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Revisiting The Band

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Early in the summer of 1968, a very unassuming and somewhat strange album appeared. On the cover was what appeared to be a child’s painting. On the rear cover was a small picture of the back of a fairly ugly, somewhat suburban-looking pink house and in large bold letters were the words: Music From Big Pink. On the spine, the group was listed as The Band, but on the label of the disc itself were only the musicians’ names. The inside of this gatefold album was equally mysterious. A repeated picture of the house, with a strangely-worded paragraph, a listing of the musicians, but not what they played and a black and white photo of them in the mountains where they looked like outlaws from the previous century. Opposite was a bright, garish color photograph titled “Next of Kin” (a quote from the song “Wheels On Fire”) of them standing with a bunch of relatives on someone’s farm.

Looking real close at the fine print, one could discover that the cover painting was not by a child at all, but by Bob Dylan. This group was once known as The Hawks and three years before they backed Bob Dylan on his tumultuous 1965 through 1966 world tour, but nothing had been heard from them since.

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