Saturday, January 31, 2004

The Santa Fe Opry Play List

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, Jan. 30, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Choctaw Bingo by James McMurtry
The Long Cut by Uncle Tupelo
My Mother's Husband by Lonesome Bob
Down to the Well by Kevin Gordon & Lucinda Williams
Videotaping Our Love by Joe West
The Times They Are a Changin' by Bob Dylan

Do Not Forsake Me/Mad Cow Boogy by The Hudson Shad
Madonna on the Billboard by Kell Robertson
Wild Bill Jones by Bad Livers
Poor Wayfarin' Stranger by Jack White
Drink Up and Go Home by Jerry Garcia & David Grisman
The Beautiful Waitress by Colin Gilmore
You Ain't Gonna Have Old Buck to Kick Around No More by Buck Owens

Iowa City by Eleni Mandell
Second Cup of Coffee by Bill Hearne
Hey Hey by Graham Lindsey
Big Wide World by The Sundowners
I've Got a Lot of Living to Do by Cornell Hurd
You're Lookin' at Country by Loretta Lynn
Across the Borderline by Ry Cooder with Freddy Fender
When People Find Out by Steve Earle
The Lie by The Waco Brothers

Family Tradition by Cracker
I Don't Want Your Millions Mister by Greg Brown
Scrapyard Lullaby by Chris Whitley
Border Radio/Goodnight My Love by Dave Alvin
Abilene by Po' Girl
Lonesome Blues by The Be Good Tanyas
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Steve Terrell is proud to report to the monthly Freeform American Roots Radio list

Friday, January 30, 2004

Terrell's Tuneup: A Little Country

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 30, 2004

Good country music is timeless. That’s my justification for including some of the following CDs in this column -- the ones that were released several months ago that I somehow didn’t get around to writing about until now.

With that weasely introduction, here’s a bunch of fine country albums.

*Country For True Lovers by Eleni Mandell. This L.A. honky-tonkin’ punk rock girl has perhaps the most subtly seductive and soulful voice I’ve heard in country music in years. Unlike the countless latter-day Patsys and would-be Lorettas out there among rock gals turned country songbirds, there’s not a trace of campiness here. Mandell’s sultry alto rips into your gut before you know what hit you.
Producer (and former Santa Fean) Tony Gilkyson wisely keeps the emphasis on Mandell’s voice, despite some fine instrumentalists here. (Greg Leisz plays on a few cuts and Dave Pearlman plays some heartbreaking steel.)
There’s a few covers here -- Naomi Neville’s “It’s Raining” (fans of the movie Down by Law should remember this one) Merle Haggard’s “I’ve Got a Tender Heart” and a devastating version of Hank Cochran’s “Don’t Touch Me.”
But most impressive are Mandell’s originals. You don’t get a chance to get over the ache of the opening cut “Another Lonely Heart” before she assaults you with the nearly as powerful “Don’t Say You You Care.”
Mandell’s web site says a new jazz album will be released early this year. I bet it’ll be good, but I wouldn’t mind if she stuck around country for awhile.
*Chicago Country Legends by The Sundowners. Want to know what a real-life urban honky tonk sounded like 35 or 40 years ago? This compilation of Chicago’s best known journeymen country band is an enjoyable little document, capturing The Sundowners in their element.
Guitarists Bob Boyd and Don Walls and bassist Curt Delaney were known for their lonesome cowboy harmonies and their huge repertoire of songs. The trio mainly sang country hits, but they also tried their hand at pop oddities like “Clementine” (as in “oh my darlin’,” though The Sundowners covered a weird Bobby Darin novelty version), commercial folk ( The Kingston Trio‘s “Tom Dooley”) and even The Beatles (a shuffling “Something” is included here.)
The fi ain’t high, but if you listen closely you can hear the beer bottles clink and the neon buzz.
*Famous Anonymous Wilderness by Graham Lindsey. If you want to get picky, this one’s closer to folk than country. Lindsey, a former punk rocker who once was a member of Old Skull, an infamous band of pre-teens, sounds pretty close to early ‘60s Freewheelin’ Bob. This is especially true on the near-5-minute “My Museum Blues” and the near-7-minute “Dead Man’s Waltz,” which resembles “To Ramona” with a steel guitar.
This might be off-putting to a casual listener. But some folks said the same thing about Butch Hancock when he started out, and Butch is one of the coolest songwriters alive.
Besides some of Lindsay’s tunes like “Hey Hey” are so addictively catchy you don’t care if it’s Lindsey, Dylan or Fred Flintstone.
Overall I prefer the songs where he uses a full band instead of the guitar-harmonica template. “Emma Rumble” is a brand new murder ballad, while “Viola” sounds like last-call at some backwoods dance.
*From Santa Fe to Las Cruces by Bill Hearne. O.K. Here’s a brand new CD.
Bill and Bonnie Hearne have played together for well over 30 years, most of that time based out of Santa Fe. Although Bonnie released a solo album a few years ago (Saturday Night Girl), this is Bill’s first solo project.
And it’s a mighty good one. Produced by local bass goddess Susan Hyde Holmes (she’s played with Bill & Bonnie for years, as well as the bands Milo de Venus and The Buckerettes), it’s a showcase for Hearnes’ impeccable flat picking, his raspy drawl and his fine taste in songwriters.
There’s three (!) Gordon Lightfoot songs, only one of which I was already familiar with, two by Delbert McClinton, plus tunes penned by Mickey Newbury, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovette, Ian Tyson and Guy Clark.
My favorite though -- as is usually the case with Bill & Bonnie albums -- my favorites is an outright honky tonk stomper, “One More Time,” a Mel Tillis song featuring steel guitar (Carmen Acciaoli) and fiddle (Ron Knuth).
From Santa Fe to Las Cruces is available at Borders in Sanbusco, at Clint Mortenson's Silver & Saddles on Rodeo Road, the La Fonda Newstand, at Bill's gigs and online.
*Cold Mountain: Music from the Motion Picture by Various Artists. This compilation won’t set the woods on fire anywhere near the level as producer T. Bone Burnett’s landmark soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou? did a few years ago.
Nothing here is as loveable as Harry McClintock‘s “Big Rock Candy Mountain” or as earth-movingly majestic as Alison Krauss’ “River to Pray.” And why did Burnett feel obligated to include the orchestrated incidental music by Gabriel Yared?
Still, there’s some great traditional and traditional-sounding music here. White Stripes honcho Jack White -- who has never hidden his love for country bluesmen like Blind Willie McTell and Charlie Patton -- impressively pulls off hillbilly music, backed by the likes of Norman and Nancy Blake, Dirk Powell and fiddler Stuart Duncan.
Also impressive are the two “sacred harp” songs here. Recorded at Liberty Baptist Church at Henagar, Alabama, this foreign-sounding but very American style of gospel music is strong medicine.
Krauss has a couple of gorgeous tunes here, the best being “The Scarlet Tide,” which sounds like it might be some forgotten Civil War-era song, though it was written by Burnett and Elvis Costello.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Hog Waller


My old friend Ray Dozier from Oklahoma City recently e-mailed me a link to a web site that brought back many childhood memories.

Click here, then check out Episodes 15-17 (over on the left side of the page.) You'll learn about my favorite television and radio stations of my childhood, (both called WKY), as told by Chuck Dunaway, aka Hog Waller.

CORRECTION
In the Roundhouse Round-up below, Sen. Ted Kennedy actually will be in Espanola Saturday, not Santa Fe on Friday.


(In photo: Foreman Scotty, left in cowboy hat; Hog Waller, center, sitting)

UPDATE 6-28-06: The above link to Chuck Dunaway's biography has been changed.

Roundhouse Round-up: Caucus Countdown

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 29, 2004

It's only five days until New Mexico's Democratic presidential vote.

Do you know where your candidate is?

Watching CNN after the New Hampshire primary late Tuesday night I almost felt like I was reading New Mexico Magazine's "One of Our 50 is Missing."

The news channel ran reports about the Feb. 3 contests in Missouri, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona and even Delaware. But nothing about this Enchanted Land.

Hey! We've got more delegates than Delaware!

