Happy Birthday: Rick Danko

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Thursday, December 29, 2016
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Happy Birthday: Rick Danko

1. The Barbarians, “Moulty” (1966): You may know them for their classic garage rock track “Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl,” but there’s more to the Barbarians than just that one song. For instance, there’s this track, which is about a guy named Moulty, who’s been involved in an accident and has lost a hand. You have to admit, that’s quite an attention-getter to offer in the first few seconds of the song, but what’s even better is that Victor “Moulty” Moulton was, in fact, the drummer for The Barbarians…and he really did lose his hand! After information like that, it almost feels secondary that the members of the Hawks, who would evolve into The Band, played on the song.

2. Todd Rundgren, “Once Burned” (1970): Fans of The Band likely already know that Rundgren produced their 1970 album STAGE FRIGHT, but it’s been decidedly less distributed that Danko and Levon Helm delivered a little payback by playing on this track from Rundgren’s 1970 album RUNT.

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3. Ringo Starr, “Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond)” (1973): If the members of The Band were ever going to be on a Ringo Starr album, then it’s good that they ended up being on RINGO, which is the best of Starr’s 1970s output and is arguably the best album he’s ever done. The boys in the band – minus Richard Manuel - played on this song, but they also made another appearance on the album: if you look closely at the cover art, they’re in the crowd of musicians behind Starr, along with everyone else who played on the album.

4. Kinky Friedman, “Ol’ Ben Lucas” (1976): It doesn’t even last for a full two minutes, but you just can’t beat a song that features Danko on bass, Levon Helm on drums, Eric Clapton on dobro, and Dr. John on toy piano.

5. Emmylou Harris, “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” (1978): Danko and Garth Hudson both appear on this track from Harris’s QUARTER MOON IN A TEN CENT TOWN, with Danko playing fiddle and chiming in with a backing vocal that blends beautifully with Harris’s voice.

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6. Charlie Sexton, “Save Yourself” (1989): Danko can be heard contributing backing vocals on this track, but as to how he found himself on the album in the first place, your guess is as good as ours.