The Band

There is a little country town to look on the same level as Catskill Mts. in the west it goes to the north
by car for about two hours and proceeds through New York State Throughway from Manhattan,
and that name is said as Woodstock.

It is the name which was just common in the northern part of America, but it has probably special sound
for many music funs. In the 1960' and 1970' , many musicians had raised the music which should be
mentioned specially in this position.


The Band

Four of the group, Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko, had embraced rock and
roll during its first flush of success. One by one they joined the Hawks, a backing group formed by rockabilly
singer Ronnie Hawkins, which included Levon Helm. A minor figure in the US, by the late 50' Hawkins had
moved to a Toronto where he pursued a career consisting mostly of rabble-house cover versions.
They left Hawkins to tour on their own, and toured America's small-town clubs under names the Crackers,
the Canadian Squires and Levon & the Hawks. They developed a loud, brash repertoire, drawn from R&B,
soul and gospel styles, while the rural life left a trail of impressions and images.


The Authorized Video Biography

In 1964, Levon & the Hawks returned to Canada, while performing a club date they were spotted by fledgling
blues singer John Hammond Jr. on his debut single 'I wish You Would .' Through Hammond, They were
introduced to Bob Dylan. In August 28, 1965 Robertson and Helm accampanied the singer for his Forest Hills
concert and although the drummer reneged on further involvement, within months the remaining Hawks were
at the fulcrum of Dylan's most impassioned music. Hawks supported Dylan's 1966 World tour. The most
famous concert is at Royal Albert Hall of London in May 26 and 27, 1966, but it's really at Manchester Free Trade Hall of Manchester in May 17, 1966. This concert was the best live show in history by electric version.

In July, 1966 Dylan was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. Dylan goes into the secluded life in
Woodstock, he didn't hold all performances for about two years. And Dylan and Hawks went to through
many private sessions in the basement of the rented house which it is called "Big Pink" of West Saugerties
in the northeast of Woodstock. The part of their work was released into 1975 formally as "The Basement
Tapes" was recorded one after another in the tape recorder for home use.


"Big Pink" in Woodstock

Dylan with Hawks appeared on Woody Guthrie Memorial Concert in January, 1968 and Pop Festival in
Wight Isle in August, 1968. Then, finally in 1968, Hawks made its debut as the Band by "Music from Big Pink"
released officially. It passed through the filter that the historical element of American music like rock and roll,
R&B and Gospel was intellectual with acoustic of Woodstock, and obviously this album summarized as a rock
music which they were characteristic of was differnt from the rock which was born with New York City and
West Coast. Natural in the face of technocratic artfice, its woven, wailing harmonies suggested the fervour
of sanctified soul, while the instrumental pulse drew inspiration from carnivals, country and R&B.


The Band, Families and Peoples in Woodstock

In August, 1969 the Band performs at the climatic Woodstock Music and Art Fair and launches its first
US tour at Winterland in San Francisco. It becomes the first North American rock group to appear on
the cover of Time magazine.

In July, 1973 the Band appears before an estimated 650,000 people(the largest rock concert audience in history) at the Watkins Glen Festival in upstate New York, sharing the bill with the Allman Brothers and
the Grateful Dead.


Watokins Glen Festival, July 28, 1973

In 1974 the Band backed Dylan on his acclaimed "Planet Waves" album and undertook the extensive tour
documented on "Before The Flood." This contains both Dylan and the Band songs recorded live.

However, In 1976 the individual members had decided to dissolve the group and partnership was sundered with a gala performance at San Francisco's Winterland ballroom. "The Last Waltz" farewell concert on
Thanksgiving night, featured many guest contributions, including those by Dylan, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison,
Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Paul Butterfield, and was the subject of Martin Scorsese's film of the same name
and a commemorative triple album.


The Last Waltz concert, Thanksgiving Day, 1976

The Band's deceptive simplicity was their very strength, binding lyrics of histrical and bibilical metaphor to
sinuous, memorable melodies. Their music was shown reliable a point of view which stared at the tradition of
American roots based on the deep considered music expression. They are North America's greatest ever
rock and roll band.

 


My Favorite Music Sources Page

Main Page



E-mail to
kouchi@cypress.ne.jp