New Mexico did get mentioned a few times in the post-primary pundit fest. In most of those instances the talking heads listed us after Arizona as the only states where Howard Dean still has a chance of winning.

Here they come: But all the campaigns insist their candidates haven't forgotten New Mexico.

The only confirmed Santa Fe visit by an actual candidate at this writing is retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who is scheduled to give a speech at the Inn at Loretto at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Last time Clark was in town he lost his voice somewhere between a press conference and an appearance at a food bank.

The general's son, Wesley Clark Jr., will be campaigning in Northern New Mexico this week. He'll be at Taos Pueblo to meet with the governor, the war chief and other tribal officials today at 4 p.m. and at Los Niños Kindergarten in Española 9:30 a.m. Friday.

No word on any Santa Fe visits from newly crowned front-runner John Kerry. But some of his surrogates have Santa Fe on their itineraries. Henry Cisneros, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary and former San Antonio mayor, was in town Thursday for a breakfast with potential Kerry backers in the state Legislature.

And on Friday, Ted Kennedy will be in town to campaign for his fellow Massachusetts senator. I suspect the Kennedy name still has some magic here for longtime Democrats. Retired Judge Art Encinias used to tell stories about going into homes in Rio Arriba County with pictures of three people on their walls -- Jesus Christ, John F. Kennedy and former state Sen. Emilio Naranjo.

Speaking of Naranjo, the state Kerry campaign announced Wednesday that the old Rio Arriba political lion has endorsed the Massachusetts senator.

Kerry said in a phone interview Tuesday that he'd like to make a stop in Santa Fe this week. But that's what they all say. Kerry's only verified New Mexico stops so far are in Albuquerque. On Sunday he'll root for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl at the home of a supporter. The next day he'll appear at a "breakfast town hall" before heading to Arizona.

Other whistlestops: John Edward's wife, Elizabeth Edwards, plans to be in Santa Fe on Sunday for a party hosted by County Commissioner Mike Anaya and Patrice Chavez. Before that, the candidate's spouse will phone bank with volunteers in Santa Fe. Later that night she'll attend a party in Española hosted by Rio Arriba Probate Judge Marlo Martinez.

Edwards himself will be in Albuquerque the day before.

Howard Dean is scheduled for an appearance Friday night in Albuquerque, his state campaign announced Wednesday.

The most fun campaign event before the caucus sounds like an Albuquerque concert for longshot contender Dennis Kucinich.

The show will feature Michelle Shocked and Santa Fe resident (and Dave Matthews Band crony) Tim Reynolds. It's 7:30 p.m. Sunday at The University of New Mexico's Woodward Hall. The candidate also will speak at the show.

Back Door politics: My nomination for the best name for a caucus site is Rick's Back Door in Los Lunas.

Although the name might sound like a good cocktail lounge, according to Brandy Slagel of the Valencia County News-Bulletin, it's just a banquet hall that people rent out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

TOM RIDGE WANTS YOUR BANK ACCOUNT!!!!!

Not really. That's just the gist of a new e-mail scam going around.

A colleague in the Capitol press room yesterday got an e-mail that began:

"In cooperation with the Department Of Homeland Security, Federal, State and Local Governments your account has been denied insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation due to suspected violations of the Patriot Act. While we have only a limited amount of evidence gathered on your account at this time it is enough to suspect that currency violations may have occurred in your account and due to this activity we have withdrawn Federal Deposit Insurance on your account until we verify that your account has not been used in a violation of the Patriot Act."

To correct this impending unjust financial ruin, all you have to do is follow the link at the bottom of the e-mail.

However, according to the good folks at Snopes.com (which tracks urban legends, internet rumors, scams, etc.) the link doesn't lead to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation site as it says, but to a phony site --- in Pakistan.

Don't go there, friends.

But do check out Snopes.

Monday, January 26, 2004

TSW Play List

Terrell's Sound World
Sunday, January 25, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
The Magnificent Seven by The Clash
Sorry Somehow by Husker Du
Anything But That by Grandaboy
Preacher's Daughter by Frank Black
Real Child of Hell by X
Work All Week by The Mekons
Hey Baby by Bruce Channel

What's Under the Log by Bichos
A Girl Named Sandoz by Eric Burdon & The Animals
Ca't Make Love by Wall of Voodoo
Radio Static by Barkmarket
Junkie Romance by Wayne Kramer
Do It (Til You're Satisfied) by B.T. Express
No Business Like Show Business by Ethel Merman

TOM WAITS SEGMENT
Opening Montage by Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle
In the Neighborhood by Kazik Staszewski
Cold Cold Ground by The Grevious Angels
Murder in the Red Barn by John Hammond
I Don't Want to Grow Up by The Ramones
Dog Door by Sparklehorse with Tom Waits
Picking Up After You by Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle
Way Down in the Hole by The Blind Boys of Alabama
Do You Know What I Idi Amin by Chuck E. Weiss with Tom Waits
Goin' Out West by The Blacks
Rainbow Sleeves by Rickie Lee Jones
The House Where Nobody Lives by King Ernest
Take Me Home by Crystal Gayle
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, January 24, 2004

The Santa Fe Opry Play List

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, Jan. 23, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Cowboy Peyton Place by Doug Sahm
My So-Called Boyfriend by Josie Kreutzer
San Antonio Rose by Merle Haggard
Day Job by Farmer Tan
Rock 'n' Roll Honky Tonk Ramblin' Man by Cornell Hurd
The Same Two Lips by Bobby Flores
Blue-Eyed Elaine by Ernest Tubb
Lucky That Way by Bill Hearne
Bottle of Wine by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies

The Lonely Yoddler by The Austin Lounge Lizards
Guess My Eyes Were Bigger Than My Heart by The Sundowners
Kingsport Town by Eleni Mandell
I Was Drunk by Alejandro Escovedo
Hard When It Ain't by Waylon Jennings & Old Dogs
Harder Than Your Hisband by Frank Zappa with Jimmy Carl Black
I Also Wanted to Make Love by Julien Aklei
To Beat the Devil by Johnny Cash

Cold Dark Ground by Mary & Mars
Take Me by Jerry Garcia & David Grisman
The Cuckoo by Furnace Mountain
Never Far Away by Jack White
Watson Blues by Doc Watson & David Grisman
Old Bill Miner (The Gentleman Bandit) by Norman Blake
Gather by Jay Farrar

Truck Stop at the End of the World by Bill Kirchen
Susie Rosen's Nose by The Austin Lounge Lizards
How I Love Them Old Songs by The Hole Dozen
Ball Peen Hammer by Chris Whitley
You Don't Know Me by Charlie Rich
The Captain by Kasey Chambers
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Steve Terrell is proud to report to the monthly Freeform American Roots Radio list

Friday, January 23, 2004

Screamin' Dean: The Techno Remix

Even some Howard Dean supporters think this is funny.

CLICK HERE

And if you can't get enough, CLICK HERE

Terrell's Tuneup: Does a Heart Well

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 23, 2004

The government should require a warning sticker on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Coppola’s One From the Heart: “Caution, men shouldn’t listen to Track 11 (“Take Me Home”) if you’re drinking bargain bourbon because the woman you love just ripped out your heart and stomped on it.

Don’t ask. I just know.

And now the One From the Heart soundtrack is coming back to potentially haunt a whole new generation of lovesick listeners snared by the deceptively low-key jazz/blues musings by Tom Waits and his unlikely partner Crystal Gayle.

Yes, that Crystal Gayle. Loretta Lynn’s little sister. Waits, who wrote all the songs, chose her because he liked her late ‘70s country crossover hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” (And because he couldn’t get his first choice for the project, Bette Midler.)

The album -- with a couple of interesting if inconsequential bonus cuts -- is being re-released and should be in the stores Tuesday, coinciding with the DVD release of the movie, which stars Terry Garr and Frederic Forrest -- though I’d argue the real stars are Waits’ songs.

This is lounge music -- stand-up bass, smoky guitar, understated blue piano, brushy drums, a sputtering trumpet, a sax that’s hard to tell from a siren, sometimes even lush strings. But it’s lounge music with a bite. I’ve always thought it was Waits’ most overlooked treasures.

One From the Heart was originally released in 1982, the year before Waits blasted into strange dimensions with the Beefheart meets Brecht splendor that was Swordfishtrombones. The two records sound decades apart. Only the “Instrumental Montage” and the ominous tymps on One From the Heart hint at the inspired weirdness just ahead.

The songs generally follow the plot of the movie, which basically concerns the break-up and reconciliation of Garr and Forrest and the heartaches and attempted rebounds in between.

Thus there are Waits solo tunes, Gayle solos and duets. And whether he’s singing or Gayle, Waits makes sure that the songs ache.

Gayle never sounded so stark on her own records as she did on “Old Boyfriends,” where she croons over Dennis Budimir’s pensive guitar.

And she never sounded as emotional as she did on “Take Me Home,” the bittersweet reconciliation number. “I’m so sorry that I broke your heart ..,” she sings with enough emotion to break any heart within hearing range.

Though Waits back in the early ‘80s was known for his funny songs probably more than his love ballads, there’s only one humorous tune here -- “Picking Up After You.” Here Waits and Gayle trade barbs back and forth. The best line is Tom’s offering an important household hint: “I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again/don’t defrost the ice box with a ball point pen.”

Two decades later and this soundtrack has aged magnificently. Take it home, take it to heart.

Also Recommended:

Piosenki Toma Waitsa by Kazik Staszewski. There’s been a handful of Tom Waits tribute albums in recent years -- a couple of not surprisingly limp “various artists” compilations and a surprisingly good blues treatment by John Hammond called Wicked Grin.

But this growling Waits romp by Polish rock star Staszewski beats all.

It sounds surprisingly natural hearing a gutteral voice spitting out Waits tunes in a strange tongue as slightly out-of-tune horns blow and a meandering, abrasive guitar wanders in the background.

Waits fans usually hear the master’s music through a blues/jazz filter.
But also detectable, especially in his music of the past 20 years or so, are Old Country flavors -- Bertold Brecht fingerprints and Eastern European DNA. You can hear it in songs like “Cemetery Polka,” “Innocent When You Dream,” “Underground” and “I’ll Be Gone,” and the entire album Blood Money, which Waits wrote as a soundtrack for a theater production of the tragic Woyzeck a play about a Polish soldier by German poet George Buchner in 1837.

This is the ground Staszewski ploughed for this album. There are three Blood Money songs as well as the others mentioned above. (Actually there are more covers of Rain Dogs songs than anything else.)

Staszewski’s affinity for Waits’ music has been apparent at least since his band Kult’s album Tata Kazika. The album didn’t include any Waits covers (they were songs written by Staszewski‘s father). But Waits’ Grand Weeper/Grim Reaper spirit hovered above just about every tune.

Waits himself would surely approve of Kazik’s arrangements -- the Marc Ribot-like guitars, the clunky percussion, the Starvation Army horns.

But these songs aren’t exactly faithful reproductions. One of my favorites is the 8-minute version of “The Neighborhood,” which starts off with stray guitar grumblings soon joined by a greasy sax. The song threatens to break into a ska, until it slows down into a dirge and Kazik starts singing.

While this album should be required listening for devoted Waits fans, it’s hard to find in these United States. (I’m lucky enough to have a buddy with a Polish girlfriend.)

It’s on the web site for the record company. (Luna Records also has a Nick Cave live album I hadn’t seen before.) But unless you’re familiar with the Polish language and currency this could be difficult.

But you can order it from D&Z House of books, 5714 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60634. Their website’s in Polish, but the money’s in American ($15.95).

(For more on Kazik click here )

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Roundhouse Round-up: In a Word, the Speech Was Dramatic

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 22, 2004

Gov. Bill Richardson's public-relations army rarely misses an opportunity to use words like "bold," "innovative," "groundbreaking" and "historic" in his speeches and press releases.

But after Richardson's hourlong, 13-page State of the State address on Tuesday, there's a new word to rival those others.

"Dramatic."

A computer search shows he used this word five times in the speech.

He mentioned dramatic school reform in which teachers got a dramatic salary increase.

There was a dramatic transportation-investment program during the special session.

He wants to "dramatically increase" penalties for killing or injuring someone while driving drunk.

And toward the end of his speech, the governor said, "Together, we can continue the dramatic progress we have made."

One of the few places he didn't use "dramatic" was when he was talking about the increase in movies being shot in the state.

By contrast, Richardson used "bold" only once. And in a dramatic departure from the past, he didn't once say "innovative," "groundbreaking" or "historic."

Nobody's sweetheart now: Old hippies will remember counterculture icon Wavy Gravy's ongoing shtick about "Nobody For President." (Who brought us world peace? Who lowered gas prices? Who kicked special interests out of government? Nobody!)

Gravy's favorite candidate is on the ballot for the upcoming Feb. 3 Democratic presidential-preference caucus. That's right, Democrats can vote for "Nobody" under his (or her?) alias, "Uncommitted." It's right at the bottom of the ballot, for Democrats who want to vote "None of the Above."

So one could argue that Nobody is somebody in New Mexico.

If enough people vote for uncommitted, the party will send delegates to the national Democratic Convention in Boston who are not pledged to any particular candidate.

By the way, Wavy Gravy's "Nobody" campaign is documented here.

Hold that call: Nobody apparently called New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who complained in her Sunday piece that candidate Howard Dean stiffed her on a promised telephone interview last week.

Maybe the former Vermont governor got too busy talking to the editorial board of The Santa Fe New Mexican. He did call this paper Friday as his aides had promised.

What's a meta for?: The local Democratic activist group called Forum 2004 plans a unique program for its meeting next week. Colleen Burke and Mary Charlotte Domandi (who hosts KSFR-FM's Radio Cafe show on weekday mornings) will talk about "Political Metaphors and the Language of Politics."

According to Forum 2004, the two will discuss "why liberals must become conscious and strategic in their use of language -- and how conservatives have taken ownership of the language of winning."

The meeting is 7 p.m. Monday at the LaFarge Library, 1730 Llano St.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

This might look familiar

Some other reporters pointed this out to me today.

(New Mexico Legislature: One day down, 29 left to go ...)



Monday, January 19, 2004

TSW Play List

Terrell's Sound World
Sunday, January 18, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Pipeline by Anthrax
Advanced Romance by Frank Zappa with Capt. Beefheart
Bat Chain Puller by Capt. Beefheart
Bob by Primus
Axcerpt by The Mekons

Medication by Gregg Turner & The Mistaken
I Think of Demons by Roky Erikson
Me and The Devil Blues by Dead Meadow
Bless You by The Devil Dogs
Crackpot by L7
Wish That I Was Dead by The Dwarves
Private Hell by Iggy Pop
Execution Day by The New Pornographers
Don't Clip Your Wings by Frank Black & The Catholics
Tell the King the Killer's Here by Ronny Elliott

Not Tonight by Al Green
Have You Seen Her by The Chi-lites
Nutbush City Limits by Ike & Tina Turner
Lost and Paranoid by The Soul of John Black
Love Hater by Outkast
Big Road Blues by Corey Harris
Pretty Thing by Bo Diddley
Real Emotions by Los Lonely Boys

New Orleans is Sinking by The Tragically Hip
We Belong Together by Rickie Lee Jones
Yesterday is Here by Kazik Staszewski
I Beg Your Pardon by Tom Waits
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Santa Fe Opry Play List

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, Jan. 16, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Ronnie and Neil by Drive-By Truckers
Venus by Southern Culture on the Skids
Parallel Bars by Robbie Fulks with Kelly Willis
I Push Right Over by Rosie Flores
Your Old Love Letters by Bobby Flores
The Shiek of Araby by The Last Mile Ramblers
Reno Blues by Merle Haggard with Willie Nelson
Mr. Blue by David Bromberg

One More Time by Bill Hearne
They Call the Wind Mariah by The Buckerettes
It's My Way by The Sundowners
Another Lonely Heart by Eleni Mandell
What Are We Waiting For by The Yayhoos
Hey Hey by Graham Lindsey
Burn Burn Burn by Ronnie Elliott
You Pulled Me Down by Ben Atkins

Make Love to Yur Horse by Julien Aklei
Tennessee Stud by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Doc Watson
Chestnut Mare by The Byrds
Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan by Tammy Faye Starlite
I'm Going Home by Sacred Heart Singers at Liberty Church
Dear Mama by Acie Cargill

The Month of January by Chipper Thompson
Gypsy Songman by Jerry Jeff Walker
Step Off Your Cloud by Kell Robertson
Old Rivers by Walter Brennan
Meadowlake by Nels Andrews
Farther Along by Hayseed with Emmylou Harris
Feel Like Going Home by Charlie Rich
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Friday, January 16, 2004

Terrell's Tuneup: Unstoppable Soul

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 16, 2004

Is there some kind of “soul revival” gurgling underground. There were actually two good old-school soul albums released in 2003 by venerated masters of the genre -- Rediscovered by Howard Tate and I Can’t Stop by Al Green.

Green was the last great star of pure Southern soul music. His mid ‘70s glory years came at a time when soul music of the ‘60s was evolving into the more lush Philadelphia Sound of Gamble and Huff, the harder edge of funk and the emotionally bankrupt but commercially explosive idiocy that was disco.

Green arose several years after the Greatest Generation of soulsters -- two decades or more after pioneers like Ray Charles and Sam Cooke. And he was different from Most of the giants of the genre. He didn’t have the raw urgency of Otis, the wickedness of Pickett, the craziness of James Brown, the world weary wisdom of Curtis Mayfield or the suaveness of Marvin Gaye.

But there’s no doubt that Green belongs in this distinguished. His records were among the best stuff on the radio back in the post-Beatles/pre-punk lost years of the early and mid ‘70s. There was a sweetness and sincerity -- as well as sexiness -- in Green’s tenor -- not to mention unforgettable melodies and simple hook-laden arrangements.

Like a Black Roy Orbison, (whose “O Pretty Woman” he convincingly covered) Al Green sang for the lonely. Songs like “Tired of Being Alone” and “Let’s Stay Together” were pleas so full of both hope and despair you didn’t know how anyone could ignore them.

Green’s career in popular music ended about the time that America’s airwaves were in the deepest throes of the disco scare

It’s been nearly a quarter century since Al Green recorded secular music. Like a Sam Cooke in reverse, Green went from pop to gospel.

And no that wasn’t prompted by that tragic and bizarre 1974 night when a former girlfriend broke into his house, poured boiling grits on Green (who was in the bathtub at the time) then shot and killed herself.

Green’s decision to quit secular music came five years later, after he fell off the stage at a Cincinnati concert.

Since then Green has devoted his life and his art to the Lord for almost all this time. Folks who have attended Green’s church in Memphis, Tenn. say that services there are higher energy than just about any rock ‘n’ roll show you can name.

Until late last year, there’s only been one new secular album, the obscure Love is Reality (which escaped mass attention and admittedly flew under my own radar.)

But I Can’t Stop is the first secular Al Green album in more than 25 years produced by Willie Mitchell, the man responsible for all the classic Green records and co-writing some of Green‘s greatest songs. (Mitchell did produce a Green gospel records in 1985)

On my first couple of listens have to admit I was somewhat disappointed in I Can’t Stop. It sounded good. Green’s voice hasn’t suffered in the passing of time and Mitchell still is a master at good clean arrangements. But none of the songs seemed to come anywhere close to Green’s greatest hits.

However, the more I listen to it, the more this new record rings true. True, there’s no “Let’s Stay Together” here, but I could listen to I Can’t Stop all day.

There’s the strutting beat of “Play to Win,” with Green moaning and squealing as a horn section recreates the horny glory of the Stax/Volt years. There’s a sweet ballad called “Rainin’ in My Heart” whose secret star is the swirling organ of Robert Clayborne. There’s a six-minute blues song Robert Cray probably wishes he had written called “My Problem is You,”

The album ends with a tune called “Too Many.” It’s an upbeat track that sounds influenced by New Orleans maestro Allen Toussaint. But the happy “Life is a Carnival” melody is deceptive. Here Green sings the most troubled lyrics on the album:

“Too many things in my head/Too many ghosts in my bed … I got too many things to do/I got too many things that ain’t true/I got too many and that’s wrong for you.”

For the sake of the Rev. Al Green’s church, I wouldn’t want to encourage him to turn his back on the world of the gospel. But I do hope Green makes more journeys into the secular.

Also recommended:

*Mississippi to Mali by Corey Harris.
This album should be a companion piece to Feel Like Going Home, Martin Scorsese’s contribution to his recent PBS documentary series The Blues.

Harris basically was the center of that film. Scorsese showed Harris talking with old Mississippi bluesmen, including the master of fife-and-drum music Otha Turner. It also showed Harris traveling to Africa, talking to and jamming with African musicians such as Ali Farka Toure of Mali.

Toure is on this album. And on Turner would have been, but he died shortly before the scheduled recording session.

The most satisfying songs here probably are the fife-and-drum songs like “Station Blues” and “Back Atcha,” which Harris recorded with Turner’s granddaughter Shardee Thomas.

My favorite cuts with Toure are the covers of Skip James Songs “Special Rider Blues” and “Cypress Grove”) where the African plays a najarka (one-string violin). Also haunting is the slow, John Lee Hooker-like “Rokie,” which features a repeated blues guitar riff and clacking percussion by Souleyman Kane.

However some of the lengthier Toure cuts like the 6-minute “Tamala,” start to drag.

While Harris’ roots journey here is interesting, his own experiments in fusing blues and African (and other) sounds -- his last album Downhome Sophisticate, for instance -- is more rewarding.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Roundhouse Round-up: Punks For Dean

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 8, 2004

Just about every presidential campaign has subgroups for various ethnicities and special interests -- blacks for Kerry, Hispanics for Clark, Women for Edwards. Who knows, maybe there's even a "Carnivores for Kucinich."

But perhaps this season's most-interesting campaign adjunct is Punx for Dean.

That's right, "punx," as in punk rock. It's a real organization. And they're coming to Santa Fe to campaign for Howard Dean.

A contingent of self-proclaimed punks will be part of a group of 60 to 100 Dean volunteers coming to the state from California as part of Dean's "Southwest Victory Express" to help out with the campaign before the Feb. 3 caucus.

So who are these punks?

Apparently it's the brainchild of a 28-year-old California punk rocker named Kimmy Cash, who, according to an article in L.A. City Beat, met Dean when she crashed the V.I.P. section of a campaign function.

The group's Web site explains, "As a member of the punk (goth, etc.) scene and as a citizen of the United States it is our duty to be the voice of reason and reality here in the U.S. ... Together we can show the world that punks know the true meaning of Democracy."

One punk for Dean is an old music buddy of mine, Gregg Turner, founding member of the Los Angeles band The Angry Samoans, currently employed as a math professor at New Mexico Highlands University..

Turner said Wednesday he is trying to find a venue for a Punx for Dean concert next weekend when the organization descends upon Santa Fe.

Besides rocking and rolling, the Punx for Dean intend to do some serious work, helping the state Dean effort with canvassing and other mundane campaign work.

And the nonpunks in the Dean campaign love them.

"The success of (Dean's) Internet campaign has brought all sorts of people into the fold," said state Dean spokeswoman Mona Blaber. "It helps to bring in people who've never been involved in the political process."

We're all for equal time here. If there are "Goths for Gephardt" or "Lawrence Welk Fans for Lieberman" out there, let me know.

Solicit This! As it turns out, the state Legislature didn't really have to pass laws to create a state no-call list to ward off unwanted telemarketing calls. All you need is to have Gov. Bill Richardson's crime adviser and former Albuquerque District Attorney Bob Schwartz record the greeting for your voice mail or answering machine.

The message on his home number has Schwartz telling solicitors to hang up. "If you are a solicitor and you ever call back, I will not only report you to the Federal Trade Commission, I will hunt you down and personally administer a cavity search that John Ashcroft would be proud of."

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Polka Karma

Boy twice in one day! Only hours after getting the e-mail about my missing Rolf Cahn story (see post immediately below), I get one from Barry "Nos" Sher, a webmaster who used to link with an old review I'd written about some cool polka and klezmer CDs a couple of years ago.

I guess it's great to be missed. Thank you Dreamwater ....

