While history will surely remember Helm for his role as the drummer for Bob Dylan's first electric tour and for his portrayal of Loretta Lynn's dad in Coal Miner's Daughter, Helm should also be remembered for the fine solo work he released near the end of his life, for which he won numerous awards.
Here are ten tracks that you could say were helmed by Levon!
9) You Can't Win 'Em All: The 1980s were not a kind decade for musicians brought up on natural sounds. Helm was no exception. This 1982 self-titled solo album, not to be confused with the other self-titled solo album from 1978, has some production misfires but the opening cut is plenty of fun if you ever wondered what Helm might sound like leading Tommy Tutone.
7) Even A Fool Would Let Go: Another cut from Helm's 1982 self-titled album, "Even A Fool" sounds a bit like something off a Billy Joel album from 1978 or a "modern country" album of the early 1980s, but Helm's vocal is soulful and assured and proof that a great vocalist can work wonders no matter the situation. Don't overlook it!
6) Growing Trade: Written by Helm and his right-hand man, guitarist Larry Campbell, this track works up the lather that Helm was a hard-working man who knew the value of mentioning one's grandfather in song and the proper way to mention the sun on one's shoulders.
5) When I Go Away: Electric Dirt has some of Helm's best musical accompaniment. The production is spare and to the point, making the album far more of a joy than the output of most men closing in on 70, who are often found at early-bird specials in Florida restaurants. Music keeps you young and in need.
3) Up On Cripple Creek: OK, this is where most people figured I'd end up. The Band. Though Helm was the third vocalist in the band, coming in behind Richard Manuel and Rick Danko, he sang several of the group's key tracks that people associate with this bunch of rustic-music loving anti-psychedelic rangers. Let's all get back to the land.
2) The Weight: Who hasn't sat in a bar and heard someone attempt "The Weight" only to miss the mark by a noticeable distance? The joy of the tune is how each member of the group shares the "weight" of the tune. Or maybe you prefer the "Smith" version.
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