The Band – Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 (2013)

FrontCover1.jpgThis is my last entry in this year, in this decade … including a New Year´s Eve concert:

During the final week of 1971, The Band played four legendary concerts at New York City’s Academy Of Music, ushering in the New Year with electrifying performances, including new horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint and a surprise guest appearance by Bob Dylan for a New Year’s Eve encore. Select highlights from the concerts were compiled for The Band’s classic 1972 double LP, Rock Of Ages, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and remains a core album in the trailblazing group’s storied Capitol Records catalog.

For the first time, all four of the concerts’ multi-track recordings have been revisited for ‘Live At The Academy Of Music 1971,’ a new 4CD+DVD collection. The expansive new collection features new stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes, including 19 previously unreleased performances and newly discovered footage of two songs filmed by Howard Alk and Murray Lerner. ‘Live At The Academy Of Music 1971’ takes a deep dive into The Band’s historic shows for a definitive document of the pioneering group’s stage prowess at the apex of their career.

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Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 is presented in a deluxe, 48-page hardbound book (not included) with previously unseen photos, a reproduction of Rolling Stone’s original Rock Of Ages review by magazine co-founder Ralph J. Gleason, an essay by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, and appreciations of The Band and the set’s recordings by Mumford & Sons and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. The collection’s first two discs feature performances of every song played over the course of the four concerts, and the New Year’s Eve soundboard mix on discs 3 and 4 puts the listener in the room for that entire legendary night: Uncut, unedited, taken straight from the master recordings and presented in full for the first time. The set’s DVD (not included) presents the tracks from discs 1 and 2 in 5.1 Surround, plus Alk and Lerner’s filmed performances of ‘King Harvest (Has Surely Come)’ and ‘The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show.’

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The Band’s historic performances at New York City’s Academy of Music on Dec. 28-31, 1971 have been collected before, on one of the ’70s’ best live albums, ‘Rock of Ages.’ But the five-disc ‘Live at the Academy of Music 1971’ (which includes a DVD) paints a more complete picture of the shows. The set gathers songs from their four-concert, three-night stand, just as 1971 turned into 1972. The first two CDs compile highlights from the shows, including 29 songs from ‘Up on Cripple Creek’ and ‘I Shall Be Released’ to ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ and ‘The Weight’ as well as four from the New Year’s Eve concert where Bob Dylan joined them onstage. The third and fourth discs collect the complete New Year’s Eve concert 27 songs, including the same four with Dylan. Eleven songs in all are repeated from the first two CDs here, which can be both jarring and repetitive as you listen to the exact same performances within different contexts.

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It might all be too much for casual fans, even if 19 of the tracks are previously unreleased. The thrill of Garth Hudson’s massive organ moving from ‘The Genetic Method’ into ‘Auld Lang Syne’ loses some of its power on the New Year’s Eve set when you know it’s coming. Same goes for Dylan’s surprise appearance. Still, the concert-closing version of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ is almost as ferocious as the one Dylan and the Band played during their 1966 tour of the U.K. The DVD simply adds a visual element to some of the cuts from the album. But the Band find the various shadings in the songs without them. Listen to the way they swing through “Get Up Jake’ and pile their instrumental prowess onto the monumental ‘Chest Fever.’ Or even the way they spin the urbane Motown track ‘Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever’ toward their dusty-road Americana, all spiked by horn arrangements from New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint. That’s the sound of a band at the top of its game. (Promo text)

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Not so much an expansion of 1972’s classic double-live album Rock of Ages, but an exhaustive tribute to its source material, the four-CD/one-DVD 2013 box set Live at the Academy of Music 1971 digs deep into the Band’s year-end four-night stint at New York City’s Academy of Music. The original 18-track sequence for the 1972 LP has been abandoned in favor of a double-concert construct, where the first two discs present one version of each of the 29 songs the Band played over the course of these four nights, while the final two discs present the entirety of the New Years Eve concert that capped off this residency; this CD is remixed from the soundboard tapes, and the DVD replicates this New Years Eve concert (note that there is no footage of the NYE concert, so the music is presented with a selection of stills; nevertheless, there are full clips of the Band performing “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)” and “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” on December 30, which are welcome). This structure is an appealing one but invites perhaps more duplications than are necessary.

