Ten Favorite Night and Day (Night) Songs: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (#9)
By Four Walls
January 7, 2017 12:05pm CST
I'm taking the "night and day" approach to my current series of discussions; that is, ten favorite songs with "day" and "night" in the title. And this public service announcement: if you have an idea for a theme, join us! You'll see some great ideas by @teamfreak16 (who's doing "Fly" songs) and @JohnRoberts (who just finished a sweet series of songs with "Sugar" in the title). The theme of myLot is the more the merrier! Here's my next "night" song. #9: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band This is probably the best-known song in the history of the classic roots/Americana band The Band, thanks to the top five cover by Joan Baez in the early 70s. (I never cared for her version; and, according to Picky Wedia, Levon Helm never did the song again after The Band broke up because he, too, hated her rendition.) I have to say it's strange to hear a bunch of Canadians doing a song about the plight of Southerners at the end of the Civil War. Of course, Levon Helm, the drummer who sang lead, was from Arkansas...not to mention this is such a fabulous story song. We're introduced to the narrator, Virgil Caine, who was an employee on the Danville, Virginia railroad line "till Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again." He's apparently tried to stay out of the war, choosing to "work the land" instead of joining the Confederate army "like my brother above me" who "was just 18, proud and brave" when "a Yankee laid him in his grave." They say history is written by the winners. Here's a stunning song from the perspective of the losers. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down Written by Robbie Robertson Recorded by The Band From The Band, 1969 Virgil, quick, come see!
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