Roger Waters and Graham Nash on The Band.

I’ve just started reading the new book Levon Helm: Rock, Roll & Ramble; The Inside Story Of The Man, The Music, and The Midnight Ramble by John W. Barry (with a forward by Ringo Starr). I’m only on page 25 of the first chapter, and already I have read something I found very surprising:

Roger Waters: "Big Pink changed everything, overnight." (What have I been telling ya’ll? ;-). He continues: "It was sonic. It was the sound that they made all playing together. It was what they created. It was just completely different than anything I had heard before and it was remarkable. They (sic) were great songs as well. When I heard the record I went ’Wow, what was that?’ What a great band they were." No sh*t Sherlock.

Not as surprising is what I read in the paragraphs immediately preceding that of Waters, that being:

"When they served as opening act for the 1974 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young stadium tour, said Graham Nash: ’I would watch their set with great interest, of course.’

"But even though The Band was opening for CSNY, Nash remained in awe of them and, as a result, was too shy to approach any of the guys or chat them up."

’I should have, of course. I’m not particularly un-famous myself. But I was just too shy. They were too incredible a band in my mind...I mean holy sh*t, they were The Band...they were incredible. They were the best band in the world apart from The Beatles, as far as I was concerned. I was just a fan.’

Every good musician I knew felt just as did Roger and Graham, and still do. The best self-contained band (writing, singing, and playing) in the entire history of Rock ’n’ Roll. You see, Graham had the order reversed ;-) . When Abbey Road came out, it sounded like yesterdays news to me. The Band’s first two albums had completely changed the rules of the game. Those two albums still sound fresh, like they were recorded today. Abbey Road sounded dated to me on release day.


This sounds familiar- also covered in Robbie Robertson’s book “Testimony”, which is a great read. Big Pink affected everyone - Clapton wanted to leave Cream.  Testimony also was put in a pretty good film - “Once Were Brothers”. It’s an excellent one to watch.

Yup @bdgregory, Testimony is a surprisingly (to me) great book, probably the overall best I’ve read on The Band. I love the scene Robertson recounts, in which Dylan is listening to the test pressing of MFBP, and when "The Weight" ends he asked who wrote the song. When Robbie responds "I did", he says Dylan stopped dead in his tracks, just staring at him. Dylan’s view of Robbie had been permanently elevated.

Seeing accolades for The Band is not at all unusual (Nick Lowe stated The Brinsley Schwarz Band---of which he was a member---was a UK band trying to be The Band, and failing miserably.), but I wouldn’t expect it from one such as Roger Waters, whose own music couldn’t be more dissimilar from theirs. Though he rightly acknowledges the effect Music From Big Pink had on the musical community (including himself), it doesn’t appear to have in any way influenced the music he himself has made.

I think the second s/t album may be even more influential, and a virtual template for how to be a Rock ’n Roll band. MFPB is impossible to imitate or duplicate, but I hear the s/t album in a LOT of the music coming out of the Americana bands and artists. Those first two Band albums cast a really long shadow.

@bdp24 - Roger had a lot of love for John Prine and his music - they actually got to be friends while John was still here - so he likes a lot of music that is nothing like his own....

Interesting @larsman. As we all know, ya gotta play the hand you're dealt. Not everyone can be a John Prine or Robbie Robertson (or John Hiatt, Rodney Crowell, Iris DeMent, etc.), so has to be content being in a Stadium Rock Band. Waters---even with his modest talent---has done pretty well for himself. For those who don't recognize humour when they see it, that was a joke. Waters' talent is slightly more than modest ;-) .

Waters is great - not afraid to tell the truth and has a critical mind ... listen to his interviews from at least the last year.

I see no need to diminish Abbey Road in order to heap praise on MFBP or The Band. What about Blonde On Blonde, or Are You Experienced?  Or Blue, Surrealistic Pillow, or Let It Bleed or Freak Out?  These were all records that defined the era.

