Friday, December 31, 2004

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: BEST OF 2004

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Dec. 31, 2004


The music industry is as corrupt and pathetic as ever. But despite predictions of gloom and horror, despite phony baloney, who-gives-a-flying-darn scandals like Janet's breast and Ashlee's lip-synching, somehow the record biz didn't completely crumble or sink into the ocean.

And despite the commercial predominance of bad pop, lite jazz and hot new country on the radio, despite the record companies suing hundreds of music fans for downloading songs, despite the fact that many people like American Idol - (for the music!), despite the fact that Ray Charles died and Dick Clark lives, despite the fact that Elton John - and not Tom Waits - was a Kennedy Center honoree, somehow lots of people managed to make good, sometimes even great music.

Here's my favorites of the year, with links back to my original reviews:

Steve Terrell's Top 10 Albums of the Year



1 The Dirty South by The Drive By Truckers. "... their third straight masterpiece of insightful -- and strong rocking - observations of Southern life, Southern mythology, Southern pride, Southern shame and Southern horror. ... It's hard to find rock 'n' roll this tough, this serious any more."


2 Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus by Nick Cave "... an exhilarating double blast of joy, rage, dour Aussie blues, back-alley philosophy, dark-end-of-the-street religious revelation, death-row humor, profound profanity -- and even a touch of sweet sentimentality. In other words, it's everything that those of us who love Nick Cave love about Nick Cave.


3 Smile by Brian Wilson. " ... an eccentric, often-emotional trip through American history as seen through the drug-addled eyes of youth in the late '60s. There are stretches of intense melancholy, moments of sheer silliness, tears, smiles, banjos, theremins, French horns, Beach Boys-style harmonies, barnyard noises, fake Hawaiian music, orchestral flourishes, crow cries uncovering the cornfields, columnated ruins dominoing, fresh, crispy vegetables ..."


4 The Van Lear Rose by Loretta Lynn. "I can see why some country purists might get upset ... Some of the tracks have about 10 times the drum sound as any previous Loretta effort. And (Jack) White's slide guitar sure can scream. ... But as a long-time Loretta fan, I give my heartiest squeal of approval. ... The lady sounds inspired here. And if, at the age of 68 or 70 or whatever she is, she wants to rock out with a bunch of young punks, more power to her."


5 Snakebite by Stan Ridgway. " a jaw dropper from start to finish. ... the real trick Ridgway pulls off is combining these diverse elements without it feeling forced. He makes it sound like slide guitar and bamboo flute and spook-house keyboards were meant to be played together."


6 All the Fame of Lofty Deeds by Jon Langford. "... Langford tackles one of his favorite themes, both in his music and his paintings - the travails and temptations of country singers in post-war America. ... a distillation of everything that makes America attractive and everything that makes it repulsive."



7 Dummy by NRBQ. "... NRBQ, one of the most versatile and longest lasting bands in the history of rock 'n' roll, still is cranking out amazing albums full of songs that are sometimes challenging, frequently taking strange turns and almost always catchy. ... NRBQ records like Dummy are like those of The Firesign Theatre. Each new listen reveals something new you didn't notice before."


8 Blood of the Ram by The Gourds. "You're not always sure just what Kev Russell or Jimmy Smith, the main Gourd vocalists are singing about. Their lyrics are a jumble of picaresque tales, mystery oracles and half-formed dirty jokes. ... But with the irresistible musical backdrops, colored by Claude Bernard on accordion and Max Johnston ... on fiddle and banjo, it all makes sense.


9 South Dakota Hairdo by Joe West. "The more I listen ... the more I'm convinced that there's a world-class songwriter-performer walking among us here in Santa Fe. ... a collection of fascinating songs, weird enough to keep things fun but real enough to pack a punch. Many, maybe most, of his songs display a sardonic sense of humor, sometimes poking fun at life in Santa Fe. (People not from here might actually think Tofu Ridge is a real geographical location if they know the City Different only from Joe's songs.)

10 Music From the Motion Picture Ocean's 12 by David Holmes and various other artists. This one was just released, so I haven't had a chance to give it a full-blown review in Terrell's Tune-up. I loved the Ocean's 11 soundtrack, also compiled by Holmes, a Belfast club D.J. But the new one's even better. It's basically high-tech, hip-hop influenced crime jazz by David Holmes, but with some Italian pop and French psychedelia thrown in. I haven't seen the movie yet, but if it's nearly as exciting as the soundtrack, it'll deserve an Oscar.

Honorable Mention

The Graceful Ghost
by Grey DeLisle
Dial W for Watkins by Geraint Watkins
Songs for Patriots
by American Music Club
Uh Huh Her by P.J. Harvey
I Just Want to Be Held by Nathaniel Mayer
Real Gone by Tom Waits
Universal United House of Prayer by Buddy Miller
Lafayette Marquis by C.C. Adcock
She Loves You by The Twilight Singers
Musicology by Prince


Best Reissues/Retrospectives


One From the Heart by Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle
Living With the Animals and Make a Joyful Noise by Mother Earth
The Name of This Band is Talking Heads
Juarez by Terry Allen
Live it Up by The Isley Brothers



Thursday, December 30, 2004

HOW I SPENT MY WEDNESDAY NIGHT


I got together with my brother Jack, our wisecracking sidekick Alec Walling and three musical brothers from Moscow, Idaho to write and record a song: "Running From the Baron" by The Winking Tikis.

You can enjoy the fruits of our labor on The Winking Tiki's new SoundClick page.. To go directly to the download page, CLICK HERE.

Hear it stream, download the MP3 -- and whatever you do, leave a comment on the Message Board.

Speaking of SoundClick, I haven't plugged my own page lately. You can find five of my songs -- most of which have never been commercially released -- on this page

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

R.I.P. LENNIE BRISCOE

Jerry Orbach is dead from prostate cancer at the age of 69.

Not only is Law & Order -- the original, not the spin-offs -- just about the only network crime drama I've actually liked in the past 10-15 years, but Lennie was a wonderful character.

I covered the police long enough to know the difference between real cops and tv cops. But it was reassuring just to think that there might be real cops out there like Detective Lennie Briscoe -- a tough old bird, cynical enough to cope with the horrors he has to deal with, compassionate enough to remember why he became a cop in the first place -- and funny as hell.

Here's a story about his death.

Here's a nice tribute written after he retired from the series earlier this year.

And here's a fan page with some memorable Lennie quotes.

MY TOP 10 ALBUMS 1988-2003

This Friday in Terrell's Tune-up, I'll unveil ny Top 10 CDs of the year. It should be on The New Mexican's web site as well as this blog. Sunday night on Terrell's Sound World (10 p.m. Mountain Time on KSFR, 90.7 FM, I'll be playing selections from the best-of list.

In anticipation of these dynamic events, I decided to republish my top 10 lists from last year going back to 1988, which is when I started compiling them.

I realize it seems a little obsessive, but what the heck. Enjoy.

2003
Electric Version by the New Pornographers
Blackberry Belle by the Twilight Singers
Youth & Young Manhood by Kings of Leon
Speaker Boxxx/The Love Below by Outkast
Elephant by the White Stripes
Growl by Ray Wylie Hubbard
The Wind by Warren Zevon
Rediscovered by Howard Tate
Decoration Day by the Drive-By Truckers
Fever to Tell by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

2002
Souljacker by the Eels
When I Was Cruel by Elvis Costello
One Beat by Sleater-Kinney
Now Again by The Flatlanders
Handcream for a Generation by Cornershop
Honky by Simon Stokes
Cow Fish Fowl or Pig by The Gourds
Deep Natural by Michelle Shocked
Holidays in Dirt by Stan Ridgway
OOOH by the Mekons

2001
O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack by various artists
Southern Rock Opera by Drive-By Truckers
Temporary Shelter by Johnny Dowd
Love & Theft by Bob Dylan
No More Shall We Part by Nick Cave
A Man Under the Influence by Alejandro Escovedo
White African by Otis Taylor
Is This It by The Strokes
Twilight by The Handsome Family
Because We Hate You by The Young Fresh Fellows/Let the War Against Music Begin by The Minus Five

2000
Kids in Philly by Marah.
If I Could Only Fly by Merle Haggard.
Stories of the City, Stories of the Sea by P.J. Harvey.
Journey to the End of Night by The Mekons.
Transcendental Blues by Steve Earle
Twilight by The Twilight Singers.
Gung Ho by Patti Smith.
Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams.
Two Against Nature by Steely Dan.
Blood and Mood by Bad Livers.

1999
Mule Variations by Tom Waits
Pictures From Life's Other Side by Johnny Dowd
Dose by Latin Playboys
The Soft Bulletin by Flaming Lips
Salivation by Terry Allen
Mock Tudor by Richard Thompson
Press on by June Carter Cash
Summer Teeth by Wilco
Midnight Vultures by Beck
Fellow Workers by Utah Phillips & Ani DiFranco.

1998
1965 by Afghan Whigs
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams
Perennial Favorites by Squirrel Nut Zippers
Tomorrow Hit Today by Mudhoney
Mermaid Avenue by Billy Bragg & Wilco
Full Service No Waiting by Peter Case
Deserters’ Songs by Mercury Rev
Hell Among the Yearlings by Gillian Welch
Territory by Alvin Youngblood Hart
Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death by Firesign Theatre


1997
El Corazon by Steve Earle
Cowboy in Flames by The Waco Brothers
Songs From The Capeman by Paul Simon
Stranger's Almanac by Whiskeytown
Butch by The Geraldine Fibbers
The Pawn Shop Years Buick MacKane
Devotion + Doubt by Richard Buckner
24 Hours a Day by The Bottle Rockets
Throwing Rocks at the Moon by The Backsliders
Slush by OP8

1996
Murder Ballads by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Gone Again by Patti Smith
I Feel Allright by Steve Earle
Being There by Wilco
Just Rockin' and Rollin' by Ronnie Dawson
A Ass Pocket of Whiskey by R.L. Burnside (with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion)
Black Love by The Afghan Whigs
Human Remains by Terry Allen
Dance Hall at Louse Point by John Parrish & P.J. Harvey
Mahk Jchi by Ulali

1995
To Bring You My Love by P.J. Harvey
The Snake by Shane MacGowan and the Popes
Washing Machine by Sonic Youth
Mirror Ball by Neil Young & Pearl Jam
Work the Dumb Oracle by Drywall
Trace by Son Volt
Day For Night by The Tragically Hip
Ray Gun Suitcase by Pere Ubu
Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home by The Geraldine Fibbers
The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen

1994
Let Love In by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Live Through This by Hole
Glum by Giant Sand
Whiskey For the Holy Ghost by Mark Lannegan
Geek the Girl by Lisa Germano
Mellow Gold by Beck
Latin Playboys
American Recordings by Johnny Cash
Retreat from Memphis by The Mekons
Strangers From The Universe by Thinking Fellers Union Local 282

1993
Gentlemen by The Afghan Whigs
Rid of Me by P.J. Harvey
In Utero by Nirvana
Where You Been? by Dinosaur Jr.
Mercury by American Music Club
The Beauty of Wynona by Daniel Lanois
The Black Rider by Tom Waits
Last Splash by The Breeders
Hey Zeus! by X
Beaster by Sugar

1992
Bone Machine by Tom Waits
Kiko by Los Lobos
Magic and Loss by Lou Reed
Dirty by Sonic Youth
3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of ... by Arrested Development
Congregation by The Afghan Whigs
Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell by Social Distortion
You Turn Me On by The Beat Happening
History by Loudon Wainwright III
Angel Dust by Faith No More

1991
Metallica
Bad Motorfinger
by Soundgarden
Trumpe de Monde by The Pixies
8 Way Santa by TAD
Big Shot in the Dark by Timbuk 3
Midnight Rose's by Royal Crescent Mob
Within the Veil by Fear of God
Achtung Baby by U2
Lovelyville by Thinking Fellers Union Local 282
Out of Time by REM

1990
Bloodletting by Concrete Blonde
I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got by Sinead O'Connor
Goo by Sonic Youth
Ragged Glory by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Flood by They Might Be Giants
Ritual Lo Habitual by Jane's Addiction
Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy
Brick by Brick by Iggy Pop
The Hard Way by Steve Earle
Rhythm of the Saints by Paul Simon

1989
Spike by Elvis Costello
New York by Lou Reed
Mosquitos by Stan Ridgway
Tantilla by House of Freaks
Too Long in the Wasteland by James McMurtry
Yellow Moon by The Neville Brothers
Indigo Girls
Mystery Girl by Roy Orbison
Passion by Peter Gabriel
Neither Fish nor Flesh by Terrance Trent D'Arby

1988

Brian Wilson
Land of Dreams by Randy Newman
Naked by Talking Heads
The Traveling Willburys
Shopping by 3 Mustaphas 3
Dream of Life by Patti Smith
Sangoma by Miriam Makeba
Amnesia by Richard Thompson
If I Should Fall From the Grace of God by The Pogues
Lovesexy by Prince

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

HOTSY TOTSY: MORE ON THE LITTLE NAZIS

The Daily Kos has picked up on my post about the little racist, uh, I mean "racialist" twin music act Prussian Blue. Check it out HERE. (Thanks again, Margot ...)

And I might have forgotten to mention, it also appeared a few days ago on The 18 1/2 Minute Gap blog. Check that one out HERE

Meanwhile, my original post continues to draw more responses than any other post in the brief history of this blog. (Hey! I just realized that today is the first anniversary of Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log!) 40 comments last time I checked. I wish my newspaper columns and radio play lists got this much reaction.

After reading all those comments, many readers of this blog are -- rightfully -- amazed that here in the 21st Century there are actually Americans whose main concern is the impending "demise" of the White Man, a situation they feel can best be cured by suppression of other races. These "White Power" types are actually threatened by the "multi-cultural stew" of modern America.

Don't get me wrong. I love white people. Some of my best friends are white. Hank Williams was white. Elvis Presley was white. Rodney Dangerfield was white. Ooops, he was Jewish. That probably doesn't count with the National Socialist crowd.

But as for this "multi-cultural stew" business, when I was a kid in Oklahoma -- hardly a hotbed for progressive thought -- we used to have a sing a corny little song called "An American is a Very Lucky Man." My favorite verse went like this:

An American is a very lucky guy
He can eat chow mein or borscht or pizza pie ...

I don't like borscht. I prefer tacos. But hopefully you get the point.

And by the way, I was delivered into this world by a bonafide Jewish doctor, so anti-Semite crap doesn't fly around here.

And as a music geek, I can't imagine American music without James Brown, John Coltrane, Flaco Jimenez, Muddy Waters, Lieber & Stoller and so many others who don't fit into the "Master Race" concept.

Life's too short for hate.

Monday, December 27, 2004

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, December 26, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
There's a Moon Out Tonight by The Capris
Jimi Hendrix Polka by Brave Combo
Grease Box by TAD
Start Choppin' by Dinsosaur Jr.
Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana
Bastards of Young by The Replacements
Don't Break Me Down by The Donnas
Within a Martian Heart by Man or Astroman?

Low Self Opinion by The Rollins Band
Youth Against Fascism by Sonic Youth
The KKK Took My Baby Away by The Ramones
Nazi Girlfriend by Iggy Pop
White Man in Hammersmith Palais by The Clash
Evil Hearted Ada by The Flamin' Groovies
Muffin Man by Frank Zappa with Captain Beefheart
Build High by Frank Black

She May Be White But She Funky by Howard Tate
Pull Your Clothes Off by Junior Kimbrough
Meet Me In The City by The Blues Explosion
Big Mama's Bumble Bee Blues by Big Mama Thornton
Let Me Down Easy by Betty Lavette
Let the Door Knob Hit You in the Back by Butterbeans & Susie

Falling Elevators by MC 900 Ft. Jesus
Look Out There's a Monster Coming by The Bonzo Dog Band
Go by Sparklehorse with The Flaming Lips
Make It Rain by Tom Waits
Her Tears Break My Heart by Bernadette Seacrest
I Love Her, She Loves Me by NRBQ
My True Story by The Jive Five
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, December 24, 2004

MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY FRIENDS!!!!!

Here's to a happy holiday for all my buddies and blog readers.

And my Christmas wish: Everyone should take to heart the psychedlic wisdom of the old motto of The Family Dog in San Francisco: "MAY THE BABY JESUS SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND OPEN YOUR MIND."

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: THE CHURCH OF BUDDY

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Dec. 24, 2004


The world of alternative country, whatever that is, has produced few, if indeed any, more soulful voices than that of Buddy Miller.

I’m hardly the first to note this. It’s hard to find any review of Miller that doesn’t employ the words “soul” or “soulful.”

But there’s a reason for that. Each one of his albums over the course of the last decade are full of songs that cut right to the core with their sincerity and hard-won truth. With his world-weary drawl, Miller sounds like someone who doesn’t sit down and sing a song until he’s lived it from every side.

Miller’s latest, Universal United House of Prayer, is no different -- except that it might just be his strongest work yet.

Named after an actual church in the Nashville area, this record is the closest thing to pure gospel music Miller has ever recorded. No, it’s not quite holy rolling. Not all of the songs specifically name check God or Jesus or quote scripture (though drummer Brady Blade reads a psalm in the background of “Don‘t Wait.”)

But throughout the album there are lyrics of spiritual yearning. This, along with the background vocals of Regina and Ann McCrary -- daughters of the Rev. Sam McCrary of The Fairfield Four -- make Universal United House of Prayer a religious experience.