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The 29 songs on the first two disc contain 11 songs from the New Years Eve show — including the four-song encore with Bob Dylan — but the trade-off is the NYE concert is loaded with unheard versions of familiar songs: 16 of the 27 songs are previously unreleased (in contrast, the only unearthed song on the first two discs is a killer version of “Strawberry Wine”). Perhaps some of these performances are ever so slightly rougher than the accompanying ones on the first two discs, but that liveliness is part of the appeal (besides, this is hardly ragged; as enthusiastic as the Band is, they’re also supplemented by Allen Toussaint’s horn section, so they do need to hit their marks to ensure all the elements fit together). Rock of Ages and, in turn, Live at the Academy of Music 1971 do close out the early years of the Band. They’d tour again, supporting Bob Dylan in 1974, and they turned out a few more records before disbanding in 1976, but they never seemed as triumphant as they did at the end of 1971. Although this box is not perfect — it’s hard not to wish there were no duplications on the first two discs, or the last two — it is nevertheless a mighty testament to the Band at the peak of their powers. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Rick Danko (bass, violin, vocals)
Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, vocals)
Garth Hudson (keyboards, accordion, saxophone)
Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals)
Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals)
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Joe Farrell (saxophone, english horn)
Howard Johnson (saxophone, tuba, euphonium)
Earl McIntyre (trombone)
J.D. Parron (saxophone, clarinet)
Snooky Young (trumpet, flugelhorn)
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Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar on CD 2: 13 – 16.; CD 4: 13. – 16.)

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Tracklist:

CD 1: Live At The Academy Of Music (Part 1):
01. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show (Friday, December 31) (Robertson) 3.50
02. The Shape I’m In (Friday, December 31) (Robertson) 3.49
03. Caledonia Mission (Thursday, December 30) (Robertson) 3.20
04. Don’t Do It (Wednesday, December 29) (Holland/Dozier/Holland) 4.28
05. Stage Fright (Friday, December 31) (Robertson) 4.22
06. I Shall Be Released (Thursday, December 30) (Dylan) 4.01
07. Up On Cripple Creek (Thursday, December 30) (Robertson) 4.40
08. This Wheel’s On Fire (Wednesday, December 29) (Danko/Dylan) 3.48
09. Strawberry Wine (Tuesday, December 28) (Previously Unissued Performance) (Helm/ Robertson) 3.31
10. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) (Friday, December 31) (Robertson) 3.58
11. Time To Kill (Tuesday, December 28) (Robertson) 4.09
12. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Wednesday, December 29) (Robertson) 4.41
13. Across The Great Divide (Thursday, December 30) (Robertson) 3.28

CD 2: Live At The Academy Of Music (Part 2):
01. Life Is A Carnival (Thursday, December 30) (Danko/Helm/Robertson) 4.04
02. Get Up Jake (Thursday, December 30) (Robertson) 3.17
03. Rag Mama Rag (Friday, December 31) (Robertson) 4.04
04. Unfaithful Servant (Friday, December 31) (Robertson) 4.30
05. The Weight (Thursday, December 30) (Robertson) 5.16
06. Rockin’ Chair (Wednesday, December 29) (Robertson) 4.04
07. Smoke Signal (Tuesday, December 28) (Robertson) 5.20
08. The Rumor (Thursday, December 30) (Robertson) 5.04
09. The Genetic Method (Friday, December 31) (Hudson) 7.31
10. Chest Fever (Tuesday, December 28) (Robertson) 5.08
11. (I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (Wednesday, December 29) (Willis) 4.36
12. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever (Wednesday, December 29) (Hunter/Wonder) 3.31
13. Down In The Flood (with Bob Dylan) (Friday, December 31) (Dylan) 5.11
14. When I Paint My Masterpiece (with Bob Dylan) (Friday, December 31) (Dylan) 4.57
15. Don’t Ya Tell Henry (with Bob Dylan) (Friday, December 31) (Dylan) 3.55
16. Like A Rolling Stone (with Bob Dylan) (Friday, December 31) (Dylan) 5.26

