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Rock of Ages

(2 LPs)

[cover art]

[CD cover] [Japanese Limited Edition CD] [Advertisement] [Sheet Music] [Charts and ratings]

Recorded on New Year's Eve 1971/72, this was the Band's last gig for a year and a half. Allen Toussaint was brought in again to write horn arrangements for many of the Band's classics. The results were inspired. Highlights are many, but of particular note are a cover of the Four Tops's "Baby Don't Do It" and a live recording of a track that had earlier been relegated to B-side status only, "Get up Jake."
--Rob Bowman, All-Music Guide

The Band video documentary indicates that most of Rock of Ages was taped at the soundcheck and not at the actual concert. This led to a discussion in the newsgroup in January 1996.

A limited edition Japanese CD, with very nice artwork and covers, but horrible lyrics transcriptions, came in 1998. The 2001 remastered Rock of Ages reissue from Capitol records is a 2CD set with all tracks from the original double LP on one disc and a "bonus disc" with 10 more live songs, including never-before-released tracks with Bob Dylan, all specially mixed by Robbie Robertson from the original, first-generation master tapes. The release feature an expanded booklet with rare photos and liner notes by Grammy award-winner Rob Bowman. Bonus tracks with Dylan include ``Down In The Flood,'' ``When I Paint My Masterpiece,'' ``Don't Ya Tell Henry'' and ``Like A Rolling Stone.'' The remaining tracks on the bonus disc are songs The Band recorded over their four-night engagement at the venue that didn't make the final cut of the original album, including ``Up On Cripple Creek,'' ``I Shall Be Released,'' ``Rockin' Chair'', ``Time To Kill,'' ``Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever'' and ``The Rumor.''

See below for more details about the 2001 bonus disc and the other CD releases of Rock of Ages.



1. Don't Do It AU file (245K)
2. King Harvest [Has Surely Come]
3. Caledonia Mission
4. Get Up, Jake
5. W.S. Walcott Medicine Show MPEG-2 file (122K)
6. Stage Fright AU file (247K)
7. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down AU file (243K)
8. Across the Great Divide
9. This Wheel's on Fire AU file (228K)
10. Rag Mama Rag AU file (271K) MPEG-2 file (122K)

LP 2

1. The Weight
2. The Shape I'm In (Robertson)
3. Unfaithful Servant
4. Life Is a Carnival
5. The Genetic Method
6. Chest Fever
7. Hang up My Rock'n Roll Shoes MPEG-2 file (124K)

2001 reissue bonus CD

1. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
2. I Shall Be Released
3. Up On Cripple Creek
4. The Rumor
5. Rockin' Chair
6. Time To Kill
7. Down In The Flood (with Bob Dylan)
8. When I Paint My Masterpiece (with Bob Dylan)
9. Don't Ya Tell Henry (with Bob Dylan)
10. Like A Rolling Stone (with Bob Dylan)


  • The Band , Producer
  • Howard Johnson , Tuba / Euphonium / Sax (Baritone)
  • Joe Farrell , Horn (English) / Sax (Soprano) / Sax (Tenor)
  • Earl McIntyre , Trombone
  • Phil Ramone , Engineer
  • Allen Toussaint , Horn Arrangements
  • Snooky Young , Trumpet / Flugelhorn
  • J.D. Parron , Sax (Alto) / E Flat Clarinet
  • Larry Walsh , Remastering
  • Mark Harman , Engineer
  • Greil Marcus , Liner Notes
  • Fred Lombardi , Photography
  • Bob Cato , Design / Photography

Rock of Ages - The Band - (78:19) - 1972 - Capitol SABB-11045
Double album in triple-fold sleeve
Rereleased in 1980 as two separate LPs:
"Rock of Ages, Vol.1" (Capitol SN-16008) and "Rock of Ages, Vol.2" (Capitol SN-16009)
Compact Discs: Capitol CDP7 46617-2 (1987, 1 disk, edited), Capitol CDP 793595-2 (1990, 2 disks), with liner notes by Greil Marcus
Limited Edition 2-CD set: Capitol Japan M57628 (1998)
Remastered 2-CD set with 10 bonus tracks: Capitol Records 72435-30181-2-2 (2001)
Limited Edition "mini-sleeve" CD: Caroline Records 22204, UK (2008)

In September '95, Rudi Schmid wrote about the 1987 and 1990 CD releases of this album in the newsgroup

The 1-CD issue states "special abridged compact disc version of the two record set" and deleted the one tune, "The Genetic Method". The CD times 71:56. The deleted track is 8:49. This precludes putting all the tracks on one CD as maximum times for CDs is 80 minutes. One option would have been to chop some applause to squeeze all the tracks on one CD. Incidentally, when the one-CD issue was first issued CD technology was such that the maximum time for a CD was only about 75 minutes. The booklets have the same front and back covers except for the differences in track listings, date, and CD number, but there are significant differences. The 2 CD issue is labelled "In Concert". Its booklet is 12 pages:
  • 2 covers
  • 4 pages of text by Greil Marcus, 1990, "partly adapted from Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock'n'Roll Music"
  • 4 pages of pics
  • 1 page for track listing and credits
  • 1 page about compact disk recordings
The 1 CD issue has only a four-page book:
  • 2 covers
  • 1 page for track listing and credits
  • 1 page about compact disk recordings.
I don't think this is a good example of a rip-off. The 2-CD issue has the extra tune and duplicates the album, has the expanded booklet and nice notes by Marcus, and offers (I think) the only live version "The Genetic Method" on CD. Probably the album should have first been issued as 2 CDs, but this would have made the two CD set very pricey (witness the 2 CD issue for the greatest hits of The Doors). I paid $8.99 for each issue (in 7/90 and 9/94, respectively for the 1- versus 2-CD issue) and might as well dispose of the incomplete 1-CD issue, which probably will bring $4.00 in a store when traded in. Thus my net cost is circa $13.99, which is still reasonable, and I did listen to the CD various times after getting it in 7/90. I only wish the 2-CD issue came in a slim case instead of the older style that grabs up space for 3 cases.

AMG Rating: Best of Artist

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