First Four Albums By The Band To Be Reissued With Bonus Cuts

Music from Big Pink, The Band and others due in August.

The first four albums by seminal roots outfit The Band are on track for reissue this summer with a bevy of bonus songs.

The new editions of Music from Big Pink (1968), The Band (1969), Stage Fright (1970) and Cahoots (1971) are slated for release August 1, Jonna Winnicki, of EMI Music Distribution in the United States, said, although she would not confirm the inclusion of extra songs.

But Warren Stuart, Marketing Manager for EMI Canada, said the U.S. and Canadian editions of the discs would feature outtakes and alternate recordings.

The first three albums in particular are widely considered The Band's best work, and include such quintessential songs as "The Weight," "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (RealAudio excerpt).

The discs were an important precursor to what is today called "Americana" music, practiced by such artists as Wilco, the Jayhawks and Alejandro Escovedo.

The Band first formed as a backing group for rock 'n' roller Ronnie Hawkins and later recorded and toured behind Bob Dylan. They broke up in 1976, but regrouped for more concerts and albums in the 1990s without songwriter Robbie Robertson.

Bassist Rick Danko died in December at 56 after struggling with a severe weight problem. Keyboardist Richard Manuel hanged himself in 1986.