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A ramble with Mavis

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  • A ramble with Mavis

    Made one of my periodic LMF runs about a week or so ago and one of the great new records I picked up was Mavis Staples "Carry Me Home".
    It's billed as Mavis and Levon Helm, and was recorded in Levon's barn during a Ramble in 2011.
    The Weight is the only tune on which you hear Levon's voice, but nonetheless it is a fabulous record.
    Miss Mavis was getting a lot of love on this bored back around the time she replaced M Etheridge as a Blues Tent headliner and I just thought I'd share the word that this is a fantastic new one out there from her.

  • #2
    It's so good! I thought I could hear Levon singing the gospel style backing on "When I Go Away", but maybe I'm imagining it. I really wish I could have been there...

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    • #3
      Still one of my favorite JF moments was Mavis taking Levon's spot in the Gospel Tent after his passing and singing "The Weight". I get a lump in my throat even typing this. Mavis is awesome. In one of those classic JF coincidences about 3o minutes prior to the show we were gifted some beignets, by one her backup singers and her partner, absolutely lovely people. Of course this is after I recommended the upcoming Mavis show to her/them .....doh!!

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      • #4
        There is so much to love about her. She just radiates joy and passion.

        I love that her nickname is "Bubbles," and I remain forever tickled and intrigued that Bob Dylan proposed to her--and that she said no.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Canine Horror View Post
          I thought I could hear Levon singing the gospel style backing on "When I Go Away", but maybe I'm imagining it. I really wish I could have been there...
          I listened for that pretty intently on my drive home tonight. At first I thought it might be, but then I listened to his verse on “The Weight” and that, combined with another verse sung by a different male lead, made me pretty sure that it’s not, and that the same guy who sings that other verse is the one singing backup on the parts of “When I Go Away” that you thought might be Levon.

          It’s got a similar timbre to Levon’s voice. Almost sounds like Mike Mattison of TTB (and DTB and Scrapomatic). I can’t find any liner notes, and even though I saw both Levon and Mavis around the time this was recorded (not together), I can’t think of who it might be.

          HankAndLeeStamper, do you have liner notes from which you can clue us in?

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          • #6
            We just caught Amy Helm at the Redwood Ramble, and she still gets emotional just saying the word “ramble”. I can’t imagine what those nights were like for the principles and supporting players. Those of you who made it to one (or more) know. The rest of us just have to imagine…

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            • #7
              [QUOTE=Lit;n871460][SIZE=14px]There is so much to love about her. She just radiates joy and passion.

              Completely agree.

              And she she makes some very insightful comments.

              This year in the Blues tent she said something along the lines of.

              "Some people say that they want to take America back.."

              " Where do they want to take it back to, the 1950s?"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by duende View Post
                We just caught Amy Helm at the Redwood Ramble, and she still gets emotional just saying the word “ramble”. I can’t imagine what those nights were like for the principles and supporting players. Those of you who made it to one (or more) know. The rest of us just have to imagine…
                I went to four of them and have been reluctant to return to the Barn since he died because I kind of want to preserve those memories in amber. Especially happy that all my kids got to meet him.

                I remember when the $100 ticket prices for the Rambles were being debated here on the bored. I feel even more strongly now obviously, but my thinking then was to learn from what I felt after Jerry died, when I mourned not being able to return to that "place," i.e., a Grateful Dead or Jerry show, and would gladly have spent large sums of money to be transported there. That gave me the presence of mind to invest the time and money to get to as many Rambles as I could while Levon was alive (as well as Levon shows elsewhere), because I knew there would likewise come a day when I couldn't return to that place, either.

                With that karmic connection, it was pretty amazing that my first and only show at Terrapin Crossroads, in August 2012, ended up being the "Circle of Life" show celebrating Jerry's and Levon's lives and mourning their deaths.

                Last edited by Lit; 2 weeks ago.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Canine Horror View Post
                  It's so good! I thought I could hear Levon singing the gospel style backing on "When I Go Away", but maybe I'm imagining it. I really wish I could have been there...
                  I think you're right about those backing vocals --- i've been playing it in my car, not really a close listening audiophile experience. But with you having suggested it i put on that specific track and gave it a good listen.
                  It really is a fabulous record and so emblematic of her (even if it's 11 years old) -- the soulful gospel or gospelful soul with the requisite big backing vocals and a nice horn section going ... just great stuff.
                  Gards sadly she was already having to talk about taking America back (to the 1950s) in 2011 --- has a vocal line about "attacking our president/sayin he aint' a legal resident". I don't think i had realized how old the recording was until i heard that line. Wonder why it's only just now being released. Oh well, glad they put it out there.
                  also had never heard the "bubbles' nickname, but lord she's bubbly.........
                  EDIT TO ADD: crap, just saw Lit's post about liner notes --- i'll have to look later when i drive home

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                  • #10
                    Had another listen (in the car) and still unsure.
                    There aren't any liner notes, just a list of credits which are inconclusive, for example they don't credit anyone on violin (which I'm going to assume is Larry Campbell).
                    I think the deep voice is the great Donny Gerrard (who I just learned sadly died very recently) and the counter -vocal doesn't sound like Brian (not sufficiently gravelly) or Larry ( it stays in tune!) so I think it may actually be Levon.
                    So sorry that I never made it to any of the Rambles (other than the one time at the Ryman, which was great but not the same thing), and it was Lit's reviews that so made me want to get there...
                    But that Jazz fest show was so great too...fond memories.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by barrymojo View Post
                      Still one of my favorite JF moments was Mavis taking Levon's spot in the Gospel Tent after his passing and singing "The Weight". I get a lump in my throat even typing this. Mavis is awesome. In one of those classic JF coincidences about 3o minutes prior to the show we were gifted some beignets, by one her backup singers and her partner, absolutely lovely people. Of course this is after I recommended the upcoming Mavis show to her/them .....doh!!
                      That was such an incredible moment in the Gospel Tent that day. So thankful I made it there….. a special memory
                      Last edited by Augustwest56; 2 weeks ago.

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