Incalculably influential sophomore release a country- and folk-rock benchmark
Includes staples "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Across the Great Divide," "Up On Cripple Creek"
Many believe it's the most perfect Americana album ever made. This 1969 touchstone very well may be. Advancing the chemistry and cohesion of the group's ground-shifting debut, The Band is an inimitable distillation of compelling storytelling, cosmic divinity, loose country-rock tunefulness, and superbly crafted songwriting. Warm, literate, poignant, and intimate, the record established new standards for seemingly effortless telepathic interplay among first-class musicians whose creations are as much about feeling as they are about sound.
This LP burrows into the sonic heart of hearth-rich fare that balances Appalachia's mountain flavors, the Old West's rollicking free spiritedness, Canada's limitless vast folk sprawl, and the Deep South's whiskey-soaked drawl. Arkansas native Richard Helm blends his rural roots with guitarist Robbie Robertson's allegorical narratives, the pair meeting at a crossroads that, on this pressing, reveals textures as organic as cotton and tonalities as timeless as the look of classic filmstrips.
Sensitive, graceful, magnetic, entirely genuine: Whether focusing on Richard Manuel's spiritual piano chords and evocative tenor, Rick Danko's simple albeit direct bass lines and melancholy deliveries, Robertson's pull-no-punches leads, Garth Hudson's majestically tuckpointed organ runs, or Helm's percussive rhythms, from the swampy bayou grooves, jaw-harp-mimicking clavinet passages, and traditional yodels found on "Up on Cripple Creek" to the jubilant dance persuasion of "Rag Mama Rag," The Band blends mythological devices with authentic melodies, rustic acoustic properties with haunting harmonies. Universally identifiable, the characters in the songs are people well-versed in hardship, depression, working-class struggle, and Skid Row trouble.