Wednesday, November 14, 2018

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Happy Birthday DJ Davis

Steve Zahn with Kermit Ruffins and Wendell Pierce on Treme
Today, Nov. 14, is the 51st birthday of actor Steve Zahn.

Zahn became famous in 1994 for his role in Reality Bites, After that, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, "Zahn quickly gained a reputation for playing amiable stoners, slackers, and sidekicks in films such as That Thing You Do! (1996), You've Got Mail (1998), and Out of Sight (1998).

But I didn't become a Zahn fan until Treme, the HBO series (2010-2013) about post-Katrina New Orleans created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer. 

Music was a major undercurrent in Treme, and Zahn portrayed Davis McAlary, a DJ on a public radio station, a frustrated musician and basically an amiable stoner and slacker.

Naturally, DJ Davis was one of my favorite characters on the show.

So here's a DJ Davis birthday/Treme salute to Mr. Zahn.

Here he is on stage, with his band The Brassy Knoll, singing James Brown's "Sex Machine."

Here's D.J. Davis doing "Shame Shame Shame" during band rehearsal.

D.J. Davis raps!

Besides his singing "career," DJ Davis had a lot of Louisiana greats on his radio show. The late Coco Robicheaux has to be the coolest who ever walked into that studio. (Too bad I couldn't find the clip of Coco sacrificing a chicken in the studio -- which got Davis in a lot of trouble with his boss.)

Friday, November 09, 2018

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Peter Case Comes to Town plus Tony Joe White's Last Album

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Nov. 9 , 2018
Peter Case 2010

The last time I saw Peter Case was in the summer of 2010 at one of Russ Gordon’s free shows at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area. Case was touring for his album Wig, a punchy, bare-boned, blues-infused record that rocked harder than anything he’d done since his tenure with The Plimsouls in the early ’80s. (And, as far as I’m concerned, it’s still one of my favorite Case solo albums.) At the Los Alamos concert, he was backed only by longtime Santa Fe drummer Baird Banner. It was a terrific show, probably the best live Case set I’ve ever witnessed. Eight years later, I’m still jabbering on about it.

But maybe after next week, I’ll have something else to jabber about. Case is playing a show at Gig Performance Space (1808 Second St.), on Sunday, Nov. 11. (He’s also playing tonight,  Friday, Nov. 9 at The Cooperage in Albuquerque.)

So who is this guy?

Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1954, Case grew up in a nearby small town called Hamburg. Inspired by the record collections of his older sisters, he found himself playing in local rock ’n’ roll bands. His love for folk music took a quantum leap after he found a Mississippi John Hurt record in his local library. Soon he was playing in coffeehouses and on the streets of Buffalo.

By the mid-’70s, he was busking on the streets of the North Beach district of San Francisco. “That period was really the last explosion of the 1960s,” he told me in an interview in 2000. “It was great. Allen Ginsberg might walk up while you’re playing and start making up new verses.”

It was there where Case met songwriter Jack Lee. Leaving the folk scene, the two started the Nerves, one of the first California punk bands. When they split up, Case formed The Plimsouls, a roots-conscious power pop band.

Although The Plimsouls achieved national acclaim — Case’s “A Million Miles Away” became an early-’80s rock classic — Case just wasn’t satisfied. And one night in 1983, on a stage in Lubbock, it hit Case. “I longed to do the type of music I used to do,” he said. Soon after, The Plimsouls broke up and Case, at least in a metaphorical sense, was on his way back to the street corner.

Case at SXSW 1996
Case’s self-titled 1986 solo debut album and, even more so, its successor, The Man with the Blue Postmodern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar, were so raw, so connected to musical, literary, and cultural undercurrents that had been repressed during the first half of the ’80s, they were downright jarring.

By the mid-’90s, Case was taking a dive into the deep end of folk music, signing to the venerated folkie label, Vanguard Records, which released Peter Case Sings Like Hell in 1993. It consisted of traditional roots songs on which he cut his proverbial teeth. Then came a string of strong records.

Case’s latest, On the Way Downtown, consists of live radio performances on FolkScene, a syndicated radio show from KPFK in Los Angeles. He played two performances there during his Vanguard years — one in 1998, the other in 2000.

The album features many of his best songs, including “Blue Distance,” “Icewater,” “Honey Child,” “Beyond the Blues,” “Still Playin’,” and the quirky “Coulda Shoulda Woulda,” which contains the immortal lyrics, “Coulda shoulda woulda stayed in school/James Brown was right/I was a fool.”

