The Midnight Ramble Sessions, Vol. 1

The Midnight Ramble Sessions, Vol. 1

by Levon Helm


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The Midnight Ramble Sessions, Vol. 1

In 2004, former Band drummer Levon Helm, eager to get back into playing music on a regular basis after surviving a bout with cancer, began staging a series of small concerts at the recording studio on his estate in Woodstock, New York. Calling the shows "The Midnight Rambles," a different set of guests tagged along once or twice a month while Helm and his cronies played house band, and on October 23, 2004, Helm set up with guitarist Fred Scribner, bassist Michael Merritt, and bluesman Little Sammy Davis on vocals and harmonica. Like the other shows in the Midnight Ramble series, the gig was recorded and videotaped, and The Midnight Ramble Music Sessions, Vol. 1 features 12 songs from that evening. A more accurate billing for this show would have been "Little Sammy Davis with the Levon Helm Band," since Davis is the clear frontman at this show, and Helm, in deference to his throat problems, doesn't contribute any of his trademark vocals (and while his drumming chops are in fine shape, the repertoire has him playing little more than a steady shuffle most of the time). Davis is a good harp player whose style suggests a more laid-back variation on Little Walter, but his vocals have weakened with age, and though there's a relaxed and comfortable mood to this music that befits a house party with friends in attendance, it rarely catches fire the way you wish it would, and this ends up coming off as a guitar pull with some A-list players rather than a soul-satisfying blues session. This ramble was probably a great party, but The Midnight Ramble Music Sessions, Vol. 1 suggests you really had to be there. (The album is packed with a DVD including the same performances that appear on the CD, and while the video is well-shot and edited, it ultimately isn't any more exciting to watch than to hear.)

Product Details

Release Date: 02/21/2006
Label: Levon Helm Studios
UPC: 0788572810653
catalogNumber: 1
Rank: 124649

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Levon Helm   Primary Artist,Drums,Group Member
Michael Merritt   Bass,Group Member
Frank Luther   Bass
Little Sammy Davis   Harmonica,Vocals,Group Member
Cary Brown   Piano
Fred Scribner   Guitar,Group Member
Mike Merritt   Bass Guitar

Technical Credits

Levon Helm   Producer,Audio Production
Brian "Terrorizer" Rubio   Artwork
Norman Clancy   Executive Producer
Yanni Feder   Video Director
Ryan Ghent   Live Sound
Brendan McDonough   Live Sound
Brian Parillo   Producer
Chris Rondinella   Engineer

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The Midnight Ramble Sessions, Vol. 1 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago