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Rock Of Ages [2 CD] Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.6 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, May 8, 2001
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Audio, Cassette, August 30, 1991
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$13.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 19 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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2CD set. Remastered! CD reissue of original classic 1972 live double album, now expanded with 10 BONUS tracks

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This 1972 live album is a watershed recording for the Band. Recorded the previous New Year's Eve, the two-disc concert recording presents the core quintet fortified by a five-man horn section overseen by New Orleans ace Allen Toussaint, and it is capped by a guest appearance by Bob Dylan. The brass and reed players incite the group to gut it out with more unrestrained fire than these road-hardened vets were accustomed to. The lion's share of the set selections are culled from the quintet's first four studio albums; only an ebullient cover of the Marvin Gaye hit "Don't Do It," the unremarkable original "Get Up Jake," Garth Hudson's mind-boggling organ improvisation "The Genetic Method," and an absolutely piercing version of Chuck Willis's "Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes" spice up the reliable album selections on disc one. But Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel sound like they're having so much fun singing the likes of "King Harvest," "Stage Fright," "Caledonia Mission," and "Chest Fever" that it matters not that Robbie Robertson's writing muse had already pretty much dried up. The 2001 digitally remastered reissue includes an entire second disc of previously unreleased tracks, including four with Dylan at the mic. More than four years would pass before the Robertson version of the Band would call it a day following its star-studded Last Waltz, but, as a live entity, here is where they crested. --Steven Stolder
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B00005B4GB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,195 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The last four nights of 1971 witnessed a series of soulful performances by The Band at New York's Academy Of Music, the highlights of which were captured on "Rock Of Ages," an exceptionally unadulterated live recording. While many performers would come to rely on an entire orchestra in an attempt to make their live albums more appealing, The Band succeeded with only a modest horn section.
It sure isn't the sound quality that makes this album, but it's definitely the sincerity of every note. After that year's "Cahoots" was unjustly regarded as a disappointment, The Band reminded everyone why they could call themselves THE Band in the first place. They troop through their cannon of work with emotion and integrity. Though 'The Shape I'm In' may lack the grit of the studio version, and 'The Weight' may not be as well tuned as its counterpart, it is more than made up for by the loyally true feeling that is generated throughout "Rock Of Ages." The horns add a whole new musical layer to many songs; they give more sadness or emotion to the likes of 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,' and flavor on songs like 'Chest Fever;' the latter boasts keyboardist Garth Hudson's exciting, brilliant organ intro 'The Genetic Method,' which contains as many twists as there are crumbs in Hudson's beard. However, on some songs, the horns don't work so well and appear to overbearing. Meanwhile, 'Get Up Jake' is a fantastic track that was formerly only a B-side, while '(I Don't Want To) Hang Up My Rock 'n' Roll Shoes' preludes their next project, "Moondog Matinee."
Perfectly remastered, this 2001 edition of "Rock Of Ages" contains a bonus disc of unreleased cuts from the concert, including the essential hymnal 'I Shall Be Released' and four songs featuring a cameo by Bob Dylan.
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Format: Audio CD
Rock of Ages is a great live recording, capturing The Band during a New Year's Eve performance welcoming 1972. This has been a favorite live albums of mine since I discovered it in the mid 70's. This CD takes the original 2 album set and puts on a single CD. The re-mastered sound is great, and the performance is as vibrant now as it was then. One of the great parts of this set is the addition of a horn section on some of the songs. Both on upbeat songs such as "Don't Do It" and on quieter songs like "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". I've always liked "Rock Of Ages" more than the farewell set "The Last Walz", probably because this is all The Band, as opposed to the guest appearances that define The Last Walz. As if the re-mastered original recording wasn't enough, this deluxe edition adds a whole additional CD of live material. This is a collection of songs the Band often played during this time frame, and includes some gems that weren't on the original recording ("Up On Cripple Creek" and "I Shall Be Released"). Plus 4 songs featuring Bob Dylan. The extra set is icing on the cake, and makes a great album even more essential. Highest recommendation!
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Format: Audio CD
While other rock groups of the late `60's and `70's attempted to elevate their work through "rock operas" and live collaborations with various philharmonic orchestras, The Band understood the powerful subtlety of their American roots-based music. "Rock of Ages" showcases marvelous live performances of The Band's best material from their first four albums (including much of the essential "Music from Big Pink" and the self-titled second album), supercharged by an all-star horn section blowing arrangements penned by the great Allan Toussaint.
Disk One comprises the original release of "Rock of Ages," and is worth the price of the set on its own. The Band at its best was always about collaboration and teamwork (which, as drummer/vocalist Levon Helm recounts in his revealing autobiography, "This Wheel's on Fire," regrettably is missing from the groups later efforts), and each member contributes to the power of the performances, whether it's Richard Manuel's soulful vocals, Robbie Robertson's high-wire guitar solos, Garth Hudson's lunatic keyboard and woodwind genius, or the rock-solid rhythm and joyous singing of Helm and bassist Rick Danko. The Band & Co. maintain an admirable level of energy and control, drawing on history ("The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down "), vaudeville ("The W.S. Wallcott Medicine Show," "Rag Mama Rag") , pieces of Americana ("King Harvest," "Across the Great Divide"), and the human condition ("The Weight," "Unfaithful Servant," "The Shape I'm In") to convey their unique musical vision. By the time they shift into "Chest Fever" and "Rock and Roll Shoes," the performers and audience alike are dancing on winged feet.
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Format: Audio CD
When major magazines write about the better of the live albums by the Band, they write about "Last Waltz." This could be for any number of reasons. Nostalgia. The guests. The film. But when fans are asked to name their favorite, the nod usually goes to "Rock of Ages." Trust a fan.

Many of the usual suspects are here - "The Weight," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Rag Mama Rag" - and that certainly isn't a bad thing, but the real treat is the horn section. It gives old songs a new feel, if I can be any more cliche. And the way they start out unexpectedly after introducing the horn players with the Marvin Gaye gem "Don't Do It" brings you in, sets you up, then knocks you out with later favorites like "Life is a Carnival" and "Stage Fright." At the time it was excellent and revelatory. Today, it's one of the best live albums of all time.

Overall: 9 out of 10.
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