So here’s the deal: The chance to see Peter Case play in an intimate performing space like Gig is an opportunity not to be missed. Tickets to Case’s 7:30 p.m. gig are $22 in advance, $27 the day of show, at or 505-886-1251. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Also recommended:

* Bad Mouthin’ by Tony Joe White. I never got to meet Tony Joe White. But just from his deep drawl, his music straight out of the swamp, the hat, the sunglasses — I naturally assumed that the man who brought us “Polk Salad Annie” was the coolest guy alive.

And I still believe that, except for the “alive” part. American music lost a giant on Oct. 24, the day that Tony Joe died at the age of seventy-five. If Tony Joe’s death wasn’t sad enough, the swamp reaper came for him just after he’d released what would be his final album.

Bad Mouthin’ is a collection of Tony Joe literally singing the blues — blues filtered through White’s Louisiana soul and backed only by a drummer and White’s guitar.

There are several standards here that any casual fan of the blues should recognize, including Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man,” Muddy Waters’ “Baby Please Don’t Go,” and John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” and “Heartbreak Hotel” — made famous by a man called Elvis, who did probably the second-greatest version of “Polk Salad Annie.”

And there are more obscure songs, like Charley Patton’s “Down the Dirt Road Blues” and several Tony Joe originals, including the title tune, “Cool Town Woman,” in which you can hear Hooker’s influence. “I dreamed about you baby and the dog just howled all night” may be the best line in the whole album.

But at the moment, my favorite track here is the longest: A six-minute-plus version of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Awful Dreams.” Like Hopkins, Tony Joe does “Awful Dreams” low and slow. But long as it is, the song never drags. “I don’t know if I’m goin’ to heaven or hell,” he moans near the end of the song.

I don’t know, but it seems to me any heaven without Tony Joe White wouldn’t be heaven at all.

It's video time!

Here's Peter Case singing one of my favorites, "Entella Hotel"

Here's a rocker, "New Old Blue Car." (Warning: long introduction. You can skip ahead to about the 1:15 mark)

And here is Tony Joe live ... about a month before he died

Thursday, November 08, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Rock 'n' Roll Loves The Ripper

From the true-crime website Casebook
It was 130 years ago this Saturday -- Nov. 10, 1888 -- in the Spitalfields district in London that Thomas Bowyer, who was helping his boss collect back rent from a tenant, Irish-born Mary Jane Kelly, a 25-year-old prostitute, came upon a ghastly scene.

Kelly wouldn't be paying any back rent. She is believed to be the fifth and final victim of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

From the website White Chapel Jack, which is all about the Ripper:

When Bowyer arrived at #13 Miller’s Court, he knocked on the door twice. Receiving no answer, he rounded the corner of the yard to see that a couple of glass windowpanes were broken. He reached in through the knocked-out glass and moved the curtain to see whether Mary Kelly was at home or not. The first thing he saw were what looked like two lumps of meat sitting on the bedside table.

The autopsy by Dr. Thomas Bond describes what the killer had done to Kelly

"The body was lying naked in the middle of the bed, the shoulders flat but the axis of the body inclined to the left side of the bed. The head was turned on the left cheek. The left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at a right angle and lying across the abdomen.

The right arm was slightly abducted from the body and rested on the mattress. The elbow was bent, the forearm supine with the fingers clenched. The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk and the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes.

The whole of the surface of the abdomen and thighs was removed and the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera. The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone.

There are more gruesome details. You can read them all HERE.

If you must.

It's probably pretty twisted, but somehow Kelly's killer became a rock 'n' roll hero -- or at least the subject of a lot of songs.

Guitar hero Link Wray led the way with this rumbling instrumental in 1961. Below is a latter-day live performance.

A few years later, Screaming Lord Sutch was possessed by the spirit of the Ripper, at least during this performance:

Skip ahead a few decades to the early '90s and Nick Cave came up with this terrifying tune

Also in the '90s, another Jack did this version of Sutch's song

Finally, I'm not crazy about this next song by Danish pop-metal group Volbeat. But it's the only one I could find about Kelly herself .