There’s a couple of fine cover tunes on Universal United. He takes Ira and Charlie Louvin’s “There’s a Higher,” adds some funky percussion (courtesy of Brady Blade and Steve Hindalong), sweet fiddle by Tammy Rogers and call-and-response vocals from the McCrary sisters to make the song sound ancient and modern at the same time.

Then there’s the 9-minute, slow-burning version of Bob Dylan’s Cold War classic “With God on Our Side.” backed by a tremelo guitar, a churchy organ (by Phil Madeira) and martial drums, Miller sounds like the Universal Soldier himself, damning war and nationalism from a throne in the sky.

(At one point there it seemed like all these old protest tunes were quaint and dated. Unfortunately that’s no longer true. Last month a bunch of kids in Boulder, Colo. Became the subject of an FBI investigation when local right-wingers didn’t like them performing Dylan’s “Masters of War” at a high school talent show.)

Ultimately though, the most enduring songs on this album are the ones written by Miller and/or his wife Julie.

“Fire and Water,” written by the couple, is a song about Julie Miller’s brother, who died shortly before the album was recorded. More upbeat is “Don’t Wait,” in which Miller’s Creedence-like guitar is out front and the McCrarys get full of the spirit.

Miller’s guitar is even more swampy, in fact, downright spooky on “Is That You,” a slow, bouncy full-force call to God.

The voices -- Miller and the McCrarys -- are even more out front on the concluding track, “Fall on the Rock,” a Julie-penned gospel shouter that warns, “You better fall on the rock or the rock’s gonna fall on you.”

In short, Universal United House of Prayer is a record full of joy, grief, faith and despair. If it doesn’t make you feel religious, it should at least make you feel very human.

Also Recommended:

*Lifeline by Iris DeMent. Iris DeMent? I thought she was dead ...

No, not really. During the past eight years or so, you can find her songs on a variety of soundtracks (The Horse Whisperer and Songcatcher to name a couple) and tribute albums (Jimmie Rodgers, Tom T. Hall) and dueting on records by John Prine, Tom Russell, Steve Earle and her husband Greg Brown.

But until now she hadn’t released an album of her own since 1996 when she gave the world her jaw-dropping “The Way I Should.”

But each impressive new guest appearance just fueled the burning question: “Where the hell is the new Iris album?”

A bad case of writer’s block, she’s said in interviews.

While her distinct, warbling voice is still in fine form, Lifeline doesn’t indicate whether or not DeMent has recovered from her writer’s block. All but one of the songs here are old traditional gospel tunes, many of them public domain.

These are mostly fondly-remembered songs from DeMent’s childhood, songs her mother used to sing.

In her liner notes DeMent writes, “These songs aren’t about religion. At least for me they aren’t. They’re about something bigger than that. There was a great urgency in my mother’s voice when she sang out that came out of desperation, a great need.” DeMent also talks about a “calmness” in her mother after singing.

Backed only by acoustic instruments -- sometimes just her piano -- these songs done her elicit a certain calmness also.

There are familiar hymns like “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” Before now I’d always considered this a rather gimpy song. But DeMent pours her soul into it, making it a powerful declaration.

There are obscure songs with odd and ominous titles like “I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted” (“I don’t want to get adjusted to this world, to this world/I’ve got a home that’s so much better …”) and “God Walks These Dark Hills.”

And there’s one DeMent original “He Reached Down,” in which she retells the Bible stories like the Good Samaritan and Jesus telling only those without sin to cast the first stone at an adulteress. This is her subtle way of saying that religion is not the sole property of right-wingers.

I hope this signals the end of DeMent’s writer’s block. As the writer of “Wasteland of the Free,” one of the most on-target protest songs of the ‘90s, she is needed.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: GARY J. ON E. SHIRLEY

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


Thanks to Public Regulation Commissioner E. Shirley Baca getting arrested on charges of marijuana possession at the Albuquerque International Airport earlier this month, marijuana is once again a hot topic around the halls of state government. There hasn't been this much chatter about pot here since Gary Johnson was governor.

Johnson, who was in office from 1995 to the end of 2002, became a national voice for reforming drug laws, though his advocacy undoubtedly hurt his relationship with many of his fellow Republicans and didn't win many Democratic friends in the Legislature.

In case you've been on another planet for the past couple of weeks, Baca's arrest touched off an uproar.

A majority of her fellow PRC members asked her to resign. Both Gov. Bill Richardson and state Democratic Chairman John Wertheim both have said she should step down. Some just shook their heads and said, "Eeee, Shirley ..."

The reaction has been so one-sided, it's almost hard to believe that just a few years ago there was a serious debate in the Roundhouse about decriminalizing weed.

So what does Johnson think about the Baca situation?

In an e-mail conversation this week, the former governor said, "I find the E. Shirley Baca story indicative of what is going on in this country every day. There are people in all walks of life that pay taxes, are good parents, are influential in their communities, and are law abiding citizens except for the fact that they smoke marijuana.

"I don't think it should be illegal to smoke marijuana in the confines of your own home doing no harm to anyone arguably other than yourself," Johnson said.

"All that said, Shirley Baca seems to be a hypocrite," Johnson said. "She smokes pot and yet it's not OK for anyone working for her. She advocates zero tolerance for anyone using drugs and alcohol within her office and yet it appears that does not apply to herself."

Baca reportedly told airport police that she occasionally smokes marijuana. However since then she has denied that she put the contraband in her suitcase where authorities found it.

"In my business and in state government I had drug policies that were not zero tolerance," Johnson continued I wanted to help individuals that might turn out to be drug or alcohol abusers."

"I don't remember her standing beside me when I advocated rational drug reform in this country," Johnson said. "I don't remember her wanting rational drug reform in her high-profile runs for the U.S. Congress. Come clean Shirley, and advocate change in our current drug policies. Prevent the future millions that will be subjected to arrest and incarceration. You are now one of them."

I'd just like to thank the governor: Many things have changed since the Johnson era. Back in those days, a big percentage of people in the room at a governor's press conference actually were members of the press.

But Bil Richardson is a believer in press conferences doubling as pep rallies. These events are packed with folks whose main reason for being there is to pay verbal tribute to the chief executive. I recently joked with a Richardson press aide about creating a new drinking game: You take a shot every time someone says, "I'd just like to thank the governor."

But last week was the ultimate. There was a press conference Friday to announce a holiday anti-drunken driving blitz and his proposal for spending $150 million on economic development, housing, water, energy, health and higher education projects.

The Governor's Cabinet Room was jammed with police from a whole galaxy of police departments from around the state, as well as bureaucrats from the various agencies in line for their share of the money.

Somewhere in the claustrophobic confides of the room were about three reporters - including The New Mexican's Ben Neary. The room was so crowded that reporters from the Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal were left standing in the lobby of the governor's office. They didn't make their way into the press conference until the cops started leaving after the DWI announcement.

Fighting urban legends: Recently a co-worker sent everyone in our office an alarming e-mail about telemarketers getting a directory of cell phone numbers. The same dire warning was posted on my favorite internet music board too.

Like most alarming e-mails, it's not true. And if you don't believe me, ask Attorney General Patricia Madrid, who just issued a written statement debunking the cell phone/telemarketing scare.

"I want to reassure New Mexicans that this is just another 'urban legend' that spreads around the Internet like wildfire," Madrid said in the statement. "Even though you may trust the person who sent it to you, do not immediately trust the information contained in these messages. ... Research the claims in an e-mail before you press the 'send' button - don't help perpetuate 'urban legends' by spreading them before looking into their accuracy."

A good place to start is www.snopes.com, which specializes in urban legends and hoaxes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

MORE OFF-KILTER CHRISTMAS CAROLS

For those of you who enjoy the kind of musicial Yuletide merriment found in the weirder songs I played on The Steve Terrell Christmas Special Sunday, check out Alicublog. Be sure to read the readers' comments. (Thanks, Margot!)

Until PRUSSIAN BLUE puts out a Christmas album" (I'm Dreaming of a White Power Christmas" ????), my current favorites in this sub-sub genre are "Six Bullets For Christmas" by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies (Download it HERE) and "Jinglecide" by The Rockin' Guys. (I'm talking about the long defunct band from Arkansas. Apparently there's a rockabilly group from Estonia using the same name in more recent years.)

And one that KSFR's Sean Conlon just turned me on to is "Even Squeaky Fromme Loves Christmas" by The Rev. Glen Armstrong. (Download it HERE And check out Sean's wonderful Undercurrents on KSFR, 10 p.m. Mountain Time, Wednesdays.)

