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By Brooks Long
April 5, 2003
This album is truly great. I have never heard a better or more multifaceted album in all of my life. The songs range in topics from a bitter confederate civil war veteran on the "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" to a fun-loving companion on "Up On Cripple Creek" to an old man waiting to die on "Rockin' Chair". They touch on and blend together many musical genres,with the country funk of "Cripple Creek", the mountain ragtime of "Rag Mama Rag", and the gospel-tinged rock of "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)". And throughout it all, these guys are rockin' out! Richard Manuel, the most underrated singer of the late 60's, simply breaks the heart on tunes like "Whispering Pines" and makes you want to get up and strut on "King Harvest", playing his great rhythm piano all the way through. Robbie Robertson plays his brilliantly modest guitar. Levon Helm's clean and energetic drumming sounds just as fun and broken in as his singing. Rick Danko, who is one bassist without an inferiority complex, belts out the songs. And Garth Hudson is a complete beast behind the organs, never, ever playing exactly the same way twice. The album rolls along so smoothly that on first listens one might miss the genius, but believe me, it's there.
To listen to some sound clips from THE BAND or to buy it. click on: The Band
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