HS Class of ‘69

I remember the name Brinsley Schwarz but not their sound--will have to check them out.  I always thought the British band that sounded like The Band was the early Procol Harum. 

What can I tell ya'? I barely tolerated The Band from day one, and hated them more often than not. I liked the song "The Weight," but I enjoyed the cover version that was an AM hit in L.A. (was it by Dusty Springfield?) far more than the one by The Band itself. To my ears, the Band severely lacked pep. Their vocals sounded choked and forced. The guitar licks weren't so much inspired as over-wrought. I never saw them live but I did see an industry pre-release screening of "The Last Waltz." I loved the genre they played in, too. I still listen to my Byrds and Buffalo Springfield LPs. What can I say? To my ears they were pretentious and leaden.


It wasn't that I didn't like the genre, either. My favorite band at the time was The Byrds...who I managed to see in every incarnation but the original with Gene Clark. Or did I see them with Gene Clark, in a reunion performance at the Troubadour?

Yeah @edcyn, The Band really separates the men from the boys ;-) . I didn’t get Music From Big Pink at all when it was released. I was confused (and perturbed) that many of the people who shared my musical taste loved it, and I couldn’t relate to it in the slightest. I was still into Cream, Hendrix, The Who, Jeff Beck, etc. Power Trios.

Then in the Summer of ’69 my teen combo (an old term for a young band that I still enjoy using) got the gig of opening for The New Buffalo Springfield at a local San Jose high school. We played our set, and then The NBS took the stage. The only remaining Buffalo Springfield member was drummer Dewey Martin, and on bass and harmony vocals was Randy Fuller, Bobby’s brother. I loved The Bobby Fuller 4, so that was cool!

They started their set, and as they played one song and then another, I became mystified. None of them seemed to be doing much, but they sounded SO good. Well, before their set ended I had experienced my first epiphany. I suddenly understood what The Band was all about: ensemble playing! Dewey’s drum parts were designed to serve the song, not impress other drummers. When the lead guitarist took a solo (thankfully, fairly short ;-), the bass player stayed with the bass drum, not also soloing ala Jack Bruce. Great 3-part harmonies (which were not a thing in power trios), songs with great chord progressions, including bridges.

There are other musical ensembles who understand and play in ensemble fashion, but when The Band appeared that style was certainly not common. That’s why when Clapton heard MFBP he realized (and has stated numerous times) that "music had been heading in the wrong direction for a long time" (an exact quote), a direction he himself had been leading! His reaction to hearing MFBP was to disband Cream.

As for The Band’s vocals "sounding choked and forced": Wow. Richard Manuel is one of the greatest singers I’ve ever heard, and Levon’s vocals are a joy to hear. I am far from alone in that opinion, and truly pity anyone who doesn’t get it. But I understand; I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now ;-) .

+1 for the movie Once Were Brothers

I recall a story about the publishing royalties on the song The Weight

Dylan 25%, Albert Grossman 25% and the members of The Band divided the remaining 50%

And while normal protocol of the times, just seemed rather unfair that others would profit more from their best work and art

@crustycoot: My intent in mentioning Abbey Road was not to diminish that album, but rather to draw a distinction between The Beatles and The Band, relating back to Graham Nashes holding those two bands up as the two best in the world.

Prior to eventually getting The Band (it wasn’t until the s/t "brown" album. I had to work backwards to Music From Big Pink), I too may have considered The Beatles about as good as it gets. By the time Abbey Road appeared, that was no longer the case. They sounded like the past to me, I had moved on. Everyone is free to disagree with that sentiment, of course.

When I saw and heard The New Buffalo Springfield live in the summer of ’69 (see my above post), I had already seen and heard live The Beach Boys (my first concert, summer of ’64), The Beatles (summer of ’65), Cream (twice), The Jimi Hendrix Experience (twice), The Who (twice), The Jeff Beck Group, Procol Harum, The Kinks, Them (with Van Morrison), The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Fritz (the local San Jose Garage Band whose members included Lindsey Buckingham and little Stevie Nicks) and maybe a hundred more (including San Jose’s own Chocolate Watchband, The Syndicate Of Sound, Stained Glass, People, a bunch more you’ve never heard of.). By the time TNBS had finished their set, I considered them "better" than all the above. Well, except for The Kinks ;-) .

I had become a man ;-) .

I was a young working musician when Big Pink arrived and pretty much everybody I knew in the biz was stunned. I'd seen "Bob Dylan and the Hawks" live and was blown away as a Dylan fan...just miles ahead of any other live band in 1966. Saw the Band a couple of years later and again was impressed at how powerful they were...Procul Harum were great live (Gary Brooker was an incredible voice)...for me the Lowell George led Little Feat were the best live band from the 70's.

@tostadosunidos and @wolf_garcia: Love Procol Harum! With organist Matthew Fisher at least. Those first three albums are astoundingly good. I didn’t see them live until the Home album tour, after Matthew had departed. I didn’t like that album at all; gone were Matthew’s majestic classically-influenced organ parts, replaced by Robin Trowers blues-based guitar parts. Live Gary Brooker was in fine voice, and drummer B.J. Wilson was of course just fantastic.

Beside both The Band and Procol harum having identical line-ups (drums, bass, piano, organ, one guitar), each had an organist with a classical music education, singers owing a great debt to Ray Charles (Richard Manuel of course), and a history of playing R & B music.

I somehow missed out on Little Feat, but did see The Electric Flag in ’68, with Mike Bloomfield and Buddy Miles (and four sax players!). Awesome! I also feel very fortunate in having seen Big Joe Turner backed by The Blasters, mid-80’s. Big Joe Turner---now THAT’S a man! In The Blasters at that time were Lee Allen (a member of Little Richard’s 50’s band) on tenor sax and Steve Berlin (soon thereafter to leave to join Los Lobos---another great band!) on baritone. I just saw Steve live with NRBQ, both sounding fantastic. NRBQ, one of my favorite live bands.

I have two friends who saw Dylan & The Hawks at The San Jose Civic Auditorium, a show I would kill to have been at (though in ’65-6 Dylan was way too odd for my suburban teenage mind to comprehend). I also somehow never saw Moby Grape or The Byrds. Can’t see ’em all!

@stevewarton: And shortly after that Dylan learned Grossman had cut himself into Bob's songwriting publishing. That was the end of Grossman. Greedy bastard!

Here’s some miscellaneous, not so close encounters with The Band and The Byrds both. I attended the upstate NY State University College at New Paltz in the early seventies. My girlfriend and I had a friend then who commuted to school from Woodstock, not too far away. She invited us up to visit one weekend, and while there drove us right past the Big Pink house. There was nobody there, but still.

That summer, ’71, my girlfriend got a job working as a TWA ground hostess at Kennedy Airport in Queens. I stayed up at school that summer working, while she stayed with her folks. She called one day to say she met The Byrds, who were boarding a flight back to Los Angeles. And not only that, Roger McGuinn had propositioned her, asking her go back to L.A. with him.

I’ve borne McGuinn a grudge ever since, even though my she declined his entreaties. and missed her chance at becoming a groupie. Now that I’m thinking about this fifty years later, I’d still like to punch him in nose.



@skyscraper: There's a great video on YouTube, in which the current owner of the Big Pink house is visited by Garth Hudson. I gotta go there before I die.

An old friend (one of the guys who saw Dylan & The Hawks) and I were in the early stage of planning a trip to Levon's barn to attend a Midnight Ramble, but Levon past away before we made the pilgrimage. Damnit.

@bdp24 Greedy bastard indeed, well said

Too many stories of mismanagement and financial abuse over the decades

A long soiled history in the industry of hustlers and legal sharks filling their bank accounts from the creative minds of the artists

Would be curious to know what Grossman's estate still earns annually from a single song like The Weight

So @boxcarman, are you asking people to put more stock in your opinion than that of Graham Nash? And Roger Waters? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or as my momma useta say, "Each to her own said the lady as she kissed the cow." A very old expression.

