The Band Shares ‘Stage Fright 50th Anniversary Edition’

By Andy Kahn Feb 12, 2021 6:20 am PST

The Band’s 1970 album, Stage Fright, has been reissued in celebration of its 50th anniversary. The expanded Stage Fright 50th Anniversary Edition contains several previously unreleased recordings, including the live album, Live At Royal Albert Hall, June 1971.

Stage Fright was The Band’s third album and introduced such favorites as “The Shape I’m In,” “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” and the title track. The Band guitarist Robbie Robertson oversaw the Stage Fright 50th Anniversary Edition reissue, which presents a new stereo mix by Bob Clearmountain from the original multi-track masters and the originally intended track order.

“Doing new mixes on these songs with Bob Clearmountain has been a gift and special opportunity,” Robertson wrote in the new liner notes. “Glyn Johns and Todd [Rundgren] did a terrific job on the original mixes in England while The Band was on the Festival Express train tour across Canada with Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. We had always been part of the mixing process before, which left something on this album feeling a little unfinished. Clearmountain has taken this music and given it the sonic lift it deserves.

“The album has become a whole new listening experience with the original song order and the depth of these mixes,” added Robertson. “There may be some purists that prefer ‘the way it was,’ and of course that’s always readily available, I’m enjoying this new version, this story, this musical journey. It feels like a fulfillment and I know my brothers in The Band would definitely agree.”

In addition to Live At Royal Albert Hall, June 1971, the expanded Stage Fright comes with alternate versions of “Strawberry Wine” and “Sleeping” as well as Calgary Hotel Recordings, 1970, an unplanned late-night hotel jam played by Robertson and his late former band mates, bassist Rick Danko and pianist Richard Manuel.

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