CounterPunch

Farewell to Levon Helm

And the Band Played On

Farewell to Levon

by PETER STONE BROWN

It was in the spring 47 years ago that my brother brought home an album by blues singer John Hammond called So Many Roads.  It was Hammond’s third album and his second with a band.  The names of the musicians backing him were unfamiliar, though in the next several months we’d find out who they were.  The names as listed on the cover were C.D. Musselwhite, harmonica; Jaime R. Robertson, guitar; Michael Bloomfield, piano; Eric Hudson, organ and Mark Levon Helm on drums.  That album served to lead us to the Chicago blues greats, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, and many others.  The music was loud, maybe even a bit raucous, and there was something about the drums you couldn’t help but notice.

 

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About the author

Peter Stone Brown

Peter Stone Brown is a Songwriter and Journalist.

1 Comment

  • The media is full of tributes to Levon Helm and rightfully so. But of all the pieces that are out there and those still to come, including the ones in the big bucks major publications, only one of them will have been written by someone who started listening to Levon with that 1965 John Hammond, Jr. LP, who was at Forest Hills ’65, who saw a Dylan-Hawks show when Levon was still with them, who had the Big Pink
    record at its release, who saw the ’69 Filmore East show, the ’74 Dylan-Band tour, the incarnations of the post-Robertson version of The Band,who even saw the Helm-Danko shows, all the way through the years to seeing one of the Midnight Ramble shows when Levon took that on the road. And that one person is Peter Stone Brown.

    Furthermore, that’s just Levon. Peter Stone Brown can write with equal authority about all sorts of music and musicians. He’s followed the music since he was a kid, and his adult background as a singer/songwriter/recording artist/music journalist/radio host means he brings an insight to his subjects that others without such life experience just can’t match.

    Congratulations on the blog Peter. Your work deserves a wider readership. Hopefully, someone in a position to make that happen
    will do just that – make it happen.

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