Bdp24, sorry you missed your chance to see Levon at his Midnight Ramble. Levon’s passing was a great loss. The Band, when together, put on a terrific show. I was lucky enough to have caught a concert of theirs at C.W. Post College on Long Island back in 1970 or thereabouts.

I’ll look for that Garth Hudson YouTube video you mentioned.



@skyscraper: I saw The Band live only once, at The Berkeley Community Theater on the tour in support of the s/t ("brown") album. I sent for the lottery tickets Bill Graham was selling for the Dylan/Band Before The Flood tour in ’74, but missed out. Then I moved away from the Bay Area just before The Last Waltz show was announced. Damnit!

But I did manage to see Levon and his Barn Burners at the House Of Blues on Sunset Blvd. in the late-90’s. He was recovering from his throat cancer, and could barely speak, let alone sing. But he had daughter Amy with him on stage, along with some band members who could sing.

Levon was playing drums better than ever (he sounded REALLY good). Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward joined Levon for a song, and you could see the mutual respect each had for the other. The drummers of two of America’s greatest bands, on stage together! Richie could keep up with Levon, unlike poor ol’ Ringo Starr, whose playing at the end of The Last Waltz movie is really sad.

Richie Hayward was one of the most amazing drummers I've ever astonishing talent.

@boxcarman +1

I always thought about the "The Band" as the sleepy side of rock...


Okay members, on one side we have Roger Waters, Graham Nash, Ringo Starr and George Harrison (both big fans), Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, The Staples, Muddy Maters, Dr. John, Jim Keltner, Elton John and Bernie Taupin (Bernie says Tumbleweed Connection was Elton and his attempt to make an album like the s/t brown album), Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Richard Thompson, John Hiatt, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Los Lobos, etc., as well as tostadosunidos, wolf_garcia, bdgregory, stevewarton, skyscraper, and myself on one side.

And edcyn, boxcarman and tonix on the other.


Cast your vote!

About "Elton John and Bernie Taupin (Bernie says Tumbleweed Connection was Elton and his attempt to make an album like the s/t brown album)", luckily they failed in their original attempt and made a great album.

... and the opinions of edcyn, boxcarman, and tonix are every bit as valid as the opinions of any of those others listed. Can't tell somebody they're wrong if they don't happen to like something that you do.

I don't like jazz (for one example) - it's great and there are loads and loads of musicians who do, but all those musicians are not going to make me like jazz, and for me, I am not wrong...

I agree @larsman. My invitation for other Audiogon to voice THEIR opinion does not conflict with that position.

One other thing bdp4. I’m jealous you got to see Mike Bloomfield and the Electric Flag. How was that Electric Flag show. What a fabulous and original blues guitarist. to have seen. His Live at Bill Graham’s Filmore West album is an all time favorite. It’s a terrible shame he self destructed the way he did.?

If you’re ever near Roanoke stop by and you can listen to some fairly obscure Bloomfield albums from in his heyday that I’ve collected over the years. I don’t have his later stuff, when he must of have been drugged out, as his decline too painful to listen to. He was cookin’ when he was playing with the Electric Flag though.

Sorry I missed seeing him. Missed a chance in my high school years to see Cream too. I didn’t have the eight bucks to go with some friends to see Clapton and company when they played the Fillmore East in NYC. Caught him later on a bill with Dylan in the late 1970's Clapton’s playing was pretty bad at that point though, due to substance abuse too.


@skyscraper: Nice to use real names Mike ;-) .

The first time I heard Bloomfield was the same as for most people: on the 1965 Paul Butterfield Blues Band debut album on Elektra Records. That was the first exposure to real Blues (as opposed to the imitation Blues of the UK bands like The Yardbirds) for myself and my fellow white suburban teenagers. Blew our Minds! I think every band in the Santa Clara Valley (home to San Jose) played "Born In Chicago" in 1966, including mine. That song, by the way, was written by Nick Gravenites, later the singer in The Electric Flag. Playing bass and drums on the album are Jerome Arnold and Sam Lay from Howlin’ Wolf’s band. It don’t get more Blues than that!

