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THE BAND
A MUSICAL HISTORY
CAPITOL

The Bandís relatively slim body of work has been compiled and recompiled ó itís a bit much for a group who recorded only two great albums. But what masterpieces: Music from Big Pink and The Band are national treasures. Beyond that, all you need are a few cuts from Stage Fright and Northern Lights, Southern Cross. So is a five-CD/one-DVD set necessary? Probably not if you own any of the catalogue remasters from a few years ago. Still, this is the most comprehensive Band collection ever, from songs that reach back to their Ronnie Hawkins days to tracks by Levon and the Hawks that are precursors to Big Pink. There are also a few smoking Dylan collaborations ó including dips into The Basement Tapes ó and several alternate takes, including a jaunty version of the mournful " Lonesome Suzie. " You get the rise and fall, as well as several unearthed gems. A demo for " Twilight, " with just a piano and Robbie Robertsonís soulful voice, and Rick Dankoís yearning " Home Cookiní  " sound like early outtakes; in fact they were composed not long before the group broke up. Itís clear that the Band still had something to offer, if only drug, drink, squabbles, and Richard Manuelís suicide hadnít interceded. So this is it, then ó the whole history, right?

BY ELIOT WILDER


Issue Date: September 23 - 29, 2005
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