Saturday, February 28, 2004

How I spent my $13.86

I have a story in today's Santa Fe New New Mexican about music lovers receiving settlement checks from that multi-state antitrust suit against the music industry. READ THAT STORY HERE.

I was "tipped off" to this story by a weird little non-descript piece of mail that I had in a pile of junk mail I was just about to throw away. Luckily I opened it. I'd forgotten about registering in the lawsuit online a few years ago.

So how to spend this $13.86 windfall? On music of course. But somehow it just didn't seem right to give back the dough to the people who'd ripped me off in the first place. (Yes, as a critic and DJ I do get tons of free CDs, but as a music nut, I also undoubtedly buy more CDs than your average 50-year-old citizen.)

In the Capitol pressroom yesterday I cynically suggested I'd spend the money on blank CDs just to piss off the RIAA. But I decided instead to spend it on some unknown, independent musician who I'd never heard of before.

Surfing around the CD Baby site -- that's a righteous web-based company that sells my CD -- I came across a dude called Ukulele Man who is described as a "cross between Cab Calloway, Ukulele Ike, Abbie Hoffman, and a mild-mannered Captain Beefheart; if the Pogues were a Cajun band that hung out with Robert Fripp>"

His album Crazy Old World has a song about PeeWee Herman (I heard a sample of this one -- sounds bitchen) and tunes called "I Wish I Were a Pirate" and "Thank God for Toilets."

How could I go wrong?

With postage it came to $15.22.

I'll let you know how the album is. Meanwhile, if you're one of the 3.5 million who are getting an extra $13.86, please consider spending it on an independent artist.

The Santa Fe Opry Play List

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, Feb. 27, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Sadie Green (The Vamp of New Orleans) by Roy Newman & The Boys
This Country is Young by Jon Langford
Baby Do You Love Me Still by The Flatlanders
I'm a Ramblin' Man by Waylon Jennings
Jesus Was a Capricorn by Kris Kristofferson
Are You Going to Miss Me Too by Ana Fermin's Trigger Gospel
60 Acres by James McMurtry
Cantina Carlotta by Terry Allen
White Trash by Fred Eaglesmith

Such a Good Night by Eric Hisaw
More Than You'll Ever Know by Joe West
Amazing Disgrace by Dollar Store
Perry Mason Theme by John Rauhouse's Steel Guitar Rodeo
From Hell to Paradise by The Mavericks
2150 by Colin Gilmore
Love Don't Mean Nothin' by Julien Aklei

Under the Double Eagle by Acie Cargill
Some of Shelly's Blues by The Earle Scruggs Revue
The Cuckoo by Furnace Mountain
Dark as a Dungeon by Jerry Garcia & David Grisman
Down in the Valley by Greg Brown
Banks of the River by Jorma Kaukonen
What Goes On by The Meat Purveyors

He'll Have to Go by The Holmes Brothers
Shape I'm In by Nathan Hamilton
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights by The Texas Tornados
God, What Am I Doing Here? by Bingo
Walk Through This World With Me by George Jones
The Hole by Townes Van Zandt
Were You There When They Crucified My Lord by Johnny Cash
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 27, 2004

Terrell's Tuneup: Homemade Musical Folk Art

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Feb. 27, 2004

Sometimes a music critic can feel jaded just by looking through the galaxy of CD covers that arrive in his mail box every week. The rampant mimicry that creates a tyranny of sameness; the pre-fab attitude the covers attempt to convey, the artists perhaps unaware they are being used as pawns in some cynical marketing scheme … and then you listen to the music and 90 percent of the time its even worse than the cover art tried to warn.

That’s why it’s refreshing to occasionally stumble across musicians who play by their own rules, musicians whose visions are peculiar enough to make them interesting and whose homemade, lo-fi art is so full of sincerity and passion it far outweighs any lack of professional polish.

Here's three such CDs:

*We Can Mate With Rabbits by Julien Aklei . Aklei, who recently moved to Santa Fe, certainly meets these standards. This collection of 20 songs featuring Aklei’s haunting Kentucky soprano soaring over her guitar chords is a unique statement. I’d have been captivated by its strange charms even if her manager, Spiritual John, hadn’t brought a pink plastic Christmas tree to my office at the state Capitol a few weeks ago.

OK, I know some of you are still chewing on the concept of mating with rabbits. Here’s how Julien’s web site explains it on her recently biography. (Uppercase words preserved as written.)

“It wasn't before long that Julien received an Angelic visitation with a message: that she must dedicate her life to the joyous spreading the Almighty's Word and help humanity develop into lifestyles more akin to Life in Heaven.

"'We can mate with Rabbits' is the first idea that you are to disseminate throughout the world." Julien was instructed, and it was also explained that while the rabbit of Easter is commonly understood to be a pagan symbol, the rabbit is actually one of the Virgin Mary's special creatures, a symbol that will introduce a new reality to the human mind.”

So there you go.

Aklei’s personal mythologies pervade the lyrics to her songs. The weird thing is that some of the titles on the album are so raunchy we can’t print them in a “family” newspaper. Like artists such as Marvin Gaye and Prince, Aklei likes to confront her listeners with the underlying unity of the sacred and the salacious.

To get music-criticy here, too many of the songs here are in minor keys and start getting someone monotonous. That’s why a song like “Love Don’t Mean Nothin’” with its simple country melody is so refreshing.

Still, some of those minor-key tunes -- “Run Rabbit, Run,” “Make Love to Yur Horse,” and “I Wanted to Make Love” are pretty addictive.

We Can Mate With Rabbits is a musical manifesto of Aklei’s cosmic, but earthy visions. As her web site says, “Feeling that she is singing for rabbits too, Julien Aklei is determined about reintroducing Easter-Rabbit qualities back into human daily life.”

Who could argue with that?

* Bluegrass and Kentucky Blues by Acie Cargill. Acie is another Kentucky artist, though he’s based out of Illinois these days.

Cargill, who comes from a musical family, creates music rooted in the hills and hollers. But with his world-weary baritone he puts his own individual stamp on what he plays.

His albums don’t sound like your typical modern bluegrass record that emphasize technique and virtuosity. Too much of that stuff sounds like it came off a production line. Acie’s albums sound like the music you’d hear in real Appalachian homes in the days before mass pop culture took over.

Bluegrass and Kentucky Blues consists mainly of old ballads and backhill blues tunes. But my favorites -- as is always the case with Cargill albums -- are his originals. Unfortunately less than half the songs here are Cargill’s.

But there’s some good originals. “What Went Wrong” is a fine love song. “Rust Belt Blues” is a topical number about poverty and displacement.

Cargill might put off left-leaning fans with his patriotic, pro-Iraq-war recitation in “Under the Double Eagle.” But Cargill sings what he thinks. And you won’t find macho, jingoistic Toby Keith/Hank Jr. blather. Agree or disagree, Acie’s a thoughtful guy.

*Troubled by The New Creation. A decade or so before the rise of the Christian Right, there was the Jesus People. Remember Arthur Blessitt, the “hip minister of Sunset Strip” whose followers blanketed the country with those little round orange stickers with psychedelic lettering saying, “Turn on to Jesus” Remember the Children of God and their “flirty fishing” recruiters? (Alas, the only COGers I ever met were stinky hairy guys.)

