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Friday 5 August 2011

Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing - "But Not For Me"

2 copies, different versions:

(London Records LTZ-M 15162 (monaural) (UK), 1958 (originally released in 1958 on Argo Records (USA)) 

(Cadet LPS 628 (stereo), USA, 1966) 
NOTE: The cover of this album states: "Electronically Re-recorded to simulate STEREO", while the record label states: STEREO. (originally released in 1958 on Argo Records USA)

Ahmad Jamal managed to break through to a wider audience than most jazz artists.  This is one of his best recordings, and featured his long-time trio members Israel Crosby on bass, and Vernell Fournier on drums.  A 'live' recording, this album captures the trio at the Pershing Lounge in Chicago, home to Chess Records, which is the parent company to Argo and Cadet Records, labels on which most of his albums were released.  This album is given a four star rating in "The Virgin Encyclopedia Of Jazz" Ahmad Jamal listing.  Jamal garnered public recognition when  Miles Davis cited him as a prime influence on his own work, mainly for his interesting rhythmic concepts, and also choice of repertoire, Miles even recording several of the pieces included in this album, such as "Surrey With The Fringe On Top" (Rodgers & Hammerstein) albeitMiles played at a much slower tempo than that heard here.  Other tunes from this album also played by Miles include "Woody 'n' You (Dizzy Gillespie), and "No Greater Love" (Jones - Symes).  Rounding out the selection are: "But Not For Me" (George Gershwin), "Moonlight In Vermont" (Suessdorf - Blackburn), "Music, Music, Music" (Weiss - Baum), thisTeresa Brewer hit seems a strange choice, but it's one of the most successful tracks here, the wonderful "Poinciana" Simon - Bernier), and Bob Haggart and Johnny Burke's "What's New".  Ahmad Jamal, presently 81 years young, is still active.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

'Cannonball' Adderley Quintet - "The Price You Got To Pay To Be Free"

Capitol Records SWBB-636 (stereo; 2 record set) (USA), 1971   


Here's a double 'live' album, probably recorded at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood, as the announcer on track 1 and the closing track is Rick Holmes, disc jockey from jazz station KBCA FM.  Also making his recording debut here is Nat Adderley, Jr., (who would later be chief arranger for Luther Vandross) who plays piano and sings on two tracks he composed, the title track "The Price You Got To Pay To Be Free", and "Together".  Nat Jr. also plays acoustic guitar on "Down In Black Bottom" and electric piano on "Lonesome Stranger", both written and sung by his father, Nat, Sr. Also written by Nat Adderley Sr. are "Inquisition", ""Devestatement", "Exquisition", and closing theme "The Scene", the last co-written with Joe Zawinul, who also composed "Rumplestiltskin", "Painted Desert" (which also turns up on Nat Adderley's "Live At Memory Lane" album, soon to be listed for sale here), and "Directions".  Nat and Joe co-authored "1-2-3-GO-O-O-!" with bassist and drummer Walter Booker and Roy McCurdy, while the Brazilian influence is heard inMilton Nascimento's "Bridges", with a heart-felt vocal by 'Cannonball', "Pra Dizer Adeus" (To Say Goodbye)" by E. Lobo, and "Sometime Ago", written by Sergei Mihanovich, and featuring a wonderful soprano solo by 'Cannonball'. Julian, as well as playing alto and soprano saxophones, also composed "Get Up Off Your Knees", "Wild Cat Pee", "Alto Sex", and "Out And In" to augment a wonderful and varied program heard here.  In addition, Bob West plays electric bass on "The Price You Pay . . ." and "Down In Black Bottom", and double bass on "Bridges", while bassistWalter Booker also plays acoustic guitar on "Pra Dizer Adeus" and "Bridges".  

