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Robbie Robertson — Somewhere Down The Crazy River
Album: Robbie Robertson
Avg rating:
7.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 3333









Released: 1987
Length: 4:45
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Yeah, I can see it now
The distant red neon shivered in the heat
I was feeling like a stranger in a strange land
You know, where people play games with the night
God, it was too hot to sleep

I followed the sound of a jukebox coming from up the levee
All of a sudden, I could hear somebody whistling from right behind me
I turned around, and she said
"Why do you always end up down at Nick's Cafe?"
I said, "Uh, I don't know, the wind just kinda pushed me this way"
She said, "Hang the rich"

Catch the blue train
Places never been before
Look for me
Somewhere down the crazy river
(Somewhere down the crazy river)
Ooh, catch the blue train
All the way to Kokomo
You can find me
Somewhere down the crazy river
(Somewhere down the crazy river)

Take a picture of this
The fields are empty, abandoned '59 Chevy
Laying in the back seat listening to Little Willie John
Yeah, that's when time stood still
You know, I think I'm gonna go down to Madam X
And let her read my mind
She said, "That voodoo stuff don't do nothing for me"

I'm a man with a clear destination
I'm a man with a broad imagination
You fog the mind, you stir the soul
I can't find no control
Ooh

Catch the blue train
Places never been before
Look for me
Somewhere down the crazy river
(Somewhere down the crazy river)
Ooh, catch the blue train
All the way to Kokomo
You can find me
Somewhere down the crazy river
(Somewhere down the crazy river)

Wait, did you hear that?
Oh, this is sure stirring up some ghosts for me
She said, "There's one thing you gotta learn
Is not to be afraid of it"
I said, "No, I like it, I like it, it's good"
She said, "You like it now
But you'll learn to love it later"

I been spellbound
Falling in trances
I been spellbound
Falling in trances
You give me the shivers
Chills and fever
You give me the shivers
You give me the shivers
I been spellbound
I been spellbound
I been spellbound
(Somewhere down the crazy river)
Somewhere down the crazy river
Comments (494)add comment
 eileenomurphy wrote:


Indiana!


Kokomo!   I think Ko Kumo is in Japan.
It's mystical, and I'm transported out of any sort of doldrums or malaise to a state of calm attentiveness while it plays.  When it's over the residual relaxation continues as a pleasant high that lasts around an hour.  During which time I hear portions of the lyric and the melody repeated in my mind.  Sometimes my inner voice joins in.  Invariably, that happens with the chorus and I'm compelled to sing the answer "Somewhere Down the Crazy  River", usually aloud.  This piece is unusual because it's my only pleasant Ohrwurm infection and I truly enjoy the invasion.  Welcome flashbacks to the recent listening can occur a week, or two, later.
 maboleth wrote:

So pretentious and cringy, it hurts.


Your new fishnet tank top?
I bet that backing vocal was disappointed to get this gig.
 
"So you need me to sing along with the main lyrics with lots of energy and soul, right?"
 
"No, we just need you to repeat 'somewhere down the crazy river' like an echo, after Robbie sings it."
This song has the depth of a string of social media posts.
Wore out a needle playing this when it came out.   Tenor singimg voice and baritone speaking voice.  Amazing.  


WIKIPEDIA: When one of the producers, Daniel Lanois, was asked about the inspiration for "Somewhere Down the Crazy River", he said that the song was "kind of like a guy with a deep voice telling you about steaming nights in Arkansas". He went on to say that Robertson was describing his experiences of hanging out in his old neighbourhood of Arkansas with Levon Helm (fellow The Band member) during hot nights in which they were "fishing with dynamite" and had asked a local for directions to "somewhere down the crazy river".[3]

In terms of composition, the song features a "sweet and wonderful" chord sequence on the Suzuki Omnichord, which had been introduced to Lanois by Brian Eno. As Robertson developed the chord sequence, Lanois surreptitiously recorded him and superimposed his storytelling on top.



Tomorrow Never Knows followed by Somewhere Down the Crazy River. Nice segue. 

