“The Weight” (from Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz”) – The Band with the Staple Singers

I have mixed feelings about Martin Scorsese’s classic “rockumentary” “The Last Waltz” which chronicles … at least at that point …  the last concert of The Band at Winterland in 1976.   But this moment from “Waltz” … for me … is the film’s finest moment and the best version of “The Weight” ever recorded in my opinion.  I’ve always felt I was supposed to like this song more than I did, given its prominence on classic rock radio and in several seminal films from “Easy Rider” to “The Big Chill.”  However, this version featured in “Waltz” is transcendent and beautiful.  I love the interplay between the Band and the Staple Singers on this version.

“Atlantic City” – The Band

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Here’s a cover I never expected … though the more I think about it, I’m not sure why that was my first reaction. While “Atlantic City” is about New Jersey mobsters and casino rats down on their luck, this Bruce Springsteen classic is a folk song at heart. And if anyone can do a folk song right, it’s The Band (with Levon Helm on vocals).  A beautiful, beautiful cover.