Rick Danko

Rick Danko

Nineteen years ago today I was at the old farm on Kingsbury Rd. and I got a call from my agent, Steve Martin. ‘You know that phone call we’ve been expecting,’ he said. ‘This is it. Rick Danko just passed.’ In a way it was not a surprise, but on the other hand I always tend to think that all those dear to me will live forever regardless of the circumstances. Rick was at the same time a complex and yet very simple person. Regardless of the dysfunction that he and I often shared back in the 80’s, he was my friend… my good friend. I remember him standing by the pond behind his little house in Woodstock. ‘Come on girls,’ he would say to the geese on the pond. I’ve got something good for you.’ And he always did. He was without guile and always had a smile on his face. Good times or bad, when he sang it was always with the voice of an angel.

I still miss him.

May your voice lift the angels just a little bit higher.


I couldn’t help but tear up when I watched this.


  1. Comment made on December 17, 2018 by Mark


    I’d have to say that is Uncle Willy’s. The photo is cut off so that it does not show the framed Rolling Stone magazine covers on the back wall above that paneling. I’d also have to say that photo looks so familiar that I believe I took that photo in the 80’s when we spent some long nights with Jorma, Rick, Shredni, Jack, Mike and other wonderful folks on Broadway.

  2. Comment made on December 14, 2018 by AndyK

    Kevin, Agree 100%

  3. Comment made on December 13, 2018 by Art

    So check this out.


  4. Comment made on December 13, 2018 by Kevin

    I’d agree with your list as well and would add ABB. To add one of todays acts I would include Tedeschi Trucks as well. I’ve seen them a number of times and they are always tight and put on one hell of a show.

  5. Comment made on December 13, 2018 by AndyK

    @Shawn C Brown
    I agree with your list and would say definitely include Cream. Their electric blues jams were amazing.

  6. Comment made on December 13, 2018 by Shawn C Brown

    Rick was the greatest..just the best. it shouldn’t surprise me that Jorma was best friends with him…2 of the greatest….greatness attracts like. I have always said there are only a handful of bands that could be at any given time called the World’s greatest rock n roll band in concert…in other words NO other band could touch them…this might change depending on the night…..to me those “greatest of all time in the world were ::: The Stones, The Who, ( Maybe Cream ?? ) , Little Feat…The Airplane, and The Band., each of those bands certainly had bad nights.. BUT at some point in time on “their night ” they were at the top of the food chain and couldn’t even be touched by mere mortals…….. one of the BIG reasons The Band was at the top of the world of music was the emotion this dude Rick put into his singing…his definitive version of ” It makes no Difference” can’t be touched by even the best. I wish I could have known and visited with him, he was quite the character…..Levon Helms book ” This wheels on Fire ” tells of him and Rick and Richard ( I think it was Richard ) getting drunk accidentally killing a deer and Rick ( being a former butcher ) proceeded to show these Rock n Roll Hall of famers just how to butcher a deer, stringing it up..then all hell proceeded….read the story it is hilarious.,……

  7. Comment made on December 13, 2018 by johno

    New Paltz NY was definitely a portal of psychedelia in the 60s and 70s. It was well known as a party school. It’s was founded in the 1600’s and situated on the Walkill river surrounded by mountains and apple orchards. It was a idyllic setting for my college days. Needless to say they were some of the best times of my life.
    @Brian Doyle

  8. Comment made on December 13, 2018 by Henry Wilson

    A great song and remembrance. I found this as well, Rick Danko and Jorma at Uncle Willy’s: “Life is A Carnival” and a Bo Diddley/Hand Jive medley. That’s some great slide guitar playing in there!


  9. Comment made on December 12, 2018 by Brian Doyle

    Jefferson Airplane played New Paltz in March 1970…

  10. Comment made on December 12, 2018 by carey georgas

    @jim hitchcock
    I came, I sought, I listened. Thanks for the tip. I had no idea of its existence.

