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I saw this at a theater right before the fake-pandemic started ;-), and enjoyed it for what it is. I take issue with a few of the things Robertson said, but that’s to be expected. There is also a movie made about Levon: I Ain’t In It For My Health. That line was Levon’s response to Robertson saying the Rock ’n Roll life is not a healthy one. ;-) I especially like the scene filmed in Levon’s Woodstock kitchen with Billy Bob Thornton. Thornton is himself a drummer, and the awe and reverence he reserves and displays for Levon is quite evident.
I went to the book signing when Levon’s autobiography was released (at Book Soup, directly across the street from the Tower Records on Sunset Blvd.). As I awaited my turn at the table, I heard a commotion behind me. Turning around, I saw Ringo Starr making his way up the line, book in hand. Hey bud, no cuts! ;-)
Robertson’s autobiography (Testimony)---which is naturally about his entire life, not just The Band---is fantastic! Absolutely essential reading for those wanting to know every detail about the story of the best (in the opinion of quite a few musicians/songwriters/singers) self-contained (writing, singing, and playing) Rock ’n’ Roll combo in the music’s entire history.
I’ve read every word ever written about The Band (they are by far my favorite, of which some of you may already be aware ;-), and still learned a LOT from the book. Once again, some things Robertson says in the book can be challenged, but I fully expected him to offer a rationale for his actions. One of his quotes he didn’t include in the book is the one he uttered when asked about some of the behind-the-other’s-backs moves he made: "I did what I had to do." Sounds like an admission to me. Still, highly recommended.
Another must-read about them is the one written by Harvey & Kenneth Kubernik: The Story Of The Band; From Big Pink To The Last Waltz. Harvey is a well known music writer and critic in L.A., and he includes quotes and Band-related stories from the likes of Ry Cooder, Jack DeJohnette, and a number of other superior musicians, songwriters, and singers. A lot of great pics, too.
Absolutely, @theo! Muscle Shoals is all about the Fame recording studio owned by Rick Hall. Fame is where Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler brought Aretha, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, Dusty Springfield, and numerous other artists to record. Why? Because of the Fame Studio’s house band, The Swampers. Do you like Boz Scaggs’ first Atlantic Records album? The band on that album is The Swampers. How about Dylan’s three Christian albums? The Swampers.
Studio great Jim Keltner (George Harrison, John Lennon, Randy Newman, The Traveling Wilburys, Little Village, lots of Ry Cooder albums, Bill Frisell) said in an interview that he wished he played more like The Swampers’ Roger Hawkins. Pickett said when Wexler told him they were going to Muscle Shoals to record, he was filled with apprehension (Wilson, like many other Southern blacks, had fled the South to escape its severe racism). He said when he walked into the studio his worst fears were realized, as he was faced with a bunch of white crackers. Then the band began to play, and couldn’t believe what he was hearing: the funkiest, best band he had ever heard!
Paul Simon booked four days at the studio to record one song ("Kodachrome"). Four days later he left with eight completed tracks, all found on his fantastic There Goes Rhymin’ Simon album. My all-time favorite studio recording band, they have made albums with an unbelievable number of artists.