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Electric Dirt

Levon HelmAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

Price: $11.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Levon Helm was in the right place at the right time. He saw the birth of rock and roll and though he’s too much of a gentleman to say it, his role in helping to keep that rebellious child healthy is more than just instrumental.

On May 26, 1940, Mark Lavon Helm was the second of four children born to Nell and Diamond Helm in Elaine, Arkansas. Diamond was a cotton farmer who ... Read more in Amazon's Levon Helm Store

Visit Amazon's Levon Helm Store
for 18 albums, 4 photos, discussions, and more.

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Electric Dirt + Dirt Farmer + Ramble at the Ryman
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 30, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vanguard Records
  • ASIN: B0026HYTG6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,238 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

2009 release from the former member of The Band, the highly anticipated follow-up to the Grammy winning Dirt Farmer album (2007). Electric Dirt again finds Levon steeped in tradition in his connection to the land and those who live by it, but this record goes deeper and wider, incorporating Gospel, Blues and Soul elements in a bracing collection of originals and carefully chosen outside songs. As with Dirt Farmer, multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell took the reigns as producer and the album was recorded at The Barn/Levon Helm Studios.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ELECTRIC DIRT June 30, 2009
Format:Audio CD
One disc 46 minutes approximately. The sound is crisp yet warm,which suits Helm's songs and voice perfectly.
This album is a continuation of Helm's fine previous (Grammy winning) release "Dirt Farmer",yet it builds on that album's feel. This time out there are electric guitars that replace the previous albums overall acoustic sound. Yet "Electric Dirt" has that same lived in,down-home feel,due in large part to Helm's wonderful aching vocals. The arrangements by Larry Campbell are just right,making each track stand out yet all the tracks form a seamless whole. A combination of up-tempo tracks combine with slower tunes that show Helm's voice is comfortable with either one. His voice sounds most authentic on the slower tracks,which give the feeling of this music being much older than it is. In some ways Helm's voice and inflection (though Helm's voice is in a lower range) sounds a bit like the wonderful Roscoe Holcomb (give Holcomb a try if you want to go deeper into this style of music),a favorite of Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton,who sang about his times in the Kentucky Mountains.
The band is made up of Helm's musician pals from his famous "barn" concerts in Woodstock,N.Y. This is important to someone with Helm's authentic musical credentials that go back many years to his most famous group,THE BAND. Helm's voice needs the sympathetic back-up from musicians who know his music intimately. Instrumentation ranges from guitars to fiddles to mandolins to accordions,with a touch of keyboards mixed in,along with the standard rhythm section. On four tracks there is a small horn section which helps flesh out the music.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Levon's Best July 17, 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is more appropriately the best album the Band never made. It certainly is Levon's best. A follow up to Dirt Farmer, but with more punch, the band crackles all the way through and both his daughter Amy and Larry Campbell are stalwart colleagues who deliver the goods. Amy is amazing - she her old man's swagger and sway with a voice full of the deep south and close to the floor. Campbell is not just an amazing guitarist. He obliterates whatever it was that Robertson once brought to Levon's efforts.
And that is critical. In many of the tunes, one's imagination immediately inserts virtual harmonies from Danko and and Manuel. Of course, they're gone, but you can almost hear them coming in. The horns would put you in mind of the wonder that Hudson would effect. As for Levon Helm's drumming, he has a snap, roll and swing in finer form than I have ever heard. His voice is back as well. Midnight Rambles and time have brought a large measure of restoration to one of America's most iconic singers.
The songwriting is crisp and draws on Muddy Waters, Happy Traum, Jerry Garcia, Levon and Larry Campbell, Pop Staples and Carter Stanley, among others. "When I Go Away" ranks with "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
All in all, superb in every regard. Pick this up!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful if you like the full Ramble Sound June 30, 2009
Format:Audio CD
If you liked Dirt Farmer, but prefer the fuller sound of his live Rambles, then this is the album for you. More upbeat, and featuring more horns, this album sounds like the Ramble, but with better production than most of the recordings I have of the Ramble on the Road.

Larry Campbell's production and playing both sound great. Levon's voice is strong. Even after first listen some of the new songs are pretty catchy and the covers are almost perfectly done.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Real Roots of The Band August 2, 2009
Format:Audio CD
In music recording, there's sometimes an idea that one "real" element can lend credibility to an otherwise "fake" blend; for example, a mix made entirely on synthesizers will sound altogether more realistic if you add just one live acoustic track, a guitar, a bass, a sax etc. This same principle applied to the classic '70's rock band called The Band, a group that played music heavily rooted in the traditions of the American South, whose members were actually from the deep south-----of Canada! Only Arkansas farm boy Levon Helm was the true "roots" member, and his clarion drawl gave The Band's sound 90% of its authenticity. Who else could have sung "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" with more real feeling? Sounded like he had actually witnessed the Civil War. Of course Richard Manuel & Rick Danko were great singers too, but listen to "Rag Mama Rag", "Up On Cripple Creek", "The Weight", "When I Paint My Masterpiece", etc. and hear how many of The Band's finest songs featured Levon's soulful moan. So it's rewarding to hear Levon's newest efforts reaffirming & cementing his role as a legendary American folk artist. The albums "Dirt Farmer" and now "Electric Dirt" wisely reassert Levon's country blues roots, with solid support from daughter Amy and a winning group of backing musicians. Helm's voice sounds a bit ragged here & there after his struggle with throat cancer, but overall his singing is still the Levon we know & love, and the grittiness works with this type of music. The one minor complaint could be that, given the title, the album could have been a bit more "electric"; there is still a fair amount of acoustic instrumentation here. But overall, "Electric Dirt" succeeds well and is another very strong effort from a musician who has weathered the many roads of experience and keeps getting better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I personally liked Dirt Farmer better
I personally liked Dirt Farmer better, but you can't go wrong with Electric Dirt. More of a New Orleans/Cajun feel to this one, unlike the Appalachian- Ozark of Dirt Farmer. Read more
Published 2 days ago by John W. Shepherd
4.0 out of 5 stars Good blend of Blues,Jazz and Bluegrass
Levons gritty voice tells of his feelings on: God,Family and community. The 3rd. cut Growin' Trade tells of what the small family farmer will do to keep his farm.
Published 22 days ago by richard burr
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by C L
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!
loved it!!! loved it!!! loved it!! and just so you know...i did not become a levon helm fan until after he left the band... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Theresa West
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Karen G campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
To bad they don't make like Levon any more.
Published 3 months ago by blane white
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Levon the Man..!
Published 3 months ago by Jacques J. Hauray
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album
Levon at his best even in later years. Great to kick back and feel the stories he tells in all his music.
Published 5 months ago by William Russell
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful music if you are a Levon Helm or Band fan!
I like Levon Helm, I like his voice, and I like the music style/genre. So, I enjoyed the Album/CD. I like Dirt Farmer more, so the reason for 4 starts.
Published 9 months ago by Jim Draze
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar album by one of the Greats
I had just seen the documentary on him and always admired his work with the band! The album did not disappoint it was done in line with the rest of his fine work!
Published 9 months ago by Brad Frazier
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