2013 Stereophile Magazine Record to Die For!
Michael Fremer Rated 10/10 Music, 8/10 Sonics!
Numbered, Limited Edition! Half-Speed Mastered From Original Master Tapes!
The Band's Ultimate Live Album Recorded at Its Career Peak!
Legendary Live Set Features Horn Arrangements by Allen Toussaint
Incredible Sound and Virtuosic Performances
The Last Waltz gets bigger billing, but The Band’s 1972 live album Rock of Ages
is actually the better representation of a live Band album. Recorded at the tail
end of the group’s Cahoots tour and over the course of four nights at New York’s
Academy of Music at the end of December 1971, the incendiary concert set
bookmarks the close of the first phase of the collective’s career.
Rather than follow the lead of most other live records made at the time (and
many since), The Band resists any temptation to improvise or extend its
material. Instead, the group plays with an intensity, chemistry, and spirit
that’s nearly unrivaled by any other live album. The quintet also draws on a
secret weapon: One Allen Toussaint, who tailors expert horn arrangements for
multiple songs, a move that spices renditions of classics such as “Don’t Do It”
and “Chest Fever.” To top it all off, the horn charts are performed by the Rock
of Ages Horn Section—a five-piece ensemble that includes legendary trumpeter
Snooky Young (Count Basie, Lionel Hampton) and saxophonist Joe Farrell (Charles
Mingus, Elvin Jones).
“I felt very much at home with The Band. You could tell in their music they
know where they’re coming from and they know where they’re going. Each one had
an extremely special interest in what they were doing.” –Toussaint, as told
to Rob Bowman
Do they ever. Unencumbered by the myriad guests and grandiose sense that define
The Last Waltz, and energized by Toussaint’s invaluable work, Rock of Ages is
the sound of a great band pulling out all the stops. Robbie Robertson’s guitar
solos take “Unfaithful Servant” to a higher ground; “The W.S. Walcott Medicine
Show” kicks with raunchy R&B abandon; Garth Hudson delivers a show-stealing
performance on “The Genetic Method,” a thrilling organ piece that incorporates
elements of Anglican church music, folk, classical, and pop—as well as “Auld
Lang Syne,” due to its being recorded on New Year’s Eve.
After various inferior editions and reissues, Rock of Ages is finally presented
on an immaculate-sounding 180g 2LP set from Mobile Fidelity that lets
Toussaint’s contributions, horn section’s energy, and the Band’s feverish
interplay shine like never before. Mastered from the original tapes, the open,
airy, natural, and balanced sound will have you returning to Rock of Ages again
"Live albums tend to gloss over the depth, mystery and emotional intensity found on studio versions of the same songs, particularly when the group speeds things up to cover its inability to produce the desired results live. Here, The Band slows everything down, producing even more intense, deliberate and emotionally satisfying versions of familiar songs. Each play reveals more gems hidden within the musical folds. Be sure to crank it up! " - Michael Fremer, www.analogplanet.com, Music 10/10, Sound 8/10!
"Allen Toussaint's sympathetic horn arrangements, performed by top jazz musicians, propel this 'greatest hits live' recital taken at breathtakingly deliberate tempos before an adoring, raucous crowd at the Academy of Music in New York City, on New Year's Eve 1971... some of the best vocalizing this or any rock group has ever achieved on stage. MoFi's mastering beats Bob Ludwig's original, and that's saying a lot; plus, the vinyl is dead quiet." - Michael Fremer, Stereophile Magazine, February 2013, p. 66
• Numbered, Limited Edition
• 1/2 Speed Mastered from the Original Master Tapes!
• Specially Plated and Pressed on 180 Grams of High Definition Vinyl
• Heavy Duty Protective Packaging
• Double LP
• Special Static Free/Dust Free Inner Sleeves
• Gatefold Jacket
1. Introduction / Don't Do It
2. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)
3. Caledonia Mission
4. Get Up Jake
5. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
6. Stage Fright
7. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
8. Across The Great Divide
9. This Wheel's On Fire
10. Rag Mama Rag
11. The Weight
12. The Shape I'm In
13. Unfaithful Servant
14. Life Is A Carnival
15. The Genetic Method
16. Chest Fever
17. (I Don't Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes