With Levon Helm sidelined by an undisclosed medical procedure, his web site has announced that Donald Fagen of Steely Dan will be a special guest at previously scheduled Midnight Rambles on February 11, 18 and 25.
Helm, the Grammy-winning co-founding member of the Band, is expected to be out at least a month. He suffered through a bout with throat cancer in the late 1990s, though it remains unclear if this new procedure is because of a related issue.
Helm will appear at Midnight Rambles — loose-knit performances held at his home and studio, “the Barn,” in Woodstock, New York — already scheduled for Jan. 21 and 28 and Feb. 4, then resume touring in March. Fagen has been a previous guest at these Rambles, and has appeared with the Helm band elsewhere, as well.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Levon Helm. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
LEVON HELM – RAMBLE AT THE RYMAN (2011): We’re reminded again here that Levon Helm was the loamy voiced, rail-jumping rhythmic center point of the Band, its yearning storyteller and gritty soul. Their records were drawn from continuity, bringing in dizzyingly diverse, age-old influences and performed in a chorus as if by brothers. That has always made a treasure hunt out of selecting any individual triumph on their old records. Not here, as this Ramble becomes a showcase for Helm. It’s also an important reminder: The Band’s principal songwriting credits may have gone to Robbie Robertson, but they were then — and are here, again — often completely inhabited by Helm’s carnal Arkansas drawl.
LEVON HELM – ELECTRIC DIRT (2009): Nothing drove old Levon Helm down. Not the messy dissolution of his group, The Band; the perhaps inevitable subsequent financial ruin; a terrifying bout with throat cancer; a pair of shatteringly tragic deaths within his inner circle; or a yawning quarter century span between solo records that made him all but obscure in modern musical circles. There is, of course, a dark and deep sense of loss — this candid accounting of, and quiet mourning for, the old times, the old ways, the old friends that fans of some of The Band’s best-known Helm-sung tunes (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “The Weight,” and “Up on Cripple Creek”) will recognize. But Helm sings with the bone-deep confidence of someone who has eyeballed our biggest fears and lived to tell the tale.
[amazon_enhanced asin=”B004S699I6″ price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000G73U5Y” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001EVLS6O” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B005804N4Q” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B0026HYTG6″ price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]
Latest posts by Something Else! (see all)
- Steve Cropper still possesses an impromptu kind of genius: ‘That’s the way we did it’ - June 27, 2015
- John Belushi’s death almost ended Steve Cropper’s career: ‘Man, that’s it; I’ve had it’ - June 20, 2015
- The conflicted history of Sammy Hagar’s Van Halen smash “Right Now”: ‘It shows you what I know’ - June 19, 2015