Robbie Robertson‘s contributions to popular music have made him one of the most renowned songwriters and guitarists of his time. In the 1960s, Robertson achieved worldwide fame and acclaim as a co-founder of The Band, laying a strong foundation for his broad range of solo work since The Band’s disbandment in 1976. On November 11, UMe via Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company, will release Testimony, a new anthology of 18 recordings personally curated by Robertson to accompany his new memoir of the same name, to be released November 15. Testimonyjourneys across studio and live recordings spanning Robertson’s storied music career, before, during and after The Band’s heyday.
Available now for pre-order, Testimony spotlights early 1960s recordings from Robertson and his future Band-mates’ tenure with Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks (and the subsequent lineup of Levon & The Hawks); live and studio cuts by The Band; Bob Dylan recordings featuring The Band; and post-Band solo tracks, including the release debut for a new mix of Robertson’s “Testimony,” featuring Gil Evans and his horn section, U2, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, Daniel Lanois, and Ivan Neville.
With songs like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “It Makes No Difference,” Robertson and his partners in The Band fashioned a music that has endured for decades, influencing countless musicians. In his captivating memoir, written over five years of reflection, Robertson employs his unique storyteller’s voice to explore the trajectory that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history. He recounts the adventures of his half-Jewish, half-Mohawk upbringing on the Six Nations Indian Reserve and on the gritty streets of Toronto; his odyssey at 16 to the Mississippi Delta, the fountainhead of American music; the wild early years on the road with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks; his unexpected ties to the Cosa Nostra underworld; the gripping trial-by-fire “going electric” with Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour, and their ensuing celebrated collaborations; the formation of The Band and the forging of their unique sound, culminating with history’s most famous farewell concert, brought to life for all time in Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed documentary and The Band’s timeless concert album, The Last Waltz, filmed and recorded in 1976.
On the same date as Robertson’s Testimony anthology release, Rhino will release four new 40th Anniversary Editions of The Band’s The Last Waltz in various CD, Blu-ray, and vinyl formats. A special Collector’s Edition to be released on December 9 features a leather-bound, 300-page book with a replication of Martin Scorsese’s original shooting script from the film.
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Robertson’s Testimony book and companion album deftly complement one another to capture time and place–the moment when rock ‘n’ roll became life, when legends like Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley criss-crossed the circuit of clubs and roadhouses from Texas to Toronto, when The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and Andy Warhol moved through the same streets and hotel rooms. It’s the story of exciting change as the world tumbled through the 1960s and early ‘70s and a generation came of age, built on music, love and freedom. Above all, it’s the moving story of the profound friendship between five young men who together created a new kind of popular music.
Testimony is Robbie Robertson’s story, lyrical and true, as only he could tell it.
Robbie Robertson / Various Artists: Testimony
- Testimony (Unity Mix) – Robbie Robertson
- Bessie Smith – The Band
- Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Bob Dylan
- The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down / Live At The Academy Of Music, 1971 – The Band
- He Don’t Love You (And He’ll Break Your Heart) – Levon & The Hawks
- Somewhere Down The Crazy River – Robbie Robertson
- Life Is A Carnival / Live At The Academy Of Music, 1971 – The Band
- It Makes No Difference – The Band
- The Weight / Live At The Academy Of Music, 1971 – The Band
- Out Of The Blue – The Band
- I’m Gonna Play the Honky Tonks – Levon & The Hawks
- Obviously 5 Believers – Bob Dylan
- Soap Box Preacher – Robbie Robertson
- Twilight (Song Sketch) – The Band
- Come Love – Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks
- When The Night Was Young – Robbie Robertson
- The Shape I’m In / Live At The Academy Of Music, 1971 – The Band
- Unbound – Robbie Robertson