"'Cannonball' Adderley's Big Man - The Legend Of John Henry"

Fantasy Records F-9006 (stereo; 2 record set) (USA), 1975      

This ambitious project took many years to bring to fruition, first existing in a book by Diane Lampert, Peter Farrow and George W. George, with the music later composed by Julian 'Cannoball' Adderley and his brother, Nat Adderley.  It dramatizes the legend of John Henry, "a steel-drivin' man", who worked on the railroads in America's South just after the Civil War, when, legend has it, he worked himself to death trying to out-do an automatic track-laying machine.  Not your usual Adderley album, this has no jazz solos per se, and 'Cannonball' is only listed as playing alto saxophone with the large orchestra which accompanies the singers.  The main characters are played by Joe Williams (John Henry), Randy Crawford (Carolina), Robert Guillaume (Jassawa), Judy Thames (whore), and Lane Smith (Sheriff and Bull Maree).  Williams is of course the famed vocalist who came to prominence in the 1950s with the Count Basie Orchestra, Guillaume starred in the '70s TV smash series "Soap", then went on to have a further hit series as the butler in "Benson", while the then 21-year-old Crawford, of course, went on to have a dazzling career, singing "Street Life" with The Crusaders as well as having many other hits.  In the orchestra, we have a full string section, with Jack Shulman (concertmaster), Bernard Kundell, William Henderson, Jerome Reisler, Henry Roth, Arthur H. Brown, Mary Newkirk, Pamela Goldsmith, Gareth Nuttycombe, Alexander Neiman, William Hymanson, Alfred Lustgarten, Kathleen Lustgarten, and Edgar Lustgarten (who also features on cello on "The Roger Kellaway Cello Quartet", A & M Records, 1970; see my future listings for this rare album).     As well as 'Cannonball' on alto, the other musicians are: Allen De Rienzo, Oliver Mitchell, Oscar Brashear, trumpets; Dick 'Slyde' Hyde, George Bohanon, trombones; William Green, Jackie Kelso, Donald Menza, Jay Migliori, reeds;Jimmy Jones, piano; Dawili Gonga, keyboards; Billy Fender, Don Peake, guitars;  Carol Kaye, Walter Booker, basses; Roy McCurdy, drums; Airto Moriera, King Errisson, percussion.

In the chorus are: Mortronette Jenkins, Gwendolyn Owens, Jessie Richardson, Stephanie Spruill, Vernettya Royster, Donald Dandridge, Sherwood Sledge, Fleming Williams, Charles May, Josef Powell, Michael Gray, and Billie Barnum.  A note of interest: Most of the orchestral and string players above were active on the Hollywood recording scene in the mid-'70s, leading me to believe that this was actually recorded in Hollywood and mastered at Fantasy's studios in Berkely, despite what the liner notes say. 

'Cannonball' Adderley Quintet - "Country Preacher"

Capitol Records SKAO-404 (stereo) (USA), 1970

Here's an Adderley 'live' album with a difference, recorded at the Saturday morning meeting of "Operation Breadbasket" in Chicago, a black self-help organization directed by Rev. Jesse Jackson, who speaks words of inspiration on several of the tracks.  The musicians heard here lend their support to this worthwhile endeavour, and are 'Cannonball' Adderley, alto and soprano saxophones; Nat Adderley, cornet; Joe Zawinul, Fender Rhodes piano; Walter Booker, bass, and Roy McCurdy drums.  Composer credits include: Joe Zawinul ("Walk Tall" (also heard on the album "74 Miles Away - Walk Tall"), "Country Preacher (dedicated to Rev. Jesse Jackson)", closing theme "The Scene" (co-written with Nat), and "Olga", (dedicated by Joe to 'Cannonball's wife Olga); Nat Adderley ("Hummin'", "Oh Babe"[co-written with 'Cannonball'), and Umbakwen"); 'Cannonball' Adderley ("Marabi" (also heard on album "Accent On Africa") and Walter Booker ("Soli Tomba").  "Umbakwen", "Soli Tomba", "Olga" and Marabi" form a suite entitled "Afro-Spanish Omlet", exploring the many ways African and Spanish music have combined, and take up most of Side 2 on this LP.  

