John (musicology) wrote in rock_of_ages,

The Band, A Musical History

Okay, I cracked and bought it a day after it was released. I usually don't like boxsets, when I already own most of the songs, but I really have to make an exception for The Band and this one. The first disc is really interesting, it has the stuff with Ronnie Hawkins, and the songs recorded as Levon and the Hawks. Of course it doesn't really hint at what they would become, it is enjoyable good time rock 'n' roll music, and Richard's vocals are really great. After the stuff with Dylan there are some unreleased songs from the Big Pink era, "You Don't Come Through" is a lovely soul ballad kind of thing, which I really like.

Some of the songs that don't claim to be unreleased do seem to be different in terms of the mixing and sound quality. Like Ain't No More Cane, from the Basement Tapes. On this set it sounds a lot cleaner, as it has often been suggested that some of The Band's contributions to the Basement Tapes album were actually recorded later, and deliberately had to the sound quality reduced to fit in with Dylan's basement recordings. Anyway, it is nice to hear this song, one of my favourites, in a cleaner mix. Another nice traditional song on the set is "Will the Circle Be Unbroken", while only a fragment of the song, it still sounds great. Oh, and the studio version of "Don't Do It" included here is vastly superior to the one on the Cahoots reissue. It's the same performance, but the sound quality is so much better.

Another treat on here is "Home Cookin'" a rare Rick Danko composition performed by The Band, which is rather endearing.

The real selling point of this boxset is the DVD. There is film of footage of the Rock of Ages performance of "Don't Do It"! Really, words can't express how great is is to see that.

Oh, and there are some great photos in the booklet, I'd not seen before.

I don't really have time to go through all of the aspects of the boxset I like, but there are a few. I think it's well worth getting.
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