July 28, 2009 – 4:10 am

He started with three songs on Music From Big Pink but ended his songwriting with too many bottles of Grand Marnier. Although he cleaned up in 1980, The Band by then was no longer a creative force.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

RICHARD MANUEL (1943-1986)
The Getaway 1985 [no label, 2CD]

Live at The Getaway, Saugerties, New York, December 7, 1985. A very good, close to the mic, audience recording. Stereo.

He was indisputably the voice of The Band. Richard Manuel sang either falsetto or a sweet baritone. I Shall Be Released is his greatest recorded moment in falsetto.

This rare recording is of a solo concert and at this show the versatile Manuel (who plays piano, harmonica, drums, saxophone, organ) accompanied himself on piano. He plays the full range of the music that influenced him as well as the music he made with The Band. Many are covers like Share Your Love, Grow Too Old, two of Ray Charles’ songs and, of course, his cover of Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released.

Although he sounds friendly and banters with the small audience, the songs selected are anything but happy. Manuel is documented in various books and interviews to be a habitual alcoholic. He can be seen drunk while jamming with Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and Janis Joplin in the film Festival Express, a documentary of the concert tour of Canada on board a train.

Manuel started with his star shining. He was an enigmatic singer with two singing voices and is well remembered for many of The Band’s favorite songs - The Weight, Across The Great Divide, King Harvest and The Shape I’m In. But as he became increasingly intoxicated he couldn’t write and despite Robbie Robertson’s cajoling, Manuel hardly wrote after Stage Fright.

It’s history that The Band disbanded at Robertson’s persuasion with The Last Waltz, despite their reluctance. By 1983, they reformed without Robertson and Manuel was by all accounts rehabilitated. So it was a shock when after a concert at the Cheek To Cheek Lounge in Orlando, Florida, Manuel retired to his room and hanged himself.

Now all you vigilantes wanna make a move,
Maybe they won’t, you know I sure hope they don’t.
For whether this rumor proves true or false,
You can forgive or you can regret,
But he will never ever forget.

(lyrics from The Rumour)

When Manuel sings “you don’t know the shape I’m in” he was right. After his untimely death just three months after this show on March 4, his bandmates who had been with him for the better part of the evening were clueless that Manuel was suicidal.

From wikipedia: “On March 4, 1986, after a gig at the Cheek to Cheek Lounge outside Orlando, in Winter Park, Florida, Manuel committed suicide. He had seemed to be in relatively good ’spirits’ but ominously thanked Hudson for ‘twenty-five years of incredible music’. The Band returned to the Quality Inn, down the block from the Cheek to Cheek Lounge, and Manuel talked with Levon Helm about music, film, etc., in Helm’s room. According to Helm, at around 2:30 Manuel said he needed to get something from his room. Upon returning to his motel room, it is believed that he finished one last bottle of Grand Marnier before hanging himself. Manuel’s wife Arlie - drug addled herself at the time - discovered his body along with the depleted bottle and a small amount of cocaine the following morning. He was buried a week later in his hometown of Stratford, Ontario.”

At this show, Richard Manuel sings a traditional tune, I’m Just A Country Boy, that the Band to my knowledge has never recorded:

I’m never gonna kiss the ruby lips
Of the sweetest girl in town
No I’m never gonna ask her if she’d marry me
Cos I know she’ll turn me down…

‘Cause I’m just a country boy
Money, money have I none
Oh but I’ve got that silver in the stars
And gold in the morning sun
I have gold in the morning sun

It’s been said he could not appreciate that The Band was no longer playing stadiums and large halls but sidelined to playing lounges. It seems Manuel did leave with regret but the music he and The Band left behind will always be loved.

