After the encounter with rock, folk music was fattened up with electronic technology till, inevitably, the moment for slaughter had to arrive. Lately, a reaction to much of this gadgetry has set in, and there has been a return to simpler sounds. Dylan, who started it all, moved steadily into the furious closeness of Blond on Blond, and then stepped back to the calm of John Wesley Harding. A lot of the hard, driving rock went out of the music, but it left some shiny modernity, enriching the old folk and creating a new style.
Music From Big Pink is the first album release by a little known band that had a big hand in shaping the new music. Sometimes playing as The Crackers, they have been working with Dylan since coming down from Canada three years ago. Music From Big Pink is their own home-grown blend of rock and folk.
The Big Pink sound has rock drums and a bouncy organ, but there's a lot of lyrical piano, and the voice is all folk, sometimes gospel sing-along:
Take a load off Annie
Take a load for free
Take a load o: Annie
And you put the load right on me.
The songs are filled with religious imagery--an inn in Nazareth, a golden calf, Kingdom Come. They are about life and death, and about suffering, but in a light, cheering folk style. In "We Can Talk" the mysteries of life are hidden beneath catchy, gay words.
We can talk about it now.
It's that same old riddle,
Gonna start from the middle.
I'd fix it but I don't know how.
There is some nonsense thrown in:
I'd rather burn in Canada
Than freeze here in the South.
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