Take Me to the River 1978-1982

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
If Levon Helm was going to record with somebody besides the Band, who better to back him up than the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section? In 1978, Helm and producer Donald "Duck" Dunn (former bassist with Booker T. & the MG's) cut the sessions for Helm's self-titled second solo album with the MSRS (Barry Beckett on keys, Jimmy Johnson on guitar, David Hood on bass, and Roger Hawkins on drums), who were the musicians behind some of the greatest R&B records of the 1960s, including classic sides by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Percy Sledge, and put their superior chops and sinewy grooves to the service of Paul Simon, Bob Seger, and Willie Nelson in the 1970s. However,...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
If Levon Helm was going to record with somebody besides the Band, who better to back him up than the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section? In 1978, Helm and producer Donald "Duck" Dunn (former bassist with Booker T. & the MG's) cut the sessions for Helm's self-titled second solo album with the MSRS (Barry Beckett on keys, Jimmy Johnson on guitar, David Hood on bass, and Roger Hawkins on drums), who were the musicians behind some of the greatest R&B records of the 1960s, including classic sides by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Percy Sledge, and put their superior chops and sinewy grooves to the service of Paul Simon, Bob Seger, and Willie Nelson in the 1970s. However, while this sounded like a great combination on paper, it didn't work so well in actual practice, and a 1982 album (also simply called Levon Helm) that once again teamed Helm and the Muscle Shoals boys (with Johnson and Beckett producing) didn't fare any better. The Australian reissue label Raven Records has paired these two Levon Helm albums on one CD titled Take Me to The River 1978-1982, and they illustrate the trouble Helm had with his solo career in the 1970s and '80s. Neither of these albums can be called bad -- the Muscle Shoals players are in fine fettle (Hawkins is one of the few drummers who can match Helm's dusty Southern groove), the horn players and guest stars add welcome texture and color, and Helm is in fine voice throughout. However, though Levon sings well here, he rarely sounds inspired, and the material doesn't give him much to get excited about; the best songs here are the most familiar, such as "Willie and the Hand Jive," "Play Something Sweet," and "Take Me to the River," and the newer songs aren't especially strong, though "I Came Here to Party" (written by Tony Joe White), "Ain't No Way to Forget You," and "I've Got a Bet with Myself" are just good enough to stand out. Helm has often accused Robbie Robertson of taking credit for the songwriting contributions of his partners in the Band, and there may be some truth to that, but most of Helm's solo work shows he doesn't have much of a knack for coming up with interesting material on his own (he didn't write any of the songs on this collection), and though he seems to be having a good time on these two albums, nothing here is as exciting or resonant as his work with the Band -- or his 2007 "comeback" album Dirt Farmer. This is somewhat better than average rootsy rock & roll, but disappointing considering the talent involved.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/12/2011
  • Label: Raven [australia]
  • EAN: 9398800034020
  • Catalog Number: 340
  • Sales rank: 67,246

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Levon Helm Primary Artist, Mandolin, Drums, Vocals, Background Vocals
Steve Cropper Guitar
Howard Johnson Baritone Saxophone
Bonnie Bramlett Vocals
Pete Carr Guitar
Robert Byrne Vocals
Ava Aldridge Vocals
Barry Beckett Keyboards
Mickey Buckins Percussion, Drums
Larry Byrom Guitar
Terry Cagle Vocals
Harrison Calloway Trumpet
Duncan Cameron Guitar
Earl Cate Guitar, Background Vocals
Ernie Cate Keyboards, Background Vocals
Ben Cauley Trumpet
Ronnie Eades Baritone Saxophone
Scott Edwards Bass
Ron Eoff Vocals
Dan Ferguson Guitar
Owen Hale Percussion, Drums
Willie Hall Percussion, Drums
Robert Harwell Tenor Saxophone
Roger Hawkins Percussion, Drums
David Hood Bass
Jimmy Johnson Guitar
Lenny LeBlanc Vocals
Mac McAnally Vocals
Lou Marini Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Randy McCormick Keyboards
Will McFarlane Vocals
Wayne Perkins Guitar, Vocals
Charles Rose Trombone
Alan Rubin Trumpet
Russell Smith Vocals
Harvey Thompson Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy "Doc" Simpson Clarinet
Richie Supa Vocals
Mary Berry Background Vocals
Lou Del Gatto Baritone Saxophone
Tom Malone Trombone
Steven Hathan Keyboards
Technical Credits
Johnny Otis Composer
Eddie Cochran Composer
Al Green Composer
Roger Chapman Composer
Gerry Goffin Composer
Barry Goldberg Composer
Tony Joe White Composer
Troy Seals Composer
Barry Beckett Producer
Mickey Buckins Composer
Jerry Capehart Composer
Earl Cate Composer
Ernie Cate Composer
Donald "Duck" Dunn Producer
Mabon "Teenie" Hodges Composer
Jimmy Johnson Producer
Benny Latimore Composer
Richard Supa Composer
Tommy Talton Composer
Allen Toussaint Composer
Tony Chapman Composer
Johanna Hall Composer
Andrew Bown Composer
Keith Glass Liner Notes
Warren Barnett Mastering
Thomas Snow Composer
David Elliot Composer
Grady Smith Composer
Louise Cook Layout
John J. Hall Composer
Tom Malone Horn Arrangements
Daniel Joseph Moore Composer
Melvin Gordon Composer
Kenny Chater Composer
William C. Quillen Composer
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