Boomer Anthems: "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

The Black Crowes do a very nice cover -

As a Yank, my perception of the tune is different.

Posted by tim at May 28, 2015 10:58 AM

Remarkable song since there was no sense of irony for Age of Aquarius musicians singing about the end of the Confederacy.

That fact's OK by me. They loved the music, they loved singing and composing. Not else really mattered to the same people who might also sing "We Shall Overcome."

Posted by Don Rodrigo at May 28, 2015 11:21 AM

The Band had some amazing songs, and this one in particular is surprisingly thoughtful and sympathetic toward the soldiers, whatever their cause or why they fought.

Posted by Christopher Taylor at May 28, 2015 2:17 PM

I believe that is my favorite version of the song.

Posted by Mike at May 28, 2015 9:30 PM

Good ol' Canadian boys from deep in the heart of Toronto
writing songs like they were Confederates.

Posted by Martyn Burke at May 28, 2015 10:54 PM

Allow me to recommend the documentary "Ain't In It For My Health", an elegaic look at Levon Helm's life produced within a few years of his death. It's an artfully produced look at him, his work, and his family. A particularly powerful segment has him singing to his grandchild, accompanied by only his mandolin and the child's mother. If you're a fan of The Band you will enjoy it.

Posted by DC at May 28, 2015 11:00 PM

As I recall The Band worked as backup for Ronnie Hawkins — Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks — and as backup for Bob Dylan. Early Band albums had a good "come-from".

Canada provided a lot of good musicians in the late Sixties and Seventies, the following copied from Wikipedia:
Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Denny Doherty (of The Mamas & the Papas), David Clayton-Thomas (of Blood, Sweat & Tears), Andy Kim, Zal Yanovsky (of The Lovin' Spoonful), John Kay (of Steppenwolf), and Ian & Sylvia found international audiences. One important example was a Winnipeg band called Chad Allan & the Expressions, which had a 1965 hit with a version of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over". They would eventually evolve into The Guess Who, the first Canadian rock group to have a No.1 hit that reached the top on the Canadian Singles Chart and the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, with "American Woman" in 1970. Their success paved the way for a new wave of Canadian singer-songwriters, including Stan Rogers, Murray McLauchlan, Bruce Cockburn and Willie P. Bennett.
Steppenwolf is most famous for the songs Born to Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride and The Pusher.
Neil Young, who was a member of the folk rock band Buffalo Springfield, before joining Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Young.

Bonus points for anyone that has ever heard Stompin' Tom Connors or gotten drunk in The Horseshoe Tavern.

Posted by chasmatic at May 28, 2015 11:51 PM

I lived and worked for a number of years in Canada. I was fortunate enough to obtain Canadian citizenship.
Canada and the US have an agreement where folks can hold dual citizenship.
I consider that my ace in the hole. When things get bad enough here in the States me and the missus can always go north.
If we are able to that is.

Posted by chasmatic at May 29, 2015 6:08 AM

One music critic made the comment that you could learn as much about the Civil War by listening to Levon's voice in one verse of this song as any high school history class. Not too much of an exaggeration, for better or worse.

The Band had another song years later, 'Acadian Driftwood,' that seemed like they were trying (maybe a little too hard) to duplicate the success of this song. It's still beautiful, though.

Posted by dwinnorcal at May 29, 2015 8:38 AM

The night they drove old Dixie down was the night that Lincoln decided to make an illegal war against the southern States. It's in plain English in our Constitution that a free people in any State have the right to succeed. There was 600,000 (white men) killed and another 600,000 maimed.

The despot O-zero has also convinced most of the American people that he also has this lawless right with his mighty pen and phone.

Please tell me, why do the American people give that asshole the time of day?

Posted by Denny at May 29, 2015 9:59 AM

Denny: the American people actually was only 51% of them and some of that was bogus.
We need a John Wilkes Booth or Lee Harvey Oswald to step up to the plate, do the right thing.

Posted by chasmatic at May 29, 2015 10:25 AM

I hear you chas, but 51% is outrageous. It's much like taking a vote for our own suicide.

Posted by Denny at May 29, 2015 10:42 AM

Love that movie, Shooter. Only thing I would have changed is to make the Ned Beatty character a Senator from Massachusetts, not Montana.

Posted by Doug at May 29, 2015 5:24 PM

"Canada provided a lot of good musicians in the late Sixties and Seventies, the following copied from Wikipedia: Gordon Lightfoot, etc."
But Chas, you've left out the most important Canadian band of all and their signature song: Gary Lee and Showdown and their monster hit, 'The Rodeo Song'. Go ahead and look it up; it shouldn't be hard to find. Heh.

Posted by D S Craft at May 29, 2015 10:57 PM

D S: I just don't know how I overlooked them, grin.
kd lang too until she took a very public "I don't eat meat" stand.
The Alberta ranchers tanked her. I reckon you don't mess with money, eh?

I'll stick with Stompin' Tom.

Posted by chasmatic at May 30, 2015 5:48 AM

The most important line in this blog post:

"When you think you got it figured out, you're wrong. Keep on remembering that."

Posted by JudgementComes at May 30, 2015 7:14 AM

That's exactly correct.

Posted by Van der Leun at May 30, 2015 8:40 AM

As a Civil War buff (southerner by the grace of God), that song has great meaning and is heartfelt.
Wonderful version, most definitely....

Posted by lee at May 31, 2015 6:37 PM

The southern cause has been simplified to a matter of slavery, but that misses the point. If the only thing you know about the war is what you learned in school, I recommend reading Clouds of Glory, by Michael Korda. Engaging writing about Robert E Lee, the cause of the south, and the culture of the time. A surprisingly timely read

Posted by Estoy Listo at June 3, 2015 7:32 PM