Saturday, February 05, 2005
"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"
A shambling, rambling, tumbledown log cabin of a song, yet stately and dignified at the same time. There's a certain stubborn pride that pours forth from this and other, similar songs about the North-South divide: check out Neil Young's Powderfinger or Warren Zevon's Renegade, both of which are mentioned elsewhere on this blog. I never really properly understood The Band: they were roots-folk with rock influences, but this song seems to sum them up entirely. It's a bitter-sweet, lyrical ode to times past, delicate yet strong enough to withstand the slightly ramshackle arrangement. I love the stop-start intro, the fluffed beginning, and finally it cranks into gear. You can see why Bob Dylan appreciated them so much.