So I sent Barry the text of review and gave him permission to post it on his site.

And he did. You can find it on his polka page. (Here's the direct link to my polka review.)

The rest of Barry's site is fun too, especially his visionary Sam the Sham (!) section. As a wise man once sang, "Only two things for which I give a damn, that's reincarnation and Sam the Sham."

A Special Love

I just received an e-mail from a Norwegian man who has a web site dedicated to my friend, the late folksinger, martial artist, political troublemaker and former analyst for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee Rolf Cahn.


Alf Storrud wanted to know what happened to my old web site, where for years I had posted the article I wrote in 1994 about Rolf's life and final days. (He died the day after the story was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican.)

So I told Alf he has my permission to republish my story on his site, (which offers CDs of Rolf's music, which has been out of print for years.)

I'll also repost the story here.

Damn, I miss Rolf!


ROLF CAHN'S LONG, WILD SONG WINDS TO AN END
BY STEVE TERRELL
Originally Published July 31, 1994
SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN

Rolf Cahn-- folk music guru, martial arts teacher, author, social activist and beloved Santa Fe character--has, in the words of an ex-wife, "called in his troops."

Cahn, whose 70th birthday is next month, was diagnosed two months ago with liver cancer.

Since that terrible discovery, Cahn has played lots of music, including a public performance with his oldest son at Jackalope Pottery earlier this month.

He also completed a novel, The Immigrant, which, according to friends, is a tale of the ancient general Hannibal reincarnated and living in modern-day Santa Fe.

But shortly after completing The Immigrant, Cahn became bedridden at his home.

His three sons - Jesse, 45, Michael, 27, and Andrew, 24 - and other friends have been taking care of his needs: getting him water, juice and pain medication, helping him sit up, massaging his skin.

To those outside of the family, the sons refer to their father as ``Rolf.'' When talking to him or about him among themselves, they affectionately call him "Pop."

A Special Love
was the title song of a self-released Rolf Cahn tape in the early 1980s. It also could describe the feeling at the Cahn household in recent weeks.

Dozens of friends have come by during the past weeks to give their love to Rolf. Cree McCree, one of Cahn's former wives, flew in from New York to spend a week with him.

Eve Muir, whose late husband John Muir was one of Cahn's best friends, comes by the house frequently, bringing Cahn bottles of water.

Cahn's skin now has a yellow hue. Always wiry, he seems to have lost weight. Although those who know him will always remember how Cahn loved to talk, argue, rant and sing, it seems painful for him to talk now. The words are scarce.

Cahn is asleep much of the time, but when he wakes up to find a familiar face in his room, his eyes light up and he flashes a smile.

On Friday he smiled at a longtime acquaintance and pointed at him. "I like you," he said in a raspy voice.

"I like you too, Rolf," the friend said, holding back tears.

The phone at Cahn's home has rung frequently in recent days. His sons say he has received calls from Romania, England and Germany.

The letters have been pouring in. Eric Von Schmidt, an old Cambridge folkie who recorded an album with Cahn in the early '60s recently wrote, calling Cahn, "The born teacher. The guy with the best licks and the prettiest chicks ... You were the Cambridge/Berkeley connection before it existed."

Cahn was born into a Jewish family in Germany in 1924. In 1937, during Hitler's reign, Cahn's family fled, immigrating to the United States. The Cahns ended up in Detroit, where, Rolf always told friends and interested reporters, he learned how to box in self-defense.

Cahn enlisted in the Army during World War II and found himself in the Office of Strategic Services - the precursor to the CIA - parachuting behind enemy lines and blowing up bridges.

"I killed people," Cahn said in a 1982 interview. "No matter what euphemism you want to use, I just killed people."

Before his action in the European Theater, the OSS sent Cahn to study the Chinese language in Berkeley, said Jesse Cahn, who came from California to help his father. "That's military intelligence for you," he said. "Here's a young kid who speaks German and they send him off to learn Chinese."

However, it was during these studies that he met a Chinese k'ang jo fu aster, which began Rolf Cahn's lifelong study of martial arts, Jesse Cahn said.

Cahn himself wrote about the meeting in his 1974 book Self Defense for Gentle People. After his time in the service, Cahn returned to Detroit where he enrolled in Wayne State University.

There he became involved in labor organizing, left-wing politics and, not coincidentally, folk music. He learned guitar - both folk and flamenco - and in 1948 campaigned for Henry Wallace, a former vice president who was the Progressive Party's presidential candidate in 1948.

"Even then, hundreds of little Woody Guthries were running around,'' Cahn once said. "That early, and it was beginning to be a pain in the ass to listen to your fifteenth Woody Guthrie that week."

He moved to northern California and started the San Francisco Folk Music Club in the early 1950s.

In 1959, following the drowning death of a son, he moved to Cambridge, Mass., where the folk music movement was hatching. This is where the likes of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Jim Kweskin and Maria Muldaur got their start.

Jesse Cahn remembers Odetta - the folk singer best known for her rendition of Woodie Guthrie's "Pastures of Plenty" - as his babysitter during those years.

This era is documented in the book Baby Let Me Follow Me Down by Von Schmidt and Jim Rooney. Cahn is quoted extensively and praised reverently in the book.

"Until Rolf came, there weren't any teachers of folk or blues guitar styles around Cambridge," the authors wrote. "Eminence, rabbi, guru, whatever, Rolf could be intense and volatile or tender and charming. Like most good teachers, he was always searching and learning himself."

But when the Cambridge scene started getting commercialized and too "white bread," Cahn split, going first to Spain to study flamenco, then to New Mexico, where he first was a logger, then an analyst for the Legislative Finance Committee in Santa Fe.

He taught martial arts at night but soon learned that his folk music credentials meant little in a town known for being hard on musicians.

"The musician in Santa Fe will get his comeuppance," he said in 1982. "You'll be happy to play for tips while a bunch of rich Texans eat."

In 1971, tragedy again struck Cahn, who was living on the city's east side.

According to accounts of friends and newspaper stories at the time, masked intruders broke into the front part of his house, where his former wife and children were residing. Cahn, who was living in the back part of the house, opened fire, killing one of the burglars.

Cahn himself was shot in the arm and a bullet grazed his head.

Soon after that, Cahn left New Mexico, moving once again to California, where he worked for a Head Start program.

He returned with his two youngest sons in the late 1970s. He taught k'ang jo fu, eventually opening The Cahn School of Movement.

Occasionally he played music, trying every so often to get a scene going here, but usually ending up in frustration.

"I refuse to play while people eat, because to me music is prayer," he said in 1982.

Although in the early days he was best known for interpreting folk songs and blues, Cahn in the 1980s released two tapes of his own songs A Special Love and Midnight Sun.

His family and Eve Muir are working on releasing a tape of recently recorded songs called Fall Rain.

Cahn also remained active in social causes. He spoke at a City Council meeting against police brutality last year after the police shooting of Francisco "Pancho" Ortega.

About a year ago, his sons say, Rolf Cahn's energy level began to drop. He also began having stomach problems. But nobody thought much about it until he was diagnosed with liver cancer.

Andrew Cahn said there was never an issue about his father spending his last days in a hospital. Everyone knew it would be better for Pop to stay at home.

"It's work," Michael Cahn said. "But he spent plenty of years taking care of us. For anyone to back off because they're too busy, I just can't believe that."

Rolf Cahn is asleep again by the time his visitor leaves. Although the old, chatty guru is almost silent now, one of his songs sticks in the visitor's head.

"You'll need that special love I put on you. "

The voice is strong, and the accent thick - as if Hank Williams had been born in Prussia.

The words were initially addressed to an erstwhile wife or girlfriend, but now they seem universal.

Those who know Rolf Cahn always will remember that special love.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Politics and Murder

I've got a couple of things in the new issue of New Mexico Magazine.

This is the February issue, which has the theme of "Mysteries and Legends" and has a pulp-sci-fi-like cover depicting the 1964 UFO siting in Socorro reported by a state police officer.

No, that's not my story. I wrote about three unsolved homicides with severe political overtones -- the apparent assassinations of Albert J. Fountain in 1896 and Jose Francisco Chaves in 1904 and the 1949 murder of Ovida "Cricket" Coogler in Las Cruces.