And just when I'd had my fill of weird Christmas songs, last night when I was downloading some Bollywood soundtracks from E-music, I discovered that the song "Aao Tumhen Chand Pe" from the movie Zakhmee (a 1975 movie with "ACTION, REVENGE, GOOD MUSIC" according to searchamovie.com ) starts out with an East Indian version of "Jingle Bells."

Isn't it time we put the "Hare Krishna" back in Christmas?

Monday, December 20, 2004

A NEW NM POLITICAL BLOG

The latest voice in the New Mexico political blogosphere is Mario Burgos, a New York native now living in Cedar Crest. Check out his new blog, subtitled "Clear thinking and straight talk from the top of a mountain."

So far he's done posts about DWI, Bill Richardson, E. Shirley Baca and the war against canines.

You can catch up on Mario's blog while Joe Monahan tries to make good on his threat of a Christmas vacation (although the news of Larry Ahrens' departure from KKOB was too much for Joe to resist). My favorite recent Monahanism was this one last week:

I don't care if Shirley Baca is found in the arms of Judge Brennan making mad passionate love amid a heap of coke and weed, we are slowing this sleigh ride down for the holidays
.
And don't forget, my own Roundhouse Round-up column can be found here every Thursday -- though I'll be taking a break from work myself between Christmas and New Year.

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, December 19, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
THE STEVE TERRELL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
Christmas Boogie by The Chipmunks and Canned Heat
Silent Night by Bad Religion
Gloria by Elastica
Eggnog by The Rockin' Guys
Father Christmas by The Kinks
Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope by Sonic Youth
The Night Santa Claus Went Crazy by Weird Al Yankovic
Deck the Halls by The Jingle Cats
Even Squeaky Fromme Loves Christmas by The Rev. Glen Armstrong

It's Christmastime (Part 1) by James Brown
Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto by Snoop Doggy Dogg
Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas by The Staple Singers
Santa Claus is Coming to Town by The Jackson 5ive
Christmas is a Special Day by Fats Domino
Shake hands With Santa Claus by Louis Prima
White Christmas by Otis Redding
Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt

Oy to the World by The Klezmonauts
Sleigh Ride by The Squirrel Nut Zippers
St. Stephen's Day Murders by The Chieftains with Elvis Costello
Fairytale of New York by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Beausoleil
Must Be Santa by Brave Combo
Betlehem, Betlehem by Kitka
Sawahdi by Terry Allen
We Wish You'd Bury the Missus by The Crypt Keeper

Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen
I'll Be Home For Christmas by The Bubbadinos
A Change at Christmas by The Flaming Lips
No Vacancy by Marlee MacLeod
Old Toy Trains by Roger Miller
Amen by The Impressions
Silent Night/What Christmas Means by Dion
Star of Wonder by The Roches

Sunday, December 19, 2004

THE PRUSSIAN BLUE DEBATE EXPANDS

My post on the pre-teeny bopper Nazi -- sorry, I mean "racialist" - group Prusian Blue (Scroll down to my Dec. 18 post or CLICK HERE) was picked up on the Sadly, No! blog, thanks to my friend Margot.

Check it out. Then be sure to go to Sadly No's main page and check out the link to The Dirty Sex Bible Verse Wall Calendar.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, December 17, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Hrper Valley PTA by Syd Straw & The Skeletons
Amanda by Waylon Jennings
Sputnik 57 by Jon Langford
Rated X by Neko Case
Arapaho by The Gourds
Hold Hands With No One by Goshen
Missing Miss December by The Five Chinese Brothers
Santa Baby by The Buckarettes
Can Man Christmas by Joe West

Colorado Belle by Sid Hausman & Washtub Jerry
Gamblin' by Hundred Year Flood
Cajun Stripper by Doug Kershaw
Story of My Life by Loretta Lynn
The Gringo's Tale by Steve Earle
Reindeer Boogie by Hank Snow
X-mas on the Isthmus by Terry Allen

Mama Hated Diesels by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Henry by The New Riders of the Purple Sage
Third Rate Romance by The Amazing Rhythm Aces
Lookout Mountain by Drive-By Truckers
Honey Babe Blues by Vassar Clements with Maria Muldaur
Judy Sex Goddess by Acie Cargill
Six Bullets For Christmas by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
Winter Wonderland by Leon Redbone

With God on Our Side by Buddy Miller
Tryin' to Get To Heaven Before They Close the Door by Robyn Hitchcock
He Reached Down by Iris DeMent
What You Mean to Me by NRBQ
Christmas Morning by Loudon Wainwright III
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, December 17, 2004

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: THE GIFT OF LOCAL MUSIC

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
December 17, 2004

During this hollandaise season, my traditional gift-giving advice is to give the gift of local music. In other words, be New New Mexican, buy New Mexican.

Here are some recent examples of fine sonic produce by New Mexico artists:

*No More Music by The Suckers by Bernadette Seacrest & Her Yes Men. Seacrest, whose last gig was with the Albuquerque rockabilly outfit The Long Goners, has evolved into a tattooed chanteuse specializing in jazzy, torchy and extremely tunes with a band featuring a double bass, sax and trombone.

While Seacrest’s voice is the main draw here, don’t forget The Yes Men, who create the dangerous atmosphere. Grimes’ bass is a major component on most cuts. And sometimes the horn section sounds like they’re engaging in a gang rumble.

Seacrest performs several standards like “Strange Fruit,” “Ain’t Misbehavin'“ and “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (“Room service. Here’s your ham sandwich, Miss Elliott …”) and these are fine. -- but her vocal talents are best showcased in the ones written by her sidemen/friends Michael Graves and Pat Bova.

The best of these are Grimes’ “Cold in My Bed” in which Seacrest’s voice sounds like a transmission from the Dark Dimension, and Bova’s slow spooky “Sweet Salvation.” Both these tunes skirt the weird aural hinterlands somewhere along the border between Tom Waits and David Lynch. I hope her next album will be 100 percent originals.

*Circus Wife by Goshen. Goshen mastermind Grant Hayunga, backed here by Jim and Bill Palmer of Hundred Year Flood, does here what he does best -- hard grinding stompers carried by his slide guitar -- with an occasional slow pretty song to give you a breather. When Hayunga gets going on his slide, he’s not trying to dazzle you with hot licks. He plays his instrument more like a percussion instrument. You can only rarely understand the lyrics he sings on the fast and rowdy ones, but it can’t be denied he sings with passion.

*Cavalier by Hundred Year Flood. Santa Fe’s musical double date, featuring the Palmer Brothers (Bill on vocals, guitar, lap steel and keyboards, Jim on drums), singer Felicia Ford and bassist Kendra Lauman, delivers a tasty serving of neo-folk rock. They remind me a little bit of the old Seattle band, The Walkabouts. My favorite tracks here include the slow-burning “Gamblin',” Ford’s quasi-gospel “Jesus Rolled Over” (featuring sweet violin by Hilary Schacht) and a Tom Pettyish rocker called “Peach Blossom.”

*Self Titled by Solfire. The Abeyta brothers, Buddy and Amado, are second-generation Santa Fe musicians. Their dad, Chris Abeyta is a founding member of Santa Fe’s premier Chicano rock group Lumbre del Sol, which has been around for more than three decades. The boys honor their father by performing one of his old Lumbre tunes “Salsa Chicano” (the old man plays guitar on the track). Most the songs are sweet and soulful. “Desparately” is one of the prettiest. But Solfire can rock too, as they prove on “I Don’t Want to Lie.”

*Colorado Belle by Sid Hausman & Washtub Jerry. Sid Hausman’s cool, confident, cowboy voice has been a presence in Santa Fe for more years than he’d probably want to admit. Most his fans picture him with a guitar, but on this album he mainly plays ukulele. Don’t worry, Sid hasn’t gone Hawaiian and this isn’t a Tiny Tim tribute album. It’s “western swing ukulele” -- a concept with which I was unfamiliar, though Sid in his liner notes assures us that then uke had its place here. And it sounds wonderful indeed. Most the songs here are standards like “Cherokee Maid” “Don’t Fence Me In” and “South of the Border.” There also are some good Hausman originals, my favorite being “4,000 Rooms in Amarillo” and a great obscure Marty Robbins eco-ballad “Man Walks Among Us.”

And yes, Washtub Jerry does play washtub bass.

*Round Mountain by Round Mountain. Anyone vaguely aware of the early ‘90s Santa Fe music scene has to remember the band Lizard House, which featured Char and Robbie Rothschild. Since those days, the Rothschilds have gone down many twisted musical paths. What other groups can honestly boast of resumes that include stints with hair-metal icon Kip Winger and a Russian circus?

With the boys playing a huge arsenol of stringed instruments, horns, percussion and even a hurdy gurdy, their music is an enchanting mix of American folk, Celtic, Mideastern, Balkan and African sounds that might remind old timers of The Incredible String Band. (I also hear what sounds like echos of Neutral Milk Hotel in some tunes.)

