Graham Nash – Songs For Survivors (2002)

FrontCover1.jpgSongs for Survivors is the fifth solo studio album by British singer-songwriter Graham Nash, released in July 2002.

In his first solo album after a ten-year hiatus, Graham Nash delivers a low-key package with minimal, acoustic-oriented arrangements of fairly agreeable material. A new and not unattractive huskiness enhances his delivery and adds depth to harmonized passages; some duo parts strongly recall Simon & Garfunkel, especially in the intriguing, if arguably misogynist “Pavanne”; and there’s some glorious three-part work elsewhere as well. In the dryness of its instrumental tracks, Songs for Survivors recalls Neil Young circa “Heart of Gold,” though Nash seems to struggle a bit more for his lyric: his stretch all the way back to a forgotten atrocity from 1921 on “Dirty Little Secret” only muddies his message. On more conventional tunes his imagery has a shopworn character, as in the rocks and crashing waves that set the stage for romance on “I’ll Be There for You” or in the ancient imprecation to “Leave the love light in your eyes/You must believe it’s true,” on “Nothing in the World.” With these disappointing moments balanced by more inspired narrative in the bleak but intriguing “Chelsea Hotel” and the simple affection of “Come With Me,” Nash’s comeback adds up to a pleasant, if not epochal, presentation. (by Robert L. Doerschuk)

A real quite and intimate album … a delicious album !

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Personnel:
Lenny Castro (percussion)
Dan Dugmore (pedal steel-guitar, guitars, banjo)
Steve Farris (guitar)
Viktor Krauss (bass)
Russell Kunkel (drums, percussion)
Graham Nash (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Matt Rollings (keyboards)
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background vocals:
David Crosby – Sydney Forest

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Tracklist:
01. Dirty Little Secret (Kunkel/Nash) 4.23
02. Blizzard Of Lies (Nash) 4.08
03. Lost Another One (Nash) 3.22
04. The Chelsea Hotel (Nash) 3.56
05. I’ll Be There For You (Ingoldsby/Nash/Vitale) 3.43
06. Nothing In The World (Nash) 5.21
07. Where Love Lies Tonight (Nash/Vitale) 3.13
08. Pavanne (R.Thompson/L.Thompson) 5.14
09. Liar’s Nightmare (Nash/Ritchie) 8.09
10. Come With Me (Nash) 2.38

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Roger McGuinn – Same (1973)

FrontCover1.jpgRoger McGuinn was Roger McGuinn’s first full-length solo album, released in 1973.

This album was released after The Byrds’ 1973 reunion album, on which all five founding members of the group participated in the sessions. McGuinn himself has stated that any outtakes left over from those sessions appeared here, but this was later proven to be false with the discovery of several alternate takes and at least one outtake in late 2009. The majority of the songs on the album were co-written with Jacques Levy, who collaborated with McGuinn on the abandoned country-rock musical Gene Tryp in 1968-1969 (most of the resulting songs appeared on The Byrds’ (Untitled) and Byrdmaniax albums) and remained his principal lyricist until 1977.

Two songs (David Wiffen’s “Lost My Drivin’ Wheel” and “Bag Full Of Money”) were originally recorded by the Clarence White-era Byrds in 1972 but remained unreleased re-release of Farther Along on CD in 2000. Additionally, three other songs (“I’m So Restless”, “Hanoi Hannah” and “The Water Is Wide”) were performed by The Byrds at least once; the former two were premiered at a concert in Brookville, New York in early 1971, while the latter was played at a later date in August 1972. An outtake from this album, Jackson Browne’s “Jamaica, Say You Will”, had also been performed by The Byrds throughout 1971, though Clarence White handled the lead vocal and McGuinn sang the high harmony. McGuinn sings lead on this iteration, which was left off the original album before being released as a bonus track on the 2004 reissue. (by wikipedia)

