Robbie Robertson is not a great singer, per se. Note how most of the vocal duties in The Band were carried by Levon Helm or Rick Danko. However, his voice is serviceable: it’s more of a conversational tone than an operatic one.
However, sometimes a song is just made for a singer…and “Broken Arrow” was made for Robertson.
Sure, Rod Stewart did a great version. And Stewart is the more professional singer with the amazing, raspy tone, etc. (We won’t talk about the Phil Lesh version). I love Phil, but he’s not a singer.
For my money, Robertson’s version is the best one – it has that extra “spark.” And he wrote it after all!
Often times, only the original composer can channel the emotional center of a song.
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