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The Band – The Band (1969)

February 18, 2014

[Album 288/1001]The_Band_(album)_coverart

Fellow blogger Suzie81 had a nice post today about life’s little pleasures.

I’d add ‘filing away compliments for future reference’ to the list.

Especially when:

a) I don’t fully appreciate them at the time
b) The compliment may not be entirely accurate/more than a tad generous!

When I was in high school, another student said my guitar playing reminded him of Mark Knopfler.  Upon learning that he was the Sultans of Swing guitarist, needless to say I was flattered.

A few months ago, my boss said my bass playing reminded him of Rick Danko.  The name sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it.  After hearing Danko’s work with The Band, specifically on The Band, the comparison is very much appreciated.

From Dylan’s 1966 bootleg, I knew these guys could play.

It was nice to hear them step out on their own on the debut, Music From Big Pink.  I wasn’t totally unmoved by the album but, admittedly, I also wasn’t overwhelmed.

Its eponymous follow-up is a different story; The Band is fantastic.  The album tracks are as strong as the hits, a dozen keepers in all.

I’ve been moaning for the past few posts about more being less, the presence of additional musicians taking away from solid individual performances by Eminem & Nick Drake.

What makes this album so effective is the group dynamic.

One shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but in this case, the packaging is an appropriate preview of the sound: miles from shiny/glossy overproduction, a team effort, and difficult to pinpoint its year of release as the songs would (and will continue to) sound great in any era.

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From → 1960s

16 Comments
  1. I want this album. I’ve been looking for used copy, remastered with bonus tracks! I love the Americana and historic backgrounds to the songs.

    • With the Americana themes, nI always forget that the band has a few canucks in the group!

      I borrowed the LP of this one from my dad, it was priced at $4.99, marked down from $6.29.

      May be tough to find it at those prices these days!

      • I found Music From Big Pink in Toronto used, remastered, bonus tracks for about $10. The same store had this one remastered, bonus tracks, but new — maybe $17. I can’t remember. No regrets though, next time I’ll find it used!

      • I’m the same with price points – although I’d enjoy the $17 version, I prefer the satisfaction of finding it at the right cost!

      • It’s a balancing act. How badly do you want it vs. How much will you pay? Add in the rarity factor. With the Band I’m not worried — that album is in print and probably forever will be, in some cool remastered edition or another.

  2. Wow, guitar like Mark Knopfler & bass like Rick Danko. Why aren’t you famous yet? Haha. Nice write-up on an album that I can’t imagine any open-minded music fan not absolutely loving. I happen to think Music From Big Pink and The Band are both overwhelming works of beauty, although if I had to choose one over the other, this sophomore album would get my vote.

    And here’s my self-promoting plug. In 2011 I wrote a series on The Band’s discography and it’s still one of my favorite re-discoveries since I started the blog. Here’s a link to the post that includes their first two albums. Hope you enjoy it.
    http://kamertunesblog.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/the-band-part-2-%E2%80%93-this-band%E2%80%99s-on-fire/

    • Alas, I think I’m actually only comparable to either of them when it comes to holding a long note or strumming a chord – but I always appreciate a compliment, however inaccurate the comparison may be!

      • Heck, even if you only look as good as they did holding a guitar or bass, without even being able to play them, that’s an accomplishment. Bask in the glow of those compliments, no matter how wrong you make think they are.

  3. Americana music by a bunch of mainly Canadian musicians. Damn they were a great band.

    • That’s it exactly – a full band sound. Have you seen The Last Waltz? I’ve been told it’s absolutely essential.

  4. I love these guys. So talented. I never get tired of them. My favourite has to be Up on Cripple Creek. I know, overplayed, but can’t help myself – I sing every time!

    • Nothing wrong with that – I singalong as well, though I never remember the words after ‘up on cripple creek’ and have to mumble along instead!

  5. Let us not forget that The Band are responsible for the death of Cream. (That is, The Band and Rolling Stone calling Clapton “the master of the cliche”.) After hearing Pink, Clapton said he “no longer wanted to play extended solos and maestro bullshit, but just good, funky songs”. (The fact that Robertson played one also caused him to switch from Gibsons to Strats.) The funny thing is, when Robertson heard this, he said “That’s a shame; I am a big fan of Cream”. 😦

    • I knew he was impressed by the Band – I hadn’t realized that was the extent of the influence!

      Clapton, master of cliche? Not a title I would have given him. Sounds more like Decca Recording’s laughable assessment of the beatles in the early 60s,

      “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”

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