The Band.

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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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

cutty (mcutt), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

atrophying of brain tissue?

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

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

earlnash, Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:22 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Ah, friend!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

more like "the Bland"

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

no wait, I like them.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 10 February 2004 20:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

'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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Debito (Debito), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Debito (Debito), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 04:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 07:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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

no opinion, Wednesday, 11 February 2004 07:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

How do I fit in to this embarrassment?

Debito (Debito), Wednesday, 11 February 2004 10:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Oops, strike them parenthesis. < / Dean >

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

'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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (eight years ago) Permalink

Great song

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

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 (eight years ago) Permalink

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 (eight years ago) Permalink

<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 (eight years ago) Permalink

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 (eight years ago) Permalink

Unless I'm totally wrong, the new box is a total rip. It's the same set as Rock of Ages, two discs remastered (again), two discs a board mix of the same set, and then a DVD with a 5.1 mix. When it was announced as a 4 CD/DVD package, I expected more.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 October 2013 16:01 (four years ago) Permalink

there are previously unreleased performances on there, from different nights during the Rock of Ages shows.

tylerw, Thursday, 3 October 2013 16:04 (four years ago) Permalink

The collection's first two discs feature performances of every song played over the course of the four concerts, and the New Year's Eve soundboard mix on discs 3 and 4 puts the listener in the room for that entire legendary night: Uncut, unedited, taken straight from the master recordings and presented in full for the first time. The set's DVD presents the tracks from discs 1 and 2 in 5.1 Surround, plus Alk and Lerner's filmed performances of 'King Harvest (Has Surely Come)' and 'The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show.'

From an Amazon review:

Disc 1 & 2 is the show sequenced from performances on 12/28/71 to 12/31/71 with one previously unreleased track. (So basically Rock of Ages)

Disc 3 & 4 is the New Year's Eve show in its entirety and labeled the soundboard mix. It's very close to the same setlist as the first two discs. (with 7 repeat performances)

Disc 5 is what originally prompted me to buy the set. It is a DVD in 5.1 sound of the NYE performance. I thought I was getting a video performance. I guess I didn't read the details well enough. It is indeed the show in 5.1 and it sounds spectacular but there is no video just a photo montage.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 3 October 2013 16:29 (four years ago) Permalink

right, so the unreleased stuff is from the NYE show.
Disc: 3
1. Up On Cripple Creek (Previously Unissued Performance)
2. The Shape I'm In
3. The Rumor (Previously Unissued Performance)
4. Time To Kill (Previously Unissued Performance)
5. Rockin' Chair (Previously Unissued Performance)
6. This Wheel's On Fire (Previously Unissued Performance)
7. Get Up Jake (Previously Unissued Performance)
8. Smoke Signal (Previously Unissued Performance)
9. I Shall Be Released (Previously Unissued Performance)
10. The Weight (Previously Unissued Performance)
11. Stage Fright
Disc: 4
1. Life Is A Carnival (Previously Unissued Performance)
2. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)
3. Caledonia Mission (Previously Unissued Performance)
4. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
5. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Previously Unissued Performance)
6. Across The Great Divide (Previously Unissued Performance)
7. Unfaithful Servant
8. Don't Do It (Previously Unissued Performance)
9. The Genetic Method
10. Chest Fever (Previously Unissued Performance)
11. Rag Mama Rag
12. (I Don't Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (Previously Unissued Performance)
13. Down In The Flood (with Bob Dylan)
14. When I Paint My Masterpiece (with Bob Dylan)
15. Don't Ya Tell Henry (with Bob Dylan)
16. Like A Rolling Stone (with Bob Dylan)

tylerw, Thursday, 3 October 2013 16:41 (four years ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

chest fever

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 18 May 2014 05:43 (four years ago) Permalink

What are the best solo albums?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 18 May 2014 13:20 (four years ago) Permalink

Danko's is great; best Band record since Stage Fright.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 18 May 2014 13:31 (four years ago) Permalink

surely this band was just paving the way for the Walkabouts

relentlessly pecking at peace (President Keyes), Sunday, 18 May 2014 14:38 (four years ago) Permalink

from memory the danko solo also features some co-writes with the elusive emmett grogan. i should really pull that one out again sometime, only given it a couple of listens...

no lime tangier, Sunday, 18 May 2014 15:26 (four years ago) Permalink

Does that one have "Java Blues"?

