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  • Big Head Todd and the Monsters to Release "100 Years of Robert Johnson"

    Tue, 07 Dec 2010 11:47:17

    Big Head Todd and the Monsters to Release "100 Years of Robert Johnson" - They celebrate the 100th birthday of blues legend with a tribute

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    • Big Head Todd & the Monsters - CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 27: Todd Park Mohr of  Big Head Todd & the Monsters (L), Eddy 'The Chief' Clearwater (C) and Ronnie Baker Brooks perform for blues artist Buddy Guy at a 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Send Off Celebration held in Guy's honor at the Pritzker Pavilion stage on November 27, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Guy will be recognized with Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova, and Led Zeppelin at the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors on December 2.

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    How do you throw a 100th birthday bash for the most influential bluesman that ever lived? If you're Big Head Todd & the Monsters, you gather some of the greatest living blues musicians and record 100 Years of Robert Johnson, due out February 1, 2011. To quote Kool And The Gang, "Celebrate good times, come on!" The platter is a stirring new tribute album featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century.

    Big Head Blues Club, as the ad hoc ensemble is calling itself, features, in addition to the Colorado-based quartet, guitarist and vocalist Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, drummer Brian Nevins and keyboardist Jeremy Lawton as well as special guests, like blues legends B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keepers of the blues flame Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm. Serious blueness!

    Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, 100 Years of Robert Johnson will be released in early 2011, and supported by a national tour, "Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts," which will feature many of the participants in the sessions.

    For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and the Monsters with Squires and Nevins nearly a quarter-century ago, the project has served to re-introduce him to the iconic music of Johnson, whose songs provided many of the pioneering blues-rock bands—Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Canned Heat—with some of their most popular material.

    100 Years of Robert Johnson features several inspired takes on Johnson's best known compositions. For Mohr and Goldsmith, the challenge in recording the tribute was to give new voice to Johnson's music, to avoid copying the countless cover versions already extant.

    Robert Johnson's story is the stuff of myth and legend alike, and his music has fascinated blues fans and musicians for more than seven decades. Born in Mississippi in 1911, Johnson recorded only 29 songs, all during the years 1936 and 1937. His unique guitar style and haunting vocal phrasing, and the evocative, often mysterious nature of his lyrics, made him a popular artist during his short time in the spotlight and has continued to intrigue since. A persistent tale that, as a young man, Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a more proficient musician has been attached to his biography since his untimely death at age 27—the alleged victim of a poisoning incident at the hands of the jealous husband of a woman with whom Johnson had been flirting.

    100 Years of Robert Johnson Track List:

    1. Come On In My Kitchen (w. Charlie Musselwhite)
    2. Ramblin' On My Mind
    3. When You Got A Good Friend (w. Hubert Sumlin on guitar and Ruthie Foster)
    4. Cross Road Blues (w. B.B. King)
    5. Preachin' Blues
    6. Kind Hearted Woman (w. Ruthie Foster)
    7. If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day
    8. Last Fair Deal Gone Done (w. Charlie Musselwhite)
    9. All My Love Is Love In Vain (Todd solo vocal and acoustic guitar)
    10. Sweet Home Chicago (just Honeyboy and Musselwhite)

    BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS: THE ROBERT JOHNSON CENTENNIAL CONCERTS tour dates featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Hubert Sumlin and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm:

    Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom
    Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center
    Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology
    Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB
    Feb. 04 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
    Feb. 05 Dallas, TX Lakewood Theatre
    Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M
    Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall
    Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre
    Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU
    Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill
    Feb. 17 New Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore
    Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music
    Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse
    Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre
    Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College
    Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater
    March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino
    March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center
    March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall
    March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre

    Are you planning to check out this album and tour?

    —Amy Sciarretto

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    Tags: Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Charlie Musselwhite, Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside, Lightnin' Malcolm, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Cream, Canned Heat

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