I find it painful whenever I've seen ANY musicians talking about songs they wrote.
― robert in SLC, Tuesday, 2 May 2006 16:17 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― You'll Never Put a Better Bit of Butter On Your Knife (Dada), Tuesday, 2 May 2006 16:19 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― robert in SLC, Tuesday, 2 May 2006 16:30 (twelve years ago) Permalink
Having said that, if I were Robertson and I was filthy rich while watching my former Band-mates struggle, I would have seen fit to modify the publishing rights to cut them in. I'm sure he MUST admit that even if the other members didn't contribute to the official compositions, would he have been as creative without the fact that he was constantly jamming with them?
Anyhow, I certainly don't fall completely on the "Robertson is a complete asshole" camp, but I do wish he had dealt with this entire issue more from a moral standpoint than a legal one.
To answer my own questions:
1) Fantastic guitar player2) Even better song-writer, and it was his determination that his priority became "song over solo" that, in my opinion made him less of a guitar player. Nothing wrong with that.3) See my comments above. I don't think he's the devil, but he's no angel either.
― shorty (shorty), Tuesday, 2 May 2006 16:47 (twelve years ago) Permalink
Also, he's not a very good singer.
― Keith C (lync0), Tuesday, 2 May 2006 18:04 (twelve years ago) Permalink
no, of course not.
he transcribed robertson's guitar parts onto staff paper during the concert.
― Lawrence the Looter (Lawrence the Looter), Tuesday, 2 May 2006 18:18 (twelve years ago) Permalink
2) Didn't write a half-decent song after 1970 (well, maybe "Ophelia"), but when he was on there were few better.
3) Insufferable blowhard and glory-hound, but that doesn't make him a bad person. Although, remixing and overdubbing 'The Basement Tapes' *does* make him a bad person.
― Dan Heilman (The Deacon), Tuesday, 2 May 2006 18:24 (twelve years ago) Permalink
I don't agree that Clapton slays him, nor do I feel Robbie kicked his ass. Watching the difference in style between the two of them during "Further On Up The Road" in The Last Waltz is definitely one of my favourite performances of all time, and I fully appreciate how the very different styles of each came together in one song.
And you just have to love it when Clapton's strap came loose and Robbie picked up the solo! Classic...
― shorty (shorty), Tuesday, 2 May 2006 18:28 (twelve years ago) Permalink
2) He wrote about 3 full albums of an incredible songs. 1/2 of "Music From Big Pink, the whole "S/T", a few good songs per album here on out. Though i do think "Northern Lights, Southern Cross" is horribly underrated. It is easily the Band's third best recorded album, a return to form. It actually sounds like the band instead of the individual vocal efforts that started with "Stage Fright".
So in short, i would say he is a better song writer than guitar player. So many amazing, memorable and meaningful songs. Classics in the cannon of Americana "the weight", "the night they drove old dixie down", "Up On Cripple Creek" and more.
I am biased though, i care far more about song writing than virtuous musicianship.
There is so much talk about Robbie taking credit for songs he didn't write, but i think its largely untrue. i haven't read Levon's book (though i would love to), but i hear most of the controversy stems from comments he wrote in it. but if you listen to the difference between the first, more collaborative album, and the S/T album where Robbie wrote most of it, the difference is night and day. You can see Robbie's talent with song's like "the weight" on the first album vs his band mates' efforts. Not to mention that the 2nd album is such a cohesive work in terms of song writing. I truly believe that he wrote all the words and the basic song structures/chord progressions for most of the songs he is credited to have written.
The problem, i think, is the system of royalties with the mechanical royalties and song publishing royalties. so much of the band's appeal was the whole band, not just the song-writing; everyone's unique voices and musical talents coming together to create a unique sound. by the book, i think robbie was in the right in terms of the way songs were credited, but it was probably wrong in spirit to give himself sole credit given the way royalties are paid. i have never seen the publishing break downs song by song, does anyone know if this is published anywhere? at the time though no one knew where the band was headed. they were all rich with album sales and touring, no one could foresee the way they would breakup or the way the songs would linger in the hearts and minds of people for decades.
there is no doubt that the band members contributed in countless ways to every single recorded band song and they should have probably gotten some publishing credit in one way or another.
3) everything i have seen or read about the guy makes me sad, but i have never met him so i should withhold a value judgement. probably the most damaging thing i have read is in "chronicles vol. 1" when bobby is talking about how even Robbie did not understand him as a musician or song-writter. god, if there was ONE person who could at that period you would it think it would have been robbie....
― lawrencerock, Wednesday, 3 May 2006 21:40 (twelve years ago) Permalink
You left out:4) Singer
― Edward Bax (EdBax), Wednesday, 3 May 2006 22:06 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― shorty (shorty), Thursday, 4 May 2006 02:22 (twelve years ago) Permalink
2) i know too little to distinguish between his or any other Band mates' songs, but i do know i prefer dylan's songs on the basement tapes, for what that's worth.