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Roger McGuinn’s 1973 self-titled solo debut was in most respects a breath of fresh air after the final days of the Byrds, in which the group was floundering in directionless mediocrity. In a sense, it’s a back-to-basics album that emphasizes much of what McGuinn does so well: his forceful reedy vocals, his guitar playing, and his skills at both writing earnest folk-rock material (usually with future Bob Dylan collaborator Jacques Levy here) and interpreting unusual traditional and contemporary songs. Never was it folkier than on the acoustic “I’m So Restless,” which benefited from harmonica by Dylan himself (about whom the song was partially about). All four of the other original Byrds play on “My New Woman,” which is virtually a reunion of the original quintet, with the addition of saxophone by jazzman Charles Lloyd; David Crosby makes unobtrusive cameos on some other tracks. As likable as it is, however, the album isn’t an unqualified triumph. Some of the songs aren’t so hot, some of the Moog synthesizer (by McGuinn) is unnecessary, his vocals sometimes seem to have been recorded with too much brittleness, and none of this is as good as the best of the Byrds. Unexpected influences make themselves heard in the Beach Boys harmonies of “Draggin'” (with Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys on piano and backup harmonies), the Vietnam blues of “Hanoi Hannah,” and the gospel-rock of “Stone.” (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Hal Blaine (percussion)
Michael Clarke (drums)
Jerry Cole (guitar)
David Crosby (guitar, vocals)
Bob Dylan (harmonica)
Buddy Emmons (pedal steel guitar)
Chris Ethridge (bass)
Jim Gordon (drums)
John Guerin (drums)
Chris Hillman (bass)
Bruce Johnston (piano, vocals)
Charles Lloyd (saxophone)
Roger McGuinn (vocals, guitar, banjo, synthesizer, harmonica)
Graham Nash (guitar, vocals)
Spooner Oldham (keyboards)
Leland Sklar (bass)
David Vaught (bass)
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background vocals:
Gene Clark – Spanky McFarlane
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Jimmy Joyce Children’s Chorus (vocals on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. I’m So Restless (McGuinn/Levy) – 3:05
02. My New Woman (McGuinn/Levy)  – 3:10
03. Lost My Drivin’ Wheel (Wiffen) – 3:27
04. Draggin’ (McGuinn/Levy) – 3:36
05. Time Cube (McGuinn/Hippard) – 3:15
06. Bag Full Of Money (McGuinn/Levy) – 3:19
07. Hanoi Hannah (McGuinn/Levy) – 2:50
08. Stone (Oldham/Penn) – 2:59
09. Heave Away (Traditional) – 3:03
10. M’ Linda (McGuinn/Levy) – 2:42
11. The Water Is Wide (Traditional) – 3:05

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The Byrds – Fifth Dimension (1966)

FrontCover1Fifth Dimension is the third album by the American folk rock band The Byrds and was released in July 1966 on Columbia Records. Most of the album was recorded following the February 1966 departure of the band’s principal songwriter Gene Clark. In an attempt to compensate for Clark’s absence, guitarists Jim McGuinn and David Crosby stepped into the breach and increased their songwriting output. In spite of this, the loss of Clark resulted in an uneven album that included a total of four cover versions and an instrumental. However, the album is notable for being the first by The Byrds not to include any songs written by Bob Dylan, whose material had previously been a mainstay of the band’s repertoire.[

The album peaked at #24 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and reached #27 on the UK Albums Chart. Two preceding singles, “Eight Miles High” and “5D (Fifth Dimension)”, were included on the album, with the former just missing the Top 10 of the Billboard singles chart. Additionally, a third single taken from the album, “Mr. Spaceman”, managed to reach the U.S. Top 40. Upon release, Fifth Dimension was widely regarded as the band’s most experimental album to date and is today considered influential in originating the musical genre of psychedelic rock. (by wikipedia)

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Although the Byrds’ Fifth Dimension was wildly uneven, its high points were as innovative as any rock music being recorded in 1966. Immaculate folk-rock was still present in their superb arrangements of the traditional songs “Wild Mountain Thyme” and “John Riley.” For the originals, they devised some of the first and best psychedelic rock, often drawing from the influence of Indian raga in the guitar arrangements. “Eight Miles High,” with its astral lyrics, pumping bassline, and fractured guitar solo, was a Top 20 hit, and one of the greatest singles of the ’60s. The minor hit title track and the country-rock-tinged “Mr. Spaceman” are among their best songs; “I See You” has great 12-string psychedelic guitar solos; and “I Come and Stand at Every Door” is an unusual and moving update of a traditional rock tune, with new lyrics pleading for peace in the nuclear age. At the same time, the R&B instrumental “Captain Soul” was a throwaway, “Hey Joe” not nearly as good as the versions by the Leaves or Jimi Hendrix, and “What’s Happening?!?!” the earliest example of David Crosby’s disagreeably vapid hippie ethos. These weak spots keep Fifth Dimension from attaining truly classic status. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Michael Clarke (drums)
David Crosby (guitar, vocals)
Chris Hillman (bass, vocals)
Jim McGuinn (guitar, vocals)
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Gene Clark (vocals on 07., 12., 15. + 16.); tambourine on 15., harmonica on 09.)
Van Dyke Parks (organ on 01.)

