1 July 2013

1st July - The Band's Music from Big Pink

Artist – Album: The Band – Music from Big Pink
Released:  1st July 1968
Sounds Like: The mid-point!

Woahhh, we’re halfway there. Woooah-ohhh! Living on a prayer!

It’s July, which means we’re on to the seventh month of 2013, which in turn means that there’s only half a year left to go. Living on prayer might be a tad strong, but occasionally I have doubted the sanity of this epic enterprise, posts about albums released on that day, every day, for a full year. Still, 183 blogs have been posted, and 182 of the little blighters are all that remain. Half-well done me, but half-well done to you too dear reader. Half-well done. I couldn’t have half-done it without you. Give yourself (half) a pat on the back... Not easy is it?

In some ways it might have been more appropriate to have had Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet as today’s album, seen as I did kick off with one of its lyrics. But that didn’t come out until September in the UK, and a chorus featuring the line we’re three quarters of the way there doesn’t sound nearly as good. No, we’ll have to make do with one of the greatest albums of all instead. That’s all.

Music From Big Pink comes from that fascinating period of the late 60’s, when bands were still producing records of unmatched craft and invention, but the giddy psychedelia of the summer of love felt like a long time ago. The albums sums up the general mood perfectly, The songs have an element of melancholy, but are mostly just wistful for that bygone time of innocence and happiness. A lot of that comes from Richard Manuel’s wispy tenor vocals, that perpetually have an air of loneliness to them. Stunning harmonies ably back him up, whilst the band’s music itself is the pinnacle of melodic Americana.

There’s not a large number of hit material here but songs such as ‘Tears of Rage’, ‘To Kingdom Come’, ‘The Weight’, ‘This Wheel’s on Fire’ and ‘I Shall Be Released’ have long been recognised for their brilliance. If the remaining 182 are as good as this, I’d have no problem doing another year.

Albumaday... rating:  10/10

1.       Tears of Rage – 5:23
2.       To Kingdom Come – 3:22
3.       In a Station – 3:34
4.       Caledonia Mission – 2:59
5.       The Weight – 4:34
6.       We Can Talk – 3:06
7.       Long Black Veil – 3:06
8.       Chest Fever – 5:18
9.       Lonesome Suzie – 4:04
10.   This Wheel’s on Fire – 3:14
11.   I Shall Be Released – 3:19

Listen to ‘The Weight’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9evTAZM-so

Also released on the 1st July:
2003: Sufjan Stevens – Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lakes State

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