Twenty Flyte Blecch (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 May 2014 16:57 (four years ago) Permalink

Yep, that's the one.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 18 May 2014 17:01 (four years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Never seen this footage before, why isn't there a live bootleg series for The Band dammit

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

Chicamaw (Ward Fowler), Friday, 18 December 2015 20:32 (two years ago) Permalink

i have never listened to stage fright. i need to check it out

dynamicinterface, Friday, 18 December 2015 20:58 (two years ago) Permalink

also that footage is great

dynamicinterface, Friday, 18 December 2015 20:59 (two years ago) Permalink

totally great. The Band stuck pretty close to the script when it came to their live shows -- not sure if there's much that isn't covered in the officially released live recordings. Wouldn't mind hearing their full set at the Isle of Wight in '69 ... there's a late 76 Palladium gig that is pretty solid. And a Royal Albert Hall show (some of which is on A Musical History) that could be good to hear in full.

tylerw, Friday, 18 December 2015 21:02 (two years ago) Permalink

this is the Band release that needs to happen: http://theband.hiof.no/albums/from_bacon_fat_to_judgement_day.html
Levon and the Hawks: From Bacon Fat to Judgement Day

8-CD + DVD Levon and the Hawks Limited Edition Box Set, documenting the Hawks' evolution from the pre-Hawkins bands of the late 50's to the Basement Tape recordings of Big Pink in 1967. Includes previously unheard historic studio & archival live recordings, rare singles, extensive liner notes, interviews and photos. Included among the material on the DVD are video interviews with Garth Hudson.

[obviously it didn't actually come out this year]

tylerw, Friday, 18 December 2015 21:03 (two years ago) Permalink

xposts: love that live footage^ available on this thing if you can find it: http://theband.hiof.no/videos/boot_iow_69-70_DVD.html

no lime tangier, Friday, 18 December 2015 21:04 (two years ago) Permalink

That 1970 footage linked me to this 76 show - Manuel's voice seems a bit shot, but kinda surprised how much all of them are still putting into the performance - the clothes have got much worse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZeboTzerHQ&list=LLWwmSqUluMWZ5qidhsGaTzA

The Band stuck pretty close to the script when it came to their live shows

Yeah, wasn't totally expecting Dead-style workouts (tho I'm sure they could've done it) but a nice-sounding box set of live recordings etc from throughout their career wld hit that sweet spot for me - thanks for the suggestions, tylerw and no lime, will hunt for more, I've got the taste.

Chicamaw (Ward Fowler), Friday, 18 December 2015 21:15 (two years ago) Permalink

some high points available here: http://www.ousterhout.net/mp3/theband.html

tylerw, Friday, 18 December 2015 21:16 (two years ago) Permalink

thanks again tyler, will take a load off you

Chicamaw (Ward Fowler), Friday, 18 December 2015 21:43 (two years ago) Permalink

man, not much is gonna make me stop watching the vids for SGomez's "same old love" and Demi's "Confident," but that '76 shit shows what those guys were made of…unlike the useless Last waltz… watching Helm play the shit out of those tunes there suggests that he had an inviolable right to be pissed about that band shutting down.

veronica moser, Friday, 18 December 2015 21:58 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Does anyone have any information on jug(instrument) or jug bands?
If you do, Then that's going to save me heaps

Biya Staunton, Tuesday, 22 March 2016 22:45 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Pitchfork gave the self-titled record the Sunday Review treatment.

Anyway, I’d never thought of “Dixie” as problematic, despite its subject matter, but here’s Hyden on listening to the song in 2018:

This complementary dynamic is on display in “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” about a Confederate soldier named Virgil Cane who’s resigned to a downtrodden life as a poor farmer after the Civil War. It is one of the songs on which Robertson based his reputation as a budding Serious Rock Songwriter—he aped ancient American folk forms like his mentor Dylan, and successfully composed a new tune that felt like it was already 100 years old, while also commenting obliquely on the class and regional divides that are seemingly eternal in this country.

Today, “Dixie” and the empathy it has for defenders of Southern slavery makes it a thorny listen. But the tenderness and pain in Helm’s voice stand apart from Robertson’s words as an eloquent expression of profound sorrow, the type of immutable loss that’s passed down from generation to generation, as both birthright and original sin. It’s possible to both question whether a song like this needs to exist, and appreciate how Helm’s naked hurt transcends it.

paul mccartney & whinge (voodoo chili), Sunday, 10 June 2018 16:58 (two months ago) Permalink

I seem to remember tension between Robertson and Helm on the sentiment of that song, but I don’t remember the specifics.

