It's been a banner year for fans of The Band, the mainly Canadian group who backed Bob Dylan for his 'Basement Tapes' sessions and whose recordings encapsulate over 40 years of North American musical heritage in a seamless mix.
The Band are regarded together with the Byrds and the Flying Buritto Brothers as founders of the music template for what was later dubbed Country Rock, paving the way for the Eagles.
Licensed from Capitol-EMI, in October 2013 Mobile Fidelity issued The Band S/T (aka the 'Brown Album') originally issued in 1970 and home to the hit single Rag Mama Rag issued in April that year.
Re-mastered by Shawn R Britton in SACD from the cleanest sources available it has never sounded better. I preferred this to Steve Hoffman's May 2009 Audio Fidelity cd for its more open top response.
Around late 2009 Mobile Fidelity Sound Laboratories announced a series of SACD issues also licensed from Capitol of which this - Music from Big Pink originally issued in 1968 and featuring The Weight - is the first out. This album features the songs This Wheels on Fire, Tears Of Rage and I Shall Be Released, the first two recorded originally with Bob Dylan and eventually being released in 1975 on his Basement Tapes album issued by MFSL on sacd in 2012
These SACD's have two layers - one for SACD players and the second for regular CD playback which with my NAD CD player I'm using. MFSL are using the mini lp style packaging for this series which I have to be honest and say I prefer over jewel boxes.
This is slightly bright sounding but generally a improvement on all previous CD issues.
Rock Of Ages
Recorded December 31 1971 this classic concert double lp was reissued April 2010 by Mofi as a two on 1 hybrid standard cd/SACD with re-mastering duties performed by Shawn R Britton.
He managed to improve on how the horns arranged by Allan Toussaint sounded and bring some much needed bass into this disc. Recommended.
Northern Lights, Southern Cross was originally issued in 1975 and issued May 2010 by Mofi on sacd, mastered by Rob LoVerde featuring songs written exclusively by Robbie Robertson and also featured for the first time synthesizers on a few tracks such as Jupiter Hollow. Although a poor seller, Levon Helms regards this as one of their finest achievements on record.
Stage Fright originally issued in 1970, reissued in 2011 on sacd with mastering by Rob LoVerde recorded live at Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, New York State with Robbie Robertson been credited with writing the majority of the songs.
* This post revised and generally tidied up 2013 by Caroline.