Tuesday, March 23, 2010
If THE BAND were any other band, their name would be audacious, obnoxious and forgettable. As it turned out, The Band aka The Hawks deserve the title of THE quintessential group of musicians and calling themselves THE BAND is as fitting a title as any.
I've loved The Band since high school. I'd seen The Last Waltz, more for the other musicians involved than The Band themselves. I found an old copy of their self-titled second album at a garage sale among the first week or two that I started collecting records. I knew "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Weight" and a couple of other songs before I knew who sang them. I didn't know their story and I was hardly even into Bob Dylan at the time, but The Band was something special to me in those formative years.
Or rather, I claimed them to be.
After my initial exposure to The Band, I loved a handful of songs and appreciated what they were doing but I didn't really get it. I knew liking them was cooler than liking CSNY or CCR or other similarly styled bands that blurred the lines of rock, country, blues and folk. These scraggly dudes were accomplished musicians, that is what the internet told me. Robbie Robertson was one of the best songwriters of his generation, or so I heard. It took me years to finally succumb and agree.
This radio broadcast recorded live in 1976 isn't the best live document in The Band's catalogue, but for my money nothing they ever performed live was bad. It's good for a bootleg, but not the best audio quality ever. There is some major riffs and solos, but few instances that show what these musicians are actually capable of. The organ on this recording seems louder than actual studio albums which gives the songs a bit of a unique sound. They perform the songs you know, maybe some you don't. Good overview but no Last Waltz.
If you are a fan of The Band though, you should probably have this.
This is from The Last Waltz, but it still gives me chills, so I included it.