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Jaden 01-17-2019 09:54 PM

The Band
 
Browsing in the record store today I came across “Music from Big Pink”. Interesting cover art, no track listing on the outside cover, double LP but plays at 45 RPM(!) reissue I assume for higher fidelity.

Growing up in the 1970s, the album “Bob Dylan and the Band: The Basement Tapes” sessions from the same year, 1967*, but released in 1975, I had on the turntable often, but I’ve never really understood The Band or read the book(s).

Anyone care to shed some light on this group?

Thanks in advance


* incorrect: _Music from Big Pink_ was recorded in early 1968

Acousticado 01-17-2019 10:01 PM

You’ll find most of what you’d like to know here. A fantastic Canadian-American roots band that started as The Hawks backing Rockin’ Ronnie Hawkins.

Jaden 01-17-2019 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acousticado (Post 5951865)
You’ll find most of what you’d like to know here. A fantastic Canadian-American roots band that started as The Hawks backing Rockin’ Ronnie Hawkins.

Thanks. Funny, I was just reading through that when you posted!

Bax Burgess 01-17-2019 10:15 PM

I think Robbie Robertson was the dominant songwriter. In the wake of The Band, his self titled solo album was dreamily produced by Daniel Lanois, the combination a lush representation of Robertson's talents.

Birdbrain 01-17-2019 10:36 PM

The Band! Don't get me started...
 
Infamous already for long-winded posts, I'll try to be brief: simply the most original and soulful ensemble to come out of its era. Combine three excellent vocalists in rowdy, loose harmony, driven by fretless bass and barrelhouse piano, planted in Levon's laid-back beat, and spiced up with Robbie's stinging guitar and Garth's rollicking, unpredictable organ fantasies. All with lyrics that evoke "the old, weird America" - as coined by Greil Marcus, who wrote one of the best books on The Band. Great writers are drawn by great writing, and so The Band has inspired many full-length books, including Robbie Robertson's memoir, a response to Levon Helm's memoir. The Band's universe is a deep and rich well.

Your next stop should be http://theband.hiof.no, where full lyrics are posted along with interviews, essays,and etcetera.

The Band's songs never seem dated to me, unlike contemporaries such as Jefferson Airplane. And they're great fun to play and sing, so that's the best way to get into the music.

Jaden 01-17-2019 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Birdbrain (Post 5951888)
Infamous already for long-winded posts, I'll try to be brief: simply the most original and soulful ensemble to come out of its era. Combine three excellent vocalists in rowdy, loose harmony, driven by fretless bass and barrelhouse piano, planted in Levon's laid-back beat, and spiced up with Robbie's stinging guitar and Garth's rollicking, unpredictable organ fantasies. All with lyrics that evoke "the old, weird America" - as coined by Greil Marcus, who wrote one of the best books on The Band. Great writers are drawn by great writing, and so The Band has inspired many full-length books, including Robbie Robertson's memoir, a response to Levon Helm's memoir. The Band's universe is a deep and rich well.

Your next stop should be http://theband.hiof.no, where full lyrics are posted along with interviews, essays,and etcetera.

The Band's songs never seem dated to me, unlike contemporaries such as Jefferson Airplane. And they're great fun to play and sing, so that's the best way to get into the music.

Awesome. There’s whole generations that missed out on this group. I look forward to reading nice long posts if you have more you’d like to share, especially in light of those books written by band members (and controversy surrounding song writing credits.) I noticed Helm’s in the bookstore this week.

Wadcutter 01-17-2019 11:28 PM

“Record store?” What’s that? 😂

Jaden 01-17-2019 11:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wadcutter (Post 5951913)
“Record store?” What’s that? 😂

I know what you mean. In one of the most bizzare side effects of technology, almost all record stores disappeared years ago in my area which compromises about 200,000 people in the general area because somehow downloading mp3 online is supposed to fill the gap?


????

raysachs 01-17-2019 11:37 PM

In the summer of 1975, I was living in a tent in the middle of nowhere, West Virginia, helping my brother build a cabin on a 15 acre piece of land he owned. I was 16, he was 28, and he’d always been a hero to me before that summer. We’re really close to this day, but by the end of that summer, I couldn’t stand him. He also had almost no musical taste that I could relate to. We had one little portable cassette player and a bunch of his tapes that I found basically unlistenable. The exception was one tape with the first CSN album on one side and The Band, by The Band on the other. No Stones, no Hendrix, no Clapton, just CSN and the Band.

