Band documentary - history belongs to the victors?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by klasher, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    Clapton's was a big disappointment to me. I never finished it. He goes on & on talking about shooting up & eating chocolate while high. I think the whole Duane Allman Layla sessions gets covered in a page. Keith Richards' book was great, Gregg Allman's was good. I have one of Willie Nelson's but haven't had time to get to it yet.
     
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  2. P-Nutz

    P-Nutz Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    ... history belongs to the victors ...

    ... absolutely and always ...
     
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  3. O- Fender

    O- Fender Tele-Afflicted

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    The version I heard wasn't someone unplugged it, it was never meant to be plugged in. Good thing, too. You can see Robbie came in waaay early on "Helpless" and Rick stops him.

    To be fair to Robbie, there is an account floating around the net of the guy who cowrote with Levon. This guy did most of the work. He would ask LHs opinion and Levon considered that as cowriting.
    Maybe Robbie isn't completely the bad guy. (completely, IMO I think he could have handled things better)
     
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  4. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    The thing about Robertson is he is probably a douche, but he had a work ethic. The rest of them were getting high non stop, Manuel was drinking himself to death. They needed to get records out, Robbie was the only one who had his eye on the business end. They had as mentioned a two or three year run where they were really great, and then what you saw was that without the rest of them engaged and paying attention, Robbie was not a great artist. His solo songs are just strings of cliches. He really depended on their unique voices and talents. What else was he supposed to do though? Nobody else in the band was trying.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  5. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    “The Band” = “inconvenient truths” everywhere you look.

    The first disc of the four disc Band box set is fascinating.

    You got 10 or 15 various Hawks tunes that make you beyond sad you never saw them live in a club . Robbie’s guitar playing is fantastic and the all the vocalists and the interplay and the groove - a truly great r&b/blues band.



    I read Levon’s book , I’ll read Robbie’s if it’s at the library .


    I don’t really think there’s been a untrue word written in this entire thread - unless someone wrote that they don’t think that Robbie really had much to do with the bands success.

    Of course he did.

    But then again, at the end of the day the main bone of contention has always been how much help he had with those phenomenal songs on the first two records.

    Lastly, just because it needs to be entered into the official record :

    Levon Helm is one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock ‘n’ roll and one of America’s greatest vocalists - in any genre - as well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
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  6. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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  7. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    According to the press, The Band split publishing five ways equally, and one-by-one, the other members asked Robbie to buy them out.
     
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  8. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    True, true.


    According to Jonathan Taplin, their road manager, Robbie wrote the songs. According to John Simon, who produced and played on their first two records, Robbie wrote the songs. According to Larry Campbell, who played with Levon in his latter years, Levon wasn't too big on songwriting.

    True, true.
     
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  9. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Meister

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    Wow! I never knew that; never even heard it. I always heard the opposite. I can't find any conclusive evidence, though this - https://dontforgetthesongs365.wordp...redits-between-robbie-robertson-and-the-band/ - kind of points the other way.

    But if that was the case (at the time, the publishing half of the royalties generally was snapped up by management and the record companies) it would certainly change the complexion of the situation. I think I found your source; it's from Robbie's book. If completely true, it would put all the subsequent griping from the members into the sour grapes category.

    I'd certainly rather have that be the case: I am, after all a Roberston fan and a big fan of cooperation, in general...)))
     
  10. klasher

    klasher Tele-Holic

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    Wasn't there, so I don't know, but according to Levon that is completely false.
    In terms of the songwriting, I think it's certainly true Robbie wrote most of the songs, or at least the core of the songs. But, as Levon suggested in his book, I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the guys made suggestions along the way. How significant those would be or how worthy of publishing royalties those would be, I don't know. But I do know on the live Rock of Ages, Robbie is given partial songwriting credit for The Genetic Method. The Genetic Method is a keyboard solo from Garth. That seems a little odd to me. And sure, the rest of the guys weren't really trying too hard after the second or third record. But the counterargument to that is once they realized Robbie was taking most of the credit and making most of the royalties, maybe their since of enthusiasm started to understandably wane.
    Again I'm a fan of Robbie's solo records, I actually like them more than a lot of Band stuff. But Robbie's behavior and history toward the rest of his Band-mates is pretty troubling.
     
