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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Band

The Band

1969

The Band

Album Summary

The Band is the second studio album by the Band, released on September 22, 1969. It is also known as The Brown Album. According to Rob Bowman's liner notes for the 2000 reissue, The Band has been viewed as a concept album, with the songs focusing on people, places and traditions associated with an older version of Americana. Thus, the songs on this album draw on historic themes for "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" and "Jawbone" (which was composed in the unusual 6/4 time signature).

Wikipedia

Rating

3.37

Votes

5824

Genres

  • Rock
  • Country
  • Folk
  • Psychedelic Rock
Reviews
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Mon Jun 07 2021
5

A folk rock masterpiece. Every song has just the right amount of twang and dirt without it turning into outright country. The Band really gets rolling and there’s not a bad track on the album.

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Fri May 14 2021
5

I wasn’t expecting much when I saw I had an album made in 1969. What a fool I was. I was hooked from the opening to the closing track. Each song had a unique sound to it while still being one piece of the complete puzzle. Up on Cripple Creek was extremely catchy while King Harvest was my favorite. I knew after my fourth listen of the day that this was a resounding five stars. I can’t think of a single flaw to say.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
3

Meh, good to listen to while drinking beer in the sun. Dad probably likes this album

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Wed Sep 30 2020
5

Fuckin sick as hell

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Sat Mar 06 2021
5

absolutely cozy and lived-in well-deserved classic. plays like your favorite pair of jeans. fav track: the unfaithful servant

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Fri Feb 26 2021
5

The Band's first album, Music from Big Pink, seemed to come out of nowhere, with its ramshackle musical blend and songs of rural tragedy. The Band, the group's second album, was a more deliberate and even more accomplished effort, partially because the players had become a more cohesive unit, and partially because guitarist Robbie Robertson had taken over the songwriting, writing or co-writing all 12 songs. Though a Canadian, Robertson focused on a series of American archetypes from the union worker in "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" and the retired sailor in "Rockin' Chair" to, most famously, the Confederate Civil War observer Virgil Cane in "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." The album effectively mixed the kind of mournful songs that had dominated Music from Big Pink, here including "Whispering Pines" and "When You Awake" (both co-written by Richard Manuel), with rollicking up-tempo numbers like "Rag Mama Rag" and "Up on Cripple Creek" (both sung by Levon Helm and released as singles, with "Up on Cripple Creek" making the Top 40). As had been true of the first album, it was The Band's sound that stood out the most, from Helm's (and occasionally Manuel's) propulsive drumming to Robertson's distinctive guitar fills and the endlessly inventive keyboard textures of Garth Hudson, all topped by the rough, expressive singing of Manuel, Helm, and Rick Danko that mixed leads with harmonies. The arrangements were simultaneously loose and assured, giving the songs a timeless appeal, while the lyrics continued to paint portraits of 19th century rural life (especially Southern life, as references to Tennessee and Virginia made clear), its sometimes less savory aspects treated with warmth and humor. [Source: https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-band-mw0000192897]

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Thu Dec 02 2021
5

Dylan established the style of songs described by Greil Marcus as 'weird old america' on his John Wesley Harding album and Basement Tapes, but The Band pushed it to a whole new level with their first few albums. I find it staggering that this album exists, its magic.