The music of the Jesus People movement infiltrated the mainstream. There was “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum. Even better was “Jesus is Just Alright” (The version by The Byrds, not The Doobie Brothers.)

But far away from fame and from the mainstream was an obscure little Jesus freak band from Vancouver, The New Creation. Their album Troubled somehow reemerged on the tiny Companion Records.

A Bible-soaked cross between The Shaggs and The Partridge Family (there was a mother-son team in the band) The New Creation played like a garage-band apocalypse.

While most of the songs deal with the basic theme of “the world will be saved when the world turns to Jesus,” the New Creation doesn’t blame the evils of the world on liberals, homosexuals and Pagans. True to the Jesus People, preach-to-the-hippies credo, the main villain is The Status Quo (read “The Establishment.”)

But the group saves its best for the first. The opening cut “Countdown to Revolution!” is a sound collage that proves it was possible to produce otherworldly sonic strangeness even in the days before samplers.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: ERNIE & LORENE

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican

Today is the first anniversary of the death of veteran New Mexico newsman Ernie Mills.

It's hard to forget that cold morning. The Legislature was still going on (last year's was a 60-day session), and I was in the press room chatting with some other reporters, preparing for the day ahead. The voice of Sen. Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, came over the overhead speakers announcing to the Senate and anyone else in the building listening that Mills, 76, the gravel-voiced old pro of the local news biz, was gone and calling for a moment of silence.

(That was Jennings' most emotional statement on the Senate floor last year. I know Mills would have gotten a kick out of Jennings' most emotional statement on the Senate floor this year -- when he accused Gov. Bill Richardson of "abusive behavior" and "bullying" a group of lobbyists, including Jennings' wife.)

Mills probably was best known for his role in negotiating with insurgent inmates during the 1980 riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico. Mills walking into that burning prison (and, as his family has since pointed out, making the potentially dangerous fashion faux pas of wearing a Crimestoppers cap) puts to shame any of the "war stories" the rest of us press dogs could tell (except maybe my old boss Larry Calloway, who was taken hostage during the 1967 Tierra Amarilla courthouse raid).

It's true that nobody could replace Ernie Mills. However, his work is being carried on by his widow, Lorene Carpenter Mills.

For the past year, Lorene Mills has taken her husband's old job as host of Report From Santa Fe, a political interview show broadcast on public television statewide for nearly three decades. The show is taped each week in a studio right inside the building Ernie Mills dubbed "The Merry Roundhouse."

Lorene Mills also continues writing her late spouse's weekly newsletter, Mills Capitol Observer, available by subscription only.

Meanwhile, she hired longtime KUNM reporter Tom Trowbridge to continue the syndicated radio show Ernie Mills started in the 1960s, Dateline New Mexico.

Lorene Mills said Wednesday that while her husband was in the hospital before his unexpected death, the plan was to have her take over the television show while he was home recuperating. After all, she had been behind the camera on the show for nearly 20 years.

But Ernie Mills never made it home.

Although she has no formal training in journalism -- she has a Ph.D. in comparative literature -- Lorene Mills never had a second thought about continuing the TV show herself.

Her first guest was Richardson -- who had seen Ernie Mills in the hospital less than an hour before he died. Since then, she's had legislators from both parties, Cabinet secretaries and other government officials, and, back during caucus season, several presidential candidates. Last summer, Dennis Kucinich holed up in her studio to meditate before giving a speech at the Capitol.

"I'm not a journalist; I'm just an honest woman," she said. "I continued doing it because I love it. I'm a news junkie. I was perfectly happy sitting until 4 a.m. watching the House of Representatives in session last week.

"I love the politics, I love the news," she said. "I just give thanks for having had such a wise teacher, guru, soul mate and jive-ass husband."

Report From Santa Fe can be seen locally 6:30 a.m. Sunday on KNME, Channel 5, and 1 p.m. Sunday on KCHF, Channel 11. Dateline New Mexico can be heard 8:04 a.m. weekdays on KANW, 89.1 FM.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

SXSW

I'm getting mentally fired up for the South by Southwest Music Festival, which is less than a month away. Since I started covering the state Legislature in 2001, I've only been able to attend during even-numbered years -- the years with 30-day instead of 60-day sessions.

As far as the music goes I'm most looking forward to seeing Little Richard, The Mekons and The Flatlanders. I've seen the latter two bands, but I've never seen The Georgia Peach before. He's also the keynote speaker, which I'm sure will be worth getting up early to see.

Santa Fe's Mary & Mars also is on this year's line-up. Big tme!


And I always get a kick out of the names of the hundreds of obscure bands I've never heard of. Here's a few:

The Baby Robots
Kill Me Tomorrow
The Crack Pipes
Buttless Chaps
Killers For Hire
Faceless Werewolves
Learning From Las Vegas
Suicide Girls Burlesque Act
Yuppie Pricks
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (OK, I've heard of them. Still a cool name though)

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Beyond Borders Play List

Susan Ohori asked me to substitute for her world music show last night. So I did.

For the record, Susan's show is the longest running night time show -- come to think of it, probably the longest running show period -- at KSFR. She had already been there a few years when I started my asociation with the station in 1993. Beyond Borders was one of the first non-classical shows on KSFR back in our "Fine Arts Radio" formative years, back when our night-time line-up was known as Radio Free Santa Fe -- before some former station honcho decided it would be a good idea to give away (!) that name to Clear Channel's local "Adult Album Alternative" station.

I'll stop before I launch into a serious rant. Here's last night's play list.

Beyond Borders
Monday, February 23, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Substitute Host: Steve Terrell


Video Killed the Radio Star by Lolita No. 18
Bulgar by Klezkamp Dance Band
Odessa by The Red Elvises
The Good, The Bad and The Chutney by Kalyandi & Anandji
Pop Client by Mylab
Taxi Driver by 3 Mustaphas 3
Luna Azul de Kentucky by Mingo Saldivar

Sweet and Dandy by Toots & The Maytals
Rasputin by Boiled in Lead
Im Nin Alu by Ofra Hazra
Hula Blues by Sol Hoopii
Quasimodo Risin' by Mecca Bodega
Furahi by Zap Mama
Dance of the Muntabanu Family by Caserna Plutino

Happy Wanderer by Brave Combo
Ten in One by Crow Hang
You Can't Teach the Japanese to Polka by The Happy Schnapps Combo
Blue Polka by Rotondi
Existential Polka by The Polkaholics
Anne's Waltz by Nancy Hlad
Jimi Hendrix Polka/In Heaven There Is No Beer by Brave Combo

Mercedes by Stuurbaard Bakkebaard
Orane by Les Negresses Verti
Meri by Varttina
The Thief and The Riversong by Ai Phoenix
Yesterday is Here by Kazik Staszewski

Country World Beat Set
Made in Japan by Buck Owens
Rockin' in the Congo by Hank Thompson
Adios Mexico by The Texas Tornados
Never Been to Spain by Waylon Jennings
The Sheik of Araby by The Last Mile Ramblers
Cagey Bea by Junior Brown
Nobody's Goin' Home by Terry Allen
Dublin Blues by Townes Van Zandt

