Woodstock. It is curious to this day why the only band who actually both LIVED there and performed at the gig has to this day not had their set shown or released. Most folks don't even know The Band were there. At the same time plans were being made for the giant festival, The Band were living right down the road, practicing every day and in the woodshed with Dylan, another well-known, though reclusive resident I mentioned in an earlier post. Bob didn't make it, despite rumors he would. His backing band did...a full set of ten songs which have never been put on a compilation or added to endless reissues of "bonus" material on editions of the still essential film. In Levon's autobiography he claims it was because they forgot to turn Robbie's microphone off before the performance. (Personally, I like Robertson's voice, but he was no Levon Helm , Rick Danko or Richard Manuel) The set has been bootlegged, of course.
There is another angle to the story not told enough. While Dylan was healing up, drying out and raising a family nearby, very few pictures of him came out. Being fan, I was always glad to see the few that did, including a famous luminous shot of a 28 year old healthy gentleman Bob in pressed pegged pants leaning against an old car, surrounded by an aura of pink which ran on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. A few more trickled out, notably the striking, in fact now legendary photos of the boys in The Band. They were credited to one Elliott Landy. I always thought Landy, who happens to have a last name which is an anagram of Dylan...were one and the same. By that time, serious Dylan students were used to his attempts at preserving a life by hiding his under myth, I always just assumed he picked up a camera and took the shots himself. Whoever did certainly had Dylan's artistic skill (or extraordinary access)
Well, Elliott Landy is in fact a photographer, and a good one indeed. Many of his photos have become both iconic and emblematic of the era. The most comprehensive catalog of his work has just been released, shown here, and the photos are beautiful, colorful, crystal clear. Although of the time, they somehow manage to avoid the psychedelic claptrap of the period (something The Band did as well) The set? Not The Band's best, which is still to say better than almost everything else.
The woman above? Placed there by the photographer to make the boys smile, something they didn't do enough. It worked!
Elliott Landy's Website