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Wed Feb 09 2022
5

Robbie Robertson found a way to position himself as the leader of The Band. The front man if you will. The alpha of the group, despite the fact that he NEVER SANG LEAD on any of their songs. And we're talking about a band - THE Band - that had three great lead singers. In fact, legend has it they even had to mute Robbie's mic during The Last Waltz because he just couldn't harmonize with Levon and the boys. Apparently Robbie's plan was to make sure the other 4 members of The Band soaked themselves in booze and drugs while he remained sober and took all of the songwriting royalties he could. But just look at that photo of The Band on this album's cover. Who do you think is the leader of this motley group? Certainly not the dude on the far right who looks like a cross between a substitute high school teacher and a failed character actor. No way. It's the gruff lookin' fella out front on the left. The singing drummer, who would also take turns on the mandolin and guitar. The one who would play Loretta Lynn's father in Coal Miner's Daughter and Jack Ridley in The Right Stuff. He's also the one who sings lead on The Band's best songs. Levon Helm deserved better, or at the very least some of the spotlight Robbie Robertson refused to give anyone but himself. Tune in for next time when I talk about why The Last Waltz soundtrack should be on this list, perhaps in place of Music From The Big Pink. But make no mistake: This is the country rock you're looking for. Better than anything by The Byrds or The Flying Burrito Brothers. It's as close to a perfect album as any on this list. I listened to the Deluxe Edition on Spotify because that's just who I am. I'm a completist. Maybe that's why all my friends call me Whiskers.

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Tue Jul 13 2021
3

Critics may refer to the band as being contemporaries of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. but I think that’s a bid generous. This is good for what it is - early American / southern rock. I’m sure they are fun to watch jam but this didn’t really do it for me

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Wed Feb 16 2022
3

The longer I listen to albums on this list, the more I'm starting to doubt my own ability to recognize good songs. I keep getting albums like this where the only songs I really like are the ones I've already heard. Feels like I'm good at recognizing music but not critiquing it. "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" are 5+ stars but everything else is a 3. 3.5 stars overall.

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Tue Jun 22 2021
2

It's acceptable rock music with Western influences, but it's not particularly exciting and doesn't have anything catchy enough to make me want to give it a second listen.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
1

Just really not my cup of tea, hope they sort the harvest out.

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Wed May 04 2022
1

The Band played at my 14th birthday party. They were all stoned and one of them threw up all over my new yellow pullover that my nan had knitted. I can't thank them enough. It was hideous. She was so shit at knitting. A pathetic laughing stock in the needle world. Grandad later divorced her because of her knitting. Honestly, it was so bad. Fantastic at sewing though.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

Could only be improved if it was called the album.

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Mon Feb 01 2021
2

Basically fine, but not very interesting. Is it honky tonk? It sounds honky tonk. What is honky tonk? Not massively keen. Terrible band name.

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Thu Jul 08 2021
2

Bit dull. Also a dreadful name for a group.

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Mon Apr 05 2021
2

A little too old people day drinking in the park for me. Also full of super casual misogyny.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
2

halfway through, dont like this at all so far. okay surprisingly the last 3 tracks were okay. enough to bump it up to a 2.

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Thu Jul 01 2021
2

Sort of boring

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Tue Feb 16 2021
5

Can't go wrong with THE BAND!

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Sat Feb 06 2021
5

Didn't listen, but have listened.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Epic

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Still sound great

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Some of these songs suffer for having superior performances on the Last Waltz, but the album is superlative all the same.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

A yearning for Americana of old. This is the second of two showcases for why The Band are in high contention for being the best band of the 60's

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Fri May 14 2021
5

Always a consistent point of view, but never felt one note or stuck in a box. A lot of songs we like sound like this- you can really hear how massively influential The Band is.

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Mon May 10 2021
5

Excelent album! Added to the favourites. Accross the great divide and whispering pines are my highlights

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Sat Jun 05 2021
5

An awesome album. Lots of songs I knew but didn’t realize were on this album. Will listen to most of this album again soon

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Thu Jul 08 2021
5

It's a classic.

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Fri Jul 09 2021
5

Top quality all the way through. Not a well song on the album and some absolute classics.

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Sun Jul 11 2021
5

Brilliant album, so much variety often in the same track.