Ibo Lele by Ram
Don't Let Me Mother Know by Lord Executioner
Ki Pal Ka Jeena by Lucky Ali
Black Man's Cry by Fela Ransome Kuti
The Tide is High by Petty Booka
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo 'ole

Monday, February 23, 2004

Terrell's Sound World Play List

Terrell's Sound World
Sunday, February 22, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
16 Candles by The Crests
Only 16 by Sam Cooke
There is No Time by Lou Reed
Fabrique by Stuubaard Bakkebaard
We Think You Are Very Brave by Ai Phoenix
Whisper in a Nag's Ear by Johnny Dowd
Heaven on Their Minds by Murray Head
Clyde the Glide by The Diplomats of Solid Sound

Time (Losing My Mind) by The Soul of John Black
Black Flowers by Fishbone
We Be's Gettin' Down by Graham Central Station
Be For Real by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
Girl From the North Country by Howard Tate

Standing on the Verge of Getting It On by Funkadelic
Spread by Outkast
Kill the Messenger by The Bell Rays
People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul by James Brown
There's a Moon Out Tonight by The Capris
Love and Happiness by Living Colour
Sweetback's Theme by Earth, Wind & Fire

Drove Up from Pedro by Mike Watt & Carla Bouzulich
Meaning of Loneliness by Van Morrison
Land of Hope and Dreams by Bruce Springsteen
Until I Die by The Beach Boys
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Mr. Mainstream Pazz & Jop

I'm not sure who this guy is, but he has way too much time on his hands. (And apparently, so does my friend Chuck, who always seems to find this damned website each year.)

Anyway, every year for at least the past three or four years this funky dude does a mathematical analysis of the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll and ranks the participating critics as to how common their choices are.

What's shocking is that this year I rank 44 (out of more than 700!) in terms of picking popular choices. According to this guy's calculations, an average of 85.6 other critics voted for each of my selections.

The year before I ranked a respectable 435th.

Sorry for being so generic.


The Santa Fe Opry Play List

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, Feb. 20, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Last Fair Deal Gone Down/Constanz by Jon Langford
Around the Bend by Dollar Store
(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Clifts of Dover by Jon Rauhouse's Steel Guitar Rodeo with Sally Timms
Baby Won't You Please Come Home by Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel
Lyin' by Elizabeth McQueen
I'm Not From Here by James McMurtry
Pretty Good Guy by Fred Eaglesmith

Color of the Blues by George Jones
Loneliness is Eating Me Alive by Merle Haggard
Roll on Mississippi by Charlie Pride
Remember the Eagle by Luke Reed with Waylon Jennings and Bill Miller
Lone Star Blues by Bill Hearne
Oh Lonesome Me by Bobby Flores
Chinatown, My Chinatown by The Last Mile Ramblers
The Hucklebuck by The Riptones

Reprimand Our Love by Joe West
There Ought to Be a Law Against Dunny California by Terry Allen
Eggs For Your Chickens by The Flatlanders
Dam by Kasey Chambers
Call My Name by Paul Burch
Bow Down to Me by Julien Aklei

Hogs on the Highway by The Bad Livers
Midnight Sun by Rolf Cahn
Milk and Honey by Nels Andrews
Main Road by Lucinda Williams
Rustbelt Blues by Acie Cargill
Permanently Lonely by Willie Nelson
In Tall Buildings by John Hartford
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 20, 2004

Terrell's Tuneup: Music From The Pile

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Feb. 13, 2004

January and February are skimpy times for new CD releases. (Actually things slow down drastically in early November after the major companies’ Christmas season release schedule.) So this is a good time to look at some obscure discs that have been in my CD pile for awhile.

* The Soul of John Black. John Black isn’t a person, it’s a group consisting of John Bigham (guitar, vocals) and bassist Christopher Thomas (not to be confused with Chris Thomas King), two musical veterans who, as individuals, have worked with an impressive array of jazz, rock, and rap acts, from Miles Davis to Eminem to Marianne Faithful to Joshua Redman to Everlast to Betty Carter to Fishbone (of which Bigham was a member for eight years).

But the key word in the title is “soul.” This album is a refreshing contemporary take on good old soul music. Sure, it’s got some hip-hop and funk overtones, but like the best of Stevie Wonder or Al Green, the emphasis here is on catchy melodies and honest emotion rather than merely beat and rhythm.

And it does so without sounding retro.

The best songs here are about danger or women. Sometimes the two intersect.

The album starts off with a sparse, slow and menacing tune called “Scandalous (No. 9)” that introduces a narrator who is almost sick with obsessive jealousy (“It ain’t funny what can happen/ when you ain’t around … You got some folks who goin’ to peep/ tryin’ to creep up on yo’ good thing …”

This sets the mood for the next track, “Lost and Paranoid” which is more upbeat and has a fuller band sound with a female backup singer (Jonell Kennedy), a turntable and, yes, even a kazoo, tooted soulfully by Bigham. The lyrics live up to the title, with Bingham fleeing some unknown enemy: “I locked the door/pulled down the shades/ next thing I know the phone’s ringin’/ can’t seem to get away …” The song ends with Bingham repeatingly crying, “please,please, leave me alone!”

The danger becomes more specific in “The Odyssey,” which is the story of a fatal DWI wreck. “The top was down, the air was cool/ The only night was from the moon/ Her body was in flames/ I heard her call my name …”

“Supa Killer” is a Shaft-like latter-day Blaxploitation song that makes a lyrical -- as well a bass-riff -- reference to The Temptations’ “Runaway Child Running Wild.” The true star of this song though is the saxophone of Tracy Wannamae. He should have been used more on this album.

TSOJB isn’t afraid to get pretty. The brooding ballad “Joy” features a Bigham on acoustic guitar.

As vocal talents go, Bigham is no Al Green or Otis Redding. He’s probably closer to Prince -- and that’s not bad. He gets the job done. And most important, he and Thomas have written and performed some fine songs and made an album that never sags.

* Mercedes by Stuurbaard Bakkebaard. O.K. I’ll admit that lately I’ve been a sucker for weird European art rock from non-English-speaking countries. This lo-fi Dutch band certainly fits that bill.

There must be something about smoky, sometimes sinister music with a singer getting excited about things I can’t understand that appeals to me. Some of the lyrics are in English, though I still haven’t figured out what they are about.


Stuurbaard has good tastes in influences. You can hear echoes of Tom Waits, P.J. Harvey’s stranger stuff and maybe even a little Sparklehorse here.

SB can rock sloppy, as they do on the opening song “Clutch” and the mutant blues called “Earl’s Room.”

Some of the most interesting tunes here are the otherworldly acoustic songs that use a stand-up bass (which is bowed on the song “Brown”) and acoustic guitar. “Downfall,“ which features an accordion, sounds like a nightmare in a French café. The title song sounds like a Dutch bosa nova. And “Steel Talk” has a somewhat out-of-tune banjo playing over a clomping drum and a singer who sounds like he’s lived on a strict diet of Residents records.

*Let’s Cool One by The Diplomats of Solid Sound. This is a retro-sounding instrumental group, but no, it’s not surf music. The Diplomats, from landlocked Iowa, are far closer to Booker T. & The MGs than they are to Dick Dale.

