This has not been a good week for music. With the news earlier today of Robbie Robertson’s passing, social media has been filled with tributes, memories and recollections of one of the key figures in Rock of the later 60s. And since I ran this post some 10 years ago, it only seems fitting to run it again as tribute. What I wrote below is how I felt in 2013. It is more poignant today, ten years later. So much has happened since then. Only Garth Hudson is left of the original members of The Band. But there will always be the legacy and the moments.
First posted on April 27, 2013:
Despite many claims that artists like Bruce Springsteen typify the idiom of Roots-Rock/Americana, that distinction has, for me and always will be, the exclusive distinction of The Band. They have represented a true, no-frills, no pretense, straight-from-the-heart/real-deal portrayal of Americana in a way very few, if any bands have duplicated. Okay . . .some of them are Canadian . . .but still . . .
When they first arrived on the scene, there was a lot of excitement and anticipation for the release of their debut album Music From Big Pink. Initially, it was the acknowledged association with Bob Dylan, which was more or less a calling card which added to the buzz. But beyond that was a group of musicians who were unique in what they were all about, and were one of the tightest groups to see perform live. They were always a pleasure to see in concert.
And since this was a suggested request by a reader, I ran across this early live mini-set The Band recorded, oddly enough for the Dutch broadcaster AVRO, in a concert at The Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania on November 1, 1970.
Going along with the theme of music icons in a live, stripped down setting this week – The Band assumes the perfect fit.
They always did anyway.
Enjoy and be reminded of the unique and amazing talent Robbie Robertson was – well, the whole Band in fact.
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