The Band, “The Weight” and a Bit of a Puzzler.

A while back I featured this song by Abba in one of my posts, and it led to a new discovery for me. I wouldn’t have spotted it myself, but in the comments boxes at the time, The Swede pointed out that one of the albums Agnetha was sadly, post-divorce, storing away in her new abode, was Music From Big Pink recorded in 1968 by The Band (all happens very quickly at 0:58).

Back in 1968 I definitely wouldn’t have known about The Band and to be honest even in 1981 when the Abba video came out, all I knew of them was that they used to play with Bob Dylan and made a documentary movie called The Last Waltz.

Since having their great album cover pointed out to me however, I have been bombarded with references to it, especially after asking for song suggestions for the state of Pennsylvania for my American Odyssey series. Turns out their song The Weight, written by Band member Robbie Robertson, is about a traveller’s experiences arriving, visiting, and departing a town called Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Robbie chose this town  because it was the home of Martin Guitars, and he had written the guitar parts for Music From Big Pink on a 1951 Martin D-28. The Weight has been named as one of the best songs of the ’60s and is named as one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

The Weight by The Band:

The song was also featured the other week over at Rich Kamerman’s place, his Satur-debut post having been dedicated to Music From Big Pink. I of course had to point out my discovery that the album puts in an appearance in that 1981 Abba video, but after checking the exact location (0:58 as it turns out), I noticed that Agnetha places a second album on the shelf straight afterwards. For the last fortnight or so I have been driving myself mad trying to work out what it is, so if anyone can help me out I would be most grateful? At one point I thought it was Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees, but on closer inspection, definitely not. A bench it seems, and people in white clothing, but other than that I’m stumped. It has to be from earlier than 1981 otherwise we would be having a weird wibbly wobbly timey wimey kind of thing going on, but as I say, any help in identifying it would be much appreciated.

As for the title of the album Music From Big Pink, I have now discovered it’s because the music was composed partly in “Big Pink”, the house shared by several of the band members in West Saugerties, New York. The cover artwork is a painting by Bob Dylan. I am no art expert, so it could either be a work of genius or the daubs of a child, but whatever it is considered to be, it certainly does make for memorable cover art.

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Big Pink with its pastel siding

So, “What’s It All About?” – So many songs make reference to other songs in their lyrics but it also seems that reference is made to other albums in videos. Makes sense as in the giant oak that is rock and pop’s family tree, everyone is influenced by someone else. Where did it all begin? Who knows, but like human life itself, I suspect it all came Out of Africa.

Bit of a heavy ending there so going to add some footage from the Martin Scorsese film The Last Waltz, the song this time being The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. The Last Waltz was originally the name of a concert held on Thanksgiving Day 1976, at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. It was advertised as The Band’s “farewell concert appearance”, and they were joined by more than a dozen special guests, including Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Wood, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, and The Staple Singers. The event was filmed and made into a documentary of the same title, released in 1978.

Before next time, I hope someone can help me out with the puzzler?

The Weight Lyrics
(Song by Robbie Robertson)

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin’ about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
“Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?”
He just grinned and shook my hand, “no” was all he said

Take a load off, Annie
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Annie
And (and, and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

I picked up my bag, I went lookin’ for a place to hide
When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin’ side by side
I said, “Hey, Carmen, come on let’s go downtown.”
She said, “I gotta go but my friend can stick around.”

Take a load off, Annie
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Annie
And (and, and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Go down, Miss Moses, there’s nothin’ you can say
It’s just old Luke and Luke’s waitin’ on the Judgment Day
“Well, Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?”
He said, “Do me a favor, son, won’t you stay and keep Anna Lee company?”

Take a load off, Annie
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Annie
And (and, and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Crazy Chester followed me and he caught me in the fog
He said, “I will fix your rack if you take Jack, my dog.”
I said, “Wait a minute, Chester, you know I’m a peaceful man.”
He said, “That’s OK, boy, won’t you feed him when you can?”

Yeah, take a load off, Annie
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Annie
And (and, and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Catch a cannon ball now to take me down the line
My bag is sinkin’ low and I do believe it’s time
To get back to Miss Annie, you know she’s the only one
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone

Take a load off, Annie
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Annie
And (and, and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)

Sunday Dinners, “Super Troupers” and ABBA

Haven’t written a brand new post for over a fortnight now so here is something slightly different for me – “Tipsy blogging”!

