid, boisterous organ propping up Lee’s wailing, bluesy vocals.

On the upside, Lee probably hits deeper notes with his lyrics on this release than he typically does. In fact, the flaming anti-Vietnam War rhetoric from ‘The War’ is some of the most scathing and provoking imagery of the era. Consider “How would you like to spend five years in jail for refusing to fight the war… How would you like to watch a baby burn, could you march on and kill one more?” The second track, ‘Time Is Over’ presents an appealing chorus of “Look at your wishes, remember they’re all that remain, and you will learn to love all of your fantasies”. Lee’s soulful, overdubbed wails accompany the lyrics over light and fragile harpsichord runs. Another lyrical coup is scored, oddly enough, on the 42 second blip known as ‘What Can He Do?’, which questions how a plain clothes cop can cope when “the whole world’s out on bail”? (Don Schmittdiel)

lee-michaels2

Lee Michaels in 1971

Personnel:
John Barbata (drums)
Frank Davis (drums)
Larry Knechtel (bass)
Drake Levin (guitar)
Lee Michaels (keyboards, vocals, bass)

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Tracklist:
01. If I Lose You (Marks/Michaels) 2.21
02. Time Is Over (Michaels) 3.34
03. No Part Of It (Michaels) 2.11
04. Fell In Love Today (Michaels) 1.54
05. Blind (Michaels) 2.53
06. Grocery Soldier (Michaels) 2.32
07. What Can He Do (Michaels) 0.42
08. Basic Knowledge (Michaels) 3.29
09. Gonna Leave (Michaels) 2.24
10. The War (Michaels) 3.15
11. Spare Change (Michaels) 7.25

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More Lee Michaels:

moreleemichaels

click on the pic

The Band – Music From The Big Pink (1968)

frontcover1Music from Big Pink is the debut studio album by the Band. Released in 1968, it employs a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, and soul. The music was composed partly in “Big Pink”, a house shared by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson in West Saugerties, New York. The album itself was recorded in studios in New York and Los Angeles in 1968,[6] and followed the band’s backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as the Hawks) and time spent together in upstate New York recording material that was officially released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes, also with Dylan. The cover artwork is a painting by Dylan.

The Band began to create their distinctive sound during 1967, when they improvised and recorded with Bob Dylan a huge number of cover songs and original Dylan material in the basement of a pink house in West Saugerties, New York, located at 56 Parnassus Lane (formerly 2188 Stoll Road). The house was built by Ottmar Gramms, who bought the land in 1952. The house was newly built when Rick Danko found it as a rental. Danko moved in along with Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel in February 1967. The house became known locally as “Big Pink’ for its pink siding. The house was subsequently sold by Gramms in 1977, and since 1998, it has been a private residence.

Though widely bootlegged at the time, the recordings Dylan and the Band made were first officially released in 1975 on The Basement Tapes, and then released in their totality in 2014 on The Basement Tapes Complete. By the end of 1967 The Band felt it was time to step out of Dylan’s shadow and make their own statement.

The Band’s manager Albert Grossman (who was also Dylan ‘s manager) approached Capitol Records to secure a record deal for a group still informally described as “Dylan’s backing band”. Stanley Gortikov at Capitol signed The Band—initially under the name The Crackers. Armed with news of a recording deal for the group, they lured Levon Helm back from the oil rigs where he had been working, to Woodstock where he took up his crucial position in the Band, singing and playing drums. Helm’s return coincided with a ferment of activity in Big Pink as the embryonic Band not only recorded with Dylan but also began to write their own songs, led by guitarist Robbie Robertson.

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After meeting with producer John Simon, the Band started to record their debut album in Manhattan at A&R Studios, on the 7th floor of 799 7th Avenue at 52nd Street in the early months of 1968. The Band recorded “Tears of Rage”, “Chest Fever”, “We Can Talk”, “This Wheel’s On Fire” and “The Weight” in two sessions. Robertson has said that when Simon asked them how they wanted it to sound, they replied, “Just like it did in the basement.”

Capitol were so pleased with the initial recording session, they suggested the group move to Los Angeles to finish recording their first album at Capitol Studios. They also cut some material at Gold Star Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard. The songs on Big Pink recorded in L.A. were “In A Station”, “To Kingdom Come”, “Lonesome Suzie”, “Long Black Veil” and “I Shall Be Released”.

Dylan offered to sing on the album, but ultimately realized it was important for the Band to make their own statement. Instead, Dylan signified his presence by contributing a cover painting. Barney Hoskyns has written that it is significant the painting depicts six musicians. The cover of Music From Big Pink was intended to establish the group as having a different outlook from the psychedelic culture of 1968. Photographer Elliott Landy flew to Toronto to photograph the assembled Danko, Manuel and Hudson families on the Danko chicken farm. A photo was inserted of Diamond and Nell Helm, who lived in Arkansas. The photo appeared on the cover with the caption “Next of Kin”.