Stanley Therapy (stevie), Sunday, 10 June 2018 18:47 (two months ago) Permalink

Robertson had been reading books and thought the Civil War was just about slavery, so Helm had to sit him down and explain through a southern lens the political picture of the time.

Making Plans For Sturgill (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 10 June 2018 18:54 (two months ago) Permalink

That song, I always listened to it as the root of what Patterson Hood would term "The Duality of the Southern Thing."

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 10 June 2018 23:48 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah, and the narrator of that song may not have even particularly given a shit about the Confederacy per se (the further from the cotton, the more likely that was). But when the Union finally showed up, they sometimes decimated the farm, town, etc. (likewise the Confeds on occasion). Scorched earth, yeeha.

Wanna read this, got me interested in Canada of 50s-60s, though prob most about him x Dylan, as indicated below:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/on-the-road-with-dylan-1478900285
By
WESLEY STACE
Updated Nov. 11, 2016 6:08 p.m. ET
Robbie Robertson, the lead guitarist and main songwriter of the Band, is in the unenviable position of never having been much of a singer. (He posits asthma as a factor.) Luckily, the Band was blessed with three of the greatest vocalists of the rock era (Rick Danko,Richard Manuel and Levon Helm), who were able to give his beautiful melodies and lyrics their fullest possible emotional expression. In “Testimony,” however, the “voice” is not in question. Robust, wry, gritty and wise to the vicissitudes of a career in rock ’n’ roll, it is just what the reader wants, marred only occasionally by stiff dialogue.
TESTIMONY
By Robbie Robertson
Opening with a train ride, Mr. Robertson captures the rhythm of rock’s mystery train, even its final lurch into the terminal. In this memoir named for a song from his solo debut, Mr. Robertson bears witness to his life in music, from his precocious success in Ronnie Hawkins’s “raging rockabilly” Hawks to that band’s historic involvement in Bob Dylan’s mid-1960s “explosive electric sacrilege”; the subsequent retreat to Woodstock, N.Y., for the “loose as a goose” sessions with Mr. Dylan that became known as “The Basement Tapes” to the group’s rebranding as the Band, whose career climaxed, as this book wisely does, with “The Last Waltz,” a 1976 concert in San Francisco that was filmed by Martin Waltz,” a 1976 concert in San Francisco that was filmed by Martin Scorsese.
“Testimony” comes 23 years after drummer Levon Helm’s memoir “This Wheel’s on Fire,” notable partly for its extremely negative portrayal of Mr. Robertson. Of that book, Mr. Dylan enthused: “You’ve got to read this!” The blurbs here are by Mr. Scorsese and David Geffen, neatly delineating the great divide in the Band. But after the deaths of Manuel (suicide, 1986), Danko (heart failure, 1999) and Helm (throat cancer, 2012)—which triumvirate he often pits himself against in his memoir—Robertson is one of the two men left standing (along with keyboardist Garth Hudson). His may be the last word.
The haphazardly collaborative nature of the Band’s work, and the natural disinclination of most of the members to deal with business, led to arguments over songwriting credits, a feud that
Helm took to the grave. Resentments had long simmered: The film “The Last Waltz” seemed contrived to put Mr. Robertson center-stage, as the genius Mr. Scorsese clearly believed him to be, yet he was the only member of the Band who actually wanted that Waltz to be the Last. His Band-mates were happy to play on, and this was by no means the final Band concert, though it was the last to feature Mr. Robertson. If you saw a later incarnation of the group, you heard precisely what you would have wanted to hear: the singers singing their beloved songbook accompanied by a great rhythm section. If anything, one later felt the lack of Manuel more than of Mr. Robertson.
Half-Jewish, half-Mohawk, Jaime Royal Robertson was brought up on the streets of Toronto and on the Six Nations Indian Reserve, where he was “introduced to serious storytelling. . . . The oral history, the legends, the fables, and the great holy mystery of life.” The reader might suppress a groan, but add to the mix a steel-trap memory and a muddled childhood—featuring two fathers, numerous gangsters, alcoholism and some diamond smuggling—and you have the makings of a Dickensian bildungsroman.
