“It is full of sleepers, diamonds that begin to glow at different times. As with the Beatles and Dylan and the Stones and Crosby-Stills and Nash, the album seems to change shape as you continue to play it. The emphasis shifts from song to song and songs prominent in the early listening will retreat and be replaced in your consciousness by others, only in later hearings to move to the fore again.”
– Ralph J. Gleason (Rolling Stone Magazine)
“Perhaps the best album by any Rock and Roll group ever. Timeless, soulful, seamless, a work that goes far beyond and yet is front-porch friendly.” – M.E. Cooper (author)
The Band is the eponymous second studio album by 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.Thus, the songs on this album draw from historic themes for “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)” and Richard Manuel’s “Jawbone”.
1969 was another great year in music, here are my 20 chosen songs (and those who came close).
Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
One of the greatest rock songs from any artist, “Gimme Shelter” is a glowering, snarling beast of a recording. It tiptoes in on one of music’s most recognizable chord-based riffs, ghostly “oooh’s,” and percussion ratcheting up the tension. When the full band enters—sinister low piano notes, fuzzy harmonica, organ chimes—it grabs you by the lapels and shakes you, begging you for shelter from an ominous storm.
-Bill Janovitz (Rocks Off: 50 Tracks That Tell the Story of the Rolling Stones)
It first appeared as the opening track on the band’s 1969 album Let It Bleed. Greil Marcus, writing in Rolling Stone magazine at the time of its release, said of it, “The Stones have never done anything better.”
The recording features Richards playing in his new open tuning on electric guitar. The recording also features vocals by Merry Clayton, recorded at a last-minute late-night recording session during the mixing phase, arranged by her friend and record producer Jack Nitzsche.Lisa Fischer was later recruited to perform the song during their concerts.
– Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away
A shitload of great music was released in 1968, here are my 20 chosen songs.
Madame George – Van Morrison
Madame George is the album’s whirlpool. Possibly one of the most compassionate pieces of music ever made, it asks us, no, arranges that we see the plight of what I’ll be brutal and call a lovelorn drag queen with such intense empathy that when the singer hurts him, we do too.
A song from the album Astral Weeks, released in 1968. It was recorded during the first Astral Weeks session that took place on September 25, 1968 at Century Sound Studios in New York City with Lewis Merenstein as producer.
In 1974, after he had recorded eight albums, Morrison told Ritchie Yorke when he asked him what he considered his finest single track and the one that he enjoyed the most that it was: “Definitely ‘Madame George’, definitely. I’m just starting to realize it more and more. It just seems to get at you… it just lays right in there, that whole track. The vocals and the instruments and the whole thing. I like that one.”
– Down on Cyprus Avenue
With a childlike vision leaping into view
Clicking, clacking of the high heeled shoe
Ford and Fitzroy, Madame George
Marching with the soldier boy behind
He’s much older now with hat on drinking wine
And that smell of sweet perfume comes drifting through
The cool night air like Shalimar
Hudson was just as crucial to the very different sounds made in the Basement the year afterwards: especially since in large part it was Garth who tape-recorded those unique, informal sessions, and had the sense to look after, afterwards, all the dozens of unknown-about extra ones beyond those of immediate interest to Dylan’s music publisher, and which only began to circulate decades later.
Hudson was also the musicians’ musician—and actually gave the other Hawks music lessons—and when the Hawks became the Crackers became The Band, he was the multi-instrumentalist supreme in a group of multi-instrumentalists. If The Band introduced a small orchestra’s worth of olde worlde instruments to mainstream rock music, it was Hudson who had introduced many of them to The Band.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
Members of The Band Accept Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award at 1994 Inductions:
When we were working with Bob Dylan and we moved to Woodstock, everybody referred to us as the band. He called us the band, our friends called us the band, our neighbors called us the band.
~Robbie Robertson (from “The Last Waltz”)
Eric Clapton inducts the Band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994:
The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Last Waltz):