Around the same time, Dylan heard Bloomfield play, and brought him into some recording sessions. And on his 1965 album So Many Roads, John Hammond Jr. had Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm of The Hawks playing guitar and drums, as well as Charlie Musselwhite blowing harp. Bloomfield has recounted the story of showing up at a Hammond session, intending to play guitar. Already doing just that was Robertson. Bloomfield says when he heard Robbie’s playing, he decided to move over to piano ;-) . the summer of 1968 I attended the Santa Clara County Folk/Rock Festival, held on the County Fairgrounds property. The 12 noon opening band that day was a local one: Fritz. Two members of Fritz were guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks. Just another San Jose Garage Band ;-). The Electric Flag were scheduled to go on in the late afternoon (5 or 6 iirc), and as their time slot approached all band members---including drummer Buddy Miles, who at 19 years of age was playing in Wilson Pickett’s band!, bassist the mighty Harvey Brooks, and pianist Mark Naftalin---were onstage, milling around. Also on stage were four black guys holding saxes---two baritone, two bass. Have you ever seen a bass sax? It’s HUGE!

Conspicuously absent was Mike Bloomfield. Gravenites walked up to his mic and apologized for the delay, saying Mike was on his way. After about fifteen minutes (during which time we all took a "cigarette" break ;-) I heard clapping starting behind me (I always sit close to the stage, so as to be able to clearly see what the musicians are doing), and running through the audience towards the stage was a barefoot Bloomfield, holding his uncased Strat. He bounded up on stage and plugged his guitar into his Fender Twin Reverb, Buddy counted off 1-2-3-4, and the band kicked into "Killing Floor" (a Howlin’ Wolf Song), just like the album opens. Just writing that sentence has the hair on the back of my neck standing up like a dog in a fight. They sounded in-f*cking-credible! My still-fresh memory of having recently seen Cream and Hendrix paled in comparison. The most exhilarating musical experience of my life. That is, until I heard Ry Cooder play his guitar solo in John Hiatt’s "Lipstick Sunset" on stage with Little Village, during which time seemed to stand still. I consider myself very fortunate ;-).

Wanna hear the ending to the story? The poor Doors had to follow The Electric Flag on stage ;-). To say they sounded anticlamactic is a gross understatement. The Doors never sounded the same to me after that day. Like little boys, not men---Eric.

Great story Eric. You've been to some terrific shows. You're lucky to have seen Hendrix too before he passed. 



Mike, I also saw Albert King and Big Joe Turner. And Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. But no Elvis, Roy Orbison, or Jerry Lee Lewis. Jerry Lee's still alive---the last (Sun Records) man standing.

@bdp24 - a totally awesome track is 'Moon Tune' off of one Nick Gravenites album, forget which one, with some of Bloomfield's best playing I've heard. 

Larsman, that’s off Nick Gravenites "My Labors " album. Is one of a few cuts from Mike Bloomfield’s Fillmore concerts with his vocals that didn’t make the "Live at Bill Grahams Fillmore West" album. Some duplicates too on the CD version. A few other cuts from those Bloomfield concerts are available on the Wolfgang’s Vault site.

Eric, my late wife, as a youngster, got to see the young Elvis perform at a concert he did in Seattle. We can both eat our hearts out on that. She recalled a lot of girl’s screaming and dancing in the aisles.


@skyscraper: For a couple of shows I attended I was in the best seat in the house: the drummers throne ;-) . One was with Don & Dewey (Specialty Records label-mates of Little Richard, Sam Cooke, John lee Hooker, Lloyd Price, and Larry Williams) at The Continental Club (a Rockabilly joint in L.A.), another in the band backing Emitt Rhodes for his first live appearance in a quarter century, at the 1997 Poptopia Festival, itself a quarter century ago. Don, Dewey, and Emitt are all now gone, but their music lives on. As do, for now ;-), I.

the Stones where much better however i liked The Band when they would back Dylan.

