Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson

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by Robbie Robertson
     
 

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Robbie Robertson was once asked why he waited 11 years after the breakup of the Band to release a solo project, and he replied, "I wasn't so sure I had something to say." One can hear a bit of this thinking in Robertson's self-titled solo debut; it's obvious that he didn't care to revisit the country- and blues-flavored roots rock that had

Overview

Robbie Robertson was once asked why he waited 11 years after the breakup of the Band to release a solo project, and he replied, "I wasn't so sure I had something to say." One can hear a bit of this thinking in Robertson's self-titled solo debut; it's obvious that he didn't care to revisit the country- and blues-flavored roots rock that had been his bread and butter with the Band, and at the same time Robertson seemed determined to make an album that had something important to say, and could stand alongside his legendary earlier work. Looking for a moody and atmospheric sound, Robertson teamed up with producer Daniel Lanois, who had previously worked with U2 and Peter Gabriel, two artists whose work obviously influenced Robertson's musical thinking while he was making the album (they both appear on the album as well). As a result, Robbie Robertson is an album that represents both a clear break from his past, and an ambitious attempt to take his fascination with American culture and music in a new and contemporary direction. It's highly ambitious stuff, and the album's ambitions sometimes prove to be its Achilles' heel. Robertson's collaboration with U2, "Sweet Fire of Love," sounds like a rather unremarkable outtake from The Joshua Tree, with the group's aural bombast subsuming the ostensive leader of the session, while "Fallen Angel," "American Roulette," and "Somewhere Down the Crazy River" find Robertson exploring the same iconography of the Band's best work, but without the same grace or subtle wit. And it doesn't take long to realize why Robbie only took two lead vocals during his tenure with the Band; his dry, reedy voice isn't bad, but it lacks the force and authority to communicate the big themes Robertson wants to bring across. Despite all this, Robbie Robertson does have its share of pearly moments, especially on the bitter "Hell's Half Acre," "Sonny Got Caught in the Moonlight," and "Broken Arrow" (a performance more subtle and effective than Rod Stewart's better-known cover). Robbie Robertson isn't the masterpiece its creator was obviously striving towards, but it's an intelligent and often compelling set from an inarguably important artist, and it comes a good bit closer to capturing what made the Band's work so memorable than the latter-day efforts from Levon Helm and company.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/25/1990
Label:
Geffen Records
UPC:
0720642416020
catalogNumber:
224160
Rank:
35473

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robbie Robertson   Primary Artist,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
BoDeans   Background Vocals
Peter Gabriel   Keyboards,Vocals
Maria McKee   Vocals,Background Vocals
Ivan Neville   Vocals,Background Vocals
Rick Danko   Vocals,Background Vocals
Edge   Guitar
Eluriel Tinker Barfield   Bass
Sammy Bodean   Vocals,Background Vocals
Bono   Bass,Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Terry Bozzio   Drums
Hans Christian   Bass
Adam Clayton   Bass
Bill Dillon   Guitar,Background Vocals
Gil Evans   Horn
Garth Hudson   Keyboards
Manu Katché   Percussion,Drums
Larry Klein   Bass
Abraham Laboriel   Bass
Daniel Lanois   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Vocals,Background Vocals,Omnichord
Tony Levin   Bass,Stick,Stick Bass
Larry Mullen   Drums
Bill Dillion   Guitar,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Peter Gabriel   Producer
Robbie Robertson   Producer
Pete Levin   Arranger
Martin Page   Programming,Producer,drum programming
David Bottrill   Engineer
Cary Butler   Programming,Engineer,drum programming
Thom Cadley   Engineer
Jeff DeMorris   Engineer
Marc DeSisto   Engineer
Gil Evans   Arranger,Horn Arrangements
Gary Gersh   Executive Producer
Jay Healy   Engineer
Daniel Lanois   Producer
Patrick McCarthy   Engineer
Mark McKenna   Engineer
Jim Scott   Engineer
Chris Isca   Engineer

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Robbie Robertson 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After 25 years, this disc is still amazing. It's real music, beautifully written. And at $5, it's a steal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is definitely THE most underrated album of 1987. After an eleven-year absence in the music scene, Robbie Robertson finally knew that fans of The Band needed a solo album from him. However, there are almost no traces of The Band on this album. Instead, Robbie Robertson puts forth a dense, mainstream album and has at his production aide, none other than Daniel Lanois (who came of producing classic albums for Peter Gabriel and U2 - they both appear on this album). Just about every song in this album is a pure classic. My absolutely favorite is "Broken Arrow." It is a very lovely and subtle song that has the theme of love but no mushiness. Plus, it even has an unlikely back-up group consisting of former Frank Zappa drummer Terry Bozzio, L.A. session bassist Abe Laboriel and Peter Gabriel (on keyboards!). "Sweet Fire Of Love" is one of the most searing-tracks on here (even though I'm not in U2's stuff), and the most powerful tracks on here are definitely "American Roulette" and "Hell's Half-Acre," both driven by Tony Levin's Chapman stick. My least favorite is "Testimony" - I don't know why, it just is. Still, this is one album that deserves to be in Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums of All-Time. I never tire of listening to it. (Unfortunately, Robbie Robertson has never been able to match this album's success.)