[48] The Band – The Band

7 Mar

I feel the need to start this week’s blog post with a rather embarrassing admission. Whenever I heard someone discussing The Band, or read an article mentioning The Band, I always assumed they were talking about some generic punk outfit.

The Band

The Band











Instead, I quickly discover a group of musicians whose collective DNA appears to have filtered into the very essence of almost everything that has followed in the musical mainstream for the next 45 years.

The influence of these gorgeous close harmonies and sweeping images, these infectious melodies and the layers of musicianship can be heard throughout modern folk and pop, rock and country music.

It is no surprise that even a partial list of those acknowledging the debt is as long as it is impressive, ranging from Eric Clapton and George Harrison, through CSNY, Led Zeppelin and Elvis Costello, to Phish, Elton John and the Crow(e)s both Black and Counting.

Despite not matching name with genre there was no way that I could have avoided hearing many of these songs.  But even so the most familiar of them, the majestic and epic “The Weight”, does not actually appear on this album. And the song I probably know best, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, I know as a Joan Baez hit.

So hearing the original versions – the jumbles of organs and fiddles and banjos and electric guitars which somehow coalesces into an ever so pleasing whole – feels strangely like coming home.

Seriously, how was this masterpiece not already in my collection?

The overall effect is one of defining Americana (especially surreal seeing as all but one of those performing on this album were Canadians), of merging the flavors of rock and gospel, country and jazz without ever landing firmly in any of those camps.

The Band is a musical melting pot and an exceptional ride.

Owned before blogging? No. (2 of 48. 4%)
Heard before blogging? No. (4 of 48. 8%)
Recommend? Yes. (39 of 48. 81%)

Next Week: Samuel Barber – Adagio For Strings


2 Responses to “[48] The Band – The Band”

  1. nycavri March 7, 2014 at 9:44 PM #

    More good stuff on this gem from the Countdown Kid blog: http://countdownkid.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/ck-retro-review-the-band-by-the-band/

  2. skinnyuz2b March 9, 2014 at 1:58 PM #

    I was introduced to The Band by my art teacher while a junior in college (1970). I remember listening to them while sitting in the dark with a few friends and watching my masterpiece. A cardboard box with Christmas lights and strobe light inside, tiny holes cut out, and paper over the end. Guess you had to see it to get the picture.

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