Dylan also employed The Grateful Dead and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers as his live band, neither of which were up to THAT task.

Think about all the people The Band provided accompaniment for in the Last Waltz. Very few musical ensembles are capable of doing that. Good as they are at their own thing, being a backing band is a whole 'nother matter. Perhaps because they started life as Ronnie Hawkins band did they learn how to do that better than anyone else.

Howard Johnson was (he passed away last year) a tuba player John Simon (producer of the first and second Band albums, as well as the first Blood, Sweat & Tears, Cheap Thrills, and Songs Of Leonard Cohen albums) met when they were both members of Taj Mahal's band. Howard had previously worked with Charles Mingus, Roland Kirk, Gil Evans, Hank Crawford, and Archie Shepp. Damn ;-).

John hired Howard for the Rock Of Ages (The Band's fantastic 1971 2-LP live album) and Last Waltz concerts. Here's what Howard had to say about The Band:

"With Taj Mahal on that Fillmore circuit, we played with so many bands who were well known and had hits but who could not play by any standards I had. Yeah, they could get in the studio and make stuff perfect, but they weren't performers. And I wasn't trying to be some kind of elitist jazzhead, either."

"The Band were just so good. I don't know many guys who are that proficient who are not jazz players. These guys had a lot of flexibility. They didn't play the same thing over and over again. There was always some kind of excitement to it. Being an old jazzer, I always appreciated that. They were innovators. I think it appealed to people on a level that they didn't quite even understand."

You make it sound like the Grateful Dead were just hired hands trying their best to do what Dylan wanted them to; these were collaborations - the Grateful Dead had been doing Dylan covers at just about every show through the 80's and 90's - they knew the songs really well - so it made sense to see how it would be to have Dylan himself sing them. There was no 'task' involved, in my opinion. I quite liked the results. 


@larsman: No task involved in playing with Bob Dylan? You must not be a musician. ;-) I WILL concede that The Dead have the depth and breadth required to navigate Dylan’s waters. TP & The Heartbreakers? Nope, ’fraid not.

Have you heard Dylan & The Band’s Before The Flood live album from the ’74 tour? Play it immediately after the Dylan & The Dead album to see how the two compare.

Summer 1984 Mt Watatic in Massachusetts held and arts and energy festival. The Band headlined. Stage set up at the base of the ski hill. The sloped hill served as stadium seating,  blankets, hippies,  sunshine,  (moonshine) ,  great show! Arlo Guthrie played too. I remember getting lost driving there and stopping for directions at a farmhouse. All these geese came sqwaking and walking over trying to bite me as I walked up the driveway! That's when I learned they make good watch dogs. 

Prior to 1967, The Hawks were "just" a Rockabilly/Rock 'n' Roll/R & B band. But as wolf_garcia testified above, a REALLY good one. That all changed in 1967. The Hawks (minus Levon) spent that entire year in the basement of Big Pink, being tutored in American Roots music by Bob Dylan. They emerged the best band in the world, were offered a recording contract by Capitol Records, recorded Music From Big Pink, changed their name to The Band, and redirected the course of Rock 'n' Roll. 

Never thought of The Band as anything more than a really good garage (or basement if you prefer) band. This is just my opinion but I’ve never understood the hype.

For some context, I’m hitting 70 (or is it hitting me?!) in October. I, like some others here, had the great fortune to see/hear some of the amazing bands of that time; Hendrix, Cream, Spirit, Electric Flag, etc., before the rigors of the music business and "unauthorized chemical research" took their toll. I had started playing drums and was enamored with Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker, etc. In 1970 or 71 a friend who was into "Americana" (before that term existed) took me to a show at the Pasadena Civic put on by local radio station KPPC 106.7. For what amounted to chump change we saw/heard Captain Beefheart, Little Feat and Ry Cooder. It was the most impactful musical night of my life, sending me on a new trajectory as both a listener and a player! Richie Hayward with LF and Jim Keltner with Ry Cooder played with such unique style and feel serving to completely reroute my neural pathways devoted to rhythmic perception aka blew my mind! Also, the Band’s first two albums are absolute masterpieces! We got to see them at the Hollywood Bowl with the Miles Davis Bitches Brew era band opening the show. Whew!

