Though the majority of their members were Canadians, roots rock group The Band somehow ended up as expert chroniclers of American history and tradition.
After successfully stepping out of the shadow of their friend and mentor Bob Dylan with their stunning debut LP Music From Big Pink in 1968, The Band returned a year later with an even more accomplished effort.
Guitarist Robbie Robertson largely took control of the songwriting duties for the self-titled sophomore release, and lyrically he focused even more heavily on American folkore and mythology than before.
The music itself is delightful, the group’s spirited playing and harmonising a joy to behold. Stand-outs include the Confederate Civil War yarn ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’, union worker lament ‘King Harvest (Has Surely Come)’ and the ramshackle rock of ‘Rag Mama Rag’ and ‘Up On Cripple Creek’.
Play this incredible, timeless album as you drive through the American south.
Try also: The Band Music From Big Pink (Columbia, 1968).