Rock of Ages (album)

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Rock of Ages
Live album by The Band
Released August 15, 1972
Recorded December 28-31, 1971
Academy of Music, New York City
Genre Rock
Length 78:19
Label Capitol
Producer The Band
The Band chronology
Cahoots
(1971)
Rock of Ages
(1972)
Moondog Matinee
(1973)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (B)[2]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[3]

Rock of Ages: The Band in Concert is a live album by The Band, released in 1972 on Capitol Records, catalogue SABB 11045. It was compiled from recordings made during their series of shows at the Academy of Music in New York City, from December 28 through 31, 1971. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Content[edit]

Levon Helm during one of the concerts
Richard Manuel
Robbie Robertson
Garth Hudson
Rick Danko

The Band booked a residency at the Academy of Music for the last week of 1971, culminating in a New Year's Eve performance. Robbie Robertson had commissioned New Orleans songwriter and arranger Allen Toussaint to compose horn charts for their recent single "Life Is A Carnival" from the album Cahoots, and decided to have Toussaint write special charts for a five-man horn section to augment the group on their upcoming concerts.[4] Charts written by Toussaint in New Orleans were in luggage lost at the airport, and a new set was composed in a cabin near Robertson's house in Woodstock.[5] Robertson selected eleven songs to receive horn charts, and all are included on the released album.[6] The horns do not play on "Get Up Jake", "Stage Fright", "This Wheel's on Fire", "The Weight", "The Shape I'm In", and "The Genetic Method." Selections on the bonus disc also do not feature horn arrangements, with the exception of Dylan's "Down in the Flood."

The repertoire consisted of material from all four of The Band's studio albums up to that point, which were framed on the album by covers of the 1964 Motown hit single "Baby Don't You Do It" by Marvin Gaye, and the b-side "(I Don't Want to Hang Up) My Rock and Roll Shoes" to the final single by Chuck Willis in 1958, "What Am I Living For." The bulk of the recordings on the released album were derived from either the December 30 or the December 31 show, while the tracks on the bonus disc come from December 28 and 29 as well.[7] Since Garth Hudson interpolates "Auld Lang Syne" into his solo piece "The Genetic Method," it can be assumed that track and "Chest Fever" were played at midnight, December 31. Their previous employer Bob Dylan made a surprise visit on the New Year's Eve show, playing four songs with the group in the early morning hours of January 1, 1972.[8]

Originally released in 1972 as a double album, it was reissued in 1980 as two separate LPs, titled Rock of Ages, Vol. 1 and Rock of Ages, Vol. 2. The first edition for compact disc in 1987 ostensibly edited several tracks to fit the program onto a single disc; an unedited two-disc version followed in 1990. On May 8, 2001, an expanded and remastered two-disc edition appeared, with the original album on one disc, and an additional ten tracks on a bonus disc. Included on the bonus disc were the four songs featuring Dylan and another Motown cover, the 1966 hit single "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" by The Four Tops.

The 2005 retrospective Band box set A Musical History contains several Rock of Ages tracks newly remixed from the multitrack tapes, as well as a previously unissued performance of the song "Smoke Signal" from the December 28 show. A hybrid SACD reissue of the original album was released on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label in 2010.[9] The song "Chest Fever" from this album is available as downloadable content for the video game Rock Band.

In 2013, Capitol released Live at the Academy of Music 1971: The Rock of Ages Concerts, a box set consisting of four CDs and one DVD (mostly only audio), and containing all previously released material from the concerts as well as numerous unissued performances (including the December 31 show in its entirety) presented in new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes.[10]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Robbie Robertson unless otherwise indicated.

Side one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Introduction by Robertson"     1:22
2. "Don't Do It"   Holland-Dozier-Holland 5:00
3. "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)"     4:04
4. "Caledonia Mission"     3:38
5. "Get Up Jake"     3:33
6. "The W. S. Walcott Medicine Show"     3:54

Side two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Stage Fright"     4:38
2. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"     4:34
3. "Across the Great Divide"     3:59
4. "This Wheel's on Fire"   Rick Danko, Bob Dylan 4:07
5. "Rag Mama Rag"     4:33

Side three[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Weight"     5:32
2. "The Shape I'm In"     4:14
3. "The Unfaithful Servant"     4:48
4. "Life Is a Carnival"   Levon Helm , Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko 4:17

Side four[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Genetic Method"   Garth Hudson 7:48
2. "Chest Fever"     5:24
3. "(I Don't Want to) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes"   Chuck Willis 4:20

2001 bonus disc track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever"   Stevie Wonder, Ivy Jo Hunter 3:28
2. "I Shall Be Released"   Bob Dylan 4:03
3. "Up on Cripple Creek"     4:38
4. "The Rumor"     5:02
5. "Rockin' Chair"     4:06
6. "Time to Kill"     4:07
7. "Down in the Flood"   Bob Dylan 5:25
8. "When I Paint My Masterpiece"   Bob Dylan 4:17
9. "Don't Ya Tell Henry"   Bob Dylan 4:38
10. "Like a Rolling Stone"   Bob Dylan 5:24

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

Production personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1972 "Don't Do It" Pop Singles 34

References[edit]