John Simon: John Simon's Album
John Simon's Album arrived in 1970, and like the music of The Band is
hard to put under any given banner or title. From the opening
psychedelic nursery rhyme of The Song Of The Elves, which features
Leon Russell and Jean Millington, to dream-like confessionals on
Nobody Knows and Rain Song. Three of the strongest songs on the
album hit you one after the other: Tannenbaum is all energy with Garth
Hudson's soprano sax singing along with John Hall's wonderful
dancing guitar lines; Davy's On The Road Again
(later a semi-hit for Manfred Mann's Earth Band from their Watch album)
was co-written with
Robbie Robertson and is the sad tale of a man who has been abandoned
and cannot return home to his loved one, with forlorn backup from
Muscle Shoals sidemen Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins;
Motorcycle Man is the story of Frilly Fay watching her life slip away in
a little roadside cafe. So many characters and too many lost dreams.
Rick Danko and Richard Manuel play on this number with tenor from
Bobby Keys. The remaining numbers all contain strong lyrics and
characters that Simon really seems to understand in his songs, including Don't Forget What I Told You, Annie
Looks Down and Did You See? Railroad Train Runnin' Up My Back has friends Rita Coolidge, Bobby
Whitlock, Delany Bramlett and Carl Radle along for the ride.
Levon Helm claims in his autobiography that he also contributed to John Simon's Album in the studio, but he is not listed among the musicians on the album cover.
John Simon - John Simon's Album - approx. 45 min. - 1971 - Warner Brothers Records WS 1849