Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bobby and The Band

No, not that Bobby. I´m talking about Bobby Charles here, spilling water melon juice all over his orange sweater in the picture above. His self-titled debut album from ´72 was finally re-released (and for a nice price at that) by Rhino Records UK recently. A rootsy, near-forgotten minor masterpiece with a relaxed but always funky Louisiana feel. "I saw a butterfly and I named it after you..." That´s producer and ´6th member of The Band´ John Simon on piano on the exquisite I Must Be In A Good Place Now.

Official members of The Band make an appearance here too: Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Rick Danko all play on assorted tracks. Grow Too Old was written by Charles with Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Good company, but hey, Charles just happened to be the author of See You Later, Alligator back in the fifties, so he could throw some weight around I guess. That saxophone´s way too bland though, which is what you get when you hire David Sanborn for the job. Strange choice, but as it´s the only flaw here we can easily live with it.

Bobby Charles - I Must Be In A Good Place Now MP3
Bobby Charles - Grow Too Old MP3

While we´re on the subject of The Band, let´s hear it for Danko/Manuel, a beautiful and heartfelt ballad by the Drive-By Truckers from their much recommended ´01 Southern Rock Opera album.
"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."

Drive-By Truckers - Danko/Manuel MP3

And to wrap this up, here are the two Band members in question, both sadly no longer with us. Whispering Pines was the showpiece of pianist and sometime drummer Richard Manuel (´43-´86). Find it on The Band´s eponymous second album. "Foghorn through the night, calling out to sea..." Amazing vocal. Grow Too Old (yup, same one) hails from a posthumously released album called Whispering Pines, Live At The Getaway Saugerties NY, recorded on 12 October ´85. Check out that piano. Bassist Rick Danko (´42-´99) sings lead on The Unfaithful Servant, also from that classic ´brown album´. "It´s no ones fault, makes no difference if we fade away, it´s just as it was, it´s much to cold for me to stay..."

The Band - Whispering Pines MP3
Richard Manuel - Grow Too Old (live ´85) MP3
The Band - The Unfaithful Servant MP3

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joe Strummer did a great cover of Bobby Charles' "Grow Too Old" - it was retitled "Silver and Gold" - there may be a few different words but it's the same song. Thanks - I always wanted to hear the original.