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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Overlooked Classic, 11 Oct. 2002
By 
J. Skade "joeskade" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stage Fright (Audio CD)
This album, produced by any other band, would be a crowning glory - a staple of desert island lists and top 100 collections, but the Band had just produced the "Big Pink" and "The Band" albums ushering a quiet revolution in rock'n'roll. "Stagefright" has suffered by not being simply Volume 3, it has the reputation of being the beginning of the end for The Band, and a downbeat album at that.
Well, the latter half of the album is certainly darker than previous Band material - 'The Rumor' is certainly disquieting in its portrayal of smalltown gossip, 'Stagefright' is hardly cheering whilst 'The Shape I'm In' charts the narrator's disintigration. But this is only half the story - 'Strawberry Wine'sung and co-written by Levon Helms kicks off the album in true goodtime style with a great bassline and some nifty drumming. Levon also sings 'All La Glory' (about Robbie's baby daughter) as though he were cradling the child with his voice, a personal favourite this one and Garth Hudson's organ solo is gorgeous. 'Sleeping' is one of Richard Manuel's dream numbers, and whilst not quite in the class of 'In the Station' or 'Whispering Pines' it remains utterly charming. 'Time to Kill', a mid paced rocker about the delights of a rural retreat also deserves a mention.
It's Rick Danko though who is the hero of this album not only for his constantly delightful basslines but for his showstopping performance vocal on the title track - the total vulnerability of the central character is perfectly conveyed. This track also contains some of the Band's best ensemble playing.
From the darker side of the album both 'The Shape I'm In', sung superbly by Richard, and 'The Rumor' ( one of only two tracks to feature the group's trademark vocal swapping) are standouts. 'Daniel And The Sacred Harp', the other track to feature vocal swapping, is highly regarded by the one friend of mine who shares my taste for the Band - yet it leaves me indifferent, the mythic story and the instrumental 'colour' are too deliberate and simply don't ring true. Yet it is sung beautifully by Levon and (especially) Richard - a lot of people I'm sure will and indeed do love it.
In all this album represents a shift in direction, but hardly a falling off - the songs are superb and the Band remain the finest most versatile and least selfish bunch of musicians I can think of.
The bonus tracks are interesting but most times I switch off after the album proper.
The newcomer should buy the first two albums first - but don't stop there, this album in particular is crying out for your attention.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Band Classic, 20 Mar. 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Stage Fright (Audio CD)
By the time Stagefright was released in 1970 The Band must have been sinking under the weight of critical acclaim for their first two albums, Music From Big Pink and The Band. Listening to this over 35 years later it is unbelievable anyone could have called this dissapointing. Completely different to the other two albums it has a harder edged feel and is probably more accessable. One thing in common is the brilliant, seemingly effortless musicianship and the very top quality songwriting.
Personal highlights are Strawberry Wine, All La Glory, The Shape I'm In, Daniel and The Sacred Harp and The Rumor. Lowlights don't exist here.
If you like any other Band album you will love this. Only a genius like Garth Hudson could play a solo on an instrument sounding like a stylophone and command your attention throughout and bring a classic like Shape I'm In to a brilliant conclusion. Buy it and see what I mean.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An alternative view, 20 Nov. 2008
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stage Fright (Audio CD)
I know that the overwhelming consensus of opinion says 'Big Pink' and 'The Band' are The Band's best two studio albums, but 'Stage Fright' is my favourite. For me, it's a warmer album with a greater r&b element and the players sound as if they're enjoying what they're doing. I am not bowled over by 'Big Pink', an arid, lumbering album that owes much of its reputation to the Dylan connection (Basement Tapes is a great album though). 'The Band' is a classic and features some stand-out songs, whereas 'Stage Fright' is all of one quality, but it isn't as carefree. 'Time To Kill' and 'The Shape I'm In' float in a way nothing on those earlier albums does. 'Just Another Whistle Stop', the title track and 'The Rumor' all have arresting, dramatic qualities. Each track is distinct and strong. If anything, this is also a more accessible album and well worth a listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far more than Just Another Whistle Stop., 9 Jan. 2009
By 
Flickering Ember "I need a break and I wanna ... (Once Upon A Long Ago.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stage Fright (Audio CD)
This, the third offering from The Band, is a more mature and slightly more downbeat sounding album, which has long been overshadowed by its two predecessors.

However, it is nothing less than a masterpiece and a classic, and as such still deserves 5 stars. There is not just the downcast sound but there are also jaunty thrills to be had such as with Time To Kill. Just Another Whistle Stop's upbeat instrumentals mask some very hard-hitting lyrics, but the two are juxtaposed beautifully.

Much as others have said, this is their third best album, behind the first two releases in that order (The Band and Music From Big Pink), and as such, any newcomers to this music would be advised to go for those 2 albums first.

The only sadness in this album is knowing that it was almost the beginning of the end for The Band.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Severely Under-Rated, 23 Oct. 2008
By 
Geoffrey Millar (Brunswick Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stage Fright (Audio CD)
Coming after two of the best ever albums around, Stage Fright had a pretty tough task to pull off.

However, the songs are good, sometimes great - Stage Fright is an all time classic - and the playing and singing are up to The Band's usual standards.

I suspect what people don't like about this is that it has a darker, more troubled and personal feel than the previous records. In particular, the Shape I'm In, Stage Fright and The Rumour are quite different from the 'story-telling' songs which comprised most of The Band's material to date, with the odd exception such as Richard's Whispering Pines.

Then, there's the sound of the album itself, which is brighter and less warm and 'thuddy' than that of The Band; this tends to emphasise the character of the songs. Apparently, there were two master tapes done at the time: one produced by Todd Rundgren and the other by Glyn Johns. I have no idea which one this is, or how different or otherwise are the mixes.

The bonus tracks are nice to have but don't add a lot to the experience. Liner notes and packaging are very good, but I miss the cardboard poster of the group that came with the original LP.

For some reason, this isn't a populur album so there are many cheap copies available on Amazon - buy one and enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as its predecessors's, but what is., 21 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Stage Fright (Audio CD)
Having cemented there reputation as one of the finest bands of there generation with there impressive debut, music from big pink and its stunning self titled follow up, stage fright, released in 1970, carried on with that trend of the band being amongst the songwriters and performers of there generation. It has a more live feel to it than its predecessors, and tho not as good as the previous two, this is still a fine collection of songs that sound great to kick back to on a fine hot summers day. Key tracks, sleeping, shape I'm in and daniel and the sacred harp.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great album, 4 Jun. 2013
By 
Dr. J. Crawford "jc" (Ely, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stage Fright (MP3 Download)
Many commentators say that the Band went into decline after their classic second album "the Band). I would disagree and say that "Stage Fright" possibly equals that album. No dud tracks. Some great song writing. Great playing. You definitely don't need the bonus tracks though. If you are only now checking out The Band you must have this album. After this they were more patchy ( but every album had its highlights).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, 9 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Stage Fright (Audio CD)
This is simply one of the best albums ever...
the slow melodic and melancholy tracks are the ones that do it for me. Shivers up the spine. Emotive and moving. I can't explain music. Who can? Buy it with confidence and let me know should you not like it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not their best but a good solid effort !, 4 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Stage Fright (Audio CD)
An accomplished album,but not a great album ! The Bands musicianship shines through on every track ! Not a classic but a worthwhile addition to any fan of The Bands collection .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great album, 23 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Stage Fright (Audio CD)
Great album - less patchy than some reviews would lead you to believe if you give it a couple of listens. The brown album & big pink are my favourites but this is next for me.
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Stage Fright
Stage Fright by The Band (Audio CD - 2000)
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