jcocktosten posted:steve8 posted:
JC, it was OK. Some clips come from The Last Waltz, which many have seen before. It is a very biased doc for sure and Robertson essentially blames the heroin problems of Danko, Manuel and Helm for the dissolution of the brotherhood. The early part of the story is the most interesting and new (to me) part of the doc.
Thanks. Makes sense. Always loved The Band
I have it queued up to watch. You know from the title that it's going to be biased: Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson & The Band.
I read his autobiography and apparently the doc tells the same version of events. I also read Levon's autobiography. Two very different takes, of course.
Levon does admit that drugs played a part in the group's problems. Manuel and Danko contributed far more to the songwriting on the first two albums but eventually stopped writing altogether. But Levon contends that the other band members should have received credit on many of the songs that were attributed solely to Robertson. Levon said the other members contributed to the songs by way of the arrangements. He also said that he told stories to Robbie about various characters he knew in Arkansas, and Robbie turned the stories into songs. That may be, but you don't get a songwriting credit for arranging a song or for inspiring a songwriter.
The biggest discrepancy between the two books is how Robbie went about buying back the royalty rights from the other members. Robbie claims that Manuel and Danko approached him and said they needed money and wanted to sell their rights. He also claims he told Levon that he should hang on to his rights, but Levon also decided to sell. Meanwhile, Levon claimed that Robbie hoodwinked them.
There's no denying that Robertson was a masterful songwriter. On the other hand, a big part of The Band was the magic those five musicians created when playing together - and of that, Robertson was only one fifth.
Robertson takes a lot of self-credit as the band's leader, but it also sounds like Robertson took control of the group's affairs because none of the others were motivated to do so. It not for Robertson, the group probably would have dissolved after the first 3 albums.
I read an interview with Larry Campbell, Levon's long-time musical director and guitarist in the Ramble band. Larry said that he believes the truth lies somewhere half way in between Robbie's and Levon's versions of events.