CD 3: New Year´s Eve At The Academy Od Music 1971 (Soundboard Mix) (Part 1):
01. Up On Cripple Creek (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 5.11
02. The Shape I’m In (Robertson) 4.10
03. The Rumor (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 5.06
04. Time To Kill (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 4.23
05. Rockin’ Chair (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 4.10
06. This Wheel’s On Fire (Previously Unissued Performance) (Dank/Dylan) 4.03
07. Get Up Jake (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 3.41
08. Smoke Signal (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 5.31
09. I Shall Be Released (Previously Unissued Performance) (Dylan) 4.01
10. The Weight (Previously Unissued Performance) 5.15
11. Stage Fright (Robertson) 4.32

CD 4: New Year´s Eve At The Academy Od Music 1971 (Soundboard Mix) (Part 2):
01. Life Is A Carnival (Previously Unissued Performance) (Danko/Helm/Robertson) 5.12
02. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) (Robertson) 4.00
03. Caledonia Mission (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 3.29
04. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show (Robertson) 4.01
05. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 4.48
06. Across The Great Divide (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 3.52
07. Unfaithful Servant (Robertson) 4.37
08. Don’t Do It (Previously Unissued Performance) (Holland/Dozier/Holland) 4.45
09. The Genetic Method (Hudson) 7.52
10. Chest Fever (Previously Unissued Performance) (Robertson) 6.29
11. Rag Mama Rag (Holland/Dozier/Holland) 4.15
12. (I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (Previously Unissued Performance) (Willis) 4.40
13. Down In The Flood (with Bob Dylan) (Dylan) 5.43
14. When I Paint My Masterpiece (with Bob Dylan) (Dylan) 4.15
15. Don’t Ya Tell Henry (with Bob Dylan) (Dylan) 4.11
16. Like A Rolling Stone (with Bob Dylan) (Dylan) 5.41

CDs

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Rick Danko
(December 29, 1943 – December 10, 1999)

Levon Helm
(May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012)

Richard Manuel
(April 3, 1943 – March 4, 1986)

Various Artists – Endless Highway -The Music Of The Band (2007)

FrontCover1Endless Highway: The Music of The Band, a tribute to The Band, was released on January 30, 2007.

As a rule, tribute records are problematic; there are some tunes that shine, others that are interpreted as if the performer has no idea what the original artist was about. Amazingly, that’s not so on Endless Highway: The Music of The Band, despite a wider ranging roster than is usually proffered. This is also a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s brilliant film The Last Waltz commemorating the Band’s farewell concerts in San Francisco. The array here is simply dazzling. Recordings artists from across the popular music spectrum participate: there are the jam bands like the Allman Brothers, Widespread Panic and Blues Traveler; there are indie rockers like Guster, My Morning Jacket, and Death Cab for Cutie; big modern country names like Josh Turner and Lee Ann Womack; modern adult alternative popsters like Rosanne Cash, Bruce Hornsby and Jack Johnson; unclassifiable rockers like Gomez; and modern-day folkies like Jackie Greene and Steve Reynolds, with the Roches on the set, too. And while Bob Dylan isn’t here, Jakob is, in duet with Liz Wright on a gorgeous reading of “Whispering Pines.”

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But then, this whole thing works. Guster’s reverent and moving read of “This Wheel’s on Fire,” opens the set; it’s a beautiful place to start because it’s followed in true Band fashion by Hornsby’s swinging, funky rendition of “King Harvest,” only to be underscored by My Morning Jacket’s “It Makes No Difference.” It’s true that nobody could sing this song like Rick Danko, but it’s played with such understated passion and tension that it’s as necessary a cover as there ever has been. While everybody refers to the Staple Singers cover of “The Weight,” Lee Ann Womack brings the song back to its country roots with a vengeance It’s still a back porch gospel tune, but Womack underscores the rural grit in the tune.

