National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Album Review: The Band – Music From Big Pink(1968 LP)

Today marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This is a day to honor the survivors of Canada’s residential school system, and those that did not. It was a black mark on Canada’s history and this day is a step toward repairing the damage that was done. I chose today to honor Robbie Robertson, whose mother was both Cayuga and Mohawk. Robbie would often visit Six Nations Reserve to visit family and it was there that he learned to play guitar. So we have the peoples of Six Nations to partly thank for the incredible music Robbie has given us.

Songs From Big Pink by The Band. No, not the band Steel Panther, although that title suits them perfectly, but The Band. They began as The Hawks, the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins, then later were the backing band for Bob Dylan. In the late 1960’s Bob Dylan lived in Woodstock NY and The Band took up residence in nearby West Saugerties NY. The siding on the West Saugerties home was pink, hence the nickname Big Pink. Not only this album but also Dylan’s The Basement Tapes were first played there. In fact 100’s of songs were conceived there in a short period of time. The talent level in that home may have been unlike any other home ever. The Band went to studios in NYC and Los Angeles to record this album but they wanted it to sound just like it did in the basement.

Tears Of Rage – One of 3 songs on the album that Dylan had a had in. Robbie’s guitar wails so amazingly on this one I could swear it was an organ. The keys work is amazing, the drums so pronounced, the horns hauntingly creepy and even the rattlesnake-like tambourine set this album off on an amazing musical journey.

To Kingdom Come – The bass is more pronounced here. It has both piano and organ work, both excellent. The vocals are amazing of course. It is The Band. However, I think Robbie’s guitar work may be the best part of this song, and that’s saying a lot.

In A Station – Old timey keys start this one off. It could have been a throwback song played in a western saloon during the gold rush. However it was more modern. A mix of clavinet and piano that sounds very psychedelic at times but 100 years old at others.

Caledonia Mission – I’m always happy to see the name of a Canadian town in a song title. Not surprising since 4 of the 5 members are Canadian. Again Robbie’s guitar may the best part of this song, but the keys and vocal harmonies are really great as well.

The Weight – What can I say about this song that hasn’t been said? A perfect song that we’ve all heard a million times.

Time to flip the record over folks.

We Can Talk – Thankfully it’s not a Joan Rivers song. It’s just a song with great vocal harmonies and even a shuffle beat.

Long Black Veil – A haunting song originally done by Lefty Frizzell. Lefty has that old man whistling ‘s’ sound that reminds me of the creepy old dude on Family Guy though. Johnny Cash does an amazing version. However, this version is perfect. SOOO GOOD!! One of those few examples of a cover that is better than the original.

Chest Fever – Those keys. Those amazing keys. The wicked drums. The unique guitar work. Another perfect song. The vocal harmonies and amazing production by John Simon are enough to make Brian Wilson go crazy. Sorry(how Canadian of me), bad choice of words. One of the heavier songs in The Band’s repertoire, and one of the best.

Lonesome Suzie – This one has an almost Motown like soul sound to it. Robbie switches up the guitar tone (I assume he used a unique guitar on this one).

This Wheels On Fire – Early wah pedal funkiness and psychedelic keys mixed with Bob Dylan co-writing credits can never be a bad thing.

I Shall Be Released – The album closer is the only one written entirely by Bob Dylan. As usual it is written wonderfully. A different version was used on The Basement Tapes, however I much prefer The Band version. Richard Manuel’s vocals here are so high and so right.

Since today was also called Orange Shirt Day I wore my orange Miami Dolphins jersey while I wrote this. I suggest to all my fellow Canadians to don your orange shirts and play some music by indigenous artists. This one might be a great place to start.


36 thoughts on “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Album Review: The Band – Music From Big Pink(1968 LP)

  1. Sometimes it takes a long time to get into a band. I assumed I would hate all of Blind Melon songs because the only song I knew was No Rain which I HATE. But I love their music now.

    Craig Fee used to call them The Bland. I get it. They have a bunch of songs always on the radio.
    However, their entire song selection is great.

