The Band - Early Years (As The Hawks) (1964-1968)

The Band were an influential and highly acclaimed rock band formed in the 1960s.

Before The Band were The Band, they were The Hawks. They came together between 1958 and 1963 as the backing group for rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins, and toured Canada with him to great acclaim. Under Hawkins' tutelage they became a finely honed unit, so that when they split with him in 1964 they were ready to go off on their own. It wouldn't be until 1968 that they would record their debut album, and this compilation covers their early years between '64 and '68. It is taken from the 2005 box-set A Musical History (it is pretty much the first disc of the box set minus a few tracks).
During this period they recorded as The Hawks, Levon & The Hawks, and The Canadian Squires. They released a few singles that went nowhere, which are included here alongside b-sides, outtakes and demos. Most of their material at this point was rooted in rhythm & blues, so they sound quite a bit different than they would a few years later. It was in late 1965 that they got together with Bob Dylan to back him on his infamous first 'electric' tour. Dylan obviously proved a huge influence on them, as can be seen by the single "The Stones I Throw (Will Free All Men)", recorded during the same period. This song marks a drastic turn from their R&B roots, and paves the way for what they would later do with Music From Big Pink. In fact, it is an incredible song, a true lost 60s classic that should have gone somewhere but for some reason never did.
After their touring with Dylan came to an end in the summer of '66, they briefly returned to playing their old bar circuits. However they were invited by Dylan to join him in Woodstock in 1967, where they recorded the infamous Basement Tapes (not released until 1975), and then began work on their own debut album, which was released in 1968. After almost 10 years playing together, they had finally become The Band. This compilation documents the journey they took to get there.
Note - this doesn't include the songs recorded with Hawkins or Dylan.

|> Music From Big Pink (1968)
More from The Band


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is this a collection that was published/released or a collection of songs you have put together?