Dirt Farmer

Dirt Farmer

by Levon HelmLevon Helm

Vinyl LP(Long Playing Record)

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Since his previous solo album in 1982, Levon Helm's Woodstock studio burned to the ground, his Band mates Richard Manuel and Rick Danko died, and Helm survived a throat cancer that nearly silenced his burly tenor. And yet you'd never guess at these troubles from the opening notes of Dirt Farmer. Sure, Helm's voice is haggard, but he bites into the traditional "False Hearted Lover Blues" with gusto that few 67-year-old rock 'n' roll vets can muster. And as that song and others on the album -- every one a winner -- prove, Helm's molasses-thick accent and deeply rhythmic phrasing are none the worse for wear. Recorded with his daughter Amy and musician friends including Buddy and Julie Miller, guitarist Larry Campbell, and keysmen Glenn Patscha and Brian Mitchell, among others, Dirt Farmer visits songs from Helm's Arkansas childhood. The lion's share are traditional numbers, performed acoustically albeit with robust rock and country grooves. The standout "Single Girl, Married Girl" is an A. P. Carter tune; Steve Earle's "The Mountain" gets an impassioned reading; and Paul Kennerley's Frank and Jesse James ballad "A Train Robbery" gets a gutsy treatment and a wicked resonator guitar arrangement. Both the material and the worn timbre of Helm's vocals suggest the high-lonesome wail of Ralph Stanley -- but where that Clinch Mountain man has plied the Grim Reaper's route on his most recent recordings, Helm is all joy and thankfulness. "Feelin' Good," a jaunty duet with his daughter, proves the former; the majestic closer, "Wide River to Cross," testifies to the latter. Music making doesn't come more thrillingly honest than this.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/10/2008
Label: Vanguard Records
UPC: 0015707984416
catalogNumber: 79844
Rank: 8233

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Levon Helm   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Drums,Vocals
Julie Miller   Vocal Harmony
Larry Campbell   Dulcimer,Acoustic Guitar,Fiddle,Mandolin,Percussion,Background Vocals,Guitar (Resonator)
Buddy Miller   Vocal Harmony
Glenn Patscha   Pump Organ
Teresa Williams   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Brian John Mitchell   Piano,Accordion,Background Vocals
Amy Helm   Mandolin,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals,Mandola,Vocal Harmony
Byron Isaacs   Bass,Percussion,Background Vocals
George Receli   Percussion

Technical Credits

J.B. Lenoir   Composer
Julie Miller   Composer
Larry Campbell   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
A.P. Carter   Composer
Justin Guip   Engineer
Levon Helm   Arranger,Liner Notes
Paul Kennerley   Composer
Buddy Miller   Composer
Georgette Cartwright   Creative Services Coordinator
Traditional   Composer
Amy Helm   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Byron Isaacs   Composer
Carrie Smith   Art Direction

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