I wore that tape out that summer. I already liked CSN well enough going into that summer, but I came out of it madly in love with the music of the Band, a love affair that continues to this day. A year and a half later they played their last concert at Winterland (go find the movie, The Last Waltz), a show I almost managed to be at. They made absolutely timeless American music, kind or rockin, kind of funky, kind of hillbilly. Brilliantly written, performed, recorded, their first two albums are among the greatest albums of the rock era. Music From Big Pink was the first, The Band was the second. They made a few good ones after that, but none that ever came close to those first two IMHO. Three of the five of them are gone now - I missed them in their original configuration, but I saw each of them in various arrangements over the years. All of them were great players, three of them were great singers too. Well worth going back and spending some time with...

My brother and I still have almost no musical taste in common, but I’ll always be grateful to him for turning me onto The Band. That cabin is still there, somewhat added onto over the years - we’ve had some great large family Thanksgivings there over the years...

-Ray

M19 01-17-2019 11:46 PM

Stage Fright has always been my favorite. Still in periodic rotation.

seannx 01-18-2019 12:56 AM

Excellent group and great musicians. Watch Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz" (it's on Amazon), and also in segments on YouTube. More info here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Waltz

Birdbrain 01-18-2019 02:01 AM

A great live band
 
Check the films- playing live, these guys really nailed it to the wall! The rhythm section was off-beat and in the pocket, at the same time.

The Band was the American Beatles. Both groups spent almost a decade on the roadhouse circuit, sharpening their axes. Both sang of characters acting out mystery plays in an invented landscape. While George Martin enhanced the Beatles recordings with strings and effects, Garth Hudson's organ painted backdrops of circus and sea, whimsies of harmony from an underappreciated wizard of the keyboard.

After The Last Waltz/rooftop concert, both bands took a break from the road, agreeing to reunite for recordings. With both, it never happened. John was distanced from his fellow Fabs by Yoko, and heroin. Going by "Testimony," Robbie's book, the heroin was enough.

Birdbrain 01-18-2019 02:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaden (Post 5951923)
I know what you mean. In one of the most bizzare side effects of technology, almost all record stores disappeared years ago in my area which compromises about 200,000 people in the general area because somehow downloading mp3 online is supposed to fill the gap?


????

Good news- There's a record store in Denver that will sell you a boxed set of albums and booklets, etc, for around 150 bucks. All audiophile-quality. 180 gram virgin vinyl, of course. If you want to be old-school about it.

Silly Moustache 01-18-2019 04:58 AM

One of my favourite bands - curious, eccentric and great.
I believe that follow Limey called Eric Clapton (known locally as Earache Clappedout) went over to "hang out" and asked to join them. Of course with Robbie Robertson - they didn't need him.

Birdbrain 01-18-2019 09:33 AM

Clapton connection
 
Clapton acknowledged that hearing The Band was the last straw prompting him to leave Cream. Instead of a battling feud on stage, they seemed to him to be a band of partners. The closest Eric got to that ideal was the Delaney and Bonnie group.

raysachs 01-18-2019 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Birdbrain (Post 5952209)
Clapton acknowledged that hearing The Band was the last straw prompting him to leave Cream. Instead of a battling feud on stage, they seemed to him to be a band of partners. The closest Eric got to that ideal was the Delaney and Bonnie group.

Of course, they eventually became a “battling feud” offstage, and that prevented any reunions from happening. I guess they stopped before it really infected their on-stage performances. They were pros - they’d been playing together since their teens. They were tight, they were loose, they were ALL that...

-Ray

Jaden 01-18-2019 11:10 AM

I didn’t purchase that double vinyl 45rpm newish release of Music from Big Pink because with my fishing line and rubber band fully manual Ortofon loaded turntable it would mean having to switch the belt on the spool, but I’ll probably go back and purchase it.

I appreciated the easy flowing give and take between musicians on The Basement Tapes - that kind of egalitarianism makes for great results when everyone is listening to each other.

reeve21 01-18-2019 11:20 AM

I've been listening to them for 40 years, and they still sound fresh.

Levon Helm is my favorite, but they could all bring it.

I agree with the idea that there are parallels with the Beatles. Their influence continues to this day in what is now called Americana.

architype 01-18-2019 11:32 AM

I recommend Levon Helms' book, "This Wheels' on Fire". It is a great read and chronicles the history of the Band from it's inception to the break up.

Also Levon had a bit of an acting career. Check him out as Loretta Lynn's father in "Coal Miner's Daughter". He does a pretty good job. He has been in a few other movies too.


Levon also hosted his "Midnight Ramble" jam sessions with lots of well know musicians. There are some performances on youtube.

Edgar Poe 01-18-2019 11:39 AM

Levon played Ridley in The Right Stuff.
Check You Tube for The Band, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
Powerful song.

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

Ed

VTexan 01-18-2019 11:45 AM

Eric Clapton's The Band Hall of Fame induction
 
Listen to Clapton lamenting not being IN The Band. He quit Cream to try and join the band.

