Uncut, September 2014

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Ultimate Music Guide

UK & Ireland magazines


The Midnight Ramble Sessions Vol 3

The Levon Helm Band

Nigel Williamson

Downhome one last time with the legendary Band man

No longer able to tour, during his final years before his death from cancer in 2012, Helm invited friends to play with him at his weekly "Midnight Ramble" shows at his home in Woodstock. Two discs from the sessions appeared in 2006 and Vol 3 — for which Helm selected the tracks and oversaw the artwork before he died — is as delightful in its rustic roots-rock charm as its predecessors. Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello join Helm and band to fine effect on "A Certain Girl," Chris Robinson tears down the barn on "Shake Your Money Maker" and although enfeebled by illness and only able to take the lead vocal on four tracks, Helm's voice is still profoundly evocative on standards such as "Take Me To The River" and "Drivin' Wheel." Daughter Amy steps up to the plate to take the vocals on the country-gospel of Sam Cooke's "Ain't That Good News" and the ragtime reinvention of "A Simple Twist Of Fate," with Helm's mandolin duetting wonderfully with the brilliant New Orleans-style piano playing of Brian Mitchell, is inspired. There's nothing new or revolutionary here; just a bunch of simpatico musicians lovingly mining the motherlode of American music with Helm's warm, soulful presence providing the glue. Glorious.

Tags: The Midnight Ramble Sessions Vol 3Levon HelmThe BandMidnight RambleWoodstockAllen ToussaintA Certain GirlChris RobinsonAmy HelmSam CookeSimple Twist Of Fate

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Uncut, No. 208, September 2014

Nigel Williamson reviews The Midnight Ramble Sessions Vol 3.


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Page scan.

Cover and page scan.
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