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Thread: The Band

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    Default The Band

    I remember bringing home the Big Pink lp (borrowed) when it came out and thinking, "These guys are okay, but they have a peculiar way of playing that is kind of sloppy. And although this guy Helm fits in perfectly on the drums, his voice is TOO hillbilly for me." I did not know any details of their background, only that they were kinda hot at the time. "The Weight" was okay, "I Shall Be Released", "Long Black Veil" and "Chest Fever" were okay too.

    Somewhere down the road I bought the second album (the masterpiece) and brought it home for a listen. This album is different, and I like EVERY song but the ones Helm sings lead vocal on, and even those are okay to me as long as he's not singing. What didn't take a lot of serious listening to realize was, "The more I listen, this peculiarly sloppy way of playing is turning into just about the tightest damn band I ever heard." Of course, even though on their bad nights nobody was as tight as The Mothers, these guys made you proud to be an American. Until somebody filled you in and told you THEY weren't American. Which made the whole affair more incredible. Helm couldn't possibly have filled the other four in on everything about rural American life, and then said, "Okay, now that I filled you guys in, start writing very poignant songs from the I Was/Am There perspective."

    Hudson looked like a small bear to me. Danko acted like he'd be more fun to be around than anybody else on earth. Richard Manuel came off like a gruff mountain man, and then when he opened his mouth and that falsetto came out, wow.

    Yesterday I sat down for a couple hours and gave them a good overdue listen. "The Last Waltz" is especially worthwhile. Not only are they doing some of their own hits at the last show they will ever perform, but they are also doing what they did best for years before fame came. Being just about the best, tightest sidemen a star could ask for.

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    Holy crap. I never knew they were Canadian!! I have enjoyed The Band for quite some time now and would have never known this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rromeo923 View Post
    Holy crap. I never knew they were Canadian!! I have enjoyed The Band for quite some time now and would have never known this.
    Helm was from Arkansas. That's it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
    Helm was from Arkansas. That's it.
    That's why I have a hard time believing Robbie Robertson wrote all those songs by himself. Way too much americana for someone from Canada who never lived in the south to be able to create those images just from hanging out with someone from Arkansas.

    Like you I was a sort of a lukewarm fan when they first came out, but over the years I've come to really appreciate those guys. The rendition of "the Weight" with The Staple Singers (especially Mavis) from The Last Waltz is one of my all time favorite songs.

    Just saw the movie "Ain't In It For My Health", about several years of Levon's life towards the end. Very powerful, a great piece of film making with footage from the Rambles he used to hold at his "barn" in Woodstock. Two of his grammy winning albums, Electric Dirt and Dirt Farmer, are well worth owning.

    As a drummer I appreciate his amazing touch and feel, a true groove monster. I'd put him up there with Ringo in that regard.
    Last edited by drumminman; 07-29-2013 at 01:13 PM.
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    When Levon Helm passed on, they played an interview he did that detailed his Midnight Ramble Shows. It sounded interesting so I went out and purchased his show on DVD entitled Ramble at the Ryman. If you get time, check it out, it was entertaining very much in the way you chronicled. Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
    "Chest Fever" were okay too."
    I don't know George. Try the MFSL SACD (SACD layer) of "Chest Fever" and turn it to "11". I think you will be impressed sir. In other words, it'll kick your a$$, IMO.
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    The Band were so tight they sounded like their albums note for note. Say what you will about the in fighting w/ Robbie Roberstson and the other members but he is one of the most underated guitarists out there. They are all consumate pros and really a shame that the road they speak of so many times took Richard Manuel (suicide}Levon Helm {cancer},Rick Danko{just tuckered out.I did start somwhat of a debate on the Dead's Dozin site as why none of The GD were either seen or there at all.None were touring vey local and Bill Graham loved them.Yes The Last Waltz was about The Band but Jerry does their songs and w/ Dylan a natural musical match.Not any one has ever confimed either way whether they stayed away,were not invited or just hung in the background.

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    I think the Dead didn't show because they already had a non-musical act in the form of Neil Diamond.

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    I read that another point of contention between Levon and Robbie is that some of the musical guests in the Last Waltz were not chosen by the band, e.g. Neil Diamond. Gotta say though that I enjoyed the song he sang (Dry Your Eyes), and of course he couldn't have had a better backing band.

    Loved Van Morrison's performance too.

    Funny story: Robbie was not allowed to sing on the Band's studio material because they had three excellent singers with Manual being the best. For the Last Waltz, the camera often showed close ups of Robertson who appeared to be singing his ass off with neck veins bulging, etc. Levon said in interviews that his mic wasn't even turned on
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    What a pretentious band name....and George, don't even start. I know where you live.

    -m

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Grand View Post
    I think the Dead didn't show because they already had a non-musical act in the form of Neil Diamond.
    That's signature line material, right there, folks. And I say this as a fellow who enjoys the occasional Dead set...

