Guy E wrote:It’s hard to express the power and depth of mystery surrounding the album, but it affected people much older and wiser than I in the same way.
I would dearly love to hear from Eric Clapton what exactly went through his mind when he first heard Big Pink. Was it a sudden epiphany, or the seed of a lingering doubt? Power and depth, for sure.
I'll guess that his reaction was immediate, instantaneous.
I can't conjure a visceral memory of hearing Big Pink
for the first time in 1968, but Tears of Rage
establishes a unique vision. Hearing those opening notes and Manuel’s keening vocal… it still gives me goose bumps. The album had no perceptible reference points and I’ve never had much of an impulse to flip it over after The Weight
closes Side One. It's so complete.
Approaching the album decades after the fact It's power might be hard to understand; clearly, there are
musical reference points. But I didn't know them at the age of 14 and nobody else seemed bothered to itemize and analyze them either. Music From Big Pink
is a record that immediately recalibrated my musical universe and it had the same effect on many listeners and musicians. There are a couple of Beatles songs that did that; The Byrds Mr. Tamborine Man
did too. A Whiter Shade of Pale,
The Ramones, Television’s Marquee Moon,
it’s a pretty short list.
Unfortunately, as good as the next two albums are, The Band couldn't repeat the trick and their [brown] influence can be cursed as much as it is celebrated. I like the good stuff that they shepherded-in, but Big Pink
will always stand alone.