When “Music from Big Pink” was released, very few people had any knowledge of ‘The Band’. Up to this point, their only real claim to fame was a stint as the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins, and a shorter, and much more volatile, stint as Bob Dylan’s backup during his infamous first electric tour.
Neither of these things exactly ingratiated the band to rock or folk audiences, but by 1968, the tide started to turn their way. First, they moved to the Woodstock area in upstate New York, where a reclusive Bob Dylan was woodshedding a few new ideas. This coincided with a subtle but significant change in popular taste, with psychedelic styles being seen to have run their course and slowly giving way to a more organic approach. The ‘Flower Power’ movement had morphed into a more holistic approach to rebellion, where the youth movement felt the need to “get back to the Earth”. The Band was about as close to the Earth as a band could get. Even their simplistic name – chosen because that is simply how the audience referred to them on the Dylan tour – signified a move away from extravagance.
In 1968, Dylan’s Basement Sessions were quickly becoming the world’s worst kept secret, and a brand new ‘bootleg’ industry was developing solely around The Band’s recordings with Dylan. The musicians had become legendary, even though nobody really knew much about them at all. That all changed with the release of their debut album, “Music From Big Pink,” taking its name from the house where the band lived and where the Basement Tapes were recorded. A new legend was about to begin, with The Band suddenly wielding about as much influence as The Beatles. The times certainly were a-changin’.
Featured tracks include;
Tears of Rage
To Kingdom Come
In a Station
We Can Talk
Long Black Veil
This Wheel’s on Fire
I Shall Be Released
July 1968 - Billboard Charted #30