Both Fountain and Chaves were Territorial-era legislators who made enemies with certain cattle rustlers with friends in high places.

Coogler was a teen-age waitress whose killing never led to a murder conviction. But the apparent cover-up eventually led to prison time for a county sheriff and state police chief and a "morals" charge against a member of the state Corporation Commission.

My other piece in the magazine is a book review of Journal of the Dead, a true-crime book by Jason Kerstan concerning the 1999 killing of a Massachusetts man by his best friend in Carlsbad Cavern National Park.

Sorry, neither of these are on the magazine's Web site. You'll have to go out and actually buy a copy. It'll be worth your $4.95.

Monday, January 12, 2004

TSW Playlist

Terrell's Sound World
Sunday, January 11, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Give Me Some Truth by John Lennon
Piece of Crap by Neil Young
Superbabe by Iggy Pop
I'm Bigger Than You by The Mummies
Graveyard by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Work All Week by The Mekons
Attack on Love by Yo La Tengo
Odd Jobs by Captain Beefheart
Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes


Nixon Memorial
One Tin Soldier by The Dick Nixons
Nixon's Dead Ass by Russell Means
Blue Lake by Robert Mirabal
Mr. Bojangles by Jerry Jeff Walker
(end Nixon Memorial)
Sacrifice/Let There Be Peace by Bob Mould
The Killer by The Twilight Singers

Ghetto Music by Outkast
My Problem is You by Al Green
Sexy Ida Part 2 by Ike & Tina Tuner
Jemima Surrender by Howard Tate
Do the Rump by Junior Kimbrough
Special Rider Blues by Corey Harris
Heaven by Los Lonely Boys

Misery is the River of the World by Kazik Staszewski
Warm Beer and Cold Women by Tom Waits
Sail on Sailor by The Beach Boys
Ballad for a Loser by Just Short of Sunday
Firewalker by Rickie Lee Jones
Manitoba by Frank Black & The Catholics
Closing Theme: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Bill Richardson Package

Finally my package on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's first year (now year and 11 days ...) in office has been published in The New Mexican.

Here's the links:

Here's the main story

And this one

And this one

Also this one

Saturday, January 10, 2004

SFO Playlist

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, Jan. 9, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
The Road Goes On Forever by Robert Earl Keen
Leave Me Liquor by Hog Mawl
Interstate City by Dave Alvin
Last Hard Bible by Ben Atkins
Just For the Record by Bobby Flores
Walpole Prison Blues by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
The End of the World by Herman's Hermits

Almost Persuaded by Merle Haggard
Clementine by The Sundowners
Cash and Tobacco by Nathan Hamilton & No Deal
C'est La Moment by Paul Burch
Jerusalem by The Letterpress Opry
Down in the Flood by Bob Dylan
My Museum Blues by Graham Lindsey
Blasckest Crown by Furnace Mountain

Crazy Way by Tom Adler
Texas Hood Song by Kell Robertson
Anything at All by Jaime Michaels
Make Love While You Have the Chance by Jerry Faires
Here in My Lonely Room/Heaven by Elliott Rogers
She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye by The Last Mile Ramblers
Muley Brown by Bill & Bonnie Hearne
Blue Hearted Girl by Kim & The Cabelleros

Great High Mountain by Jack White
One More Ride by Johnny Cash
Dying From Home and Lost by The Louvin Brothers
The Cold Hard Truth by George Jones
Wilderness by Peter Case
Permanently Lonely by Willie Nelson
Presently in the Past by Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Friday, January 09, 2004

Terrell's Tuneup: Frank Black, Iggy Pop, The Mummies, Just Short of Sunday

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 9, 2004

Amazing fact: Charles Thompson, aka Black Francis aka Frank Black has now made more albums with The Catholics than he did with The Pixies, the band that made him famous.

Of course it’s true that none of The Catholics’ albums are even close to being as vital and influential as The Pixies’ best work. But all of Black’s post-Pixies work are good listens. He hasn’t released anything to embarrass himself yet.

His latest, Show Me Your Tears, is Black’s sixth album with The Catholics. He’s still got some of that old Pixies punch, The opening cut “Nadine,“ about a girl with “skin like a ghost,” with its Cramps-like bass hook, is something The Pixies might have tried.

But much of the album continues down the country roots road Black started on 2000’s Dog in the Sand. There’s steel guitar on lots of the tracks and the blues pops up here and there.

“New House of the Pope” sounds like a strange update of “St. James Infirmary.” “Horrible Day” sounds like country music as filtered through The Rolling Stones. “When Will Happiness Find Me Again” sounds like country filtered through Uncle Tupelo. And “Goodbye Lorraine,” with its sweet steel by Catholic Rich Gilbert just sounds like a good country song.

Black tries out some other directions too. The music of “This Old Heartbreak” sounds like an ode to Leonard Cohen or perhaps Nick Cave.

But most remarkable is the anthem-like final cut, “Manitoba.” In which Black, singing over a jangly guitar, steel and accordion (Van Dyke Parks!), declares “I have seen the face of God and I was not afraid/ I have seen the face of God and I have dearly paid.”

One great touch on this track is an instrumental coda featuring a trumpet solo butting up against a screaming guitar. This has to be the fine hand of Stan Ridgway, who produced this song and several others on Show Me Your Tears. (Most of the others were produced by longtime Black crony Nick Vincent.) Perhaps it’s the Ridgway influence, but this has to be one of the most textured Frank Black albums yet.

Also Recommended:

*Skull Ring by Iggy Pop, Like Frank Black, James Osterberg, aka Iggy Pop made a (fictitious) name for himself in a band that broke up a long time ago and even though he’s made lots and lots of album since then, and most the time they’re fun to listen to, Iggy still gets measured against his old work with his old band. And usually he doesn’t measure up.

This new album features four songs with Iggy fronting his famous old band, The Stooges (well, at least the surviving members, Ron and Scott Asheton.). It’s the first time in 30 years or so and they all sound in fine form. But this only begs a huge question: Why not a whole album with the reunited Stooges? Maybe he wanted to avoid the inevitable hype surrounding a full-blown “reunion” of that stature.

Instead there’s a revolving door of bands including Green Day, Sum 41 and Iggy’s own recent backup group The Trolls -- as well as guest spots for punkette Peaches.

Like most latter day Iggy albums, Skull Ring is mostly roaring guitar rage. Most the songs are forgettable, but whether with the Stooges or Green Day or whoever, Iggy rocks hard. You might not remember the tune in a couple of months, but Iggy tackles it as if his life depended on it.

And despite the false alarm of his Avenue B album from a few years ago -- which implied a new, toned-down, more bookish Iggy -- Mr. Pop seems determined to live up to a pledge from a song from an old album: “I Won’t Crap Out.”

*Death by Unga Bunga by The Mummies. Though their gauze-wrapped stage appearances might have given the mistaken impressions that The Mummies were a novelty act, in reality these guys were garage band gargantuans. Pharoahs of fuzz-tone. Princes of pawn-shop primitivism. (Actually, they called themselves the “Kings of Budget Rock.”)

The Mummies broke up sometime in the early ‘90s, but the tiny unknown Estrus label late last year released this 22-song compilation of glorious lo-fi wonderment. Virtually all the songs sound as if they could have come off one of the Pebbles compilations of unknown ‘60s garage music.

Among the highlights here are “I’m Gonna Kill My Baby Tonight,” “(I Should Be Lookin’ For) Dangerman,” and “(You Must Fight to Live on) The Planet of the Apes.”

*11:53 by Just Short of Sunday. These Texas high school boys are young enough to be Iggy Pop’s grandchildren. But on this 5-song EP they play their melodic brand of pop punk with true passion.

JSOS does teenage angst a lot more convincingly than older, more jaded acts. When they sing, “The worst way to miss someone is to sit right by them/And know you can never have them,” you know they know of what they speak. And for older listeners it might even bring back some bad memories of biology class.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Not Quite The Onion

My old friend Suzanne just turned me on toThe Daily Probe

Beware the Barber of Mass Destruction!

You also might like The Chortler.

