Visualizing the Crazy River

21 Jun

Remember when there used to be music stores? Places where you could go and browse through rows and rows of cassettes. They were my favorite places, and I could spend hours discovering artists and songs on a musical treasure hunt. I spent most of my time in the Rock and Soundtrack sections. Rock because it was my favorite genre and Soundtracks because I could find a variety on one cassette (I suppose talking about cassettes dates me a little.) Once I picked out a couple, I would head to the checkout counter where someone dressed appropriately punkish would take my money and take the cassettes out of those plastic contraptions that “prevented” shoplifting.

I still have boxes full of those things, but I have nothing to play them on anymore (although I still have a turntable). However, I got them out the other day and scanned through them to see if there was something there that I had forgotten. Perhaps, I could download some onto my iPod. That’s when I found one of my all-time favorite albums. Robbie Robertson by, surprisingly, Robbie Robertson.

When I found it, I had no idea who Robbie Robertson was. I didn’t know that he was in The Band. I had never seen The Last Waltz. I also didn’t know that Levon Helm would become my favorite member of The Band. I only knew that the album had a cool cover and a song that I could not listen to enough.

Somewhere Down the Crazy River became etched in my mind. It told a story that I could visualize, and I would play the movie in my head each time I heard the song. To me, it was a bit of musical noir full of steamy mystery and danger around every corner. Now, I don’t have fancy picture-making abilities on this blog, but I am going to attempt to bring this vision to cyber-life by picturing each line. It is an experiment, and experiments sometimes fail. So, here goes the picture book version of Somewhere Down the Crazy River.

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 a 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, “I don’t know. The wind just kind of pushed me this way.”

She said, “Hang the rich.”

Catch the blue train

To places never been before.

Look for me

Somewhere down the crazy river.

Catch the blue train

All the way to Kokomo.

You can find me

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 going to 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.

Catch the blue train

To places never been before.

Look for me

Somewhere down the crazy river.

Catch the blue train

All the way to Kokomo.

You can find me

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’ve got to 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 shivers.

You give me shivers.

I been spellbound.

I been spellbound.

I been spellbound somewhere down the crazy river.

Somewhere down the crazy river.


8 Responses to “Visualizing the Crazy River”

  1. John S June 22, 2012 at 23:06 #

    Still have cassettes in my car. Home made compilations. It got broken into a couple of years ago and nothing was stolen!

    • surroundedbyimbeciles June 23, 2012 at 01:28 #

      Downloading music just isn’t the same.

  2. paintlater July 5, 2012 at 13:53 #

    I still have The Last Waltz on tape-yes we are both well and truly dated! Especially when you see the plastic going yellow…

    • surroundedbyimbeciles July 5, 2012 at 16:17 #

      Ha. I just hope I’m not going yellow.

  3. DyingNote June 23, 2014 at 10:10 #

    I first came across that album on a Saturday afternoon radio show on BBC (World Service). I got the cassette soon after that. The cassette’s gone but I have the CD. That song in particular was in many people’s opinion one of the best records of the year.

    • Rick June 23, 2014 at 13:23 #

      I think I first heard to song n the radio. That’s weird because I don’t remember it getting much air play. I had the cassette, too. Then, I got the CD. I like just about every song on it.


  1. Badge of Imagery « Surrounded By Imbeciles - July 2, 2012

    […] I reckon a lot of songs do. No matter. I know what I visualize when I hear the song. As I did with Somewhere Down the Crazy River, I have decided to visualize Badge in blogosphere […]

  2. Things I Think While Kayaking | Surrounded By Imbeciles - June 22, 2014

    […] “Somewhere Down the Crazy River” by Robbie Robertson. I wrote a terrible post about it. […]

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