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

mr. beaumont 01-18-2019 11:48 AM

Agreed on all points of their music still sounding "fresh." And at the same time, it sounds older than it is too, if that makes any sense.

Fantastic stuff...a "band" well worth digging in to.

KarenB 01-18-2019 11:59 AM

There is a terrific 6 part documentary on the band on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JI7C...gVynN2MNchz1v-

This is part 4. Find part 1 and watch. You may not be able to find all the parts. If not, watch videos of them from the early 70's.
I played the album "Big Pink" incessently for about a year or two. Fine songwriting, intriguing lyrics. They really were a "band." There wasn't "a star." They were equals. At least that's what I heard. The album is "real" not "produced." It's music from the heart and soul that connects to a different time. Even a different time from when it was recorded. It's evocative and down to earth. It's mysterious and accessible.

The movie "The last Waltz" captures just a tiny sliver of the magic that was there in an earlier time of the Band's existence. The balance is shifted in the movie. It's produced. The "realness" has been replaced. But some of the magic remains, especially for those who knew the Band in earlier times.

Nyghthawk 01-18-2019 02:03 PM

When playing on the unit where I work or at the assisted living/memory care home where my MIL lives I introduce "The Weight" as the song everyone knows but no one remembers the song title or the name of The Band. Invariably someone is singing along or mouthing the chorus with me.

They had a BUNCH of really great material. :D

J Patrick 01-18-2019 02:15 PM

...love love love The Band....I”m still listening to and learning their stuff...I put together a ragtime version of Ophelia last summer...Levon’s last two records are both fantastic...check em out if you haven’t done so...

Rodger Knox 01-18-2019 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Edgar Poe (Post 5952363)
Levon played Ridley in The Right Stuff.
Check You Tube for The Band, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
Powerful song.

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

Ed

He also played Gen Jeb Stuart In the Electric Mist.

KarenB 01-18-2019 02:52 PM

Originally Posted by Edgar Poe View Post
Levon played Ridley in The Right Stuff.
Check You Tube for The Band, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
Powerful song.

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

Ed
He also played Gen Jeb Stuart In the Electric Mist.


And he made his acting debut in the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter." He played Loretta Lynn's father.

Levon's wake was open to the public and so many people, including myself, paid our respects to Levon. He gave so much to our town. He played many benefits and did many acts kindness. He was well loved. The main road into Woodstock is named after him: "Levon Helm Boulevard."
__________________

Acousticado 01-18-2019 03:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Birdbrain (Post 5951974)
Check the films- playing live, these guys really nailed it to the wall! The rhythm section was off-beat and in the pocket, at the same time.

The Band was the American Beatles. Both groups spent almost a decade on the roadhouse circuit, sharpening their axes. Both sang of characters acting out mystery plays in an invented landscape. While George Martin enhanced the Beatles recordings with strings and effects, Garth Hudson's organ painted backdrops of circus and sea, whimsies of harmony from an underappreciated wizard of the keyboard.

After The Last Waltz/rooftop concert, both bands took a break from the road, agreeing to reunite for recordings. With both, it never happened. John was distanced from his fellow Fabs by Yoko, and heroin. Going by "Testimony," Robbie's book, the heroin was enough.

In the interest of accuracy...

America may claim The Band as their own, and although it’s true that they sure were able to capture “Americana” in stories and music, all but American (Ark) Levon Helm actually hailed from southwestern Ontario, Canada. So, with an 80% Canadian contingent, if there’s a comparison to the Beatles, it can be argued they were the Canadian Beatles.:D

The boys knew what it would take to make it to the big time and in those days, to write about Canadiana wasn’t going to get it done. Canada’s The Guess Who knew that (think “American Woman”) as did Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and many other notable Canadian artists. The first pretty successful Canadian band to not give-in to predominant American references in music was The Tragically Hip, who for so many Canadians was refreshing to see ourselves and places mirrored to us...finally (exception, “New Orleans Is Sinking”). Not that we don’t love all of our “American” mega stars.;) You can have Céline Dion though.;);)

Bob Womack 01-18-2019 03:52 PM

To one and all: You will be forgiven by at least one (me) if you don't "get" The Band at all. Another band that I tried awfully to "get" for years on end and failed miserably. Loose rhythm section, quirky tones on all the instruments, definitely quirky vocals. Special taste. Never made it through the movie, either. Sorry.

Bob

Haasome 01-18-2019 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nyghthawk (Post 5952500)
When playing on the unit where I work or at the assisted living/memory care home where my MIL lives I introduce "The Weight" as the song everyone knows but no one remembers the song title or the name of The Band. Invariably someone is singing along or mouthing the chorus with me.

They had a BUNCH of really great material. :D

Great music indeed. The weight is one of those songs I keep on playing. It’s a great jam song. We’ve done all kinds of ungodly things to that tune.


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