(The CD release party for this record is Saturday at El Meson, 213 Washington Ave.)

*House to House by Randal Bays & Roger Landes. Taos resident and bouzouki master Landes is best known around here for the annual Zoukfest in Taos, a festival dedicated to the Greek stringed instrument which in recent years has been adopted by Celtic music enthusiasts. Landes teamed up with Irish fiddler Bays to make some fine traditional Irish music. This CD consists of recordings from various house concerts by the duo, so what you have is genuine living room music. Most the songs are traditional Irish instrumentals.

*Snow Angels by The Buckarettes. Here’s some cowgirl Christmas music featuring the sweet harmonies of Katie Gill and Debra Jean Parker Harris and the picking of dobro/steel man Auge Hayes and guitarist, mandolinist and musi9cal saw player John Egenes. Highlights here include covers of The Louvin Brothers’ away-in-the-manger tune “The Friendly Beasts,” the Polynesian yuletide classic “Christmas Island) made famous by Leon Redbone and a western take on Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” I’m also partial to the title song, a Gill original featuring a roller-rinky organ by Dick Orr.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: "GRASSROOTS" RECOUNT FIZZLES

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


While some New Mexicans who are distrustful of last month’s presidential election results have been pursuing a statewide recount through regular government channels, a Santa Fe physical therapist and Democrat poll watcher is leading a “small grassroots group” to do a partial recount themselves.

In a Dec. 3 letter from Citizens to Verify the Vote sent to every registered voter in east-side Santa Fe Precinct 36, Amba Caldwell said, “We find it imperative in our democracy that all our votes are counted correctly and that we find ways to trust the results.”

Then she asks each voter whether or not they voted and who they voted for. A separate sheet of paper, containing the voter’s name and the names of the major party candidates (and a space for “other candidate”) is included to be mailed back to Caldwell in a pre-addressed, postage-paid envelop.

“We understand the secret of the ballot is very important to many voters in our democracy,” Caldwell’s letter said. “However, we believe that an accurate vote count is more important than privacy.”

Who are these citizens?: First of all, Citizens to Verify the Vote is not associated with Verified Voting New Mexico, a group that has raised concerns about electronic touch-screen “black box” voting machines. Nor is it part of Help America Recount, which has been trying — unsuccessfully so far — to get the state to conduct an official recount.

City Councilor Karen Heldmeyer, whose district includes Precinct 36, said some of her constituents thought something was hinky about the letter and brought it to her attention.

“They had no idea what it meant or what (the sender) meant to do with the information,” Heldmeyer said Wednesday.

Caldwell, in an interview Wednesday, said she had no sinister motives in seeking this information. “When I got my voter list (from the county clerk), I had to sign an affidavit saying I understood that I’d be subject to criminal charges if I used this list in any way not related to elections,” she said.

“There are times when we have to find out the truth and need to let go of our secrecy,” she said.

“We need your participation to be successful,” the letter said.

However, it seems that most of the voters of Precinct 36 still like the idea of a secret ballot.

Out of more than 500 voters in the precinct, only 125 responded to the letter, Caldwell said. And one of those wrote the words “Secret Ballot” in the space in where respondents were supposed to mark their choice for president.

An Albuquerque friend who sent a similar letter to voters in Precinct 350 in Albuquerque reported a similar level of response, Caldwell said.

Why Precinct 36?: Caldwell said she got the idea after serving as a poll watcher on election day for the Democrats at Acequia Madre Elementary School, where Precinct 36 votes.

“As far as I know everything there went according to the law,” she said.

Though she saw no hanky panky at her polling place, Caldwell said some people are worried that somehow a small number of votes were stolen — somehow — from each voting machine statewide. Stealing a handful of votes from each machine could be enough to tip the election without anyone noticing, or so goes the theory.

However, Santa Fe County doesn’t use the controversial “black box” voting machines that have stirred so much controversy. The machines used in Santa Fe are “first-generation” — meaning “real old” — electronic devices that tally votes on computerized cards and produce a receipt at the end of election day of all votes cast.

It’s not clear how the bad guys would be able to program all the state’s 3,367 voting machines, which aren’t linked via the Internet or via anything else.

For the record: Sen. John Kerry won big in Precinct 36, receiving 423 votes — better than 80 percent — compared with the 92 votes for President Bush and four votes for other candidates. Caldwell said the un-secret ballots she received are similar in proportion to these numbers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

AM I (PRUSSIAN) BLUE?

They're talented. They're cute. They're little ... Nazis!

Meet Lynx and Lamb Gaede, 12-year-old California twins who have started their own pop band called Prussian Blue. It's like a cross between The Olson Twins, Hanson and Hermann Goering.

"These gals will be breaking new ground, and will also capture the imagination of young boys and girls all across the world," says National Alliance Northeast Regional Coordinator Rich Lindstrom in an article on the National Vanguard Web site. "The impact could be huge and their influence will encourage 'copycats' ...creating an entire genre of pro-White music. ...I'm hanging on the edge of my seat with anticipation."

I dunno ... Does this guy sound just a little too excited about these little girls?

Thanks to my sister Mary for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, December 13, 2004

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, December 12, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell
Co-host Laurell Reynolds


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Sic 'Em Pigs by Canned Heat
Green Lights by NRBQ
I'm Down by The Beatles
Don't Beat Me Down by The Donnas
Here Comes Your Man by The Pixies
I Wanna Be Your Lover by Bob Dylan
Tweeter and the Monkeyman by The Traveling Wilburys
The Christmas Blues by Dean Martin

True Love Will Find You In The End by Beck
Rhinocratic Oathes by The Bonzo Dog Band
Trickle Down System by Giant Sand
Song For Jeffery by Jethro Tull
Copshawholme Fair by Steeleye Span
Crown Of Love by Arcade Fire
You Better Run by Iggy & The Stooges
Christmas At K-Mart by Root Boy Slim & His Sex Change Band

Satisfied Fool by Nathaniel Mayer
Sling That Thing by Andres Williams
I'm a Millionaire by Lee Fields
Midnight Sky by The Isley Brothers
Breaking Up Somebody's Home by Anne Peebles
Let's Make Christmas Mean Something This Year by James Brown

Babe, You Turn Me On by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Wonderful by Brian Wilson
Meaning of Loneliness by Van Morrison
Muriel by Tom Waits
Sweet Salvation by Bernadette Seacrest
I Still Believe In You by Mavis Staples
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Friday, December 10, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
The Wayward Wind by Lynn Anderson with Emmylou Harris
Where The Devil Don't Stay by Drive-By Truckers
Let Him In by The Gourds
Dead Cats on the Line by Vassar Clements
Say it Say When by Goshen
The Van Lear Rose by Loretta Lynn
Baghdad Baghdad by Acie Cargill

Hard Liquor & Handgun Night by Jim Hoehn
Rocky Top by The Osbourne Brothers
Pretty Polly by Ralph Stanley with Patty Loveless
Love's Gonna Live Here by Bill Monroe with Melissa Monroe
Shame on You by Sid Hausman & Washtub Jerry
The Friendly Beasts by The Buckarettes
Throw a Seven by Ken Keppeler
Come On by Hundred Year Flood
Good Christian Soldier by Kris Kristofferson

See That My Grave is Kept Clean by Blind Lemon Jefferson
One Kind Favor by Canned Heat
A Dying Man's Plea by Mavis Staples
Find Blind Lemon Part 2 by Geoff Muldaur
Done Got Old by Jim White
The Twist Came from Tampa by Ronny Elliott

This Little Light of Mine by Neko Case
Only a Rose by Geraint Watkins
Fill My Way With Love by Iris DeMent
Try and Try Again by Billy Joe Shaver
Returning by Buddy Miller
The Maple Tree by Grey DeLisle
Love and Mercy by Jeff Tweedy
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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


Friday, December 10, 2004

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: MAVIS FOR PRESIDENT

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Dec. 10, 2004


One of my fondest memories from the Democratic Convention in Boston last summer was the last day of the convention when I went to the FleetCenter early to type up some notes.

My assigned work space was right next to the band, a horn-heavy ensemble whose main job was to play little snatches of “Soul Man” or “Respect” or Kool & The Gang’s “Celebrate” before politicians’ speeches. (One delegate told me she heard them play “Mr. Big Stuff” before Gov. Bill Richardson’s speech. I was there, but I honestly don’t remember.)

So on the last afternoon of the convention I was sitting there typing notes on a laptop.

Although virtually nobody was on the floor, the band was there. They started playing a song called “The Promised Land.” The singer was doing an excellent imitation of Willie Nelson, I thought. Then I looked down to the stage below, and dang if it wasn’t Willie Nelson himself. He was doing a sound check for his performance at the convention later that night.