@bdp24 - Hah! You are right - I am not a musician, though I am teaching myself piano these days. But I think that matters not a jot!

And it would serve no purpose listening to Dylan and the Dead after Dylan and the Band, as I would have zero expectations that the Grateful Dead would sound like the Band, and I'm sure that the Dead had no intention of replicating the Band.

The Band covered Dylan well. The Dead covered Dylan well. Jerry covered Dylan well. So did the Byrds. It's all good! 

The last two posts by @winnardt and @2ndliner (great name!) perfectly encapsulate the reaction The Band evokes. Mine of course eventually (it didn’t happen at first) became exactly as that of 2ndliner: The Band were life-changing. For those to whom The Band’s allure remains a mystery (hype?!), I can empathize. They are like the Rorschach test ;-) .

2ndliner: I too considered Mitch Mitchell and Ginger Baker (as well as Keith Moon) my drumming role models in 1967-8 (I saw each of them live three times in those two years). By the time The Band’s second s/t (brown) album came out that was no longer the case. I didn’t see Keltner live until he was with Little Village, and never (unfortunately) saw Richie Hayward. Are you hip to Roger Hawkins? Fantastic! How about Jim Gordon? Harry Stinson? He’s in Marty Stuart’s band The Fabulous Superlatives. Best band in the world, and that’s not hype ;-) . Harry is also a 1st-call session singer in the Nashville studios.

The Band were given carte blanche to choose the opening act for their 1970 Hollywood Bowl show. What other Rock ’n’ Roll band would have gone with Miles Davis? Now THAT takes balls!

One last point: Up above @edcyn opines that the singing voices of The Band sound "choked and forced." Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; here is that of well-known Rock critic and writer Greil Marcus on The Band’s 1969 performance at Winterland : "Richard Manuel’s vocal on ’Tears Of Rage’ was probably the finest singing that has ever been heard at Winterland." And of drummer Jim Keltner: "Such a sweet soulful voice (referring to Levon). And Richard Manuel was the voice that sounded like it was coming straight from heaven."

How can the voices of Levon and Richard sound so different to edcyn than they do to Greil Marcus and Jim Keltner? That is a question for which I have no answer.

@tostadosunidos: I have a couple of Brinsley Schwarz recommendation for you, one being Dave Edmunds’ second album, Subtle As A flying Mallet. The last song on each album side is Edmunds backed by the BS band, performing a pair of Chuck Berry songs live in a pub in Wales. Very cool versions imo.

The album is also great in other ways. Edmunds is not a songwriter, and on his first two albums chose to record (mostlly) old songs, on some of them his ambition being nothing more than to reproduce them all by himself (he sings and plays almost all the parts).

That changed somewhat on his third album---Get It (maybe his best). On that album the songs are a mix of old (a dreamy version of Rogers & Harts’ "Where Or When") and new, with songs by contemporary songwriters such as Bob Seger (a killer version of "Get Out Of Denver"), Graham Parker, and Nick Lowe. Some members of Brinsley Schwarz play on the album.

@bdp24: Oh, come on.  You went to their show.  No one could hear the Beatles in concert, thanks to all the screaming girls.  It's why they quit playing live. 

@bdp24 - Yeah, Dave Edmunds is great - my first exposure to him was 'Saber Dance' - my favorite of his is 'Repeat When Necessary', but they're all good.

I loved seeing him with Rockpile, which I did a number of times. Last time I saw him must have been 20 years ago, doing a solo acoustic show....

Wonderful producer, too...