Arguably the tightest group in rock and roll history, it is nearly impossible to find a roots-rock band today that doesn’t cite The Band as one of their top influences. Born through the assemblage of each member’s musical distinction, The Band’s eerily timeless sound is most evident in live performances still chronicled today. As Jim James says of the group’s legacy, it is “the several statements of live virtuosity and cohesion…that have formed the bible and instruction manual for so many in their wake.”
The Band’s newest box set, Live At The Academy of Music 1971, expands upon their four night Rock of Ages concerts, featuring previously unreleased recordings. “Chest Fever” is taken from the December 28 show, and epitomizes The Band’s reputation as the premiere rag-rockers of the twentieth century. With a horn section masterfully constructed by New Orleans producer Allen Touissant, and Garth Hudson’s legendary organ prelude, the track contains a roadmap to the Band’s instrumental legacy. Lyrics of a shunning temptress serve mostly as an addendum to the stories told by prolific improvisations and masterful harmonies.