Next, the band started playing a soul/gospel version of “America the Beautiful” and there was another familiar voice. Sure enough, it was Mavis Staples, dressed in a sweat shirt for the sound check.

Twenty years before, “America the Beautiful” was performed in a similar style by Ray Charles -- except he sang it at the Republican Convention. Brother Ray had just died a few weeks before, so singing this song at a political convention was bound to draw comparisons. But pulled it off spectacularly. In fact, what living singer is better qualified to assume the mantle of Ray Charles?

This hardly was the first major political event where Staples performed. As part of The Staples Singers with her father and siblings, she sang at the inaugurations of both John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. The Staples also shared the stage many times with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

Amazingly, except for a few guest spots (on various-artist albums such as the most recent Los Lobos album, cuts on recent tribute albums for Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Cash, Stephen Foster and a gospel tribute to Bob Dylan), Staples until now hasn’t been putting out much of her own music in recent years.

Have a Little Faith is Staples’ first new album in nearly a decade -- and the first since her father Roebuck “Pops” Staples died.

This is an album of mostly gospel tunes with the old standby “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” along with lesser known tunes like the funky “There’s a Devil on the Loose” and “God is Not Sleeping.”

The best songs are down-home and rootsy like the opening cut “Step Into the Light,” which features a mean slide guitar and background vocals from The Dixie Hummingbirds.

Like The Staples Singers, whose biggest hits were songs like “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There,“ which were spiritually uplifting without specifically mentioning God, on this album Mavis sings tunes like “At the End of the Day“ and “In Times Like These” (“In times like these/We need to be strong/We need to carry on/We need to get along …). The latter features backing vocals by the Rev. Jesse Dixon and The Chicago Music Community Choir.

There’s a sweet tribute to her father, “Pops’ Recipe,” (“He said accept responsibility/Don’t forget humility … Don’t subscribe to bigotry, hypocrisy, duplicity …)

But I think my favorite one here is a classic Blind Lemon Jefferson song The Staples Singers used to cover. Blind Lemon called it “See That My Grave is Kept Clean.” Canned Heat rocked it up and knocked it up, calling it “One Kind Favor.” Mavis calls it “A Dying Man’s Plea,” and, backed by a dobro and fiddle, infuses it with countrified soul.

My only complaint about this album is that it doesn’t include “America the Beautiful.”


Also Recommended

* I Just Want to Be Held
by Nathaniel Mayer. To be honest, I’d never heard of this guy, but the liner notes of his new Fat Possum CD assures us that he had a bonafide hit in the early ‘60s with a song called “Village of Love.” But, like too many soul codgers, Mayer fell on hard times -- drink, drugs, poverty and obscurity.

As is the case with the best Fat Possum albums, Mayer’s is rough, raw, rocking and raunchy.

Songs like “You Gotta Work,” with its bitchen Farfisa organ and “I Wanna Dance With You,” with its slightly grating but truly addictive guitar hook, will remind you of the links between ’60s soul and garage-band music.

And songs like “Stick It or Lick It” will explain why Nathaniel Mayer wasn’t invited to perform at the inaugurations of John F. Kennedy or Jimmy Carter. (But Bill Clinton surely would like it.)

The true sign of twisted genius here is Mayer’s cover of John Lennon’s seething “I Found Out.” This was one of Lennon’s angriest songs from his “primal scream” Plastic Ono Band. It’s a rage against religion, drugs, false promises and childhood pain. Mayer spits out “There ain’t no Jesus gonna come from the sky,” like a fallen evangelist drunk on heresy.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: THIS BUD'S FOR YOU

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


Christmas is a-comin' and the heartwarming news releases are getting fat ...

My nominee for the holly-jolly media advisory of the week was an e-mail from the state attorney general's office announcing a Wednesday news conference in Albuquerque with Attorney General Patricia Madrid and Mark Bordas, director of government affairs -- corporatespeak for top lobbyist -- for Anheuser-Busch.

The purpose: "to encourage safety and responsibility this holiday season." Specifically, "to encourage parents to be good role models for their children by remembering to use a designated driver and to talk with their children about underage drinking."

Heartwarming. You can almost hear the clip-clop of Clydesdales pulling Santa's sleigh. It's like a government public-service announcement and a beer commercial rolled into one.

Fortunately, the news conference had a little more to offer than that. Madrid also announced she will ask the Legislature to pass a bill with tougher sentences for repeat drunken drivers.

I assume this means Anheuser-Busch won't oppose this. In recent years, the liquor lobby has not fought stiffer penalties for driving while intoxicated. The biggest fight it has gotten involved in here lately was squashing a move last year to impose a higher tax on alcoholic beverages.

In this Christmas season, it's good to remember that Anheuser-Busch is not just generous in sending the king lobbyist for the King of Beers to New Mexico to spread words of wisdom about safety and responsibility. The corporation has been generous through the years in spreading good cheer in the form of campaign contributions to our state leaders.

According to the Montana-based Institute on Money in State Politics' Web site, followthemoney.org, Anheuser-Busch and its lobbyists donated at least $30,000 to New Mexico politicians during the most recent election cycle. The company's wholesaler, Premier Distributing, kicked in another $7,500 or so.

But according to institute spokeswoman Sue O'Connell, these figures only include campaign-finance reports up to June 28. Final figures will be available later, she said.

In the 2002 election cycle, Anheuser-Busch donated more than $31,000 to New Mexico politicos, while Premier Distributing gave even more -- $41,409.

Madrid, who was re-elected in 2002, collected $1,000 from Anheuser-Busch plus $5,000 from Premier that year.

But that was small potatoes compared with Gov. Bill Richardson's $5,000 from Anheuser-Busch and $25,000 from Premier.

Anheuser-Busch donated to dozens of legislators for the 2002 and 2004 elections.

The top legislative leaders get the most from the company. Retiring Senate President Pro tem Richard Romero, D-Albuquerque, received $2,000 in 2002.

Former Senate Majority Floor Leader Manny Aragon, D-Albuquerque, got $500 from the company in 2002 and $1,500 in 2004. (Aragon resigned from the Senate after being named president of Highlands University. He won an uncontested primary for his Senate seat in June.)

House Speaker Ben Luján, D-Nambé, received $1,000 from Anheuser-Busch this year.

But just as the company believes in safety and responsibility, it also believes in bipartisanship.

Senate Republican Floor Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales got $1,000 in 2002 and another $500 in this election cycle.

House Republican Floor Leader Ted Hobbs picked up $1,000 in 2002 and $1,500 for his 2004 race.

Lobbyist Bordas himself is a generous soul. Last January, The Associated Press reported he paid nearly $700 for four legislators -- Aragon, Luján, Sen. Ben Altamirano, D-Silver City, and Rep. Jim Trujillo, D-Santa Fe -- to attend a San Francisco Giants baseball game plus another $250 for food and drink, while the four were in San Francisco for a national legislative conference.

Of course, Anheuser-Busch isn't the only player in the liquor industry in this state. In 2002, beer, wine and liquor companies donated a total of $181,021 to New Mexico politicians.

My advice: Be safe and responsible this holiday season. If you drink, use designated drivers. Be a good example to your kids and talk to them about drinking.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

JC Wants More JC

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


A Republican state senator on Tuesday announced that he is contacting every school district in the state to “remind them and encourage them that the name Jesus can and should be mentioned in public schools” and that “Instead of taking ‘Christ’ out of Christmas, schools are encouraged to keep Him and Christmas in public schools.”

In an e-mail press release, Sen. Joe Carraro, R-Albuquerque, said, “There is no question about it. Jesus of Nazareth can and should be taught about in our public schools. During this holiday season when there is such an uproar about taking the word ‘Christ’ out of Christmas, I want to remind our teachers that the Senate memorial passed in 1994 allows them to mention Jesus and encourages them to teach about Him as a historical figure, not only at Christmas time, but at anytime there is a discussion of historical figures of great importance.”

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Carraro said his decision to contact the schools came after he saw several television news features, including one on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, about efforts to remove religious aspects of Christmas celebrations in schools.


When given a copy of the press release, Peter Simonson, executive director of the state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union said, “This looks like a shameful attempt to encourage public schools to teach Christianity.”

Simonson said Carraro seemed to be coming “as close as possible without quite stepping over the line of church/state separation.”

Carraro in 1994 was the prime sponsor of Senate Memorial 83, said that Jesus’ name “be included in any comprehensive study of history,” and “it is permissible to mention the name Jesus of Nazareth in the public schools in the state of New Mexico.”

Memorials, while expressing the will of the Legislature, don’t have the force of law.

“Certainly schools can teach about Christ and his affect on western civilization,” Simonson said. “But equally, students should be informed about Mohammed and Buddha and Friedrich Nietzsche.”

Carraro denied he wants to make schools teach religion. “We’re not saying you have to bow down and pray and all that other stuff,” he said.

