Bob Dylan’s funky crackers

On the latest episode of Re: Collections by Mum’s Old Vinyl (featuring Cantebury phsychers Syd Arthur) there is a track chosen which I haven’t heard, despite it being by one of my favourite bands,specifically The Band.

Quick potted history for those who don’t know. The Band were originally Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band, then became Bob Dylan’s backing band before releasing a few *incredible* albums in the 70s and appearing the Scorcese rockumentary The Last Waltz. Their appeal for me lies in the fact that they were all oustandingly capable musicians, having honed their skills on the road for years before finding greater commercial success.

They’re often thought of as a roots or folk band, and a lot of the more recent alt. county stuff takes its cues from them, but to coin a phrase my dear friend Matt Nice would use, a lot of their output is pure “white boy funk”. The above fits into that description nicely, having a bit more kick and bite to the groove than Marvin Gaye’s original. Garth Hudson’s swirling organ (arf!) gives their music that gospel-influenced sound and Levon Helm has the voice of a blues singer rather than a country singer. Check out the tracks Ophelia, Up On Cripple Creek, and Ring Your Bell (all on Spotify) for more in this vein. Not bad for a band who wanted to be called The Crackers!

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