Band – The Last Waltz

Happy Thanksgiving! Watching The Last Waltz is just as part of Thanksgiving as the meal with the family…that and Alice’s Restaurant which is coming.

The Band on Thanksgiving in 1976 at the Fillmore West. The film starts off with THIS FILM MUST BE PLAYED LOUD! A cut to Rick Danko playing pool and then it then to the Band playing “Don’t Do It”…the last song they performed that night after hours of playing. Through the music and some interviews, their musical journey and influences are retraced.

This film is considered by many the best concert film ever made. It was directed by Martin Scorsese. I love the setting with the chandeliers that were from the movie Gone With The Wind. The quality of the picture is great because it was shot with a 35-millimeter camera which wasn’t normally done with concerts.

Before the Band and guests hit the stage, Bill Graham, the promoter, served a Thanksgiving dinner to 5000 people that made up the audience with long tables with white tablecloths.

The Band’s musical guests included

Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, Van Morrison (my favorite performance), Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton and Muddy Waters

The Staple Singers and Emmylou Harris also appear but their segments were taped later on a sound stage and not at the concert.

Robbie wanted off the road earlier and that is what the Last Waltz was all about…the last concert by The Band with a lot of musical friends. He was tired of touring and also the habits the band was picking up… drugs and drinking. Richard Manuel, in particular, was in bad shape and needed time.

The rest of the Band supposedly agreed but a few years later all of them but Robbie started to tour as The Band again. Richard Manuel ended up hanging himself in 1986. Rick Danko passed away in 1999 at the end of a tour of a heart attack attributed to years of drug and alcohol abuse. Levon Helm died of cancer in 2012.

The Band sounded great that night and it might be the best version you will ever hear of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

The Last Waltz is a grand farewell to a great band and a film that I revisit at least twice a year… once always around Thanksgiving.

The complete concert is at the bottom…without cuts.

Muddy Waters – Hoochie Coochie Man

What a great song by the one and only Muddy Waters.

The song was written by the great blues writer Willie Dixon. Muddy Waters recorded this song in 1954. Before Waters recorded it, he tested it out at the Chicago blues club Zanzibar. Willie Dixon gave Waters some advice before the band hit it: “Well, just get a little rhythm pattern, do the same thing over again, and keep the words in your mind.”Muddy recorded it a few weeks later with Dixon on bass.

Record label head Leonard Chess went south to bolster sales, and
partner Phil Chess told the magazine that the record had sold an astounding 4,000 copies in a single week. It became Muddy’s top selling single, and spent three months in the national charts, where it peaked at #3 in the R&B charts in 1954.

Willie Dixon would bring Muddy other songs that solidified his hoochie
coochie image: “Just Make Love To Me,” “I’m Ready,” and “Natural Born Lover.”

What a band backing Muddy! The musicans on the recording were Muddy Waters on lead vocals, guitar, Little Walter on harmonica, Otis Spann on piano, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Willie Dixon on bass and Fred Below on drums.

British blues musician Long John Baldry named his 1964 band Long John Baldry And His Hoochie Coochie Men in honor of this song.

Willie Dixon: “People believe in mystic things. Like people today believe in astrology. That’s been going on for generations, since biblical days. People all over the world believe in it. Even before Jesus was born, according to the Bible. The wise men saw the stars in the East and were able to predict about things. All of these things are mystic. They say, ‘Hoochie coochie people are telling fortunes.’ You know, like the wise men of the East. They call them ‘voodoo men’ or ‘hoochie coochie men.’ They used to call them ‘hoodoo folk’ and ‘two-head people.’ They got many names for everybody.” (this appears in Zollo’s book Songwriters On Songwriting)

Wilie Dixon: “There was quite a few people around singing the blues,” 
“But most of ’em was singing all sad blues. Muddy was giving his blues a little pep, and I began trying to think of things in a peppier form.”

Author/musician Roger Reale: “The stark realism, the drama, and especially the vocal delivery are what do it for me on ‘Hoochie Coochie Man.’ It’s half conversational; Muddy gets your attention without overdoing it. And those lyrics about ‘a gypsy woman’ always felt kind of fascinating.”

Hoochie Coochie Man

Gypsy woman told my momma, before I was born
You got a boy-child comin’, gonna be a son-of-a-gun
Gonna make these pretty women, jump and shout
And the world will only know, a-what it’s all about

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

On the seventh hour, of the seventh day,
On the seventh month, the seventh doctor said:
“He’s born for good luck, and I know you see;
Got seven hundred dollars, and don’t you mess with me

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

Gypsy woman told my momma
Said “Ooh, what a boy,
He gonna make so many women,
Jump and shout for joy”

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

Gypsy woman told my momma, before I was born
You got a boy-child comin’, gonna be a son-of-a-gun
Gonna make these pretty women, jump and shout
And the world will only know, a-what it’s all about

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

I got a black cat bone, I got a mojo too
I got John the Conqueror, I’m gonna mess with you
I’m gonna make you, pretty girl, lead me by the hand
Then the world will know, the Hoochie-Coochie Man

Muddy Waters – Mannish Boy

One of the best riffs in blues or rock. It’s been recycled in so many songs but never loses its bite. This song was a reworking of the Bo Diddley song “I’m A Man.” Great song by the great Muddy Waters.

Muddy recorded several versions of this song through the years. He recorded the original at Chess records in Chicago in 1955.

The song peaked at #51 in the UK in 1988 and #5 in the R&B Charts in 1955.

From Songfacts

Muddy Waters originally recorded this in 1955, then re-recorded it in 1977 for his Hard Again album in a version produced by Johnny Winter.

The repetitive guitar line is easy to play, but very memorable. Waters used the same basic riff on his song “Hoochie Coochie Man.” This riff appears on many other Blues songs in both the 5 note and a shortened 4 note version. George Thorogood used it for his song “Bad To The Bone.”

The Rolling Stones often played this in their early days and released it on their 1977 Love You Live album. Muddy Waters was a huge influence on The Stones, and their name comes from his song “Rollin’ Stone Blues.”

This was used in the movie The Long Kiss Goodnight, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Geena Davis. It also appears in Better Off DeadRisky Business and Goodfellas(as part of the “Sunday, May 11th, 1980” montage).

Mannish Boys

Oh, yeah
Oh, yeah

Everything gonna be alright this mornin’
Now, when I was a young boy
At the age of five
My mother said I was gonna be
The greatest man alive
But now I’m a man
I’m age twenty-one
I want you to believe me, honey
We having lots of fun

I’m a man (yeah)
I spell M
A, child
N
That represent man
No B
O, child
Y
That spell mannish boy
I’m a man
I’m a full-grown man
I’m a man
I’m a rollin’ stone
I’m a man
I’m a hoochie-coochie man

Sittin’ on the outside
Just me and my mate
I’m made to move
Come up two hours late
Wasn’t that a man?
I spell M
A, child
N
That represesnt man
No B
O, child
Y
That spell mannish boy
I’m a man
I’m a full-grown man
I’m a man
I’m a rolllin’ stone
I’m a man
Full-grown man
Oh, well
Oh, well