Carraro is scheduled to appear today to talk about the issue 11:45 a.m. on Issues and Answers, which broadcasts on a local religious television station, KCHF Channel 11.

Monday, December 06, 2004

TERR-IFIC NEWS

There's no truth to those ugly rumors that Santa Fe songwriter, filmaker, humorist and Sultan of Shameless Self Promotion Jim Terr is actually my brother but he changed his name because he was embarassed to be associated with me. (That would be my real brother Jack, who changed his name from Terrell to Clift.)

But whoever this Jim Terr guy is, he's got a couple of cool events tonight and tomorrow. I'll just cut and paste his e-mail here:

Tonight at 7 pm at Page One Books in Albuquerque (11018 Montgomery NE) will be the release party for my DVD, Five Frightfully Fine Videos (see review below, and see 12-minute clip at www.bluecanyonvideo.com, if you can).

...And Tuesday night in Santa Fe, 7 pm, at St. Bede's Episcopal Church, San Mateo & St. Francis (SE corner).

No doubt some of the interviewees and other project participants will attend, and I hope to see you there. At the Santa Fe event ONLY, you can purchase a copy of the DVD for $20 (half price), which will be used to retire some of the still-outstanding costs of the project.

You can hear an interview about the project, hopefully, on KUNM News (89.9 FM) tonight, Monday, sometime between 5 and 5:30 p.m.
_____________________________


Also, tomorrow (Tuesday) through Thursday, a great British video site, www.3btv.com, will be celebrating "Jim Terr Day" with thirteen of my short films. They're actually up there on the site already, but Tuesday through Thursday they'll be listing them all, and running a funny promo spot about it from BuDDy. (Excruciating details at www.bluecanyonproductions.com/3btv.html)
__________________________


(from Santa Fe Reporter, December 1 issue):


FIVE FRIGHTFULLY FINE VIDEOS

The only acclaim most educational videos receive are groans and yawns from an ungrateful audience., but Santa Fe producer Jim Terr has assembled a DVD of videos on subjects as diverse as driving safety, World War II and teen reading that's been praised across the nation. The DVD will be distributed to schools and libraries across New Mexico and Hawaii.

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, December 5, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
51-7 by Camper Van Beethoven
The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing by The Persuasions
Dumb All Over by Frank Zappa
Bat Chain Puller by Captain Beefheart
Protein Protection by The Fall
My Life is Starting Over Again by Teenage Fanclub with Jad Fair
Weiner Dog Polka by Polkacide

Crossroads by Robert Johnson
Black Widow Spider by Dr. John
Pappa Legba by The Talking Heads
Down So Low by Mother Earth
There's a Devil on the Loose by Mavis Staples
Saved by Mighty Clouds of Joy
When the Saints Go Marching In by Willie Eason

NRBQ SET
All songs by NRBQ except where noted

Dummy
Terry Got a Muffin
Puddin' Truck
Little Rug Bug
Accentuate the Positive
Under My Hood by Big Al Anderson
What You Mean to Me
RC Cola and a Moon Pie
Wacky Tobacky
Be My Love

Cold in My Bed by Bernadette Seacrest & Her Yes Men
Rickity Tickity Tin by Barbara Manning
I'm Just a Man by Sally Timms
Soul and Fire by Sebadoh
A Beautiful Schizophrenic by Lisa Germano
What Kind of Fool Am I? by Grandpaboy
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, December 04, 2004

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, December 3, 2004
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays MDT
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
BILLY JOE SHAVER SET
All songs by Billy Joe Shaver unless otherwise noted


People and Their Problems
Highway of Life
Honky Tonk Heroes
Black Rose by Waylon Jennings
That's What She Said Last Night
When Fallen Angels Fly
Old Chunk of Coal by Johnny Cash
Leavin' Amarillo
Old Five and Dimers Like Me by Tom T. Hall
Feliz Navidad by Billy Joe Shaver & Flaco Jimenez

I Love You Because by Elvis Presley
Film of The Movie by The Minus 5
I Wanna Be Your Mama Again by Mother Earth
Gypsy Davey by Eric Hisaw
Cold Irons Bound by Bob Dylan
A Perfect Day to Chase Tornados by Jim White

Hot Dog by Rosie Flores
Railroad Shuffle by Jerry J. Nixon
Spin the Bottle by Benny Joy
Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll by Billy Lee Riley
Stalin Kicked the Bucket by Johnny Dilks
Let's Elope by Janis Martin
Detour by Sleepy LaBeef
Two Six Packs Away by Dave Dudley
Cocaine Blues by Luke Jordan

A Chance Counsel by Richard Buckner
If You Knew by Neko Case
Diamond Joe by Bob Dylan
I Still Believe in You by Mavis Staples
I Don't Want to Get Adjusted by Iris DeMent
Be My Love by NRBQ
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, December 03, 2004

THE PORTRAIT OF BILLY JOE

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Dec. 3, 2004


It’s no wonder that The Portrait of Billy Joe is bound to remind viewers of Tender Mercies. Robert Duvall, the star of the Oscar-winning 1983 film about the tribulations and ultimate redemption of a down-and-out country singer, is the executive producer of this new video documentary about “outlaw” country bard Billy Joe Shaver.


Duvall’s girlfriend Luciana Pedraza directed it. (More trivia: Pedraza first met Shaver on the set of The Apostle, a 1997 film directed by and starring Duvall and which featured Shaver in a bit part.)

The similarities between Shaver and Tender Mercies’ “Mac Sledge” are numerous. Both are songwriters from rural Texas who took a stab at mainstream C&W success -- Shaver’s songs have been covered by Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Tom T. Hall, John Anderson and others -- only to fall victim to old demon alcohol. Both suffered immense personal tragedies, including the deaths of their only children, and both found strength through religious faith.

And like “Sledge” -- whose musical career was reborn, albeit on a smaller scale than his heyday, due to the interest of a worshipful band of younger musicians -- Shaver got a second wind in the 1990s fronting a band led by his guitar-stud son Eddy.

Portrait begins with a scene of a shirtless Shaver shaving. He’s grown a big white mustache, but he’s tired of it. His Mama wouldn’t have liked it. It’s coming off.

As he shaves the mustache he jokes about keeping a “stiff upper lip.”

“I guess I kept a stiff upper lip until I got the face I deserve,” he says.

While in front of the mirror, he points out his scar on his chest from a quadruple bypass surgery.

Shaver, who turned 65 this year, has had a pretty rough decade so far. In course of one year, his mother, his son, and the love of his life, Brenda Shaver died. The heart attack followed.

Memories of Brenda dominate much of the documentary. The couple married and divorced three times.

In a painful interview Shaver talks about how after Brenda died he discovered letters and pictures attesting to her relationship with another man.

“He was younger than me,” he says wistfully. “Taller … I don‘t know where he is now, but I wish him well.” Then Shaver makes a shooing motion with his hand and repeats ruefully, “Wish him well.”

Still, Shaver says she’s the only woman he ever loved. He describes in loving detail in the documentary how he wrote the song “I Couldn’t Be Me Without You” in an effort to win her back.

We see Shaver in concert. We see him at his uncle’s farm. We see him win a chicken at a lottery. And we see him in church. The full-immersion baptism scene with his guitarist friend Jesse Taylor takes us right back to Tender Mercies.

But it’s over before we know it. Portrait of Billy Joe is less than an hour long. As a fan of Shaver’s music I wish it would have been fleshed out with more songs. His retelling of all his tragedies indeed is moving, but more of his songs would have made a more complete portrait of the man.

Billy Joe Shaver is scheduled to appear at a V.I.P. only party at Willee’s tonight. For those of us who aren’t V.I.P.s, Steve Terrell’s Santa Fe Opry will feature a lengthy segment of Billy Joe music 10 p.m. tonight on KSFR, 90.7 FM.

I will introduce Billy Joe Shaver at the Santa Fe Film Festival's screening of The Portrait of Billy Joe 2 p.m. Saturday at the CCA theater, so I'm feeling like a V.I.P.

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: HELLO DUMMY!

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Dec. 3, 2004


They’ve been together for more than 35 years. They’ve recorded with rockabilly titan Carl Perkins, the late country star Skeeter Davis, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian and pro wrestling great Captain Lou Albano. While never achieving mass commercial success, they’ve long been considered “musicians’ musicians” and critics’ darlings.

And they’ve even been on The Simpsons.

But most importantly, NRBQ, one of the most versatile and longest lasting bands in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, still is cranking out amazing albums full of songs that are sometimes challenging, frequently taking strange turns and almost always catchy.


Their latest album Dummy is evidence of that. The boys of the Q can still rock like madmen one moment then create sweeter than sweet pop the next.

