Post Tagged with: "Richard Manuel"

Across the Great Divide: Remembering Richard Manuel (1943-1986)

Across the Great Divide: Remembering Richard Manuel (1943-1986)

For a brief moment, as the Band’s career officially got underway on 1968′s Music from Big Pink, Richard Manuel held the spotlight completely. “Tears of Rage” was enough to convince anyone of his anguished genius.

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “4% Pantomime” from Cahoots (1971)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “4% Pantomime” from Cahoots (1971)

On an album that so often feels overcooked and too careful, the sloshy, gospel-gone-wrong of “4% Pantomime” lets it all hang down. That kind of loose camaraderie from the Band, so natural at first but by this point becoming an ever-more-rare occasion, was sorely missing elsewhere on 1971′s Cahoots.

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Get Up Jake” from Rock of Ages (1972)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Get Up Jake” from Rock of Ages (1972)

Chasing down “Get Up Jake,” this dollop of hilarious country funk that outlines a crew’s failed attempts to rouse a boozy womanizing deckhand, is every bit as difficult as divining the concrete narrative on knotty fables like “The Weight.”

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “The Rumor” from Stage Fright (1970)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “The Rumor” from Stage Fright (1970)

An album that underscored their growing individualization ends with one last blazing reminder of the way the Band’s voices once intertwined, the way their music provided a transportive solace, the way they once were — and sadly, it seems, never were again.

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Daniel and the Sacred Harp” from Stage Fright (1970)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Daniel and the Sacred Harp” from Stage Fright (1970)

After a series of twilit ruminations, and very dire warnings, about the Band’s new rock-star lifestyle late into Stage Fright, perhaps this utterly scarifying parable was all but inevitable.

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” from Stage Fright (1970)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” from Stage Fright (1970)

On its surface, this appears to be another of the Band’s searcher tales and, taken as only that, it’s easy to see why some may have been disappointed. The setting of an old-fashioned medicine show feels, at first, a little too on the nose

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “The Shape I’m In” from Stage Fright (1970)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “The Shape I’m In” from Stage Fright (1970)

“The Shape I’m In,” despite its galloping cadence, finds the Band’s Robbie Robertson desperately attempting to reach out to the badly faltering Richard Manuel.

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Just Another Whistle Stop” from Stage Fright (1970)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Just Another Whistle Stop” from Stage Fright (1970)

A song of dimly lit, strange salvation, “Just Another Whistle Stop” is a gem worth digging up for those who rarely get past the Band’s first two albums.

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Sleeping” from Stage Fright (1970)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Sleeping” from Stage Fright (1970)

Richard Manuel’s greatest triumph on Stage Fright, and one of his last signature moments of creativity, arrives with “Sleeping” — as does the growing sense that this is a Band album like no other

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “King Harvest” from The Band (1969)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “King Harvest” from The Band (1969)

“King Harvest,” the unforgettably sad tale of a besieged farmer, begins not with a scene-setting declaration, but with a quiet sense of forboding — one that returns for its out-of-time chorus