I bought this CD when it first came out because I loved one track I heard on the radio, might have been this one. I had no clue who Robbie Robertson was at the time, but I played the ever loving s**t out of it, loved everything on it. Now I suppose it could be considered "crossover" or that Robbie had "sold out" but it's just a brilliantly produced album.
 ozzie1313 wrote:

Robbie Robertson channeling a combo of Dr. John melded with Barry White.



With a hint of William Shatner...
 coloradojohn wrote:

Me, too! Fall of '87...I was an undergrad at CU living along Boulder Creek (745 Arapahoe; sadly, all condos now, and way out of reach) and I was hanging with a sweet gal at her place in Old Town Louisville (also changed a lot) when this came over KBCO. Right away, it stunned us into silence. We toked a bit more, turned it up, and got back to our Romance. I graduated and wound up in Japan for the first two of what would become a total of 20 years. Wonder where she is now... Somewhere down the crazy river...
—————————-
kicking wrote:




Somewhat ironically, I first heard this back in '87 on MTV (back when they played music (I know, right?)) overnight while hanging in the dorm lobby avoiding sleep at the University of Louisville. Stunned as well, especially with the film noir storytelling feel, but my post exposure experience wasn't nearly as memorable. 
Reminds me of Ryan Adams Chelsea Nights a bit.
Extraordinary song writing. 
Beautiful. 
I had this at 7.  that must have been a LONG time ago.  7 >>>>9.
It's just so....


...so good.

Thanks, Bill.
Better to be down the Crazy River than up Shit Creek.
This album release was in my youth. By that time, Robbie didn't reached me with it. For me it was irrelevant music back then

Today I am fascinated and look forward to hearing him.
Is this now my sentinmental view of my youth or my mature view to the artist?
 brian.d.tobey586 wrote:
Back to a time pre internet where you actually were inspired to explore musicians accompanying. Wild deep south "somewhere down that crazy river" vocals by the Bodeans. Wish I could have been at the bar where Robbie found those guys. Probably a good night! 
 
the BoDeans were a thing before Robbie's first album came out, this same year they received "Best New American Band" from a Rolling Stone reader poll.
 ozzie1313 wrote:
Robbie Robertson channeling a combo of Dr. John melded with Barry White.
 
With some Tom Waits sprinkled in for good measure. 
 rpdevotee wrote:

Actually there is no one closer to this sound than Ken Nordine
 
RIP Ken we all love you so
This Raymond Chandler first-person narrative stuff, is he riffing Tom Waits?   =   )
This is such an amazing song -- so atmospheric -- you can feel the heat, the humidity, the surreality.
 ozzie1313 wrote:
Robbie Robertson channeling a combo of Dr. John melded with Barry White.
 

I was thinking Tom Waits
I want this era Robbie Robertson to tell me bedtime stories. Preferably naughty ones. 
 ozzie1313 wrote:
Robbie Robertson channeling a combo of Dr. John melded with Barry White.
 
Actually there is no one closer to this sound than Ken Nordine
But WHY is that '59 Chevy abandoned?

Because there's a body in the back seat, that's why.
This song always makes me think back my two times living in New Orleans. Good memories, filled with just the right amount of smoky mystery and late night oddity... 
"Just sing as you were the sexiest man in the world".
And this sounds like this sh/t.
Back to a time pre internet where you actually were inspired to explore musicians accompanying. Wild deep south "somewhere down that crazy river" vocals by the Bodeans. Wish I could have been at the bar where Robbie found those guys. Probably a good night! 
This song, gave me my life, then gave me my wife! 10 fold .... etc .,.. etc ,.,,, hey I can do this all day fool !!!
Double R can do no wrong.  Stunning resume with The Band, Dylan, Scorsese and many others.

A god who walks among us.  
 jahgirl8 wrote:
Where the hell is Kokumo?
 

Indiana!
 kcar wrote:
jahgirl8 wrote:
Where the hell is Kokumo?


 
BigCountry98 wrote:


Maybe the Beach Boys know
 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...


My money's on Hawaii.
 
Although there are several places named Kokomo—including Kokomo, Indiana; Kokomo, Arkansas; and Kokomo, Hawaii—the song describes a fictional Kokomo as a place "off the Florida Keys." The name was later used by resorts in Sandals Cay, Jamaica, Fiji, and Grassy Key, Florida.
jahgirl8 wrote:
Where the hell is Kokumo?


