"Robbie Robertson" - Robertson, Robbie


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Full Track Listing:

  • Fallen Angel (5:52)
  • Showdown at Big Sky (4:41)
  • Broken Arrow (5:17)
  • Sweet Fire of Love (5:08) – With U2
  • American Roulette (4:46)
  • Somewhere Down the Crazy River (4:44)
  • Hell’s Half Acre (4:15)
  • Sonny Got Caught in the Moonlight (3:45)
  • Testimony (4:45) – With U2

Background Information

Robbie Robertson is a Canadian singer and song-writer. He is best known for his work with The Band. Robertson got his start in music in 1958 in the Toronto area. It wasn’t until 1987 that he would release his first solo album, “Robbie Robertson” although he had previously scored the movie “The Color of Money”. Robertson chose to work with Daniel Lanois as a producer on this first album, and Lanois would get U2 involved with the album.

Two tracks on the album “Robbie Robertson” feature all of U2. August 26, 1986 Robbie Robertson arrived in Dublin Ireland in the wake of Hurricane Charlie and spent two days working with U2 at the Danesmoate studio that U2 had set up to record “The Joshua Tree”. Over those two days they would write and record two songs, “Sweet Fire of Love” and “Testimony”. “Sweet Fire of Love” with it’s prominent vocal by Bono, and music by the remainder of U2 sounds very much like a U2 song of that era. The only additional musicians besides U2 are Lanois on percussion and Robertson on guitar.

“Testimony” was the other song recorded with U2, and Robertson describes the scene post-Hurricane Charlie as he met with U2 to begin recording, “There were cars floating down the streets, it was really frightening. Thank God these guys (U2) were up for some spontaneous combustion!” remembers Robertson of the recording sessions.”

“Testimony” started from a brass riff originally composed for the soundtrack of “The Color of Money”. Robertson recalls, “I had one little clue, inspired by a song I heard by Mahalia Jackson when I was a kid, called ‘Didn’t It Rain, Children.’ I put it on a tape with Daniel Lanois – just a tom-tom and a guitar playing this groove, and it had something.”

Overall Robertson described the recordings sessions for the two songs very positively. He relates “I had a few scraps of paper with stuff written on them and when I got there, their enthusiasm was just so fantastic. They were so great at rising to the occasion. Saying ‘let’s jump all over it’ and ‘let’s hit it every way until we get it’.”

Neither song would be released as a single, but “Testimony” was remixed and released on select versions of the single “Fallen Angel” (French 3”-CD, and UK 12”-Vinyl). An edit of the 12” version of “Testimony” would also arrive on the “Robbie Robertson / Storyville (Expanded Edition)” which saw the first two albums of Robertson’s solo career remastered and re-released as a set in 2005. Both tracks were also compiled on “The Best of Robbie Robertson: The Millennium Collection” released in 2006.

Liner Notes

Sweet Fire of Love:
Drums: Larry Mullen, Jr. Bass: Adam Clayton. Guitar, solo: The Edge. Vocals, bass: Bono. Background Vocal, Percussion: Daniel Lanois. Vocal, Guitar, Solo: Robbie Robertson.

Drums: Larry Mullen Jr. Bass: Adam Clayton. Guitar: The Edge. Background Vocal: Bono. Bass, Percussion: Daniel Lanois. Guitar: Bill Dillon. Background Vocal: Ivan Neville. Gil Evans Horn Section: Arranged by Gil Evans assited by Peter Levin. Vocal, Keyboard, Guitar: Robbie Robertson.

Produced by Daniel Lanois and Robbie Robertson. Recorded at U2 Movile Unit, Danesmote, Dublin Ireland.

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