Thursday, August 16, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: A Love Letter to Ketty Lester

I was just a kid -- third grade I think -- just discovering the joys of early '60s AM radio when my young soul was captivated by a husky voice singing over a haunting piano.

"Love letters straight from your heart / Keep us so near when we're apart ..."

It was a singer named Ketty (for years I thought it was "Kitty") Lester and the song, definitely her greatest hit, was "Love Letters."

Born Revoyda Frierson in Hope, Arkansas (take note Bill Clinton fans) on this day in 1934, Lester began recording in the late 1950s. In 1962 she released a single "I'm a Fool to Want You." However DJs preferred the flip side, which, you guessed it, came straight from Ketty's heart.

And they were right.

"Love Letters" was written in the 1940s by Edward Heyman and music by Victor Young. An instrumental version appeared in a 1945 movie called Love Letters and was nominated for a best-song Oscar. A rather schmaltzy version of the song, with lyrics, was recorded by a singer named Dick Haymes in 1945.  Here's what it sounded like:

Tony Bennett recorded the song, with a jazzy guitar, in 1955

Fast forward to this century for my second-favorite version of "Love Letters" by Tom Jones, backed by guitarist Jeff Beck. I'm not sure who's on piano. This is from a 2003 PBS documentary series,
Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Red, White & Blues.

Going back to the early 1970s, John Lennon paid tribute to Lester by capturing the piano part from "Love Letters" on his song "God."

And in the '80s David Lynch via Dennis Hopper, paid tribute -- in his own peculiar way -- in Blue Velvet. "Don't be a good neighbor to her. I'll send you a love letter, straight from my heart, fucker ..."

O.K. Ketty, show 'em how it's done!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

WACKY WEDNESDAY: It's Feast Day for Santa Muerte

Today, August 15 is the Feast of Santa Muerte.

Fans of Breaking Bad have at least a passing familiarity with the cult of Santa Muerte. Here's what the New York Times had to say in 2017 about this religious movement:

To her followers, Santa Muerte is a powerful healer, a bringer of prosperity, an agent of vengeance. Some ask her for green cards, lovers, health, protection against violent drug cartels or immigration agents. Some ask her to punish their rivals. They call her the Pretty Girl, the White Girl, the Godmother, the Bony Lady and dozens of other names, including Santisima Muerte, most holy death.

Little celebrated before 2001, and rejected by the Vatican, she has garnered a following of 10 million to 12 million devotees in Mexico and beyond — the fastest-growing religious movement in the Americas, said R. Andrew Chesnut, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of “Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint.” Her following includes drug lords, hard-working families, prisoners and members of sexual minorities.

In honor of her fewast day falling on Wacky Wednesday, here are some songs about death.

Let's start with this Louis Jordan classic:

The Dubliners go to Finnegan's wake:

Tom T. Hall wrote one of the funniest songs about funerals:

Here's Oingo Boingo's take on the subject:

And Elvis Costello had death on his mind back in 1989

Sunday, August 12, 2018


Sunday, August 12, 2018
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Have Love Will Travel by The Sonics
The Wasp by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
C by Thee Oh Sees
Where Were You? by The Mekons
God is a Bullet by Concrete Blonde
Get Off the Road by R. Lewis Band
Mujeres Gato en la Luna by Los Eskeletos
Black Metal by Reverend Beat-Man & Izobel Garcia
Happy and Bleeding by PJ Harvey

Riot City by Archie & The Bunkers
I'm the Slime by Frank Zappa
Look in the Mirror by Gregg Turner
TJ by Hickoids
Anything Goes at a Rooster Show by The Imperial Rooster
Rimbaud Diddley by Churchwood
Into Yer Shtik by Mudhoney

The Band Drinks for Free by The Fleshtones
The Brother I Never Had by Miss Ludella Black
I Don't Understand Her Anymore by The Masonics
She Cracked by The Modern Lovers
See That Girl by Lynx Lynx
Tina Louise by The Dirtbombs
Bearded and Bored by Quan & The Chinese Takeouts
Boom Boom by Tony Joe White
Zig Zag Wanderer by Captain Beefheart
The Stain of Music by Negativland

Mule Skinner by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Action Reaction by Ramblin' Deano
Wreck on the Highway by Stevie Tombstone
That's Why They Call It Temptation by Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis
Hiawatha by Laurie Anderson
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Want to keep the party going after I sign off at midnight?
Go to The Big Enchilada Podcast which has hours and hours of music like this.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast CLICK HERE

Friday, August 10, 2018


Los Hickoids @ Antones

Lotsa good music in and around Santa Fe this week.

