The Band’s greatest strength was their ability to sound like the whole history of American pop music rolled into one big rustic blender, creating in the process a kind of frozen mythic landscape that somehow informs the present by suggesting the past. It was quite a hat trick, and it’s easy to glimpse a little bit of that funky and mythic R&B carnival the Band represented in this brief ten-song set. Songs like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Rag Mama Rag,” “Chest Fever,” “It Makes No Difference,” and “The Shape I’m In” add up to a whole universe of time, place, and status. Calling yourself the Band was a little arrogant. It was also tremendously modest. It was all part of a brilliant balancing act. Even at only ten tracks, this sampler shows clearly why the Band truly deserved to be called the Band.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett