Tony Scherman
September 01, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The original Band’s eight-year career (1968- 76) was a steep decline, so it’s good they started at the top. Big Pink (’68) and The Band (’69) are two of the best albums in rock history. They slipped a notch with Stage Fright (’70), fell flat with ’71’s Cahoots, and never recovered. These remasterings sound incredibly rich, and each has alternate takes. Some of the ”previously unissued” tracks have long been available, but it’s hard to quibble — this is reissuing done right.

Music From Big Pink: A
The Band: A
Stage Fright: A-
Cahoots: B-

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