“Testimony” next becomes a bible of road lore, a lurid coming-of-age story that veers wildly between the sweet and the brutal and a how-not-to guide to running a band. The Hawks, formed at the whim of Arkansawyer Ronnie Hawkins, who enjoyed regular residencies in Toronto, take off on the road, and the craziness of these early days is presented in brilliant Technicolor, with Helm cast as blood brother and Hawkins as amoral Virgil. A 16-year-old Mr. Robertson, too young to frequent any of the joints he’s playing, descends into an underworld of torched nightclubs (the arsonists thoughtfully remove Leon Russell’s band’s equipment before they light the match), bitten-off nipples (word to the wise: Don’t “taste her milkshake” while traversing bumpy terrain in the back seat of a car) and a vast choice of artificial stimulation.
As for Mr. Dylan, a key attraction, the book offers a refreshing account all the better for starting no earlier than the recording of “Like a Rolling Stone,” to which Mr. Robertson was escorted by producer John Hammond Jr. in 1965. Here is by far the fullest first-person account of the early electric tours of Mr. Dylan, not to mention an astonishing tale of a “passed out sitting up” Mr. Dylan, “deliriously exhausted” after the final date of the emotionally and physically exhausting 1966 tour, whom Robbie and Mr. Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, try to revive him in a bathtub (returning once to find him submerged) while four Beatles await an audience in the adjacent hotel room. The account of Mr. Dylan’s 1966 motorcycle accident is refreshingly lucid, as is that of the subsequent making of “The Basement Tapes,” as the Band improvises around Bob’s “vibing vocables.”
The Nobel Prize winner himself will probably not opine on Mr. Robertson’s livelier claims, among which is that he clothed Mr. Dylan (the classic ’66 houndstooth tweed: “Bob didn’t seem like much of a suit guy, but Lou [the designer] was on top of his game”); suggested the iconoclastic cover design of “Blonde on Blonde”; gave Mr. Dylan’s song “Obviously Five Believers” its title, adding that witty adverb—both positively (4th Street) and absolutely (Sweet Marie) something Mr. Dylan might have come up with himself; finished the editing of Mr. Dylan’s film “Eat the Document”; taught the neophyte rocker how to stretch guitar strings to keep them in tune; and saved Mr. Dylan from his musical self (by refusing to clutter the sparse perfection of “John Wesley Harding” with the requested overdubs). And of course he is responsible for creating the circumstances, and ambience, that brought the “The Basement Tapes” into existence. I am not suggesting that these claims aren’t true, merely that the abundance of them becomes slightly comical.
Occasionally one has the impression that Mr. Robertson is tiptoeing around awkward issues, always to the detriment of the book: Helm’s 1993 account of the various delegations sent in to get Mr. Dylan onstage at “The Last Waltz” is agonizing (the singer didn’t like it assumed that he had given his consent to being filmed, fearing a conflict with a forthcoming movie of his own, “Renaldo and Clara,” shot the previous year). But Mr. Robertson barely scratches the surface, preferring to deal with the technical problems involved in creating the movie.
Mr. Robertson’s writing about music, either from inside looking out or simply from the point of view of an audience member at a Bo Diddley or Velvet Underground concert, can be beautiful, as when, in the closing pages, he pays full tribute to each Band member and their role within the overall sound, repeating, as if in litany, “God only made one of those.” Here “Testimony” becomes a testimonial, and the effect is redemptive. Generosity suits him, and whatever the truth, “Testimony” is a graceful epitaph.​
—Mr. Stace is an author and musician who has also recorded under the name John Wesley Harding.

dow, Monday, 11 June 2018 01:28 (two months ago) Permalink

the narrator of that song may not have even particularly given a shit about the Confederacy per se (the further from the cotton, the more likely that was). But when the Union finally showed up, they sometimes decimated the farm, town, etc. (likewise the Confeds on occasion). Scorched earth, yeeha

Which is also why the song strikes me as a veiled Vietnam commentary, even if that was totally not Robertson/Helm etc's intent.

Making Plans For Sturgill (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 11 June 2018 01:43 (two months ago) Permalink

If so, it’s a very bad analogy

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Monday, 11 June 2018 02:19 (two months ago) Permalink

No that can fit: scorched earth, shock 'n' awe, vengeance, random outbursts, calculated trauma, in a lotta countries, lotta wars. Ditto rape and pillage as perks, at least the first night.

dow, Monday, 11 June 2018 21:59 (two months ago) Permalink

But back to the Band--what are the best solo albums/side projects? Best Band albums without Robertson?

dow, Monday, 11 June 2018 22:06 (two months ago) Permalink

Dude -- the overall treatment of civilians in (a) Sherman's March to the Sea and (b) The Vietnam Fucking War were highly dissimilar.