The title cut, which opens the album starts out with a discordant little riff, punched up by horns, which sounds like it might have been the soundtrack of a 1960s commercial for a headache remedy, then slows into a funky, Randy Newman-ish groove as singer Terry Adams drawls a bittersweet lament about self-inflicted ignorance.

What follows are samples of the entire NRBQ everything-but-the-kitchen-sink bag of tricks. “One Big Parking Lot” is a chunka-chunka rockabilly/Johnny Cash style workout. “Imaginary Radio” is pure sweet weirdo pop that sounds like Adams is mainlining Brian Wilson’s melodies -- as well as his lyrics. “Do the Primal Thing” sounds like gorilla warfare. “I Need Love,“ written and suing by NRBQ cofounder Joey Spaminato, sounds like a lost Al Green song. And “What You Mean to Me” is one of the prettiest songs NRBQ’s ever recorded.

All these are originals, written by Adams and/or Spaminato. But there’s a couple of inspired covers here too.

“All That’s Left is to Say is Goodbye” is a bossa nova written by Antonio Carlos Jobim. “Be My Love” was an Italian pop hit by Mario Laza, though NRBQ do it as a sweet country song.

The there’s “Little Rug Bug,” which started out as a “song-poem” -- a tune whose lyrics were written by a wanna-be songwriter who responded to one of those “Put Your Poems To Music” ads. (Q drummer Tom Ardolino is a leading song-poem collector and enthusiast.) On Dummy, “Little Rug Bug” becomes confectionary reggae.

The album ends with one of the few -- perhaps only -- overtly political tunes NRBQ has ever done, “Misguided Missiles.” Clocking in at under two minutes, this song blasts “misinformed patriots, their flags unfurled/ while their misplaced leaders destroy the world.” Amazingly, this tune was recorded 13 years ago. (And former Q-man Big Al Anderson, a part-time Santa Fe resident, is playing rhythm guitar.)

In a way, NRBQ records like Dummy are like those of The Firesign Theatre. Each new listen reveals something new you didn’t notice before.

Hear a lengthy NRBQ segment Sunday on Terrell’s Sound World, KSFR, 90.7 FM. Show starts at 10 p.m., the NRBQ segment will start right after 11 p.m.

Also Recommended:

*At The Organ
by The Minus 5. Like NRBQ, Seattle-ite Scott McCaughey is a sucker for a sweet pop melody as much as sonic weirdness. With his revolving-door band that sometimes includes REM guitarist Peter Buck, ex-Posie Ken Stringfellow and, lately members of Wilco, McCaughey is responsible for some gorgeous madness.

This 7-song collection mostly consists of outtakes from their 2003 album Down With Wilco. In fact there are a couple of remakes of DWW’s best songs, “The Days of Wine and Booze” and “The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply.”

Among the highlights:

“(I’ve Got a) Lyrical Stance,” kicks off the CD. It’s a minute-and-a- half crazy rocker, with a Red Elvises Slav-rock synth hook. McCaughey and Jeff Tweedy share vocals, shouting lines like “I’ve got something in my pants/And it’s a lyrical stance.”

“Film of the Movie” is an outright country tune with clip-cloppy percussion and a prominent steel guitar. It might remind you of Bob Dylan’s “Lily, Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts.”

“The Days of Wine and Booze,” a dreamy ballad in its previous incarnation, is now a hard-edged rocker with Jeff Tweedy playing guitar as if he‘s auditioning for The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion . But the melody is just as memorable.

* Living With the Animals and Make a Joyful Noise by Mother Earth. I’ve waited for years for these classic hippie roots albums to be re-released on CD. Now here they are, on a little label called Wounded Bird.

Mother Earth was a San Francisco-based band that combined blues, soul, gospel and country. These are their first two -- and best --albums.

The band is best known as the launching pad for belter Tracy Nelson, who went on a respectable recording career. Her signature song “Down So Low” first appeared on Animals, though her greatest moment is the Memphis Slim song that gave the group its name.

But Nelson wasn’t the only Mother Earth singer. There also was the Rev. Ronald Stallings, a soul shouter who joined up on Joyful Noise, his best song be “Stop That Train.”

Then there was the quivering voiced R.P. St. John, Jr., who performed cosmic/comic tunes like “Living With the Animals” on the first album and the “I’ll Be Moving On” -- a close encounter between a freak and a southern police officer -- on the second. St. John also was responsible for a couple of cool psychedelic relics like the jazzy “The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You” on Animals and “The Fly” on Joyful Noise.

In general, Animals -- which includes guest appearances by guitarist Mike Bloomfield, organist Barry Goldberg, and keyboardist Mark Naftalin --is more bluesy, while Joyful Noise -- with backup on some cuts by steel guitarist Pete Drake and fiddlers Johnny Gimbel and Shorty Lavender has more overt country. (In fact, the album is divided between a "City Side" and a "Country Side")

Both albums sound just as refreshing and just as true as they did in 1968 and ‘69 when they first came out.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: WITH NEW LEADERSHIP, WHITHER DWI?

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


For years many New Mexico anti-DWI activists have called Sen. Michael Sanchez, D-Belen and Rep. Kenny Martinez, D-Grants "obstacles."

Now they're both going to be called "majority leader."

Sanchez and Martinez - both of whom are lawyers - were elected by fellow Democrats in their respective chambers to the leadership posts. Both have been chairman of their judiciary committees for several years.

Those who have fought for tougher laws against drunken driving took notice when Sanchez and Martinez ascended to their new posts, wondering what the effect will be on DWI legislation.

When interviewed, activists tend to be diplomatic about Sanchez and Martinez in their new positions. "It will be interesting," said Terry Huertaz, executive director of the state Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter. "This is a great opportunity to put our state on the right track. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt."
But privately, some activists aren't as sunny.

"I think they're going to block anything that moves," said one DWI opponent interviewed under the condition of anonymity.

Sen. Kent Cravens, an Albuquerque Republican who has sponsored and backed many DWI bills, said Wednesday, "It's been difficult to talk to Michael and Kenny about increasing penalties and mandatory sentencing. They've resisted both of these ideas during the years.

"We have to work within the framework," Cravens said. "It's going to be all the more difficult to do these things, but they need to be done."

Asked about the perception that he's been an obstacle to tougher DWI laws, Sanchez said Wednesday, "I treat every bill fairly. I can't tell people what to think. I just do what I think is right.

"I can tell you that I've talked to several DAs who say they wish we wouldn't pass any more DWI laws," Sanchez said. "They say nobody truly understands all the laws we've passed in the last few years. Things are falling through the cracks."

Martinez, interviewed Tuesday, said he thinks any perception that he's an opponent of DWI reform is unfair.

"I don't know why (anti-DWI activists) should be worried," he said. "I worked pretty hard on the comprehensive DWI package a couple of years ago. I think we've seen some good DWI legislation in the past five years."

Martinez recently has been on a state task force that is recommending expanding the use of ignition interlocks to fight DWI. Interlocks require drivers to blow into a breath analyzer that won't allow a vehicle to start if his or her alcohol level is too high.

Martinez noted that he took much political heat earlier this year for sponsoring a bill to require ignition interlocks in all vehicles. "I've been cast nationally as being too aggressive on DWI," he said.

2005 DWI package: One thing is for certain. DWI will be an issue in the upcoming legislative session. Gov. Bill Richardson has made the fight against DWI a cornerstone of his administration.

Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said Wednesday that the governor, who held retreats with lawmakers, has received positive reception of his latest DWI and crime from legislators in both parties.

On Wednesday, Richardson's DWI czar Rachel O'Connor appeared at the Corrections Oversight, Courts and Justice Committee to present four proposed bills from the governor's office. They include requiring ignition interlocks on vehicles belonging to all convicted DWI offenders; lowering the legal blood-alcohol level limit for convicted DWI offenders; allowing local governments to impose tougher restrictions on liquor sales in areas of high alcohol abuse; and establishing a "Drunkbusters Hotline" to report drunk drivers.

O'Connor said more DWI legislation is likely to emerge in the session, which begins Jan. 18.

At least we know he was reading us. A "behind-the-scenes" story about the recent presidential campaign in the Nov. 15 Newsweek indicated that Democratic candidate John Kerry didn't get the rest and relaxation he needed during his mid October visit to Santa Fe.

"Kerry felt anything but relaxed and confident, however on the morning of the third debate on Oct. 13 in Tempe, Ariz. He was irritated by a headline in a Santa Fe, N.M. newspaper, TIME TO BREAK THE TIE. Kerry was tense and whiny: "I don't understand this," he groused to an aide. "I've beaten this guy twice now - and somehow it's a tie. Why is this a must-win for me? When is it going to be a must-win for him?"

"This guy" was President Bush. The newspaper was us.

The headline - which actually didn't include the word "the" - referred to the dead heat in the polls at the time.



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