Tres Songs (mini-set)

In this occasional feature, I put three songs together more or less as a mini-set. Typically there’s no real relationship between the songs other then unintentionally. As is my wont, they’re all a little bit bluesy. Hope you like ’em. Or at least, some of them….

I kept hearing a song on the radio and digging it but never really knew who performed it. Turns out it was a band with the unlikely name Big Head Todd and the Monsters. (Pictured above.) These guys have been around since the ’80’s and I confess to knowing little about them.

I find it interesting that while they’re not a blues band per se, they recorded an album called 100 Years of Robert Johnson along with luminaries such as B.B. King and guitarist Hubert Sumlin. (Any band that can or does play the blues gets an immediate thumbs up from yours truly.)

Anyway, from their 1997 album, Beautiful World, here’s “Please Don’t Tell Her.”

In what can only be deemed a tremendous oversight, I believe I have yet to feature a ZZ Top song. Either you like these guys or you don’t. I do. I love these three “little ol’ boys from Texas.” But I will save all my gushing and historical analysis for my eventual post about them. For now, just dig “Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings:”

Does Robbie Robertson need any introduction at all? Chief songwriter for The Band, one of the most lauded rock ensembles ever. (And yes, there will be a series on these guys once the Music Enthusiast gets off his arse and starts writing it.) This song, “Somewhere down the Crazy River,” is from his eponymous 1987 album.

About this song, Wikipedia shares this little tidbit: [Famed producer) Daniel Lanois commented, “Robbie was describing what it was like to hang out in Arkansas with Levon Helm … He was telling me about the hot nights and fishing with dynamite (what?!), and was asking someone for directions for someplace somewhere down the crazy river. … That was the birth of [the song]. It’s kind of like a guy with a deep voice telling you about steaming nights in Arkansas.”

And, in my humble opinion, a very cool tune:

Side note: I’ve been digging the blog What I Like is Sounds and so, added it to a place of honor in my blogroll. All I ask of a woman is that she like good music. And any gal that likes AC/DC is onto something. 😀

10 thoughts on “Tres Songs (mini-set)

  1. That Big Head Todd song is really nice. I’ve not come across them before.

    I thought I spotted Tony Levin on bass in the Crazy River video and Wikipedia confirms that. Anything with him on it is more than OK with me.

    So that’s two nice surprises in one blog. Thanks, Jim.

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  2. Yeah, the Todd song has a nice feel to it, doesn’t it? These guys have been around for a while and have been under my radar. I definitely wanna check more stuff out by them.

    Tony Levin. He of Chapman Stick and prog-rock fame. Yes, and I overlooked it till you mentioned it. Thanks.

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  3. Odd – “Somewhere Down The Crazy River” is one of those songs that I knew (at least in terms of it pulled up a match in the memory banks) but didn’t know who it was by. A quick look at Wiki reveals why; his only real ‘hit’ in the UK (neither he or The Band really crossed the Atlantic in terms of success) and released back in ’87 means I must have heard it playing on the Radio One Chart Show. I found an old cassette recording of just that Sunday show from the same year (it also has tracks like Robert Palmer’s I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On and Stan Ridgeway’s Camouflage that stick out in the memory). A nice trip down memory lane that one 🙂

    Really liked the Big Head Todd track – never heard of em before either but really enjoying listening to their stuff on Spotify now, cheers!

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  4. Yeah, that was the closest Robertson ever had to a hit. In general, having come out of the Sixties, he (and the Band) were more album-oriented as opposed to hit-oriented. Although that said, I’m sure the record company wouldn’t have minded it. 😉

    That’s interesting that you say The Band were not necessarily successful over there. They had such an impact on Clapton I assumed they were everywhere.

    Everybody likes Todd. I’ll dig up more of their stuff to listen to myself. Thanks.

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  5. You always seem to leave these great gems of Blues history in your posts of artists. Really liked, “Please Don’t Tell Her” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters so I had to listen to “100 Years of Robert Johnson”. It was just fantastic! You mentioned Hubert Sumlin so I checked him out and found out he not only influenced so many great guitarists like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton but bands like the Doors, Cream and Stones revived some of Sumlin’s songs. From what I read, Hubert Sumlin played a lot with Howlin’ Wolf so I checked out some of his songs and found out that Howlin’ Wolf’s 1962 LP “Howlin’ Wolf,” (also with a lot of British Rockers), was considered by a lot of music critics as “the finest of all Chicago blues albums,” and was largely because of Mr. Sumlin’s contribution. Thanks for the great Blues trail…it was quite a ride. 🙂

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    1. Everybody likes Big Head Todd! I haven’t gotten to the 100 years album yet. Still absorbing Clapton’s Johnson tribute.

      Sumlin was a huge influence on those guys. He also played with Muddy Waters.

      As to Wolf, I owe him a post one day but for now, he’s part of the Sam Phillips post.

      I am working on a series that is full of blues and rock pointers radiating out in every direction largely because of who the artist is. My biggest problem is trying to keep it all within four posts.

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  6. Very cool that you would give a nod to Todd and the boys. I’ve been listening to them for a while and put them in our category (why not more popular?). They will show up on CB’s take soon. There isn’t a bad cut on their ‘Sister Sweetly’. Love that ZZ Top era. Great choice. RR just makes great music. When this song was released CB was getting into the Bodeans and who shows up on this tune, Sammy Bodean. Again Dr Jim you nailed it. You should get a vote for DJ of the year.

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