 
BigCountry98 wrote:


Maybe the Beach Boys know
 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...


My money's on Hawaii.
The stream links are down. There seems to be no other way to contact RP, so hopefully they see this comment.
 jahgirl8 wrote:
Where the hell is Kokumo?
 

Maybe the Beach Boys know
Where the hell is Kokumo?
Daydreaming from Moon shaped pool, Then Tomorrow Never Knows  from Revolver then this tune.  Nice.
 sunybuny wrote:

Not a female voice -- it's Sammy Llanas ... late of the BoDeans.  And sorry for the name typo below.
 
Wow. I've spent the last 37 years in aural lust for a guy?! Seems my ears are bi. 
Given all the "she said..." references it's not a difficult mistake to make. And it's no less sexy for the knowledge. 
Love this song...sooo sexy
 maboleth wrote:
So pretentious and cringy, it hurts.
 
funny, was thinking that about your comment
 colt4x5 wrote:

Agreed.
For that matter, what good song *doesn't*? 

Bill - An addition to deeply enhance PSD ... PSS - Play Something Shatner.
I think it has feet. 
 
Shatner doing a version of Pulp 'Common People'...now that is weird sh*t! 

PS..Shatner is no Jarvis Cocker.
*opens browser*

Oh, this isn't Tom Waits. in the first verses...

Huh....
...dont forget the stellar drum work here by manu katche

what a timeless track!!!
So pretentious and cringy, it hurts.
 pinto wrote:
Was he also the guy who said "I tell you what it takes, it takes a clear mind" at the end of Jackson Browne's "Cocaine"? Sure sounds like it
 
According to Jackson Browne it was David Lindley:

’Among the aural souvenirs from that period is “Cocaine,” a song captured live on Running on Empty. According to nondrugger David Lindley, “On that tour, everybody got crazy. All the time. When a bunch of people take coke, they get poignant. A lot of people spent a lot of time being real poignant on that tour.”

“At the end of the song,” said Browne, “there’s a bit where David did his Strother Martin voice and said, ‘It takes a clear mind to make it.’ I was high, doing coke, and David was trying to tell us, ‘Look, making music in front of tape recorders is best done when you’ve had some sleep and you know what you’re doing.’ Trying to tell us he was not having a great time. I’m glad that’s on there, because, in a way, it’s like a little disclaimer.’

RollingStone, Jackson Browne Adapts
 unclehud wrote:
Great tune, lotsa, funk, and I enjoy the storyteller delivery. 

The hook?  That female voice echoing "Somewhere down the crazy river ..."
 
Not a female voice -- it's Sammy Llanas ... late of the BoDeans.  And sorry for the name typo below.
 unclehud wrote:
Great tune, lotsa, funk, and I enjoy the storyteller delivery. 

The hook?  That female voice echoing "Somewhere down the crazy river ..."
 
I agree that is one the hooks. But that would be Sam Llanas, or Sammy BoDean singing the female voice. 
Every time I hear the opening cords I close my eyes and start to sway.  And Sammy Llanois.......

This is an 11 for me.
Ultimate porno song. 
Great tune, lotsa, funk, and I enjoy the storyteller delivery. 

The hook?  That female voice echoing "Somewhere down the crazy river ..."
Yet another artist to whom RP introduced me. Phenomenal.
Or they may just think calling a song pretentious makes them sound like their opinion has more merit than it does or deserves, ironically making their opining pretentious. 

easmann wrote:

Some folks are content with some version of "I don't like it", which is fine. Others feel compelled to insult the artist and demean those who like the art. Most of the time I don't think they realize how they sound (for example, someone who is quick to insult one artist and their fans is also quick to take offense if the same is done to one of their favorite artists/songs). The person to whom you responded probably is offended in some way by the performance, though, and I mean this sincerely, all art, including music, is the world's biggest Rorschach test: it reveals what is hidden in the viewer/listener.