Wow! Gomez count the Band among their many influences and have been playing its songs for over a decade. Their version of “Up on Cripple Creek” is a testament to this. It’s not radically re-interpreted, but as an English band, these cats get the hip and greasy funkiness in the original and bring it out. The live version of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” sung by Gregg Allman, is slow, ragged, and close to stunning. One would have to say that the Roches have been destined by God to cover “Acadian Driftwood.” While it is inextricably linked to the Band’s drummer Levon Helm, the Roches add a completely different spin on this with their wistful, female take on the dislocation, exile, and regret.

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Rosanne Cash’s “Unfaithful Servant” is one of the finest moments here and shows a great empathy for Robbie Robertson’s lyric writing. Yeah, Josh Turner’s deep hillbilly reading of Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” which the Band incomparably covered, is wonderful and nails the simplicity in Dylan’s narrative as well as having a backing band that idles up to the Band’s instrumental acumen. The set closes with a darkly interpreted version of “Rockin’ Chair” by Death Cab for Cutie. The sense of loss, reverie, and loneliness underscores Robertson’s intent, and the understated horns evoke the longing for Dixieland emphatically. In fact, there is only one cut here that doesn’t work — Jack Johnson’s — his utter lack of feeling in “I Shall Be Released” is unforgivable for one of the greatest prison songs ever penned by Dylanand definitively recorded by the Band. Johnson’s lack of lyricism and forced innocence do not ring true for the material. Otherwise, Endless Highway is not only a fitting tribute to the Band, but a necessary one and a blueprint for how it should be done. (by Thom Jurek)

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Tracklist:
01. Guster: This Wheel’s On Fire (Dylan/Danko) 3.25
02. Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers; King Harvest (Has Surely Come)” (Robertson) 4.03
03. My Morning Jacket: It Makes No Difference (Robertson) 6.18
04. Jack Johnson with Animal Liberation Orchestra: I Shall Be Released (Dylan) 4.12
05. Lee Ann Womack: The Weight (Robrtson) 4.48
05. Gomez: Up On Cripple Creek (Robertson) 4.38
06. The Allman Brothers Band: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Robertson) 5.04
07. Blues Traveler: Rag Mama Rag (Robertson) 3.19
08. John Hiatt & North Mississippi Allstars: Ain’t No More Cane (Robertson) 4.16
09. Jakob Dylan: Whispering Pines (Manuel/Robertson) 4.04
10. Animal Liberation Orchestra: Ophelia (Robertson) 3.40
11. Joe Henry: Bessie Smith (Robertson) 3.55
12. Jackie Greene: Look Out Cleveland (Robertson) 3.13
13. Death Cab for Cutie: Rockin’ Chair (Robertson) 5.26
14. Gov’t Mule: The Shape I’m In (Robertson) 7.48
15. Steve Reynolds: Stage Fright (Robertson) 3.44
16. Rosanne Cash: The Unfaithful Servant (Robertson) 4.56
17. Widespread Panic: Chest Fever (Robertson) 6.33
18. Josh Turner: When I Paint My Masterpiece (Dylan) 5.03
19. The Roches: Acadian Driftwood (Robertson) 5.22

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The Band, 1969

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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The Band – Music From The Big Pink (1968)

frontcover1Music from Big Pink is the debut studio album by the Band. Released in 1968, it employs a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, and soul. The music was composed partly in “Big Pink”, a house shared by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson in West Saugerties, New York. The album itself was recorded in studios in New York and Los Angeles in 1968,[6] and followed the band’s backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as the Hawks) and time spent together in upstate New York recording material that was officially released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes, also with Dylan. The cover artwork is a painting by Dylan.