  11. Comment made on December 12, 2018 by Thomas

    Enjoyed many post-1980 live performances. One of my the most memorable was a solo gig in New Orleans on a sunny afternoon on the main quad of Tulane University. After showing no interest in leaving the stage, the PA was turned off (with warning). He pointed over to a bench next to the stage and invited those who wanted to join him. A small crowd was treated to another 30 or so minutes of music, only stopping when his cab arrived to take him to the airport. A genuine, intimate moment with one of my favorite performers.

  12. Comment made on December 12, 2018 by johno

    Me and your manager Steve Martin went to SUNY New Paltz together in upstate New York – near Woodstock. We were both on the Concert Committee. I was a junior – Steve was a freshman in 1975. I wanted Hot Tuna to come play at the school in 1975. Needless to say they were a hit. The gym was sold out. And Tuna played all night long. The next year they came back again. This time Journey opened for Hot Tuna. It was a psychedelic fantasy. I went to NYC to sign the contract with Journey with their manager Herbie Herbert. They were just started out. They played for $1000. They The show was freaking amazing – sold out with kids crawling in the basement windows – crazy. Those were the days – they will never happen again. It was a trip.

  13. Comment made on December 12, 2018 by richu

    Nice to see you bring this up after all these years.Before you hooked with him I saw u all over upstate n.y Rememeber the gig with roy buch..at the palace theaterin Albany? No prob…I do.

  14. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by Andrew

    Thanks for the link Jorma. That song bound
    to put an lump in your throat every time.

  15. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by jim hitchcock

    There was a pretty cool movie released in ’87 called End of the Line. Wilford Brimley and Levon Helm stealing a train. Memorable because as their plan was going awry, there was a scene with Levon sitting in the engine car singing One More Shot, which I knew from the wonderful The Legend of Jesse James album (Carey Georgas should seek this album out 🙂 )

  16. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by Greg martelli

    Missed them at Woodstock ,but saw them the first time at Tanglewood.They were scheduled to play Lex.in 3- days ,and Rick. Passed.
    Last saw Levin At Vibes.
    Always enjoy the Ramble Band.The Feat ,Ramble Band always serves up some good Gumbo.
    Thanks for remembrance

  17. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by TCarten

    Thanks Jorma – we used to go see Rick and Shredni (sp?) at the Towne Crier all the time back in the early 90’s. Small, intimate shows and he was always very approachable. As you say, the voice of an angel. RIP Mr. Danko.

  18. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by Tom Fabry

    @John B
    Just looked it up. – When I Paint My Masterpiece.. I recall they were just sitting on stools.
    Here is the audio


    Funny thing, Google/YouTube does a real “good job” on some things…like keeping certain Dylan things off line, and editing, silencing and redirecting other stuff. Anybody recall Google’s company original slogan/mantra?

  19. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by John B

    I was at that Garden show celebrating Dylan and I had forgotten that members of the Band were there that night. Didn’t they play Blind Willie Mctell?@eaglesteve

  20. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by John B

    ” Just standin up there to give it all his might.”

  21. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by eaglesteve

    oops, Troy Music Hall, duh

  22. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by eaglesteve


    Photo of Rick & The Captain. I think at Uncle Willy’s

  23. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by Tom Fabry

    Met Rick in the early 90s. A buddy from Woodstock produced a show with Rick and Garth at some Knights of Columbus or Veterans Hall. $15 bucks to get in and Rick and Garth were paid just ok… That is what it came to for them at that point.
    After the show we sat at the bar when others were packing up. He was an ordinary guy slugging it out in the world. No pretentious, stupid star, rock and roll BS. Just a working man that night ..I recall a solid Forever Young at that show.

    Also, I believe he was at a show with Levon and Billy Preston on keyboards in some theater upstate NY. Saw Rick play at that Dylan 30th party with GE Smith as the “band leader”.

