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The Big Three | Tall Tails

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Django Reinhardt Louisiana Red Muddy Waters

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United States - Missouri

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Blues: Acoustic Blues Blues: Juke Joint Blues Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Tall Tails

by The Big Three

Blues, jazz, western swing, folk, string band, old timey, rags, ditties, all make their way through us as we make tall tales out of thin air.
Genre: Blues: Acoustic Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Good Gravy
2:40 $0.99
2. 32-20 Blues
4:45 $0.99
3. V-8 Ford
4:47 $0.99
4. Who's Gonna Chop My Baby's Kindling
4:01 $0.99
5. The Blues Don't Like Nobody
5:14 $0.99
6. Move to Kansas City
4:33 $0.99
7. A Pretty Girl (A Cadillac and Some Money)
2:45 $0.99
8. First Degree
3:53 $0.99
9. I Can't Be Satisfied
4:20 $0.99
10. 2:19
7:26 $0.99
11. She Ain't Rose
2:37 $0.99
12. Blues Stay Away from Me
7:08 $0.99
13. Eyes Like a Cat
3:24 $0.99
14. Boogie Disease
5:30 $0.99
15. Gambler's Blues
4:07 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Welcome to The Big Three’s first recording. We’re glad we made it. We’re glad you have it!
The Big Three originated in Kansas City with Washboard Chaz Leary, Billy Dye and myself around 1999. At the time there was no other quasi-acoustic group in town, so we kinda filled a void. Chaz left for New Orleans after a few years and Allen Fishell came aboard with a small trap set that fit the group perfectly. We love the recordings of the 1900’s. Music to me is never old. It just is what it is. Some songs contain moments of things of a previous time and some could have been written yesterday. My philosophy regarding music is that it’s never to be played the same way once, let alone twice. More like guidelines, than rules. These tunes allow us to improv upon a theme night after night, keeping things fun and spontaneous. Blues, jazz, western swing, folk, string band, old timey, rags, ditties, all make their way through us, as we make tall tales out of thin air. Here’s a wee rundown of the tunes that make up this recording:
Good Gravy is a fun little two beat from John Lee Williamson, the original Sonny Boy Williamson. Sonny Boy was very popular and prolific in the 30’s & 40’s until his unfortunate demise in the 1948. His songs have been a mainstay for generations of great bluesmen and women.
Robert Johnson’s 32-20 Blues is a Johnson classic. Billy’s fingerpicking technique is something I marvel at. Washboard Chaz used to introduce the song saying, “Here’s a song about the American Dream… shooting, stabbing and adultery.” Indeed.
V-8 Ford written by piano man Willie Love in 1951. I ran into this rather mean little song researching Lilian McMurtry’s Trumpet Label out of Jackson MS. The label was operated in the backroom of her husband’s furniture store and is a treasure trove of blues delights.
In 1941, The Sunshine Boys popped out a crazy little western swing number called Who’s Gonna Chop My Baby’s Kindling (When I’m Gone). This song was the one that made me fall in love with western swing. Hell, the history of western swing is the story of America. A mixture of cultures, ethnicities and races. Fun stuff!
Hot damn, I do love me some Otis Spann! Known as the Chicago piano master with the great Muddy Waters band, Muddy encouraged and championed Otis, resulting in many Otis recordings. I delightfully ran into a PBS “American Masters” blues program (on an old VHS tape) with Otis fronting Muddy’s band. Otis launches into The Blues Don’t Like Nobody like he is playing at his own house party. I fell in love with the song. I brought in Jim Beisman on piano, as we share a love of everything “Otis”. It was so damn good, that I had him flavor three other tunes on this album.
Move To Kansas City is not played around Kansas City for some odd reason. The Memphis Jug Band recorded it in the thirties and it’s been floating around ever since. I worked it from a Big Walter Horton version I heard years ago. Slow blues in the key of love.
The first band that I was involved with in KC brought A Pretty Girl (a Cadillac and Some Money) to my attention–originally performed by Buddy Johnson and his Orchestra. I forgot about it for twenty years, glad we dredged it back up. Cool lounge tune to my ears.
The First Degree is a Louisiana Red song, in the style of Elmore James. I first heard this song with Red and Lefty Dizz in a duo setting. I love playing this song, but within the first year I dropped the fourth verse, as singing about lynching was too repugnant to bear. So I simply stopped including it.
From Muddy Waters, I Can’t Be Satisfied comes flying out of the chute like the wheels are gonna fly off, but they never do. Billy plays slide on his 1930’s Oahu flattop guitar and Allen drives the jalopy along. In fact, I envision us flying down an old dirt road with chickens and farm animals flying as we leave a trail of dust. Hold on!
2:19 struck me like a bolt of liquid lighting. It is the first cut on John Hammond’s “Wicked Grin” album. That record is still one of my “top ten” desert island recordings. The album is all material written by Tom Waits. I love the imagery and the slightly menacing tone on this cut, as I do with all of Tom Waits’ writing.
Leon Redbone is my guilty pleasure. His album, “No Regrets”, turned me on to She Ain’t Rose. This swinging little number is propelled by Allen and dig Billy’s Django inspired riffs that are the cherry on top.
Blues Stay Away From Me is an swamp tune of the late forties by the hillbilly boogie group, the Delmar Brothers. During live shows, Billy will get a run at the song with an extended intro. Anything goes and it is no different this time.
The Big Three typically start our shows with a swing number to warm up. (If you couldn’t tell, we do like swing tunes.) Over time our little swing instrumental developed and I named it Exquisite Peach. One night I thought it needed some lyrics, so I tossed on Eyes Like A Cat, by Joe Louis Walker. If I forget the lyrics, the title reverts back to Exquisite Peach!
Next up is a variation of Doctor Ross’ Boogie Disease. I lifted it from a Lester Butler recording called “13”. Always good to have some boogie in your life. This arrangement is a wee different than we usually do it, but this was a onesy (one take) and it felt good.
For some odd reason years ago, I began calling the rhumba rhythm or New Orleans style rhythms “rutabagas”. Anyone who has played with me knows what I mean when I call the root vegetable rhythm. On harmonica it’s like being let out for recess. I got this old Tampa Red song, Gambler’s Blues, from James Harman years ago. Extra Napkins, I believe.
We hope you enjoy these recordings and perhaps go on to discover more about their origins. Come out to hear us when you can. American music is so vast; we never tire of exploring it. As Bill relayed a bit of advice he once received; “The more you like music, the more music you’ll like.” Enjoy!
John Paul Drum (2017)

Produced by John Paul Drum
Recorded at Hammerhead Audio,Kansas City, Mo., May and June 2017
Engineered by Michael Moreland
Mixed by Michael Moreland and John Paul Drum
Mastered by Mayfield Mastering in Nashville, Tenn.
Cover illustration by A.B. Frost
Photography by Ken Wachemdorfer and Brian Turner
Design by Keith Kavanaugh, BauWau Design



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