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Tracklist:
01. 5D (Fifth Dimension) (McGuinn) 2.33
02. Wild Mountain Thyme (Traditional) 2.30
03. Mr. Spaceman (McGuinn) 2.09
04. I See You (McGuinn/Crosby) 2.38
05. What’s Happening?!?! (Crosby) 2.35
06. I Come And Stand At Every Door (Hikmet) 3.03
07. Eight Miles High (Clark/McGuinn/Crosby) 3.34
08. Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go) (Roberts) 2.17
09. Captain Soul (McGuinn/Hillman/Clarke/Crosby) 2.53
10. John Riley (Traditional) 2.57
11. 2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song) (McGuinn) 2.12
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12. Why (Single version) (McGuinn/Crosby) 2.59
13. I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider) (Traditional) 2.43
14. Psychodrama City (Crosby) 3.23
15. Eight Miles High (alternate RCA version] (Clark/McGuinn/Crosby) 3.19
16. Why (alternate RCA version) (McGuinn/Crosby) 2.40
17. John Riley (instrumental) (Traditional) 16.53

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The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965)

LPFrontCover1Turn! Turn! Turn! is the second album by the folk rock band The Byrds and was released in December 1965 on Columbia Records. Like its predecessor, Mr. Tambourine Man, the album epitomized the folk rock genre and continued the band’s successful mix of vocal harmony and jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar. The album’s lead single and title track, “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, was a Pete Seeger adaptation of text from the Book of Ecclesiastes that had previously been arranged in a chamber-folk style by the band’s lead guitarist Jim McGuinn, while working with folksinger Judy Collins. The arrangement that McGuinn used for The Byrds’ version utilized the same folk rock style as the band’s previous hit singles.

The album peaked at #17 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and went to #11 in the United Kingdom. The “Turn! Turn! Turn!” single preceded the album by two months and topped the chart in the United States. Another single taken from the album, “Set You Free This Time”, was less successful and failed to break into the U.S. Top 50. The album marked an increase in McGuinn’s songwriting output and rhythm guitarist David Crosby received his first writing credit on a Byrds’ album. However, the band’s prolific songwriter Gene Clark still contributed most of the original material. The album also included two Bob Dylan covers: “The Times They Are a-Changin'” and the then unreleased song, “Lay Down Your Weary Tune”. Turn! Turn! Turn! would be the last Byrds’ album to feature the full participation of Gene Clark until the release of the original quintet’s 1973 reunion album, Byrds. (by wikipedia)

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The Byrds’ second album, Turn! Turn! Turn!, was only a disappointment in comparison with Mr. Tambourine Man. They couldn’t maintain such a level of consistent magnificence, and the follow-up was not quite as powerful or impressive. It was still quite good, however, particularly the ringing number one title cut, a classic on par with the “Mr. Tambourine Man” single. Elsewhere, they concentrated more on original material, Gene Clark in particular offering some strong compositions with “Set You Free This Time,” “The World Turns All Around Her,” and “If You’re Gone.” A couple more Bob Dylan covers were included, as well, and “Satisfied Mind” was their first foray into country-rock, a direction they would explore in much greater depth throughout the rest of the ’60s. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Gene Clark (guitar, harmonica, vocals)
Mike Clark (drums)
David Crosby (guitar, vovals)
Chris Hillman (bass, vocals)
Jim McGuinn (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Turn ! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) (*) 3.54
02. It Won’t Be Wrong (McGuinn) 2.02
03. Set You Free This Time (Clark) 2.53
04. Lay Down Your Weary Tune (Dylan) 3.34
05. He Was A Friend Of Mine (Traditional) 2.34
06. The World Turns All Around Her (Clark) 2.17
07. Satisfied Mind (Hayes/Rhodes) 2.30
08. If You’re Gone (Clark) 2.49
09. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Dylan) 2.22
10. Wait And See (McGuinn/Crosby) 2.23
11. Oh! Susannah (Traditional) 3.13
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12. The Day Walk (Never Before) (Clark) 3.00
13. She Don’t Care About Time (Single Version) (Clark) 2.29
14. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (First Version) (Dylan) 1.54
15. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Version 1) (Dylan) 3.03
16. She Don’t Care About Time (Version 1) (Clark) 2.35
17. The World Turns All Around Her (Alternate Mix) (Clark) 2.12
18. Stranger In A Strange Land (Instrumental) (Crosby) 3.04

(*) Words From The Book Of Ecciesiastes, Adaptation and music by Pete Seeger

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Singles

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it’s not too late!

Strawbs – Just A Collection Of Antiques And Curios – Live At The Queen Elizabeth Hall (1970)

LPFrontCover1Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios is the third album by the Strawbs mostly recorded live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on 11 July 1970. The album reached number 27 in the UK Albums Chart.

The band line-up had changed from the previous album, Dragonfly. Only founder-members Dave Cousins and Tony Hooper remained; with double bass player Ron Chesterman and cellist Claire Deniz having departed the band, and bassist John Ford, drummer Richard Hudson, and keyboardist Rick Wakeman having joined.

The concert was instrumental in bringing Rick Wakeman’s virtuosity to the attention of the music media, when Melody Maker prophesied super-stardom for the keyboard player. (by wikipedia)

This album, cut live at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in July of 1970, was the first Strawbs album to be released in the United States. It didn’t do much in the U.S., but it did chart in England, and the original concert also got Rick Wakeman his first front-page coverage in the British music press, owing to his bravura performance on the solo piano spot, “Temperament for a Mind.” The group is trying really hard here to make the jump from folk to folk-rock. They still play a lot of acoustic music, and some of it is surprisingly diverse, but this is a fairly successful album bridging the gap between the acoustic Strawbs combo of their first incarnation and the harder, more strident folk-rock stylings that followed on From the Witchwood, with hints of progressive leanings.

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The original finale, the rocking, searing nine-minute epic “Where Is the Dream of Your Youth,” which clearly showed where the band was heading, was supplemented on a remastered CD reissue (A&M 540-938-2) with a haunting, moody “Vision of the Lady of the Lake,” featuring Dave Cousins and Rick Wakeman, and Tony Hooper’s showcase number, the surprisingly rousing “We’ll Meet Again,” from the same concert, and the contemporary studio creation “Forever.” The latter is the only track that doesn’t fit, its heavy string overdubs and studio ambience clashing with the live sound on the rest of the CD, although it does have Cousins’ best vocals of the album. The sound throughout is excellent, as one might expect since the producers returned to the original concert recordings, with rich detail and an especially robust presence to John Ford’s bass playing. (by Bruce Eder)

And “Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth” is one of the finest tracks, Strawbs ever recorded (including a short version of “America” by Leonard  Bernstein played in The Nice style).

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Personnel:
Dave Cousins (vocals, guitar, dulcimer)
John Ford (vocals, bass)
Tony Hooper (vocals, guitar, tambourine)
Richard Hudson (vocals, drums, percussion, sitar)
Rick Wakeman (keyboards, harpsichord, celeste)

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Tracklist:
01. Martin Luther King’s Dream (Cousins) 2.56
02. The Antique Suite (Cousins) 12.15
02.1. The Reaper
02.2. We Must Cross The River
02.3 Antiques And Curios
02.4. Hey It’s Been A Long Time
03. Temperament Of Mind (Wakeman) 4.53
04. Fingertips (Cousins) 6.17
05. Song Of A Sad Little Girl (Cousins) 5.29
06. Where Is This Dream Of Your Youth (Cousins) 9.09
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07. The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake (Cousins) 10.06
08. We’ll Meet Again Sometime (Cousins) 4.19
09. Forever (Cousins/Hooper) 3.34

(“Forever” is a studio track and was released as a single in 1970)

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Dave Mason – Headkeeper (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgHeadkeeper is a 1972 album by Dave Mason. Originally released on Blue Thumb Records as Blue Thumb 34 (a subsidiary of Famous Music Group), Headkeeper was reissued by MCA Records as MCA 712, then reissued on CD in 1988 as MCAD-31326).

In late 1971, Mason began recording Headkeeper. He envisioned a double album with one disk containing new studio recordings and the other live recordings with his new band. The live tracks had been recorded at some highly regarded dates at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles.

Mason thought that since he was Blue Thumb’s most successful artist, they should renegotiate his contract. When they refused, he slipped into the studio and took the master tapes of the recordings made to date.