Sunday, November 04, 2018


Sunday, November 4, 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
House Rent Jump by Peter Case
Go Loco by Gogo Loco
Hemmin' and Hawin' by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
The Wild Ride of Ichabod Crane by The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies
Marijuana Hell by The Rockin' Guys
We're Gonna Crash by The Electric Mess
Shirts Off by Armitage Shanks
My Love is a Monster by Compulsive Gamblers
Slap by Hamell on Trial

Bosco Stomp / Papa's on the Housetop by Bayou Seco
Peter Case
Hey You by Simon Stokes & The Heathen Angels
Bullshit is Going On by Charlie Pickett
Shallow Grave by The Nevermores
I'd Kill For Her by Black Angels
Bloodlines by Full Speed Veronica

Pretty Jane LeBeaux by Cedar Hill Refugees
Wirt by LaBrassBanda
Rockabilly Fart by A Pony Named Olga
Abysmal Urn by Thee Oh Sees
Riot City by Archie & The Bunkers
Step Aside by Sleater-Kinney
She Said by The Cramps
Pero Te Amo by Reverend Beat-Man & Izobel Garcia

Slowly Losing My Mind by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Cool Town Woman by Tony Joe White
Awful Dreams by Lightnin' Hopkins
One Dog Bark by Thought Gang
Cold Trail Blues/HW 62 by Peter Case
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Peter Case is playing at GIG Performing Space, Sunday, Nov. 11. Bayou Seco is playing there the night before. Details on both shows are HERE

Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Doomed Children of the Monster Mash


Halloween fell on Wacky Wednesday this year.

I took that as an omen, so today I treat you to some tacky and obscure Halloween novelty songs.

Let's start off with rockabilly royal Billy Lee Riley. Billy was a monster in his own right. Why he felt compelled to record this "Monster Mash" rip-off is way beyond me.

Bob McFadden and Dor recorded a cult classic called "I'm a Mummy." It was so inspired, in it's own stupid way, that it was covered by The Fall.

Here's a lesser-known monster tune by McFadden

I've already written about my undying -- or undead -- love for Dickie Goodman's "Frankenstein Meets The Beatles." Here's another Dickie monster classic.

Skipping ahead to the early '90s, here's some candy corn from M.C. Hammer

Want more Halloween rock? Check out my latest Big Enchilada podcast!

Sunday, October 28, 2018


Sunday, October 28, 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
Monster by Fred Scheider
Frankenstein Meets the Beatles by Dickie Goodman
Sisters of the Moon by Fleetwood Mac
SOB by Full Speed Veronica
Psycho by The Swamp Rats
Edgar Allan Poe by Lou Reed
The Swamp by Sloks
A Good Problem by He Who Cannot Be Named

Goddamn USA by Trixie & The Trainwrecks
Don't Bring Me Down by The Animals
Hearse With a Curse by Mr. Gasser & The Weirdos
Dead Moon Night by Dead Moon
It's Her Eyes by The Ar-Kaics
Zombie Outbreak by Alien Space Kitchen
Bo Meets the Monster by Bo Diddley
I Came From Hell by The Monsters
I Think of Demons by Roky Erikson

R.I.P. Tony Joe White
All songs by TJW except where noted

Bad Mouthin'
Polk Salad Annie by Elvis Presley
Undercover Agent for the Blues
Who You Gonna Hoodoo Now?
Willie and Laura Mae Jones by Bettye Swann
Run With the Bulls
Even Trolls Love Rock 'n' Roll
Rainy Night in Georgia by Otis Rush
Polk Salad Annie

Murder in the Graveyard by Screaming Lord Sutch
Feast of the Mau Mau by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Ghost by Harlan T. Bobo
American Tune by Paul Simon
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

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, October 26, 2018

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Harlan T. Bobbo's Latest

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Oct. 26, 2018

Harlan T. Bobo isn’t exactly a household name — unless you’re a dedicated devotee of the underground rock scene in Memphis. And he seems to consciously choose to cling to his anonymity. Though the singer says he’s legally changed his name to the one you see on his records, like Leon Redbone, he keeps his birth name secret. He’s been known to wear masks at his performances and in general doesn’t seem to have a naked thirst for big-time success and stardom.

But he’s good, and his sporadically released records are well worth seeking out. A great place to start is his latest, A History of Violence, which is his first album since 2010’s Sucker and his best so far.

While there are several stark, moody acoustic songs here, most of the strongest tracks are the ones in which Bobo and his stripped-down band of Memphis mafiosos rage and roar as if they are fighting off demons from a madman’s dreams. These include “Spiders,” “Paula,” and “Town” (yes, he uses one-word song titles), which starts off with Bobo singing, “God damn this town” and proceeds to get even angrier.