The initial critical reception to the album was positive, though sales were slim. In Rolling Stone, Al Kooper’s rave review of Big Pink ended with the words, “This album was recorded in approximately two weeks. There are people who will work their lives away in vain and not touch it.”  which helped to draw public attention to it (even though Rolling Stone referred to them as “the band from Big Pink” instead of just “the Band”). The fact that Bob Dylan wrote one and co-wrote two of the songs on the album also attracted attention.

In 1968, “The Weight” peaked at #63 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart in the US. The song was a bigger hit elsewhere, peaking at #35 in Canada, and #21 in the UK. The album peaked at #30 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000 (see 2000 in music). “The Weight” gained widespread popularity, from the Band’s performance of it at Woodstock on 17 August 1969 and due partially to its inclusion in the film Easy Rider, though it was omitted from the soundtrack because of licensing issues. A cover version by the band Smith was included on the soundtrack album instead.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 34 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The laid-back feel of the album attracted the attention of other major artists. For example, Eric Clapton cites the album’s roots rock style as what convinced him to quit Cream, and pursue the styles of Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie, Derek and the Dominos and his debut album. George Harrison was also impressed by the album’s musicianship and sense of camaraderie, and Roger Waters called it the second “most influential record in the history of rock and roll”, after Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and said that it “affected Pink Floyd deeply, deeply, deeply.” (by wikipedia)

theband02
None of the Band’s previous work gave much of a clue about how they would sound when they released their first album in July 1968. As it was, Music from Big Pink came as a surprise. At first blush, the group seemed to affect the sound of a loose jam session, alternating emphasis on different instruments, while the lead and harmony vocals passed back and forth as if the singers were making up their blend on the spot. In retrospect, especially as the lyrics sank in, the arrangements seemed far more considered and crafted to support a group of songs that took family, faith, and rural life as their subjects and proceeded to imbue their values with uncertainty. Some songs took on the theme of declining institutions less clearly than others, but the points were made musically as much as lyrically. Tenor Richard Manuel’s haunting, lonely voice gave the album much of its frightening aspect, while Rick Danko’s and Levon Helm’s rough-hewn styles reinforced the songs’ rustic fervor. The dominant instrument was Garth Hudson’s often icy and majestic organ, while Robbie Robertson’s unusual guitar work further destabilized the sound. The result was an album that reflected the turmoil of the late ’60s in a way that emphasized the tragedy inherent in the conflicts. Music from Big Pink came off as a shockingly divergent musical statement only a year after the ornate productions of Sgt. Pepper, and initially attracted attention because of the three songs Bob Dylan had either written or co-written. However, as soon as “The Weight” became a minor singles chart entry, the album and the group made their own impact, influencing a movement toward roots styles and country elements in rock. Over time, Music from Big Pink came to be regarded as a watershed work in the history of rock, one that introduced new tones and approaches to the constantly evolving genre. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Rick Danko (bass, fiddle, vocals)
Levon Helm (drums, tambourine, vocals)
Garth Hudson (keyboard, clavinet, saxophone)
Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals)
Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals)
+
John Simon (horn, saxophone, piano)

booklet

Tracklist:
01. Tears Of Rage (Dylan/Manuel) 5.24
02. To Kingdom Come (Robertson) 3.23
03. In A Station (Manuel) 3.35
04. Caledonia Mission (Robertson) 2.59
05. The Weight (Robertson) 4.39
06. We Can Talk  (Manuel) 3.07
07. Long Black Veil (Wilkin/Dill) 3.06
08. Chest Fever (Robertson) 5.19
09. Lonesome Suzie (Manuel) 4.04
10. This Wheel’s On Fire (Dylan/Danko) 3.14
11. I Shall Be Released (Dylan) 3.19
+
12. Yazoo Street Scandal (outtake) (Robertson) 4.02
13. Tears Of Rage (alternate take) (Dylan/Manuel) 5.32
14. Katie’s Been Gone (outtake) (Manuel/Robertson) 2.47
15. If I Lose (outtake) (Poole) 2.30
16. Long Distance Operator (outtake) (Dylan) 3.58
17. Lonesome Suzie (alternate take) (Manuel) 3.01
18. Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast) (outtake) (Manuel) 3.40
19. Key To The Highway (outtake) (Broonzy) 2.28
20. Ferdinand The Imposter (outtake) (Robertson) 4.00

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big-pink-house-in-2006

The “Big Pink” house in 2006