Producer Tommy LiPuma then assembled an album from two-track safety masters that Mason did not take which Blue Thumb released. Mason publicly denounced the release as a “bootleg”.

Mason eventually signed a deal with Columbia Records who bought out his Blue Thumb contract.

Blue Thumb issued Dave Mason Is Alive in 1973 with remaining tracks from the Troubadour set. (by wikipedia)

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Dave Mason’s solo career, which had started so promisingly with Alone Together in 1970 and taken an odd, but pleasant detour with Dave Mason & Cass Elliot in 1971, hit a speed bump in 1972, when he entered into a dispute with his record label, Blue Thumb during preparations for a new album. As a result, Blue Thumb put together the half-a-studio-album Mason had completed with half of a live album and issued the consumer-confusing Headkeeper, which Mason denounced publicly and asked fans not to buy! Heard today, it’s still a confusing album, though the first five tracks are enjoyable music in the manner of Alone Together and the last five are well-performed concert versions of such favorites as “Feelin’ Alright?” and “Pearly Queen.” (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Felix “Flaco” Falcon (percussion)
Rick Jaeger (drums)
Mark Jordan (keyboards)
Dave Mason (guitar, vocals)
Lonnie Turner (bass)
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background vocals:
Rita Coolidge – Spencer Davis – Kathi McDonald – Graham Nash

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Tracklist:

In the studio:
01. To Be Free (Mason) 3.17
02. In My Mind (Mason) 3.15
03. Here We Go Again” – 1:56
04. A Heartache, A Shadow, A Lifetime (Mason) 3.34
05. Headkeeper (Mason) 4.37

Live recordings:

06. Pearly Queen (Capaldi/Winwood) 3.35
07. Just A Song (Mason) 3.00
08. World In Changes (Mason) 4.47
09. Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving (Mason) 3.02
10. Feelin’ Alright (Mason) 5.44

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The Band – Philadelphia Academy Of Music (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Band ! … while this bootleg is a little distant-sounding (let me remind you that this is live audience recording from nineteen-fricken’-sixty-nine!) it’s a stunning document that derives from the absolutely sweetest period in The Band’s history. That is, of course, the time following the recording of both Music from the Big Pink and the eponymous follow-up, The Band. This is the time after The Band’s collaboration with Bob Dylan had rocked the world (and resulted in The Band’s having three Dylan compositions – two of which were rare co-writes – in the set; “Tears of Rage”, “This Wheel’s on Fire” and `I Shall Be Released`. Of course The Band`s own song-writing was at its absolute peak in this time as the slew of songs branded into our consciousness from this set list like, `The Weight`, `Cripple Creek`and `The Night They Drove old Dixie Down` prove. (by musicruinedmylife.blogspot)

This one is absolutely essential for any Band fans – recorded a month after the release of the second album, the band is in fine form. The recording itself is remarkable for a mono audience tape from the late sixties. All the instruments are well balanced and clear, and the audience is present but never overpowers the music. Spectral analysis shows that it is lossless and as far as I know it’s never been shared in any form before. I got the show in a private trade over a decade ago – apparently, my source got it from the original taper who was concerned about possible bootlegging and requested that the recording keep a low profile. I’ve abided by that request for years, but this show is too great to keep it hidden for any longer.  (mrbun2729)

Attention please: This is a bootleg … an audience recording from 1969 … !

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Personnel:
Rick Danko (bass, vocals)
Levon Helm (drums, tambourine, vocals)
Garth Hudson (keyboard, clavinet, saxophone)
Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals)
Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. This Wheel’s On Fire (Danko/Dylab( 5.04
02. We Can Talk (Manuel) 2.48
03. Don’t Ya Tell Henry (Dylan) 3.26
04. Caledonia Mission (Robertson) 3.40
05. Chest Fever (Robertson) 3.45
06. I Shall Be Released (Dylan) 4.28
07. Lovin’ You (Riperton/Rudolph) 3.16
08. The Weight (Robertson) 4.21
09. Long Black Veil (Dill/Wilkin) 2.52
10. Tears Of Rage (Dylan/Manuel) 5.28
11. Don’t Do It (Holland/Dozier/Holland) 4.13
12. Unfaithful Servant (Robertson) 4.10
13. Up On Cripple Creek (Robertson) 3.67
14. Slippin’ and Slidin’ (Penniman/Collins/Smith) 3.35
15. Look Out Cleveland (Robertson) 3.27
16. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Robertson) 4.02

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