• Levon

  • From Down in the Delta to the Birth of The Band and Beyond
  • By: Sandra B. Tooze
  • Narrated by: Rosemary Benson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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Levon  By  cover art

Levon

By: Sandra B. Tooze
Narrated by: Rosemary Benson
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Publisher's Summary

A dazzling, epic biography of Levon Helm - the beloved, legendary drummer and singer of The Band.

He sang the anthems of a generation: "The Weight", "Up on Cripple Creek", and "Life Is a Carnival", Levon Helm's story - told here through sweeping research and interviews with close friends and fellow musicians - is the rollicking story of American popular music itself.

In the Arkansas Delta, a young Levon witnessed "blues, country, and gospel hit in a head-on collision", as he put it. The result was rock 'n' roll. As a teenager, he joined the raucous Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, then helped merge a hard-driving electric sound with Bob Dylan's folk roots, and revolutionized American rock with The Band. Helm not only provided perfect "in the pocket" rhythm and unforgettable vocals, he was The Band's soul.

Levon traces a rebellious life on the road, from being booed with Bob Dylan to the creative cauldron of Big Pink, the Woodstock Festival, world tours, The Last Waltz, and beyond with the man Dylan called "one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation".

©2020 Sandra B. Tooze (P)2021 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about Levon

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Shoot the producer!

Why is it that producers insist that the narrator adds a pseudo accent for dialogue? When I read a book I decide what the character sounds like. When you add a fake accent, you decide for me what the character sounds like.
This is only marginally (marginally!) acceptable in fiction. It is totally unacceptable in non-fiction.
LEVON is a great example. I know what Levon Helm sounds like (as does everybody who has ever watched any movie or voice clip that has his voice on) and he sure as hell doesn't sound like that weird accent the narrator adds.
And I'm really struggling to listen to the book and I don't want to abandon it.
What makes it really bad, is that Rosemary Benson has a delightful voice and she reads the story beautifully. She's great! Except, somebody told her to do accents. Why? Why, why why?
It's a book, goddamnit, it's not a play.

6 people found this helpful

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Great stories, excellent narration

It took forever to read as I found myself rewinding parts of the book to hear it again, or stopping to look up and listen to a song. You really get a sense of what humble, down to earth, generally good guys the members of the band were, VERY unlike Roberton's delusional account in his book "testimony", where robbie portrays himself as the one with the solution to every problem, the hero in every situation, The one who always manages to save the day.....so boring. If your going to read one book about the Band, it should be this one.

3 people found this helpful

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Great!

I have always been a fan...now I feel like I knew the man! A must read.

2 people found this helpful

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A book worthy of the man

This is such a beautiful book...beautifully written and masterfully read. My eyes are tearing up like the day I heard the news. God blessed Levon as much Levon blessed us.

1 person found this helpful

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Really glad I read this

This was a very interesting book. I have always enjoyed music by The Band and they songs Levon sang on have always been my favorite. I have also read Robbie Robertson's book and clearly these 2 men do not see things eye to eye it's a shame. In the end I'm glad I read both books and I'm still a fan.

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Levon is a hit ... again

Nice story, much centered around my home state/county/town ... narrator is okay BUT I sure wish you would re-record and correct the pronunciation of many of the names ... I have had to shake my head and say names out loud to recognize what was meant! 🤣 For example, Elaine is not pronounced like the girls name but as (Long) E - lane.

If you’re a Levon Helm fan, be sure to check out the Delta Roots Festival held in Helena, AR, in the Spring (next one will probably be the n May 2023) ... this festival was held this past weekend in tribute to Levon. Sister festival, King Biscuit Blues Festival, is slated for October 5-8, 2022.

Marvell, AR, has a great memorial to Levon, showcasing his home.

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Well done.

Well read and so interesting.

I actually live a couple of miles from Turkey Scratch Arkansas so all those local names and places are familiar to me. I had seen Levon play a few times, at Shadden store and on Cherry Street in Helena Arkansas. He having been gone from here a long time before I was old enough, I didn't know him. I know him now.

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Levon Helm

I loved Levon’s story. Such a great soul. A great man. It’s refreshing to hear. I can only imagine the magic that would have flowed in his presence. In his late night courts of shared stories. The laughter. Those intimate moments that come when least expected. He followed his own path. I never knew this man’s story. What an incredible tale.

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Amazing Biography

Enjoyed the subject; loved it. Narration Performance; Excellent. Honesty and fairness; spot on. I hope enjoy this book as much as I did.