Archive for R.L. Burnside

“I Heard It On T.V.” – Finding New Music On the Tube

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2009 by 30daysout


In 1999, I flipped on HBO to watch a new show called “The Sopranos.”  The opening sequence featured Tony Soprano driving through New Jersey to a very cool tune that I had never heard before. After digging around, I found out it was called “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3. Who? 

In one of the last scenes of Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise is running through what appears to be an airport to get home and here the now famous phrase “you had me from hello.” I always loved the haunting song in that scene, but never knew what it was. Then earlier this year I was watching the Showtime show “Californication,” starring David Duchovny. It’s the saga of a down-and-out writer who gets laid more than one man probably should.  One of the episodes featured the song.  I went to the website and found out it was “Through the Hill” by Harold Budd and Andy Partrigde of XTC. Who knew?  


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Lost Classics! The Signifying Monkey

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , on August 21, 2008 by 30daysout

Dickie & the Tornadoes, with singer Billy Cross (1980s)

The first time I ever heard of the Signifying Monkey was in the early 1980s, in a dive called the Riverside Tavern in Port Neches, Texas.  Just down the street from a Texaco plant, the bar attracted sailors off petroleum tankers in dock and it was a tough place to hang out to say the least.  I don’t know who was braver, the patrons of the Riverside or the musicians who played there. 

One of the bands we enjoyed there was Dickie and the Tornadoes, with lead singer Billy Cross (formerly a road manager for the Fabulous Thunderbirds) and one of their crowd pleasing tunes was “The Signifying Monkey.”  The song told the story of a badass little monkey who comes into contact with other, much larger and supposedly more ferocious jungle inhabitants and manages to overcome them all.  The Signifying Monkey character has a long history in African-American folklore (look it up) but we like him because the songs involve lots of cussing.

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