Electric Review

Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms

The Band and the Rock & Roll Heart of History

LIVE AT THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC: 1971. The Band. In Sets of two CDS; and four CDS plus one DVD. Capitol Records.

Live At the Academy of Music 1971

Jacket art courtesy of Capitol Records.

Casual music fans might think that Bob Dylan made the one-and-only ensemble known simply as The Band viable. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In point of fact, The Band, led by virtuoso guitar player Robbie Robertson, was thoroughly accomplished by the time they arrived behind Dylan on his 1966 whirlwind tour. Live At The Academy of Music – 1971 shows us just why Dylan hired the group to help him wed folk to the hard-core edge of rock and roll. These recordings were made at the end of 1971 at New York City’s famed Academy of Music (as readers will note, many of these songs were previously released – this is a grand remaster of the 1972 album Rock of Ages). They feature The Band (Robbie Robertson; Levon Helm; Garth Hudson; Rick Danko; Richard Manual) and an unparalleled series of horn arrangements by the great Allen Toussaint (the horn section consisting of Snooky Young on trumpet, flugelhorn; Howard Johnson on baritone sax, tuba, euphonium; Joe Farrell on tenor sax, soprano sax, English horn; Earl McIntyer on trombone; and J.D. Parron on alto sax, e-flat clarinet). The addition of these horns ignite The Band’s work to sheer sparkle: Toussaint’s hand across these classic pieces rendering them fresh again. Highlights abound: Such as Hudson’s immaculate, sweet-swirling keyboard work on “Chest Fever.” Or Danko’s sharp-tongued bass line that drives songs like “Stage Fright” and “Dixie Down” to unforeseen heights (with Levon Helm never failing to command the show from the throne of his his drum kit). As its centerpiece, Live At The Academy of Music – 1971 unwraps a surprise appearance by Dylan himself (the New Year’s Eve encore). Dylan’s set is actually a short summary of his work with The Band (spanning ’66 through The Basement Tapes). As Dylan’s lonely voice trembles in spools across the neon mouth of the stage, both “When I Paint My Masterpiece” and “Down In The Flood” sound absolutely new: Musty and cool, drenched in the invisible hue of the back-beat. The show and record ends with a kick-ass version of “Rolling Stone” – Dylan screaming the microphone raw, Robertson’s guitar screaming through the smoke of tomorrow directly behind him. And suddenly the picture is so clear: The Band made great rock-and-roll – with and without Bob Dylan. While Live At The Academy of Music – 1971 serves as the testament to a musical journey that owns a forever place inside the rock-and-roll heart of history.

The Band: Live At the Academy of Music 1971:

* Indicates a previously unissued performance

CD 1

1. “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show”

2. “The Shape I’m In”

3. “Caledonia Mission”

4. “Don’t Do It”

5. “Stage Fright”

6. “I Shall Be Released”

7. “Up On Cripple Creek”

8. “This Wheel’s On Fire”

9. “Strawberry Wine” *

10. “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)”

11. “Time To Kill Tuesday”

12. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”

13. “Across The Great Divide”

CD 2

1. “Life Is A Carnival” Thursday

2. “Get Up Jake” Thursday

3. “Rag Mama Rag” Friday

4. “Unfaithful Servant” Friday

5. “The Weight” Thursday

6. “Rockin’ Chair”

7. “Smoke Signal”

8. “The Rumor”

9. “The Genetic Method”

10. “Chest Fever”

11. “(I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes”

12. “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever”

13. “Down In The Flood” (with Bob Dylan)

14. “When I Paint My Masterpiece” (with Bob Dylan)

15. “Don’t Ya Tell Henry” (with Bob Dylan)

16. “Like A Rolling Stone” (with Bob Dylan)

CD 3: New Year’s Eve At The Academy of Music 1971 (Soundboard Mix)

1. “Up On Cripple Creek” *

2. “The Shape I’m In”

3. “The Rumor” *

4. “Time To Kill” *

5. “Rockin’ Chair” *

6. “This Wheel’s On Fire” *

7. “Get Up Jake” *

8. “Smoke Signal” *

9. “I Shall Be Released” *

10. “The Weight” *

11. “Stage Fright”

CD 4: New Year’s Eve At The Academy of Music 1971 (Soundboard Mix)

1. “Life Is A Carnival” *

2. “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)”

3. “Caledonia Mission” *

4. “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show”

5. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” *

6. “Across The Great Divide” *

7. “Unfaithful Servant”

8. “Don’t Do It” *

9. “The Genetic Method”

10. “Chest Fever” *

11. “Rag Mama Rag”

12. “(I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes” *

13. “Down In The Flood” (with Bob Dylan)

14. “When I Paint My Masterpiece” (with Bob Dylan)

15. “Don’t Ya Tell Henry” (with Bob Dylan)

16. “Like A Rolling Stone” (with Bob Dylan)

DVD 1: Live At The Academy of Music 1971 in 5.1 Surround Sound

1. “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show”

2. “The Shape I’m In”

3. “Caledonia Mission”

4. “Don’t Do It”

5. “Stage Fright”

6. “I Shall Be Released”

7. “Up On Cripple Creek”

8. “The Wheel’s On Fire”

9. “Strawberry Wine” *

10. “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)”

11. “Time To Kill”

12. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”

13. “Across The Great Divide”

14. “Life Is A Carnival”

15. “Get Up Jake”

16. “Rag Mama Rag”

17. “Unfaithful Servant”

18. “The Weight”

19. “Rockin’ Chair”

20. “Smoke Signal”

21. “The Rumor”

22. “The Genetic Method”

23. “Chest Fever”

24. “(I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes”

25. “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever”

Archival Film Clips: December 30, 1971

1. “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)” *

2. “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” *

by John Aiello

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This entry was posted on November 23, 2013 by in 2013, In the Spotlight, November 2013, Rat On Music and tagged , , .
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