Keyboardist Nate “Count” Basinger and guitarist Doug Roberson take turn on leads.

Like the title implies, the sound is basically cool. Close your eyes and you probably can imagine this music to be in the soundtrack of some ’60s action flick (or, depending on your mood, perhaps a porno film)

But somehow I keep waiting for the cool sounds to heat up. There’s a few songs featuring a sax here, and that helps. So I guess my criticism here is the same as with The Soul of John Black: When in doubt, use more sax.

Hear selections from the above CDs on the radio Sunday night on Terrell’s Sound World, 10-p.m to midnight Sunday on KSFR, 90.7 FM, Santa Fe Public Radio. Friday night is Steve Terrell’s Santa Fe Opry, same time, same station. Sorry, KSFR isn't on the web yet. But just you wait ...

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Roundhouse Round-up: Pressure in the Halls of Power

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican

The clock is edging toward midnight Tuesday at the Roundhouse -- and edging ever closer to the noon Thursday cutoff when the session, as mandated by the state Constitution, must end.

The vote has just been taken on the food/medical tax repeal in the Senate. An ad-hoc coalition of five Democrats and 17 Republicans has just passed a substitute bill that sponsor Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, unabashedly described as a "tactical move."

Another Democrat, Tim Jennings of Roswell, has framed the substitute as a way to send a message to Gov. Bill Richardson, who only hours before had threatened -- and that's Richardson's word -- to call a special session if he doesn't get the tax bill he wants by the session's end.

The atmosphere in the hallway between the Senate gallery and the Senate lounge is understandably tense.

Various senators wander in and out of the gallery with dazed expressions brought on by the day's seemingly endless session. Standing in the hallway with stern expressions are Richardson spokesman Billy Sparks, House Speaker Ben Luján of Nambé -- who sponsored the original House Bill 625 that just got ravaged in the Senate -- and Luján's assistant Regis Pecos.

"This isn't over yet," passers-by keep whispering to reporters in the hall.

It seemed the vote was done, but the real work had just begun.

The word is the Senate will vote to reconsider the bill. To do so, someone who had voted with the majority would have to make the motion to reconsider.

If this is going to happen, conventional wisdom said, it will be one of five Democrats who voted for the Smith substitute -- Smith, Jennings, Michael Sanchez of Belen, Linda Lopez of Albuquerque and Lidio Rainaldi of Gallup.

With the shift of just one vote, the tally would be 21-21. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish would break the tie and go against the Smith substitute.

Immediately after the vote, the focus seems to be on Rainaldi, a kindly faced, grandfatherly, retired magistrate judge who some say resembles actor Abe Vigoda.

As Rainaldi emerges from the gallery, the speaker approaches him.

As the two walk down the hall together, I overhear Rainaldi say, "Let me explain something to you," to Luján. Unfortunately that's all I hear.

"The speaker is leaning on (Rainaldi) as hard as he knows how," Smith later tells reporters.

The speaker and the senator disappear for a few minutes. When Rainaldi comes back into the hallway, Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, who voted against the Smith substitute, grabs him.

"Lidio, can I talk to you for a minute?" The two go into the Senate Lounge for several minutes. I don't think they're talking about the weather.

About 20 minutes later, a weary-looking Rainaldi is seen walking briskly down the outer hall.

He's polite as I try to get a word from him. But he doesn't slow down.

"No, nobody's pressuring me," the senator says, not very convincingly.

But asked whether he'd make the motion to reconsider, Rainaldi replies, "I don't know. I don't know what the bill is going to say."

Some wags said Rainaldi voted for the Smith substitute because the original bill didn't include gross-receipts taxes on dentists. He has a son who's a dentist.

This implies some new version of House Bill 625 is in the works.

Meanwhile Smith has no allusions that his substitute bill has much of a future.

He only introduced it to put a monkeywrench in the progress of the original bill, which he vehemently opposes. "I had 22 votes tonight, but I've been here long enough to know that could slip away," he tells reporters.

By Wednesday morning, Rainaldi no longer seems like the focus of arm-twisting. Rumors now center around Lopez or possibly Sanchez as the one who'd make the motion to reconsider.

Update: Shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday on the floor of the Senate, Rainaldi made that motion. He and Sanchez would change their votes and vote against the Smith substitute Wednesday, though their votes were offset by Sen. Leonard Tsosie, D-Crownpoint and Sen. Joe Carrarro, R-Albuquerque changing their minds and voting for the substitute on Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

ARCHIVES BACK UP; MORE ON THE BONNIE HEARNE LOVEFEST

For several days my January archives were missing a few weeks worth of my wisdom-filled posts. That's the bad news. The good news is that the Blogger folks acted promptly and fixed it as of this morning.

That might not seem like a big deal to most of you readers, but considering the inept and unresponsive dolts who run the free site where I used to park my old web site (that's Dreamwater. Avoid them at all costs!), this place is a Godsend. There wasn't even a way to contact the Dreamwater jerks.

So thanks, Blogger or Blogspot or whoever you are.

Bonnie Hearne Benefit
Mark Sunday, March 7 on your calendar. That's the benefit for the ever lovely Bonnie Hearne, who's been plaugued with health problems in recent months. Half of the Santa Fe musicians you've ever heard of will be playing -- including yours truly. I'll be contributing one song to the show. (Note to self: get a substitute for Terrell's Sound World that night!)

For a complete list of musicians, go to the February archives and scroll down to the Feb. 1 entry.

The show starts at 6:00 p.m. and goes on till closing. Tickets are $20 -- and remember it's a good cause.

A day and a half left of the Legislature!

swt


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

New Junior Brown CD Coming!

My old Santa Fe High locker partner, Junior Brown (local folks still call him "Jamie") just signed a new record deal.

The "Kirksville, Indiana" reference below is only part of the story. Mr. Brown moved to Santa Fe in the late '60s, attended Mid High and Santa Fe High and was in several local bands including the psychedelic Humble Harvey (they played at my first DeMolay dance!) and more importantly, The Last Mile Ramblers, an "outlaw" country band who contributed to a good deal of the soundtrack to my drunken college years.

Sorry, Jamie, but I'm going to use this opportunity to re-publish your junior year photo from the 1970 SFHS yearbook (as well as a more recent photo I took not too many years ago)


For Immediate Release

For more information, please contact
Mike Wilpizeski: 718 459 2117 or mikew@telarc.com

JUNIOR BROWN SIGNS DEAL WITH TELARC
August 2004 Debut is His First Release in Over Three Years


February 16, 2004, Cleveland, OH - Telarc International Corporation, one of the world's leading independent recording companies, today announced the signing of an exclusive deal with guitarist/singer/songwriter Junior Brown to be inaugurated with an August 24, 2004, release (title to be announced).

Michael Bishop engineered Brown's Telarc debut - his first new recording in over three years - at the Tracking Room at Emerald Entertainment in Nashville, TN, in February. The album will also be released as an SACD in 5.1 Surround Sound.

"Junior is a fabulously talented entertainer and musician with lots of fans, which was the only consideration when it came to signing him to the label," says Telarc president Bob Woods. "The more eclectic the better these days, and we're truly excited that Junior decided to work with us."

