The Music, The Band… The Last Post, The Last Waltz… One Year In The Life of Marc’s Muse

To my family and friends… to anyone who ever bought me an album or CD or simply told me to go give something a listen… to anyone who ever made me a “mix tape” which is now called piracy… to my new pals at 100.3 The Sound, on and off air… to the Sound Backstage Crew and all your love… to KCRW and the volunteers on pledge drives for offering up some brilliant musical suggestions… to anyone who ever sat or stood with me at a concert… and to each and everyone who ever played live in front of me… to those regular readers, who not only praised and challenged, but commented and shared such glorious stories with me… to all of you, I say sincerely and humbly, thanks… This one is for you.

Thanks to Cutter for suggesting this as the last album of My Tunes: The Albums Project.

This is the perfect record to end on, and although yesterday was album #365, I purposely saved this for today.  Since it is a Leap Year I added one extra gem and this is one hell of a record to finish on…

Cutter also recommended a rock/comedy group called Too Much Joy, which is a hoot… actual great music and funny as hell.  Did not want to leave that out.  One of the members, Tim Quirk, has a notorious rant about the record labels which is a must read if you want to understand the music biz.  In it, he also refers the reader to the even more famous rant by Steve Albini.

So just like the music industry itself, this thing has been a challenge and a victory… a joy and a chore… There were days it was easy and days it was hard… But through it all there was some great, great music!  I feel like Rocky Balboa right now!  “I did it!”

Not to worry… the blog will continue.  I am just not sure if there will be an album a day… We shall see… We shall see…

The Band – The Last Waltz

The Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco was the site of many a famous concert… It’s pretty astounding.  In 1971 an ice skating rink was converted into a music venue by esteemed rock promoter Bill Graham.  What is considered one of the best Bruce shows/bootlegs was from Winterland…  Some call it Prodigal Son… some call it Live at Winterland… but most who were there on December 15, 1978 say that it was simply magic.  This legendary recording is out there and a must have.  Winterland officially closed on New Year’s Day in 1979 following an 8-hour plus concert by the Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and The Blues Brothers.  That would have been something… See, I think THIS is what I would use a time machine for… Rock concerts.

On Thanksgiving Day… November 25, 1976, the venue hosted what might be the most famous concert ever filmed.  Yes, Woodstock is up there, too… but Martin Scorsese, or Marty as I like to… I mean dream to call him… made one hell of a film and documentary… and yes… one that “should be played loud.”

The Band.  The simplest of names with perhaps more drama and craziness than any other… Well… Dysfunction and death, battles and egos, but most importantly brilliant, influential music.

So who were these masked marauders?

Rick Danko played  bass, violin and sang.  Levon Helm played drums, mandolin and sang… his voice so unique and specific… and yes, he sings almost all my faves.  Garth Hudson played keys and sax.  Richard Manuel played keys, percussion and sang and of course, perhaps the main source of trouble, Robbie Robertson played guitar and was the main songwriter.  Levon and Robbie are STILL bickering, and I believe their arguments kept them off the latest, remastered version of Woodstock.

Yet that is not what I think about when I watch this movie… or when I listen to this album… triple LP, by the way…

I think about the amazing music this band made… songs that I longed to sing when I started my one, only and too short-lived band at Camp Ramaquois called The Rainy Day Blues Band“The Weight” immediately comes to mind… I could sing and play harmonica, but I was an awful guitar player… I really wish I had stuck with that… Sigh…

First, they were The Hawks, backing up rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins.  Then they backed a guy named Bob Dylan.  I think he has a future… just give The Basement Tapes a listen.  Fricking glorious!

They put out six albums before this concert and breaking up… four more in various incarnations after…

Talk about a swan song… this concert is astounding… If you raided my CDs and picked my favorite artists, so many of them are here…

And how mind-boggling is this guest list:

Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Bob Dylan, Bill Graham, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Pinetop Perkins, The Staples Singers, Ringo Starr, Stephen Stills, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood and Neil Young!

The Beatles at Shea… or Hamburg… Bruce on The River tour… I know, don’t ask… I am an IDIOT… and this show… first three stops in the time machine!

My highlights… if I have to pick them…“Up On Cripple Creek”, “The Shape I’m In”, “Ophelia”, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, “Stage Fright”, Muddy doing “Mannish Boy”“The Weight” and one of my most favorite and cherished Dylan songs “I Shall Be Released.”

They don’t make ’em like they used to… music, movies, bands…

That’s not to say that there is not great art being created right here and now, there is… but I don’t know… This concert was something special.

So grab my hand and let me lead you on our last waltz… The lights are dim… the music fades and where we go tomorrow, only the chord progression knows.

This has been Marc’s Muse – My Tunes: The Albums Project.

Thank you and goodnight…



Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me, One Thumb - My Movie Reviews

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