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Thursday, April 19, 2012

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Tank

I always thought the Band was a nice, easy listening, kind of group, but somewhat overrated. This was confirmed for me when I rented The Last Waltz recently from Netflix, and saw if for the first time.

The movie was pretty good, I thought, and the music about what I remembered. Then, near the end, Clapton comes on with them to play a song, and suddenly the music rises to a higher level with his contributions. Really, his song is the only kick-ass part of the movie.

Of course, Clapton at his best could make a lot of bands look smaller, but I think the Band were a whole level down from the first tier groups.

Hey JNHO. I'm sure lots of others disagree.

Shouting Thomas

That's an interesting comment, Tank, that you can look at in a lot of ways.

The Band was the dream band of the East Coast 60s hippie. If you read the NYT review, you'll notice the word "communal" slips in somehow. The Band tried very hard to pass the lead vocals around, and to maintain the notion that everybody was equal.

That was blown to hell by "The Last Waltz," which Levon felt focused on Robbie Robertson. This led to the demise. To that point, The Band members felt that even the song writing had been communal. Robertson had done the paperwork to blunt that argument.

The hippie dream of the communal band promptly went up in flames, with everybody hiring lawyers and heading for the barricades.

The notion that The Band was Woodstock's communal band was reinforced by their gigs at the local club, the Joyous Lake. After the first set, the show became something between a Hootenanny and a jam session, with every musician in town getting to sit in for a song or two, including me.

So, if you see what I mean, what you cite as The Band's weakness was precisely what it's followers saw as its strength.

Tank

God, I wish I had been there in Woodstook at that time, participating or just listening.

Damn.

Love that shit.

Mike

I was privileged to have worked (doing stage monitors) with a lot of great musicians. Rick and Levon were both a pleasure to listen to, as well as work with. RIP

Mitchell Langbert

I love The Band. I just watched the documentary "The Band" on Netflix and learned a lot. The documentary spends a good amount of time on Levon Helm as well as the other members. Their blend of blues, country, bluegrass, and rock was unique. Experimental artists are rare in our world. They transcended the commercial in creating an American sound.

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