'Cannonball' Adderley Quintet - "Accent On Africa"

Capitol Records ST 2987 (stereo) (USA), 1968

This album is quite a departure for 'Cannonball', in that he plays soprano saxophone for the first time on record, along with the then novel Selmer Varitone, a device which doubles up the sound of the saxophone, and of course, his primary instrument, alto saxophone.  With a large orchestra (unidentified) arranged and conducted by H. B. BarnumNat Adderleyis featured on cornet, and the rhythm section is probably Joe Zawinul, piano (and also composer of "Ndo Lima"), Victor Gaskin, bass, and Roy McCurdy. drums.  'Cannonball' composed two tunes, "Hamba Nami", which means "walk with me" in Zulu, and "Marabi", which refers to a 'high life' style dance common in the West Indies.  Caiphus Semanya wrote two songs, "Khutsana", which means 'the orphan' in Sesotho, and "Gumba Gumba", a Pan-African expression meaning 'party time' or 'all night session', understood by any West African.  One tune, "Gunjah" (the name of a Swahili intoxicant similar to marijuana), is contributed by David Axelrod, the album's producer; another tune, called "Up And At It", was written by the great guitarist Wes Montgomery (who incidentally was originally brought to Riverside Records' attention byAdderley), and one was co-composed by arranger H. B. Barnum with KBCA deejays Rick Holmes and Jay Rich, "Lehadima", which means 'lightning' in Sesotho.

'Cannonball' Adderley And The Bossa Rio Sextet With Sergio Mendes

Capitol Records ST 2877 (stereo) (USA) 1968 (reissue of 1963's Riverside album "Cannonball's Bossa Nova")

In 1962, 'Cannonball' Adderley and his group were playing a residency at famous New York jazz club Birdland, when Brazilian pianist and future leader of 'Brasil '66' Sergio Mendes and his 'Bossa Rio Sextet' rhythm section dropped by to hear him in person.  They happened to be in New York participating in a massive cavalcade of bossa nova at Carnegie Hall. 'Cannonball' duly invited them to sit in, and, sensing that there was something special here, made plans to record with the group, which resulted in this great album.  Mendes' band included: Durval Ferriera, guitar, Dom Um Romao, drums,Octavio Bailly, Jr., bass, Pedro Paulo, trumpet, and Paulo Moura, alto saxophone.  The compositions here include four by Ferriera, "Clouds", "Batida Diferente", "Joyce's Samba" " (both co-written with Mauricio Einhorn) and "Sambop", co-written with Paulo Moura; two by the prolific bossa nova master Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Corcovado (Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars)" and "O Amor Em Paz (Once I Loved)", and one each by Mendes ("Groovy Samba") and expat Brazilian pianist Joao Donato ("Minha Saudade"). 

'Cannonball' Adderley Quintet - "74 Miles Away - Walk Tall"

Capitol Records ST 2822 (stereo), 1967

Possibly recorded at the same 'live' sessions that produced the hit album "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy", the reason for surmising this is because the same KBCA radio disc jockey, Jay Rich, introduces the band at the beginning of Side 1, and both albums came out in 1967.  Also, the same five musicians, 'Cannonball', alto saxophone, Nat Adderley, cornet, Joe Zawinul, electric piano, Victor Gaskin, bass and Roy McCurdy, drums appear on this album.  There is one track by Nat, "Do, Do, Do", one co-written by Nat and 'Cannonball', "Oh Babe", two written by Joe Zawinul, "Walk Tall" and "74 Miles Away", and one written by the jazz critic and musician Leonard Feather, a tribute to Charlie Parker called "I Remember Bird".  'Cannonball' plays a heartfelt tribute to Bird on this track.  Feather also penned the erudite album notes here.

'Cannonball' Adderley Quintet - "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!"

