Rock of Ages [Deluxe Edition]-- Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson usher New York City into 1972 with a typically classy series of concerts, backed for the first time by a horn section consisting of five of NYC’s finest. Kicking off with a jazzy, ultra-slick version of the Marvin Gaye single ‘Baby Don’t You Do It’, the album segues into The Band’s original works from their four previously released albums; including ‘Stage Fright’, ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ and their seminal hit, ‘The Weight’. Hudson then welcomes in the New Year with an energetic organ solo, with the entire band regrouping after the stroke of midnight to perform another set of covers and originals before being joined onstage by surprise guest and long time collaborator Bob Dylan; closing off with three of The Band and Dylan’s joint efforts from their days jamming in Big Pink’s basement and a rekindling of their legendary 1966 performance of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’.
Artist: The Band, 2001
~~~A definitive showcase of The Band’s talents, Rock of Ages exemplifies their unique brand of grassroots rock. Always the consummate professionals, Hudson’s arrangements are held together seamlessly with none of the feeling lost in the transition from studio to stage. The combination of Danko’s sublime tenor and Helm’s country croon works as well as ever, and when called upon for ‘I Shall Be Released’ Richard Manuel’s falsetto is almost as angelic as on the original recordings. Robbie Robertson’s emphasis on creating feeling through sound is present from vivid electric tracks like ‘The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show’ right through to rustic, acoustic numbers like ‘The Unfaithful Servant’. Dabbling in previously untested waters pays off with the addition of a horn section, which blends very nicely with The Band’s style. The two-disc Deluxe Edition features an additional ten tracks, including Bob Dylan’s set and a number of The Band’s more notable songs that failed to make the initial release. A truly great live album and shining example of what made The Band the kings of contemporary cool.