“The Midnight Ramble Sessions Volume 3” sessions represent last musical project with which the late drummer of The Band was involved. Helm personally hand-picked the album’s 13 songs from a five-year period of live Midnight Ramble recordings, 2006-2010 at the Barn, with his longtime band member and musical director, multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell. The album features performances from the Levon Helm Band with special guests including the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson, Jimmy Vivino, Elvis Costello and New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint, capturing the homespun spirit of those gatherings, a worthy posthumous tribute to Helm’s indomitable spirit and peerless musical abilities. Aside from listening to hours of tapes to come up with the final song selection, Helm also designed the cover art for the album.
Campbell explains that, after the Electric Dirt record, he and Levon began formulating what a third album might encompass. “He wanted it to be more representative of what this band was like at a live show, featuring all of the players,” says Campbell. “Levon was having health problems, so our plan was to go through the archives and pull out tunes that best showed what our lifestyle was like. That was his real, main motive, to showcase the band as best we could. And then he chose the tunes that he liked playing, and we edited it down to fit on a single CD. “There were probably 20 songs that he initially wanted us to include, but these were the ones we all finally decided were best.”
“The Same Thing” from the just-released “The Midnight Ramble Sessions Volume 3″ has Helm in excellent form as his characteristic dynamic drumming drives a Dixieland /rock/soul infused gumbo in front of a lucky audience. Of “The Same Thing” (recorded Feb. 14, 2009) Campbell says : We’d been doing that song for a while and it turned out to be a great show opener. When Levon’s singing was on, it was just magical. Jimmy Vivino is playing slide guitar on this, and Mike Merritt was on bass that night. The song always just set a great mood to start the evening, so we figured we’d start the record with it.”