The Band began to create their distinctive sound during 1967, when they improvised and recorded with Bob Dylan a huge number of cover songs and original Dylan material in the basement of a pink house in West Saugerties, New York, located at 56 Parnassus Lane (formerly 2188 Stoll Road). The house was built by Ottmar Gramms, who bought the land in 1952. The house was newly built when Rick Danko found it as a rental. Danko moved in along with Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel in February 1967. The house became known locally as “Big Pink’ for its pink siding. The house was subsequently sold by Gramms in 1977, and since 1998, it has been a private residence.

Though widely bootlegged at the time, the recordings Dylan and the Band made were first officially released in 1975 on The Basement Tapes, and then released in their totality in 2014 on The Basement Tapes Complete. By the end of 1967 The Band felt it was time to step out of Dylan’s shadow and make their own statement.

The Band’s manager Albert Grossman (who was also Dylan ‘s manager) approached Capitol Records to secure a record deal for a group still informally described as “Dylan’s backing band”. Stanley Gortikov at Capitol signed The Band—initially under the name The Crackers. Armed with news of a recording deal for the group, they lured Levon Helm back from the oil rigs where he had been working, to Woodstock where he took up his crucial position in the Band, singing and playing drums. Helm’s return coincided with a ferment of activity in Big Pink as the embryonic Band not only recorded with Dylan but also began to write their own songs, led by guitarist Robbie Robertson.

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After meeting with producer John Simon, the Band started to record their debut album in Manhattan at A&R Studios, on the 7th floor of 799 7th Avenue at 52nd Street in the early months of 1968. The Band recorded “Tears of Rage”, “Chest Fever”, “We Can Talk”, “This Wheel’s On Fire” and “The Weight” in two sessions. Robertson has said that when Simon asked them how they wanted it to sound, they replied, “Just like it did in the basement.”

Capitol were so pleased with the initial recording session, they suggested the group move to Los Angeles to finish recording their first album at Capitol Studios. They also cut some material at Gold Star Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard. The songs on Big Pink recorded in L.A. were “In A Station”, “To Kingdom Come”, “Lonesome Suzie”, “Long Black Veil” and “I Shall Be Released”.

Dylan offered to sing on the album, but ultimately realized it was important for the Band to make their own statement. Instead, Dylan signified his presence by contributing a cover painting. Barney Hoskyns has written that it is significant the painting depicts six musicians. The cover of Music From Big Pink was intended to establish the group as having a different outlook from the psychedelic culture of 1968. Photographer Elliott Landy flew to Toronto to photograph the assembled Danko, Manuel and Hudson families on the Danko chicken farm. A photo was inserted of Diamond and Nell Helm, who lived in Arkansas. The photo appeared on the cover with the caption “Next of Kin”.

The initial critical reception to the album was positive, though sales were slim. In Rolling Stone, Al Kooper’s rave review of Big Pink ended with the words, “This album was recorded in approximately two weeks. There are people who will work their lives away in vain and not touch it.”  which helped to draw public attention to it (even though Rolling Stone referred to them as “the band from Big Pink” instead of just “the Band”). The fact that Bob Dylan wrote one and co-wrote two of the songs on the album also attracted attention.

In 1968, “The Weight” peaked at #63 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart in the US. The song was a bigger hit elsewhere, peaking at #35 in Canada, and #21 in the UK. The album peaked at #30 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000 (see 2000 in music). “The Weight” gained widespread popularity, from the Band’s performance of it at Woodstock on 17 August 1969 and due partially to its inclusion in the film Easy Rider, though it was omitted from the soundtrack because of licensing issues. A cover version by the band Smith was included on the soundtrack album instead.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 34 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The laid-back feel of the album attracted the attention of other major artists. For example, Eric Clapton cites the album’s roots rock style as what convinced him to quit Cream, and pursue the styles of Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie, Derek and the Dominos and his debut album. George Harrison was also impressed by the album’s musicianship and sense of camaraderie, and Roger Waters called it the second “most influential record in the history of rock and roll”, after Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and said that it “affected Pink Floyd deeply, deeply, deeply.” (by wikipedia)

