Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music . . . from Hank Snow to The Band

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There might be more Canadian stars today if we would have had more opportunities to go to the States, because there certainly was a lot of talent. The organ was a Lowery, as opposed to the 68 w h o d o you love more common Hammond, and Hudson determined that it would be his sound, too, once he could afford it. That single generated some interest in the U.

The Kapers were playing in London in the summer of when Helm and Robertson caught them during a rare night away from Hawkins. The pair approached Hudson afterward, and said there would be a place for him in the Hawks, but Hudson politely declined.

JOHNNY HORTON WHISPERING PINES

Yet, for unknown reasons, Roulette chose not to release these tracks as a single immediately. The band continued to grind it out on their now well-established circuit between Ontario and Texas, while in the midst of this Hawkins broke one of the most stringent rules he himself imposed on his band: he got married, to a Toronto girl named Wanda Nagurski. Helm followed in short order, marrying Connie Orr, largely so he could become a landed Canadian immigrant and avoid doing military service back home.

At these 69 w h i s pe ri n g pi n e s times, Helm handled the rockers and Manuel sang the soul ballads. As a result, the new band, whose members were all roughly the same age and shared similar backgrounds, quickly gelled, just as Hawkins hoped they would.

The problem was, after only a year, he could no longer control them. Roulette still had Hawkins under contract until , and was determined to squeeze whatever it could out of him.


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This sum total of five minutes of music laid the foundation for immortality. Every barrier that had defined popular music to that point, in terms of race, age, and nationality, was made shockingly irrelevant by the sheer force the band used to rip through the songs. And, to his credit, Hawkins picked up the gauntlet that his band threw down, delivering a snarling performance that few white rockers could match, before or since.

Despite the last song being a tailor-made frat house anthem, there seemed to be a sense of finality at this session, and both Hawkins and the others felt it. During the trip, Hawkins even hired another Roulette artist, Bruce Bruno, to front the Hawks so that Hawkins only had to do the closing set each 70 w h o d o you love night. The chasm between the band and its employer was widening by the day.

As came to a close, the decision to leave stared them in the face when Danko was nearly fired for bringing a girlfriend to a Toronto gig. With no contracts binding them, Helm told Hawkins that they were prepared to stick together and go out on their own. It would take several years for either side to show any signs of remorse. It was painful to him, and to us, but we had grown musically, to a point where the stuff that we produced was much more fun to do, and more satisfying. Doing his songs became more like a novelty.

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Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music from Hank Snow to the Band

We just surpassed that musically, and his evolution just stopped. Unfortunately, Ronnie felt everyone was better than him.

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Although their show had not been radically altered, they revelled in the freedom to play predominantly 71 w h i s pe ri n g pi n e s blues-based material without the fear of being chastised by Hawkins. We believed we were doing a good duty by turning people on to certain music, because that always seemed to be an exciting thing if someone did it for you. John Hammond Jr. Guitarist Mike Bloomfield, of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who had also recently met The Hawks in Chicago, was booked for the session, but upon seeing Robertson there, quietly packed up his Telecaster and planted himself at the piano.

With this experience under their belts,The Hawks returned to Canada for gigs throughout the summer, with an eye to making their own record. There were no such problems when they found out that Henry Glover had just started his own label,Ware Records, and offered to cut a single with the provision that The Hawks arrive with material that was not so heavily blues-based.

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Both songs possessed a swagger more akin to The Rolling Stones, although far more tough-minded. To mark their fresh start with Glover, they promptly became The Canadian Squires, a name that lasted only as long as it took them to realize that U. They heard that Sonny Boy Williamson was in town, and decided it would not be inappropriate to offer their services to one of their idols.

Still, when Helm humbly approached Williamson, who was easily spotted in his Britishtailored suit and bowler hat, he conceded to spend the day jamming with The Hawks at their motel over a bottle of whisky. Halfway through, on May 25, they got word that Williamson had died, taking with him their best shot at true blues authenticity.

Canadian driftwood: We've been everywhere

As Helm sped to the airport, where one of their additional vehicles was parked, the police pulled him over and subsequently charged members of the band with marijuana possession. He finally succeeds after offering the charms of his beloved. If this meant that there was some kind of unspoken precedent for such actions,The Hawks were willing to try it if it meant freedom to pursue their livelihood south of the border.