Capitol Records ST 2663 (stereo) (USA), 1967

This is the album that gave 'Cannonball' Adderley's group their biggest hit since Bobby Timmons' "This Here" in 1959, with the title tune "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy", written by "The Viennese Wonder", as Nat Adderley 'name-checked' Joe Zawinul on one of Nat's own 'live' solo albums.  (See future listings for this album.) The line-up here includes 'Cannonball' Adderley, alto saxophone; Nat Adderley, cornet; Joe Zawinul, piano; Victor Gaskin, bass; and Roy McCurdy on drums.  Two selections, "Fun", and "Games" were written by Nat, two more, "Sticks" and "Sack 'O Woe" (previously recorded on 'At The Lighthouse') are by 'Cannonball', and a further two are by Joe Zawinul, the previously mentioned "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and "Hipadelphia".  Although supposedly recorded 'live' @ The Club, Chicago, information gleaned from the Cannonball Adderley website states that this album was in fact recorded at a 'live' session in the Capitol Tower in Hollywood, California, which is probably true, as the announcer at the beginning of track one sounds like Jay Rich of KBCA, Los Angeles' jazz FM radio station.  I know this as I used to listen to Jay when I lived in Los Angeles in the mid-late '60s. There is other, later material released on another Adderley album which was in fact recorded by Capitol at The Club.

'Cannonball' Adderley Sextet - "Cannonball Adderley's Fiddler On The Roof"

Capitol ST 2216 (stereo) (USA), 1965 

The 'Cannonball' Adderley Sextet, newly signed to the Capitol label in 1964, were quite taken with the music from the hit musical "Fiddler On The Roof", which was a big Broadway hit in that year.  It was decided that this would be their debut album for Capitol Records.  All the tracks were composed by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, and include: "Fiddler On The Roof" (also known as "Tradition"), "To Life", "Sabbath Prayer", "Cajvalach", "Sewing Machine" (deleted from the show prior to the Broadway opening, but much liked by 'Cannonball', who includes it here), "Now I Have Everything", "Do You Love Me", and "Matchmaker", probably the best-known of these songs.  So, after choosing the songs they wanted to give a jazz spin to, they recorded this album in New York in October, 1964.  Featuring Charles Lloyd on tenor saxophone and flute, the additional front line horn helps to make the voicings heard here a rich mixture along with 'Cannonball's alto saxophone and brother Nat Adderley's cornet.  In the rhythm section are Joe Zawinul, piano, Sam Jones, bass, and Louis Hayeson drums.

'Cannonball' Adderley w/ Oliver Nelson Orchestra - "Domination"

Capitol Records ST 2203 (stereo) (USA), 1964 

Here we find 'Cannonball' Adderley away from the quintet, featured in a big-band setting with that nonpareil arrangerOliver Nelson, on a programme of originals, save for one obscure standard by Cole Porter, "I Worship You".  Along with'Cannonball' on alto saxophone, Nat Adderley is featured on cornet and trumpet, and the only other quintet member present here is pianist Joe Zawinul.  'Cannonball' contributes two originals, the title track "Domination" and "Introduction To A Samba", brother Nat Adderley wrote "Cyclops", while three pianists contribute three originals, Ray Bryant's "Shake A Lady", Joe Zawinul's "Mystified" (also known as "Angel Face"), and former Adderley pianist Victor Feldman's "Gon Gong".  Also, trombonist J. J. Johnson contributes "Interlude". Although the album fails to list the collective personnel, I found the remaining Oiver Nelson musicians by browsing the Internet, where there is a great Italian website dedicated to all things 'Cannonball'.  Recorded in New York, the orchestra includes: Jimmy Maxwell, Jimmy Nottingham, Clark Terry, Snooky Young, trumpets; Jimmy Cleveland, Willie Dennis, J. J. Johnson, Tony Studd, trombones; Budd Johnson, Bob Ashton, Danny Bank, Phil Woods, Marshall Royal, reeds; Joe Zawinul, piano; Richard Davis, bass; and Grady Tate, drums. 

