When The Band announced their retirement from touring, it was with the important addendum that they'd continue to record together. In actuality, the only album that subsequently emerged was ISLANDS, which also served to finish out the band's contract with Capitol Records. At the time of its release in 1977, it was received with some dismay by fans anxious for a repeat of the powerful NORTHERN LIGHTS SOUTHERN CROSS of two years previous. With the passing of time having removed the pressures of those expectations, ISLANDS can be heard as an album that, while fragmented, includes some fine gems. The musicianship throughout is never less than compelling. Richard Manuel's vocal on "Georgia On My Mind" is alone worth the price of admission--he sings it as if the thousand other classic versions never existed.