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THE BAND - Rock Of Ages (1972) [Japan Remaster 2004]
The last four nights of 1971 witnessed a series of soulful performances by The Band at New York's Academy Of Music, the highlights of which were captured on "Rock Of Ages," an exceptionally unadulterated live recording. While many performers would come to rely on an entire orchestra in an attempt to make their live albums more appealing, The Band succeeded with only a modest horn section.
It sure isn't the sound quality that makes this album, but it's definitely the sincerity of every note. After that year's "Cahoots" was unjustly regarded as a disappointment, The Band reminded everyone why they could call themselves THE Band in the first place. They troop through their cannon of work with emotion and integrity. Though 'The Shape I'm In' may lack the grit of the studio version, and 'The Weight' may not be as well tuned as its counterpart, it is more than made up for by the loyally true feeling that is generated throughout "Rock Of Ages." The horns add a whole new musical layer to many songs; they give more sadness or emotion to the likes of 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,' and flavor on songs like 'Chest Fever;' the latter boasts keyboardist Garth Hudson's exciting, brilliant organ intro 'The Genetic Method,' which contains as many twists as there are crumbs in Hudson's beard. However, on some songs, the horns don't work so well and appear to overbearing. Meanwhile, 'Get Up Jake' is a fantastic track that was formerly only a B-side, while '(I Don't Want To) Hang Up My Rock 'n' Roll Shoes' preludes their next project, "Moondog Matinee."
Perfectly remastered, this edition of "Rock Of Ages" contains a bonus disc of unreleased cuts from the concert, including the essential hymnal 'I Shall Be Released' and four songs featuring a cameo by Bob Dylan. It's a mystery why these tracks were not included on the original release, except for "Like A Rolling Stone" in which it appears Dylan forgets some of his lyrics, mumbling inaudibly through parts of the song (or is it just bad sound?). But despite its flaws, this is a potent and strong concert recording. "The Last Waltz" documented their end--"Rock Of Ages" is the essence of their musical spirit. - amazon.com
DISC 1: 01. Introduction 02. Don't It 03. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) 04. Caledonia Mission 05. Get Up Jake 06. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show 07. Stage Fright 08. The Night They Drove Dixie Down 09. Across The Great Divide 10. This Wheel's On Fire 11. Rag Mama Rag 12. The Weight 13. The Shape I'm In 14. Unfaithful Servant 15. Life Is A Carnival 16. The Genetic Method 17. Chest Fever 18. (I Don't Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes
DISC 2: 01. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever 02. I Shall Be Released 03. Up On Cripple Creek 04. The Rumor 05. Rockin' Chair 06. Time To Kill 07. Down In The Flood 08. When I Paint My Masterpiece 09. Don't Ya Tell Henry 10. Like A Rolling Stone
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