Album: Levon Helm, Ramble at the Ryman (Vanguard)

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The Independent Culture

Recorded live in hometown Woodstock, Helm and his excellent band apply themselves to a dozen tunes from recent solo outings, the Band's back catalogue and the top end of the R&B canon.

Guests include Sheryl Crow and John Hiatt. The vibe is convivial. And though the great man can't put his cancer-strangled voice to every number, he can still swing the nuts off a Slingerland kit in between chesting a nifty mandolin. Other stars? Guitarist Larry Campbell and the horns. Good times.