Anna Lee Amsden is immortalized in The Band's anthem, "The Weight," on their first album, Music From Big Pink .
Go down, Miss Moses, there's nothin ' you can say It's just ol ' Luke, and Luke's waitin ' on the Judgement Day. "Well, Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?" He said, "Do me a favor, son, won ’ t you stay and keep Anna Lee company?"
Anna Lee Williams Amsden was born and raised in the Delta in Turkey Scratch near Marvell, Phillips County, Arkansas. A childhood neighbor and close, life-long friend of Levon Helm , she and Helm ha ve cross ed paths with the Pryor Center a number of times. In October 2005 Amsden was interview ed in Little Rock before Helm's performance with the Midnight Ramble Band . She also participated in a panel discussion in Fayetteville following a n August 2013 screening of the documentary, Ain’t In It for My Health : A Film about Levon Helm .
Amsden was interviewed again at the King Blues Biscuit Festival in October 2015 . This time she shared her memories of Levon’s last evening before his passing , and her relationships with and love for the Helm family and the musicians surrounding Levon’s music. In 2008 Amsden published the cookbook , Anna Lee's Favorite Recipes .
Still frame from Pryor Center video interview with Anna Lee Amsden at Bubba's Blues Corner during the King Biscuit Blues Festival; Helena, Arkansas, 2015
© Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, University of Arkansas