Christmas Must Be Tonight
Label: Capitol Records
Released just before The Last Waltz and their breakup, Islands is anything but a last gasp from the unparalleled interpreters of Americana music. For starters, their incredible take on "Georgia on My Mind" is simply one of Richard Manuel's most devastating performances. The thing is, Manuel never tried to sound like Ray Charles, he just did. Even the up-tempo numbers hurt in some faint, nameless way. A contractual obligation when it was recorded, the whole album is slow and heartbroken, like some kind of cinematic goodbye.