Top 5 Levon Helm Songs

Levon_Helm_at_-life_is_Good_Festival-_in_2011

He didn’t write many of the songs he made legendary but when he did them they stayed done.You couldn’t imagine them any other way.

On this occasion of his birth I submit to you my choice in the top 5 Levon Helm songs he performed over his Band and solo career. I hope you like them. If you don’t see your favorite place it in the comments below.

“Tennessee Jed” – This Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter tune is from Levon Helm’s final studio album “Electric Dirt.” The album won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Americana Album, an inaugural category in 2010.

“Poor Old Dirt Farmer” – This cover from of an old traditional, the Grammy-winning “Dirt Farmer” , could have easily been written by helm in tribute to his birthplace of Elaine, Arkansas.

“A Train Robbery” – Depending on your source this Paul Kennerley penned tune may or may not be about Jesse James. True or not it’s a great yarn well performed by Levon from the album “Dirt Farmer.”

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” – Written by Robbie Robertson with Levon Helm. The song tells the tale of the last days of the American Civil War and the suffering and humiliation of the South.

“The Weight” – Though it was not a significant mainstream hit for The Band it has gone on to become their signature song.

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6 thoughts on “Top 5 Levon Helm Songs

  1. emfrank
    May 27, 2013 at 5:21 am

    It is more recent, but I think Levon’s cover of Steve Earle’s The Mountain is among his best. Perfect marriage of song and voice.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpkGeUn69S0

  2. Mike Peligro
    May 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    “Up on Cripple Creek” its a must!

  3. nate
    March 26, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    If you want the best Levon Helm’s song ever done, it’s a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City

  4. Baron Lane
    March 27, 2014 at 11:38 am

    well, not the best, but damn good!

  5. Pat
    July 3, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Re: “A Train Robbery,” you say: “Depending on your source this Paul Kennerley penned tune may or may not be about Jesse James” Huh?? Shouldn’t “your source” be the lyrics? References to Glendale, Missouri farm boys, and, uh “Frank and Jesse James” make it crystal clear that this song is about Jesse James.

  6. Rawson
    January 21, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Re: “A Train Robbery” maybe the commenter’s point was that Kennerly’s narrative was not factual. For one thing, Frank did not participate in the Glendale robbery. Several of the group that did take part did not serve in the Confederacy, and Jessie didn’t trust them. Second, they stopped the train with a green light, not red. Third, the robbers did, in fact, find $6,000 in the express car. Fourth, the robbers did, in fact, go through the Pullman cars. Fifth, there’s no sense in which the Pullman company was sotheron,” it was based in Chicago.

    Having said all this, it’s a great song. I sing it all the time. Just because something is factual doesn’t make it relevant.

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