Garth Hudson with Jeffrey & The Free Radikals

Garth Hudson at Union scene. © Per Ole HagenI was reminded of this concert from 2009 when Levon Helm died last month. Garth Hudson played with Levon Helm in The Band for many years and  – like Levon Helm – his playing was an important part of The Band’s distinguished sound. I never saw Levon Helm play, but in 2009 I saw Garth Hudson in concert with Jeffrey & The Free Radicals.

Garth Hudson at Union scene. © Per Ole HagenWhen Garth Hudson joined Ronnie Hawkins‘ backing band The Hawks in 1961, his condition was that he was given the title “music consultant” and that the band members paid him $10 each week for music lessons. He was afraid his parents would think that he threw his education away by playing in a rock band. The rest of the band consisted of Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel, and two years later they quit the job with Ronnie Hawkins and started out as The Band.

Garth Hudson at Union scene. © Per Ole HagenAs they say, the rest is history. The Band played with Bob Dylan, they made their own LPs, “Music From Big Pink”, “The Band”, “The Last Waltz“with classics like The Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Up On Cripple Creek, and countless others. Although the other members of The Band did all the vocals, Garth Hudson’s characteristic organ have always been an important part of their sound.

Jef Wasserman at Union scene. © Per Ole HagenIn 2009 Jeff Wasserman, the American songwriter who moved to Norway, released his solo CD Jeffrey & The Free Radikals with some of the best Norwegian musicians plus Garth Hudson as a guest. That autumn, they did a tour in Norway, where Garth Hudson also did some of his own songs, with his wife, Maud Hudson on vocals. I saw the concert at Union scene (The Union Stage) in Drammen, and it was a magical evening, seeing and hearing the then 72 years old Garth Hudson play with Jeffrey & The Free Radikals.

Garth Hudson at Union scene. © Per Ole Hagen

Knut Reiersrud at Union scene. © Per Ole Hagen

Knut Reiersrud

Garth Hudson at Union scene. © Per Ole Hagen

Garth Hudson at Union scene. © Per Ole Hagen

Garth Hudson at Union scene. © Per Ole Hagen

Garth Hudson at Union scene. © Per Ole Hagen

All the pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and may not be used without written permission.

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