- The Band: Levon Helm (vocals, guitar, mandolin, drums); Robbie Robertson (vocals, guitar); Rick Danko (vocals, violin, trombone, bass); Richard Manuel (vocals, harmonica, baritone saxophone, piano, drums); Garth Hudson (accordion, soprano, tenor & baritone saxophones, trumpet, piano, organ, Clavinet).
- Additional personnel: John Simon (tuba, horns, electric piano).
- Producers: The Band, John Simon.
- Reissue producers: Cheryl Pawelski, Andrew Sandoval.
- Engineers include: Robbie Robertson, John Simon, Joe Zagarino.
- Recorded in Hollywood, California in 1969.
- Includes liner notes by Barney Hoskyns.
- Initially renowned as Bob Dylan's backing group, the Band emerged from the singer's shadow to proclaim a distinctive talent. Drawing upon a musical canon embracing soul, country, folk and rock `n' roll, the quintet created a unique sound that was quintessentially American. Its rustic qualities were enhanced by principle songwriter Robbie Robertson who created vistas suggestive of a pre-industrial age, and as such, captured the restlessness of the late 60s without the need for explicit manifestos. Expressive singing, sublime melodies and telepathic musicianship instils The Band with quality, but its adult themes and perspectives ensure an absolute timelessness. An all-time critics' favourite.
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.110) - Ranked #45 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "...Robertson's stories truly come to life in Helm's man-of-the-soil growl, Rick Danko's high tenor and Richard Manuel's spectral croon..."
Rolling Stone (10/18/69, p.44) - "...The hymn-like quality of the voicings, the use of counter-point and contrapuntal rhythms by the singers, the weaving of voices in and out into a pattern that grows each time you hear it, are the things that make the sound of this music so compelling..."
Rolling Stone (2/3/00, p.61) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...a sound that had a strange glamour and a seductive abstraction....THE BAND was where the group filled in the map....The people were flesh and blood...and they gathered to talk and brag about what mattered to them....The songs were uproarious, full of outrageous double-entendres..."
Entertainment Weekly (9/1/00, p.81) - "...[One] of the best albums in rock history....These remasterings sound incredibly rich, and each has alternate takes....this is reissuing done right." - Rating: A
Q (10/00, p.139) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...Even stronger [than their debut, MUSIC FROM BIG PINK] with [Robbie] Robertson's elegiac songsmithery...in full bloom..."
Down Beat (10/01, p.66) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...This has the authority and radiance of beaten gold..."
No Depression (9-10/00, pp.102-3) - "...An undeniable classic of North American roots music, exploring folk, gospel, country, rhythm & blues, soul, funk, and rock & roll..."
Mojo (Publisher) (10/00, p.126) - "...Their masterpiece, with its myth-creating sepia sleeve photograph and its astonishing breadth of resource and reference..."