Tonight, barring some last-minute work emergency, I'm heading out to The Mineshaft Taven in Madrid where The Hickoids are playing tonight. 

Opening the show, which is scheduled to starts at 9 p.m., is the pride of Espanola, The Imperial Rooster.

The Rooster Crows

Then Saturday night, former Angry Samoan Gregg Turner and his band will play at Duel Brewing, 1228 Parkway Dr (off Rufina) in Santa Fe.

Turner, Sarah, Krissi

This show starts at 7 p.m. I'll be there. 



Thursday, August 09, 2018

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: New Albums by The Fleshtomes and Miss Ludella Black

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
August 10, 2018

It’s no secret that I’m a major fan of The Fleshtones, that dandy, beyond bitchen little band from New York that’s been grinding out no-frills, back-to-basics rock ’n’ roll — they’ve dubbed it “Super Rock” — for more than 40 years. (Their first gig was at CBGB in 1976.) However, truth is, I have not been super-impressed by the Super Rock on the last few Fleshtones albums. Though all of their works in recent years have some great tunes, I thought the group didn’t quite earn their beer on The Band Drinks for Free (2016) and that they were spinning their wheels on Wheel of Talent (2014). Brooklyn Sound Solution (2011), which featured Patti Smith’s guitarist Lenny Kaye, was good, but it had too many instrumentals.

But I had a feeling about their new one, Budget Buster, which was released earlier this year. And, by Jiminy Cricket, I was right — it’s a winner. It’s not a “regular” studio album — it’s a compilation of outtakes, B-sides, and other oddities culled from the past 10 years or so — but to these jaded old ears, this is the best album since 2008’s Take a Good Look, my favorite Fleshtones record of all time.

For the sake of the uninitiated, The Fleshtones is the brainchild of Peter Zaremba (vocals, keyboards, harmonica) and Keith Streng (vocals, guitar), a couple of Queens boys who created a hopped-up hybrid of garage rock, punk, New Wave, and soul. They’re the only original members, though drummer Bill Milhizer has been with them since the early ’80s and bassist Ken Fox has been a Fleshtone since the early ’90s. But despite Zaremba’s stint hosting The Cutting Edge, an alt-rock show on MTV, for more than four years in the ’80s, The Fleshtones’ Super Rock never achieved super success. Oh well. That just means that the music they make is done out of joy and love, not because of some marketing plan.

Budget Buster is full of memorable songs. The opening track, a cover of Little Richard’s “Dancing All Around the World,” which was recorded in Spain, is pure good rocking fun. “Ama Como un Hombre” is a Spanish-language version of “Love Like a Man” from The Band Drinks for Free, with the same addictive little organ hook as on the English version of the song, which was written by Alvin Lee and first recorded nearly 50 years ago by Ten Years After.

There’s plenty of tasty wah-wah guitar (Mr. Streng, I presume) on “Touch and Go,” while “Everywhere Is Nowhere” features vocals by the big-haired — and even bigger-voiced — Mary Huff of Southern Culture on the Skids.

Viva Fleshtones!
The closest The Fleshtones come to political commentary is on “End of My Neighborhood,” which strikes the same anti-gentrification stance as the title song from Take a Good Look. It’s a hard-driving rocker with a hook straight out of The Yardbirds’ “Heart Full of Soul.” (At their best, The Fleshtones do sound like an American Yardbirds.)

