The Band.

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
as in the guys who backed bob dylan etc. you know the story.

is there already a thread? you can imagined what happened when i did a title search for "the band"? (they are cursed in that way, much like the band "love." perhaps they should invent special search strings for such bands...)

thinking about them (again) this week because i skimmed the most recent copy of the wire, and saw a joe boyd interview in which boyd confirmed what i had long suspected, that the band (the band "the band") and especially their second record helped to define a certain subgenre of rock music which i suppose can be called "rootsy"--not just in attitude but also in their specific approach to recording and mixing which was (oh! inverted world) quite modern by most standards, making careful use of stereo and in certain cases utitilzing quite modern equipment (synthesizers, fancy mics) to obtain an "old fashioned" sound. but it's the overall sound-presence of that LP that i feel, instinctively, was quite crucial as an influence not just on the british folk-rock guys but by succeeding generations of likeminded musicians and producers in england, america, canada, etc.

can you guys help to pin this down further for me?

thoughts?

amateur!st (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 19:56 (seventeen years ago) link

I think they're one of those bands whose noted influence (ha where is mark s) appeals to me more than them themselves. It's no stretch to say that the Walkabouts, of whom am I thoroughly and completely fond, had them as a partial role-model -- but I'd rather listen to the Walkabouts any day of the week.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 19:58 (seventeen years ago) link

this is like the third time you've responded in such a fashion--"i like them, but the walkabouts do it better"

that's not a criticism

i haven't been terribly excited by the walkabouts stuff i've heard, but maybe i should listen again

amateur!st (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:07 (seventeen years ago) link

i can't stand bob dylan. but i love the band... why is this?

cutty (mcutt), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:09 (seventeen years ago) link

atrophying of brain tissue?

amateur!st (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:11 (seventeen years ago) link

I think the influence on 50s-60s r&b and soul isn't given enough props in most writings about The Band. I think those influences are as important as the stripped down folk/country part of their sound.

earlnash, Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:12 (seventeen years ago) link

that's not a criticism

It could simply be a reflection of a private passion, but at their best the Walkabouts synthesize so much in such a striking way that I'm in quiet awe (and consequently frustrated at how other bands in theoretically similar veins just don't work as well).

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:12 (seventeen years ago) link

Just to clarify, it should read "the influence of..." not "influence on".

earlnash, Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:15 (seventeen years ago) link

First two records are so great & the soul thing is their most interesting quality. I can't think of any band ever that connects the dots so well between black soul and white country.

Mark (MarkR), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:20 (seventeen years ago) link

i thought you were going to make a revolutionary argument about he influence of robbie robertson's guitar style on curtis mayfield which relied on new theories of the time space continuum formulated in quantum physics

damn

amateur!st (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:22 (seventeen years ago) link

"atrophying of brain tissue?
-- amateur!st"

no i would attribute it to bob dylan's horrendous voice

cutty (mcutt), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:22 (seventeen years ago) link

Charlie Rich is an interesting one-man equivalent, though. (Not to Amateurist's equation, admittedly.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:22 (seventeen years ago) link

no i would attribute it to bob dylan's horrendous voice

Ah, friend!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:23 (seventeen years ago) link

oh i'm floating in a sea of fools baaaaby

charlie rich seemed genuinely uncomfortable with genre categories and that hampered his music as much as it helped it i think

the band were without doubt a 'rock' band--whether or not thats endemic of the time in which they were recording, they were comfortable with the label

but yes i agree that mixture of sensibilites is really exciting

better still that the soul influence and country influence is somehow sublimated in such a fashion where it becomes exceptionally difficult to parse the songs for evidence of discrete influence

amateur!st (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:27 (seventeen years ago) link

more like "the Bland"

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:32 (seventeen years ago) link

no wait, I like them.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:33 (seventeen years ago) link

'First two records are so great & the soul thing is their most interesting quality. I can't think of any band ever that connects the dots so well between black soul and white country.'

Yep that's it. Let's face it the 'grizzled old-timer' thing wouldn't have lasted. It's the extraordinary blend of soul, country, funk, rock n roll, wurlitzer/jug-band weirdness, and it all sounds uncalculated.

pete s, Tuesday, 10 February 2004 21:56 (seventeen years ago) link

i guess they're interesting in that they were mostly canadians getting deeper into americana than americans. i love both the big pink building shot and the family portrait album covers. I think they were trying to create a "what if the beatles never happened" musical scenario ... drawing a line between The Sun Sessions and 1969... CCR were a more punk rock version of the same idea. other than "basement tapes" i find them a little stiff.

