16 September 2011

Front Porch Pickin' #17 - Drivin' Ole Dixie Down


From our Front Porch Pickin' series, OVB strives to bring you the very best in in Southern Appalachian bluegrass, gospel, folk, country, and old-time mountain music. Obviously, this is a bit out of the norm for our Front Porch Pickin' genre, but still germane to the blog. And as always, you can still get your culture here.



"Nothing I have read … has brought home the overwhelming human sense of history that this song does. The only thing I can relate it to at all is The Red Badge of Courage. It's a remarkable song, the rhythmic structure, the voice of Levon and the bass line with the drum accents and then the heavy close harmony of Levon, Richard and Rick in the theme, make it seem impossible that this isn't some traditional material handed down from father to son straight from that winter of 1865 to today. It has that ring of truth and the whole aura of authenticity." ~ The Rolling Stone, October 1969

11 comments:

13thBama said...

Nice! Levon Helm has such a unique voice.

Douglas Hill said...

Interestingly, I received a book by Levon Helm as a gift this week- This Wheel's On Fire, from a song title whose origin is in the book of Isaiah. Without Levon's Arkansan twang you'd have four Canadians trying to create a Southern sound and likely failing; but as it turned out, you have a masterpiece.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

13B - Yes he does. Perfect for that song.

Doug - I'm not much of a rock 'n roll fan any more, but that song and the style it's done it kinda transcends rock. Dixie at the beginning, Helm's unique voice, and the wonderful lyrics (though the dates are a bit off), all combine into a true Southern classic. I can listen to it over and over. I think it accurately captures the emotions many Confederates felt in the spring of 1865, and in the months and years that followed.

Douglas Hill said...

Rick- there's a world (and a Good Book) full of reasons to cast a suspicious eye at the world of rock n' roll, but the The Band was folky enough to make me a fan of their music, with a barrel full of songs providing the same feel as this one. Having said that, while I've just started reading the book I mentioned my understanding is Helm exposes the excesses of the world of sex, drugs and folky rock n' roll. All too typically one band member took his own life in 1986.

Back on topic to some degree- laying the groundwork for the book, Helm talks about his raising on the cotton farms of Phillips County, Arkansas, a county he claims provided the Confederacy with seven general officers, more than any county in the entire CS of A.

Two more musical "notes" here: if you've ever heard commie-lib Joan Baez's live version of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down she sounds like she's celebrating the fact; for another taste of The Band and their style, if permitted try this:

http://grooveshark.com/#/s/Rockin+Chair/405ZDn?src=5

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"Helm exposes the excesses of the world of sex, drugs and folky rock n' roll."

Excesses indeed. The same crowd now running things. ;o)

Thomas said...

Ridley, you got a stick of Beeman's you can loan me?

Anonymous said...

Did you know that Levon Helm played Loretta Lynn's father in Coal Miners Daughter?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Anon - no, I did not. Interesting.

Douglas Hill said...

Levon also narrated the movie The Right Stuff and played the part of Col. Jack Ridley opposite Sam Shepard's Chuck Yeager. I've been wanting me some Beeman's gum ever since.

Welcome back Rick; you were missed!

Thomas said...

...and he played experimental flight engineer Major (later Colonel) Jack Ridley in "The Right Stuff"...hence the Beeman's gum reference.

Douglas Hill said...

Too funny Thomas (with Rick as intermediary)! I honestly didn't see your earlier Beeman's reference when I made mine. Your last comment made me scroll up to find it. With a pack of that gum I think I could conquer the world.

Sorry I got his military rank in that era wrong...