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Rick Danko: Infectious Joy and Non-Showbiz Charisma


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by Jeff Wilson

We all know what happened when the rain came down at Woodstock: Rather than run for cover or whine about substandard concert conditions, 300,000 hippies experienced a Dionysian rebirth. Wet, muddy, and occasionally buck-naked, they all had shit-eating smiles as Mother Nature turned Max Yasgur’s farm into sludge.

That was 1969, when hippies ruled the earth. About 10 years later I attended a much smaller music festival with a different vibe. The headliner that day was the country artist Waylon Jennings. Also listed were Buddy Holly’s old back-up band, the Crickets, J.J. Cale, Rick Danko, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Something about the way the concert was advertised suggested that Danko and Butterfield might play together, but that wasn’t completely clear.

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by Jeff Wilson

We all know what happened when the rain came down at Woodstock: Rather than run for cover or whine about substandard concert conditions, 300,000 hippies experienced a Dionysian rebirth. Wet, muddy, and occasionally buck-naked, they all had shit-eating smiles as Mother Nature turned Max Yasgur’s farm into sludge.

That was 1969, when hippies ruled the earth. About 10 years later I attended a much smaller music festival with a different vibe. The headliner that day was the country artist Waylon Jennings. Also listed were Buddy Holly’s old back-up band, the Crickets, J.J. Cale, Rick Danko, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Something about the way the concert was advertised suggested that Danko and Butterfield might play together, but that wasn’t completely clear.

To read the rest of the article click here.

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Thanks for the memories. I am a big fan of the The Band & Rick Danko. Favorite song is Sip The Wine. He was a great performer and musician highly under rated. I once heard Rick described as playing the role of the dumb country cousin. What a shame he died way to young. I never really understood what happened to The Band except Robbie Robertson was the real businessman and never looked back after the Last Waltz. I Love that dvd.

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Thanks for the memories. I am a big fan of the The Band & Rick Danko. Favorite song is Sip The Wine. He was a great performer and musician highly under rated. I once heard Rick described as playing the role of the dumb country cousin. What a shame he died way to young. I never really understood what happened to The Band except Robbie Robertson was the real businessman and never looked back after the Last Waltz. I Love that dvd.

I'm not sure if you've heard of a band called the Drive-By Truckers but their former guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Jason Isbell penned a very poignant tribute to The Band called Danko / Manuel (lyrics and video below). As a fan of The Band you may also be interested in this thread about a new Levon Helm short film. I've encountered several fans of The Band here over the years but hardly any seem to be aware of Levon's Midnight Rambles concerts or his very excellent Dirt Farmer album from last year.

Let the night air cool you off.

Tilt your head back and try to cough.

Don't say nothing 'bout the things you never saw.

Let the night air cool you off.

I ain't living like I should.

A little rest might do me good.

Got to sinking in the place where I once stood.

Now I ain't living like I should.

Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold.

Maybe I can only hear it in my head.

Fifteen years ago we owned that road

now it's rolling over us instead.

Richard Manuel is dead.

God forbid you call their bluff.

Like the nightmares ain't enough.

Remember when we used to think that we were tough?

God forbid you call their bluff.

First they make you out to be

the only pirate on the sea.

Then they say Danko would have sounded just like me.

"Is that the man you want to be?"

Can you hear that song? It sounds like gold.

Maybe I could make it bigger overseas.

Fifteen years ago we owned this road

now it only gives us somewhere else to leave.

Something else you can't believe.

Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold.

Maybe I can hear poor Richard from the grave

singin' where to reap and when to sow

when you've found another home you have to leave.

Something else you can't believe.

Jason Isbell © House Of Fame Music (BMI)

Mellophones and Fender Rhodes - Jason Isbell

DANKO / MANUEL

"Got to sinking in the place where I once stood." ***

Jason Isbell When I started writing this one, I wanted to capture some of Levon Helm's feelings about the deaths (and lives) of Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. The longer I worked on the song, the more impossible that became. I felt like the best I could do was to explain my own attitude toward being a working and traveling musician.

The horn parts came to me in a dream.

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I'm not sure if you've heard of a band called the Drive-By Truckers but their former guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Jason Isbell penned a very poignant tribute to The Band called Danko / Manuel (lyrics and video below). As a fan of The Band you may also be interested in this thread about a new Levon Helm short film. I've encountered several fans of The Band here over the years but hardly any seem to be aware of Levon's Midnight Rambles concerts or his very excellent Dirt Farmer album from last year.