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Mon Sep 13 2021
5

10th September 2021 Supposed to listen to this on Friday but ended up listening on Monday morning when back at home to work for the week. Has an immediate place and sound, so easy and fluid but grooves when it needs to. Love it.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
5

Masterpiece.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
5

I liked this one, as I anticipated I might. It was nice background music for what I was doing around the house, and it was a genre that I enjoy.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
5

Mumford & Sons should sue

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Mon Oct 18 2021
5

Love it

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Mon Nov 01 2021
5

This is amazing. I know this is one of those albums that just gets better the more familliar you get with it. I am considering just giving it a 5 because I know I'll regret if I don't have it as one of the greats. I love the cover too :)

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

I have listened to many of these songs before but a new song from this album is 'whispering pines'. The album is good for this time of year and just overall amazing.

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Wed Nov 17 2021
5

Great. Folky, harmony. Maybe a favorite

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Wed Oct 13 2021
5

I first bought this when I was 19 or 20 off the back of Colin Larkin's 1000 best albums by and hated it. Found it really slow and boring. Unsurprisingly given I was into sixties psych, garage and pop at the time. It's fair to say my taste has evolved since as a few listens over time has shown this to be a corker of an album that brims with warmth and mighty fine musicianship. Best tracks are 'Across the Great Divide', 'Rag Mamma Rag' and 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' (the opening 3 numbers). All in all, superb Americana.

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Sat Dec 04 2021
5

I was skeptical about it (the name is too postmodern for the music The Band plays) but there are some gems. Up on Cripple Creek is my fav.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
5

One of the best

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Sat Dec 25 2021
5

I love love love The Band. This album is an all-time classic. I still probably like their first album (Music from Big Pink) better, but I'm definitely in the minority with that opinion. They're both classics. While Up on Cripple Creek and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down are the most well known songs on this album (deservedly so) my favorites are When You Awake and Rockin' Chair. So great. 5 stars.

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Mon Jan 10 2022
5

Not for me, this type of rock just goes right over my head.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
5

Feel good tunes my parents used to play when i was young.... nice!

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Fri Jan 28 2022
5

Standin by your window in pain Pistol in your hand

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Tue Feb 22 2022
5

Come on, it's THE band.

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Tue Mar 01 2022
5

I’ve been here before but somehow missed the haunting beauty of Whispering Pines.

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Fri Mar 04 2022
5

This album is an all-time forever favourite of mine. It gives you everything in perfect measure. It's emotional yet ebullient, earnest yet flip, folksy yet full of soul; it's a masterclass in storytelling and songwriting. It takes the listener on an incredible journey of good ole' times with quirky characters through wholly visceral places. It's amazing how pleasantly relatable and fun it can be one moment and how swiftly it turns deep and contemplative. Helm's vocals have always been the standout for me, he has a way of evoking deep emotion so easily while maintaining this unique twangy cool. Every note drips authenticity. He's so convicted about everything he says; I believe him and I feel like I know him intimately too. It's remarkable the way he can open up and draw you in to his world in the same breath. I just love this album so fucking much "... and I dig it!"

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Mon Mar 14 2022
5

Never trust a man that doesn’t think this album deserves five stars

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Mon Mar 14 2022
5

Up on cripple creek alone is worth 5 stars

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Mon Mar 21 2022
5

The gold standard for roots rock/Americana. Just impeccable songwriting and musicianship.

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

It's the band! 5 stars for Levon Helms voice alone. Great album, though a little uneven. Music from the big pink is still there best.

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

Great album by a great band. If I’m being honest I’d give this a 4.5 because it does drag a bit at times but the highs are too high to give this a 4. Up on Cripple Creek is one of my faves by them with a fantastic groove. Look out Cleveland, the night they drove old Dixie down and King harvest are also highlights. What an excellent group of musicians.

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

A great album start to finish. Finally a true 5 for me.

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Fri Apr 22 2022
5

10/10, I think I like this one even more than Big Pink, I mean, it’s hard to beat Tears of Rage but the Deluxe Edition of this has a really fun live version so either way it’s a dub this album kinda feels like a guilty pleasure since I wouldn’t call myself a country fan but Bob Dylan and The Band just hit different, ya know?

