Thread: The Band
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Old 01-19-2019, 11:53 AM
Birdbrain Birdbrain is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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Default Don't forget Richard Manuel...

While Robbie wrote most all the big songs that we all remember, it's worth noting that he wasn't the only writer in the group. Rock Danko contributed a few good ones, including a soulful heart-wrencher, "It Makes No Difference." But the tunes from pianist Richard Manual, while few in number, are all small masterpieces.

-- "Whispering Pines," a sweet ode to pine trees waiting for the rain and foghorns in the night, reminding me more of Seattle than the South. Like a more wistful "Dock of the Bay," it features some of The Band's sweetest, most polished harmony singing.

--"Katie's Been Gone," never released on the original albums, but available on bootlegs and compilations, begins as a note to a distant lover, who as he writes, realizes that she's really gone.

--"Unfaithful Servant" recounts a Southern Gothic scene of shame and banishment, over a betrayal that is all the more powerful for never being described.

--"The Rumor," a parallel tale of shame over an unspoken slander. This one seems more relevant in today's social media world: "For whether this rumor/ proves true or false/ you can forgive, or you can regret/ but you can never, never forget."

Pick out some of these songs and experience them in isolation, and you'll see the emotional depth and literary talents of this quiet man who, in good voice, was called "the white Ray Charles." It's a pity that Richard couldn't stay off the bottle and write more of these. He might now be regarded as the true genius of The Band.
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