3) big time points for being half mohawk, but he did do tv ads for the GAP
― ath (ath), Thursday, 4 May 2006 03:32 (twelve years ago) Permalink
Next to Levon and Richard, anyone would look like a thin and un-emotive singer. i mean damn, their voices are so rich. even rick, i think, pales in comparison.
so robby may have had the fourth best voice in the group, i actually quite like the ONE song he sings on "Music From Big Pink", TO KINGDOM COME.
― lawrencerock, Thursday, 4 May 2006 13:04 (twelve years ago) Permalink
But, until you see this video:
you haven't lived. O boy!
― natecavalieri (phonetagged), Thursday, 4 May 2006 15:51 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― natecavalieri (phonetagged), Thursday, 4 May 2006 15:53 (twelve years ago) Permalink
There is a disc floating about of one of Manuel's last gigs before taking his life. It's a tough, sad listen. Manuel ain't in good shape but at the same time, there are a few incredible performances. I forget the name of the disc though.
― QuantumNoise (Justin Farrar), Thursday, 4 May 2006 15:59 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― shookout (shookout), Thursday, 4 May 2006 15:59 (twelve years ago) Permalink
I know I'm just a sentimental, middle-aged fan, but it pains me to watch the part in The Last Waltz when Levon is doing the interview with Scorsese and Robbie's at the table.. Levon has a butt hanging out of his mouth and sparks up a match, talks a bunch, then lights Robbie's cigarette, talks some more, then finally lights his up, just before his fingers would start to burn. They still seem like buddies at that point, and I just wish it was still the same today.
I'm sure it would help if Robbie would see fit to part with some of his %100 take on the writing credits, but nevertheless.
― shorty (shorty), Thursday, 4 May 2006 20:40 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― QuantumNoise (Justin Farrar), Thursday, 4 May 2006 20:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― shorty (shorty), Thursday, 4 May 2006 20:54 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― QuantumNoise (Justin Farrar), Thursday, 4 May 2006 20:58 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Thursday, 4 May 2006 21:13 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― shorty (shorty), Thursday, 4 May 2006 21:20 (twelve years ago) Permalink
Levon and Robbie were the perfect singer meets songwriter match. can you imagine someone else trying to sing "the night they drove old dixie down"? it would sound like a bad middle school history report. levon actually sounds like a freakin' confederate soldier, i mean he was the only member of the band to hail from the US let alone the south.
it was a special bond. levon probably should have made more money, but i am guessing if he had managed his money a bit better he would be a wealthy man today regardless of the publishing.
― lawrencerock, Thursday, 4 May 2006 21:56 (twelve years ago) Permalink
has anyone read robbie's book?
― new noise, Sunday, 15 January 2017 02:25 (two years ago) Permalink
I read the first few chapters which were actually pretty good.
― Moog and Stan (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 15 January 2017 02:52 (two years ago) Permalink
I have. by far the biggest flaw is that it concludes after the Last Waltz. anyone who cares to know about him is familiar with his doings up to that point. The true points of interest are the past 40 fucken years…friendship with Scosese, acts in Carny, whatever constitutes music consulting for S's films, the end of his marriage with his quebecoise wife (who he praises in the book), the solo albums (the first one contains the song from which the book takes its name) that do not seem to have ever prompted reassessment, his response to the levon's accusations (he does this passive-aggressively in this book), being a Los angeles smoothie, not playing live but for a handful of times in 40 years, etc etc… as it is, he spins the same yarns he's always preferred to proffer.
― veronica moser, Sunday, 15 January 2017 14:44 (two years ago) Permalink
the solo albums (the first one contains the song from which the book takes its name) that do not seem to have ever prompted reassessment,
― morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 13 February 2018 02:45 (eleven months ago) Permalink
You did it again. Kudos
― Psmith, Pharmacist (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 13 February 2018 02:55 (eleven months ago) Permalink
This is the rare example of an album I've only ever put on for every reason but the singer and songwriter.
― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 13 February 2018 12:37 (eleven months ago) Permalink
so why do you play it?
― morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 13 February 2018 12:57 (eleven months ago) Permalink
I like the session dudes. For example, the song you picked is not a good song, but the drum part (by Manu Katche) is cool on its own merits.
― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 13 February 2018 13:02 (eleven months ago) Permalink
Two of the tracks have the weird proggy rhythm section of Tony Levin and Terry Bozzio (!)
Something I'm not sure of, but I think RR started working with Lanois *before* Joshua Tree or So came out, which is an interesting dynamic, especially since there was that trend jumping vibe to this record's release.
― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 13 February 2018 13:05 (eleven months ago) Permalink