The Band is the second studio album by the Canadian-American rock band the Band, released on September 22, 1969. It is also known as The Brown Album. According to Rob Bowman's liner notes for the 2000 reissue, The Band has been viewed as a concept album, with the songs focusing on people, places and traditions associated with an older version of Americana.[2] Thus, the songs on this album draw on historic themes for "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" and "Jawbone" (which was composed in the unusual 6/4 time signature).

The Band
The Band: (L – R) Richard Manuel, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Robbie Robertson
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 22, 1969
RecordedLate 1968–1969
ProducerJohn Simon
The Band chronology
Music from Big Pink
The Band
Stage Fright
Singles from The Band

Recording edit

After unsuccessfully attempting sessions at a studio in New York, the Band set up shop in the pool house of a home rented by the group in the Hollywood Hills located at 8850 Evanview Drive in Los Angeles, California. The home was then owned by Sammy Davis Jr.[3] and was previously owned by Judy Garland and Wally Cox. According to Robbie Robertson, the location was chosen to give the songs a Basement Tapes–like feel in what was termed "a clubhouse concept".[4] Three songs to finish the album (from "Up on Cripple Creek" through "Jemima Surrender") were not recorded at the "clubhouse studio", but at The Hit Factory in New York City.

According to co-producer John Simon, Robbie Robertson took over most of the engineering for the record, "hungry for knowledge ... I showed him how to make an album from a technical point of view."[5]

Release edit

The album was originally released as an LP on September 22, 1969.[6] A 1980 "Capitol 16000 Series" budget vinyl reissue of the album omitted "When You Awake" and "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)".

After several reissues on vinyl, cassette tape, and compact disc, the album was remastered and re-released with bonus tracks in 2000, in a process overseen by Robertson.

The Band was reissued in 2009 by Audio Fidelity as a limited edition gold CD. The reissue included a single B-side, "Get Up Jake", as a bonus track. "Get Up Jake", which also appears on the 2000 reissue, was slated for inclusion on the original album but was dropped from the lineup at the last minute, either because the band felt it was too similar to another track on the album or because there physically was not enough room on the album.[7][8] It also was suggested that the underdeveloped status of the song made them decide against inclusion in the album. A reworked version of "Get Up Jake" was later included in many of the Band's live performances in the early 1970s and also on the 1972 live album Rock of Ages.

In 2019, a 50th Anniversary Edition was released, with an entirely new stereo mix of the album by Bob Clearmountain, mastered by Bob Ludwig, as well as several outtake tracks and the Band's entire live set from the Woodstock festival.

The original LP back cover quotes the opening lines from Shelton Brooks's 1917 composition "Darktown Strutters' Ball".

Reception edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [9]
DownBeat     [10]
Entertainment WeeklyA[11]
Q     [14]
The Village VoiceA+[15]
Rolling Stone     [16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [17]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [18]

The album includes many of the Band's best-known and critically acclaimed songs, including "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", which Rolling Stone named the 245th-greatest song of all time in 2004[19] and the 249th-greatest song of all time in 2010.[20] In 2003, the album was ranked No. 45 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list.[21] In the 2020 update of that list, it was ranked No. 57.[22] In 1998 Q magazine readers voted The Band the 76th greatest album of all time. Time magazine included it in their unranked 2006 list of the 100 greatest albums. Robert Christgau, having been disappointed with the Band's debut, had expected to dislike the record and even planned a column for the Village Voice to "castigate" their follow-up. Upon hearing the record, however, he declared it better than Abbey Road, which had been released four days following, writing that the Band's LP is an "A-plus record if I've ever rated one".[15] He ranked it as the fourth-best album of the year in his ballot for Jazz & Pop magazine's annual critics poll.[23] The album was later included in his "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).[24] It was voted No. 45 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).[25]

The Band peaked at No. 9 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart. In 2000, it charted on Billboard's Internet Albums chart, peaking at No. 10. The singles "Rag Mama Rag" and "Up on Cripple Creek" peaked on the Pop Singles chart at Nos. 57 and 25 respectively. The "Rag Mama Rag" single performed better in the UK, where it reached No. 16.[26] It was the band's highest-charting album in their native Canada, peaking at number two on the Canadian Albums Chart.

