Friday, September 24, 2021

The Band's 'Cahoots' Turns 50

Cahoots, the classic album from The Band turns 50 this year (2021). The world-famous group featured members from Norfolk and Six Nations. 'Life Is a Carnival' and 'When I Paint My Masterpiece' were the two major highlights from the incredible recording.


  • Released September 15, 1971
  • This was their last album of original material for years.
  • On Capitol Records
  • Guests: Allen Toussaint, Van Morrison
  • Produced by The Band
  • Peaked at 21 on the Billboard album charts
  • Gold certified
Guest review by musician George CW Douglas
Cahoots opens with the raucous “Life Is A Carnival” with it’s Allan Toussaint arranged horns it’s quite the party and wasn’t like anything else on the radio in the early 70’s.  I was lucky enough to get down to Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles, three times before he passed and the horn section in his band, on the stage in his barn, was so great to hear live. 
It wasn’t until Danny Medakovic’s 2014 release of Jolley Cut, at The Casbah, that I got to see a great live horn section to rival that one!  All of the band, except Levon grew up within 100 miles of Hamilton: Robbie Robertson on Six Nations and Toronto, Richard Manuel in Stratford, Garth Hudson in London and Rick Danko near Simcoe.  Van Morrison was living in Woodstock (N.Y.) and was a frequent visitor to Big Pink at the time of Cahoots resulting in the song 4% Pantomime which was the other song Van sang in the Last Waltz...everyone remembers Caravan from the film, with him doing high kicks in that polyester onsie.   
The other stand out track for me on Cahoots is “When I Paint My Masterpiece”.  The Band’s version preceded Dylan’s by a few years and Levon sings “I got me a date with a pretty little girl from Greece” instead of Bob’s lyric “I got me a date with Botticelli’s niece.” 

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