So last night it was off to the Beacon to see Levon Helm and Bettye LaVette. I am late to the party with Ms. LaVette but I have to say I enjoyed her latest Interpretations: The British Rock Song Book. She has a great soul singer kind of voice and can still belt it out at 65. In particular I found Isn't It a Pity and Love Reign O'er Me to be excellent. The uptempo numbers were good, but she's a bit too old to be shaking it in my opinion. Just a touch creepy. Other than that she was very good.
Levon Helm is a throat cancer survivor. He's lucky to be talking much less singing but has still made two excellent albums over the past few years.. Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt. The latter is a big favorite of my son so I took him last night. I posted back in July about his show with Willie at Radio City and how much I enjoyed it and this was no different. Great night of music all around. Levon only sang on a few cuts (he has had throat issues for the past year or so which are not cancer related) opening with Ophelia as well as parts of Deep Elem Blues, Blind Willie McTell (duet with Larry Campbell), the Weight (everyone sings) and the closer I Shall Be Released with his daughter Amy.
In between you get some really great music. Some Band, some Dead, it's different every night as it should be. The band is very tight and also freaking huge at 12 counting Levon. At one point during the encore there were 15 people on stage.
The Band played Americana before anyone knew what it was. They were the great American band of the 60's. Levon Helm continues to bring this great music to folks 35 years after they broke up. I hope he continues and am planning on attending a Midnight Ramble some time this summer. I love this stuff...