'Cannonball' Adderley Sextet - "Planet Earth"

Riverside / ABC Records RS-3041 (stereo)(USA), 1969 (reissue of 2 'live' tracks from 1962's"Sextet In New York", 2 tracks from 1963's "Nippon Soul", + 1 track from 1961's Nat Adderley Quartet album "Naturally").   

When Riverside Records went bankrupt in around 1964, 'Cannonball' took some of the original masters to Capitol Records, his next record label port-of-call, and a few of them saw the light of day for that label, including "Cannonball's Bossa Nova", retitled as "Cannonball Adderley With The Bossa Rio Sextet".  There was also a short-lived attempt at resurrecting Riverside by ABC Records, and this 1969 compilation is one of the resulting albums.  The main unifying factor with the first four tracks here are that they were all written by tenor saxophonist / oboist Yusef Lateef, and the first four ("Planet Earth", "Brother John", "The Weaver", and "Syn-Anthesia") are culled from the Adderley Sextet's 'live' albums "Sextet In New York" (1962) and "Nippon Soul" (1963), while rounding out the album is a track from a 1961 Nat Adderley quartet session for Riverside thast resulted in the album  "Naturally".  The track heard here is entitled "Seventh Son", written by the pianist on all of these sides, Joe Zawinul.  In fact, Nat Adderley, cornet, SamJones, bass, and Louis Hayes, drums, are on all five tracks as well, while 'Cannonball' plays alto saxophone on the first four sides only.  Subsequently, many of the original RiversideAdderley titles stayed in limbo until around 1986, when Landmark Records, with original producer Orrin Keepnews, were instrumental in the reissue of at least seven of these great Riverside albums on CD. Fantasy Records also later reissued some of the Riversides on CD in 1989. 

Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley with Strings - "The Lush Side Of Cannonball"

Mercury Records MG 20652 (mono) (USA), 1961 (reissue of "Cannonball Adderley + Strings", Mercury Records MG 36063, 1955). 

A wonderful album in the much-maligned "jazz with strings" category, this being (in my opinion) on a par with Clifford Brown's wonderful "With Strings" album coincidentally also recorded in the same year, 1955, and for the same record label, Mercury / Emarcy.  Eleven of the tunes here are well-known standards: Johnny Green - Edward Heyman's "I Cover The Waterfront", George & Ira Gershwin's "A Foggy Day", Rodgers & Hammerstein's "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top" (pre-dating both Miles Davis' 1956 version and Ahmad Jamal's 1958 version of this tune), Frank Loesser & Hoagy Carmichael's "Two Sleepy People", Sammy Cahn & Nicholas Brodsky's "I'll Never Stop Loving You" (a hit for Doris Day around this time), Herb Magidson & Allie Wrubel's "The Masquerade Is Over", Frank Loesser's "I've Never Been In Love Before", Rodgers & Hart's "Falling In Love WIth Love", Victor Young & Sam Lewis' "Street Of Dreams", Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke's "Polka Dots And Moonbeams", Rodgers & Hart's "You Are Too Beautiful", and one tune penned by the great vibraharpist, Terry Gibbs, that being "Lonely Dreams".  The masterful arrangements are by Richard Hayman, who was also a well-known harmonica maestro, having recently made a hit record out of "Ruby (You're Just a Dream"), later a big hit for Ray Charles. 

'Cannonball' Adderley Quintet - "Still Talkin' To Ya"

Oriole / Realm Records RM 17 (mono)(UK), 1963 (UK reissue of 1955 Savoy album "Presenting Cannonball"). 

