Monday, May 10, 2010

Song of the Week: "Deep Water", The Beau Brummels

Listen - The Beau Brummels perform Deep Water

The Beau Brummels. I'm not sure what to make of them. Thanks to Rhino Records' reissues in the early 80s, this was one of the first 60s bands that grabbed my attention. The other two being Love and the Yardbirds. But unlike Love and The Yardbirds, I don't spin a Beau Brummels song with great frequency. Whenever I do, I always think to myself, I need to play these guys more. Well, dang it, that's what we're doing today.

The Beau Brummels were the first band to come out of San Francisco in the Beatles Mania era and did so with a huge bang. Their first single on Autumn Records was a number called Laugh, Laugh which went to No. 15 in the US charts in December of '64. They even "performed" the song on The Flintstones. They followed that up with yet another solid hit, and an even better song, Just A Little in early '65. That song peaked at an impressive No. 8. Both songs written by guitarist, Ron Elliot and both produced by a young Sly Stone.

Then, as is a common story for bands of the mid-60s that weren't called The Beatles or the Rolling Stones, The Beau Brummels began their steady decline into obscurity. That's not to say the songs declined in quality. They didn't. A switch to a new label that tried to turn them into a cover band, loss of band members to the Vietnam War, a band leader who was forced by diabetes to stop touring and the general direction of Elliot's compositions into more introspective, less pop-oriented music all led to the band becoming little more than a "where are they now" band even as they put out their best work.

In 1968, the band, now just Elliot and gifted vocalist Sal Valentino, traveled to Nashville to record what would be there final album, Bradley's Barn. It's a very good album and the standout track, in this writer's opinion, is today's SOTW: Deep Water. It's a beautifully produced song with some of Nashville's top session men (including Jerry Reed) laying down some tasty work on the Dobro, the Vibes and other untraditional pop instruments.



  1. Great song. However, I believe the true standout on that record--and the finest thing they ever did--was the song "Turn Around". Sal Valentino still performs that song in his sets today.

  2. Turn Around is great. The Dobro and the strings work so well together. It certainly showcases Valentino's voice best.

    Long Walking Down To Misery is another stand out on that album.

  3. i love these guys. Great voice, two solid writers. It's pretty amazing how well they took to the Nashville country vibe on that album- too bad they didn't do more of it.

    I'm surprised that Glen Campbell didn't cover Deep Water and make it into a top ten hit. It would have been perfect for him.