Roundhouse Round-up: A New Political Journal

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 8, 2004

No true political junkie in the state should miss a brand-new Internet offering from the irrepressible state Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell.

Adair's e-mail newsletter, Let's Talk Sense, rarely fails to stir things up, especially in state GOP circles. His observations about state Republican Chairwoman Ramsay Gorham have sparked many verbal battles in the war-torn state party.

But now Adair has started a new publication, the New Mexico Political Journal, which can be viewed at his Web site.

Adair says he started the site to make up for a lack of political coverage in other media. "We aim to fill the gaps that are out there, and in a responsible, fair and balanced way."

You don't have to be sly as a fox to know what "fair and balanced" means. You're going to get a conservative Republican viewpoint in this publication. But Adair doesn't always take off the gloves when dealing with his own party. (If you don't believe me, ask Gorham.)

Adair says political news in the state often merely parrots Gov. Bill Richardson's news releases. "And the number of former reporters who are now part of the Richardson administration ... merely underscores this sad fact," Adair wrote.

The hit list: But here's my favorite part of Adair's first issue: "Newspapers and their reporters have been openly threatened and scorned by either Richardson himself, or one of his 'made men.' An enemies list has been established during the first year and reporters know who is on it. They are denied 'access' or invitations to events. We thank the few reporters with the integrity to have withstood the pressure. But for all the reasons enunciated thus far, they need our help."

I don't know anything about an enemies list. The list Richardson told me I was on had a different name.

Rebecca goes to Iowa: Most state Democrats are preparing for the Feb. 3 presidential caucus here. But Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron is getting ready to go to Des Moines, Iowa, for a presidential debate in that state.

Vigil-Giron will be one of four panelists asking questions of White House hopefuls in Iowa's Brown and Black Forum, a nonpartisan organization composed of Hispanic- and black-community leaders in Iowa.

The debate will be televised on MSNBC starting at 6 p.m. MST Sunday.

Gary on stage: The Lensic theater has some impressive shows on its schedule in early 2004 -- Steve Earle, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Bo Diddley, former Gov. Gary Johnson, Rickie Lee Jones ...

Gary Johnson?

That's right. The former gov and his faithful guide, Dave Hahn, will present a short film about their trip to Mount Everest last year as part of the Best of the Taos Mountain Film, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Lensic, 211 W. San Francisco St. Tickets are $12.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Tom Adler Where You Going?

My friend, banjo man and songwriter Tom Adler is having a CD release party at the Paramount Thursday night for his new Jenny Where You Going , It starts at 8 p.m. $10 gets you in and a copy of the CD.

I wrote a brief review of Jenny a few weeks ago in Pasatiempo. It went something like this:

Like Jaime Michaels’ new Wicked Dreams and Second Chances, this is a collaboration with a small army of local pickers. Like Adler’s previous album Sweet Nell, this one is mainly in the traditional folk-country style, although Jenny features vocals as well as some electric instruments (Frank Reckard on guitar for instance). There’s a song about lusting for a TV weather girl and a cover of a Peg Leg Howell tune (“Skin Game Blues” How cool is that?)

Monday, January 05, 2004

TSW Playlist

Terrell's Sound World
Sunday, January 4, 2004
Best of 2003 Show
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Coma Girl by Joe Strummer
Gethesamane by Richard Thompson
Be the Rain by Neil Young
Remember Me by Carla Bozulich
24 Hour Store by The Handsome Family
Josie by Wildsang
Kitchen Towel by Otis Taylor
Swordfishtrombone by Kazik Staszewski
Apple Bomb by Deerhoof
Into the Night by Lisa Germano

Tick / Maps by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Sinkhole / Hell No I Ain't Happy by Drive By Truckers
Don't Compromise Yourself by Howard Tate
Disorder in the House by Warren Zevon
Stolen Horses by Ray Wylie Hubbard
There's No Home For You Here by The White Stripes
Spread / Church by Outkast
Tranni by The Kings of Leon
Este Noche by The Twilight Singers
The Electric Version/From Blown Speakers by The New Pornographers
Keep Me in Your Heart by Warren Zevon

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Funny Books

One of the funniest works of literature from my college years is back in print. Check out this Slate article about National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook.

This story prompted me to check to see if one of my other favorite comic tomes from the '70s was still around. I was happy to learn that Don Novello's The Lazlo Letters: The Amazing, Real-Life, Actual Correspondence of Lazlo Toth, American is indeed still available. Plus, I learned there are even a couple of sequels.

The Lazlo Letters is a compilation of demented letters that Novello (you probably know him as "Father Guido Sarducci") sent to political leaders (including President Nixon at the height of Watergate) as well as captains of industry (Mr. Bubble?). But what really makes the book are the unintentionally hilarious responses from his victims. In some cases, form letters become found-object art.

Now I'm going to have to check out those sequels.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

SFO Playlist

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, Jan. 2, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Another Brand New Year by The Bottle Rockets
I'll Fight the World by Bobby Flores
Psycho by Jack Kittel
The Lie by The Waco Brothers
The Farmer's Daughter by Merle Haggard
You Don't Miss Me by Marlee MacLeod
What Did the Deep Sea Say by Dave Alvin
Sioux City Sue by Willie Nelson & Leon Russell

Until I Slip Away by Tom Adler
Boots of Spanish Leather by Furnace Mountain
Sittin' On Top of the World by Jack White
Pink Burrito by R. Crumb & His Cheap Suit Serenaders
21st Century by Joe West
The Train Singer's Songs by The Band of Blacky Ranchette
I Am a Low Crack Addict by Fabulous Ron McSkeevy

I Won't Ket You Down by Graham Lindsey
The Vigilante by Judee Sill
Opportunity to Cry by Willie Nelson
The Burden by Terry Allen
Up Above My Head by Maria Muldaur & Tracy Nelson
On a Night Like This by Los Lobos
Like a Songbird That Has Fallen by The Reeltime Travelers
Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread by Odetta & The Holmes Brothers

Gorgeous George by Ronny Elliott
Hope is a Thing With Feathers by Trailer Bride
Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain by Carla Bozulich
The Forgotten Lake by The Handsome Family
The Deeper in by Drive-By Truckers
Purgatory Road by Ray Wylie Hubbard
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Except for the closing theme, all songs from the last two sets were from CDs that appeared on my FAR (Freeform American Roots Radio) Best of 2003 ballot.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Terrell's Tuneup: 2003 Music in Review

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 2, 2004

Music lovers probably will remember 2003 as the year the big record companies sued hundreds of music fans, including at least one 12-year-old scofflaw who illegally downloaded "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands."

Or the year the FCC decided by a party-line vote that Clear Channel just isn't big enough, and the media giant as well as others, should be allowed to own even more radio stations -- and maybe some newspapers as well.

Or the year The Dixie Chicks became true "alternative country" by not only refusing to wall in line with the official flag-waving Nashville line, but to actually utter discouraging words about a certain fellow Texan.

But somewhere amongst the growing insanity of the music biz there was some fine music in 2003. Sometimes you have to look for it -- in columns like this, on left-of-the-dial radio stations, in corners of the internet unaffiliated with major corporations. Sometimes, to paraphrase an old Tom Waits song, the pursuit is as fun as the arrest.

