||From the Vault...
© Capitol Records
Year of Release: 1971
Life Is A Carnival
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Last Of The Blacksmiths
Where Do We Go From Here
Shoot Out In Chinatown
The Moon Struck One
Thinkin' Out Loud
The River Hymn
The Band related sites:
The Band is one of many bands considered truly outstanding in rock and
roll. Their typical rock style is great: Easy going, rock & roll. Their
1971 release, Cahoots, gets the spotlight this week.
The album starts out with a song that I first heard (many years ago)
from a Best Of compilation, "Life Is A Carnival", which is truly a
great song. "When I Paint My Masterpice", written by Bob Dylan, has
drummer Levon Helm on lead vocals. His vocals are hard to describe, no matter
how great he sounds. It's like a mixture of a rough country or even a rough
hillbilly vocal style.
Another unique voice in the band is guitarist Robbie Robertson, the
driving force and main singer of The Band. He single handedly wrote seven
of the 11 songs here on Cahoots, and "Last Of The Blacksmiths"
may not be one of his finest, but it is enjoyable. "Where Do We Go From
Here" is another fine composition, in a style made famous by other Band
songs: laid back, with a somewhat country rock feel.
"4% Pantomime" is a bouncy rock tune, co-written by Robbie Robertson
and Van Morrison. And being a fan of Van Morrison's music, I can definitely
hear Morrison's style in this song, as in his album His Band And The Street
Choir (my personal favorite). Morrison helped out on vocals for this song.
The remaining six songs were written by Robertson, as "Shoot Out In
Chinatown" is your basic and typical rock and roll song. It has some
unique guitar licks, and again, it's basic R 'N' R, very enjoyable.
"The Moon Struck One" is a smooth sounding song, that has some
very nice instrumentation. "Thinkin' Out Loud" is another typical
rock and roller, with early Eric Clapton/George Harrison guitars, and boogie
woogie piano sounds. "Smoke Signal" is another basic rocker, with some
great instrumental jamming in between the vocals.
"Volcano" is like "Smoke Signal", as it also has some
great instrumentation, and has the usual Band rock & roll beat. Another
style The Band has always used in their career, is gospel music. "The
River Hymm" has the rock meets gospel touch, and is a fine way to end
the Cahoots album.
The Band is a group you want to hear more of. My first encounter in
discovering The Band's music was The Best Of The Band on vinyl. To
my disappointment, the vinyl's tracks listing are different to those when it
was re-issued on CD. (The vinyl version had a better arrangement of songs.)
But wanting to hear more of The Band, it is a great experience to discover
their most famous songs, as well as others from their original albums, and
wondering why some tunes didn't make any "Best Of" compilation (not
including about Box Sets, obviously).
The Band's most famous works are with guitarist Robbie Robertson, and
through the years (most recently) the band has reformed, but Robertson is
not a part of the lineup, due to writing collaborations between him and Levon
Helm. When The Band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994,
Robertson was in attendance, while Levon Helm purposely stayed home.
Another sad item to learn was that original member Richard Manuel hung himself
in 1986, as he had overdosed on cocaine and alcohol. The remaining members
(without Robertson) have recorded new material throughout 1993 to 1995.
The Band's Cahoots is a good album, and defines the basic elements
of rock & roll. And for those who enjoy just the basics of rock, The Band
is just that, and will be enjoyed by those who are familiar with their music,
and for those discovering them for the first time.
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