Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Band - Across the Great Divide

The absolute best way to listen to The Band (excepting, of course, taking the Tardis back to the 70's to see them live) is to listen to their studio albums. The first three albums serve as their own greatest hits compilations. That said, it's hard to fault a compilation such as Across the Great Divide, which tries so hard to capture the best that The Band has to offer.

Across the Great Divide is a 3 disc compilation, with the first two discs dedicated to hits from the studio albums, and the third disc is supposedly filled with rarities, though many of them are not rare. If you simply need The Band's hits, the first two discs should suffice. The third disc is a hard sell for hardcore and casual fans alike. Most of the rarities come from sources such as The Last Waltz, Rock of Ages, and Before the Flood, all of which are officially released albums. There are a couple tracks from the Ronnie Hawkins days, but that's about as rare as it gets. If you're looking for better selections in the rarity department, you're better off buying the remastered editions of The Band's albums, which include a number of non-album tracks, many of which are surprisingly good.

There aren't really any surprises in this box set, which is a bit disappointing. The Band's hits still hold up as they always do, but you can't really credit this compilation for that fact. In many ways, this is a superfluous thing to own, even for an avid fan such as myself. I give the three stars I'm about to drop to the idea of this compilation, and not to the stellar music of The Band. The Band deserves 5 stars, this comp gets 3.

Baleeted? No, but don't think I didn't think about it.

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