This album was the first to present the 'Cannonball' Adderley Quintet, dating from that momentous 1955 visit to the CafĂ© Bohemia, when the heretofore unknown 'Cannonball' proceeded to sit in with bassist Oscar Pettiford's group, and blow the house down, a sensational debut on the New York jazz scene.  As a result of this appearance, he was brought to the attention of Savoy Records by Pettiford's drummer, Kenny Clarke, and the rest is history, with this album an outstanding result.  With the rhythm section consisting of pianist Hank Jones, bassist Paul Chambers, and the aforementioned Kenny Clarke on drums, this is a wonderful set, recorded in New York City on 26 July, 1955.  The titles include four tunes written by Adderley, Still Talkin' To Ya", "A Little Taste", Carribean Cutie", and "Spontaneous Combustion" (co-written with his brother Nat Adderley, a tune he later recorded on his 1959 breakthrough album for Riverside, "'Cannonball' Adderley Quintet In San Francisco", where he also recalled these early New York days by including Oscar Pettiford's "Bohemia After Dark"), and the standard "Flamingo", written by Ted Grouya and Edmund Anderson.  

Monday 11 July 2011

David Sanborn - "Voyeur"

Warner Bros WB 56900 (Germany), 1981  

The premier soul / fusion alto saxophonist, David Sanborn, is presented here in a varied programme which includes Sanborn originals "Just Say Goodbye", "It's You", and "One In A Million", while the amazing bassist Marcus Miller contributes "Run For Cover", "All I Need Is You" and "Just For You", and also "Wake Me When It's Over", which he co-wrote with Sanborn.  Dave also plays Saxello on two tracks, Fender Rhodes piano on three, and Wurlitzer electric piano on one, while Miller, in addition to playing bass or Moog bass on six out of seven tracks, also plays drums (track 3), Fender Rhodes piano on three tracks and electric guitar on three tracks.  Among the wonderful line-up of musicians are  Michael Colina, synthesizers and co-producer, Buzzy Feiten or Hiram Bullock on guitars, and Steve Gadd or Buddy Williams on drums.  Lenny Castro or Ralph MacDonald play percussion, and on "All I Need Is You", Tom Scott plays flute and tenor saxophone.  There are backing vocals on two tracks.  A great album albeit with a short running time.

David Sanborn - "Straight To The Heart"

Warner Bros. WB 925 150-1 (Germany), 1984

Here is David Sanborn, playing at the top of his game, in front of a 'live' studio audience in New York, c. 1984.  Present are such stalwatts as Don Grolnick, keyboards, Hiram Bullock, guitar, Marcus Miller, bass guitar and synthesizer,andBuddy Williams, drums.  Additional musicians include Ralph MacDonald"Crusher" BennettMichael White, percussion, Michael Brecker, tenor saxophone (track 8)Randy BreckerJon Faddis, trumpets (track 8) and the greatHamish Stuart, lead vocalist for Average White Band doing the honours on Al Green's "Love And Happiness".

Sanborn contributes "Hideaway" and "Lisa", Marcus Miller wrote the title track, "Straight To The Heart" and "Run For Cover" (originally on the album "Voyeur"), Don Grolnick composed "Lotus Blossom", and the other tracks are "Smile" by C. Parkinson, and "One Hundred Ways", made famous by James Ingram's vocal, but played here instrumentally with backing vocals, and the aforementoned Mike Brecker tenor sax solo.   Clocking in at nearly 52 minutes, this is a great 'live' album.

Wilbert Longmire - "The Best Of Wilbert Longmire"

Tappan Zee / Columbia AL 37094 (USA), 1981   

Blessed with an angelic voice and awesome guitar 'chops', fusioneer Wilbert Longmire appears here on six tracks culled from his 3 albums for Tappan Zee Records, Sunny Side Up (1978), Champagne (1979) and All My Love (1980).  With the likes of label chief Bob James (also arranger and composer of some of the tracks) and Richard Tee on keyboards, bass supremo Gary King, exemplary funk drummer Harvey Mason and guest appearances by two of the era's most impressive saxophonists, altoist Dave Sanborn and tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker, we have Longmire offering a rhythmic / melodic mix that combines style with grace and charm, but he also burns on some of the tracks.  The selections are: 'Music Speaks Louder Than Words', 'Black Is The Colour', 'Ragtown', 'Love Why Don't You Find Us', 'Pleasure Island', and 'Love's Holiday'.  So, a rare album by an unjustly neglected singer/guitarist from the much maligned 'fusion' era. 