But anyway the listener is offended and lashes back in the form of a comment like that. It's the closest, probably, they can come to understanding what it is that bothers them about the song (to be fair: I often cannot explain why I don't like a song, but I know that I don't, and there must a reason).

And I believe that listener is most likely sincere in their assessment.

People who like The Band (or The Police, or early Genesis, or...) often dislike the solo work of artists that left those bands. Sometimes they blame those artists for "breaking up" those bands. I think that's where some of these comments come from.

I agree, the "pretentious" label is over-used on these boards, and while I understand what it means, I find I too don't get how it applies to the music or the artists to which it is applied, usually. Well, at least never to artists I like. : )

I just interpret is as: "I don't like it, AND it offends me". I think if they had a better explanation they'd probably offer it?
 

Love everything about this song, the mood, the voice, the rhythm......I guess it's because I am always 'somewhere down the crazy river'.......lol
{#Devil_pimp}zesty ! this whole album is a true gem would love to hear more from it maybe showdown at bigsky ?
One of my all-time favorite songs.  Thanks, RP!
Fantastic album that's held up well, with contributions from Peter Gabriel, U2, and the Bodeans.  My favorite track is Fallen Angels (with Gabriel).
 Akazungu wrote:
Thank you RP for exposing me to Robbie Robertson, I can't believe I'd not found him before. I've bought this album now (using your link of course).

 
For an eye-opening experience, watch Robbie and some friends (Joni, Neil, Rick, Van, Ringo, Bob, and Ronnie and a few more) in the movie "The Last Waltz."


I wonder if Robbie ever heard the Juicy Bananas...
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgQF71OthRA
 
Image result for juicy bananas bad man
All I ever hear is "let's break up the Band."
'SOMEWHERE' -
The new fragrance by Robbie Robertsonie.
From - CRAZY RIVER ® 
Get . . . Canadian. 
Yah.
Couldn't get the CD in Germany anymore, I only have it on a cassette ...thanks RP
Pretty song, but, y'know, kinda dumb.
yes. thank you. so cool to see so many of us posting were in college at the time. 1987, I was a freshman at UCSB, ahhh songs will always take me right to that idyllic time. 
 raulman1 wrote:

graycoach—it was made into a short film:  https://youtu.be/4KP9PNSUME4

 
Aww, I always had such strong images in my mind for this haunting tune. I clicked the link and... was so disappointed at the sparse 80's production.

But still, cool to see/realize Tony Levin playing bass and Marie Mckee was easy on the eyes. And checking the wikipage for the song just now verified that was Sammy BoDean on backing vocal. And also surprised to learn, Bono listed as backing vocals and that Martin Scorsese produced the video... I could not feel either of their iconic presences. Funny how knowing more of the back story somehow improves one's experience of things.
 graycoach wrote:
This is a magical song. I would love to see this made into a short film.  Robbie is a gift.

 
graycoach—it was made into a short film:  https://youtu.be/4KP9PNSUME4
 ozzie1313 wrote:
Robbie Robertson channeling a combo of Dr. John melded with Barry White.

 
So THAT'S how Leonard Cohen was conceived!
 h8rhater wrote:

Fortunately, this station is not just for you.  Ahhh.

 
I'm finding your posts more and more enjoyable as I uncover them on songs' comments....h8rhater to the rescue!  (I left off the OP on purpose b/c it wasn't important....only your slightly snarky and completely truthful reply matter...)

And I came here to ask "is that Patty Labelle or Dionne Warwick?" singing backup?  I like this song and I'm sure the whole album is great....it came out when I was 10 and well without RP I probably never wouldn't have had a chance to hear it.  LONG LIVE RP! (and h8rhater too!)


One of the BEST Albums of the 80's
One of RR best


 p4rkrb01 wrote:
Yep, this begs for a Shatner cover version
 
Agreed.
For that matter, what good song *doesn't*? 

Bill - An addition to deeply enhance PSD ... PSS - Play Something Shatner.
I think it has feet. 
 graycoach wrote:
This is a magical song. I would love to see this made into a short film.  Robbie is a gift.