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  • One particularly zealous fan was Cathy Evelyn Smith. Jack and all his connections were able to keep getting postponements, and in the end the case was dropped. The surroundings also motivated Robertson to start writing more. But during the second week of August, as those plans were being put into motion, Helm received an unexpected call. Dylan had not been happy with the musicians he had played with at Newport. The Butterfield rhythm section, in particular, could not grasp the swing that Dylan had worked so hard to achieve in the studio.

    Making matters worse, the catalyst for that new sound, Mike Bloomfield, turned down the shows. Finding a new guitarist became the top priority, and Dylan turned to his friend John Hammond Jr. A crucial factor was also Mary Martin, a Toronto native who had been drawn to Greenwich Village in Joan suggested that I interview for the receptionist job, so I did. I started yammering about this band from Toronto and how good they were, so one day I was hauled into a meeting when Bob was there, during which I basically told him to go to Toronto to hear them for himself.

    I had heard them play one of his songs, so I knew the combination could work. But he also had heard about them through John Hammond Jr. Dylan will always say it was me, but I was just the chick. Then we went somewhere where there were a couple of guitars and all the talking stopped. It became so natural. Then he sang a couple of his songs, and we actually did those even better.

    Dylan opened with a solo acoustic set before bringing the band on — a pattern that would be fixed for the next nine months — at which point the divided crowd of folkies and young rockers rose up. As at Newport, boos and insults filled the air after each song, and some even threw fruit. Kids stormed the stage, and one knocked Kooper off his seat. The band fared much better in L.


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    • In order to get them, Dylan would have to agree to take the whole band. Zimmerman wanted to know where we had our suits tai78 w h o d o you love lored, and eventually we took Bob over to see Lou Myles, who made him that brown houndstooth suit with the pegged waist that was photographed a lot.

      There was little trouble with the audience that first night, and the next night in Dallas was equally uneventful, despite the paranoia that still lingered in the city even two years after the Kennedy assassination. To say that this take captured their initial joy at discovering each other would be an understatement. By then, the booing was back. What at first seemed amusing was now beginning to agitate the musicians, who were used to a party every night. Nowadays, the music industry is totally different. Rock and roll singers now are a different kind of people; they make the old people look sick.

      Anyway, paying out four dollars for a ticket to come and boo — is anyone groovy gonna do that, anyway? Four years ago, I used to sing in Village coffee houses, fifty people and they were packed, fire inspectors all over the place, you know? Then I knew my real fans. The last show of the east coast leg was in Washington, D. Not wishing to belabour the point, he set off for Arkansas the next morning without any further goodbyes. The west coast leg of the tour was due to begin on December 3, in Berkeley, California, and there was a recording 80 w h o d o you love session booked at Sunset Sound in L.

      Dylan was forced to call his frequent studio drummer, Bobby Gregg, to replace Helm, and the others had no choice but to adjust. It was a scene that Robertson was easily drawn into, given his proximity to Dylan.

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      He even participated in a photo shoot outside City Lights bookstore in San Francisco with poets Allen Ginsberg and Michael McClure that Dylan briefly considered for his next album cover. Without Helm around, Robertson naturally assumed a leadership role within the band, and became generally less inhibited as the tour meandered up and down the California coast.

      All the while, he marvelled at the media frenzy Dylan attracted, and the apathetic attitude he used to fend it off. They all wanted a piece of him, yet Dylan proved a master at keeping everyone and everything at bay, simply by speaking the truth as he saw it. By default, that mystique was rubbing off on Robertson more than it was on the other band members. Up until then, there would be few opportunities to slow down.

      Next they flew south, taking in Memphis, Richmond, and Norfolk, before shifting their home base to Nashville. There in the studio, beginning on February 14, Dylan was finally able to conjure the thin, wild mercury sound of Blonde on Blonde out of an amalgamation of country and rock musicians. On February 19, the troupe played the Ottawa Auditorium, and kept their winter coats on the entire time. The next night in Montreal was a little warmer, but the heater on the Lockheed broke down, causing them to freeze on their way back to Nashville. Blonde on Blonde was finished a week later, but there were still three more shows to go, in St.

      Summertime Blues

      Louis, Lincoln, and Denver, before they could catch their breath. Danko spent most of the week off taking peyote, having been introduced to hallucinogens shortly after meeting Dylan. Manuel had tried them, too, but mainly consumed alcohol to excess, as he had since his early teenage years. And I think my meals, too. All the other guys were paying for their own hotels. The group arrived singed around the edges due to a steady diet of uppers and downers, all except Hudson, who, due to his mild narcolepsy, was the only one to get any sleep during the flight.

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