“Virgil Caine is the name…”

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – The Band (1976) 24bit HD Audio 1080p Video

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down was originally released in 1969 on The Band’s self-titled second album. This video uses the version from The Band’s live The Last Waltz performance on Thanksgiving Day in 1976. The song was written by Robbie Robertson (with maybe some assistance from Levon Helm, see information below….these guys have have had beef over writing credits) and it is sung by Levon Helm.

This is easily my preferred version of the song ever recorded, and I made one of my very first videos for it. That video remains very popular and I was very proud of it at the time….however, although it’s not as awful as some of my early videos, it is so clunky to me now (all the keyframe movements are set improperly, the double image transparencies are nasty, some really dark images…..and most of all it used a compressed .mp3 for the audio!). I was advised to use caution with the update and although I initially planned to just re-create the video with updated elements…real fire, hd video, cleaned images, etc., but in the end, as usual, I got carried away and gave it a major overhaul. I’m thrilled to have learned how to make a better video in the 5 years since the original, and I think this version does the track a greater justice. I doubt it will ever be as popular as the original, and there are numerous very popular videos of the track, so it might just kinda stall…..if you’ll help it along with some shares, votes, and discussion maybe it can rise into the top 20! πŸ˜‰ Oh….and the the bells are back….let the debates rage once again! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

Robertson stated that he had the music to the song in his head but at first had no idea what it was to be about. Then the concept came to him and he did research on the subject. Levon Helm, a native of Arkansas, stated that he assisted in the research for the lyrics. In his 1993 autobiography, This Wheel’s on Fire, Helm wrote, “Robbie and I worked on ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ up in Woodstock. I remember taking him to the library so he could research the history and geography of the era and make General Robert E. Lee come out with all due respect.”

The Band frequently performed the song in concert, and it is included on the group’s live albums Rock of Ages (1972) and Before the Flood (1974). The song was included in the concert on Thanksgiving Day 1976 which was recorded in the documentary film about the concert, The Last Waltz, as well as the soundtrack album from the film.

The last time the song was performed by Helm was in The Last Waltz (1976). Helm refused to play the song afterwards. Although it has long been believed that the reason for Helm’s refusal to play the song was a dispute with Robertson over songwriting credits, according to Garth Hudson, it was due to Helm’s dislike for Joan Baez’s cover version.

[Lyrics]
Virgil Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville train
‘Till Stoneman’s cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter of ’65, we were hungry, just barely alive
By May the tenth, Richmond had fell, it’s a time I remember, oh so well

The night they drove old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down, and the people were singin’ they went
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

Back with my wife in Tennessee, when one day she called to me
“Virgil, quick, come see, there goes Robert E Lee”
Now I don’t mind choppin’ wood, and I don’t care if the money’s no good
Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest,
But they should never have taken the very best

The night they drove old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down, and the people were singin’ they went
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la,

Like my father before me, I will work the land
Like my brother above me, who took a rebel stand
He was just eighteen, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet,
You can’t raise a Caine back up when he’s in defeat

The night they drove old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing,
The night they drove old Dixie down, and all the people were singin’, they went
Na, la, na, la, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na,

The night they drove old Dixie down, and all the bells were ringing,
The night they drove old Dixie down, and the people were singin’, they went
Na, la, na, la, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na

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