Capitol/UMe Readies 50th Anniversary "Music From Big Pink"

Capitol/UMe releases on August 31st a newly remixed and remastered 50th Anniversary edition of The Band's epic 1968 debut Music From Big Pink.Bob Clearmountain re-mixed from the original 4 track tapes in both stereo and 5.1 channel surround mixes. The release will be available in various iterations including 2 180g black vinyl LPs, and a limited edition 2LP pink vinyl edition. There will also be a "Super Deluxe CD/Blu-ray/2LP/7-inch box set as well as a CD edition and a digital download.

The 50th anniversary Edition's CD, digital and box set configurations also include five outtakes and alternate recordings from the "Big Pink" sessions and a previously unreleased a cappella version of "I Shall Be Released". The Blu-ray stere and 5.1 channel mixes are at 96/24 resolution. The box includes a hardbound book with a new essay by David Fricke and classic Elliott Landy photographs. Bob Ludwig mastered, Chris Bellman cut lacquers at Bernie Grundman mastering and GZ Media pressed 180g LPs.

When this record "dropped" in 1968 it created a sensation within the rock intelligentsia though at first it didn't register commercially. Though the music derived from what's now called "roots" music, at the time its deliberate pacing seemed alien and difficult to categorize though it's clearly derived from blues, r&b, gospel, soul and rock'n'roll.

© Elliott Landy

Back in 1968 Capitol foolishly rejected Bob Ludwig's original mastering of this LP fearing the bass would cause skipping on kiddie phonographs so if you've got an original there's pretty much no bass below 80Hz. Mobile Fidelity's second go round (the first was decades ago and is pretty rare) a few years ago is a sonic spectacular, making the need for a new stereo re-mix difficult to understand—it's not a complex production like Sgt. Pepper's... so why bother remixing? We'll soon find out!

jokerman's picture

Its not going to sound better than the MOFI and the 6 unreleased tracks HAVE to be on the Dylan Basement Tapes box set so....go

AnalogJ's picture

Are we assuming that since Bob Ludwig is involved this time around that there are digital files also involved? He hasn't worked in analog in years, correct?

Michael Fremer's picture
The remix was to 96/24 and Bob used those to master. Chris Bellman used them to cut lacquers.
Bill's picture

Do you review these things anymore, or just shill for labels by republishing their promotional materials? Have you seen the list price for this duplicative monstrosity? I shall be released and won't buy it.

xtcfan80's picture

Hey Bill....Since you are on the Analog Planet site, you may be an audio/vinyl fan. Michael brings us the news he thinks the visitors might want to know...Consider staying in the spirit of interest in music & hifi ....

McFaden's picture

It hasn't been released yet therefore doing a review at this stage is next to impossible. Consider this a heads up that the release is coming. Michael does this a lot and follows up with a review once it's available. From the write up it appears a review with a comparison to the original and MOFI is in our future. Until then try to relax and enjoy some music, I know many of us are.

fdroadrunner's picture

I'm sorry you apparently woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but I for one appreciate the information. And in regards to reviews, you may have missed the Charles Lloyd and the Marvels with Lucinda Williams review from a couple of days ago. Just remember, there may be clouds in the sky, but the sun is still shining. As my grandpa used to say, "Any time you wake up and they're not shoveling dirt in your face, it's a good day."

firedog's picture

Do we understand from this that the LPs are sourced from a digital remaster?
There's an existing hi-res download from Capitol (in both 24/96 and 192);it would be interesting if you compare it to the new one.

Michael Fremer's picture
A re-mix so a comparison with another hi-res file isn't really useful IMO (nor might be a re-mix!)
xtcfan80's picture

Great photo of The Band....I'd like to hear Malachi Liu's take on the MFSL vs this new version....

Hackmartian's picture

Was there/is there some sort of consensus opinion that the original Big Pink mix was sub-par and needed to be corrected or is this new mix being done to make the album sound more modern? I'd heard the stories about the original mastering being an issue (and very happy with the sound of the MoFi version), but I've never heard any debates over the overall mix of the record. And that it would be done by Clearmountain and not Robertson and/or John Simon seems odd as well.

hans altena's picture

I have a UK from 1981 with Capitol black label, GO 20018, from the Greenlight series. There the sound differs considerably from the first editon my brother bought in the US. The bass is pronounced, the drums have a deep dimension and the voices stand out clear, the guitars sting and the organ just sucks you in and the piano sounds well balanced. The dynamics are gripping, that magic The Band wove comes out. Long Black Veil and Chest Fever are real heavy on this edition. No idea what made this possible! Can't be beat, full analogue! Still it is just a reissue...

hans altena's picture

Must be the warmth, as subject I typed German, (where most of my vinyl comes from) but that should have been UK of course and it is Go 2001 not 20018. But it is a stunner! Even if I compare it to the very good new Mobile Fidelity (which I listened to but did not buy because I like the clarity and warmth and depth of the UK 1981 pressing from Green Light better).