Publisher's note: I have initiated this new segment on BCN, where I determine the Best Music Ever. I do this from my opinion, for what that is worth, where I will measure the best music that I am familiar with.
I do this for two reasons: 1) I want to expose the best music that I know to the rest of us. 2) Popular Music today may be the very worst it has ever been, and that is saying much, since I lived through Disco.
For a list of the contributions to this series, please click here.
One of my favorite bands from my era, which produced the best music of the 20th century, is The Band. The Band is not known as well as one might expect, even though one of the greatest documentaries ever made - The Last Waltz - was made about them by Martin Scorsese. If you read the linked review, by Wyatt Sanderman Day, you will learn much about this fine ensemble, which, sadly, three of these five creative spirits have now departed, with Levon Helm passing recently.
Today, we celebrate their passing (Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Levon), and their great talent by reprising their original song, The Weight. The version that we present here today is from the aforementioned documentary, The Waltz, done on a superbly lit set, featuring the gospel singers, Staples Singers.
From The Last Waltz: 3 members of The Band - (from left to right) Richard Manuel (departed), Rick Danko (departed), Robbie Roberson (still with us).
The addition of the Staple Singers accentuates the gospel influence of this Southern song, with the defining lilt of Garth Hudson's Zydeco Organ chords wafting nonchalantly as a period placement, a mood bender. Besides the Staple Singers's enriching presence, every member of The Band fills in to hone this song's lyrical wall of sound, and especially Rick Danko, when he does his "Crazy Chester" verse solo.