 
Was he also the guy who said "I tell you what it takes, it takes a clear mind" at the end of Jackson Browne's "Cocaine"? Sure sounds like it
Me, too! Fall of '87...I was an undergrad at CU living along Boulder Creek (745 Arapahoe; sadly, all condos now, and way out of reach) and I was hanging with a sweet gal at her place in Old Town Louisville (also changed a lot) when this came over KBCO. Right away, it stunned us into silence. We toked a bit more, turned it up, and got back to our Romance. I graduated and wound up in Japan for the first two of what would become a total of 20 years. Wonder where she is now... Somewhere down the crazy river...
—————————-
kicking wrote:
I first heard this on KBCO while at CU, great to hear it again on RP!

This is a magical song. I would love to see this made into a short film.  Robbie is a gift.
What a brilliant album! 
Thank you RP for exposing me to Robbie Robertson, I can't believe I'd not found him before. I've bought this album now (using your link of course).
 Artemis_Crow wrote:
What's with RP's love of playing music in which moribund-sounding, deep voiced men mumble lyrics? I love everything else this station plays, but this? And more recent Cohen pieces? Ugh.

 
Fortunately, this station is not just for you.  Ahhh.
{#Stop} back-to-back Don Henly and Robbie Robertson, why do I feel an R.E.M. song is next, please don't
What's with RP's love of playing music in which moribund-sounding, deep voiced men mumble lyrics? I love everything else this station plays, but this? And more recent Cohen pieces? Ugh.
 finnie wrote:
One of the best solo albums of all time. A complete 10...

 
absolutely...so cool
One of the best solo albums of all time. A complete 10...
I first heard this on KBCO while at CU, great to hear it again on RP!
Robbie Robertson channeling a combo of Dr. John melded with Barry White.
 nutrod42 wrote:

You like it now, but you'll learn to love it later.

 

Somewhere down the lazy river 🚣🚣🚣
 Cueburned wrote:
Say what you want about this one.  For me this song in the background was part of getting into some wild on the floor love with the woman I've shared life with for the duration.  Just something about it turned her briefcase and her business suit into a pile on the condo carpet.     

 
I liked the song also
no one around to say no to Robbie
Love hearing Robbie on RP! Just jammed to his whole Music for the Native Americans last night; now wanna play this whole thing too!
 nutrod42 wrote:

You like it now, but you'll learn to love it later.

 
Hilarious and very true.
 
 idiot_wind wrote:
Who's got the pack of Marlboros and Dickel bourbon?

 
I beg your pardon Sir, Dickel is Tennessee Whiskey not bourbon, Dickel employs the Lincoln County process like Jack Daniels does which of course is a no-no for bourbon
 p4rkrb01 wrote:
Yep, this begs for a Shatner cover version

 

This is cheesy enough as is, but a Shatner cover would be awesome.


I love this song.
Excellent! Today, Radio Paradise, you have excelled yourselves playing all my favourite music!
I'm feeling so lucky {#Bananajam}
Excellent! Today, Radio Paradise, you have excelled yourselves playing all my favourite music!
I'm feeling so lucky {#Bananajam} 
 easmann wrote:

Some folks are content with some version of "I don't like it", which is fine. Others feel compelled to insult the artist and demean those who like the art. (snip - please see easmanns full comment below)
I agree, the "pretentious" label is over-used on these boards, and while I understand what it means, I find I too don't get how it applies to the music or the artists to which it is applied, usually. Well, at least never to artists I like. : )

I just interpret is as: "I don't like it, AND it offends me". I think if they had a better explanation they'd probably offer it?

 
Fair comment indeed. Can i just add a moan about the (over) use of the word 'mediocre' in the same context. It simply doesn't work in a description of art. Beauty is in the ear of the beholder is it not?
(note to self - remember not to get offended by persons describing tracks/artists etc you like as being 'pretentious' or 'mediocre' - 'forgive them, they know not what they do' is a phrase that springs to mind). Thanx i've learnt something today {#Laughing}
 Lindo525 wrote:

No, I like it, I like it, it's good

 
You like it now, but you'll learn to love it later.
I've loved this entire LP since it came out, still play in my rotation.  Sweet Fire of Love with U2 is another great cut.  And yes, the BoDeans are collaborators on the LP as well.
 bam23 wrote:
Once again the necessary question: what do you mean by pretentiousness? How does one differentiate between this term and any other used to describe the story a songwriter is telling? Does this term suggest that he should not be writing this music because he has not lived the life pictured? I honestly don't understand the use of the word here. 
 
