Levon Helm RIP
The Band lost its last singer this week. Levon left us and joined band members and fellow lead singers Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. Lucky for us, they have left us music for the ages.
Laying down last night, Mary’s out with friends and I’m on the couch burning up You Tube. TV muted, Bruins playing the Capitals and I am “Listening to Levon”…A treasure of musical memories coming floating in.
The Band are setting scenes, painting pictures and making movies. Thoroughly interesting and sometimes dangerous characters, organic, acoustic and electric Rock n Roll, Blues, Country, Folk, Waltz, Sea Shanty…It’s like eating the best music sandwich you ever had.
You know the familiar tunes; Up On Cripple Creek, The Weight, Night They Drove Old Dixie Dow, Stage Fright, The Shape I’m In..Dig deeper; Rocking Chair, King Harvest, The Rumor, It Makes no Difference
And deeper; Daniel and the Sacred Harp, Life is a Carnival, Unfaithful Servant
And listen to their splendid CD of Covers; Moondog Matinee. The Band’s personal favorites; A Change is Gonna Come, The Great Pretender, Mystery Train…
Imagine: Five band members mixing it up. Cooking and delivering the goods over an over.
God! It sounds so good.
A brilliant songwriter/guitarist (and not a singer).
An organ player: Quiet and reserved. A multi-instrument music professor.
And THREE distinct lead singers that harmonize to perfection.
Levon playing drums extraordinaire and fiddle and accordion.
Richard playing piano and drums.
Rick plays beyond belief bass. And fiddle.
Four Canadians and Levon Helm. As American as American roots music can sound.
The Band’s music was not hot sunny days, strolls on the beach or living in the city.
The Band’s music was more like a walk in the woods on a cloudy or even drizzling day.
Maybe Upstate NY. Smelling the neighbor’s fireplace. Feeling the fall breeze on your face. Listening to a bubbling stream, “Whispering Pines.”
No pop, no politics and no Facebook here.
Just feels just like your favorite jeans, flannel shirt, comfort food, red wine and a warm fire.