David Byrne: 3 Big Songs (EP)

David Byrne’s next “big” idea gets streamlined.

Kronomyth 2.5: Spokesongs from The Catherine Wheel.

I used to play this EP all the time as a teenager, as it condensed what was best about David Byrne’s score to The Catherine Wheel in fifteen minutes of fun (with dancing in front of the mirror optional). Whether Byrne coded the best bits with the word “big” or it just shook out that way, 3 Big Songs feels like a miniature collection of greatest hits from the full score (while noting that even the single elpee version was an edit of the complete score). Big Blue Plymouth had already been selected as the single from the album. It points ahead to the next Talking Heads record, Speaking in Tongues. My Big Hands, by contrast, points back to the strange rhythms of the past (Remain in Light). Big Business, here presented in a slightly longer “dance mix,” feels like one of those funky percussive workouts from the next phase of the Heads (cf. “Pull Up the Roots”). As far as I now, this is the only place where the dance mix version appears.

Original EP version

A1. Big Business (Dance Mix) (David Byrne/John Chernoff) (6:13)
B1. My Big Hands (Fall Through the Cracks) (David Byrne) (2:45)
B2. Big Blue Plymouth (Eyes Wide Open) (David Byrne) (4:45)

The Players

A1 mixed by David Byrne, Butch Jones and Mark Kamins.

The Pictures

Design by M&Co. Illustrations by Maira Berman. If you enjoy the illustrations, you may be interested to learn that the artist later created an entire book around David Byrne’s lyrics, Stay Up Late.

The Plastic

Released on EP in 1981 in the US (Sire, DSRE 50034).

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