Nigel Puls­ford on lost-clas­sic gui­tar al­bums you must hear

Guitarist - - Music -

The Band Rock Of Ages Capi­tol Records (1972) The Band found them­selves at some­thing of a cross­roads by the end of 1971. They had re­leased three su­perb al­bums but their lat­est Ca­hoots had been rather coolly re­ceived and the trap­pings of fame were mak­ing work­ing rather chal­leng­ing. This clas­sic live al­bum, recorded on New Year’s Eve 1971, was the way they chose to put their trou­bles be­hind them.

On record The Band were of­ten laid back, play­ing with beau­ti­ful un­der­state­ment, ap­par­ently loose and bom­bast-free. For the con­certs they put on at the end of 1971 they added a brass sec­tion, sym­pa­thet­i­cally ar­ranged by Alan Tous­saint and stepped it up a notch. The re­sult is a rau­cous, joy­ous noise. A cel­e­bra­tion of their roots, in­flu­ences and as­ton­ish­ing in­di­vid­ual tal­ents, which, when com­bined, cre­ated a won­drous whole. Guitarist Rob­bie Robert­son’s in­cen­di­ary lead breaks, chan­nelling a mar­riage of coun­try twang and rock ‘n’ roll phras­ing work in tan­dem with key­board mae­stro Garth Hud­son’s flour­ishes to or­ches­trate the mu­sic. The rhythm sec­tion pow­ers along while the three lead voices per­fectly fit the mood of the songs. Robert­son, 1965 Tele­caster and Fen­der Twin pow­ered, takes it even higher. The orig­i­nal dou­ble al­bum is a great way to sam­ple the wonder that was The Band. [NP] Fur­ther lis­ten­ing: Mu­sic From Big Pink, Stage Fright, North­ern Lights South­ern Cross

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