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Northern Lights - Southern Cross
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2001
I love this album, although it might not have the same feeling for America's past as their self titled album, but it brims with skill, musicianship and, most of all, pure emotion. Along with the funkier rock works like 'Ophelia' and 'Forbidden Fruit' are a number of the bands most beautiful ballads - 'Hobo Jungle' is surely Richard Manuel's last great performance.'It Makes No Difference' is one of the most relevant love songs I've ever heard, clearly written with a knoweledge of the heartbreak that unfufilled love can bring. 'Acadian Driftwood' is an out and out masterpiece of songwriting showing Robbie Robertson's storytelling touch hadn't deserted him by 1975. 'Rags and Bones' is one of The Band's most underrated songs in my opinion (again complemented by Robertson's lyrical charm and, as all the songs are on this album, Garth Hudson's imaginative organ work) and a wonderful final track to what must surely add up to one of the most underrated albums of all time and a masterpiece.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2006
"Northern Light, Southern Cross" was the last Band album that I really got into. Their first 3 albums were immediate favourites, but "Cahoots" was a disappointment and I did not like "Moondog Matinee" ( all old covers ) at all, when it was released in 1973; later I have come to appreciate that album too. I actually thought it was over with the Band. So I guess I never really gave "Northern Light, Southern Cross" the chance it needed and deserved, when I was first introduced to it around 1978. The songs somehow did not appeal to me at the time.

Luckily with the re-releases of all the Band`s original albums ( with bonus-tracks and great informative booklets ) I chose to give this album a new chance. Now I realize that this album is really among the Band`s finest; which says a lot!!

The original album consisted of only 8 tracks, which was due to the relatively long playing time of the songs. They recorded 9 songs for the album, but the great track "Twilight" never made it to the album, but was released as a 1976 single instead. The version included here is not the finished version, but an early take of it. "Christmas Must Be Tonight" is also an early version of the song; to get these 2 great songs in their finished shape, go for the re-release of

"Islands".

The opener "Forbidden Fruit" is a typical Band-rocker sung by Levon Helm, in his best "Stage Fright" style; this is one of the longest tracks and it features some of Robertson`s rare guitar-solo work. Sadly some Band members did not take the warning in the song seriously enough.

The ballad "Hobo Jungle" is beautifully sung by Richard Manuel; a song that is somehow often overlooked. One of my favourites on the album.

"Ophelia" was also released as a single and was actually a minor hit (#73) - it`s a song written in 1920-30`s style.

"Acadian Driftwood" is one the standouts. Great melody and the blend of the three great Band voices is a thrill. On their early albums this was one of their trademarks. The song tells the story of the Acadians, a native people, who was removed from their home to another place in America. A moving story told over many verses.

"Ring Your Bell" is sung by Manuel with Danko and Helm helping on the chorus.

"It Makes No Difference" is another standout. Danke delivers one his best vocal performances on a Band record. Again all three great voices join in the chorus.

"Jupiter Hollow" is the one track that I never really got. It`s a kind of funky tune sung by Helm.

"Rags and Bones" again, sung by Manuel, features another original Robertson guitar-solo.

Both bonus-tracks are good, though especially "Christmas Must Be Tonight" is not as good as the finished version that can be found on the "Islands" re-issue.

A great album, where all three great vocalists show to their best advantage, both individually and collectively
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2006
Released in 1975, this was The Band's first studio album of original material for four years. Viewed at the time with some dissapointment, looking back now it is hard to see why.
In those four years their music had certainly, and not surprisingly, changed to a much more modern sound. The musicianship and production was superb however.
The album opens with Forbidden Fruit, the advice basically being to keep it in your pants and not where it does'nt belong. It features some great keyboards from Garth Hudson. Next up is a beautiful song, Hobo Jungle, my favourite off the album. This is brilliantly produced with a wonderful, moving vocal performance by Richard Manuel. Ophelia is another great track, and it is now clear this album is yet another Band Classic. Acadian Driftwood follows, a brilliant song about the injustice done to the Acadian people in the 18th century. Ring your Bell is an uplifting " good 'ol boy " song. It Makes No Difference is a beautiful love song, great vocal from Rick Danko.
Rags and Bones is the only dissapointing song on the album. It finishes with Jupiter Hollow, another great track perfactly crafted like the whole album. What a band.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2013
I love the feel of this album rather more than the songs, although clearly some of them (Ophelia and Acadian Driftwood, for example) are wonderful. I don't believe this is as consistent as The Band and Music from the Big Pink.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2013
All round feel good music foe people enjoyed music in 70s and 80s. Not a single song I disliked. Can listen to it all day.
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on 4 May 2013
Like The Band very much. Never had this album before so was leap in the dark musically. I'm not disappointed.
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on 8 November 2014
Decent enough offering but nowhere near the standard of Stage Fright and Band.
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on 6 April 2015
Classic Band Cd
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2008
In the UK only Stage Fright was a chart album and it was not much more in the States with Rock of Ages added later.Hit singles were only minor in comparison to say Bob Dylan's.
As I'm not much of a rock fan-if that's supposed to mean heavy metal or hard rock-I see the Band as closer to country music and certainly to Americana which is just an extension to Roots music.
I don't pretend to understand rock critic language-which basically praises the first Band albums then claims to be disappointed with what followed when its really all the same thing-staying in the same turf.
The Band were in the right place at the right time on at least 2 occasions-Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan.With the latter they were a typically noisy rock'n'roll band who cut a single for Atlantic as Levon & the Hawks before mellowing out and doing their own thing which began with the Basement Tapes which were never heard in full till a couple of albums by the Band had been and gone.
Now in the 2000s with the remastered CDs and the box sets and the tribute albums to say nothing of the movie The Last Waltz you could be forgiven if you got the impression the Band were as big as the Who.
Their chosen name is both against and in favor of them but this is music which is actually timeless
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2014
Not as strong an album as their earlier efforts but it does have some enjoyable moments ! It may be one of those albums that grow on you ?
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