This show contains several tunes seldom played live by The Band and although this is an audience recording, it’s recorded close and is clear. It’s well worth a listen.
- The Savage Hippo

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1
Track 101. Share Your Love (With Me) - a version was released by The Band on Moondog Matinee (5.5MB)
Track 102. Grow Too Old (Fats Domino/Bobby Charles) (6.5MB)
Track 103. Georgia On My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael) (3.7MB)
Track 104. Instrumental (Richard Manuel) (5.1MB)
Track 105. Chest Fever (7.3MB)
Track 106. The Rumour (from The Band’s Stage Fright) (8.3MB)
Track 107. Across The Great Divide (5.0MB)
Track 108. She Knows (Originally a Bread song then covered by Ray Charles on 1978’s Love & Peace) (5.0MB)
Track 109. I Shall Be Released (5.9MB)
Track 110. The Shape I’m In (5.8MB)
Track 111. You Don’t Know Me (Eddy Arnold) (4.5MB)

Disc 2
Track 201. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) (5.7MB)
Track 202. Instrumental (Richard Manuel) (6.4MB)
Track 203. I’m Just A Country Boy (Traditional also covered by Susan Reed, George McCurn and Sam Cooke) (6.5MB)
Track 204. Miss Otis Regrets (Cole Porter) (6.0MB)
Track 205. Crazy Mama (JJ Cale) (12.8MB - visit the html page to download the track)
Track 206. Hard Times (Ray Charles) (6.6MB)
Track 207. The Weight (9.2MB)

There is a commercial release of a show months earlier at the same venue, The Getaway. This album, Whispering Pines, is a proper soundboard recording and initially limited to a Japanese release in 2002. It features the show from October 12, 1985. A Canadian reissue arrived in 2005. This show is a full band show with Rick Danko, Jim Weider and Sredni Vollmer. It does not contain the songs The Rumour or I’m Just A Country Boy. Buy it here.

  1. 13 Responses to “GOT LIVE IF YOU WANT IT - PART 4 (RICHARD MANUEL)”

  2. A legend!!!!!!
    I will be wait for the 2nd part…thanks ;-)

    By Rochacrimson on Jul 28, 2009

  3. Thanks for the post. Richard Manuel a tortured soul with a voice that makes you want to cry. Not only was he a great singer, he had a style of playing the drums that was most unique. Just listen to “Rag Mama Rag”. Great stuff. FYI - a version of “Country Boy” was released on the Band’s album “Jericho”.

    By mike c on Jul 28, 2009

  4. He was truely original, as well as uniquely captivating in his rendering of songs. Too bad the quality here isn’t very good. The performances seem to be facinating. We need some sound board stuff of him. BTW, watch “the film: “Festival Express”.

    By Timmy on Jul 28, 2009

  5. Thanks for the tracks. FYI, that is not Richard Manual who is drunk and jamming with Jerry Garcia and the rest in the Festival Express movie. That is Rick Danko.

    By Bryan on Jul 29, 2009

  6. OHHHHH RICHARD….tell me tell me tell me …

    By sluggo on Jul 29, 2009

  7. I always considered Manuel the third voice of The Band.

    By Dave C. on Jul 30, 2009

  8. Incredible man with a beautifully poignant voice. Thanks so much for posting this and the Rick Danko show as well!

    By Jack on Jul 31, 2009

  9. I saw the Band (ex-Robertson) at the University of Buffalo in the early eighties. The concert started without Manual who was flying his own plane to the gig and was delayed. He arrived mid-show and the Band ran off five songs with Richard on vocals. It was the hghlight of the show and still an excellent memory.

    Thanks so much for this post.

    By John C. on Aug 2, 2009

  10. I feel guilty lifting this one … Richard Manuel was a tragic but truly triumphant singer/musician … he voice goes to the heart of what he’s singing. I hope he’s happy now.

    By Canute on Aug 11, 2009

  11. Richard is one of my absolute favourites and I cannot understand why he is never ever included in lists of the greatest singers. Just criminal. He makes me cry for the right reasons. This is such an amazing recording, especially ‘She Knows’. Too soulfull. God bless, Richard.

    By Felicia on Nov 24, 2009

  12. That’s some inspirational stuff. In no way knew that opinions could be this different.

    By Thad Olexy on Jun 8, 2010

  13. Not all the links are working!!

    By Gary on Mar 5, 2022

  14. End of the world (as we know it) Gary…

    By DD on Mar 6, 2022

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