Tag Archives: #Levon Helm

Pop Go The Photos

Michael Friedman has done a lot in his 73 years.

The Staples High School Class of 1961 graduate produced “Hello, It’s Me.” He managed Todd Rundgren and Kris Kristofferson — as well as (with Albert Grossman) the careers of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Band, Odetta, and Peter Paul & Mary. He did publicity for the Dave Clark 5 and Herman’s Hermits.

He sold Americana and folk art. He also owned the Ash Creek Saloons in Fairfield and Norwalk, along with Darien’s Goose restaurant.

With such varied careers — and so much going on — he could be forgiven for losing the negatives of photos he took nearly 50 years ago.

Of course, they were not random snapshots of the Friedman family at the beach, or their naked newborn in a bathtub.

These were up close, personal — and superb — shots of some of the biggest names in the music world.

Mick Jagger (Photo copyright Michael Friedman)

The Stones. Janis Joplin. The Band. Johnny  Winter. Gordon Lightfoot. James Cotton. Ian and Sylvia. Rita Coolidge. All are artists Friedman worked with in the 1960s.

Last January, his wife Donna stumbled upon them. Friedman spent the next several months printing, restoring and mounting the photos.

Soon, they’ll head to the California Heritage Museum in Los Angeles.

Janis Joplin (Photo copyright Michael Friedman)

But right now, they’re part of a pop-up gallery in Bedford Square. Friedman’s taken over an appropriately scruffy, unfinished space opposite the Spotted Horse. Dozens of images are on display there — and for sale.

Michael Friedman in his pop-up gallery. His photo shows Levon Helm, legendary drummer for The Band.

There’s been no publicity. Yet plenty of folks discovered the intriguing gallery during last weekend’s Blues, Views & BBQ Festival. The word is getting out.

But remember: This is a pop-up place. Soon, the photos will be gone.

At least this time Friedman will know where they went.

The Night Levon Drove Old Westport Down

The list of great musicians who have played the Levitt Pavilion is long and storied:  Willie Nelson. Ray Charles. Smokey Robinson. Buckwheat Zydeco.

And Levon Helm.

Levon Helm, back with The Band.

Back in the 1980s — after playing with Mountain (“Mississippi Queen”) and at Woodstock — drummer Corky Laing moved to Westport.

On Independence Day 1989, he threw his “2nd annual 4th of July Picnic” at the Levitt.

The musicians and set list have been preserved on an obscure website, BootsDaily.com. It’s what you find if you dig through enough Google pages after searching for “Levon Helm Levitt Pavilion.”

Check out the band (not The Band — but just as good):

  • Corky Laing (drums, vocals)
  • Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, vocals)
  • Felix Cavaliere (Hammond B-3, vocals — former member of the Rascals)
  • Lester Chambers (vocals — former Chambers Brother)
  • Mark Clarke (bass, vocals — former member of Uriah Heep)
  • Plus “a few folks from Felix’s band.”

Levon Helm in 2007.

Among their 20 songs: “Can’t Turn You Loose,” “Rag Mama Rag,” “Up on Cripple Creek” (“NASTY,” the website says admiringly in all caps), “The Weight,” “The Shape I’m In,” “Groovin’,” “Mustang Sally,” “People Got to Be Free,” “Good Lovin’,” “Time Has Come Today,” “Mississippi Queen” and a “La Bamba/Maybelline/Roll Over Beethoven” medley.

In other words:  the best of the Band, Chambers Brothers and Rascals, played by guys who had a great time rockin’ Westport on the 4th of July.

Whoever runs the BootsDaily website added this information about himself:

I worked for a sound company in southern CT in the late 80s and early 90s.

Mostly I was a glorified moving man, long hours, shitty pay, and the women have all gone home by the time you break down and get the truck loaded again….

At this (Westport) show, because of a overbooked schedule, I ended up running monitors….

(This) was my favorite show I was ever involved with, and one of my high moments of 34 years of concert going.

It must have been one hell of a show. I can’t believe I missed it.

And today, we’re all missing Levon Helm.