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Fri May 13 2022
5

This was always on rotation at our house growing up. My dad and I share this band together as a favorite. Always makes me think of him.

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Sat Jun 25 2022
5

Beautiful, already loved it and great tobget it on a friday morning. A stomp trlhrough the pines.

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Mon Jun 27 2022
5

A great folk rock record from a talented band, this has you foot stamping and toe tapping right from the off. Brilliantly crafted, no foot placed wrong, joyful.

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Mon Jul 18 2022
5

Folk, rock, 1969. Essential record for all the rock n' roll lovers and one of the most influential albums in the history of music. This is a true masterpiece full of great and memorable songs both lyrically, vocally and instrumentaly (eg. Whispering Pines, Up On Cripple Creed and basically any other track). If you want to spend 44 minutes listening to beautiful music this may be the right LP.

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Wed Jul 20 2022
5

Screw you guys, five stars!

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Tue Aug 16 2022
5

Gosh darnit it's just gawd dang great. Hard to fault

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Fri Aug 26 2022
5

The Band chose the best name ever for any band. They truly deserved it. Here was a group of musicians who could effortlessly construct the tightest yet loosest tunes I've ever heard. Everyone in the group can shine without overshadowing the other. There's tremendous talent and no showing-off. It's incredibly tasteful and always very musical. The wide styles and three singers make for a diverse set of songs on this self-titled second album released in 1969. Fantastic record! Favorite track: 'Whispering Pines' and 'King Harvest' (or really anything on Side 2).

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Fri Aug 26 2022
5

This is good. I really like whispering pines. it's a cool vibe, folk rock country ish but not too much. I'm going to listen to it again to confirm but as of now i want to give it a 5. this was good and i appreciate this type of music. I think it can be an album that people of all types of music tastes can enjoy and find value in. I'd listen again

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

The album is pretty amazing. I'm only halfway through but it's surprisingly modern while classically country sounding. Love.

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Tue Sep 13 2022
5

Love this album. Up on Cripple Creek is a top song favorite. Is Lake Charles really that interesting a lake that it shows up in this song and Lucinda has an entire song about it?

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Sat Sep 17 2022
5

I mean it’s the band. They’re THE band

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Sun Sep 18 2022
5

Just good music to listen on good day.

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Mon Sep 19 2022
5

Great band, great album. A little folk, a little touch of southern "rock". A nice, easy listen.

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Wed Sep 21 2022
5

Really liked the folksiness of this one, will definitely return to it

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Mon Sep 26 2022
5

The talent and songwriting is undeniable. 5/5

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Mon Oct 03 2022
5

Really enjoyed The Band even prior to listening to this. Great album here. Was shocked to look at their discography and see that Atlantic City was 24 years after this first full-length album of theirs!

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Mon Oct 17 2022
5

Although I think you get diminishing returns from the studio albums of The Band as they move away from their debut, this album is just a notch below the mythic "Music From Big Pink." An A to Big Pink's A+. This album has "Cripple Creek" on it for God's sake - can't be anything less than five stars. Quite possibly the most soulful thing a group comprised mostly of Canadians ever recorded (besides "The Weight" that is). My second favorite track is definitely "Jawbone" with its triumphant chorus and swirling 6/4 time signature. This is the record where they really stepped out from Bob Dylan's shadow and established themselves as a complete creative powerhouse in their own right. I love that they have multiple vocalists, as they are each suited to different material, and I especially love the interplay between them, but I have always gravitated most towards the songs where Levon Helm's southern twang takes the lead. Man I just wanna get good and drunk and listen to this on repeat all night.

