Yesterday I posted a blog post about Music From Big Pink by The Band. As many know the front cover of that album was painted by Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan hung out with The Band in 1967 while he recovered from his motorcycle accident in Woodstock, New York.
“Big Pink” is a pink house in West Saugerties, New York. The house was newly built when Rick Danko, who was collaborating with Bob Dylan at the time, found it as a rental. In February 1967, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson moved into a house in West Saugerties nicknamed Big Pink on Stoll Road. These musicians, when joined by Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm, would later become famous as The Band. In Big Pink, they recorded around a hundred songs with Bob Dylan from June to October 1967, and a selections of these recordings were released in 1975 on the album The Basement Tapes.
The Basement Tapes proved to be the foundation of Bob Dylan’ next recording John Wesley Harding and The Band’s debut recording, Music From Big Pink.
The latest Uncut magazine has an inside story about The Band and their classic recording Music From Big Pink.
Uncut celebrates the 45th anniversary of The Band’s landmark début album.The album was a brilliant mix of gospel, spirituals, roadhouse blues, Southern soul and early rock’n’roll, out of which they created a magical new strain of American music.
Read more at http://www.uncut.co.uk/blog/uncut-editors-diary/the-band-neil-young-the-rolling-stones-nico-johnny-marr-richard-hell-and-gr#mMbI4fRxxAG5VgB8.99
Music from Big Pink (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We mourn the loss of drummer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Levon Helm. He waged a courageous fight against cancer.
I reflect upon when I first heard Levon Helm’s voice with The Band. It was on the vinyl recording, Music From Big Pink. I borrowed that record from my wife Rosemary when were first dating in the spring of 1969. We loved the song, “The Weight“. I wasn’t aware Levon Helm was the lead vocalist at the time. I thought of The Band collectively and that they were recording with Bob Dylan in Woodstock, NY.
In his autobiography This Wheel’s on Fire, Levon Helm explains that the people mentioned in the song were based on real people The Band knew. The “Miss Anna Lee” mentioned in the lyric is Helm’s longtime friend Anna Lee Amsden.
Bob Dylan wrote of Levon Helm: “He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I’m going to miss him, as I’m sure a whole lot of others will too.”
Rosemary and I saw Levon Helm perform live in concert twice. The first time he was part of the all-star orchestra ensemble for the 100 year Salute to the Blues at Radio City Music Hall. The concert was filmed for DVD and titled, Lightning In A Bottle.
The last time we saw Levon Helm play was at the Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, Ct in 2009. He appeared with the Levon Helm Band. He was advised by his doctor not to sing that night so Bob Weir and others stepped up to that task for him.
Last night at The Lumineers concert in Fairfield at Stage One, we all sang in loving memory, “The Weight” as the last song of the night. It was fitting and just to send our voices up into the sky as the last song of the night. We became his voice adding to his legacy, as we celebrated this great musician who showed us so much heart.
Cover of Music From Big Pink
Image by carriejeberhardt via Flickr
We are planning to visit the Adirondacks in upstate New York at the end of this month. When I think of music created in upstate New York my thoughts often turn to the artistic community of Woodstock, NY.
We’ve been influenced strongly over the decades by Woodstock, NY. The Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Todd Rundgren are just a few of the many musicians associated with this vibrant art community. Its time we pay Woodstock, NY a visit.
We have been to the The Museum at Bethel Woods in Bethel, NY (43 miles from Woodstock), the site where the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival took place. I wrote about that experience in this blog post, The Spirit of Woodstock at 40.
Photo copyright © Elliott Landy
The Band recording that is getting the most iTunes plays is the second recording simply called, The Band. The follow-up to Music From Big Pink.
Woodstock, NY we’ll see you real soon