On Metacritic, the expanded 50th anniversary edition of the album receives an aggregate score of 96 out of 100, based on six reviews, a rating that the website defines as indicating "universal acclaim".[27]

PopMatters critic David Pike rated "Rockin' Chair" as one of the "41 essential pop/rock songs with accordion."[28]

Album - Billboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1970 Pop Albums 9
2000 Top Internet Albums 10

Singles - Billboard (United States)

Year Single Chart Position
1970 "Rag Mama Rag" Pop Singles 57
1970 "Up on Cripple Creek" Pop Singles 25

In 2009, The Band was preserved into the National Recording Registry because the album was "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or informs or reflects life in the United States". It was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[29] At the 2017 Polaris Music Prize, the album won the jury vote for the Heritage Prize in the 1960-1975 category.[30]

Track listing edit

All tracks written by Robbie Robertson unless noted.

Original release edit

Side one

No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Across the Great Divide" Manuel2:53
2."Rag Mama Rag" Helm3:04
3."The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" Helm3:33
4."When You Awake"Robertson, Richard ManuelDanko3:13
5."Up on Cripple Creek" Helm4:34
6."Whispering Pines"Robertson, ManuelManuel with Helm3:58

Side two

No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Jemima Surrender"Robertson, Levon HelmHelm3:31
2."Rockin' Chair" Manuel3:43
3."Look Out Cleveland" Danko3:09
4."Jawbone"Robertson, ManuelManuel4:20
5."The Unfaithful Servant" Danko4:17
6."King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" Manuel3:39

2000 reissue bonus tracks edit

No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
13."Get Up Jake" (Stereo mix) Helm and Danko2:17
14."Rag Mama Rag" (Alternate vocal take; rough mix) Helm3:05
15."The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (Alternate mix) Helm4:16
16."Up on Cripple Creek" (Alternate take) Helm4:51
17."Whispering Pines" (Alternate take)Robertson, ManuelManuel5:09
18."Jemima Surrender" (Alternate take)Robertson, HelmHelm3:49
19."King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" (Alternate performance) Manuel and Helm4:28

Personnel edit

The Band

Additional personnel

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "CLASSIC TRACKS: The Band 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down'". 1941-08-11. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  2. ^ Bowman 2000, pp. 2–3.
  3. ^ Buskin, Richard (October 2006). "Classic Tracks: The Band 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down'". Sound on Sound. Archived from the original on March 15, 2023. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  4. ^ Jackson, Blair (October 1, 2002). "Classic Tracks: The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"". Mix. Archived from the original on December 6, 2021. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  5. ^ Bowman 2000, pp. 3–4.
  6. ^ Harris 2014, p. 121.
  7. ^ Bowman 2000, pp. 12–13.
  8. ^ Helm & Davis 2013, p. 195.
  9. ^ William Ruhlmann (1969-09-22). "The Band - The Band | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  10. ^ "The Band: The Band". DownBeat: 66. October 2001.
  11. ^ Scherman, Tony (September 1, 2000). "Music Review: 'The Band'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 17, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  12. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel, eds. (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 72. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  13. ^ "The Band: The Band Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  14. ^ Bauldie, John (April 1996). "The Band: The Band". Q: 120.
  15. ^ a b "In Memory of the Dave Clark Five". The Village Voice. 1969. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  16. ^ "The Band: The Band". Rolling Stone. February 3, 2000. p. 61.
  17. ^ Brackett, Nathan, with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Fireside. p. 42. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  18. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  19. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1–500)". Rolling Stone. December 11, 2003. Archived from the original on August 20, 2006. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  20. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2004)". Rolling Stone. 2010. Archived from the original on January 31, 2023. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  21. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  22. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2020. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert (1969). "Robert Christgau's 1969 Jazz & Pop Ballot". Jazz & Pop. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  24. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "A Basic Record Library: The Fifties and Sixties". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved March 16, 2019 – via
  25. ^ Colin Larkin (2006). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 56. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  26. ^ "Band". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  27. ^ "The Band [50th Anniversary Edition] by The Band Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  28. ^ Pike, David (May 26, 2022). "41 Essential Pop/Rock songs with Accordion". PopMatters. Retrieved 2023-02-05.
  29. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  30. ^ "Tragically Hip album makes Polaris Heritage Prize list". Toronto Star, October 25, 2017.

Sources edit