by The Band (The Band, 1969)
Before releasing their own material The Band spent many years intensely touring as the The Hawks with rock'n'roll musician Ronnie Hawkins and later as Bob Dylan's backing band for the infamous 'Judas' tour in the United Kingdom in 1966 when Dylan unveiled his new electric material to a decidedly mixed response from his fans. After spending time locked away with Dylan they finally broke free from the backing role and made their own material. Music From The Big Pink was released in 1968.
Most of the songs were written by Robbie Robertson, who went later to be music producer on films such as Raging Bull, Gangs Of New York and The Departed, however on this particular track Levon Helm shares the penning duties. Forever swapping and changing instruments here Helm abandons his drum kit and provides the southern twanged vocals while Richard Manuel replaces him on the sticks. One of the songs that doesn't recall early American history through it's lyrics but instead through it's music, it's rich layers and multiple instruments provide a velvet to the touch texture and with it's mix of folk, rock, country, brass and balls the song sounds truly American. In fact, The Band are often hailed as the pioneers of Americana long before it existed.