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 22:04 (seventeen years ago) link

Heh Amateurist not only is there another Band thread you were the last person to post to it!

Classic Or Dud: The Band

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 22:12 (seventeen years ago) link

The Band were so funky. White man's funk.

Debito (Debito), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:13 (seventeen years ago) link

how embarassing, I said the same thing on the other thread.

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:18 (seventeen years ago) link

"i thought you were going to make a revolutionary argument"

Well Aretha Franklin did record a great version of "The Weight".

earlnash, Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:24 (seventeen years ago) link

The phrase 'white man's funk' is sort of embarrassing, but they were funky.

Debito (Debito), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:25 (seventeen years ago) link

Take up the white man's funkness
Send forth the best ye stank

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:26 (seventeen years ago) link

Christ, they were good. Sad how they will never be again...
The Band=classic
Drugs and depression=dud

Speedy Gonzalas (Speedy Gonzalas), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:39 (seventeen years ago) link

Because they sounded out of tune so often while backing Dylan, I fell in love with them. It was like they were playing for the amateurs in all of us.

jim wentworth (wench), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 06:06 (seventeen years ago) link

I like the Band lots, and Robbie is maybe the greatest guitar player ever who is not one of the greatest guitar players ever, but I don't often have much use for them. Why? Because they never made an album (alone at least) concomitant with their potential? How about because they're often a little too slow for music that moves? The gentility in their tunes is the source of a good part of their charm, but is inherently limiting, perhaps.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 06:31 (seventeen years ago) link

please don't throw rocks, but i always thought The Band was like the Grateful Dead in their least-inspired moments.

Orbit (Orbit), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 06:32 (seventeen years ago) link

They were, perhaps, out of sync. in many ways. I enjoyed their sound, but they didn't blow me away. I used to own a 3 record promo box set (Warner Bros.?) of The Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Steve Miller, and... gave it to a friend. Probably in exchange for a buzz. They made their mark with Dylan.

jim wentworth (wench), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 07:00 (seventeen years ago) link

please don't throw rocks, but i always thought The Band was like the Grateful Dead in their least-inspired moments.

There's a similarity in the vocals at times (I think Rick Danko is the most Garcia-like one?), but the Band never wanked off quite like the Dead...

"Music From the Big Pink" is just about perfect, the rest a bit hit-and-miss.

no opinion, Wednesday, 11 February 2004 07:13 (seventeen years ago) link

The Avalanches throw the uber-corny "Life is a Carnival" into their mixsets.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 07:18 (seventeen years ago) link

The Band are one of my parents' bands that I've never known where to get started with. (cf. Allman Bros., CCR)

"The Weight" is, of course, great - is it representative of the rest of their material. Can I just buy whatever album that's on and be set for a start?

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 07:26 (seventeen years ago) link

Since that album is "Music From the Big Pink," the answer is yes, buy it.

no opinion, Wednesday, 11 February 2004 07:27 (seventeen years ago) link

Only marginally on-topic, but I interviewed Levon Helm's daughter the other week. She's in this new gospel-rock outfit called Ollabelle. She was very nice and remarkably well adjusted ("remarkably" if you know anything about Levon Helm), spoke well of her dad. She's got a heck of a nice voice too, kind of a brassy R&B growl.

I like the Band a lot, but I admit I like them best on The Basement Tapes. Their first several albums are all classics, though. When I was a kid, I was always put off by their muddy, murky sound. Now that's one of the things I love about them.

spittle (spittle), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 08:10 (seventeen years ago) link

Several people otm here (mark (country/soul is spot on), pete, debito). Their albums were played a lot by my parents and I didn't hear them again until I bought Music from Big Pink two years ago. Listening to it got me hooked again right away, I remembered so much after ~15 years.

Yes miloauckerman, get Big Pink, it's awesome. I always found it much better than their self-titled second album, more diverse, less "reactionary" I suppose. "Life is a Carnival" from Cahoots is a party of a song, no wonder the Avalanches use it. Wouldn't qualify it as "corny" though...

willem (willem), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 08:36 (seventeen years ago) link

ned's post made me laugh like a schoolgirl (like ned flanders, as it were)

how embarassing, I said the same thing on the other thread.

i feel this doubly

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 09:50 (seventeen years ago) link

what i mean to say is that i'm doublt embarrassed for fritz

fritz, shame on you

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 09:51 (seventeen years ago) link

How do I fit in to this embarrassment?

