Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Well crafted rock from 1993 by Big Head Todd & the Monsters

I’m going back for an old favorite today. I was living in Denver at the time Big Head Todd and the Monsters was rising from a local Boulder / Denver band to a national act. We had already bought BHT&tM’s 1990 release, “Midnight Radio,” a poorly produced but brilliantly written album with some great songs on it (in particular, I like ‘Love Betsy’ and ‘Monument in Green’). In 1993 they released “Sister Sweetly” and exploded across America. Certainly, they were inescapable in Denver.

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I once heard a DJ come in after one of their songs and call them Big Hard Turd and the Monsters. -snort-

That was just fine with me, though, because “Sister Sweetly” is a Rock / Pop gem loaded with good music and shining with superior production. The album itself eventually went platinum and produced three top 40 hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart so you may already be familiar with it. The main songwriter, Todd Park Mohr is a brilliant songwriter and an intense presence live. This was their major label debut and breakout album, but if you somehow missed the hits or deeper cuts, check these out.

  • Brokenhearted Savior (live version) – This one hit #9 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. I actually got kind of sick of this song, but it is cool.
  • Sister Sweetly – I am reminded of Stevie Ray Vaughn when I hear the funky, wah-pedal guitar and the nasty soloing. This one is a fine example of the great production on this album. The percussion absolutely pops, the bass jumps out at you, and Todd Park Mohr’s moaning vocals ooze right along with the guitar.
  • Turn the Light Out – The quality of the songwriting on this album makes this song feels like filler, but it’s a really solid pop melody with a rocking chorus.
  • It’s Alright – This wasn’t released as a single and never charted as far as I know, but this is the one after ‘Brokenhearted Savior’ I heard most on the radio. It’s a pretty melody with good structure to the lyrics.
  • Bittersweet – Mohr tells great stories and has a talent for lyrics. This was the first single off this album and went to #14 on the Mainstream Rock Chart.
  • Brother John – The sweet acoustic guitar and uplifting melody make this almost a lullaby of sorts. It’s a great closer for the album.

I put together a mix of BHT&tMs for my brother and when he heard that these were all from the same album he thought it might be the perfect pop album. He went out and bought it right away only to discover he agreed with all the songs I hadn’t included. The whole disc is worth getting, though, because it is well sequenced and flows well in the CD player.

I saw them on the crazy upside down ticket at probably my favorite venue, Red Rocks Amphitheater, back in the day. Dave Matthews Band opening for Los Lobos opening for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Great show by all three, but the very danceable Dave Matthews (who was touring on “Under the Table and Dreaming” and hadn’t had a hit yet) followed by the equally danceable Los Lobos wasn’t a great setup for the more deliberate western rock of Big Head Todd.

I will write up some other BHT&tMs albums another day, because they have several really good ones. There last release was in 2007 but they usually go 2 or 3 years between releases so it may be almost time for another new one.

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February 23, 2010 - Posted by | Popular, Rock

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