Brown says, "I think we are coming into a time where music is less dependent on categories than it used to be. I think I'm the kind of artist that can't be categorized easily, and I believe Telarc is a label that's interested in the creativity of a performer. It's that focus that many labels have chosen to ignore more and more due to their emphasis on mass marketing over substance. The Telarc folks are great and supportive - I'm thrilled to be on the label."


Playing fiery rock-guitar licks and hardcore honky-tonk with equal aplomb on his self-styled double-necked "guit-steel" - a combination electric and steel guitar - Junior Brown is regarded as one of the most talented guitar players the world. Born in 1953 and raised in Kirksville, IN, Brown first learned to play the piano from his father and became a professional musician at the end of the '60s. A dream prompted him to create an instrument fusing a six-string guitar with its steel counterpart, and in 1985, he developed the "guit-steel," a double-necked guitar combining the standard instrument with the steel.

He made his long-awaited album debut in 1993 with 12 Shades of Brown,
which featured a tribute to his biggest influence, "My Baby Don't Dance to Nothing but Ernest Tubb." Guit With It followed later in the year, and like its predecessor, was met with considerable critical acclaim.

After a five-song EP, 1995's Junior High, Brown returned in 1996 with
Semi-Crazy.

The Long Walk Back followed two years later, and Brown released his
fifth album, Mixed Bag, in 2001.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Terrell's Sound World Play List

(Sorry it's late. Blame it on the state Legislature ...)

Terrell's Sound World
Sunday, February 15, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Electric Uncle Sam by Primus
Rope Bridge Crossing by John Parrish & P.J. Harvey
The Kid is a Witch by Stuurbaard Bakkebaard
Happy Man by Sparklehorse
Lamb by Kult
Garden of Delight by Johnny Dowd
Eternity Ahead by New Creation

The Cuban Bake by The Diplomats of Solid Sound
Nothing Lies Still Long by Pell Mell
Gritty Shaker by David Holmes
"H" is For Harlot by The Civil Tones
Jungle Drums by Esquivel
Inspector Jay From Delhi by Kalyanji & Anandji Shah
Surf Age by Jerry Cole & His Spacemen

Supa Killa by The Soul of John Black
Truck Turner by Isaac Hayes
Sweet Sticky Thing by The Ohio Players
Vibration by Terrance Trent D'Arby
Letitgo by Prince
Hide nor Hair by Ray Charles

You Only Live Twice by Nancy Sinatra
Chopper Squad by The Mekons
Staging the Plaguing of the Raised Platform by Cornershop
Make Believe Mambo by David Byrne
I'm Sorry by B.B. King & Bobby Bland
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, February 14, 2004

The Santa Fe Opry Play List

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, Feb. 13, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Special Love by Rolf Cahn
I Fall to Pieces by Patsy Cline
Why You Been Gone So Long by Bill Hearne
That's What Makes the Jukebox Play by Roy Acuff
Baby Do You Love Me Still by The Flatlanders
Writing on Rocks Across the USA by Terry Allen

Kell Robertson Live in the Studio
Broke and Hungry
Marylou (Goodtime Gal)

(3 from Cool and Dark Inside CD)
Star Motel Blues
One Shot Can Kill the Music
Song For Roxy

Mary's Bar
Madonna on the Billboard
When You Come Down Off the Mountain
Take Your Fingers Off It

(end Kell set)

Pigsville by The Waco Brothers
Explain Away by Dollar Store
Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone by Charlie Pride
Steve McQueen/Give Me Three Steps by Drive-By Truckers
Hot Dog by Buck Owens
Valentine by Marlee MacLeod

What Went Wrong by Acie Cargill
Old Smokey by Greg Brown
St. Valentine by Joe Ely
Twang on a Wire by Kate Campbell
Is This My Happy Home by Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
I'm Leavin' Now by Johnny Cash & Merle Haggard
A Voice From On High by Ricky Skaggs
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 13, 2004

Terrell's Tuneup: How I Love Them Old Songs

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Feb. 13, 2004

A close cousin of the “tribute” album is the “covers” album, in which singers or bands perform their versions of the songs that inspired them. In recent months I’ve received three such collections in the country/folk vein.

The most frequent criticism of tribute albums apply here: The covers are o.k., but the original versions are far superior. Yet all these new records have their own integrity and in many cases, it’s just great to know that people are still playing these great old songs.

* Twang on the Wire by Kate Campbell. Campbell is a singer-songwriter from the South who pays tribute here to Nashville’s pantheon of female singers from the early to mid 1970s. Most of these selections could be found on any cowboy bar jukebox during the Watergate era.

Twang is a low key affair, but it has a lot of heart. You can feel the love Campbell has for these tunes. She even finds the emotional core of country pop crossover ditties like Donna Fargo’s “Funny Face” and Taos resident Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden”.

(Those songs make me think about the “Outlaw” movement of that era. Not to detract from Waylon and Willie and the boys -- who I’ve always loved and always will -- but when you compare those songs to modern so-called-country radio fluff you have to wonder what the “outlaws” were rebelling about.)

Campbell does a creditable job covering the big three ladies of country of ‘70s country: Two Dolly Parton songs (“Touch Your Woman” and the teenage pregnancy horror tale “Down From Dover”); a relatively obscure one by Tammy Wynette (the stately “ ‘Til I Can Make it on My Own”); and one by Loretta Lynn (“Mississippi Woman, Louisiana Man” with alt country rocker Kevin Gordon taking Conway Twitty’s part.)

But my favorites here are two originally sung by a lesser-known artist, Jeannie Pruett. Campbell performs Pruett’s big hit, “Satin Sheets,” which is one of the finest examples of the country-girl-marries-rich-guy-but-learns-money-doesn’t-buy-happiness sub-genre.

But the other Pruett song here is a beautiful obscurity, “Honey on His Hands” is a powerful cheatin’ song and Campbell did us all a favor by reviving it.

The album ends with the title song, the lone original tune here. Here we get an image of a young Kate in her bedroom listening to records, being comforted and inspired by “angels with flattops, they play and they sing.”

Campbell does a good job here of honoring those big-haired angels.

*Countrysides by Cracker. This collection also consists of country covers (mostly) from the ‘70s (mainly). It’s a lot less earnest than Twang on a Wire and more fun loving. These are songs you’d drink beer and dance to while looking for love at a honky tonk. Campbell’s are the songs you’d drink whiskey and listen to after your honky tonk queen has stomped your heart.

Indeed Cracker, (which played in Santa Fe recently with singer David Lowrey’s other band Camper Van Beethoven), concentrates on hard-drinking outlaw anthems like Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition,” Jerry Jeff Walker’s Ray Wylie Hubbard-penned “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers” and Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down.”

And they even do Santa Fe resident Terry Allen justice, kicking off the album with a rowdy take on his “Truckload of Art.”

The lone original here, “It Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself” is a hilarious, scathing musical diatribe against Virgin Records (Cracker‘s former company) that could almost pass for a Texas Tornados tune.

But not everything on Countysides is drunk and disorderly. Lowrey sings a moving, accordion-sweetened version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Sinaloa Cowboys,” a tale of a meth lab tragedy. Their straightforward version of Dwight Yoakum’s “Buenos Noches from a Lonely Room” is downright pretty.

