Music from Big PinkThe 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.
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".
- Tears of Rage
- To Kingdom Come
- In A Station
- Caledonia Mission
- The Weight
- We Can Talk
- Long Black Veil
- Chest Fever
- Lonesome Suzie
- This Wheel's On Fire
- I Shall Be Released
- Yazoo Street Scandal (Outtake)
- Tears Of Rage (Alternate Take)
- Katie's Been Gone (Outtake)
- If I Lose (Outtake)
- Long Distance Operator (Outtake)
- Lonesome Suzie (Alternate Take)
- Orange Juice Blues (Blues For Breakfast)
- Key To The Highway (Outtake)
- Ferdinand The Imposter (Outtake)
The Band - Music from Big Pink