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The Best of The Band

4.2 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Audio, Cassette, February 8, 1994
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette (February 8, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000002U8R
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,633 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Anthony G Pizza VINE VOICE on January 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Anyone who loves the classic rock of the Band knows the title of this "hits" collection is a misnomer. Their first two albums, "Music From Big Pink" and "The Band" feature songs so well-written and sturdy that they sounded -- the first time you heard them - like they were sung 150 years ago on wagon trains. (If you doubt, play the majestic funeral march "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" for a high school student and ask him when he thinks the song was written.)
Some of those classics ("The Weight," "Tears of Rage" featuring solos by the late Richard Manuel) are featured here. Also, you get a minor Motown cover hit("Don't Do It" with great horn charts by Allen Toussaint); "Life is A Carnival," and "Ophelia" which beat Little Feat at their own Cajun funk game; the painful but thrillng title track of "Stage Fright." All of them carry the musical and lyrical details that make great writing on disc or printed page. This is an easy introduction to a group so overlooked on radio and everywhere else. Collections other than this are hard to find, but the Band's first two albums are still in print and essential.
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Format: Audio CD
Let me explain this three star rating:
Capitol released ten years ago, To Kingdom Come: The Definitive Collection. This was an expanded greatest hits that featured key album tracks, and unreleased material (with no detail in the liner notes, unfortunately).
Then Capitol decided to delete this and replace it with a three CD boxed set: Across The Great Divide. This featured newly remastered sound, and a number of rarities.
Unfortunately, this too was deleted early this year. What is not known is who asked for its deletion, was it the current Band members, Robbie Robertson, the record company?
Whoever is responsible has left the group and its fans with no respectful anthology, only this skimpy, mid-eighties remastered low budget affair! That is, unless you want to hunt down To Kingdom Come as an import.
What is here is classic, but the three stars is for what is NOT here: No "Acadia Driftwood", "Mystery Train", "Across The Great Divide", "Get Up Jake," no early material, no rarities, etc.
Suggestion: flood the offices of Capitol with tons of protest mail. Maybe then we can once again enjoy a boxed set treatment from a group who desperately deserves one, not this CD
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Format: Audio CD
The sole purpose of this review is to shed light on the track `Twilight.' This song would be the only reason to buy this compilation, but fortunately `Twilight' was included in remastered form on the 2001 re-issue of "Islands," the last studio album released by the original line-up, so a compilation isn't necessary to acquire this track. (If you're looking to start out with a compilation, 2000's "Greatest Hits" would be a nice affair, as it is a handy preview of the Band Remaster Series.) But back to `Twilight.'
This song was released as a single in 1976, probably to promote "The Best Of" album, but it also coincided with the release of the highly successful film "The Last Waltz," the original line-up's final concert. `Twilight' seemed to embody all of the sadness and reflection of times past, which was pretty much the personal state of The Band at that time. This one song alone expressed all of these things just as well as the entire "Last Waltz" film. The Band's motivation was fading, and so was their creative flame (in the eyes of critics anyway). Though they had loose intentions to release more studio albums after the Waltz, it was obvious they were nearing an end. Which makes Rick Danko's vocal all the more moving as he sings "Don't put me in a frame upon the mantle, for memories turn dusty old and grey." And the following lines are subtle but devastating "Don't leave me alone in the twilight, `cause twilight is the loneliest time of day.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a great collection of music, by one of the greatest bands that ever existed. A Band compilation can never be bad.
It will always be a matter of taste which particular tracks are the very best. In my opinion this CD does the job well, to give a general view of the various styles and periods in the career of the Band.
Of course I`ll recommend the re-releases of all their albums, with great notes and bonus-tracks.
From "Big Pink" we have here "The Weight", "I Shall Be Released" ( both obvious choices ),"Chest Fever" ( Fat-Organ Classic ) and "Tears of Rage" . I would like to have seen Manuel`s "In a Station" here too.
"Up On Cripple Creek", "Across the Great Divide", "The Night They Drove Dixie Down" are great songs from the 2nd album. Personally I would have left out "Rag Mama Rag" and "King Harvest" and added "When You Awake" and "Rockin? Chair" from that album.
The title track and "Stage Fright" come from the "Stage Fright" album; Here I miss "All La Glory" ( Robertson`s beautiful lullaby to his newborn child )
"Cahoots" is probably their weakest album, and subsequently the most difficult album to represent; I would have chosen "When Paint my Masterpiece" instead of "Life is a Carnival"
From "Moondog Matinee" "Share Your Love" is a perfect choice. "A Change is Gonna Come" and "Holy Cow" would have been good too.
"Northern Lights" is represented by "Ophelia", "Acadian Driftwood" and "It Makes No Difference" all great songs.
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