And Haggard’s “Reasons to Quit” is a melodic hangover in which a worried boozer takes assessment of his reckless life.

*Honey in the Lion’s Head by Greg Brown. The material Brown works here is of an older vintage than the Cracker and Kate Campbell albums. Here, the deep-voiced Iowa songwriter goes back to old folk tunes -- the most recent ones being Jim Garland’s “I Don’t Want Your Millions Mister” and Brown’s original “Ain’t No One Like You.”

This record has a lot in common with Dave Alvin’s Public Domain and Bob Dylan’s early ‘90s folk detour World Gone Wrong and Good As I’ve Been to You.

Honey is an all acoustic album, save a few electric guitar contributions from Bo Ramsey (he makes the lion growl on Brown‘s version of the Rev. Gary Davis‘ “Samson.”) It’s colored with banjos, mandolins and fiddles, not to mention a couple of singing Brown daughters.

Some of the material here is extremely familiar -- “Old Smokey,” “Down in the Valley,” “I Never Will Marry.” But Brown does an admirable job in making these old chestnuts ache.

Perhaps my favorite here is the last cut, an old hymn Brown sings with wife Iris DeMent. Jacob’s Ladder takes me right back to Methodist Youth Fellowship. Brown’s almost breezy arrangement makes a listener almost expect to hear the voice of Mississippi John Hurt chime in.

*Hey Santa Fe readers: Poet, picker, country singer and American ramblin’ man Kell Robertson will appear live tonight on The Santa Fe Opry 10 p.m. . That’s KSFR, 90.7 FM, Santa Fe Public Radio.

Kell, by the way, is the subject of a cover story this month in The Fringe, a free monthly Santa Fe "Alternative Arts & Culture Rag."

* Pazz & Jop: I was one of 500 or so music critics contributing to The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop poll. I see two participants named David Prince and I'm assuming one is my colleague from Santa Fe.

In the nearly 15 years I've been doing this poll, I think this is the first time that FIVE of my 10 album selections -- The New Pornographers, The White Stripes, Outkast, The Drive-By Truckers and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- made it into the poll's top 10. I feel so ... mainstream ...

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Roundhouse Round-up: Down on the Farm

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican,

Senate Democrat Leader Manny Aragon of Albuquerque has been known to make jokes about farmers. During this session he had a little fun on the Senate floor at the expense of Senate Bill 108.

Introduced by his colleague, Senate Democratic Whip Mary Jane Garcia of Doña Ana, the legislation calls for $150,000 for a marketing plan for "socially disadvantaged farmers."

A few days later, Aragon introduced his own bill to help the farmer.

SB 477 would appropriate $100,000 from the general fund to the state Office of Cultural Affairs "to provide for instruction in manners, dancing and attire for the socially disadvantaged farmers of the state."

In the spirit of bipartisan lampoonery, Senate Republican Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales -- himself a farmer, though he doesn't appear to be "socially disadvantaged" -- signed on to Aragon's bill as a co-sponsor.

The New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau didn't seem overly concerned about Aragon's bill.

"We appreciate Senators Ingle and Aragon for thinking of those in agriculture, as they are sometimes overlooked in urban areas," said the bureau's director of communications, Erik Ness. "However our demographic research shows that most farmers and ranchers are well-groomed, college-educated professionals with impeccable manners and a firm grasp on the mechanics of the two-step and jitterbug."

For the record, there's actually a federal Office of Minority and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers Assistance. I don't think they teach dancing.

Aragon's bill was assigned to three committees and hasn't been heard anywhere yet, so don't expect it to get very far. Garcia's bill got the same number of committee assignments, but it sailed through the first two and now awaits action in the Senate Finance Committee.

Break a leg, Joe: Rep. Eric Youngberg, R-Albuquerque, was trying to put a positive spin on the fact that House Republican Whip Joe Thompson broke his leg during Monday's annual House-Senate basketball game.

The game was fairly close until Thompson's injury, Youngberg said. But Thompson's loss inspired the House team to hustle, spurring them to defeat the Senate 57-38.

Maybe it was a case of "win one for Joe." Or, as one wise guy observed, maybe they just got better when Thompson wasn't playing.

A sweet pill to swallow: Walk through the Capitol Rotunda during a legislative session and you'll undoubtedly find several tables where organizations are giving away some kind of candy along with their pamphlets and literature.

But representatives of a Northern New Mexico health-care provider recently had a curious way to package their giveaway treats.

Las Clinicas del Norte offered pill bottles labeled with the clinic's name and other information. The bottles were filled with little Valentine's Day candy hearts.

I'm not sure whether the bottles had child-proof caps.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

More crime

Synchronicity alert!

Soon after I posted here yesterday about the big break in the 1989 Tracy Barker case -- mentioning in passing last year's confession of David "Little Blue" Morton to the murders of Janet Benoit and Teri Mulvaney in the early 1980s -- I learned that Morton had a scheduled court hearing yesterday.

Morton pleaded guilty to both killings and got life sentences for each.

Read all about Morton HERE

And for more on the Barker case, go HERE.

On a lighter note -- so to speak -- here's a plug for an internet pal. David Hamilton, who has worked as a lighting technician on concert tours for musicians from Steve Vai to Olivia Newton John (and many many country stars) has a new web site of his own. CHECK IT OUT.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Crime Beat

For the second year in a row my work covering the state Legislature has been interrupted by police apparently cracking an old unsolved Santa Fe murder that I'd covered during my years as a crime reporter.

Yesterday I learned that a DNA test had linked Cowgirl Hall of Fame rapist Chris McClendon to the 1989 killing of Tracy Barker. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

(Basic civics reminder: McClendon hasn't been charged in the Barker case, let alone tried and convicted.)

Last year -- right in the middle of the legislative session -- convicted Texas murderer and former Santa Fe resident David "Little Blue" Morton confessed to Santa Fe police that he'd killed his neighbor Teri Mulvaney in 1984 as well as Janet Benoit in 1983, Local authorities still haven't charged Morton in the Santa Fe killings. He was tried for killing Mulvaney back in the '80s but the jury was hung, voting 11 to 1 to acquit him.

I guess one could make a bad joke about the fact that my coverage of the Legislature had already been interrupted by a "mass murder" this year: John Kerry's merciless slaughter of his opponents in the New Mexico Democratic caucus last week.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Terrell's Sound World Play List

Terrell's Sound World
Sunday, February 8, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Beatles Set (all songs by The Beatles except where noted)

All My Lovin'
Til There Was You
I Want to Hold Your Hand by Al Green
Twist and Shout
Money by The Backbeat Band
Baby It's You
Slow Down
Got to Get You Into My Life by Joe Pesci
Big Show by The Royal Crescent Mob
I Saw Her Standing There
(end Beatles set)

Surfin' Bird by The Trashmen
Wedding Dress by Johnny Dowd
Mannish Boy by The Electrik Mudcats with Chuck D and Common
I Just Want to Make Love to You by Muddy Waters
Shakin' All Over by Iggy Pop
Valentine by Concrete Blonde
Dirty Pool by The Replacements

Mekons Set (All Songs by The Mekons)
Teeth
The Curse
Sympathy For The Mekons
The Ballad of Sally
The Olde Trip to Jerusalem
The Flame That Killed John Wayne
Dance and Drink The Mekons
Never Been to a Riot
Now We Have the Bomb
Lonely and Wet
Men United
St. Valentine's Day
Psycho Cupid
Memphis, Egypt
Cast No Shadows
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, February 08, 2004

The Year of the Legislature?