“Dominique LaboubĂ©e” is an urgent-sounding ode to the late singer of the French punk band called Dogs. And another strong tune is “The Band Drinks For Free,” which I assume was originally meant as the title track of their 2016 album. I’m not sure why it would have become an outtake. It’s better than many songs on that album.

In Sweat, his 2007 biography of the band, author Joe Bonomo called The Fleshtones “America’s Garage Band.” I just wish that more Americans — and people from other countries, for that matter — appreciated them as such.

Also recommended:

* Till You Lie in Your Grave by Miss Ludella Black. For nearly all of the 1990s, Miss Black was a member of Thee Headcoatees, an all-female British garage-punk band created by the mad genius Billy Childish as a women’s auxiliary for his band Thee Headcoats. Thee Headcoatees sang shoulda-been hits like “My Boyfriend’s Learning Karate,” “Davey Crockett (Gabba Hey),” and “Melvin.” One of Black’s bandmates was Holly Golightly, whose latest album, Clippety Clop, was reviewed in this column just a few weeks ago.

Backed by a powerful little combo called The Masonics — whose 2017 album, Obermann Rides Again, is worth seeking out — Black’s music is retro without being cloying, emulating the girl group sound of the early ’60s, but with a harder-edged punk-rock sensibility.

While I love the rockers here like “Am I Going Insane” (which features a sly vocal nod to The Shangri-Las’ “Leader of the Pack”), “A Creature Called Doubt,” and the slightly country-flavored “Cruel Anniversary,” my favorite song on the album at the moment is a slow, strange one called “The Brother I Never Had.” Here Black longs for a relative who never existed. “When I was a little girl, I yearned for a brother/The brother who’d be there to watch over me.”

Black also covers a Beatles song, “Wait,” a relatively obscure tune from Rubber Soul. I like this one more than the other recent Beatles cover I’ve heard, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which is on The Melvins’ latest album, Pinkus Abortion Technician.

Have some videos:

First, The Fleshtones, with a live version of "Dancing All Over the World"

Here's an "official" Fleshtones video

And here's Miss Ludella with the title track of her new album.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: 88 Years of Betty Boop

On Aug. 9, 1930, America's cartoon sweetheart made her debut in a cartoon feature called Dizzy Dishes.

Although she would become one of the sexiest cartoon characters of that era -- or any era -- Betty actually started out as a dog.

From Mental Floss:

"...she was designed to be an object of lust for Bimbo, a dog character who was currently the lead in many of Max Fleischer's Talkartoons. Because she was created for Bimbo, she was originally an anthropomorphic poodle character, but she still had her Betty charms.

"The character was based on the looks of singer Helen Kane, best known for her song "I Wanna Be Loved By You," and actress Clara Bow, who was the inspiration for Betty's Brooklyn accent. As Betty proved to be more and more popular, she evolved into a full human by 1932, her floppy ears turned into hoop earrings and her poodle nose was morphed into a cute button nose."

According to The New York Times in 1996:

“Gertrude Stein and Jean-Paul Sartre were said to be big fans of the scantily clad gamine, whose sex appeal and sassy attitude got her into racy situations with legions of lecherous suitors. That is, until 1934, when the Government imposed controls on American movie content, altering Ms. Boop’s wardrobe and toning down her adventures.”

The Betty Boop Youtube channel has collected some of the many songs Betty sang in these videos below. Happy birthday, Betty!

For more Betty on this blog, check out this Halloween post from a few years ago.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

WACKY WEDNESDAY: The Magic of Root Boy Slim

This Wacky Wednesday we celebrate the life and music of Foster MacKenzie III, better known to the world as Root Boy Slim.

If you're not familiar with Root, who died in 1993, read this profile in the Orlando Weekly.

Then boogey til you puke ... (This video is from Mr. Mike's Mondo Video)

Another favorite, "Mood Ring."

"They beat me silly with a rubber hose ..."

Root Boy dared to be fat

THROWBACK THURSDAY: A Love Letter to Ketty Lester

I was just a kid -- third grade I think -- just discovering the joys of early '60s AM radio when my young soul was captivated by a hu...