A great musician, and by every account I've ever read, a wonderful person. His Rambles will be missed.
Demented and sad, but social, right?
A true legend, he will be missed.
Eat Mor Jonny.
Dan Collins, the sports writer from the Winston-Salem Journal, is at heart a musician and he has a touching take on Helm's passing -- including a wonderful clip of the Band doing "The Weight", maybe it's greatest song:
Dan eulogizes Helms better than I ever could ... and his 4-minute clip is worth watching.
Great clip, Oly.
I've been thinking about those many years ago when my new hippie-southern boyfriend introduced this Motown girl to The Band.
That long-haired, barefoot Duke senior is now my gray-haired husband but he still blasts "The Weight" from the barn when he's tinkering with the lawnmower.
Don't want to see this thread drop so quickly.
Great eulogy by Charles Pierce at Esquire: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politic...merica-8173059
I'm one who's grown to appreciate both The Band and Helm much more in my adult years. For the first 20+ years of my life (which didn't include the '60's or early '70's), I knew The Band as Dylan's backing band when he famously went electric, and that they had a few big hits like "The Weight" and "Up On Cripple Creek." But since they were always, for some reason, considered sort of in the second or third circle in the Pantheon of great rock bands from that '60's and '70's classic rock era, it wasn't until the No Depression-led Americana Alt-Country resurgence in the mid-'90's that I ever really dug into their catalog. It's like discovering a case of first growth Bordeaux you never knew you had, buried under some stuff in the basement where it had been getting better with age and waiting to be enjoyed for the last two decades.
And, man, what a catalog it is. So many incredible songs: "When I Paint My Masterpiece," "King Harvest," "Ophelia," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Rag Mama Rag," "Life Is A Carnival," "It Makes No Difference." The were a phenomenal live band, as evidenced by their starring in probably the greatest concert film of all time, as well as Rock of Ages. The Band was occupying a space no one else was in, and, ironically, given that Helm was the only non-Canadian in the group, had as good of a feel for bringing various forms of American roots music and rock together as anyone before or since. They were more than proficient and conversant in seemingly every style and substyle of American music. They were capital "I" Important. EVERYONE played live and/or recorded with them or wanted to. Helm, obviously, was a huge part of that.
In addition, it is apparent from most everything ever written about or by him that Levon Helm was a one-of-a-kind, incredibly gifted, kind-hearted, uniquely American awesome human being. He served the music and lived to give, and to make other people happy. Witness the joy you sensed in every review of his comeback albums the last 5 years. People were universally so happy for him on a personal level, and said so.
Last week when his passing hit the news, I immediately put on my favorite Band song, "Acadian Driftwood" and listened to it three times in a row. It was written by Robertson, and Manuel and Danko traded off on lead vocals with him, but Helm, not surprisingly, supplied all the most memorable lines in the song. He's already greatly missed.
The Band's version of Ophelia is good, but a really wonderful version is the one off of Levon Helm and the RCO All Stars Live at the Palladium New Years Even 1977 album http://levonhelm.com/store/product5.html
I am pretty certain you can get it on itunes or Amazon. Any version of that song led by Levon, and featuring Dr. John on piano, Paul Butterfield on Harmonica, and Steve Cropper on guitar (among a host of other greats) is a sure bet.