    As to The Band, they always seemed... different to me. I like their music. Some of it, I like a lot (The Weight, Cripple Creek The Shape I'm In)... but they seem to be in a slightly different dimension than the one I inhabit; as if there is some back story or inside joke that they represent, but to which I am not privvy. I guess the same could be said for FZ and his numerous references to zircon-encrusted tweezers, poodles, dental floss, etc., etc. but Zappa was always a little less abstruse to me :-)
    all the best,
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    George that's brutal.W/The Dead you either liked them or not, clearly not a radio friendly band but on the right night they could put in place that is basically indescribable.and then the next night could be the most horrendous piece of crap ever ,that's why ther'es nothing like a Dead concert.They all ragged on about that one, well Robbie Robertson produced some of Neil Diamonds albums and they knew each other through the Brill Building the song writers shrine In N.Y.C..Clapton every had reason to be there NO Reson To Cry w/ the Band producing ,DR.John not sure but there is a New Orleans connection w/ the producer Allain Tousaint and the horn players.Ringo no,Ron Wood ok but no connection,Neil Young and Joni Mitchell both Canadiens as was Ronnie Hawkins.The fued that I started knowing how many big shows both the DEAD and The Band played they had to close friends. Great example fairly old concert flicTheFestival Train crossing Canada East to West w/ The Band The Dead ,Eric Anderson,Ian and Sylvia, Buddy Guy and Delaney and Bonnie Janis Joplin.What you saw was some amazing bonding between Rick Danko and Jerry.My last east coast concert was at Jersey City Stadium and there was The Band,The Allman Bros B.,The Grateful Dead.Then on to the big gig at Watkins Glenn upstate N.Y.I was not there.One other point the movie The Latz Waltz is nothing like the original in so many disturbing ways .Aibrushed out to death.

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    There's a really interesting novella written by John Niven, published by Continuum, called, "Music From Big Pink". It's a fictional story about a young drug dealer, named Greg Keitner, who wants to be a rock musician. This character weaves a behind-the-scenes tale about each band member and interacting with Dylan and Albert Grossman. Pretty good read.

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    Another backstory to The Last Waltz was that the bloated Albert Grossman was both Dylans' and The Bands manager. He wanted Dylan to do one song and one song only ,both BG and Martin Scorses viemetly objected which almost came to blows and won that argument and of course you have Dylan I think doing 2 and the grand finale.
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    This thread reminded me of another interesting footnote to rock history. Robbie Robertson was a protege of Roy Buchanan's and Roy taught him "that stinger thing" a guitar style started by Hubert Sumlin. In 1964 Robbie played guitar on John Hammond's second album, "So Many Roads" on this record Roberston plays that wild squealing Telecaster picking style given to him by Roy. Then in the summer of 1966 Jimi Hendrix met Hammond in Greenwich Village and they clicked and formed a band. Jimi told Hammond that he had been heavily influenced by the guitar playing on "So Many Roads". Another interesting fact is that both Garth Hudson and Levon Helm play on the Hammond album, making three members of the future group.
    Sumlin to Buchanan to Robertson to Hendrix to the next generations of players.
    Last edited by Kenneth Swauger; 07-30-2013 at 10:00 AM.

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    I always heard Roy Buchanan used a quarter for a pick, that's how he got that sound. Don't know if there's any truth to it, also heard ZZ Top's and Queen's guitarist also used a quarter for a pick. Roy Buchanan's Second Album is still one of my favorite albums of all time.

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    Most of Roy's "sound" came from his trademark 1953 Telecaster guitar he used as well as some old blues man's tricks with the guitar amp, such as heating the output tubes over a flame to get them "dirty" sounding. As far as picks, he mostly used his fingernails and finger picks. For a flat pick he wanted, "the smaller the pick, the better I can get around".
    I think it was that he learned to play guitar on a pedal steel that gave him the expressive technique he used so well, it sounds like a human voice wailing and crying.

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    Nice decent informative thread.All the way around and back to the begining.Good stuff....

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    Kenneth, thanks for the interesting stuff on Roy. I still remember the first time I heard his music, which happened to be when his Second Album came out, in a stereo shop, I couldn't believe that "sound."

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    Is the second Buchanan album the one with "Haunted House" and another called "Dream Time" or something like that?

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    They also play on Bobby Charles' self-titled record, which is amazing.

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    Thanks for that link, Charles is on the three record "Last Waltz" set, but only appears briefly in the movie version. I may have learned to dance (somewhat) on "Walking to New Orleans" even a clumsy kid could feel the beat on that song.

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    Kenneth, I think the one with Haunted House is what I always referred to as his first album, I think its just called Roy Buchanan. The Second Album has an orange and yellow cover and has songs like, Tribute To Elmore James, Five String Blues, Filthy Teddy. The first album is good, the second album is stellar, IMHO.

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    I need more sleep, my last reply was in response to George's question in post #20. I got the second album on vinyl when it came out, but I heard the vinyl is hard to come by now. I think I have it on cd also, and if so I could loan the cd to you if you want a listen.

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    That explains everything. If you want to call me Kenneth, that's okay, but you have to ask me what the frequencies are right afterward. I like that.

    I'm good Don, I just wanted to know if the one I had was the one you guys were talking about and I guess it wasn't. "Haunted House" was a definite but that "Dream Time" may well have been a cover of Sleepwalk for what my powers of recall are worth.

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    Great information here guys - thanks for your insights.
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    Only saw The Band live once, but what a show. At Watkins Glen in the summer of 1973, along with the Allman Bros and The Grateful Dead.

    Have look at the photos by clicking on the left hand column:

    http://www.glenphotos.com/summerjam/index.html

    We were directly in front of the stage about 150 yards back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drumminman View Post
    Only saw The Band live once, but what a show. At Watkins Glen in the summer of 1973, along with the Allman Bros and The Grateful Dead.

    Have look at the photos by clicking on the left hand column:

    http://www.glenphotos.com/summerjam/index.html

    We were directly in front of the stage about 150 yards back.
    Are you the chick?

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    We were driving my buddy's '66 Impala and when we got within 5-6 miles of the track everybody was leaving their car on the side of the road and walking. We kept going and picking up hitchhikers, to the tune of 25 on and in the car! It's a wonder the suspension/tires didn't collapse

    Hadn't thought much about WG till this thread. Got back and started my senior year of college - those were the days!
    Last edited by drumminman; 08-01-2013 at 07:44 AM.
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    I heard a story about Garth Hudson's parents not approving of him being in The Band. He had told them he was giving music lessons to the mates and that is why he was always around them. He was probably one of the most versatile musicians in the band.
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