One of the all-time legendary rock groups The Band have had their legendary self-titled album re-released for a 50 year anniversary with a bunch of rare and previously unreleased material added to the already highly esteemed long player.
Following on from their debut album Music from Big Pink, their next effort is a more accomplished effort group of songs with Robbie Robertson taking over the main song writing duties. The album is an all-time classic featuring a mixture of rock, blues, jazz and skiffle. The blend is the stuff of what dreams are made of and The Band made many dreams come true with this defining release.
Highlights include Rag Mama Rag, an up tempo number with legendary drummer/vocalist Levon Helm taking the lead with his distinctive drawl. Up on Cripple Creek is a further upbeat number that would get any gathers of hipsters up on their feet. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down is one of rocks finest ever moments, a pain ridden ballad telling the tale of confederate civil war observer Virgil Cane. The Band’s sound across the album stands out as uniquely addictive with distinctive guitar fills from Robertson, Garth Hudson fills in the gaps with his imaginative keyboard structures plus with the vocal talents of Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel.
Across the 50th anniversary set there are a number of demos and alternative takes on many of the songs, hearing the different versions of the songs only goes to show the band had an ear for what worked and what doesn’t. Also featured is the full 1969 Woodstock performance, which consists mainly of Big pink song along with some covers including The Four Tops Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever.
With a number of different sets including 2 CD, 2 LP and a super deluxe version there are different bonuses across the newly 5.1 surround sound stereo mix which eloquently show off this sometimes simple looking release as a monumental release not to be scoffed at.
The 50th anniversary release can be purchased from The Band’s own website