Released on the 22nd September 1969, the eponymous second studio effort by The Band is a concept album, with the songs focusing on people, places and traditions associated with an older version of Americana
It was recorded in the pool house of a home rented by the group in the Hollywood Hills which was once owned by Judy Garland, Wally Cox and, at the time the group worked there, Sammy Davis, Jr. According to Robbie Robertson, the location was chosen to give the songs a Basement Tapes–like feel in what was termed “a clubhouse concept.”
The album includes many of The Band’s best-known and critically acclaimed songs, including “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” which Rolling Stone named the 249th greatest song of all time. The magazine also ranked the album number 45 in their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Time magazine included it in their unranked 2006 list of the 100 greatest albums.
Robert Christgau, who spent 37 years as the chief music critic and senior editor for The Village Voice, declared it better than Abbey Road, which had been released four days following, writing that The Band’s LP is an “A-plus record if I’ve ever rated one.” The album is preserved in the National Recording Registry and is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
1. Across the Great Divide
2. Rag Mama Rag
3. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
4. When You Awake
5. Up On Cripple Creek
6. Whispering Pines
7. Jemima Surrender
8. Rockin' Chair
9. Look Out Cleveland
11. The Unfaithful Servant
12. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)