I did feel after 91 posts and 100 featured songs that I had perhaps neglected my “real world” family and friends this year but it turns out that in order to cope with the real world, a dip into the “virtual world” of blogging is sometimes just what is needed – Who knew when we were teenagers that once we reached 50-something, we would end up being what is classed nowadays as the sandwich generation. For the first time in years I had wine with the Sunday dinner I had cooked (shock horror), and everyone is having opoplexy. I am always the sensible one who picks up Granny and Grandad and then takes them home, but tonight I decided that it was my turn to unwind on a Sunday night. It doesn’t take much nowadays so after a couple of wines I felt really quite tiddly and you know what, I think it is just what was needed after a weekend of chores, paperwork and playing taxi service to our daughter and her friends.

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What I serve up every Sunday!

So, looking through my iTunes library tonight what jumps out as being just what I want to listen to? Too tiddly to get very far so good that right at the top of Songs listed alphabetically by Artist, is Super Trouper by ABBA. Why? – Because I think we ladies of a certain age are the unsung “Super Troupers” of the new millenium and are often unwittingly taken forgranted. Most of us now still have full-time jobs, look after the house and garden, support adult children still living at home and take care of our “old-folk”. Not complaining, just sayin’….

Super Trouper by ABBA:

There can be no-one over a certain age (on the planet) who will not have heard of ABBA, that Swedish supergroup who burst onto the scene after their Eurovision triumph in a little theatre in Brighton in 1974. The song they won with that year was Waterloo and when watching that particular show I still remember being mighty impressed with those bright blue, satin knicker-bockers that Agnetha wore on the night. Those on-trend trousers with a pair of silver platform boots would have been heaven to own at age 14 but of course they were not deemed suitable by my parents – “You could fall over and break a leg in those!”

Despite being one of the most commercially successful bands ever, with around 500 million records sold, there was always something a bit “uncool” about ABBA. Maybe it was the outfits or maybe just by being Scandinavian and a bit different, they couldn’t be pigeon-holed like so many other bands from that era. Whatever it was I think the passage of time has rendered that judgement obsolete and the jukebox musical Mama Mia! is one of the most successful stage shows ever, so I imagine they no longer care.

Super Trouper was Abba’s ninth and final No 1 in the UK Singles Chart hitting the top spot in November 1980. By this time of course the marriages between the two couples in the band had fallen apart so it was increasingly difficult to keep working together. Their last single to make the top 10 in the UK was One Of Us in December 1981 and as one of their less-familiar songs, now one of my favourites I think.

One Of Us by ABBA:

There was of course news this week that Simon Fuller (erstwhile manager of The Spice Girls) is masterminding an ABBA reunion where the power of hollograms and large screens will bring the Swedish Fab Four back together again “virtually” in concert. Not sure about this at all as I think I prefer to remember these great bands as they were in their heyday and not as they are now – Septuagenarians all of them (bar Agnetha who is a mere 66). We’ll see what happens but if it does come off we’ll no doubt need a second mortgage to pay for a ticket, therefore it’s a no from me I’m afraid.

So, “What’s It All About?” – It turns out that tipsy blogging is a thing, so I might try it out again sometime (I may b mistken but I dn’t think my speling and gramar has suffered unjulie). I have missed writing new posts over the last fortnight so will try and pick up the pace again now that I have realised that the real world is hard work sometimes and the virtual world can be a very nice diversion for a short portion of the day. Key word here is “short” as I think most of us can find ourselves spending way more time than is healthy in this fascinating place. Until next time…..

Super Trouper Lyrics
(Song by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus)

Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won’t feel blue
Like I always do
‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you

I was sick and tired of everything
When I called you last night from Glasgow
All I do is eat and sleep and sing
Wishing every show was the last show
(Wishing every show was the last show)
So imagine I was glad to hear you’re coming
(Glad to hear you’re coming)
Suddenly I feel all right
(And suddenly it’s gonna be)
And it’s gonna be so different
When I’m on the stage tonight

Tonight the
Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Smiling, having fun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Feeling like a number one
Tonight the
Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won’t feel blue
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Like I always do
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you

Facing twenty thousand of your friends
How can anyone be so lonely
Part of a success that never ends
Still I’m thinking about you only
(Still I’m thinking about you only)
There are moments when I think I’m going crazy
(Think I’m going crazy)
But it’s gonna be alright
(You’ll soon be changing everything)
Everything will be so different
When I’m on the stage tonight

Tonight the
Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Smiling, having fun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Feeling like a number one
Tonight the
Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won’t feel blue
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Like I always do
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you

So I’ll be there when you arrive
The sight of you will prove to me I’m still alive
And when you take me in your arms
And hold me tight
I know it’s gonna mean so much tonight

Tonight the
Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Smiling, having fun
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Feeling like a number one
Tonight the
Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won’t feel blue
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
Like I always do
(Sup-p-per Troup-p-per)
‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you