Coming as it did during a fallow creative period for the Band, the covers-focused Moondog Matinee could be fairly seen as a placekeeper album — an aperitif before the next statement of purpose. But it wasn’t without its moments of creative and emotional spark
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‘All of it blended together’: Garth Hudson remembers the Band’s beginnings ahead of London Music Hall of Fame induction
Garth Hudson receives a rare moment of individual recognition this weekend, as the endlessly inventive co-founding multi-instrumentalist in the Band is inducted this weekend into the London Music Hall of Fame.
There could have been no more perfect moment for Emmylou Harris’ timelessly lonesome sound to intertwine with Rick Danko’s and Levon Helm’s, as the Band relays the horror of a riverboat settling to the bottom of Big Muddy.
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.
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.
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.”
That this song, a legendary outtake from Bob Dylan’s 1983 album Infidels, heralded the Band’s long-hoped-for return to the studio was fitting.
This absurdly fun street parade of song finds Levon Helm winking and growling through a darkly humorous lyric about the galvanizing rule of Huey Long in Depression-era Louisiana.
‘They hear it and it’s perfect’: Warren Haynes says the Band played key role in shaping new Gov’t Mule album
Warren Haynes learned a lot about one of his fellow performers at Love for Levon, the concert celebration of the life and music of the Band’s Levon Helm.
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.