midweek music: “Further On Up the Road”

In 1976, The Band had what was billed as their farwell concert. Probably best known as the group who backed up Bob Dylan when he went electric in the mid-1960s, The Band released one of the most influential albums of the rise of rock and roll in the 1960s, Music from Big Pink.

Guitarist/songwriter Robbie Robertson was tired of going on the road, so he basically broke the band up and had a big-ass farewell concert that Martin Scorcese filmed and made into The Last Waltz, arguably the best concert movie ever made. (The rest of The Band, minus Robertson, would wind up re-forming a few years later.)

Among the many guests was Eric Clapton, and I particularly love this version of “Further On Up the Road,” because at the beginning, Clapton’s guitar strap broke in mid-solo. While he fixed it, Robertson stepped in and effortlessly filled in with a solo of his own for a verse before Clapton came back in. And then they both trade solos at the end. It’s glorious work from two of the greatest guitarists in rock history.

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