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Fri Apr 20, 2012, 09:26 AM

Now THIS, friends and neighbors, is how you write an obituary.

Levon Helm of The Band: Obituary
Helm got his first guitar when he was 6; he is best remembered for The Band.

By Malcolm Jones

The death of Levon Helm from throat cancer on April 19 has silenced one of the great voices in American music.

There was something oracular about that voice, something that sounded as old as time itself. Even when Levon Helm was young, he had a voice that spoke to you with the authority of something graven in stone. But it was a voice that could also tease, and cut up, and sound as full of mischief as a 10-year-old boy on the first day of summer vacation. It was, in other words, the perfect voice for a rock and roll singer, maybe even the voice of rock and roll itself.

(snip)

Levon’s father gave his son a guitar when he was nine, and Levon built his sister a washtub bass. Together they killed on the 4-H circuit. When he wasn’t playing, he was listening, and he was in the perfect spot to get one of the greatest educations in American music that anyone has ever received. Blues, jazz, country, rhythm and blues and a baby called rock and roll were all right there, intermingling like crazy in the Mississippi Delta, the Arkansas cotton fields, the dives of Beale Street in Memphis, and Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, from whose stage the Grand Ole Opry broadcast its Saturday night show every Saturday night. When he was 14, Helm attended a show headlined by Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, with a very young Elvis Presley further down on the bill. Most days, when he wasn’t in school, he could be found at KFFA in Helena, Ark., where he watched bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson do his King Biscuit Time radio show.

(snip)

He would go on to a solo career full of Grammys and other accolades. He would weather a bout with throat cancer and bounce back for one last round of great music making in the first decade of this century, before cancer claimed him at last. But the through-line to it all is that marvelous voice, an utterly American sound that somehow for five decades embodied the field hollers, Delta blues, minstrel shows, rockabilly, mountain ballads, and country crooners all in one exhilarating package. If you want to hear what American music sounds like at its best, listen to what Levon Helm left behind.

The rest: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/19/levon-helm-of-the-band-obituary.html?fb_ref=article&fb_source=home_multiline

The entire thing is very very very much worth your time.

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Reply Now THIS, friends and neighbors, is how you write an obituary. (Original post)
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 OP
On the Road Apr 2012 #1
guitar man Apr 2012 #2
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #3
Melissa G Apr 2012 #4
horseshoecrab Apr 2012 #5
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #6
CaliforniaPeggy Apr 2012 #7
Wind Dancer Apr 2012 #8
Bake Apr 2012 #9
WilliamPitt Apr 2012 #10

Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 10:04 AM

1. Wow -- That is Great, Will!

It is sad to hear about Levon's death, even though it was long anticipated. However, it is gratifying to hear all the accolades like this sublime obituary and all the fans posting their memories even while twentysomethings are asking "Who?"

The Band's and Levon's music channeled an earlier era. But the music was actually written and performed in the last fifty years. It's sad to see that era closing.

Personally, The Band changed my entire attitudes to music and life when I was sixteen, and at my own funeral, I want "Whispering Pines" to be played.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 10:43 AM

2. Wow

Thanks for posting this. A fitting tribute to a national treasure.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 11:40 AM

3. Up with you

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 12:04 PM

4. Excellent. Thanks for posting. n/t

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 12:28 PM

5. recommended!

What a wonderful obit by Malcolm Jones.

I remember reading the rave Rolling Stone review of Music from Big Pink. That day, I stopped into Woolworths to pick up some thread for something I was making. I stopped at the 99 cent album bin just to look around. There it was -- The Band's first album for 99 cents (!), thus beginning my own long running love affair with Roots and Americana music wrapped up into Rock and Folk music. They were revolutionary then and they still are.

Levon was such a wonderful presence. Wonderful voice, great chops -- He had it all. He and Rick and Richard are jammin' now. That's for sure!

Thanks for posting this Will.

horseshoecrab



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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 02:46 PM

6. Up

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 03:02 PM

7. What a great obituary, Will...thank you. n/t

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 03:05 PM

8. K & R!

Lovely tribute - thanks for sharing.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 04:36 PM

9. I watched The Last Waltz (again) last night

The Weight ... Ophelia ... The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down ...

It just doesn't get any better than that.



Bake

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Response to Bake (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 04:45 PM

10. Damn straight.

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