Like his first album, Too Much Love, this one is considered a break-up album. It comes in the wake of his divorce. That would put it in the same stratosphere as romance-on-the-rocks records like Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks; Phases and Stages by Willie Nelson; Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear; Sinead O’Connor’s I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got; Back to Black by Amy Winehouse; and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. (I don’t care what anyone says, a ripping version of “Go Your Own Way” by Bobo and combo would have sounded great on this album.) Maybe even Frank Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours.
They call me MISTER Bobo!

However, Bobo claims it’s not really a break-up album at all. In an interview in Memphis Flyer a few months ago, he said, “The fact is, the record has very little to do my marriage. A couple songs are about that, but the rest of it is addressing something that’s disturbed me since childhood, and it’s that aggression wins, you know? It wins out on top of consideration for people, diplomacy, because all those things are very boring compared to the visceral excitation of aggression and violence,” referring to the southern French city of Perpignan, where he lives these days with his young son. “And the place I live in now, it’s not violent like anything in America, but it’s very aggressive. And the way people raise their children and treat each other is really disturbing to me,” he said.

Still, it’s hard not to think that the emotional strain of divorce doesn’t seep into these songs, which are packed with frustration, desperation, and loneliness. Some of the hardest rocking tunes are obviously dark fantasies of wanton violence. There’s “Nadine,” a tragic tale of a cabaret singer, and “Paula,” in which a musical crime spree ends with a disturbing vision of the narrator swinging from the gallows after being dragged through the town by angry citizens.

It’s not the most fierce rocker on the album. One of the most powerful tunes here is the brooding, slow-burning “Ghost,” which invites comparisons with Nick Cave. It’s one of the obvious break-up songs here. The most heart-wrenching verse is a scene from a marriage in which the singer recalls some tensions sprouting from a day at some carnival: “You remember that fish you won at the fair/You said I fed it too much, I said you didn’t feed it enough/Either way, the damned thing died.” But immediately after that bad memory, Bobo’s attention turns away from the fish and toward a child. “That boy’s gonna suffer, and Lord, he’s suffered enough/He’ll make someone suffer from all he’s learned from love ...”

A History of Violence is not easy listening by any stretch. But unless you’re a cold, dead fish, it’s a rewarding listen for the stout of heart and deserves a wider audience.

Also recommended:

3 Cheers to Nothing by Trixie & TheTrainwrecks. Trinity Sarratt is a California-born singer who moved to Berlin. There she began performing in a number of bands, even doing a stint as a one-person group called Trixie Trainwreck No-Man Band. With the aid of harmonica blower called Charlie Hangdog, she assembled a group, The Trainwrecks, and recorded this album of what their label Voodoo Rhythm Records accurately calls “overdriven-long-gone-broken-hearted-country-blues-trash numbers from the wrong side of the tracks.”

But it’s the kind of trash I like.

Made up mostly of original tunes, Trixie romps through rough-edged bluesy tunes like “Daddy’s Gone,” “Poor and Broke,” and “Commuter Blues.” She invokes the ghost of Jimmie Rodgers on “Yodelin’ Bayonne Blues” (with the best use of a slide whistle since The Hoosier Hotshots) and does a sweet cover of one of my favorite Hank Williams songs, “Lonesome Whistle.”

There’s an instrumental called “Everybody Goes to Heaven,” though the words in the title appear in the next track, “End of Nowhere.” (Neither is the Mose Allison classic.)

Big Halloween podcast: It’s the dynamic 10th anniversary of the Big Enchilada podcast, as well as my annual Halloween episode. You’ll hear horrifying sounds from the likes of Thee Oh Sees, Black Joe Lewis, The Fuzztones, The Compulsive Gamblers, Ronnie Dawson, and New Mexico’s own Alien Space Kitchen.

Also this week, check out Terrell’s Sound World, my local radio show on KSFR, 101.1 FM, or, where you’ll hear a lot of spooky tunes in honor of this sacred holiday season. (And you'll also hear a tribute to the late Tony Joe White.) The show starts at 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28.

Here are some videos:

Meet Nadine

A Ghost for Halloween

And here's some Trixie ...

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Happy Birthday DJ Davis

Steve Zahn with Kermit Ruffins and Wendell Pierce on Treme Today, Nov. 14, is the 51st birthday of actor Steve Zahn. Zahn became famou...