The Band: 50th Anniversary Edition of ‘Stage Fright’ Coming in 2021; Stream ‘The Shape I’m In (2020 Remix)’

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Rock Cellar Magazine

Stage Fright, the third studio album from The Band released in 1970, will be revisited by Capitol/UMe on Feb. 12, 2021 to commemorate the record’s 50th anniversary.

The record featured two of The Band’s most well-known songs, the title track and “The Shape I’m In.” As a preview of the 50th anniversary set from the esteemed Canadian/American ensemble, here’s a 2020 remix of the latter:

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As for what’s inside the 50th anniversary set, fans can expect the following:

A suite of newly remixed, remastered and expanded 50th Anniversary Edition packages, including a multi-format Super Deluxe 2CD/Blu-ray/1LP/7-inch vinyl box set photo booklet; digital, 2CD, 180-gram black vinyl, and limited edition 180-gram color vinyl packages. All the Anniversary Edition releases were overseen by principal songwriter Robbie Robertson and boast a new stereo mix by Bob Clearmountain from the original multi-track masters. For the first time, the album is being presented in the originally planned song order. The box set, CD and digital configurations feature a bevy of unreleased recordings, including Live at the Royal Albert Hall, June 1971, a thrilling full concert captured in the midst of their European tour as the band was at the top of its game; alternate versions of “Strawberry Wine” and “Sleeping;” and seven unearthed field recordings, Calgary Hotel Recordings, 1970, a fun and loose, impromptu late night hotel jam session between Robertson, Danko and Manuel of several Stage Fright songs recorded while the album was in the mixing stage.
Exclusively for the box set, Clearmountain has also created a new 5.1 surround mix and a hi-res stereo mix of the album, bonus tracks and the live show, presented on Blu-ray. All the new audio mixes have been mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering. The set also includes an exclusive reproduction of the Spanish pressing of The Band’s 1971 7-inch vinyl single for “Time To Kill” b/w “The Shape I’m In” in their new stereo mixes and a photo booklet with new notes by Robbie Robertson and touring photographer John Scheele, who recorded the Calgary Hotel Recordings; plus a reprinting of the original Los Angeles Times album review by famed critic Robert Hilburn; three classic photo lithographs; and a wealth of photographs from Scheele and several other photographers.

Some context on the Stage Fright album and where it came from in the course of The Band’s career:

They were riding high from having released back-to-back albums that solidified them as one of the most exciting and revolutionary groups of the late 1960s. Seemingly coming from nowhere and everywhere in ‘68, their landmark debut album, Music From Big Pink, drew from the American roots music panoply of country, blues, R&B, gospel, soul, rockabilly, the honking tenor sax tradition, hymns, funeral dirges, brass band music, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll to forge a timeless new style that forever changed the course of popular music. When they released their seminal eponymous second album the following year, “The Brown Album” as it would lovingly be called, not much more was known about the reclusive group. The band, made up of four Canadians and one American, was still shrouded in mystery, allowing for listeners and the music press to let their imaginations run wild about who these men were and what this music was that sounded unlike anything else happening at the close of the psychedelic ‘60s. Dressed like 19th century fire-and-brimstone preachers and singing rustic, sepia-toned songs about America and the deep south, The Band – Garth Hudson (keyboards, piano, horn), Levon Helm (drums, vocals, mandolin), Richard Manuel (keyboards, vocals, drums), Rick Danko (bass, vocals, fiddle) and Robbie Robertson (guitar, piano, vocals) – was an enigma, unlike any group that came before or after.


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