Fans of the Band should mark their calendars for May 2005, when Capitol/EMI is slated to release a box set, curated by band member Robbie Robertson. “I’m working on the definitive musical history of the Band,” Robertson tells Billboard. The seminal group, which included Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel, famously disbanded in 1976, as captured in the Martin Scorsese-directed concert film, “The Last Waltz.”
Robertson says the five-CD set will include more than 100 songs, many of them previously unreleased, as well as a DVD. The artist was also involved in “Across the Great Divide,” a three-CD set released in 1994. However, this Band collection will include more unreleased material.
Billboard caught up with Robertson at a party for the film “Ladder 49,” where he performed his song “Shine Your Light,” the movie’s end title, and jammed with Dave Stewart and the party’s host, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
Robertson says he is also revisiting the music for “Raging Bull” for a two-CD soundtrack that will be released Feb. 15 by Capitol. He wrote the source music and scored three pieces for the 1980 movie, as well as selected the other music with director Scorsese.
“I’m just finishing mixing and compiling the original music. It’s 38 tracks,” Robertson says. Additionally, he and Scorsese wrote the liner notes. It marks the first time a soundtrack to the film has been released. A special-edition DVD of “Raging Bull” comes out Dec. 14.
But Robertson seems most excited about his work on a Native American musical with the working title “Ceremony.” The artist, who is part Native American, is writing the music for the Broadway project, David Henry Wang (“M. Butterfly”) is penning the book and David Lavoie (“Nine”) is directing.