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The Band To Release Box-Set


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From Pitchfork:

The Band Ready Five-Disc Box Set

Micah C. Harding and James Gregory report:

As both Bob Dylan's longtime backing group and their own critically acclaimed entity, The Band helped define the back-to-basics aesthetic of the late 1960s/early 70s musical landscape. Following (or in reaction to) the sonic experimentation of the psychedelic rock movement, the group helped popularize a raw folk-rock sound characterized by rich textures and Americana sensibilities. While the name The Band may have seemed pretentious in other hands, the individual artistry of members Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson came together to form a true musical brotherhood that depended on each individual to carry the musical weight. Now, nearly 40 years after the forming, The Band are set to release a five-disc box set commemorating their potent contributions to rock history.

Slated for release in May 2005 through Capitol/EMI, the still untitled set will feature more than 100 songs, the majority of which were not released on the original lineup's seven studio albums. Also included in the collection will be a DVD of, presumably, some form of Band-related material. Former frontman Robbie Robertson is heading up the assemblage of the new set, and recently described the collection to Billboard as "the definitive musical history of The Band." While the founding members officially disbanded in 1978 after a special Thanksgiving farewell concert (captured on film in Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz), the early 90s saw most of the original members (minus Robertson) bringing The Band out of retirement for a series of generally well-received albums. Fans will no doubt be interested to see if any of this later material also makes it to the box.

In related news, Robertson is also working on a reissue of the Raging Bull soundtrack for an upcoming two-CD set. A longtime Scorsese collaborator, Robertson wrote the source music, scored three pieces, and helped select additional songs for the 1980 film. The discs will feature 38 tracks, and will be released by Capitol on February 15th. Robertson also produced the soundtrack for the recent firefighter movie Ladder 49, and has contributed three tracks to the album. Finally, in between reissue duties, Robertson is also working on Native American-themed Broadway musical currently titled Ceremony. Robertson is part Native American and is writing the music for the proposed show, which to be directed by David Lavoie.

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I'm in a huge Band mood right now, especially after seeing Garth Hudson with Wilco last Saturday and Rich Robinson performing a common band cover "Don't Do It" last night. Last night after the show I watched "The Last Waltz" again, which opens with "Don't Do It." I look forward to this new and hopefully much improved box set.

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