The Band release 50th anniversary edition of second album

When The Band’s seminal eponymous second album was released fifty years ago on September 22, 1969, not much more was known about the reclusive group than when they released their landmark debut ‘Music From Big Pink’ to widespread critical praise and bewilderment, just the year before. The band, made up of four Canadians and one American, was still shrouded in mystery, allowing for listeners and the music press to let their imaginations run wild about who these men were and what this music was that sounded unlike anything else happening at the close of the psychedelic ‘60s.

Dressed like 19th century fire-and-brimstone preachers and singing rustic, sepia-toned songs about America and the deep south, The Band – Garth Hudson (keyboards, piano, horn), Levon Helm (drums, vocals, mandolin), Richard Manuel (keyboards, vocals, drums), Rick Danko (bass, vocals, fiddle) and Robbie Robertson (guitar, piano, vocals) – was an enigma, unlike any group that came before or after. And their self-titled ‘Brown Album,’ as it would lovingly be called, cemented their status as one of the most exciting and revolutionary bands in years, on the strength of now-classic songs like ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Up On Cripple Creek’ and ‘Rag Mama Rag.’

Anyway, all this leading to the news that on November 15th, Capitol/UMe will celebrate The Band’s pioneering self-titled album with a suite of newly remixed and expanded 50th Anniversary Edition packages, including a Super Deluxe CD/Blu-ray/2LP/7-inch vinyl boxed set with a hardbound book; 1CD, digital, 180-gram 2LP black vinyl, and limited edition 180-gram 2LP “tiger’s eye” color vinyl packages. All the Anniversary Edition releases were overseen by Robertson and feature a new stereo mix by Bob Clearmountain from the original multi-track masters, similar to the acclaimed 50th-anniversary collections of last year’s ‘Music From Big Pink’ releases. The 50th Anniversary Edition’s CD, digital, and box set configurations also include 13 outtakes, featuring six previously unreleased outtakes and alternate recordings from The Band sessions, as well as The Band’s legendary Woodstock performance, which has never been officially released.

Exclusively for the box set, Clearmountain has also created a new 5.1 surround mix for the album and bonus tracks, presented on Blu-ray with the new stereo, both in high-resolution audio (96kHz/24bit). All the new audio mixes have been mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering. The box set also includes an exclusive reproduction of The Band’s 1969 7-inch vinyl single for ‘Rag Mama Rag / The Unfaithful Servant’ in their new stereo mixes and a hardbound book with an extensive, illuminating new essay by author and music critic Anthony DeCurtis and classic photos by Elliott Landy which have had an inimitable influence on rock and roll. For the album’s new vinyl editions, Chris Bellman cut the vinyl lacquers for the album’s new stereo mix at 45 rpm at Bernie Grundman Mastering, expanding the album’s vinyl footprint from one LP to two.

In 2018, the album was awarded a rare perfect 10 by Pitchfork in their Sunday Review, in which they exclaimed, “But ultimately, this record needed to be called The Band because it’s about the Band—how these men worked together, the way their personalities intersected and completed each other, the very architecture of their friendship. The album dispels all of the assumptions we carry about how bands are supposed to work—the songwriter is all-powerful, the rhythm section is the supporting cast, hierarchies are inevitable. The Band instead operates on a paradigm in which the power comes from the bottom up and authority is dispersed evenly among compatriots.”

Here’s the tracklisting:

The Band (50th Anniversary Edition) Track Listing

CD1; Digital

1. Across The Great Divide
2. Rag Mama Rag
3. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
4. When You Awake
5. Up On Cripple Creek
6. Whispering Pines
7. Jemima Surrender
8. Rockin’ Chair
9. Look Out Cleveland
10. Jawbone
11. The Unfaithful Servant
12. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

Bonus Tracks:

1. Up On Cripple Creek (Earlier Take) *
2. Rag Mama Rag (Alternate Version) *
3. The Unfaithful Servant (Alternate Version) *
4. Look Out Cleveland (Instrumental Mix) *
5. Rockin’ Chair (A Cappella / Stripped Down) *
6. Up On Cripple Creek (Instrumental Mix) *
* Previous unreleased

CD2; Digital

Live At Woodstock, 1969 (Original Rough Mixes)

1. Chest Fever
2. Tears Of Rage
3. We Can Talk
4. Don’t Ya Tell Henry
5. Baby Don’t You Do It
6. Ain’t No More Cane On The Brazos
7. Long Black Veil
8. This Wheel’s On Fire
9. I Shall Be Released
10. The Weight
11. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever

Additional Studio Bonus Tracks:

12. Get Up Jake (Outtake – Stereo Mix)
13. Rag Mama Rag (Alternate Vocal Take – Rough Mix)
14. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Alternate Mix)
15. Up On Cripple Creek (Alternate Take)
16. Whispering Pines (Alternate Take)
17. Jemima Surrender (Alternate Take)
18. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) (Alternate Performance)

Blu-ray (Stereo and 5.1 Surround – High Resolution Audio: 96 kHz/24 bit)

1. Across The Great Divide
2. Rag Mama Rag
3. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
4. When You Awake
5. Up On Cripple Creek
6. Whispering Pines
7. Jemima Surrender
8. Rockin’ Chair
9. Look Out Cleveland
10. Jawbone
11. The Unfaithful Servant
12. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

Bonus Tracks:

13. Up On Cripple Creek (Earlier Version)
14. Rag Mama Rag (Alternate Version)
15. The Unfaithful Servant Alternate Version)
16. Look Out Cleveland (Instrumental Mix)
17. Rockin’ Chair (A Cappella / Stripped Down)
18. Up On Cripple Creek (Instrumental Mix)

“Classic Albums – The Band” (Documentary)

2LP (45 RPM)

180g black vinyl (included in the box set and available individually); ltd. edition 180g pink vinyl (available individually)

Side One

1. Across The Great Divide
2. Rag Mama Rag
3. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Side Two

1. When You Awake
2. Up On Cripple Creek
3. Whispering Pines

Side Three

1. Jemima Surrender
2. Rockin’ Chair
3. Look Out Cleveland

Side Four

1. Jawbone
2. The Unfaithful Servant
3. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

“Rag Mama Rag” (Original 1969 7” Capitol Single)

A. Rag Mama Rag
B. The Unfaithful Servant

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Author: Mark Whitfield

Mark Whitfield has been the Editor of Americana UK for the last 17 years and still feels like this is his pretend job, mainly because it is.

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