1) The Electric Version by The New Pornographers. Even though it's winter now, this second album of upbeat, snappy, melodious pop rock from a wild band of Western Canadians remains perfect music for summer night cruising in your mind. What a wonderful world it would be if The Electric Version were blasting from every convertible on the road. True, there's probably not enough of Neko Case, who sings background on most tracks. Still, it's hard not to smile and think of the good things in life while listening to The Electric Version. (Matador Records)

2) Blackberry Belle by The Twilight Singers. As far as 2003 records go, former Afghan Whig Greg Dulli's effort is the dark sinister twin of The Electric Version. On some days, and in some moods, I even prefer it. Dulli draws from the rage of punk rock and the carnal power of soul. It's raw, tumultuous, emotional, sometimes hypnotic, and a little bit evil. "Black out the windows, it's party time." (Birdman)

3) Youth & Young Manhood by Kings of Leon. Clan Followill has the drawls and the mustaches and the hair to conjure Skynyrd comparisons. But Caleb Followill's blooze-rock growls navigate sparse, bouncy, hook-laden guitar rock that sounds a lot like their label mates, The Strokes. Their transgenerational roots consciousness helped make their debut album outshine The Strokes' disappointing sophomore album this year. (RCA)

4) Speaker Boxx/The Love Below by Outkast. Sometimes truly great popular music actually becomes popular. The two Atlanta guys who make up Outkast are intelligent. They're funny. They're funky. And most important, unlike so many thousands of third-rate gangsta rap goons, they're musical. As far as I'm concerned, Outkast is the true heir of George Clinton and Prince. (Arista)

5) Elephant by The White Stripes. Like the huge lumbering beast for which this album is named, you can imagine this music tromping through the jungle ripping tall trees from the ground. And you can imagine it using its trunk to gently take peanuts from the hand of a child. Luckily for singer/guitarist Jack White, Elephant made enough money for him to afford a good lawyer to fight the aggravated assault charges he now faces for allegedly pounding the snot out of another singer in a Detroit bar.

6) Growl by Ray Wylie Hubbard. Forget "Redneck Mother." Hubbard's latest album consists of tough, swampy blues, with the artist showing his underrated prowess on bottleneck guitar while drawling tales of hard living, hard drinking and hard luck from a Texas Zen perspective. (Rounder)

7) The Wind by Warren Zevon. Warren wasn't going to leave us without a proper goodbye. In doing so, he left a worthy coda to his career. While the fact that he basically recorded this on his deathbed adds untold poignancy to this record, The Wind is an album I'd have loved anyway. (Artemis)

8) Rediscovered by Howard Tate. The comeback of the year. Tate, a Philadelphia soul man of the 1960s, disappeared for decades into the netherworld of drugs and despair, cleaned up and became a ghetto preacher. I'm not sure how they convinced him to recording again, but I'm glad they did. Producer Jerry Ragovoy keeps the sound basic -- no yucky synths, no embarrassing pandering to hip-hop. Just good, gritty soul featuring a good horn section and not-too flashy blues guitar. (Private Music)

9) Decoration Day by The Drive-By Truckers. Compared with this group's previous effort, the sprawling double-disc epic Southern Rock Opera, this is a relatively modest effort. Still, Decoration Day helps cement the Truckers' place as true visionaries of redneck rock. They've done more than anyone else to advance the basic Exile on Main Street/Freedom Rock sound, informing it with punk and colored by a literary sensibility. (New West)

10) Fever to Tell by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs In terms of sheer unfettered, sexy, stripped-down rock 'n' roll fun, it's hard to think of a more fulfilling album than Fever to Tell by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O squeals, shouts, cajoles and coos. Repeating the word "tick" in rapid fire, you think she might explode in ecstasy right there in your stereo. (Interscope)

Runners Up
Streetcore by Joe Strummer
Singing Bones by The Handsome Family
Lullaby For Liquid Pig by Lisa Germano
Red Headed Stranger by Carla Bozulich
Sky Dirt Speak Out Truth by Wildsang (more on them in my previous post, below)
Apple O by Deerhoof
Greendale by Neil Young
Truth is Not Fiction by Otis Taylor
The Old Kit Bag by Richard Thompson
Piosenki Toma Waitsa by Kazik Staszewski (an import-only album of Tom Waits songs by Poland's coolest rocker. Watch this column in upcoming weeks for a complete review.)

Blog Exclusive: Extra Categories
Comeback of the Year: Howard Tate.
Runner-up: Al Green
Best "Various Artists" CD: Shout Sister Shout (Rosetta Tharpe tribute)
Soundtrack of the Year: Only the Strong Survive (featuring Jerry Butler, Carla Thomas, Wilson Pickett, Isaac Hayes and others)
Runners-up: A Mighty Wind featuring The Folksmen, The New Main Street Singers and Mitch & Mickey
Cold Mountain featuring Alison Krauss, Jack White and others
Reissue of the Year: Heart Food by Judee Sill (Rhino Handmade)
Runners-up: Crazy: The Demo Sessions by Willie Nelson
Amerasia by Terry Allen
Disappointment of the Year: Shootennanny by The Eels
Runner-up Room on Fire by The Strokes

Thursday, January 01, 2004

HAPPY HARE KRISHNA NEW YEAR, AMERICANS!

I don't even drink any more -- I think I had more than my share of the world liquor supply when I was in my 20s and 30s -- but I fell hungover. Had a few folks over to my swinging pad, including Kate and Hillary of the blues duo Wildsang. We played music until after 4 a.m. At some points it was outright transcendental.

Readers of my column might remember the rave review I gave to Wildsang's album, Sky Dirt, Speak Out Truth. If not, what the hell, I'll post it here. I consider it the best New Mexico album of 2003 -- well, that and The Handsome Family's Singing Bones. I keep forgetting they live in Albuquerque.

But first before I post that review here's some good KSFR news. John Greenspan told me last night that the station plans to start streaming over the internet, possibly as early as March. (I'm betting April or May.) Through the years I don't know how many out-of-town people -- Santa Fe expatriots as well as those who have seen my play lists -- have told me they wish they could hear the station on the web.

It's gonna happen. Happy Hare Krishna New Year!

Here's that Wildsang review:
(Originally published Sept. 2003 in The Santa Fe New Mexican
A surprise highlight of the recent Thirsty Ear Festival -- in fact, I’ve found, the first band I find myself mentioning when people ask about the festival -- was a two-woman blues group based in Coyote, N.M.

There inside the “hotel” saloon at the Eaves Ranch the duo started off with an oft-covered blues chestnut, “Smokestack Lightning.” But just a few bars into the tune it was obvious this wasn’t a typical blues cover band. It was hands down the most passionate and gripping version of that I've heard since Howlin' Wolf died. Wildsang almost seemed to be channeling the lonesome spirit of the Wolf.

But even better were the original tunes that followed -- songs about rapes, lynching, and other happy topics.

Wildsang -- the name is a reference to wild ginseng -- has one of the most intense singers I've heard in awhile. Hillary Kay, according to her press material, is descended from jazz diety Joe “King” Oliver (he’s an uncle according to her bio). She also plays guitar, including a mean slide.

Although the spotlight is on Kay and her songs, harmonica player Kate Freeman, the second half of Wildsang, is an essential part of the group’s sound. Her piercing tones complete the raw soundscape.

The songs they did at their Thirsty Ear set appear on Wildsang’s latest album, Sky Dirt Speak Out Truth. While the CD doesn’t quite match the electricity of their live performance, it’s a good representation of the group’s basic vocals/guitar/harmonica/ sound, resisting the common temptation of bringing in a bunch of musical pals to clutter things up in the studio.

Wildsang plows some of the same disturbing ground as Colorado bluesman Otis Taylor, who I believe is the most important artist of the generation that rose in the ‘90s. Like Taylor’s songs, Kay’s lyrics look unflinchingly at historical horrors and atrocities African Americans have face in this country. (Is there a Rocky Mountain blues movement based in social realism developing here?)

A unifying attribute of Kay’s characters is that they fight back in the face of oppression.

“Ain’t No Strange Fruit” takes its title from the classic Billie Holiday tune. But here Kay doesn’t just describe a lynching. The victim’s wife (and the narrator’s grandmother) takes it upon herself to kill a Klansman in revenge.

Violent vengeance is also the theme of “Josie,” a story about rape. “I did not have my daddy’s shotgun/ Did not have my .22 … just the machete for the sugarcane/Josie said that would do.”

One of the most moving story songs here is “Biscuits,” the tale of a pregnant girl forced to leave her home by a religious father. (“That girl of yours is gonna bring the devil down on us all!”) By the end of the tune, 10 years have past and the mother and son are preparing for a trip to see the family she left behind. “Honey, they’re still your family, no matter how long it’s been,” the mother tells her boy.

It’s not all blood and tragedy on the album though. There’s plenty of love -- and lust -- songs like “Jump Down Mama.” And subtly satisfying is the closing song, “Big Top Circus,” which is about the simple joys of a day at the circus. It’s as sweet as some of their songs are violent .

Somehow I believe Howlin’ Wolf himself would appreciate Wildsang.

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