    I wonder what Rick would tell us now if he could impart anything to us.
    God bless his soul and all those who have gone before us.
    Science has determined there have been about 110 billion humans since we all began. About 7 billion here now and they do the math going backwards… They all had to go….
    Some who have gone and came back, NDEs, emphasize the importance of trust as we go through this life… Trust and LOVE. (“Great current book on this subject “The Seven Lessons From Heaven” by Dr Mary Neal)she is on youtube as well.
    Thanks for the forum to share Jorma….Happy Hanukah

  24. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by HOGAN

    I had the pleasure of meeting him backstage at a Lone Star show and he was quite a character…I watched “The Last Waltz” 9 times because of him when it first came out..lol
    May he RIP


  25. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by neil

    Amen…his memory is indeed a blessing for all who were touched by him, his voice and soul

  26. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by carey georgas

    Again, as a fan from the hinterlands, I have only vicarious knowledge of the Band, most of it from Levon’s point of view as told in “This Wheel’s on Fire”. I guess my favorite image is of him singing and playing “Ain’t No More Cane” on the Festival Express. To me, he exuded the spirit of one to whom the terms “friend” and “expedience” were mutually exclusive. Thanks for the recall.

  27. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by DonV

    “Maybe you didn’t know him
    But he prob’ly was your friend
    He was oddly down to earth
    And just as wild as the wind
    As the wind
    Rick was as wild as the wind”

    Check out Steve Forbert’s tribute song to Rick Danko.

  28. Comment made on December 11, 2018 by Snarne

    Rick Danko sang like and angel, and he sang Angels In The Snow. The album One More Shot by Danko/Fjeld/Andersen is a hidden Jade. Check it out on YouTube.
    I did get to meet Mr. Danko in Drammen, Norway in the early 90´s. I had told Mr. Fjeld once that I was a huge Jorma fan. After their sound check, when I was standing in the bar, Rick Danko and Eric Andersen came right up to me, grabbed my shoulder, and asked; Do you know Jorma Kaukonen? Indeed I said, but I have never met him. They laughed and we had a good chat where we front-talked Jorma and his great music. Take Jorma with you next time in Norway I said to Mr. Danko. A year later in Oslo I met Mr. Danko again, and asked him for fun about Jorma. He smiled in a shy, angel like way and said not this time. I did however meet Mr. Kaukonen in 2003 after his first show at the Kaustinen festival. I was so star struck I forgot to mention both Rick Danko and to ask him about speed skating. But, he asked me if I was coming to his second show the day after. When I told I had tickets for both shows he asked if it was a particular song I would like to hear. The song for your father I said. He played Do Not Go Gentle. In 2011 my son and I met Jorma in Stockholm after a fantastic show at Göta Kellare. I do hope to get to a Beacon show one day. Rick Danko is an angel, Jorma Kaukonen is the soundtrack of my life.

  29. Comment made on December 10, 2018 by Kevin

    Sweet. Thanks for sharing that. I love when these great clips I’ve never seen before fall out of nowhere to brighten the day a little bit.

  30. Comment made on December 10, 2018 by greg

    God bless Jorma for bringing this to our attention. You and Rick are my my all time favorites. Matter of fact, the first time I saw you perform was at the old Blue Note in Boulder in 1980, and the first time I saw Rick was at the Glenn Miller Ballroom with the Band in 1983. And I will be there this Friday at the Boulder theater to see Hot Tuna. Hope to see many more.

  31. Comment made on December 10, 2018 by Chappy

    Never got to see the original Band, however, did see the re-formed unit a few times and they always put on a great show. When I lived in NJ back in the early 90’s I did get to see Rick and Eric Andersen play a duo show at a small joint in North Jersey called Jigg’s Corner. It was a Sunday night and the crowd was thin…maybe 40 people max. While Rick seemed a bit under the weather prior to the show, I remember both of them playing and singing their hearts out that night. The album version and the Last Waltz version of “It Makes No Difference” are a couple of my favorite takes.

  32. Comment made on December 10, 2018 by John Capitanio

    His signature song, IMHO; always makes me tear up, which makes it hard to sing. Saw you, him, and Jonathan Edwards in Feb 1988 at University of Vermont. Still have fond memories of that one.

  33. Comment made on December 10, 2018 by JB

    Love his voice! Love this song. Guaranteed visceral reaction whenever I listen to it!

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *