This Complete List Of Robbie Robertson Albums And Songs presents the full discography of Robbie Robertson studio albums. Robbie Robertson, the Canadian musician and songwriter, achieved iconic status as a member of the seminal roots rock group The Band. Yet, his creative journey did not come to a halt when The Band disbanded; rather, he embarked on a solo career that showcased his lyrical depth, musical versatility, and storytelling prowess. Although perhaps not as commercially successful as his time with The Band, Robertson’s solo work stands as a testament to his ever-evolving artistry and deep-seated commitment to musical exploration.
The Post-Band Era and Transition to Solo Work
After The Band’s legendary farewell concert, ‘The Last Waltz,’ in 1976, Robbie Robertson took a hiatus from performing. He shifted focus towards production work and scoring films. His collaborations with director Martin Scorsese began during this period, with Robertson contributing to the soundtracks of iconic movies like “Raging Bull” and “The King of Comedy.” This experience in the film industry allowed him to cultivate a cinematic approach to music, a quality that would become a hallmark of his solo works.
Stepping Into the Spotlight
It wasn’t until 1987 that Robertson released his self-titled debut solo album, “Robbie Robertson.” The album marked a divergence from the Americana and roots rock that characterized The Band, opting instead for a more polished, modern sound. Songs like “Somewhere Down the Crazy River” showcased Robertson’s narrative storytelling, now augmented with atmospheric production. The album received critical acclaim and even garnered a few hit singles, validating Robertson’s modern musical vision.
Exploring New Musical Horizons
His sophomore album, “Storyville,” released in 1991, took inspiration from the jazz and blues traditions of New Orleans. Although it didn’t achieve the same commercial success as his debut, “Storyville” was highly regarded for its thematic depth and intricate musicianship. Robbie Robertson continued to prove that he was an artist not confined to a singular genre or style but was instead keen on absorbing diverse musical influences.
Native Roots and Spiritual Exploration
In 1994, Robertson took his musical exploration in a different direction with the album “Music for the Native Americans,” released to coincide with a television documentary series. This album delved into his own Mohawk heritage, featuring collaborations with Native American musicians and spotlighting indigenous issues. This theme continued with his next album, “Contact from the Underworld of Redboy” (1998), which ventured even further into electronic music while maintaining the focus on Native American culture and spirituality.
Return After Hiatus and Continued Collaboration
After a hiatus of more than a decade, Robbie Robertson returned with “How to Become Clairvoyant” in 2011. The album was more introspective, exploring his past and journey as a musician. It marked a sort of full circle for Robertson, reflecting on his career, the dissolution of The Band, and his own spiritual questions. Even after all these years, the album showed that Robertson hadn’t lost his knack for poignant storytelling and sonic innovation.
ROBBIE ROBERTSON SOLO ALBUMS
Robbie Robertson’s self-titled album was his debut as a solo artist after decades with The Band. A critical and commercial success, the album was a departure from The Band’s roots-oriented rock, embracing a more polished sound with heavy electronic elements. The most famous track, “Somewhere Down the Crazy River,” became a hit, further solidifying Robertson’s status as a solo artist.
The album featured Robertson on vocals and guitars, along with guests like Peter Gabriel, U2, and The BoDeans. Produced by Daniel Lanois and Robertson himself, the album was released by Geffen Records. The recording sessions took place at various studios, including The Village Recorder in Los Angeles and U2’s own studio in Dublin, from 1986 to 1987.
CD Track Listings:
- “Fallen Angel” – 5:55
- “Showdown at Big Sky” – 4:50
- “Broken Arrow” – 5:23
- “Sweet Fire of Love” – 5:17
- “American Roulette” – 4:57
- “Somewhere Down the Crazy River” – 4:57
- “Hell’s Half Acre” – 4:21
- “Sonny Got Caught in the Moonlight” – 3:52
- “Testimony” – 4:50
“Storyville,” Robbie Robertson’s second solo album, was influenced by the music and culture of New Orleans. It was not as commercially successful as his debut, but it was critically well-received. The album was noted for its mixture of jazz, blues, and rock elements, all wrapped around Robertson’s lyrical storytelling.
The album featured contributions from Neil Young, Bruce Hornsby, and Aaron Neville. Produced by Stephen Hague, Robertson, and Gary Gersh, it was released by Geffen Records. The recording took place mainly at The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, from late 1990 to mid-1991.
CD Track Listings:
- “Night Parade” – 5:07
- “Hold Back the Dawn” – 5:31
- “Go Back to Your Woods” – 4:50
- “Soap Box Preacher” – 5:18
- “Day of Reckoning (Burnin for You)” – 6:43
- “What About Now” – 5:10
- “Shake This Town” – 5:22
- “Breakin the Rules” – 6:15
- “Resurrection” – 5:24
- “Sign of the Rainbow” – 5:41
Music for the Native Americans
“Music for the Native Americans” was a departure for Robertson, focusing on the culture and music of the indigenous people of North America. Created originally for the TV documentary series “The Native Americans,” the album is a mix of ambient sounds, traditional Native American chants, and modern musical elements.
The album features collaborations with the Red Road Ensemble, a Native American musical group. Produced by Robertson, it was released under the Capitol Records label. The recording process varied in location, as it included on-site recordings of traditional Native American music, but primarily took place in 1993.
CD Track Listings:
- “Coyote Dance” – 5:04
- “Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song)” – 4:17
- “Ghost Dance” – 5:12
- “The Vanishing Breed” – 4:41
- “It Is a Good Day to Die” – 5:45
- “Golden Feather” – 5:24
- “Akua Tuta” – 4:52
- “Words of Fire, Deeds of Blood” – 4:52
- “Cherokee Morning Song” – 2:58
- “Skinwalker” – 5:55
Contact from the Underworld of Redboy
“Contact from the Underworld of Redboy” continued Robbie Robertson’s exploration of Native American themes, blending rock, electronic, and traditional Native American music. The album was well-received for its ambitious scope and its fusion of contemporary sounds with ancient themes.
The album featured collaborations with artists like Howie B and the Wabanaki Confederacy. It was produced by Robertson and released under the Capitol Records label. The recording primarily took place throughout 1997.
CD Track Listings:
- “The Sound Is Fading” – 5:06
- “The Code of Handsome Lake” – 6:10
- “Making a Noise” – 5:14
- “Unbound” – 4:37
- “Sacrifice” – 6:19
- “Rattlebone” – 4:29
- “Peyote Healing” – 6:10
- “In the Blood” – 4:32
- “Stomp Dance” – 4:49
- “The Lights” – 5:09
How to Become Clairvoyant
This album marked Robertson’s return to a more traditional rock setting, leaving much of the Native American thematic material behind. “How to Become Clairvoyant” delved into Robertson’s own history and experiences, particularly his time with The Band.
The album featured guest appearances from Robert Randolph, Steve Winwood, and Tom Morello. Produced by Robertson and Marius de Vries, it was released by 429 Records. Recording took place over several months in 2010.
CD Track Listings:
- “Straight Down the Line” – 5:19
- “When the Night Was Young” – 5:05
- “He Don’t Live Here No More” – 5:42
- “The Right Mistake” – 4:25
- “This Is Where I Get Off” – 5:11
- “Fear of Falling” – 6:03
- “She’s Not Mine” – 4:31
- “Madame X” – 4:47
- “Axman” – 4:36
- “Won’t Be Back” – 4:09
“Sinematic” came after an eight-year gap and was inspired by Robertson’s scoring work for Martin Scorsese’s film “The Irishman.” The album combines rock, blues, and cinematic elements and contains autobiographical material as well as stories inspired by the movie.
The album features guest artists such as Van Morrison and Glen Hansard. Produced by Robertson, it was released on UMe Records. Recording sessions took place mainly in 2018 and early 2019.
CD Track Listings:
- “I Hear You Paint Houses” – 5:03
- “Once Were Brothers” – 4:25
- “Dead End Kid” – 3:57
- “Hardwired” – 3:59
- “Walk in Beauty Way” – 5:38
- “Let Love Reign” – 5:57
- “Shanghai Blues” – 3:51
- “Wandering Souls” – 5:04
- “Street Serenade” – 5:06
- “The Shadow” – 4:29
Complete List Of Robbie Robertson Solo Albums And Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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