I just need some place where I can lay my head.
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, and "No!", was all he said.
Take a load off Fanny, take a load for free;
Take a load off Fanny, And (and) (and) you can put the load right on me.
This weekend was a rare weekend away from the shore house. We headed up to Woodstock, NY, to see one of rock and roll's legends, Levon Helm, in concert. AT HIS HOUSE.
Yup...we went to one of the often talked about and somewhat elusive Midnight Rambles that Levon Helm swings his barn doors open for. (Tickets can be a tough get, unless you're a stalker like my brother. And I mean that in a good way.)
Levon Helm was the drummer and vocalist for The Band. The seminal 1960s rockers that a little song writer by the name of Bob Dylan hung around with. The musicians that convinced a young bloke named Eric Clapton to go solo (he was so inspired by The Band's music, he wanted to explore a path that would lead him to develop a sound more like them, so the story goes). They shaped American rock and roll music. They broke up on Thanksgiving Day, 1976. Many people (including Levon Helm, I think) blame guitarist Robbie Robertson for the breakup, so what the heck -- I will too.
In recent years, tragedy struck Levon's unique, raspy and rootsy singing voice. His bio puts it best: "In 1996, Levon was diagnosed with throat cancer and the famous voice with the rich southern nuances was silenced to a whisper." In what can only be described as a rock and roll miracle, Levon not only recovered from cancer, his voice is back and, dare I say, better than ever. I saw him this summer expecting an OK show, where I'd maybe even feel a little bad for him. But he blew the roof off the place. Hence, accelerated interest in going to a Midnight Ramble.
My brother the quick moving super-duper music fan found out through his insanely good stalking skills that there was going to be a Midnight Ramble on his birthday. He went to his first Midnight Ramble this summer, and when I read again today what he wrote back in August he pretty much hit the nail on the head. But he's a writer and all, so that's a good thing.
Levon's house is deep in the Woodstock woods...And at night (in the pouring rain) this is all you'll see:
It is a VERY intimate space. We weren't allowed to take photos inside but here's one from Levon's web site:
Talk about a great party space!
I did snap a few shots before heading inside, of the "community food table" that guests are encouraged to bring food for:
I also loved this portrait of Muddy Helm, Levon's companion (who the mister and I went looking for, and found. Much to the dog's chagrin. He barked for a solid 10 minutes. Oops.):
There's not enough space in this post for me to tell you how wonderful this show was (especially since my blog has nothing whatsoever to do with music!), but by the time the show ended with a stage full of musicians (including Cassandra Wilson, and the original keyboard player for The Band Garth Hudson -- what a treat!) singing The Weight, I was smiling ear-to-ear. Much like Levon does through the ENTIRE two-hour show. Because he loves what he does. Loves that he's alive to do it. And I...love that.
As if that all wasn't enough, we were in the first row, stage right (no "stage," so in theory we were on stage with the musicians. Sweet.). When Levon exited he warmly shook the hands of many of the folks up front. When he got to me, Levon firmly grasped my right hand in both of his, lifted it to kiss it, then with that magical grin said, "Thank you so much for coming out tonight."
At that point I think I died and went to rock and roll heaven.
ANYWAY...yes; I had a great weekend. We went into the town of Saugerties on Saturday for a little antiquing. Sadly disappointing. Everything there is MUCH more expensive than it was in my early days of thrifting. We almost left empty handed, but there was a store going out of business (Arcadia, which I was sorry to see...it was one of my favorites to pop in on up there) where we scooped up a stainless steel bistro chair (whose photo I forgot to take -- coming soon!) and some Cucina hand soap at 30% off. As I type this, I'm realizing that at $13 (at least $22 in the city), I should have bought more fancy soap.
We stayed at the Woodstock Inn on the Millstream, in one half of this cute little cottage in the woods:
I loved that tree outside our door, and was tempted to take more than just a picture (but decided they may not appreciate my tree trimming):
Sunday it was off to the tiny town of Phoenicia, home to Sweet Sue's -- the remarkably always busy restaurant (every seat was filled -- about 70 people -- on a nasty, Sunday afternoon) in the middle of nowhere with pancakes that are totally worth the trip. Here's my brother's "short stack" (!!) of buttermilk pumpkins, with the vintage birthday cake topper I bought for him on eBay:
Also in the tiny town is Tender Land Home, one of my favorite stores. (I always find something to buy there. So does my mom, who may still be there today. She was buying up the joint.) Here's where I scored a total coup -- Cavallini & Co. 2009 calendars are half off! That's $10.99 for these beauts. I bought Farmer's Market this year:
Well, that was a very thorough look at my weekend. Hope yours was lovely, too.
And guess what? This is my 99th post. Super special 100th later this week.