Rock Of Ages

New and Notable Releases

Rating: NNNNN

Listening back to the Band’s Rock Of Ages — recorded live at New York’s Academy of Music at the end of 1971 — it’s amazing to hear how these archetypal country rockers could get down. Sure, New Orleans visionary Allen Toussaint was brought in for the tasty horn arrangements, but Levon Helm and Rick Danko managed to out-funk Motown’s Funk Brothers on the nasty reworking of Marvin Gaye’s Baby Don’t You Do It. The big deal with this remastered two-disc set is that unlike many of the recent Band reissues, where bonus tracks amount to a couple of alternate takes, the whole second disc is previously unreleased songs. Along with a beautifully wistful I Shall Be Released, there are four songs — Down In The Flood, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Don’t Ya Tell Henry and Like A Rolling Stone — performed with Bob Dylan, and they’re all keepers. Well-researched notes by Rob Bowman make it a must.

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