Some folks are content with some version of "I don't like it", which is fine. Others feel compelled to insult the artist and demean those who like the art, which I find objectionable. Most of the time I don't think they realize how they sound (for example, someone who is quick to insult one artist and their fans is also quick to take offense if the same is done to one of their favorite artists/songs). The person to whom you responded probably is offended in some way by the performance, though, and I mean this sincerely, all art, including music, is the world's biggest Rorschach test: it reveals what is hidden in the viewer/listener.

But anyway the listener is offended and lashes back in the form of a comment like that. It's the closest, probably, they can come to understanding what it is that bothers them about the song (to be fair: I often cannot explain why I don't like a song, but I know that I don't, and there must a reason).

And I believe that listener is most likely sincere in their assessment.

People who like The Band (or The Police, or early Genesis, or...) often dislike the solo work of artists that left those bands. Sometimes they blame those artists for "breaking up" those bands. I think that's where some of these comments come from.

I agree, the "pretentious" label is over-used on these boards, and while I understand what it means, I find I too don't get how it applies to the music or the artists to which it is applied, usually. Well, at least never to artists I like.  : )

I just interpret is as: "I don't like it, AND it offends me". I think if they had a better explanation they'd probably offer it?
 ScottFromWyoming wrote:

Sounds like Bernadette Peters.

 
The background singer is credited as Sammy BoDean, seems to be Sam Llanas from the BoDeans
 Skydog wrote:
The talking parts are lame and amateurist, maybe he was going for a boring 1950's movie feel.

 

Some shades of Bukowski in a few lines.
 Skydog wrote:
The talking parts are lame and amateurist, maybe he was going for a boring 1950's movie feel.

 
Yeah, he'll probably never amount to anything. 
Sure, Someone else`s cup of tea at the X's Cafe.
 p4rkrb01 wrote:
Yep, this begs for a Shatner cover version
 
Noooooo-o-o-o-o. Never Shatner. 
Yep, this begs for a Shatner cover version
The talking parts are lame and amateurist, maybe he was going for a boring 1950's movie feel.
 Hippostar wrote:
Someone really needs to put that backup singer closer to the mic...

 
Sounds like Bernadette Peters.
 milleronic wrote:

Would love to hear some Laurie Anderson on RP!

 
No Laurie Anderson since 2009 :(  
Love that Suzuki Omnichord, although I do prefer a V Strom.
Love this song.  :)
I wonder if Robbie saw "Repo Man" before he wrote this song...

"Bad Man" from the Repo Man soundtrack:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1jqEWVxRUo
For story telling we need Joe Gideon and The Shark! Just amazing.
{#Cheers}



{#Cheers}



 {#Cheers}
 milleronic wrote:

Would love to hear some Laurie Anderson on RP!

 
yup. me too.
One of the coolest songs ever, and at the time, when it 1st played on KBCO over sweet Anita's stereo at her place on McKinley Street in Louisville, just over the hill from Boulder, as we were laying in bed, enraptured already, it totally blew us away... I smile to recall it...
 mdnlsn wrote:
Gotta admit, even as a big fan of The Band, I just can't get over RR's pretentiousness sometimes. This is one of those times.

 
Once again the necessary question: what do you mean by pretentiousness? How does one differentiate between this term and any other used to describe the story a songwriter is telling? Does this term suggest that he should not be writing this music because he has not lived the life pictured? I honestly don't understand the use of the word here. 
 jsed wrote:
Follow this up with a Laurie Anderson cut...have us a little spoken word set.

 
Would love to hear some Laurie Anderson on RP!
How about playing  this actual song a little less, but working more stuff like it into the mix?
Great song and production from a seasoned master. I'm gonna get the album.

For some reason, I'm amusing myself by imagining the spoken parts in William Shatner's voice...

Just to be clear, this guy is different than Robbi Robb?