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican

During his state of the state address last month, Gov. Bill Richardson told lawmakers, "Last year, many people thought it was the year of the governor. This year, let's make it the year of the Legislature."

With the Legislature passing its halfway point this week, it looks as if some legislators took the governor seriously -- though perhaps not the way Richardson wanted.

In contrast with the lovefest that was Richardson's first legislative session last year, this year there have been several instances of public tension between the governor and the Legislature.

Among those:
* The House voted 66-0 to override Richardson's line-item veto of the Legislative Finance Committee budget. (The governor was able to avoid an override by convincing Senate Democrats last week to go along with a compromise.)

* House Speaker Ben Luján, D-Nambé, last week accused Richardson of taking "cheap shots" at the House with the governor's criticisms of the House-approved budget.

*Sen. Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, last week accused Richardson of being abusive at meetings with lobbyists and others working on Medicaid-related bills. Several members of the House on Friday -- mainly Republicans but a handful of Democrats also -- wore orange ribbons to show solidarity with Jennings and protest Richardson's alleged behavior.

* Looming in the shadows is the specter of redistricting. Although Richardson frequently speaks about achieving bipartisan cooperation with the Legislature, this week he opened the possibility of losing any remaining goodwill with Republicans by considering redrawing the congressional district map. Richardson said his gut instinct is to not allow redistricting on the agenda, though he did meet Friday with redistricting expert Brian Sanderoff.

Some say that not too much should be made over the eruptions between the governor and the legislators.

And nobody's saying the tensions have boiled over into overt hostilities. Just two days after Luján's comments about Richardson's "cheap shots," the House Speaker appeared at the governor's side to announce a bill Luján is sponsoring to eliminate the tax on most grocery items.

Last week, Richardson's chief of staff, Dave Contarino, downplayed the criticisms.

"A lot of this is lost on the people of New Mexico," Contarino said. "They're focused on the governor and the Legislature working arm in arm."

Talking about the Jennings incident, Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, said, "I think it just shows what can happen when so much is packed into a 30-day session. Tempers are real challenged. I'm not overly alarmed. We'll work through it."

House Democratic Whip James Taylor of Albuquerque agrees that the pressures of a 30-day session leads to frustration and skirmishes.

But he also says the Legislature is showing more independence. However he said he thinks this trend started almost two years ago, during the final months of Gov. Gary Johnson's administration.

"When Gov. Johnson vetoed the budget and we called ourselves into extraordinary session to override, that act in itself showed the Legislature does indeed have constitutional rights as a branch of government and the tools to do what we have to do."

When Richardson took office in 2003, Taylor said, the Legislature "gave him quite a bit of leeway" to push his agenda.

Taylor said poor communications with the governor and his staff, plus a "my-way-or-the-highway" attitude coming from the fourth floor has made legislators reassert themselves.

"This type of communication could lead to the same type of gridlock we had with Gov. Johnson," Taylor said.

Of Richardson, Taylor said, "He's tough, he's my kind of politician."

But he added, "My job is listening to the wishes of my constituents, not the wishes of the governor."

Taylor said he's optimistic relations between the two branches of government will improve. "It's a learning process," he said.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Santa Fe Opry Play List

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, Feb. 6, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
That's How I Got to Memhis by Buddy Miller
Too Long in the Wasteland by James McMurtry
The Unrepentant by Steve Earle
Ridin' WIth O'Hanlon by R.B. Morris
Thrice All American by Neko Case
Light in the Window by Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks

There Stands the Glass by Ted Hawkins
Broken Glass by Hazeldine
A Little Bit Lonesome by Kasey Chambers
Well Laid Plans by Joe West
Back Street Affair by John Prine & Patty Loveless
Cocaine Blues by Hank Thompson
Ginko & Tofu by Jim Terr
Child of God by Julien Aklei
Start Me Up by The Folksmen

The Sign of Judgement by The Winegrass Sacred Harp Singers
Idumea by Sacred Harp Singers at Liberty Church
Ridin' the Midnight Train by Ralph Stanley & Iris DeMent
On the Other Side by Leftover Salmon
Walkin' Through the Dark by Mary & Mars
Ruby With the Eyes That Sparkle by Stuart Duncan & Dirk Powell
The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest by Jerry Garcia & David Grisman
Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home by Patsy Cline

After the Fall by Terry Allen
Just a Wave by Jimmie Dale Gilmore
When Rita Leaves by Bill Hearne
Sitting Bull in Venice by Tom Russell
Curves and Things by Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez
I'm Gonna Leave You by Marlee MacLeod
Jacob's Ladder by Greg Brown with Iris DeMent
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 06, 2004

Terrell's Tuneup: The Mekons Sweat to Their Own Oldies

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican, Feb. 6, 2004

One of the most nefarious tricks of the nefarious record industry is having veteran artists go back and re-record their best known songs to sell as tacky “greatest hits” packages.

Hint: Whenever you see “best of” CDs or tapes in the bargain bin by, say, Roy Orbison or Louis Jordan or Little Richard, beware. These might not be the original recordings, but second-rate re-makes done years or even decades later.

But ever so often there’s a different kind of re-recording project that the musicians themselves, rather than their vile corporate masters instigate. Bob Dylan, for instance on his various live albums frequently tries to ensure that his old songs are busy being born so they’re not busy dying.

And then there are the fabulous Mekons.

The latest CD by this band of Brits (many of whom have immigrated to the U.S.) is a collection of new versions of 15 songs from the band’s early history -- late ‘70s, early ‘80s.

Simply titled Punk Rock, the project was inspired by the band’s 25th anniversary tour a couple of years ago, when the group reached back into their vast catalogue, digging up tunes that hadn’t been aired out in decades and discovering there was still power in some of those old rants and sonic slugfests.

Who’d have thought that of all those bands of that heady era, The Mekons would be the one to survive and re-tell the story in the 21st Century. Never mind the periodic Sex Pistols reunions. They’ve become a virtual casino nostalgia act on par with reconstituted groups like Three Dog Night and Gary Puckett & The Union Gap.

A word on Mekon history: The Mekons rose out of the industrial city of Leeds, U.K. during a period of high unemployment and general cynicism. (That’s what launched punk rock in the beginning, kiddies, not the desire to have your songs used on car commercials.)

The basic Mekon lineup that’s been active the past decade or so only has two members of the original band -- Jon Langford (who started out as a drummer eventually switching to guitar) and Tom Greenhalgh, the two main male singers of today’s Mekons.

But I suspect most Mekon fans -- myself included -- arrived much later. Some saw the light with 1985’s Fear and Whiskey, which was alternative country before there was a word for it, while even more were baptized with 1989’s Mekons Rock and Roll, perhaps their most accessible album, but also perhaps their greatest.

