Waters is great - not afraid to tell the truth and has a critical mind ... listen to his interviews from at least the last year.
- 60 posts total
- 60 posts total
What can I tell ya'? I barely tolerated The Band from day one, and hated them more often than not. I liked the song "The Weight," but I enjoyed the cover version that was an AM hit in L.A. (was it by Dusty Springfield?) far more than the one by The Band itself. To my ears, the Band severely lacked pep. Their vocals sounded choked and forced. The guitar licks weren't so much inspired as over-wrought. I never saw them live but I did see an industry pre-release screening of "The Last Waltz." I loved the genre they played in, too. I still listen to my Byrds and Buffalo Springfield LPs. What can I say? To my ears they were pretentious and leaden.
It wasn't that I didn't like the genre, either. My favorite band at the time was The Byrds...who I managed to see in every incarnation but the original with Gene Clark. Or did I see them with Gene Clark, in a reunion performance at the Troubadour?
Yeah @edcyn, The Band really separates the men from the boys ;-) . I didn’t get Music From Big Pink at all when it was released. I was confused (and perturbed) that many of the people who shared my musical taste loved it, and I couldn’t relate to it in the slightest. I was still into Cream, Hendrix, The Who, Jeff Beck, etc. Power Trios.
Then in the Summer of ’69 my teen combo (an old term for a young band that I still enjoy using) got the gig of opening for The New Buffalo Springfield at a local San Jose high school. We played our set, and then The NBS took the stage. The only remaining Buffalo Springfield member was drummer Dewey Martin, and on bass and harmony vocals was Randy Fuller, Bobby’s brother. I loved The Bobby Fuller 4, so that was cool!
They started their set, and as they played one song and then another, I became mystified. None of them seemed to be doing much, but they sounded SO good. Well, before their set ended I had experienced my first epiphany. I suddenly understood what The Band was all about: ensemble playing! Dewey’s drum parts were designed to serve the song, not impress other drummers. When the lead guitarist took a solo (thankfully, fairly short ;-), the bass player stayed with the bass drum, not also soloing ala Jack Bruce. Great 3-part harmonies (which were not a thing in power trios), songs with great chord progressions, including bridges.
There are other musical ensembles who understand and play in ensemble fashion, but when The Band appeared that style was certainly not common. That’s why when Clapton heard MFBP he realized (and has stated numerous times) that "music had been heading in the wrong direction for a long time" (an exact quote), a direction he himself had been leading! His reaction to hearing MFBP was to disband Cream.
As for The Band’s vocals "sounding choked and forced": Wow. Richard Manuel is one of the greatest singers I’ve ever heard, and Levon’s vocals are a joy to hear. I am far from alone in that opinion, and truly pity anyone who doesn’t get it. But I understand; I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now ;-) .