The Band’s seven Capitol Records studio albums plus their “Rock Of Ages” double LP concert album have been remastered from their original analogue masters for “The Band: The Capitol Albums 1968-1977,” a new nine-LP vinyl box set to be released July 31 by Capitol/UMe, the company announced June 11. The albums were remastered for vinyl at Capitol Mastering, manufactured by Quality Record Pressings and presented on 180-gram vinyl with original album art and packaging.
Levon Helm (drums, vocals, mandolin), Robbie Robertson (guitar, piano, vocals), Rick Danko (bass, vocals, fiddle), Richard Manuel (keyboards, vocals, drums) and Garth Hudson (keyboards, horns) first performed and recorded together between 1960 and 1962 as members of the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins called the Hawks. In late 1963, the Hawks struck out on their own and became Levon & the Hawks.
In 1965, Robertson met Bob Dylan in New York as Dylan was looking for an electric guitarist for his touring band. Robertson and Helm joined Dylan at his Forest Hills and Hollywood Bowl shows and convinced Dylan to bring all The Hawks on for the rest of the tour. They played with Dylan on the road from October 1965 through 1966. Helm, however, left the band in November, 1965, disheartened by the “folkie purist” audience response to their first electric performances.
In 1967, the former Hawks were re-joined by Helm as they prepared to record their first album. The Band was born in 1968 with the release of “Music From Big Pink,” which debuted to critical praise. Their second, self-titled album, released in 1969, launched the hit “Up On Cripple Creek.” The second single, Robertson’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” rose to the top of the charts and was also a hit for Joan Baez. Their next album, “Stage Fright,” took The Band into the ’70s and featured the title track sung by Rick Danko. The next album, “Cahoots,” from 1971, featured their version of Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” before Dylan’s own.
During the final week of 1971, The Band played four concerts at New York City’s Academy Of Music. Highlights from the concerts were compiled for The Band’s 1972 double LP, “Rock Of Ages.” In 2013, Capitol/UMe released remixed recordings from all four shows on “The Band: Live At The Academy Of Music 1971”.
“Moondog Matinee,” an album of cover songs was released in 1973. The sixth studio album was “Northern Lights-Southern Cross,” a reference to their Canadian roots and their love of the American South. “Islands,” released in 1977, was The Band’s final Capitol album and the last to feature the group’s original line-up.
In 1989, The Band was inducted into the Canadian Juno Hall of Fame; five years later they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008, they were honored with The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The contents of “The Band: The Capitol Albums 1968-1977” vinyl box set: “Music From Big Pink,” “The Band,” “Stage Fright,” “Cahoots,” “Rock of Ages” (2 discs), “Moondog Matinee,” “Northern Lights-Southern Cross,” “Islands.”