Thus many Mekon fans think of the band in terms of singer Sally Timms and fiddler Suzie Honeyman, both of whom enlisted as Mekons in the mid ‘80s. That’s only natural. Timms’ alluring alto truly is one of the band’s greatest strengths. And Honeyman’s fiddle (along with Rico Bell’s accordion and Lu Edmonds’ arsenal of stringed instruments) give the Mekons their unique Salvation-Army-Band-gone-to-seed sound.

The cuts I like best on Punk Rock are the ones that showcase The Mekons’ unusual instrumentation. On the opening cut “Teeth” the fiddle and the accordion are as hard driving as the grating guitars.

And, as usual, some of my favorite cuts are the Sally songs. On “Corporal Chalkie” she sounds like a sexier Patti Smith (and there’s a definite Lenny Kaye influence on the guitar solo.). Then on “Chopper Squad,” she’s backed mainly by a banjo (Bell’s accordion coming in later)

If there’s such thing as a “punk ballad,” the song “Lonely and Wet” would qualify. It‘s by Langford over pounding minor-key guitar chords (with the fiddle and accordion contributing to the general cacophony.)

Some of the songs here -- “Never Been to a Riot,” “I‘m So Happy,” “Fight the Cuts” and “Dan Dare” -- are basically high-spirited punk stomp recreations of their older versions. But the rage as well as the underlying love sounds undiminished, especially on “Fight the Cuts,” a cry against an uncaring government.

It’s true I probably would have preferred an album of new material from The Mekons. But Punk Rock shows that nostalgia doesn’t have to be sappy.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Roundhouse Round-up: In Praise of Singing Politicians

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican,

Gov. Bill Richardson promised the New Mexico presidential caucus would be fun. And he was right. Even though the candidates didn't spend as much time in this state as they did in New Hampshire and Iowa, and even though we did have to share our moment in the spotlight with six other states, New Mexico got to see a lot more of the presidential contenders than we would have had we stuck with our virtually irrelevant June presidential primary.

If I had to choose a favorite moment of the campaign, it would have to be last Friday at the Inn at Loretto, waiting for Wesley Clark.

The general was an hour and a half late, which, in his defense, seems to be typical of all the candidates. Actor Ted Danson filled some of the time by talking about Clark and taking questions from the audience.

But the Clark supporter who had the best idea on how to keep the crowd at the hotel was former Lt. Gov. Roberto Mondragon. After just a few short words, Mondragon decided to do what many people say he does best. He turned to the mariachi band that had played at the beginning of the rally and began leading the crowd in a rousing version of the local favorite "Decolores."

Mondragon and the mariachis then proceeded to sing three or four other tunes. He even got Mayor Larry Delgado to help him out in The Fiesta Song. Delgado, former Gov. Jerry Apodaca and state Sen. Mary Jane Garcia swayed along with the music, playing The Pips to Mondragon's Gladys Knight.

I'm not sure whether any national television cameras were there, but it would have been a great CNN moment showing a unique side of New Mexico politics.

(Earlier one of the mariachis had fainted on stage and had to be taken to the hospital, but that's another story.)

Mondragon of course is no stranger to music. He sang in the final scene of the 1988 movie The Milagro Beanfield War. And he has recorded at least one album. I know because he gave me a copy of the LP the first time I interviewed him back in 1980 when he was lieutenant governor.

In that interview, Mondragon said he got so tired of people asking him "Hey, Bob, where's your guitar?" that he started bringing his instrument to work. Then when someone asked, he'd say, "It's down in my truck. Want to hear a song?"

I don't mean to sound like an idealistic airhead and imply the world would be a much better place if there were more singing politicians. But, as Mondragon knows, sometimes a song is more effective than a speech.

For the record: The big-name candidates you've heard about on TV aren't the only ones to get votes here Tuesday. Political unknown and flying-car enthusiast Fern Penna received 77 votes state wide, while Uncommitted received 460.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs: The governor looked surprised on KNME's Stateline New Mexico last week when reporter Dan Vukelich asked him about a report that the governor's chief of staff, Dave Contarino, had a "Clark for President" sign in his yard.

Not so, said Richardson, who remained neutral for the caucus season. If that was the case, he said, Contarino wouldn't be his chief of staff for long.

Contarino still has his job, but apparently a Clark sign had been in his yard.

For the record, Contarino said, his wife was a honcho in the local Clark campaign. But Contarino was neutral, he said.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Terrell's Sound World Play List

Terrell's Sound World
Sunday, February 1, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Drop Kick Me Jesus by Bobby Bare
Treat Her Right by Los Straitjackets with Mark Lindsay
Train Kept a Rollin' by The Yardbirds
All Black and Hairy by Screaming Lord Sutch
Rest in Peace by Johnny Dowd
Horace by Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks
South Street by The Orlons
The Body Says No by The New Pornographers
Naked Pictures of Your Mother by The Electric Six
The Letter by The Box Tops

What by The Mekons
Louie Louie by Iggy Pop
Fabrique by Stuurbaard Bakkebaard
Honey by The Soul of John Black
Pass the Peas by Fred Wesley & The JBs
Me and Mrs. Jones by Billy Paul
Poleman by Julien Aklei

Rat Race by Bob Marley
Know Your Rights by The Clash
Standard Oil Trust by The Living Things
I Wanna Grow Up to Be a Politician by The Byrds
Country at War by X
For God's Sake Give Power to the People by The Chi-Lites
Something Broken in the Promised Land by Wayne Kramer
People Have the Power by Patti Smith

Light and Day/Reach For the Sun by The Polyphonic Spree
Lessons Learned From Rocky 1 to Rocky 3 by Cornershop
Waitin' For Waits by Richie Cole
Who Are You by Tom Waits
Letters From the 9th Ward/Walk Away Renee by Ricki Lee Jones
I Know Sometimes a Man is Wrong by David Byrne
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Benefit For Bonnie

Friends of Bill & Bonnie Hearne are planning a great night of music with an impressive line-up of local musicians as a benefit for Bonnie, who has been suffering some poor health lately. The show is being billed as a "benefit concert/dance/jam/lovefest."

The benefit -- scheduled for March 7 at the Paramount -- includes of New Mexico's finest. Among them:

Frank Rekard
John Egenes
Steve Lindsay
Baird Banner
Busy McCarroll
Susan Hyde Holmes
The Buckerettes
David Toland
Joe West and Friends
Jim Terr
Mary and Mars
Jimmy Stadler
Mark Clark
Lydia Clark
George Adelo
Don and Victoria Armstrong
South by Southwest
Bill Hearne -- and Bonnie if she's feeling good enough to play.

Also, tantalizingly listed, are "MYSTERY GUESTS."

Tickets are $20 and proceeds will go to help pay for Bonnie's medical expenses.
Watch this blog for more info.

Also worth mentioning is a CD release party for Bill's solo CD, From Santa Fe to Las Cruces (reviewed below, just a couple of posts down), which will be Thursday Feb. 19 at La Fonda.

I first saw Bill & Bonnie play more than 30 years ago at the late, lamented Bourbon & Blues here in Santa Fe. This was years before they even moved to New Mexico. A few years ago I was their neighbor, living in the same apartment building as them. Through the years Bill & Bonnie have given this town some wonderful music. I love them both.

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