Ring Your Bell
It Makes No Difference
Rags & Bones
Twilight (Early Alternate Version)
Christmas Must Be Tonight (Alternate Version)
Even though Northern Lights-Southern Cross isn't The Band's official finale (the piecemeal Islands and the farewell concert The Last Waltz came later), it feels like the group's goodbye. Recorded at Shangri-La (the state-of-the-art 24-track studio the band built for itself in Malibu), Nothern Lights-Southern Cross took longer to record than any of The Band's other albums, and it showcases an older, wiser, and slightly wearier group. All of The Band's elements gel on the uptempo "Forbidden Fruit," which directly addresses the addictions that had hindered The Band over the past several years: "Little brother got caught in the web/He ran off to join the living dead/Been through the mill, seen the cross on the hill/He sold his soul just for a thrill." Along with Rick Danko's crushing "It Makes No Difference," "Acadian Driftwood" is the group's last acknowledged classic, a tragic portrait of displacement flickering with the warmth of a beach bonfire. However, the album's overlooked songs might be even better. Highlighted by Garth Hudson's mercurial keyboards, "Jupiter Hollow" and "Rag and Bones" are cut from the same cloth. Their blend of sweet nostalgia and mysterious hurt seems a perfect place for The Band to close its career.