1 posts categorized "The Band"

July 25, 2011

BeatTips MusicStudy: The Band's "King Harvest" Gives Lesson in Groove

The Melody Talks, But the Groove Tells It Like It Is


When it comes to music, there is little more truthful than the groove. If you listen to it, open it up, and unpack what's going on, you'll always find just what the song's feel and sound is all about. This is one of the reasons that I'm always drawn to the groove of any song. No matter the melody, for me, it's the groove(s) that ultimately either makes it or breaks a song.

One of my favorite grooves of all time is the one found on the song "King Harvest," by the group The Band. Powered by the flawlessly funky drum-work of Levon Helm, "King Harvest" moves with a rhythmic focus that is as much funk as it is southern rock; as much Woodstock jam session as it is Memphis blues rock. Robbie Robertson's guitar work whines and twangs, spilling out a funky blues that moves between laid-back cool and jam-solo bravado. The keys are a split duty affair. Richard Manuel, who also does lead vocal work, plays a steady, but artfully understated piano. And Garth Hudson handles the organ, making it bake, roll, and moan at the various "frenzy" points in the number. Finally, Rick Danko makes everything warmer with his fat, but deliberately soft bass playing. (I learned a lot about arranging bass parts listening to this song.)

Of the various things worth studying in "King Harvest," pay attention to the instrumental "cool-down" that takes place at the arrival of the chorus. Next, pay careful attention to how the band glides from the chorus, right back into the groove. Incredible. Also, be sure to study the little jam session warm-up just before that rip off the main number.

The music and videos below are presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

The Band - "King Harvest," from The Band in Woodstock

The BeatTips Manual by Sa'id.
"The most trusted source for information on beatmaking and hip hop/rap music education."

Dedicated to exploring the art of beatmaking in all of its glory.

Your email address:

  • Donate Sidebar

  • BeatTips Top 30 Beatmakers

  • Build Your Skills

  • Top 5 Myths About Sampling and Copyright Law

    "Sampling is piracy."
    WRONG! Piracy describes the wholesale, verbatim copying and distribution of copyrighted works. That is not sampling; that's something entirely different.
    Read more

    "You can legally sample and use any recording up to 1, 2, 3, or 4 seconds."
    WRONG! Under existing copyright law, there is no clear, predetermined length (amount in seconds) that is “legally” permissible to sample.
    Read more

    "If you use samples on a free mixtape, it’s perfectly O.K."
    WRONG! A free mixtape does NOT permit you to use samples from copyrighted recordings without the permission of the copyright holders.
    Read more

    "Sampling is easy; there’s nothing to it. Anyone can do it well."
    WRONG! Sampling is an art form that requires technical skill, imagination, and artistic understanding.
    Read more

    "Sampling involves the use of pre-recorded songs only."
    WRONG! While the art of sampling is most commonly understood to include the use of pre-recorded songs (traditionally from vinyl records), source material for sampling includes any recorded sound or sound that can be recorded.
    Read more

  • BeatTips
    Essential Listening

    BeatTips.com is a website dedicated to music education, research, and scholarship. All the music (or music videos) provided on this site is (are) for the purposes of teaching, scholarship, research, and criticism only! NOTE: Under U.S. Code, Section 107 “Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use” of the Copyright Act of1976: “Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching… scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright." (U.S. Code)