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Mike Lacombe

Mike Lacombe

Mike Lacombe hosts the show Jeudis Méconnus and writes columns for

The Band, the unnamed band

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This week, a group marked by a brawl that will last more than 35 years and which will end with the death of the singer and drummer Levon Helm . This quarrel was caused by the legitimacy of giving practically all the copyright to the guitarist. Robbie robertson , who is credited to him as songwriter or co-songwriter in nearly every song by the group. But let’s take it slow and try to get to know better The Band .

On a personal note and before I start, you will surely have noticed while reading my reviews, that there are a lot of styles that I like and bands that are my favorites. Beatles, Led Zep, Sabbath, Purple, Zappa and Hendrix, are all bands that I love, but the band that I can listen to and that I have listened to in all periods of my life is without a doubt The Band . Taking an album from the band and putting it on a turntable is always satisfying. Almost perfect harmonies, vocals and drums playing Levon Helm , the guitar of Robbie robertson , the arranger genius of Garth Hudson , the voice and bass of Rick danko and the multi instrumentalist Richard Manuel , make The Band one of the groups that most influenced a whole generation of musicians.

From 1958 to 1963, they were the back-up band legendary Ronnie hawkins , Kansas native Rockabilly / Country singer who has enjoyed tremendous success this side of the border. They were called at that time The hawks . It was with Hawkins that they learned to play on the road. Bars, marijuana, speeds, buses and alcohol were an integral part of the group. Shabby bars and five-dollar-a-night motels were the first school of The Band . Four Canadian musicians and an American, who by his voice sometimes nasal, sometimes perfumed with an accent of the “ American mid-west ”, made The Band a band that was often and mistakenly labeled as an American band, but the truth was that The Band was a Canadian folk rock and American rock band.

After playing for almost 6 years with Ronnie Hawkins, a simple call from the manager of Bob dylan changed the situation and was the beginning of the adventure The Band . When Dylan spoke of them he often said “ what does the band think ‘? “(What does the group think?), And” Is the band available to come to rehearsal? »(Is the group available to come and practice?). Robertson explained in one of his many interviews, that he and the guys in the group often described themselves as The Band when they spoke to themselves, so when Dylan asked them for the name of the band for the posters of his 1966 tour, they decided that the name of the band would henceforth be The Band , but in the end and to gain some recognition, they had to resign themselves to presenting themselves as The hawks . The Band was not doing enough commercial according to the record company.

The 1966 Dylan Tour

This tour is important and legendary in terms of Folk / Rock music, since it sees Dylan abandon his faded rope shoulder strap and his acoustic guitar, for a Fender Stratocaster and an electric sound. He had already done it in 1965 at the Newport Jazz Festival with Mike Bloomfield and Gary Goldberg, both from Paul Butterfield Blues Band . During this legendary tour, the musicians of the group experienced a burst of mixed emotions like they did when they first started, since with each performance by Dylan, people hooted him, heckled him by shouting that he was a sold out (Judas ), a traitor of folk music and had to get off the stage, but the funniest thing in history according to the guys The Band was that wherever they went to play, the venues were packed to the brim, and even though people insulted Dylan, he continued to present his songs, sing along and say to the audience between songs, ” Please stop booing, why are you booing? “ . (Please stop booing, why are you booing?)

The real miracle of this tour is that all the shows were recorded on reels and during the RSD (Record Special Day) from 2016, an album titled The Real Royal Albert Hall Concerts was born. Wonderful album where we hear Dylan and The Band to be in perfect symbiosis, but where we can also hear people booing and shouting slander at Bob Dylan very well. This first association of Dylan with The Band was not the last and during his tour of 1974 he recruited again The Band as a band, but at that time they were now a recognized band and in high demand.

After the 1966 tour, The Band rented a big pink house in upstate New York (The Big Pink), and with Dylan on tour leave and after we all moved into that house, (all except Robertson who lived in another house ), began to record several songs in the basement of this house. Thanks to the vision of the brilliant arranger Garth Hudson, keyboardist of the group who always had a tape machine near him he succeeds in saving most of the iams and what comes out is an album bootleg which saw the light of day in 1969, but was officially released in 1975 under the name The Basements Tapes . We can hear the beautiful song of Dylan I Shall Be Released who accompanied Dylan throughout his career and that The Band also recorded on the very first opus of the group Songs From The Big Pink . This album gave birth to the wonderful composition The Weigh t , one of the band’s most famous songs.

The influence that Dylan played within the group is undeniable. The four years of playing with Bob Dylan have defined and polished the band’s sound. According to Robertson, who describes it as follows: “The way that Bob has poetic phrases and the wonderful stories he can tell in his songs, have certainly influenced us.” Dylan will be The Band’s biggest influence .

The studio years 1968-1977

During this period, the original group will record 8 albums and 3 albums with Dylan. The last concert of the group will be on November 25, 1975 in San-Francisco, and will have marked rock history since the great friend of Robbie Robertson, Martin scosese , a great filmmaker and above all a big fan of the group, recorded the concert on film and it will become the last waltz of the group, The Last Waltz . This film is an epic film in rock history. The number of artists invited for this show of only 5000 seats, and including a turkey supper for the spectators (because it was American Thanksgiving), was complemented by a range of musicians who had an influence on the group or artists with which The Band had been the Back Up Band.

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Biography | Biography (Source Wikipedia)

The Band (“The Group”) is a Canadian rock band, composed of Robbie Robertson (guitar), Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboards, saxophone, accordion), Richard Manuel (piano, drums, vocals) and Rick Danko (bass, violin, vocals). The Band is famous both for their own albums, notably Music From Big Pink and The Band, but also for frequently accompanying Bob Dylan, from 1965 to 1974.