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Before the Flood (Audio Cassette)

4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Dylan has issued a large number of live albums in his day, but 1974's Before the Flood deserves special mention because of the presence of the Band behind him. Dylan had recently brought the Band into the studio to record the chart-topping (yet still somehow underappreciated) Planet Waves, which was the first (and, as it turned out, only) studio record he made after leaving Columbia for Asylum. He then asked them along on the subsequent tour, which at the time became the most successful rock tour in history. The fruits of that partnership are contained on this two-CD set, which actually ignores Planet Waves completely in favor of older classics. Although the album includes several strong collaborations, the highlights ironically come during Dylan's solo-acoustic portion, which yields powerful and gritty versions of "Don't Think Twice" and "It's Alright Ma," and during the Band's own exhilarating numbers with Dylan sitting out. --Marc Greilsamer

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Japanese only paper sleeve pressing. Sony. 2009.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Successful Tour Came At Just the Right Time Nov. 28 2003
Format:Audio CD
The sheer fearlessness of The Band in this 1974 live performance is so confident that it makes one wonder how they ever could have caught their famous case of 'Stage Fright.' "Before the Flood" is the live document of Bob Dylan's tour for his "Planet Waves" album, joined by his one-time backing outfit, The Band. At the time, the tour was one of the most successful ever. It couldn't have come at a better time for both parties; Dylan had staggered musically as he entered the 70s, releasing the ill-fated "Self Portrait" album, and fans of The Band were disappointed that they hadn't released any original material since 1971, their latest album having been a collection of covers, the "Moondog Matinee."
"Before the Flood" captures the electrical bond that had linked the two legends together in the first place, something missing from earlier classic Dylan/Band efforts like "The Basement Tapes." The Band (unintentionally) upstages and outshines their former mentor, being the more thrilling of the two, but Dylan finally demonstrates the sincreity and power of his cross from folk to rock. But here, the response from fans surely isn't the boos it met in 1965; Dylan compositions associated with his folk period are given a more exciting life, notably 'It Ain't Me Babe' and 'Blowing In the Wind,' as he soars on 'Rainy Day Women,' 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door,' and 'All Along the Watchtower.' The Band however steals the show, even though there are more Dylan compositions on the album; they captivate with such paintings of rural life as 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' and Richard Manuel's shiver inducing vocal on 'I Shall Be Released.' "Before the Flood" also contains the most thrilling and rambunctious live version of the raw 'The Shape I'm In.'
This album packages one of the best live performances in rock and roll. "Before the Flood" is an absolute necessity for Dylan/Band fans and concert experts in general, and it's a pleasantly affordable necessity at that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock On! March 2 2010
Format:Audio CD
I highly recommend this album to ANYONE! Since I was little, I knew Levon Helm as the singing drummer, but OMG! THIS GUY CAN DRUM! and this album is proof of that-a particular favourite is the devine vocals of Rick Danko on 'When You Awake'-This album is a must!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
"Before the Flood" is a great album, and the Band's best live recording, with Dylan and alone. The best track is the Band's "Endless Highway", which most other reviewers didn't mention.
I vehemently disagree with other reviewers, including star rock journalist Greil Marcus, about the Band's "Rock of Ages" -- I have never liked it. The guest horn section sounds like they aren't even playing in the same concert as everyone else.
Of the other Dylan & the Band live recordings, "Live 1966" and "The Last Waltz" are mediocre. One exception on the "The Last Waltz" is the wonderful version of Rev. Gary Davis's "Baby Let Me Follow You Down", which really rocks. Few people remember Dylan's odd "Self Portrait" album, but it has four excellent live tracks by him and the Band -- "Like a Rolling Stone", "The Mighty Quinn", "Minstrel Boy", and "She Belongs To Me".
Dylan and the Band did studio recordings together, too. "The Basement Tapes" is stellar. "Planet Waves" is very good. And, of the 5 of their songs together on the "Volume 2" disc of Dylan's "Bootleg Series", 3 are quite good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Eh, I can't come up with a good title June 7 2003
Format:Audio CD
When these recordings were made, the Band had been backing Bob Dylan on and off for nine years, so they were used to his idiosyncrasies, and they provide superb, muscular backing all the way through.
Dylan, as usual, significantly alters some of his songs, ending up with a somewhat harsh version of "Lay Lady Lay" and a slightly tuneless "Ballad Of A Thin Man". But almost everything else is great, or at least good.
He does three acoustic solo tunes at the beginning of disc 2, of which "Just Like A Woman" is the best and "It's Alright, Ma" the worst, but everything else is band-backed (in more ways than one!).
And the Band are a joy to hear. They bring out the best in Dylan on fiery live renditions of "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way", "Rainy Day Women", "Highway 61 Revisited" and "All Along The Watchtower", as well as the inevitable "Like A Rolling Stone", which almost matches the power and majesty of the so-called "Royal Albert Hall" version.
Robbie Robertson provides excellent guitar work, particularly on "It Ain't Me Babe", Levon Helm was always one of the greatest rock n' roll-drummers, Rick Danko's bass playing on "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" is masterful, and Garth Hudson's organ provides texture and the characteristic, swirling sound of Bob Dylan's greatest-ever backing group.
The Band's own songs generally work very well also. "Endless Highway", "Up On Cripple Creek", "The Weight" and "The Shape I'm In" are the best (this is not the first time I've wondered why the late Richard Manuel sang "I Shall Be Released" in a falsetto), and even though the songwriting of Robbie Robertson and that of Bob Dylan are quite different, they don't clash too badly at all.
The sound is very good, and both Dylan and the Band play with lots of energy, making this a thoroughly enjoyable documentation of the last coorporation between Bob Dylan and the Band.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a favorite of this Dylan fan
To put this review in the proper perspective, let me state up front that while I am a huge fan of Bob Dylan, I am in no way a fan of The Band; thus, I'm not really qualified to... Read more
Published on April 5 2003 by Daniel Jolley
4.0 out of 5 stars A few tidbits for The Band fans
As at least one other reviewer has noted, there are three things going on in this album: Dylan and the Band, Dylan alone, and the Band without Dylan. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2003 by John Stodder
5.0 out of 5 stars And Then Some
This is the epitome of rock for me. Other songs and, yes, even other albums are better but none stirs as deeply as this set. Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2002 by Noah Count
I don't know about the reality of what the reviewer who was frustrated by this album was or is.... I attended both Denver concerts on this tour on February 6th, 1974. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2002 by Kenneth C. Schmierer
5.0 out of 5 stars Energetic and Passionate
Dylan's music is closest thing to American folk art produced in the 20th century. Always evolving, his songs remain works in progress even after 40 years of recording and touring. Read more
Published on June 7 2002 by B. Rosenthal
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating Dylan effort on this joint live album
This is a 1974 live album from Dylan's "Planet Waves" tour, when the Band was his backing group. The 2-CD set includes 13 Dylan songs and 8 by the Band. Read more
Published on June 4 2002 by woburnmusicfan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Live Recording
This album has some of Bob's best songs from his classic mid and late 60's period, including "Like a Rolling Stone," and "All Along the Watchtower. Read more
Published on May 31 2002 by Daniel N. Dickinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Then waves of great sound
I'm not that big a fan of Bob Dylan (particularly his voice), but I nevertheless consider this set to be a very worthy part of my collection. Read more
Published on April 25 2002 by Jinkyu
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best from both Dylan and the Band!
In the early '70s Dylan was in need of artistic revitilization, with many people believing his glory days were behind him. Read more
Published on March 24 2002 by "rockrollmusicislife"
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