The Testimony of Robbie Robertson


MOJO gave me a mere 150 words on this, but here’s my tuppenceworth on “an unengaging and soulless read”…

THE BAND’S STORY continues to beguile: how did a group so rich in talent and promise implode so hopelessly, only to pull the rabbit out of the hat with such a spectacular leaving do?

Almost a quarter century after the late Levon Helm published his own autobiography, de facto Band leader/guitarist/songwriter Robertson finally has his own say in the solemnly-titled Testimony. (Did he, one wonders, wait for Levon to go before committing pen to paper?)

The sad truth is that Testimony makes for an unengaging and soulless read. While there’s much to learn and many gaps filled in for the curious, the book is written in a clichéd style of numbing if self-regarding banality. However much sympathy one has with Robertson’s desperate attempts to herd The Band’s cats, there’s rarely the sense here of a flesh-and-blood human being behind the rote recollections.

Helm’s book may have been written by Stephen Davis, but the drummer’s irresistible voice was audible in its every phrase.

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