  11. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I Robbie is involved, then yes, I believe you are correct sir.!
    Before I read the bio's and just listened, I never understood the "Aura" regarding Robbie and didn't know the history of his relationship with the group other than "guitar player". I guess he wrote a lot of the music and it was good writing. But as a player, I doubt he would be in the top 100 for me. I never thought his playing flowed well.
     
  12. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I love Robbie Robertson's guitar playing and he was in one of the greatest bands ever. Other than that, I am SURE I would not want to hang out with him.
     
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  13. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I thought in Robbie's book, he found his name was being put as sole songwriter by publishing and he was feeling at the time he was carrying the load, so he just kind of let it ride. I don't recall the 5 way split. I could be wrong.
     
  14. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Doctor of Teleocity

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    Van Morrison considered Richard the voice of The Band. His vocals are what got him into the group to begin with. I love Levon & Rick’s voices as well!
     
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  15. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr TDPRI Member

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    I read both Levon's and Robbie's books, I saw them in concert. I'm a big fan of their music. In his book, Levon talked a lot about how the songs came about and how they evolved with the group. Robbie's said almost nothing about writing or his writing process. I was hoping for insights from him but it seemed mostly like who he knew and his insights on them.

    From Levon I get the idea they would add bits and pieces and Robbie would pull it all together. W.S. Walcott Medicine Show was Levon's story from his child hood that he told to Robbie. Robbie wrote the song about that. IMO Levon should have gotten a writers credit for that. I think there were more instances of that that left some hard feelings. There was less collaboration after that.

    The smart thing and I think the right thing, would have been to give fractional writers credits, say 5% minimum, to everybody, more based on contribution. At least everyone would have been getting at least some writers royalties. Royalties are lucrative based on album sales and performances and Robbie walked away wealthy and left the other guys hanging.

    Robbie knew how the publishing business worked. In NYC the other guys had no interest in it when they were there but Doc Pomus and the other Brille building writers taught Robbie all the ways that publishers screwed them. Robbie knew the score. So when the first album came out, Levon and the rest were surprised that Robbie had almost all the writers credits. They learned too late about royalty checks that keep coming in whether you tour or not.

    Then Robbie was ready to exit with Last Waltz and get off the road. Financially he didn't need to gig and he wanted to branch off into acting. The way the publishing ended up the other guys needed cash from gigs to have some income.

    Levon's version seems credible to me and seems to line up better with the way things turned out than Robbie's did. The band continued without Robbie and most of them were on the outs with him.
     
  16. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Fretwalkrs right on with what I got from both books. I feel RR drew from a lot of the other members life experiences and had the songwriting chops to create the songs, but he needed the others in the band to make them the pieces of art they are. He also knew better than the others about songwriting credits. They were a top notch roadhouse band, he paid attention to the business end better. Still no excuse for screwing over friends.
     
  17. klasher

    klasher Tele-Holic

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    Levon included a lot of insight into this in his book, how they all (except Robbie) learned how royalties really worked but too late to do anything about it. He told a great story of how Danko helped write one song on one of their records, and he actually got a partial songwriting credit for it. I can't remember which song it was. The album comes out, the song's not even a hit or anything, but a few months later Danko gets this enormous royalty check in the mail that he was totally shocked by. From what I remember of that part of the book, that's when they started putting two and two together and really started realizing how much Robbie was making compared to the rest of them. Hard to blame them for not really wanting to be involved in the record making process after that. Of course, drugs totally derailed their abilities as well, which is a whole other part of their story.
     
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  18. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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  19. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    meh, I just listen to the records, all this other stuff just gets in the way.
     
  20. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    Robertson's solo work is missing all the stuff that was great about The Band. It's full of beer-commercial blues cliches, crap about the road and old cars. It's not perceptive. It's not weird. It's not interesting. The Band was odd and strange and funky. Robertson probably wrote most of the songs, but he wrote them for those voices, that feel. He had a moment where being around Bob Dylan allowed him to stray from conventional rock song subjects, and he was helped in that by again the distinctive oddness of his bandmates. Levon had a very distinctive funky feel: Danko was a really strange and cool bass player, Manuel had a fantastic voice, the best of three fantastic voices. Garth was weird. Robertson was least weird and the most conventional of all of them, and it shows.
     
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