Ten Favorite Night and Day (Night) Songs: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (#9)

@FourWalls (14709)
United States
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!
From the 1978 film 'The Last Waltz' Virgil Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville train, Til Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again. I...
8 people like this
8 responses
@JudyEv (130710)
• Bunbury, Australia
7 Jan 17
I always liked the song but, forgive my ignorance, is 'old Dixie' a train? I don't understand that bit.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (14709)
• United States
7 Jan 17
Dixie is the nickname for the US south, so "the night they drove old Dixie down" is the Night "they" (the north, or union) defeated the south.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (130710)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Jan 17
@FourWalls Oh, it makes so much more sense now. Thanks very much. :)
1 person likes this
@DWDavis (13066)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
7 Jan 17
This is one of my all-time favorite songs. As a Son of the South, it has always had a lot of meaning for me.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (14709)
• United States
7 Jan 17
I understand completely. Hope you're not in the path of that snowstorm.
1 person likes this
@DWDavis (13066)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
8 Jan 17
@FourWalls We got a thin coat of ice and then a dusting of snow. Things should be back to normal in a day or two. If we get the promised sunshine tomorrow, most of the roads should clear off.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (61370)
• Los Angeles, California
7 Jan 17
I remember the Joan Baez cover. Best thing she ever did. I am not a Band fan.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (14709)
• United States
8 Jan 17
I'm more partial to "Diamonds and Rust" myself...and "Time Rag." I'd really like to see Dylan induct her into the Hall of Fame. I'd like to see world peace and a $8 million check arrive in my mailbox tomorrow, too.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (119330)
• Boise, Idaho
7 Jan 17
This is a great old song. Thanks for sharing it with us.
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (41175)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
7 Jan 17
I like Joan's version. But this is classic.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (70721)
• United States
7 Jan 17
I loved this song.Thank you for sharing this.
1 person likes this
• Norway
7 Jan 17
I'm checking this out
1 person likes this
• Satna, India
8 Jan 17
very nice