Rick Danko - vocals, bass; Terry Danko - guitar, vocals; Michael DeTemple - guitar; Walt Richmond - keyboards; Marty Greb - organ; Jerry Peterson - saxophone; Danny Seiwell - drums
As one of the members of the legendary Canadian group the Band, Rick Danko had attained rock royalty status among critics and rock fans alike by the mid-1970s. He was one of the Band's three main singers, having been featured on several of that group's key songs - including the closer for this set, "This Wheel's On Fire," which he co-wrote with Bob Dylan.
This show was recorded at the intimate Bottom Line club in New York City, during a performance in December 1977. It had been just over a year since the Band had given their much ballyhooed Last Waltz performance with a cast of superstar friends at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom, before the cameras of director Martin Scorsese. While the other members of the Band decided to give it a rest and recharge their creative batteries, Danko plowed directly into a solo career, signing with Clive Davis and Arista Records early in 1977. His first, self-titled album of that year featured the likes of Eric Clapton and all the members of the Band. Though it received great critical reviews, the album was largely overshadowed by the film and its accompanying soundtrack, both released at the same time.
This performance occurred at the tail end of his initial solo tour, and it's clear that Danko, while more than eager to forge his own musical path, had not yet developed into the solo artist he would eventually become. Even so, this is still a historical recording, as it is the only known professional taping of Danko on that tour. The material is drawn mostly from tracks off his aforementioned solo album, with a few Band classics such as "The Weight" and "This Wheel's On Fire" thrown in for good measure.
By 1980, Danko was without a record deal and, although he continued to tour as a solo act (and with performers such as Paul Butterfield and Jorma Kaukonen), he would eventually rejoin the Band for three more albums and tours without cornerstone member Robbie Robertson. Sadly, Danko died in December of 1999 from a heart attack many feel was brought on by years of drug and alcohol abuse. He was 56 years old.
Though the artist himself has gone, the music that Danko created - both with the Band and, to a lesser extent, through his solo efforts - will continue bearing forth his memory. His legacy and place have been assured.