I remember the first time I saw The Last Waltz as a 12 year old in 1980 and being greatly impacted by The Band. As much as I love the Beatles, Jethro Tull, Zeppelin, and other rock bands, The Band was probably the most influential on me in terms of taste, arrangement, and songwriting. Robbie Robertson, who has passed away at 80, was always my favorite, my hero of the band. He’s gotten a negative rap in the “Levon or Robbie” debate, but I always found that to be a silly debate. Regardless of the contribution of others within the group, Robbie was the music and words of the Band, much like Roger Waters was for Pink Floyd. That level of creative input/control is going to make people unhappy.
This audio is a practice run through of It Makes No Difference. Sung by Rick Danko, the tune is a master class in popular songwriting. This is my brother Phil and I doing an initial run through for a festival gig we had circa 2008. I’m playing octave mandolin and Phil is singing. He is a major fan of Rick’s singing and think he does an incredible job capturing it.