The museful accordion of Garth Hudson on Rick Danko’s “New Mexicoe” heralds not just an important partial reunion for the post-Robbie Robertson Band, but one of the most notable lost gems from their combined solo careers.
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An album that underscored their growing individualization ends with one last blazing reminder of the way the Band’s voices once intertwined, the way their music provided a transportive solace, the way they once were — and sadly, it seems, never were again.
The Band had every right to this song, after what happened on that ill-fated night of April 17, 1969 at Bill Graham’s Winterland concert space in San Francisco.
“Time to Kill” found the Band — even as they went out into the world to face the mythos they had created in their initial sepia-toned absence — celebrating a bucolic world left behind.
While “It’s Makes No Difference” is commonly understood to be Rick Danko’s career peak as a vocalist, “The Unfaithful Servant” is in many ways just as observant, and maybe more interesting.
Not much, thus far into the Band’s official discography, had hinted at the lip-busting brawn of their early work with Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan — until this. “Look Out Cleveland” is a round-house punch
A triumph of narrative balance, “When You Awake” features the voice of a small boy in the verse and his grandfather’s response in the chorus. It perhaps could only work within a performance by Rick Danko
Building off Ezekiel’s biblical vision, “This Wheel’s On Fire” recalls — more than any other track on Music from Big Pink — the collaborative setting between the Band and Bob Dylan
Stumbled upon during the sessions for Music from Big Pink, Lefty Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil” featured a darkly gothic storyline that meshed so well you’d never know it was a cover song.
A showcase for Rick Danko, not just as a mournful and country-inflected singer but also as a rapturously melodic bass player, “Caledonia Mission” also remains one of Robbie Robertson’s more oblique narratives.