Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rick Danko Forever

While working, I've just been streaming an old gig from the ConcertVault. It's The Band at Carter Barron Amphitheater, August 16, 1976.

It has occurred to me that "It Makes No Difference" is the single saddest song ever written.
It makes no difference where I turn
I can't get over you and the flame still burns
It makes no difference, night or day
The shadow never seems to fade away

And the sun don't shine anymore
And the rains fall down on my door

Now there's no love
As true as the love
That dies untold
But the clouds never hung so low before...
The eye-misting misery is not helped by the knowledge that half the guys playing it are dead, one by his own hand.

Through the miracle of Audio Hijack, here it is... (pops)

Somewhere in the mid-Eighties, attended a Rick Danko solo gig at the Lone Star Café in New York. I arrived way early to get a good seat at the bar. As I was nursing a beer and waiting for the action to start, Danko strode in through the front door, carrying a guitar case. He nodded hello to the bartender, and disappeared into the back rooms.

Perhaps a half-hour later, two men in suits also came into the bar. One of them flashed a badge at the bartender. As they were only feet away from me, I heard the whole conversation.

"Detective Hungadunga, NYPD. We're looking for Mr. Danko."

"Ain't here."

"He's supposed to play tonight."

"Ain't here."

"When do you expect him?"

"Don't know."

"Tell him we'd like to talk to him."

"All right."

And they left. I have no idea why these flatfeet wanted to talk to Danko, but I bet it was damned interesting.

The gig was great. And he sang "It Makes No Difference" beautifully, just him and a guitar.

Not a dry eye in the house.


Ezra said...

Great story. And that is a pretty sad song indeed. But the saddest song ever written is "Never No Mo' Blues," by Jimmy Rodgers. And "Last Kind Words," by Geeshie Wiley*. And ... [insert additional single saddest songs here]

A Big Fat Slob said...

Good chance I was at the same show. At least the general timing and place seems right. But forces conspired to remove much of memory of that evening, other than an over all impression of being damned impressed.

bobby lightfoot said...

Th' fuckin' MAN was going to haul him in and pull his fingernails off for using roundwounds on a Gibson bass.

They just DEVOUR the neck.

Derryl Murphy said...

Rick, we miss him for sure. I saw him once, with Colin Linden and Garth Hudson at the Edmonton Folk Fest. Helluva show. No local peace office anecdotes to accompany it, though.


Derryl Murphy said...

Officer. Not office. Oi.


Decatur Dem said...

I saw the Band in 1971 at Boston Garden, as a 25 year old sailor stationed in New Hampshire and in love with New England. But when Levon sang "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," I got so homesick for Georgia I damn near cried. The next time I saw them was with Dylan, Atlanta, '74 or '75. Both are on my alltime list of most wonderful concerts ever, along with 3 Little Feat shows.

But my nomination for saddest song is Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin. Gets me every time.

JD said...

Oh my God, the memories. "Northern Lights, Southern Cross" was always on the summer I ended a long-distance relationship and met my future husband. "It Makes No Difference", indeed.

blue girl said...

Decatur Dem,

Your comment made me extremely jealous. Lucky, lucky you -- getting to go to those concerts.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Sad song indeed.

My candidates are Road by Nick Drake from Pink Moon and The Tears of Audrey by Kevin Gilbert from Thud.

luiz said...

I was there (that same evening?) and remember quite well the moment he started "It makes no difference". What a show! Danko and LSC forever!