Robbie Robertson (album)
|Studio album by Robbie Robertson|
|Released||October 27, 1987|
|Recorded||1987 at The Village Recorder, West Los Angeles, CA; U2 Mobile Unit-Danesmote, Dublin, Ireland; Ashcombe House, London, England; A&M Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA; Bearsville Sound Studio, Bearsville, NY; The Hit Factory, NY|
|Producer||Daniel Lanois and Robbie Robertson|
|Robbie Robertson chronology|
Robbie Robertson is the self-titled solo debut by Robbie Robertson, released in 1987. The album won the Juno Award for "Album of the Year", and producers Lanois and Robertson won the "Producer of the Year" Juno award, both in 1989 as there were no Juno Awards held in 1988.
The album is notable for the contributions from the members of U2 and Peter Gabriel, both of whom were also working with producer Daniel Lanois at the time. U2 was recording The Joshua Tree and Gabriel was recording So. U2's contribution is heard in the song "Sweet Fire of Love" which is a duet of sorts between Robertson and U2 lead singer Bono. The other track featuring U2 is "Testimony", again with vocals from Bono. Gabriel's contributions are heard on the song "Fallen Angel", which was dedicated to Robertson's former Band bandmate Richard Manuel, and "Broken Arrow" which reverberates with Gabriel's signature Rhodes electric piano. In addition, Tony Levin and Manu Katché, who were recording with Gabriel, are featured prominently on this record. (The album notes give Ashcombe House, London as a recording venue: this should read Ashcombe House, Bath, Peter Gabriel's home and recording studio at the time the album was recorded).
In 2005 the album was reissued together with Storyville as 2CD in an expanded edition, both with two bonus tracks.
This ballad was covered by Rod Stewart in 1991 on his album Vagabond Heart. The song reached #20 in the Billboard Hot 100 that year, as well as #3 on Billboard Adult Contemporary track chart.  It is not to be confused either with Chuck Berry's 1959 single or Buffalo Springfield's 1967 song of the same name written by fellow Canadian Neil Young.
American Rock 'n' Roll band The Grateful Dead started covering "Broken Arrow" in 1992 with bassist Phil Lesh tackling lead vocals. The song became a crowd favorite and one of Lesh's most successful contributions in the later years of the band.
"American Roulette"'s lyrics deal with the theme of three iconic Americans' rise to popular idolatry and the personal consequences thereof. The song mentions none of these by name and describes them in literary idealistic terms rather than strictly biographical form. The first verse talks about James Dean. The subject of the second verse is Elvis Presley. The third verse tells the story of Marilyn Monroe. Musically, the song is notable for its guitar solo throughout as well as the instrumental outro.
"Somewhere Down the Crazy River"
When asked about the inspiration for album's single "Somewhere Down the Crazy River", Lanois commented: "Robbie Robertson was describing what it was like to hang out in Arkansas with Levon Helm in his old neighbourhood. He was telling me about the hot nights and fishing with dynamite, and was asking someone for directions for someplace somewhere down the crazy river. ... I had presented him with this instrument that Eno introduced me to called the Suzuki Omnichord, like an electric autoharp. He found a little chord sequence with it that was sweet and wonderful. As he was developing his chord sequence I recorded him and superimposed his storytelling, which I was secretly recording, on top. That was the birth of 'Somewhere Down The Crazy River.' It's kind of like a guy with a deep voice telling you about steaming nights in Arkansas.”  This song is notable as Robertson's only solo hit in the UK, reaching #15 on the UK singles chart. His follow-up single there, "Fallen Angel" (also from the album) languished at #95. Sam Llanas, from The BoDeans, provided the distinctive background vocals on this song and "Showdown at Big Sky". Due to the popularity of The BoDeans in their home state of Wisconsin, "Showdown at Big Sky" received significant airplay on Milwaukee AOR radio.
- "Fallen Angel" (Robertson, Martin Page) – 5:52
- "Showdown at Big Sky" – 4:43
- "Broken Arrow" – 5:17
- "Sweet Fire of Love" (Robertson, U2) – 5:08
- "American Roulette" – 4:46
- "Somewhere Down the Crazy River" (Robertson, Martin Page) – 4:44
- "Hell's Half Acre" – 3:45
- "Sonny Got Caught in the Moonlight" – 3:45
- "Testimony" – 4:45
Bonus tracks on the 2005 expanded edition:
- "Christmas Must Be Tonight" – 4:51 from the soundtrack album Scrooged
- "Testimony (Edited 12" Remix)" – 6:34 additional production and remix by Nile Rodgers
- Robbie Robertson – vocals, backing vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Manu Katché – drums on 1 2 6 7 8, percussion on 1 7 8
- Bill Dillon – guitars on 1 2 5 6 7 8 9, backing vocal on 2
- Tony Levin – Chapman Stick on 5 7, bass on 6 8
- Daniel Lanois – percussion on 2 3 4 8, backing vocal on 2 3 4, Omnichord on 5, guitar on 5 8
- Tinker Barfield – bass on 1 and 5
- Martin Page – drum programming on 1
- Garth Hudson – keyboards on 1 and 5
- Peter Gabriel – keyboards on 1 and 3, vocal on 1, drum program on 3
- Larry Klein – bass on 2
- BoDeans (Sam Llanas, Kurt Neumann) – backing vocals on 2 and 5
- Sammy BoDean (Sam Llanas) – backing vocal on 6
- Terry Bozzio – drums on 3 and 5
- Abraham Laboriel – bass on 3
- Larry Mullen, Jr. – drums on 4 and 9
- Adam Clayton – bass on 4 and 9
- The Edge – guitar on 4 and 9
- Bono – vocals, bass on 4, backing vocal and guitar on 9
- Hans Christian – bass guitar on 5
- Maria McKee – backing vocal on 5
- Cary Butler – backing vocal on 8
- Ivan Neville – backing vocal on 9
- Gil Evans Horn Section – horns on 9
- Rick Danko - backing vocal on 8
|1987||Billboard 200||38 |
|1987||UK Album Charts||38 |
|1987||"Showdown at Big Sky"||Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||2 |
|1987||"Sweet Fire of Love"||Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||7 |
|1988||"Showdown at Big Sky"||Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||21 |
|1988||"Somewhere Down the Crazy River"||Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||24 |
|1988||"Somewhere Down the Crazy River"||UK Singles Charts||15 |
|BPI – UK||Gold||September 14, 1988|
|RIAA – U.S.||Gold||October 21, 1988|
|CRIA – Canada||Gold||February 28, 1989|
|CRIA – Canada||Platinum||February 28, 1989|
|CRIA – Canada||2× Platinum||February 28, 1989|
- AllMusic review
- Scaruffi, Piero (1999). "Band". pieroscaruffi.com. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
- "allmusic (((Robbie Robertson > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums)))". Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- Tong, Allan (September 2007). "Daniel Lanois Web Exclusive Interview". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
- Robbie Robertson. Robbie Robertson (Geffen Records, 1987).
- "UK Top 40 Hit Database". Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "allmusic (((Robbie Robertson > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles)))". Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "BPI Certified Awards". Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "RIAA Gold and Platinum". Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "CRIA Certifications". Retrieved 2008-05-21.