My Playlist February 2018

Having replaced my stereo needle, my stylus for my turntable, I am listening to my record albums when I’m in my writing studio. My awesome Monsoon computer speaker system is falling apart, past the point the where Bob at the Columbia Radio repair shop (1151 Sanford) can put it together again.

Bach partita no.5 in g major played by a very young-looking Glenn Gould sounds terrific. I picked this Columbia masterwork up in a discount bin. It sounds as if it has never been played. Pristine (not expected) and warm (as expected) sounds great. I live in a +60 building where I’m not the only one with hearing impairments so I can actually play it louder than I did in Riverview Mansions; I have to if I want to hear any of the highs, as I’m without hearing aids at the moment.

Earlier today I listened to Levon Helm and the RCO AllStars, including Steve Cropper,(guitar) Donald Dun (bass) Levon Helm (Drums) Dr. John (Piano) Booker T Jones (Keyboards). This should have been a great record. It’s not. It’s boring. Much better, even with Levon Helm starting to lose his voice is the 2011 recording Rambling at the Ryman, which kicks ass right from the first chords of “Ophelia.”

Sure the horns are better in the Ramblin recording, but the big difference that makes this recording so great are the six Robbie Robertson songs played during the evening. Robbie didn’t sing ‘em, and wasn’t much missed I suppose, but his writing and the sounds of Helm and Danko for the beats and singing brought it all together. Unfortunately Danko is missing from the line-up, having died of alcoholism in 1999. Ramblin at the Ryman  “album” is one I have paid for and downloaded. Recommended listening.

I’ve been thinking about the greatness of The Band again from listening to them in the seventies, and the band needed the drumming of Levon Helm, the bass playing of Rick Danko and the songwriting talents of Robbie Robertson. The selection of material on the RCO Allstars is a huge problem, though not necessarily the absence of Robbie Robertson.

People who complain about how Robbie Robertson put his name on all “the Band’s” music, taking the copyright, and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, could consider the difference between these two records (both without Robbie Robertson, though he plays a little on “Sing,Sing, Sing on the Allstars record) to acknowledge his songwriting (not a bad guitar player either) as an example of just how important he was to almost all material they played. I’ll come back to Rick Danko, in my drums and bass blogging, another time.

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