M. C. Taylor and friends play a few tunes in Big Pink. Yes, that Big Pink
07 January 2023 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News
In the summer of 2015, we got an invitation from our friend Daniel Fox asking us whether we’d be interested in staying the night at Big Pink, the house made famous by The Band when several members of that group took up residence there in 1967, and where they wrote much of their album Music From Big Pink and made the rambling recordings with Bob Dylan that later became known as The Basement Tapes.
The answer was an astonished and resounding “yes.” For many of us, this pink house sitting in the shadow of Overlook Mountain in New York’s West Saugerties has been something of a pilgrimage site and holy place; I made my own first trip there in 2001, and have been back to visit many times. So, following our first performance at the Newport Folk Festival, we made our winding way to Upstate New York, where we found Daniel, his friend Ray Lynch, and our friends Dave Hartley and Lindsey Driscoll waiting for us.
Walking into the house for the first time was a pretty unbelievable experience, and most of us stayed up most of the night sitting around the campfire, singing songs we had learned from the recordings that were written or inspired by the solitude of this place.
It might sound a little corny, but it definitely wasn’t. It was amazing, and we felt very lucky to be there.
When I see these performances now, I’m still amazed by the generous opportunity that we were given by Daniel.
But I’m also reminded of a very specific time in my life, and the songs that I was playing then, and what I was going through and feeling at that time.
With everything that’s happened in our universe since then, it’s a bittersweet feeling.
I’m a different person now, but I see myself on these recordings and think, “Ah, I remember that person. I’m still that person, just different around the edges.”
These renditions of songs that I was playing at that time–“Drum,” “A Working Man Can’t Make It No Way,” “Chapter & Verse”–aren’t perfect, but they’re the language I had at the time, and I’m very glad that they exist as a reminder of time gone and what might be to come.
October 11, 2020
Music by: MC Taylor + Phil Cook + Matt McCaughan