Sound — 9
Music From Big Pink is the defining moment in the Woodstock "sound" or scene. Released in 1968, Big Pink is the debut album by folk-blues-rock outfit The Band. After years of backing up the likes of Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan, The Band released their first formal release. Recorded in their much-fabled house (titled Big Pink due to it's colour), Music From Big Pink is the backdrop to a style of music that contrasts the psychedelic rock that was popular at the time, a contrast that is beautifully enshrined on this record.
Lyrics — 10
The Band really are a collection of songwriters, be it lyrically or instrumentally. Their years of experimenting with Dylan must have rubbed off as many of the lyrics are co-written by Bob Dylan. The tracks written by The Band also have that folksie-country-blues lyrical feel. Let's face it, singers Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, and Rick Danko are no "boys with the golden voices" but they do have one thing. They have the ability to evoke timeless emotion and feeling in their vocals. Guitarist Robbie Robertson was once quoted as saying, "Rick [Danko] has the most soulful voice I have ever known, you really have to just absorb it and let it flow into and out of you." Lyrical highlights include their magnum opus "The Weight", "Tears Of Rage", and although not written by The Band (it was written by Bob Dylan), "I Shall Be Released."
Overall Impression — 10
Music From Big Pink is most likely The Band's most consistent album. It is a focused, intricate piece of work that also can take on a looser and more open feel. That type of thing is constantly sought after by artists, no matter what their day and age. Highlights include "Chest Fever", "The Weight", "I Shall Be Released", and "We Can Talk." The only possible lowlight is "To Kingdom Come," the track itself just feel formulatic and overdone. Overall, Music From Big Pink is well worth the money, pick it up today (also you might want to know that the recent CD re-issue includes several full outtakes and alternate versions. These versions are well produced and really strong as well).