Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Live At The Academy of Music 1971"
"When your arms are empty, got nowhere to go
Come on out and catch a show
There'll be saints and sinners
You'll see losers and winners
All kinds of people you might want to know
Once you get it, you can't forget it
The W.S. Walcott medicine show"
That's the way it used to be. Concerts were not an event, but a show. Sure, you sometimes planned in advance, but other times your phone would ring and you'd hear the question...DO YOU WANNA GO?
And scalpers existed, but you could get a ticket. And if you really cared, you could work your way down front. This was long before the era of luxury boxes and gestapo security.
And hard drives and perfection.
It wasn't about getting it right, like in the video, there was no dancing involved, the show was always a little bit different, which was one of the reasons you went, to be there the night...
The Band played with a horn section.
Yes, they just released an extended version of the Band's legendary "Rock Of Ages" shows.
Can't say that I was ever as enamored as the press, but that doesn't mean I didn't own the original double album and know every lick, it's just that it's hard to improve on that second album, with "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)."
Oh, that's on this package too. But the original is so INTIMATE! You think you're listening to a lone man in a one room shack telling his tale. It's eerie, and when the album hit the runout groove, the silence was positively creepy.
But the best song on "Rock Of Ages" and this package didn't appear on any studio album, it's "Don't Do It."
It's the GROOVE!
"You know I tried to do my best
'Cause I tried to do my best
Don't do it
Don't you break my heart"
That was the best thing about being at the show, everything else fell away. If your girl had left you, if you didn't have the cash for next month's rent, there was a multi-hour respite when all that didn't matter.
Then there's Richard Manuel's vocal on "Across The Great Divide."
Levon gets all the kudos. Rick Danko has almost been completely forgotten, Richard Manuel has.
That's the life of a musician. You can put in your thirty years, but you get neither a gold watch nor a pension. You end up just as you started, with your joy and your despair. And when the despair eclipses the joy...
You know rockers die young.
And you can hear all the pain in Richard's vocal on this live track.
Sure the hits are here. But the Band was never about the hits. Rather, it was... a band.
And that's what you hear in this package. A rollicking enterprise rolling down the track. Back when we used to want to know everybody at the show, instead of making sure we were separate from those less wealthy, privileged and connected.
In days of yore, this new package would go unheard. But now, with Spotify, you can check the whole thing out!
(And don't argue with me about payments, if no one buys something, you don't make any money, and music is best when it's heard...LISTEN!)