“POTATO HEAD BLUES” (March 2010)

Here’s the High Sierra Jazz Band — recorded by Tom Warner at the March 2010 Monterey Dixieland Festival — performing their dazzling version of Louis Armstrong’s POTATO HEAD BLUES.  The band is made up of Pieter Meijers, reeds, co-leader; Howard Miyata, trombone; Bryan Shaw, cornet; Bruce Huddleston, piano; Stan Huddleston, banjo, guitar; Charlie Castro, drums; Earl McKee, sousaphone.  On this dazzling homage to Louis, the front line turns into a trumpet / cornet section.  What I need to know (and will probably never find out at this late date) is which of Louis’s Chicago or New Orleans pals apparently had a head that resembled a potato and was thus immortalized?  Whose physiognomy inspired this hot tune?

I wish I could have this performance on my clock radio — music to wake anyone up in the best way!

P.S.  Tom Warner’s YouTube channel is “tdub1941,” a cornucopia of good things.

8 responses to ““POTATO HEAD BLUES” (March 2010)

  1. Pingback: “POTATO HEAD BLUES” (March 2010)

  2. I had read somewhere that Louis’ “Potato Head Blues” was Tallulah Bankhead’s favorite record. When I asked her, she not only confirmed it but also went on at great length about its healing properties—as in making her feel good. 🙂

  3. Fabulous solo, one of these classic Louis solo’s from his Hot Seven, here thoroughly worked out by the frontline of High Sierra Band. I didn’t even know that Peter (their clarinetist) could play cornet, Howard the trombonist could and it’s fantastic to see that Bryan is back. Also Bryan’s trumpet solo is a feast for the ear. He always intrigued me and I consider him the finest jazz trumpeter from the Westcoast.

  4. Bill Lowden (Jazzbobill)

    This is a great version of the old Louis masterpiece. Nice work by the brass section- Pieter and Howard surprise me with their great talent. I was also blown away by Bryan’s superb solo. This is one of my favourite bands.

  5. frank selman

    Dear “Jazz Lives”, that is some very interesting and witty stuff you put on the net.
    The “Potato Head Blues” hit me on the head and in between the ears when I was 14 in 1957.
    Let me make a guess: could a caricature of Clarence Williams resemble a Potato Head?

  6. That’s a brilliant assumption . . . Clarence does resemble an Idaho russet in its native state, and it’s the best suggestion I’ve ever heard. It wins the prize! Thanks, Frank — and cheers from Michael Steinman

  7. I’ve read somewhere (academic stuff) that the “Potato Head” is not literal, actually it was some slang expression for an “stupid” or “idiot” person. Anyway, it’s one of the four or five Greatest records ever (any era, any style), to my ears.
    As Woody Allen said in “Manhattan”: “Just one of the few reasons why life deserves to be lived…”

  8. Thanks for reminding us of that — and for reminding me of Mr. Potato Head of my childhood. Cheers, Michael

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