New Post Page Six By Richard Johnson December 6, 2016
Fans of The Band are disappointed that Robbie Robertson diminishes his late bandmate Levon Helm in his new memoir, “Testimony.”
Helm — whose drumming and country-flavored vocals were featured in “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” — died of cancer in 2012.
His widow Sandy and daughter, Amy, have kept mum, but family friend Barbara Jacobs told me that there is no reason Robertson had to quote Helm’s father using the N-word at his dinner table in Arkansas or to quote Levon sounding anti-Semitic,
In the mid-1960s, when they were playing backup for Bob Dylan, and folk purists were booing Dylan’s switch from acoustic to electric, Robertson quotes Helm, on page 196, as saying: “I don’t like this damn music. I don’t trust Albert Grossman and these people. And I don’t wanna be around Bob Dylan and all these New York [Jews] . . .” Robertson left the band in 1977, but Helm continued touring with the on-again, off-again group through 1999.
Robertson describes his deathbed visit to a comatose Helm at Sloan-Kettering, but Jacobs wonders why he came empty-handed: “At least he could have brought a box of assorted Danish and cookies, for the nurses’ station.”