Debito (Debito), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 10:15 (seventeen years ago) link

These accusations that The Band started 'retro-rock' or were concerned with 'authenticity' are wildly off-target, considering how much modern (at the time) stuff they absorbed into their sound. Others have mentioned synths and funky rhythm sections as proof that they weren't a bunch of burnt out hippies trying to be Doc Watson, but I also want to bring up the years with Ronnie Hawkins. When they had been playing fifties style rock & roll mixed with country and folk up through into the early sixties, why would they give up playing what they enjoyed doing and go psych? Seems like people want to blame them for not abandoning the direction of their entire career as a group, which would have produced much duller music than those first two albums.

And I can't believe you dissed "The Last Waltz" on the other thread, Matos - everybody knows the guest spots are mostly cack (they should have instituted a ban on performances by anyone named Neil) and Robbie was a douche, but "Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" should be proof enough that Fleetwood Mac AND Outkast together are not fit to lick Levon Helm's boots when it comes to adding brass bands to your sound for fun and profit(!!! Yeeeahh)

Dave M. (rotten03), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 10:33 (seventeen years ago) link

Oops, strike them parenthesis. < / Dean >

Dave M. (rotten03), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 10:34 (seventeen years ago) link

'The Band' is a perfect album... and 'whispering pines' is just about the most beautiful, desolate song i've ever heard in my life, it never fails to move me to tears. (i have an MP3 of elliott smith stumbling through it somewhere, and it is chilling)

stevie (stevie), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 10:52 (seventeen years ago) link

These accusations that The Band started 'retro-rock' or were concerned with 'authenticity' are wildly off-target

this isn't what i was trying to say, exactly; i was asserting (as i guess i had done on the other thread, but i forgot about that) that without having an ideological program necessarily they had a specific approach to arranging and recording and mixing which later became identified with a certain subgenre of rock music that is often called "rootsy"

i dunno about "authenticity" (a power word that doesn't really clear anything up) but robertson et al were certainly going for a certain "rooted" sense of americana, a music with a strong sense of history, and like ccr they were selfconsciously tapping into an existing mythology, adding to it besides (ccr was both more monomaniacal and i think even more successful in this regard)

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 12:31 (seventeen years ago) link

i contradicted myself

i guess there was a kind of low-key program at work, perhaps not charged with the reactionary values that much subsequent "rootsy" music has adopted but purposeful and willful nonetheless

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 12:32 (seventeen years ago) link

i dunno about "authenticity" (a power word that doesn't really clear anything up) but robertson et al were certainly going for a certain "rooted" sense of americana, a music with a strong sense of history, and like ccr they were selfconsciously tapping into an existing mythology, adding to it besides (ccr was both more monomaniacal and i think even more successful in this regard)

there's an interesting dynamic involved, however, that Barney Hoskins' Band book explored, that to the members of the Band, the cultures they were tapping in their music were both alien and natural to them, and the extent to which they were scholarly exploring these genres and musics, and simultaneously the closeness they felt to them (thinking mostly here of levon's arkansas roots). so their music was simultaneously an exercise in attempted authenticity, and imaginative explorations of genres they revered.

stevie (stevie), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 12:40 (seventeen years ago) link

five years pass...

lately i've been spinning 'Rockin' Chair' a lot - love the heartsick, pleading sound of manuel's vocals, the absence of drums, the entwined mandolin and guitar, and the way the lyrics shift between 'downhome' nostalgia and a kind of resigned dread: these lines are especially devastating

Hear the sound, Willie Boy,
The Flyin' Dutchman's on the reef.
It's my belief
We've used up all our time,
This hill's to steep to climb,
And the days that remain ain't worth a dime.

god i love the band soo much

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 12:43 (eleven years ago) link

Great song

Aw naw, no' Annoni oan an' aw noo (Tom D.), Tuesday, 25 August 2009 12:48 (eleven years ago) link

eight months pass...

so is this really the only thread? or just a impediment of searching "The Band"?

i've been rather obsessed lately, mostly w/ the first three records. but i'm thinking of digging around for the others on the cheap. challop: Stage Fright is every bit as good as the first two. "The Rumor" and "Sleeping" are heartbreakingly awesome.

and hey, anyone remember this POS?: http://www.artistdirect.com/artist/videos/robbie-robertson/485778-811823-1

(will) (will), Thursday, 29 April 2010 14:30 (ten years ago) link

certainly some of the most creative and breathtaking uses of time signature changes in rock/popular music imo.

(will) (will), Thursday, 29 April 2010 14:41 (ten years ago) link

<3<3<3Levon @ 2:58 - "maybe they won't, you know i sure hope they don't"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8Pt_ZkGg8I

(will) (will), Thursday, 29 April 2010 14:42 (ten years ago) link

this other thread is mentioned above: Classic Or Dud: The Band
certainly some of the most creative and breathtaking uses of time signature changes in rock/popular music imo.
this is otm -- for being known as such a "down-home, authentic, straightahead" their songs are hard as fuck to play. i mean, there's straight up rockabilly, but also new orleans + appalachian + country rhythms going on, sometimes all in the same song.

tylerw, Thursday, 29 April 2010 14:57 (ten years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB9vvxYocW0

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 13:06 (one month ago) link

I had managed to avoid hearing that until now, but yes, it's spectacularly horrible. Baez's fifty-year record may have been broken. That said, at least JBJ gets the chords right in his cover version.

I Advance Masked (Vast Halo), Wednesday, 3 February 2021 19:08 (one month ago) link

Just came across this via Variety - rare live footage from 1970 (filmed for a Dutch TV broadcast).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFgyD3Uk1JQ

Just a regular gig compared to The Last Waltz, they didn't film any of Richard Manuel's numbers but he looks like he's in much better health. (We do hear him thank the audience on the band's behalf.) It looks like Robbie does harmonize a lot with the group even though he's clearly not pushing himself in the spotlight. There's no sense of any individual standing out, it's clearly a far more democratic picture of the Band, just as they were meant to be.

birdistheword, Saturday, 13 February 2021 06:51 (two weeks ago) link

wow great footage

as far as I can tell Robbie's mic is always pretty much turned off or mixed so far low I can't tell if he's singing or just wanted the image that he was singing

nothing in his solo material would indicate he could sing harmony

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 13 February 2021 14:05 (two weeks ago) link

He may be mixed a little low, but you can definitely single him out during the whoops at the end of "Cripple Creek," when his voice doesn't overlap with others (plus he may or may not interject an audible and quick "thank you" immediately after a performance, like he does here at one point, and it wouldn't make sense to turn on-and-off his mic like that).

Listen to "Bessie Smith" (on the doctored Basement Tapes and later re-located as a bonus track on Cahoots), his voice was more ordinary and less whispery back then. He's not going to sing harmony like the Beatles of the Everly Brothers, that's for sure, but the Band's harmonies have often been called ragged and individualistic, with the voices sung together but not quite together as if emphasizing the idea of community without leaving behind personal identity. Within that context, it works for him to fill out those harmonies.

birdistheword, Saturday, 13 February 2021 16:29 (two weeks ago) link

He sings lead on "To Kingdom Come" on the first album, and in each part of the song, each of the other singers alternates harmonizing with him, as far as I can tell.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 13 February 2021 16:34 (two weeks ago) link

getting irrationally angry at that tweet lol

tiwa-nty one savage (voodoo chili), Saturday, 13 February 2021 16:34 (two weeks ago) link

yeah being a dismissive dummy is really rewarded on Twitter

xpost

wow I always thought To Kingdom Come was a combo of Manuel and Danko straining high on their range

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 13 February 2021 16:39 (two weeks ago) link

Here's how I hear it:

1st verse: Robbie and Richard in unison
1st pre-chorus ("So don't you say a word..."): Rick, Robbie doing low harmony
1st chorus: Rick and Robbie, Levon doing low harmony
2nd verse: Robbie, then Robbie and Richard in unison
2nd pre-chorus: Rick, Robbie doing low harmony
2nd chorus: Rick and Robbie, Levon doing low harmony

I can't tell if the chorus is in three-part harmony, or who's on top if so!

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 13 February 2021 16:51 (two weeks ago) link

Now listening to the remixed version, it seems to be Richard instead of Robbie doing the low harmony on the pre-chorus? And all this is assuming they didn't double-track any voices.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 13 February 2021 17:05 (two weeks ago) link

Viney on "Bessie Smith" and the Robertson treatment of '75 Basement Tapes---says Heylin seized on it as (among) evidence of Robertson's plot vs. Manuel's memory (as songwriter)!
https://theband.hiof.no/articles/bessie_smith_viney.html
Most interested in this:
There is a circulating tape of Band-only basement sessions, which was due to become the sixth volume in the bootleg series The Genuine Basement Tapes. It was never released. This includes unreleased items, like a guitar instrumental version of Ruben Remus as well as other versions of Orange Juice Blues and Yazoo Street Scandal. Any of yall heard it?

dow, Saturday, 13 February 2021 17:20 (two weeks ago) link

That link is pretty interesting, thanks.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 13 February 2021 17:51 (two weeks ago) link

Viney really tears down the core of Heylin's accusations. Heylin is often a good reference - he's a thorough researcher - but he can undermine that work with a tendency to lash out at people. It can be refreshing when he calls someone out for something they did, but he also does that when the evidence doesn't warrant it. It's kind of amusing - whenever I see him in a photo or an interview, he's jolly and all smiles, but in writing, he comes off as a real curmudgeon.

birdistheword, Saturday, 13 February 2021 21:06 (two weeks ago) link

though I wanted to be mad at Robbie, the new Stage Fright remix sounds great and the new tracklist does work pretty well

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 14 February 2021 00:51 (two weeks ago) link

His new Rolling Stone interview reported that "The Rumor" was always intended as the last track, even before the rest of the Band pushed him to re-sequence it, and it acknowledged without explanation that it was moved to the end of side A even though that wasn't the original intention. Whatever, he can do what he likes, but for the most part, the new tracklist does work very well. The one exception is that "Sleeping" doesn't quite work as a closing track, and I think it flows better if you swap it with "The Rumor."

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 February 2021 00:57 (two weeks ago) link

yeah agreed, I do think Sleeping does feel more like a middle song

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 14 February 2021 01:00 (two weeks ago) link

TBH the new mix feels a little too polished and too airtight for my tastes. The previous mixes felt a bit more open and loose (more on that later). Something about the new mix sands away a bit of the character that made it sound like the Band.

The Royal Albert Hall show is excellent. Someone mentioned that this is the first time a complete "regular" show has ever been officially released, whereas their other live recordings were organized like special events - the Toussaint-arranged horns on the Academy shows and the big farewell (also with horns) of "The Last Waltz." The Academy shows are still my favorites though, so if you want to own just one live album, that's the one to get (especially the box set if you can splurge - I really like the "soundboard"-style mix that was done to the final show).

The Calgary hotel room recordings are actually my favorite bonuses here - they're kind of like Basement Tape-style recordings, but done in cozier surroundings. The riff on "The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show" sounds great on an acoustic guitar - if you didn't know better, you'd swear it was lifted from a down home blues standard. They do more covers than originals, and it kind of highlights how they're able to play any genre of roots music without breaking a sweat.

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 February 2021 08:04 (two weeks ago) link

This may be too much detail for some, but anyone who's a collector or a huge fan of Stage Fright will probably know that it was already released in different mixes before this set. It wasn't until 2000 or so when some sense was made out it, but I wouldn't rely on anything Robbie's told in the interviews promoting the new set - I don't think he's lying, most likely he doesn't remember all the details (partly because he wasn't there when the rejected mixes were made).

Ken Scott (i.e. the engineer and producer behind Bowie's Ziggy Stardust recordings and George Harrison's All Things Must Pass) apparently wrote this in late 2006:

If my memory serves me correctly, members of the Band asked George Harrison for his recommendation as to who might be good to mix the album Stage Fright, as they, and this is the only part where my memory may be a little askew, didn't want Todd Rundgren to complete the project. Because of the work we had done together he named me. Time was booked at Trident for me to mix. Before starting I was informed that Glyn Johns was going to be mixing the same material (at a different studio) and may the best man win. Tapes were delivered to both of us.

As I started to set everything up for the first mix in walked Mr. Rundgren who promptly relegated me to gofer. Much to my regret I never got to do any more with the tapes...

---

Rundgren gave an interview to Relix, and here's what he said:

The Band made an agreement with Glyn Johns to have him mix the album. Since I had recorded the whole album, they figured I should have a shot at mixing the album as well. So they sent me, with the tapes, to London and put me in one studio and I would mix...Then I came back with two versions of the record (my mix and Glyn's mix). As it turned out, they weren’t completely happy with either one so we went into the studio and did a whole other series of remixes while the Band was there. So those were essentially the Band’s own remixes.

With you and Glyn both there?

No, no. Just me. Glyn Johns was too busy to leave England. So we went back (into the studio in New York) and essentially went through a very long, torturous remix process again because it was five guys. We spent all day mixing a tune and then they would take the references back and come back the next with all new ideas or sometimes start the mix all over again. So it took a terrifically long time because you had to satisfy five guys. So in the end, I have no idea actually which ones went on the original record or which ones might be on the reissues of the record because in the end they made decisions about which ones would go one. I’m pretty sure that on the original release, it was a combination of the three...they’re might have been one or two mixes I did, a couple that Glyn Johns did, but also many that we done in the third mix session with The Band all there. So the album that was re-released, I haven’t gone back and listened to it. I probably couldn’t tell you anyway which one was which. I felt a little uncomfortable in my own mixing situation because I was sent into a strange place with speakers I had never worked with before and so I was just kind of trying to make my way through it and hoped that I was getting it right. Just kind of following my instincts.

---

Andrew Sandoval produced the 2000 reissues, he found all of the mixes, the multi-tracks and paperwork, and he says he was able to identify which mix is which via the paperwork. But some have expressed doubt about their accuracy (they could've been misfiled or mislabeled) because Rundgren's own music has some very distinct characteristics that appear on the Stage Fright mixes identified as Johns's whereas the ones identified as Rundgren's kind of sound like Johns's work. (Specifically, many of the alleged Johns mixes have some egregious distortion and a graphic EQ pattern that's typical of, say, Rundgren's "I Saw the Light.")

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 February 2021 08:28 (two weeks ago) link

maybe helpful for some context abt that tweet, his humor is largely abt him being “bad” at humor, his Trump impersonation is just him rambling in his own voice.... it’s not meant to be a hot take, wouldn’t take it too seriously

I do find the “old-timey” notion funny, however misapplied to The Weight, but obv ymmv

John Wesley Glasscock (Hadrian VIII), Sunday, 14 February 2021 18:40 (two weeks ago) link

xp That recalls a Rolling Stone reporter's checking in on the Stage Fright sessions: Rundgren said their laid back demeanor was a cover for chronic indecision---he kept running around the studio, doing stuff to shake them up, get them pissed off and on their feet, talking to him, but the most he got during the reporter's visit was when one of them said, without looking up from his whittling, "Todd boy, if you don't settle down, you can't be in our band." "I couldn't be in your band anyway. I can't grow a beard."
(Haven't heard it, but seems like reviewers tended to consider that Cahoots was where they really went off the rails---there was a mention "the unimaginable mess" in one track.)

dow, Sunday, 14 February 2021 18:41 (two weeks ago) link

That reminds me of a story of Levon chasing Todd around the studio, yelling "I'm gonna kill him!," after Todd said something insulting to Garth.
Rick and Levon liked him enough to play on one of the songs on Runt, though.

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 14 February 2021 18:56 (two weeks ago) link

Cahoots is where Robbie's songwriting took a dive, though I enjoy "Last of the Blacksmiths" and the much-disliked "The Moon Struck One", which has the same hazy Great Depression feel as Altman's Thieves Like Us.

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 14 February 2021 18:59 (two weeks ago) link

like the song, but "w.s. wolcott's medicine show" is the first time Robbie's old weird Americana feels forced and put on, or at least feels like the beginning of the problems his later stuff had

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 14 February 2021 19:01 (two weeks ago) link

Xgau's take on both---thought he might haaate Cahoots but no, just not that interested:

Stage Fright [Capitol, 1970]
I've gone both ways with this group--if Music from Big Pink didn't tempt me away from my urban fastness, The Band did manage to make me jump around in my apartment. What gets in the way of this follow-up, however, is neither natural alienation nor critical overanticipation--it's the music itself, which simply overmatches the words. The tunes are so bright and doughty, and the musicians pitch in with so much will, that the domestic banalities of side one seem out of place in a way those of Delaney & Bonnie, say, never do. And if the settings are too complex for what Robbie Robertson knows, they're too unfocused for what he doesn't know, as the confused politico-philosophical grapplings on side two make agonizingly clear. Memorable as most of these songs are, they never hook in--never give up the musical-verbal phrase that might encapsulate their every-which-way power. Which perhaps means that they don't have much to say. B+

Maybe a little too tough, but I guess lack of hookiness on an Age of Rock album can make the diff between A- and B+---fair enough, if you really must issue a letter grade, jeez.

Cahoots [Capitol, 1971]
Whew, these fellows can really play. They cook on "Smoke Signal," and you should hear the guitar solo on "Last of the Blacksmiths." Seem overly worried about the passing of the world as they know it, though--not just blacksmiths, but eagles, rivers, trains, the works. B-
Seems even more like a legit worry now, and people were talking bout ecology and planting Earth Day etc. back then.

dow, Sunday, 14 February 2021 19:02 (two weeks ago) link

That's a good point about "Walcott", and it and "Daniel and the Sacred Harp" are the only songs on Stage Fright that really have that "old-timey" conceit.

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 14 February 2021 19:07 (two weeks ago) link

Rick and Levon liked him enough to play on one of the songs on Runt, though. Didn't know this! So they were in on TR's window of opp for those, like Chilton, who glimpsed the proto-jangle-power-psych-pop etc. possibilities ( indeed, as I mentioned on the main Big Star thread: "a note to self on Twitter:
In radio interview on @BigStarBand's Live at Lafayette's Music Room, AC worries that forthcoming #1 Record is too much like Rundgren...") Would like to check out more of their guesting pop-rock gifts---they certainly sparkle 'n' burble on Bobby Charles's '72 s/t, released on Bearsville, their and Rundgren's neck o' the woods---and they showed up on at least one of Ringo's albums, right? With for instance Nilsson in there somewhere--?!

dow, Sunday, 14 February 2021 19:29 (two weeks ago) link

Energetic new review of Stage Fright---dunno that it was really "small stakes," seems fairly ambitious to me, w some of that making-of stress sublimated, or subliminal, but "they would never sound so happy again"---so overall happy, in sum of alb---seems plausiblehttps://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/the-band-stage-fright-50th-anniversary-edition/

dow, Sunday, 14 February 2021 21:09 (two weeks ago) link

Robertson says he's working on Cahoots next. It'll be interesting to see how he'll try to rehabilitate it, but I'm not expecting a salvage job on par with Dead Man's Pop. To be fair, even though it's mediocre by their standards, but there's some good stuff on there. I'd like to say they should have held off until they came up with more, but it would have been a four year wait.

The title of "Life Is a Carnival" alone is too corny, but it's still a fun track with a great horn arrangement from Toussaint. "4% Pantomime" with Van Morrison is a lot of fun, and "When I Paint My Masterpiece" is another excellent Dylan cover. I never liked "Smoke Signal" until I heard it again on the newly mixed Academy shows where it held its own - it's probably better on there, but it's not a complete reinvention of the album version, just a better recording and a better performance. "Don't Do It" should have been included, it's one of my favorite Motown covers and would've helped a lot.

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 February 2021 21:28 (two weeks ago) link

FWIW, it sounds like Greil Marcus really likes the new version (i.e. new mix and new order), which surprised him because he actually hated the remix of "The Shape I'm In" when it was released ahead of the rest. It's supposed to come up in his next column.

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 February 2021 21:49 (two weeks ago) link

I'm sort of amazed by how much I dig this new mix/track list, like I really love it and I've always really liked the record even if it always felt a bit confused? I dunno like a funny joke that someone kind of screws up the set up when they are telling it to you.

The Calgary Hotel stuff is amazing and the live set is great.

I've always had a weird soft spot for Cahoots, album cover aside

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 15 February 2021 20:55 (two weeks ago) link

And I've also never really dug any of Robertson's other remix jobs over the yrs

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 15 February 2021 20:57 (two weeks ago) link

Love those Calgary Hotel sessions, immediately make me think of the Tom Waits + Replacements songs that padded out the Dead Man's Pop box.

henry s, Monday, 15 February 2021 21:02 (two weeks ago) link

Almost forgot about those

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 15 February 2021 21:52 (two weeks ago) link

Now that I think about it, those 'Mats/Waits sessions took place at Bearsville. Must be something in the water up there.

henry s, Monday, 15 February 2021 22:00 (two weeks ago) link

drugs

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 15 February 2021 22:25 (two weeks ago) link

fluoride

henry s, Monday, 15 February 2021 23:34 (two weeks ago) link

re: Robertson's bad singing… "to Kingdom Come" is leagues, miles better than "Knockin' Lost John" or "Out of The Blue." And while Cahoots has issues, I don't understand how anyone can belittle "the Moon Struck One."

Can anyone think of another example of a songwriter —who comes up with everything, particularly melodies made to be sung by really good singers— who is a legendarily bad singer? Like obviously there are Leonard Cohen/Mark E Smith-style singers who render their limitations artfully, and I've never encountered anyone alleging that in fact Manuel, Helm or Danko came up with those melodies… the songs for which Robertson is credited, he wrote every bit of them…whereas Manuel and Danko (very seldom) wrote or co-wrote with Zimmy the songs they are credited for… so Robertson had to say "OK, this is how the vocal melody to "Stage Fright" goes," to the other three, and yet everyone agreed at the time that the composer of these often really fantastically challenging melody lines shouldn't sing them… are there other examples of this? Not including pure, non performing songwriters…like did I heard that Duke Ellington kinda sucked as a singer?

veronica moser, Monday, 15 February 2021 23:38 (two weeks ago) link

Some might say Randy Newman?
I guess Robertson's vocal perceived shortcomings have to do with his somewhat whiny tone, rather than singing out of tune or having an especially limited range?

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 15 February 2021 23:43 (two weeks ago) link

he probably worked out the melodies on his guitar

tiwa-nty one savage (voodoo chili), Monday, 15 February 2021 23:45 (two weeks ago) link

Irving Berlin?

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 15 February 2021 23:59 (two weeks ago) link

Sorry. Was actually thinking something similar to voodoo chili.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 16 February 2021 00:00 (two weeks ago) link

Boston. Tom Scholz wrote music and lyrics for almost all of their songs but never sang, not even back up.

henry s, Tuesday, 16 February 2021 19:44 (two weeks ago) link

Where can I find the xpost Calgary Hotel sessions? Also still wondering about where to find this, mentioned in the Viney post I recently linked upthread: There is a circulating tape of Band-only basement sessions, which was due to become the sixth volume in the bootleg series The Genuine Basement Tapes. It was never released. This includes unreleased items, like a guitar instrumental version of Ruben Remus as well as other versions of Orange Juice Blues and Yazoo Street Scandal. Any of yall heard it?

dow, Wednesday, 17 February 2021 22:23 (two weeks ago) link

The Calgary Hotel sessions discussed above are the ones tacked onto the recent Stage Fright reissue.

henry s, Thursday, 18 February 2021 16:48 (two weeks ago) link

just listening to the 2020 mix and "sleeping" does sound like it could be on something anything or the ballad of todd rundgren

brimstead, Sunday, 21 February 2021 20:23 (one week ago) link

Nice catch! For sure--"Sleeping" particularly isn't worlds away from Rundgren's "The Range War."

Kangol In The Light (Craig D.), Sunday, 21 February 2021 20:26 (one week ago) link

indeed.. the use of those sustained* chords at the end of each stanza* bring to mind "the range war" and "torch song"... plus maybe the way the piano is mixed, as birdistheword mentioned above.

*not sure if correct terms

brimstead, Sunday, 21 February 2021 20:39 (one week ago) link

I guess you could call them flat 7 triads over a tonic pedal bass (D/E in "Sleeping") or 11 chords.

I love the chord progression at the start of the song, that reappears in each refrain:

C#m/B B "Where else on
Bm/A A Earth would you
F#m/E E Want to go?"

Another similar Todd song is "Boat on the Charles". It might even be the same piano the Band used at Bearsville studios.

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 21 February 2021 20:46 (one week ago) link

I only know "The Range War" from a good cover version on one of DBT Patterson Hood's solo albums, Murdering Oscar (and Other Love Songs). It surprised me, considering that Lester Bangs once reported asking Rundgren what he thought of country music: " 'AH'M DUMMB, AND AH'M STEWW-PID,' he brayed, but not everybody is."

dow, Sunday, 21 February 2021 21:17 (one week ago) link

I got that there was maybe a Band influence:
Your daddy runs sheep and my uncle runs cattle
Nothing can keep us out of this battle
They wage as it burns up the plains till no one is left in the saddle
Your ranch is upstream and they've dammed up the water…

There were such wars, and may be again, as the water situation out there incl. more and more drought. (Of course it's also meta, if you like.)

dow, Sunday, 21 February 2021 21:20 (one week ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.