The Band The Band on 180g LP
Legendary Canadian-American roots-rock group The Band was a musical institution unlike anything that came before them or since. In the 1960s, they were initially brought together as The Hawks by Ronnie Hawkins and later gained international recognition as Bob Dylan
When The Band's seminal eponymous second album was released fifty years ago in September 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 group, 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."
The Band's pioneering, self-titled album receives a suite of newly remixed and expanded editions in November 2019 to mark its 50th anniversary including this Super Deluxe 180g vinyl 2LP + 7" + 2CD + Blu-ray box set with a hardbound book featuring the new stereo mix by Bob Clearmountain and all tracks mastered from the original multi-track masters by Bob Ludwig. Chris Bellman cut the vinyl lacquers for the album's new stereo mix at 45 rpm at Bernie Grundman Mastering. All of the configurations were overseen by Robbie Robertson, similar to 2018's acclaimed 50th anniversary Music From Big Pink editions. Clearmountain and Robertson's approach to remixing the beloved album was done with the utmost care and respect for the music and what The Band represents. "The idea was to take you deeper inside the music, but this album is homemade," Robertson says. "You can't touch up a painting. It has nothing to do with what you get when you go into a recording studio." When he expressed his concerns to Clearmountain, the renowned engineer and producer reassured him: "We're just trying to overcome the original technological limitations in order to bring you closer into the room," he explained. "I'm going to do everything in my power not to get in the way of this music at all." The result is a new mix that allows listeners to hear these classic songs in stunning, and often times startling, clarity, packing more of a sonic and emotional punch than ever before.
The box set also includes 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.