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Islands
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This is The Band on the slide, sad to say, but there are still magical moments. This album is saved from MOR by the beautiful voice of Richard Manuel, mainly on Right As Rain and his extraordinary version of Georgia On My Mind (an alternate version, almost as great, ends the CD). The voices of Rick Danko and Levon Helm are still as affecting as ever, even if the material is less inspired. This is almost a 'Guilty Pleasure' Band album, one that many fans don't want to admit they like! But given a chance, this is still an enjoyable collection of songs. And when Richard Manuel sings, give him your complete attention - he's still here...
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2003
Following their work with Bob Dylan, The Band produced solid heavyweight albums, which were master classes in style, technique, and sheer depth of performance: Big Pink, The Band, Northern Lights, Stage Fright. When you heard these, you vibrated with the weight of the musicianship, vocals and their stunning arrangements. Then came Islands. At first hearing, I found it weak and insipid, and wondered if the Band had lost their way, or just lost it. After a few more plays, I realised that the same quality was there, but they had taken a new direction: a softer approach, gentler and less demanding, but maintaining the integrity of their work. It would be true to say that this is a wee gem. It glows rather than sparkles, you won't vibrate, but you will lie back and float away.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2011
Well everybody says this is The Band on their way down but I think that is more about their misplaced loyalty to the early albums than reality. Reality is that Music From Big Pink now sounds pretty rough to my ears whilst Islands is the most accessible and tune friendly album they ever produced. Tracks such as Living In A Dream and Aint That A Lot Of Love are stompers to rank with their best songs. Then there are beautiful tracks suchs as the exquisite Let The Night Fall and Christmas Must Be Tonight (for me an unrivalled tear leaden song about Christmas). Add to this a brilliant rendition of Georgia and the instrumental track Islands which is truly superb (no, when I say it's superb it is because I only deal with highly listenable songs). Go on...it doesn't cost a lot to buy this album and it's real easy to slip on to the hi fi and just enjoy. Because it is tunefull bliss! Ignore the critics - they lost their snooty ways on this one!
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on 4 October 2014
Another underrated record which I held out getting for years (along with Cahoots). Glad I picked it up now. Some good material: funky, tightly played songs. Well worth investigating!
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on 28 January 2015
I got this CD because I love "Christmas must be Tonight" but the rest of the songs are a let down, but still worth a listen.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2009
The Band is one of my all time favourite groups, who produced some of the best live studio (and bootleg!) albums ever.

However, this CD - the last Robbie Robertson era Band album - is really disappointing. It could be viewed as The Band's 'contractual obligation' album for Capitol: it certainly sounds as if it was recorded without much energy or enthusiasm and seems like a collection of outtakes and bits left over from other projects.

On the plus side, the album has the late Richard Manuel's superb version of 'Georgia', with a good outtake of the song as a bonus. Levon's cover of 'Aint That a Lot of Love' is very enjoyable but belongs more on 'Moondog Matinee'. And that's about it, really: most the songs don't measure up to The Band's high standards.

The CD sound is much more punchy and has more presence than the LP,which is good, but the drum sound in particular is still feeble compared to other Band albums.

The musicianship and singing are fine, and I really tried to like this album, but it mostly sounds like an album by the HeeGeeGeeBees "Bland". Recommended only if cheap.
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on 28 December 2014
Not one of their best known efforts, but still a good collection of numbers.
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