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Tue Oct 18 2022
5

Growing up my dad liked watching the last waltz and that was my intro to the band. I always liked their greatest hits and this album showed that they’re talented way beyond just those songs. They feel about a decade ahead of their time and it’s a perfect mix of blues and rock. Cripple creek and Dixie down are both excellent and this whole album was excellent too

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Sat Oct 22 2022
5

This is one of my very favorites. The Band have such an incredibly full and diverse sound. The opener, "Across the Great Divide", is a romp based almost entirely on the brass section. The very next song, "Rag Mama Rag", is driven by the interplay between the ragtime piano and fiddle. Also, by the way, with lead vocals sung by an entirely different person. And the next song, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", is an all-time classic ballad based around a descending-scale minor-key piano chord sequence, plus barbershop backing vocals on the choruses. I mean by this that every song is a new experience, distinct from the one before, and it's like that throughout the CD. I believe that every band member except the organ player (who quietly is the lubricant that makes the whole machine go) sings a song on this CD, and they're all pretty good. They harmonize well with all that vocal talent too - the one that really stands out as being anchored by it is "Jemima Surrender", but it's omnipresent throughout the CD. This record just has everything - it's fast, fun, diverse, smart, super-creative, and just a joy to listen to. I do just that cover-to-cover about once a year. Easy 5.

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Wed Nov 16 2022
5

A classic for the ages. A great album from start to finish.

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Sat Nov 19 2022
5

Har altid været lidt ligeglad med The Band. Måske ikke nogle helt vildt legendariske enkelte sange, men kæmpe vibe og godt album!

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Mon Dec 05 2022
5

Can't ask for more

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Tue Dec 13 2022
5

I actually listened to this one as a kid. Very nostalgic. Almost like if the Beatles did funk. Some folk notes

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Sat Dec 31 2022
5

Great stuff.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
5

...maybe I just like 70s music.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
5

cool

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Thu Oct 29 2020
4

This is very very very good album, 4/5/5 for me

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Thu Sep 24 2020
4

My favorite Band albums are Big Pink and Rock of Ages (Don't Do It best cover ever), but love Cripple Creek and Jawbone. I want to dislike The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, problematic at best, racist at worst, but Levon's vocal is so incredible, it hurts my brain!

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Mon Feb 01 2021
4

Honestly mostly avoided The Band because they were Dead-adjacent (a bunch of my hippie coworkers like TGD and these guys, so scared me off). There's a lot more pulse here, as opposed to TDG, so I don't feel the comparison is *that* just. Good blend of blues, folk, rock, and maybe a little bit of southern rock and creole. Favorite tracks: "Jemima Surrender", "Up On Cripple Creek", "Rag Mama Rag"

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Thu Oct 15 2020
4

The band, good band

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Fri May 21 2021
4

Classic, loved it.

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Tue Jan 26 2021
4

Wholesome as heck

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Tue Jan 26 2021
4

Good! Classic!

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

Some songs I could recognize, but otherwise feels like a standard good-quality folk rock album from the time. Solid, but not exceptional.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

Yo, I am all about the fucking band! Nice stuff bros keep up the good work!

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Tue May 25 2021
4

Great album, gotta love the band

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

I haven't listened to a lot of 60s-70s rock for a while... Listening to The Band, I'm surprised how much more 'unified' their sound is, compared to modern tracks. Every instrument sounds more together, more at peace with each other in the mix, than a lot of the modern stuff.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

Easily recognized the influences on rock bands after. Especially the grateful dead riffs. The beginning of the album eases into their sound with songs that reflect pop rock of late 60s. By the middle of the album is when I was really drawn in to a new unique jam sound. I feel this is when The Band is at their best, mixing rock and a little country with a blues jam style.

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Mon Jul 05 2021
4

Classic!

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Mon May 24 2021
4

Old time pseudo-Americana fronted by mostly Canadians shouldn't work this well, though like most things of its vintage the politics and social sensibility haven't aged perfectly.

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Mon Apr 12 2021
4

false

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

This album made it feel like I was at the end o a 90s movie and everything was going to work out. Very nice

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

This is a good album

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Wed Jan 20 2021
4

Country rock about being American and having your barn burn down. Some really awesome use of 7ths and unpredictable chord changes. Pretty cool band. Completely new to me. Love the first track across the great divide

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