Sugarloaf Mountain Records
"Rising Tide"
by Rhododendron Road

   2. Levon (5:17)

When I heard you, I was 17,
Living in a musical dream,
With Cripple Creek in sight.
When they drove old Dixie down, I cried,
With your voice of wounded pride
Ringing clear into the night.

Levon, I'm leavin' on the train
Down to Danville in the rain
Till they tear up the tracks again.
Levon, I was only 17,
Living in a musical dream.
Carry it on, carry it on.
Carry it on, carry it on

Levon, was that the sacred harp you played?
All the music that you made
Still echoes through the haze.
Levon, you made the trip
To heaven and to hell,
Till standing by the well
We will lift the long black veil.

Levon was the best I ever heard.
I strained for every word
From that voice so pure and plain.
Levon, I hear your voice again,
And in the years that still remain
Carry it on, carry it on.
Carry it on, carry it on

Levon, you're back upon the stage.
Levon, after all the tears of rage.
Levon, the whisper in the pines,
Like a voice from olden times,
Is asking you to play.

Drink a toast of strawberry wine.
The music is so darn fine.
The weight is lifted clear.
And when you paint your masterpiece
We shall, all of us, be released
For a Midnight Ramble here.

Levon, I see Big Pink in sight.
When the children go to bed tonight
All the glory will be heard.
Yes, I think I'm gonna see Big Pink tonight
And everything will be all right.
Carry it on, carry it on.
Carry it on, carry it on

Words and music by Jim Choukas-Bradley.
Jim Choukas-Bradley: vocals, piano; Jesse
Daumit: lead guitar; Jesse Choukas-Bradley:
rhythm and lead guitar; Jeff Reed: bass;
Larry Ferguson: drums.

Recorded at Levon Helm Studios, Woodstock, NY.
Engineered and mixed by Justin Guip.

This song is about (and in part written to) Levon Helm, the great rock and roll singer and drummer, originally from Arkansas and now from Woodstock, New York. Levon has had an astounding career as a musician, band leader, pioneer of rock and roll, film actor, author, and owner of a recording studio. But for me, and people of my generation, his years as the drummer and one of the singers with The Band in the late '60's and early '70's define his most profound contributions to and influences on our lives, the way we see and experience life. This song started coming to me a couple of years ago as I sat at the piano after coming back from seeing Levon, recovered from cancer of the vocal chords and joined by Emmy Lou Harris and others, create one of the most beautiful and spiritually powerful evenings of music I have witnessed at a Midnight Ramble in his Woodstock studio. For those who know The Band, the lyrical references and vocal phrasing throughout this tune will be very familiar. I hope they will convey the sense of profound gratitude, respect, and admiration, tinged with a bit of yearning left in the wake of the passage of time, that I, and a whole generation of musicians and music lovers, feel for Levon Helm.

Sugarloaf Mountain Records, Inc. wishes to thank Susan A. Roth for the use of her photographs,
and Tina Thieme Brown for the use of her paintings on this website.

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