    Thanks for the praise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to enjoy when Craig would talk shit about bands… even bands I liked… because you didn’t hear that kind of talk on the radio. Although it got tiring after several years of the same jokes, for the first while I loved the shit out of it. I miss that guy. I hope he’s OK. We’re no longer in touch after a mutual friend of ours died this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Me too. He really was opinionated and I liked him too. Funny af
        I know he got in shit but the station had his back most of the time which in the pc world we live in is uncommon
        I hope he is ok too

        Sorry for your loss

        Liked by 1 person

      • He was a good friend I met through Craig. Craig’s former roommate I believe he was. Unfortunately the saying about keeping politics out of friendship was true, and Craig and I had a disagreement about the current provincial leader. And the rest is public record, unfortunately.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh sorry again. Over both losses really.

        Yeah. I bite my tongue over politics.
        I remember Craig on about wayyyyy too much on the air.

        Both major parties are filled with lying assholes so let us get over ourselves and be friends I say

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was just discussing with Jen how to deal with a cab driver who won’t stop talking about vaccine mandates. Jen said “Let’s agree to disagree” but I have a better line.

        I just say to people, “Man, I don’t know, I don’t keep up with that stuff, I have too much going on. I’m the last person to talk to about that.”


      • I was in a restaurant and one asshole blew his nose then another one sneezed. No masks on.
        We got up and left.

        If the cabbie was blah blah about the vaccines I would tell him to either stop going on about it or let me out.
        If I am paying him- he works for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jen didn’t tip him. But she was waiting 40 minutes for a cab and had to get home, there just wasn’t a choice in the matter.

        She usually remembers the cab number and asks not to have that cab again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yep that’s what she does. Sometimes she will file a complaint. She did last week when the driver told her she was a liar when she said she’d been waiting an hour for the cab. I checked her text messages, and it was just shy of an hour.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Long-time fan here, so you know what I’m gonna say about the music. Wondering what happened to the missing 0.05 in your rating? 😉 I wore a plain orange t-shirt today, the only orange I have,. It pulled at my neck uncomfortably but I left it, because it was a reminder that that discomfort was incredibly minor compared to what folks went through. Black mark, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I went out to Encore Records yesterday and saw no one else in downtown Kitchener wearing orange.
      The Kitchener Farmers Market entrance is right across the street and there were tons of people.
      I could not believe it


      • That’s pretty bad. Stuff doesn’t last long in our current culture, though. We’re so inundated (especially with the shitshow that was American news over 45’s tenure of multiple scandals a day) that people are numb. Our kids wore orange to school yesterday, in fact our daughter found three ways of wearing it (shirt, skirt and headband) so we took up some slack.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I believe that, sadly the indigenous people have been downtrodden and often portrayed in the media, films etc. as being bad, while the white settlers who killed them off are seen as heroes. It is hard for people even today to move past that.


  3. It probably is a 10. I like to save those for the few albums that sit at the top of the mountain.
    This one is so near perfect on many a days I would give it a 10. Perhaps because it has 3 perfect songs the other songs, even though they would be the best song on most other records are just a hair from being perfect. So 9.95.

    I get the uncomfortable. I am afraid of needles but I remember my niece who is diabetic and suck it up


  4. NDTaR is avery worthwhile thing and well worth the celebration. I did not know about Robbie Robertson’s heritage at all.

    Good call on Chest Fever I think it sounds like Deep Purple.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rare for a government to acknowledge prior wrongs.
      They got a ton of flak for “being soft” blah blah blah. We screwed up and we are trying to fix it.

      Chest Fever is their heaviest song. Some Purpley Blue Cheer awesomesauce .

      Liked by 1 person

      • I listened to CBC Radio that morning because they devoted programming to indigenous issues, music etc.
        I found out even in 2021 that indigenous children get less funding for schools, support etc. than non indigenous, and our Gov’t has been fighting to not make it equal for decades.
        We obviously still have a long way to go.


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