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Archive for June 13th, 2011

UPDATED 6/13: Mobile Fidelity Delivers The Band’s “Stage Fright” On SACD

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Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab continues its ongoing series of stereo hybrid SACD reissues of The Band’s storied catalogue with the release of the group’s third album, Stage Fright.  Recorded in Woodstock in 1970, Stage Fright marked a departure for the group in a number of ways.  Produced by The Band and engineered by the up-and-coming Todd Rundgren, there were more confessional, personal songs than on The Band or Music from Big Pink, and the harmony vocals were much less prominent.  Was The Band – guitarist Robbie Robertson, drummer Levon Helm, pianist Richard Manuel, keyboardist/saxophonist Garth Hudson and bassist Rick Danko – trying to exorcise its demons in song?

Robbie Robertson told Rob Bowman, annotator of Capitol’s 2000 expanded CD, that “when Stage Fright came about, all I was doing was feeling my way along. But, where everybody was in a huddle on both Big Pink and The Band, with Stage Fright it didn’t feel like we were all connected in the same kind of way. In this period of experimentation in life, in music, in drugs, people kept wanting to stretch and reach and go somewhere and try things and, in the course of that, some real alienation can take place as well. When these things are chemically induced, you can feel an incredible shutdown of communication.”  While Stage Fright has its share of dark songs (dealing with heavy topics like the selling of one’s soul), the music is still so evocative and hauntingly beautiful that it’s hard to believe there was such dissension offstage.  And “offstage” is meant literally; Stage Fright was recorded at The Woodstock Playhouse in front of an empty house.  The Band had originally planned for an audience to attend the concert/recording session, but Woodstock residents feared an influx of visitors trying to overrun the 600-seat theatre.  And so Todd Rundgren, as engineer, was the only non-band member present.  But even he couldn’t see what was happening onstage, stationed in a prop tent located behind the theatre!

There have been some questions as to which mixes of the LP will be utilized for the Mobile Fidelity release.  For the updated answers, hit the jump, where you’ll also find the track listing and ordering information! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 13, 2011 at 10:20

Posted in News, Reissues, The Band