"The whole congregation was standing on the banks of the river
We are gathered here to give a little thanks..."
The River Hymn by The Band
Very sad to hear today of the passing of the great Levon Helm, singer, drummer and mandolin player with The Band. Levon was the Arkansas-born Rebel who gave a gritty authenticity to Robbie Robertson's sepia-toned dreams of the Old South in such wonderful songs as The Weight, Up On Cripple Creek and, of course, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. The trademark Band combination of Levon's tough, forceful style with Rick Danko's heartfelt, country vocals and Richard Manuel's blue-eyed soul stylings gave their best songs a magic unlike any other. I've written about what The Band's music means to me over at 15 Albums so I won't repeat myself here. I'll just say that Levon was a unique and inspiring musician who, against the odds, fought a brave battle with illness for many years, and continued to play and sing when many others would have given up, even winning a Grammy for his Dirt Farmer album at the age of 67.
But you should never have taken the very best..."
Mark Lavon ( "Levon" ) Helm
26th May 1940 to 19th April 2012