5 Replies to “RIP Levon Helm”

  1. I’m really feeling this one, I just love everything this guy has ever done. His late career and life has much to admire, both in attitude, joy, and in actual music. Maybe its the contrast with Danko and Manual that makes it all so poignant.

    See these nice notes…


    If the second one is true, I want to see that movie.

    But I just can’t get over his work in The Band. Such a great touch as a drummer, such a great deliverer of songs as a singer. People said that Marty tried to make a matinee idol out of Robbie Robertson in The Last Waltz, but I just watch Levon every bit as much in that great film. My kids saw Ophelia the other day, and the pure exuberance and groove delivered went straight to their 4 and 6 year old souls.

  2. over at CounterPunch http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/20/farewell-to-levon/ Here’s a snip:

    Helm persevered and survived. He put together a small blues band, The Barn Burners and started playing clubs and bars. But the years, the illness, had taken its toll. Broke from medical expenses, in fact bankrupt, in attempt to save his home and his life, he started putting on concerts in his home studio. The “Midnight Rambles” were a huge success. Soon other musicians such as Emmy Lou Harris and Elvis Costello were playing the Rambles as guest artists. Miraculously, he started to sing again. In 2007, he released Dirt Farmer, an acoustic mix of traditional songs with a few by contemporary writers. Yes, his voice was clearly weakened and weathered, but it was a brilliant album and the heart and soul that always marked the best of his work was there in abundance. The album remains easily the best album following the breakup of the original lineup solo or collectively and captured the essence of what both The Band and Helm were about. The album won a Grammy (as did the two after it) and gave Helm long overdue recognition.

    The Quillayute Cowboy

  3. Throat cancer took his voice for a while; fire took his home and studio and bankrupted him. He hung in there and rebuilt his life with great generosity and courage.
    I’m not much into the Woodstock scene, but my musician friends there loved and respected him enormously.

    A lot of the musicians from the 1960s in Greenwich Village are no longer around. Richie Havens retired from touring due to health issues, and I’ll really miss his talent and integrity. Guy Clark is getting on in years. The (original) Highwaymen stopped performing when Dave Fisher died in 2010. Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, Liam Clancy…
    I have no problem with my mortality but some people should be allowed immortality for the sake of what they give the world.

    Update: FB just told me another Woodstock musician friend had a stroke and is scheduled for surgery. That whole generation is beginning to fade.

    It is worth remembering that the Founding Fathers were all traitors.

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