The Band's debut album. Sales were weak but the critical reception was huge. Rolling Stone reviewer Al Kooper labeled it the album of 1968. In places it sounds more like a jam session than a studio recording—vocals are passed around and instrumental passages seem to emerge and recede according to the artists' moods. But, half a century later, the music remains distinctive and intriguing.
The Band's greatest album, or just its most commercially successful? We'll leave it up to you to decide. A handful of tracks got considerable airplay: Rag Mama Rag, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Up on Cripple Creek.
After a couple of so-so albums, The Band regained its stride. Robertson's "Acadian Driftwood" reminded fans of the story-telling magic he had displayed on The Band's first two albums.