He Never Said Two Words…

…never had to, really…

This is Garth Hudson.

He was the keyboard player in The Band.

In those days, that was kind of like saying you were the ‘ part-time backup school-bus driver.’ Many people thought there wasn’t much need for keyboards in rock and roll bands. They were decorative, mostly.

But I’ ve been listening to an awful lot of Band stuff recently, and have come to this conclusion; in spite of how truly good everyone was respectively, it was the keyboards that really knit everything together. You don’t necessarily get that at first. Between Garth and Richard ( who also played piano), there was a ton of keyboards in their stuff.

My best description of Garth’s style is ‘ demented Appalachian Baptist Church Choir Director.’

If you listen for it, you’ll see what I mean. Very masterful, but with a definitive 19-th century flavor.

For instance, there is a part in ‘ Up On Cripple Creek” that the entire world believed was a jaw harp, until finding out that it was a clavinet being played through a wah pedal.

At the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in ’94, Garth actually spoke…a lot. Most unusual. Making up for lost time, I suppose. I suspect that he might have just been making R.Robertson wait…but it was good to hear from him at last.

Seems like Garth was always the last one mentioned in the liner notes, and in the end, he was much more the foundation of the whole thing.

Garth has done much since the Band days, too; several other projects, solo albums, a million collaborations, web sites all over the place.

He was ‘ the guy’ who made the Band’s material work so well. The real guy. And the best thing about that?

The ‘real guy’ never has to say much about anything. No need.

P.S. … On April 27th, Levon Helm was buried in Woodstock, NY; not far from Rick Danko. In Arkansas, they still flew the flags at half-mast.


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