The Band

River North Records, 1998


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Jubilation, released in 1998, was The Bands’ final studio album. The album was recorded at their old stomping grounds of Woodstock, New York. It was an album that was pieced together, with all the members of the group only appearing on one track together. Despite this, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Jubilation was an excellent album and a fitting conclusion to their recording career.

The members wrote eight of the eleven songs contained on the album, and most tracks were collaborative efforts. Yet they were personal and showed a depth that had not been present since their early album releases.

“Book Faded Brown,” which leads off the disc, reaches the ears like an old acquaintance. It is a nostalgic song about family and friends and includes a sensitive vocal by Rick Danko. Garth Hudson underpins the sound with some of his excellent accordion playing. “High Cotton” is a wonderful return to their Music From Big Pink Americana days. “If I Should Fail” features another fine Rick Danko vocal. This story song is about persevering against the odds.

“Last Train To Memphis,” with Eric Clapton on guitar, presents Levon Helm at his grittiest and bravest. He was undergoing treatment for throat cancer but managed to get through the performances on this album. “White Cadillac” pays tribute to their old mentor, Ronnie Hawkins. “Kentucky Downpour” finds them abandoning their serious side and just having some fun. “French Girls” closes out the album. This sensitive instrumental by Garth Hudson would become the final Band song.

Rick Danko died in his sleep on December 10, 1999. His death ended The Band’s career. Jubilation closed the circle on the group’s thirty year existence. It was a fitting title to describe the career of one of rock ‘n’ rolls greatest bands.

Rating: B+

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