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Monday, 11 June 2018 22:16 (two months ago) Permalink

i feel like Jericho was well-regarded when it came out but i don't really fuck w/ the Band too much after Cahoots

constitutional crises they fly at u face (will), Monday, 11 June 2018 22:20 (two months ago) Permalink

Jericho has the Springsteen cover right? That version of Atlantic City has come close to becoming canon for the Band.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 11 June 2018 22:23 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah it's really good

constitutional crises they fly at u face (will), Monday, 11 June 2018 22:23 (two months ago) Permalink

or "AC" is, i should say. i'm sure i've heard more from Jericho but I can't say specifically what

constitutional crises they fly at u face (will), Monday, 11 June 2018 22:25 (two months ago) Permalink

Just gave it a listen and "Jericho" goes on a little long, and too many of the songs seem to intentionally echo past Band work. But on the plus side, it sounds pretty good, and the singing and playing are good. The guitarist, Jim Weider, does a pretty solid Robertson impression.

What a weird messy post-band history the Band had. You've got Robertson, who tried to snag all the credit, yet didn't release a solo album until 1986, with an album that sounded absolutely nothing like the Band, for that matter. The other guys scattered or, tragically, worse, and never got much momentum going. Danko managed that one album, Hudson went more or less journeyman session guy, Levon did a few albums here and there and tried acting; his solid late career recording comeback came after a 25 year gap. When the Band did reconvene to record those 17 or so years after breaking up, for "Jericho," the songwriting was almost all from outside sources, which was a strange way to counter Robertson's claims.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 11 June 2018 23:29 (two months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

watching the classic albums doc on the self-titled right now. that album truly holds a special place in my heart.

glad you picked jawbone. what a weirdly enchanting little ditty.

supreme court justice samuel lance-ito (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 02:12 (one month ago) Permalink

the way it switches to the waltz time in the verses and lets loose during the chorus, along with the switch in lyrical perspective...

supreme court justice samuel lance-ito (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 02:14 (one month ago) Permalink

Manuel had some great cowrites with Robertson

he was something else, "Sleeping" is such a strange beauty

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 03:24 (one month ago) Permalink

jawbone is so amazing

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 03:24 (one month ago) Permalink

Jawbone has such a deep country funk. I respect the rest of the Band's canon, but I am and always have been deliriously in love with the s/t album. Fortune was smiling on them when they recorded that.

Arthur Funzonerelli (stevie), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 06:17 (one month ago) Permalink

Robertson had been reading books and thought the Civil War was just about slavery, so Helm had to sit him down and explain through a southern lens the political picture of the time.

Ah the danger of reading books.

Sam Weller, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 10:37 (one month ago) Permalink

When Robbie went down to Arkansas from Canada he couldn't read. Levon made him woodshed with books until he had built up a basic literacy. After touring with Dylan, Robertson could really read, pretty much anything, but by then he was pretty sick of reading. That's why there's not a lot of reading on Band albums.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 13:50 (one month ago) Permalink

The Danko album had some good tracks, but I was more impressed pverall by the band he brought to Soundstage, the old Chicago PBS show: 50-odd minute sets, back to back, no bathroom breaks (at least in the version televised, and his crew certainly had no prob being on the same bill w Graham Parker & The Rumour, who were at their peak (this was late 70s, maybe '80). Don't remember who was in the band, but saw him on another thing in that era w Butterfield, who was maybe here for this.

dow, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 20:35 (one month ago) Permalink

There was an interview where Robertson mentioned sitting crammed into the backseat, with Hawkins at the wheel in the boondocks, and R was reading a paperback of From Here To Eternity: purty cool and wonder if it gave him some ideas for songs.

dow, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 20:39 (one month ago) Permalink

but I was more impressed pverall by the band he brought to Soundstage, the old Chicago PBS show: 50-odd minute sets, back to back

Believe that has a good version of the aforementioned "Java Blues."

Pwn Goal Picnic (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 12 July 2018 02:24 (one month ago) Permalink


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