Let the night air cool you off.

Tilt your head back and try to cough.

Don't say nothing 'bout the things you never saw.

Let the night air cool you off.

I ain't living like I should.

A little rest might do me good.

Got to sinking in the place where I once stood.

Now I ain't living like I should.

Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold.

Maybe I can only hear it in my head.

Fifteen years ago we owned that road

now it's rolling over us instead.

Richard Manuel is dead.

God forbid you call their bluff.

Like the nightmares ain't enough.

Remember when we used to think that we were tough?

God forbid you call their bluff.

First they make you out to be

the only pirate on the sea.

Then they say Danko would have sounded just like me.

"Is that the man you want to be?"

Can you hear that song? It sounds like gold.

Maybe I could make it bigger overseas.

Fifteen years ago we owned this road

now it only gives us somewhere else to leave.

Something else you can't believe.

Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold.

Maybe I can hear poor Richard from the grave

singin' where to reap and when to sow

when you've found another home you have to leave.

Something else you can't believe.

Jason Isbell © House Of Fame Music (BMI)

Mellophones and Fender Rhodes - Jason Isbell

DANKO / MANUEL

"Got to sinking in the place where I once stood." ***

Jason Isbell When I started writing this one, I wanted to capture some of Levon Helm's feelings about the deaths (and lives) of Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. The longer I worked on the song, the more impossible that became. I felt like the best I could do was to explain my own attitude toward being a working and traveling musician.

The horn parts came to me in a dream.

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Share on other sites
I'm not sure if you've heard of a band called the Drive-By Truckers but their former guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Jason Isbell penned a very poignant tribute to The Band called Danko / Manuel (lyrics and video below). As a fan of The Band you may also be interested in this thread about a new Levon Helm short film. I've encountered several fans of The Band here over the years but hardly any seem to be aware of Levon's Midnight Rambles concerts or his very excellent Dirt Farmer album from last year.

Let the night air cool you off.

Tilt your head back and try to cough.

Don't say nothing 'bout the things you never saw.

Let the night air cool you off.

I ain't living like I should.

A little rest might do me good.

Got to sinking in the place where I once stood.

Now I ain't living like I should.

Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold.

Maybe I can only hear it in my head.

Fifteen years ago we owned that road

now it's rolling over us instead.

Richard Manuel is dead.

God forbid you call their bluff.

Like the nightmares ain't enough.

Remember when we used to think that we were tough?

God forbid you call their bluff.

First they make you out to be

the only pirate on the sea.

Then they say Danko would have sounded just like me.

"Is that the man you want to be?"

Can you hear that song? It sounds like gold.

Maybe I could make it bigger overseas.

Fifteen years ago we owned this road

now it only gives us somewhere else to leave.

Something else you can't believe.

Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold.

Maybe I can hear poor Richard from the grave

singin' where to reap and when to sow

when you've found another home you have to leave.

Something else you can't believe.

Jason Isbell © House Of Fame Music (BMI)

Mellophones and Fender Rhodes - Jason Isbell

DANKO / MANUEL

"Got to sinking in the place where I once stood." ***

Jason Isbell When I started writing this one, I wanted to capture some of Levon Helm's feelings about the deaths (and lives) of Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. The longer I worked on the song, the more impossible that became. I felt like the best I could do was to explain my own attitude toward being a working and traveling musician.

The horn parts came to me in a dream.

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Nice Video loved the song. When I see Rick in the last few years of his life he looks totally different and obviously not in the best of health. I think Stage Fright on the Last Waltz is one of his best with the bank. Richard Manuel was very talented also - what a shame. THANKS FOR THE INFO!

Sorry about the duplicate reply. I tried deleting them but I obviously do not know what I am doing. HELP! How do you delete a post you copied by mistake?

Edited by Bitchin Soul
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You should find a delete button up in the top right hand corner when you go back to the post.

I loved the Band too, though I find The Last Waltz really poignant, especially Danko--that sense of everything coming to an end, and only Robbie Robertson seems to see a clear way forward. I saw them in their early days, when they were backing Dylan, and the reassembled parts of the band in the 80s--never caught them at their peak.

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