The Band - Moondog Matinee

Capitol E-SW 11214 (UK issue), released in 1973.  

On this album, The Band pay tribute to their musical origins, when they played all the juke joints in Canada and points South as Ronnie Hawkins' band The Hawks.  With a lot of the tunes being classic Rock 'n' Roll repertoire by the likes of Clarence "Frogman" Henry ("Ain't Got No Home"),  and even a nostalgic look back via Anton Karas' "Third Man Theme", a tune made famous by Elvis written by Sun Records' Sam Phillips and Wm. Parker, Jr., "Mystery Train", one by Allen Toussaint, "Holy Cow", Chuck Berry's "Promised Land", Buck Ram's "The Great Pretender", Fats Domino's "I'm Ready", "Saved" (made famous by Laverne Baker), and written by the great rock tunesmiths Lieber & Stoller, and finishing with Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come", this is a nonpariel collection, in some ways explaining the origins of the music of The Band. 

The Band - Islands

Capitol E-ST  11602 (UK issue), released in 1977.  

Two years on, and The Band are still spinning their magic on a set of original songs from within the group, with only two, the first being the  Hoagy Carmichael  classic, "Georgia On My Mind", and the second, "Ain't That A Lot Of Love", by H. Banks and W. Parker coming from outside.  Six of the tunes, "Right As Rain", Let The Night Fall", "Christmas Must Be Tonight", "The Saga Of Pepote Rouge", "Knockin' Lost John", and "Livin'' In A Dream" are by Robbie Robertson, while he collaborates with Rick Danko on one, "Street Walker", and with Danko and Garth Hudson on the title tune, "Islands".  Present on some tracks are guest horn-players Tom MaloneJim Gordon and John Simon. Another winning programme.   The only Band album not included in this collection is the live album from 1978, "The Last Waltz", which also exists as a much-broadcast 'live' concert.

The Band - Northern Lights, Southern Cross

Capitol E-ST 11440 (UK issue), released in 1975.   

A departure from previous albums, as Robbie Robertson is the sole composer represented here.  But given the nature of The Band, it's always a collaborative effort, and they always seem to get it right!  So, one track, "Acadian Driftwood" harks back to their Canadian heritage, the story of the migration to Louisiana, with the Acadian presence as "Cajuns" there.  Some French vocalizing is heard.  Also, on this track appears the only non-Band musician, guest fiddler Byron Berline.   The other titles are: "Forbidden Fruit", "Hobo Jungle", "Ophelia", "Ring Your Bell", "It Makes No Difference", "Jupiter Hollow", and "Rags And Bones".  The guys do their usual musical sorcery using a vast array of instruments (see previous Band listings).  Another worthy addition to theBand canon.

The Band - Rock of Ages (live double album)

Capitol E STSP 11 (2 LP set) (UK issue), released in 1972.  

By the end of 1971, The Band could call on their extensive repertoire to play a 'live' show, on New Year's Eve, and this one gets it all right, with sixteen of the best songs from their first four albums, plus one, "(I Don't Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes" harking back to their days as The Hawks with Ronnie Hawkins.  Included are: "Don't Do It", "King Harvest Has Surely Come", "Caledonia Mission", "Get Up Jake", "W. S. Walcott Medicine Show", "The Genetic Method / Chest Fever", "Stage Fright", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "Across The Great Divide", "This Wheel's On Fire", "Rag Mama Rag", "The Weight", "The Shape I'm In", "Unfaithful Servant", and "Life Is A Carnival.  Along with the usual Band lineup, we have additional punch in the horn section, contributed by jazzmen Snooky Young, trumpet and flugelhorn;  Howard Johnson baritone saxophone, tuba and euphonium; Joe Farrell. tenor and soprano saxophones, English horn;  Earl McIntyre, trombone; and J. D. Parron, alto saxophone and Eb clarinet.  Garth Hudson of The Band contributes tenor and soprano saxophone solos.