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Levon Helm - Electric Dirt

Not that anyone's keeping score, but as Band alumni records go, Levon is pulling way ahead of the pack with his second keeper in as many tries in the '00s. ELECTRIC DIRT finds the Arkansas legend building on its critically acclaimed predecessor, DIRT FARMER, and bringing the democratic ebullience of his weekly Midnight Ramble live sessions (held in his barn) to record. Ramble stalwarts Larry Campbell and Amy Helm (Levon's daughter) appear all over the album (Campbell as producer and multi-instrumentalist; Amy Helm providing genetically in tune harmonies), while a loose, New Orleans vibe pervades courtesy of Allen Toussaint's horn arrangements (covers of the Grateful Dead's "Tennessee Jed", Randy Newman's "Kingfish" and other album standouts). The album, naturally, belongs to Helm, who is in stunningly assured vocal form (remarkable for a throat cancer survivor) and whose slack rustic groove remains irresistible (who else can make a mandolin sound like funk instrument). Helm--never considered one of the Band's chief songwriters--reveals his songcraft chops with ELECTRIC DIRT'S emotional centerpiece, "Growing Trade," an instant classic co-written with Campbell that rates with the Band's best.
Levon Helm - Electric Dirt 


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