The Band

Best of the Band, Vol. 2

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The name of the album is The Best of the Band, Vol. 2, the label is Rhino, the lauded reissue specialist -- it would be easy to assume that the collection would fill in gaps left by Capitol's fine 1976 sampler, The Best of the Band. That train of logic forgets an important point. The Band, minus Robbie Robertson, reunited in 1993 and recorded Jericho, which was the first of three new albums by the group. Jericho and its successor, High on the Hog, happened to be released by Pyramid, Rhino's new music label; the third, 1998's Jubilation, appeared on River North. These three albums provide the basis for The Best of the Band, Vol. 2. Even hardcore fans would admit that these comeback albums did not match the original records, yet they could justifiably argue that the music wasn't bad, even quite good at times. And it was -- none of the three albums were perfect, but they had strong moments, most of which are collected here. That's not to say this music is for everybody, or even for fans of the Band's prime years, since it does have the feel of a reunion and is a bit nostalgic-minded. However, it is a good summary of the Band's reunion, and listeners willing to take a chance may be surprised how strong they sound on "Atlantic City" and "Blind Willie McTell" or how loose they are on "Youngblood," the set's sole unreleased track.

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