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None of the Band’s previous work gave much of a clue about how they would sound when they released their first album in July 1968. As it was, Music from Big Pink came as a surprise. At first blush, the group seemed to affect the sound of a loose jam session, alternating emphasis on different instruments, while the lead and harmony vocals passed back and forth as if the singers were making up their blend on the spot. In retrospect, especially as the lyrics sank in, the arrangements seemed far more considered and crafted to support a group of songs that took family, faith, and rural life as their subjects and proceeded to imbue their values with uncertainty. Some songs took on the theme of declining institutions less clearly than others, but the points were made musically as much as lyrically. Tenor Richard Manuel’s haunting, lonely voice gave the album much of its frightening aspect, while Rick Danko’s and Levon Helm’s rough-hewn styles reinforced the songs’ rustic fervor. The dominant instrument was Garth Hudson’s often icy and majestic organ, while Robbie Robertson’s unusual guitar work further destabilized the sound. The result was an album that reflected the turmoil of the late ’60s in a way that emphasized the tragedy inherent in the conflicts. Music from Big Pink came off as a shockingly divergent musical statement only a year after the ornate productions of Sgt. Pepper, and initially attracted attention because of the three songs Bob Dylan had either written or co-written. However, as soon as “The Weight” became a minor singles chart entry, the album and the group made their own impact, influencing a movement toward roots styles and country elements in rock. Over time, Music from Big Pink came to be regarded as a watershed work in the history of rock, one that introduced new tones and approaches to the constantly evolving genre. (by William Ruhlmann)

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

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Tracklist:
01. Tears Of Rage (Dylan/Manuel) 5.24
02. To Kingdom Come (Robertson) 3.23
03. In A Station (Manuel) 3.35
04. Caledonia Mission (Robertson) 2.59
05. The Weight (Robertson) 4.39
06. We Can Talk  (Manuel) 3.07
07. Long Black Veil (Wilkin/Dill) 3.06
08. Chest Fever (Robertson) 5.19
09. Lonesome Suzie (Manuel) 4.04
10. This Wheel’s On Fire (Dylan/Danko) 3.14
11. I Shall Be Released (Dylan) 3.19
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12. Yazoo Street Scandal (outtake) (Robertson) 4.02
13. Tears Of Rage (alternate take) (Dylan/Manuel) 5.32
14. Katie’s Been Gone (outtake) (Manuel/Robertson) 2.47
15. If I Lose (outtake) (Poole) 2.30
16. Long Distance Operator (outtake) (Dylan) 3.58
17. Lonesome Suzie (alternate take) (Manuel) 3.01
18. Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast) (outtake) (Manuel) 3.40
19. Key To The Highway (outtake) (Broonzy) 2.28
20. Ferdinand The Imposter (outtake) (Robertson) 4.00

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The “Big Pink” house in 2006

The Band – King Biscuit Flower Hour (1976)

FrontCover1This was The Band near the end of their run. They were just weeks away from their final concert (which became the overstuffed movie The Last Waltz) and Robbie Robertson left the band shortly after. This recording shows them as seasoned vets, playing material they’d been comfortable with for years.” Note: per the Bill Graham Archive, the actual date of this performance is now assumed to be 17 July 1976, not 16 August 1976 as stated in Band books and on King Biscuit Flower Hour bootlegs.

Given that this edition of the Band was on its last legs, it’s a pleasant surprise that this recording finds them sounding tight and enthusiastic; Robbie Robertson’s guitar work in particular is sharp and incisive, Garth Hudson’s keyboard work is marvelously evocative, and Levon Helm’s drumming and vocals are first-rate (Rick Danko and Richard Manuel are in fine voice as well). Unlike The Last Waltz, this captures the Band without special guests or a horn section, and many of these songs actually sound tighter and more powerful without the gingerbread, especially “The Weight” and “Up on Cripple Creek,” while Hudson’s keyboard showcase “The Genetic Method” gives one of the group’s secret weapons a chance to run wild to impressive effect. (allmusic.com)

Recorded live at the Carter Baron Amphitheater, Washington, DC; July 17, 1976
Complete King Biscuit Flower Hour show
Very good to excellent FM stereo

TheBand1976Personnel:
Rick Danko (bass, vocals)
Levon Helm (drums, vocals)
Garth Hudson (organ)
Robbie Robertson (guitar, background vocals)
Richard Manuel (piano, vocals)

Front+BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Don’t Do It (B.Holland/Dozier/E.Holland) 5.40
02. The Shape I’m In  (Robertson) 4.09
03. It Makes No Difference (Robertson) 7.23
04. The Weight (Robertson) 4.55
05. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) (Robertson) 3.45
06. Twilight (Robertson) 3.28
07. Ophelia (Robertson) 3.50
08. Tears Of Rage (Dylan/Manuel) 5.59
09. Forbidden Fruit (Robertson) 6.11
10. This Wheel’s On Fire (Dylan/Danko) 4.01
11. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Robertson) 4.03
12. The Genetic Method 3:59 (6.7MB)
13. Chest Fever (Robertson) 4.31
14. Up On Cripple Creek (Robertson) 5.56
15. WS Walcott Medicine Show (Robertson) 4.05

TheBand1976-02*
**

Bob Dylan + The Band – Planet Waves (1974)

FrontCover1Planet Waves is the fourteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on January 17, 1974 by Asylum Records in the United States and Island Records in the United Kingdom.

Dylan is supported on the album by longtime collaborators The Band, with whom he embarked on a major reunion tour following its release (documented on the live album Before the Flood) (the tour started a couple weeks before release—though Asylum did want the album out first). With a successful tour and a host of publicity, Planet Waves was a hit, enjoying a brief stay at #1 on the US Billboard charts—a first for the artist—and #7 in the UK. Critics were not as negative as they had been with some then-recent Bob Dylan albums (namely Self Portrait and Dylan), but still not enthusiastic for the album’s brand of laid-back roots rock.

The album was originally set to be titled Ceremonies of the Horsemen, a reference to the song “Love Minus Zero/No Limit”, from the 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home; the release was delayed two weeks when Dylan decided to change the title at the last minute. Another, earlier working title was Wedding Song.

The cover art is drawn by Dylan himself. Written on the right side of the cover image is the phrase, “Cast-iron songs & torch ballads,” apparently signaling Dylan’s own conception of the album. On the left side is written “Moonglow”, which is sometimes interpreted as a subtitle. The initial release also included an insert which reportedly set out excerpts from Dylan’s personal journals. (by wikipedia)

BobDylanTheBand1974Reteaming with the Band, Bob Dylan winds up with an album that recalls New Morning more than The Basement Tapes, since Planet Waves is given to a relaxed intimate tone — all the more appropriate for a collection of modest songs about domestic life. As such, it may seem a little anticlimactic since it has none of the wildness of the best Dylan and Band music of the ’60s — just an approximation of the homespun rusticness. Considering that the record was knocked out in the course of three days, its unassuming nature shouldn’t be a surprise, and sometimes it’s as much a flaw as a virtue, since there are several cuts that float into the ether. Still, it is a virtue in places, as there are moments — “On a Night Like This,” “Something There Is About You,” the lovely “Forever Young” — where it just gels, almost making the diffuse nature of the rest of the record acceptable. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

ForeverYoungPersonnel:
Bob Dylan (guitar, piano, harmonica, vocals)
+
The Band:
Rick Danko (bass)
Levon Helm (drums)
Garth Hudson (organ)
Richard Manuel (piano, drums)
Robbie Robertson (guitar)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. On A Night Like This 2.57
02. Going, Going, Gone 3-27
03. Tough Mama 4.17
04. Hazel 2.50
05. Something There Is About You 4.45
06. Forever Young  4.57
07. Forever Young 2.49
08. Dirge 5.36
09. You Angel You 2.54
10. Never Say Goodbye 2.56
11. Wedding Song 4.42

All songs written by Bob Dylan

LabelA1*
**