{The Last Waltz} ~ with Levon Helm

Charcoal drawing of Levon Helm on this his birth date.

Was he a singer who played drums or a drummer who sang?  He excelled at both and probably didn't get the recognition he deserved for either.

He was part of Rock and Roll history.  Helm reached notoriety with Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, and Robbie Robertson as part of the "Hawks" who backed Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins and then Bob Dylan when Dylan had his famous 'electric' tour.  Critics, commenting on Dylan's '66 tour, referred to 'Dylan and "the band"  in their reviews so Helm and co. changed their name to "The Band". 

The Band, newly christened, were featured in arguably the greatest rock movie ever made titled "The Last Waltz", and directed by none other than Martin Scorsese.  It featured the Band's final concert with 'guests' that included a 'who's- who' of rock and roll legends.  Testament to the high regard "the band" was held in musical circles.

His drumming intro to "Up on Cripple Creek" was a subtle combination of funk, country, and rock and is typical of his 'fat pocket' groove.  He could move a band forward like no other and his fills were tasteful and showcased his 'chops'.  He had one of the best, truly authentic rock / country voices showcased most notably in such iconic songs as "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", or "The Weight".

He died recently.  A true original and creative force. A real loss.


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