The Band on Mountain Stage, April 14th, 1996.

Levon Helm & Rick Danko.

Levon Helm & Rick Danko.

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Gone 14 years today.

ArtistThe Band
TitleIt Makes No Difference
AlbumLive on Mountain Stage, 1994
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Last week’s breaking news onslaught put a damper on our celebration of Levon Helm. But let us continue now with The Band’s iconic cover of Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” recorded during their first appearance on Mountain Stage in 1991.

ArtistLevon Helm / The Band
TitleAtlantic City
AlbumLive on Mountain Stage, 1991
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Today, Mountain Stage Celebrates Levon Helm. Listen to The Band perform “Rag Mama Rag,” recorded live in Charleston West Virginia in 1996.

ArtistThe Band
TitleRag Mama Rag
AlbumLive from Mountain Stage, 1996
Album Art

Between Doc, Earl, and Levon, it’s been a rough year for roots music. Fortunately, these guys left behind many memorable recordings, one of which we’re sharing here. We posted this a couple weeks ago, but we can’t resist sharing it again. From The Band’s 1994 appearance on Mountain Stage, Levon Helm’s definitive cover of Springsteen’s Atlantic City. Exclusive to the Mountain Stage Tumblr.

ArtistLevon Helm
TitleAtlantic City
AlbumLive from Mountain Stage, 1994

The media talked about Dick Clark. The people talked about Levon Helm.


He didn’t do it to become famous, certainly not rich. His parents didn’t buy him the best equipment available, they didn’t dun everybody they came in contact with, saying how great a player he was and he deserved to make it, no, Levon Helm followed his muse, the music, to the point his death impacted a spectrum of people from the barely-pubescent to the nearly-deceased. That’s how good he was.

Bob Lefsetz on Levon Helm.
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One more Levon song. Here he is on Mountain Stage in ‘94 with The Band, playing mandolin, singing Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” A definitive cover if there ever was one, exclusive to the Mountain Stage Tumblr. Unless you have a bootleg cassette of the broadcast, this performance hasn’t been heard in decades.

ArtistLevon Helm
TitleAtlantic City
AlbumLive from Mountain Stage, 1994
Album Art

Mountain Stage was fortunate enough to host The Band not once, but twice, in ‘94 and ‘96. Fresh from the original DAT tapes, here’s their Levon-heavy ‘96 performance on the show. If you don’t like this, I’m not sure we can be friends.

The Band - Live From Mountain Stage - 1996

1. Remedy

2. Blind Willie McTell

3. Stand Up

4. Rag, Mama, Rag

5. The Weight

ArtistThe Band
TitleLive on Mountain Stage, 1996
Levon Helm, live on Mountain Stage, 1996

"I first heard Levon Helm’s voice in 1968 on The Band’s album “Music from Big Pink”. Ray Wylie Hubbard turned me on to the record when I came home to Dallas from college that summer. I was immediately drawn into a sound that was unlike anything I had ever heard. “The Weight” became my favorite song. With their landmark second album, The Band became my favorite band, their voices a mix of the raw and the sublime, their songs a mix of the old Deep South and the mystical Far North.
I came to know Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel when they played on albums I recorded in the early eighties in Los Angeles. Later, after Richard was gone, Rick Danko and Garth visited Mountain Stage for some wonderful performances. But I met Levon only twice, in 1994 and 1996, when the reformed Band played Mountain Stage in Charleston.
As I listen to his vocals on “Rag, Mama, Rag”, “Blind Willie McTell” and “The Weight” from the 1996 show, it’s hard to imagine anyone else trying to sing those songs. Of course, everybody does try to sing “The Weight”, but we all suffer by comparison. Levon’s voice is for the ages. I can hear traces of Pops Staples and fellow Arkansan Ronnie Hawkins, influences from both sides of the big river that flowed near his home. Conway Twitty, like Levon, grew up in Helena and Johnny Cash not far away in Kingsland. Powerful voices came out of that Arkansas dirt.
Levon had a very successful solo career, with Grammy winning albums and the Midnight Ramble sessions, but his work as a singer, drummer and mandolin player with The Band will stand as some of the most true and  important American music ever made.”

-Larry Groce

Levon Helm, live on Mountain Stage, 1996

"I first heard Levon Helm’s voice in 1968 on The Band’s album “Music from Big Pink”. Ray Wylie Hubbard turned me on to the record when I came home to Dallas from college that summer. I was immediately drawn into a sound that was unlike anything I had ever heard. “The Weight” became my favorite song. With their landmark second album, The Band became my favorite band, their voices a mix of the raw and the sublime, their songs a mix of the old Deep South and the mystical Far North.

I came to know Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel when they played on albums I recorded in the early eighties in Los Angeles. Later, after Richard was gone, Rick Danko and Garth visited Mountain Stage for some wonderful performances. But I met Levon only twice, in 1994 and 1996, when the reformed Band played Mountain Stage in Charleston.

As I listen to his vocals on “Rag, Mama, Rag”, “Blind Willie McTell” and “The Weight” from the 1996 show, it’s hard to imagine anyone else trying to sing those songs. Of course, everybody does try to sing “The Weight”, but we all suffer by comparison. Levon’s voice is for the ages. I can hear traces of Pops Staples and fellow Arkansan Ronnie Hawkins, influences from both sides of the big river that flowed near his home. Conway Twitty, like Levon, grew up in Helena and Johnny Cash not far away in Kingsland. Powerful voices came out of that Arkansas dirt.

Levon had a very successful solo career, with Grammy winning albums and the Midnight Ramble sessions, but his work as a singer, drummer and mandolin player with The Band will stand as some of the most true and  important American music ever made.”

-Larry Groce