Friday, June 30, 2006

CAMPAIGN WATCH: FIRST ATTACK AD OF THE GOVERNOR'S RACE

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 30, 2006


Democrats have called Republican gubernatorial candidate John Dendahl a “bomb thrower” and “attack dog.” However, Gov. Bill Richardson’s re-election campaign threw the first advertising bomb at Dendahl in a radio commercial this week.

Richardson campaign chairman Dave Contarino said Thursday that the incumbent Democrat’s radio spot is a factual representation of Dendahl’s record and the events that put the Santa Fe Republican on his party’s ticket in place of primary-election winner J.R. Damron.

A “fact sheet” posted on Richardson’s campaign Web site quotes newspaper articles to back up the advertisement, Contarino said.

Dendahl said Thursday that he was amused that just a few days before the ad started running, Richardson had told the Albuquerque Tribune, “I don’t talk about Dendahl. I don’t worry about Dendahl.”

“They say my name seven times in a 30-second commercial,” Dendahl said. “I think he’s worried about John Dendahl.”
DENDAHL MEETS THE PRESS
While this is the first gubernatorial attack ad of this political season, Dendahl, a past GOP state chairman and newspaper columnist, has been a vocal critic of Richardson through the years. The state Republican Party has run radio ads mocking Richardson at least three times since last June.

Here’s a look at the recent Richardson radio ad, which can be heard HERE :

Title: “Order”
Duration: 30 seconds
Sound: Over foreboding guitar and percussion, a narrator talks in somber tones about Dendahl.
Text: (spoken by a narrator) A secret meeting … the order is delivered … and the political candidate quietly goes away. Is it the Third World? The Middle East? Eastern Europe? No — it’s the New Mexico Republican Party Central Committee and John Dendahl.

First, John Dendahl sets up a meeting with Republican nominee for governor, J.R. Damron, and his wife. Dendahl tells Damron to pull out of the race. Within days, Damron is gone, and John Dendahl is the Republican candidate for governor.

Forget about elections. Forget about the voter. That’s the way John Dendahl wants it, and that’s the way it is.

And it’s not the first time. In the past, John Dendahl made six-figure cash offers to the Green Party to, in his own words, manipulate elections. He made TV commercials using doctored videotape. John Dendahl’s made false attacks in the past against Democrats and Republicans alike. This time, don’t let him get away with it.

Accuracy: While the basic chronology of the Damron/Dendahl meetings is correct, Damron, a Santa Fe radiologist, insists he wasn’t pressured to leave the race. The central committee meeting where Dendahl was nominated had been announced, though reporters were barred.

The “six-figure cash offers to the Green Party” refers to a 2002 incident in which Dendahl, then party chairman, offered Green leaders a large sum to field candidates in two Congressional districts. The Federal Election Commission investigated the matter and found no wrongdoing.
Richardson’s “fact sheet” quotes an Albuquerque Journal article in which Dendahl was quoted saying, “I am in the business of manipulating elections.” Dendahl said Thursday that he doesn’t remember the remark but said, “I was certainly in the business of trying to influence elections.”

The “doctored videotapes,” according to the Web site, refers to a 2002 commercial that never aired but was released to reporters by Dendahl at the outset of the gubernatorial campaign.

The ad showed Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., at a 2000 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, lambasting Richardson, then U.S. Energy Department secretary, for skipping a hearing the week before.

Byrd accused Richardson of “supreme arrogance” and “contempt of Congress” and said the Senate would never again support him for any appointed office.

In a written statement in 2002, Byrd said he was “outraged that Republicans would take my remarks out of context and use them for a political attack ad against Bill Richardson.” However, nobody at the time claimed the tapes were “doctored.”

The “false attacks” against Democrats and Republicans, according to the Web site, refers to several races involving campaign material from the state GOP during Dendahl’s tenure as party chairman. In the 1999 Albuquerque city elections, Democratic Mayor Martin Chavez and Republican City Councilor Tim Cummins said attack ads against them were false. In 2001 Albuquerque City Councilor Tim Kline said a GOP mailer about his record was misleading. The “fact sheet” also cites a 1996 legislative race in which defeated Democrat incumbent Sen. Janice Paster said a GOP flier portrayed her as “soft on rape and other crimes.”

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: LOOK TO THE EAST

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 30, 2006


If you’re a little sick of the music you’ve been listening to and are looking for sounds that are exotic and a little crazy but not precious and tame like the “world music” favored by your world-beat weenie friends, here’s my advice: look to the East.

I’ve been on one of my stranger musical kicks lately — wild Asian rock and pop. It probably started a few months ago when I downloaded from eMusic an album called Thai Beat a Go-Go Volume 1, a compilation of Vietnam War-era bar-band music — basically whore-house rock — from Thailand, where American GIs used to go for rest and relaxation. (There are two other volumes, one of which I just downloaded from eMusic.)

Here’s a look at some far-out sounds from the Far East I’ve been enjoying lately:

* Radio Phnom Penh recorded, assembled, and edited by Alan Bishop for Sublime Frequencies. This has to be one of the weirdest albums I’ve ever purchased. It’s a collection of music, commercials, newscasts, and other chatter (in at least three languages) from Cambodian radio, some of which goes back to the late ’60s. You hear the definite influence of Western pop and rock. In fact, in a couple of the tracks (most the “songs” here are stitched-together medleys) you can make out Cambodian versions of “A Hard Day’s Night” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa” (which started out as a Peruvian folk song).

There’s a discernible wartime vibe in many of the selections, an urgency of a nation being torn apart. This is an album The Clash would have understood, a spiritual cousin of Sandinista! and even Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come.

“At its peak in the late ’60s/early ’70s, the Cambodians were a musical Superpower,” Bishop writes in the liner notes. But after the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975, many musicians were executed. Most of the original tapes, smuggled out of the country, survived. And many of them, after the genocidal regime was driven from power, were remixed by radio programmers. FM stations play the remixed versions and new Cambodian pop, while the official state AM station plays the old stuff. This album is a mixture of AM and FM.

My only complaint is that none of the musicians or bands are named. (Same goes for the album reviewed next.) Most of us probably wouldn’t recognize any of the artists. Still, they deserve credit.

This smacks of musical imperialism. I guess that makes this a guilty pleasure. But it’s still a pleasure.

*Radio Pyongyang compiled by Christiaan Virant. This album, also from the Sublime Frequencies label, is subtitled “Commie Funk and Agit Pop From the Hermit Kingdom.” It’s even stranger than Radio Phnom Penh, though not nearly as enjoyable. If the other album is all urgency and upheaval, this is the sound of mind-numbing obedience.

Virant, who used to listen to official North Korean state shortwave broadcasts from his home in Hong Kong, describes this album best in his liner notes: “Schmaltzy synthpop, Revolutionary rock, Cheeky child rap, and a healthy dose of hagiography for Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il ... a heady mix of Stalin opera, Tokyo karaoke and brooding Impressionism...”

And some of it sounds like a bad Korean high school production of The King and I.

The track “New Model Army” (anyone remember the band by that name?) starts out with what sounds like a Korean ABBA. “Motherland Megamix” has brief passages that almost sound like Axis of Evil blues riffs, though they quickly dissolve into military music and disco anthems. And on a few tracks you hear what sounds like a polka-style accordion.

Then there’s the jolting “Start ’Em Young,” sung by a kiddy choir. To paraphrase a question posed by Sting in the ’80s: “Do the North Koreans love their children too?” I’ll bet they do, though that doesn’t mean I love hearing them sing.

*Escape From the Dragon House by Dengue Fever. This is one of the most amazing albums I’ve heard all year. It’s an Orange County, Calif., band fronted by Cambodian pop singer Ch'hom Nimol, who comes from a well-known Cambodian musical family. As the story goes, the band, led by brothers Zac and Ethan Holzman, discovered Nimol singing at a Long Beach joint called the Dragon House.

The boys play a tasty garage/psychedelic/surf rock, with Ethan standing out on Farfisa organ and Nimol enchanting in her native tongue.

* The Voice of Geisha Doll by Umekichi. This Japanese singer and samisen (a three-stringed Japanese lute) player plays traditional geisha music, but on the most interesting tracks here she mixes it up with Western pop, rock, and jazz. “Samisen Boogiewoogie,” grounded in ’50s malt-shop rock, sounds like the centerpiece of an imaginary David Lynch soundtrack.


*Dancing With Petty Booka. On this record, America’s favorite Japanese ukulele ladies, Petty Booka, branch out from their usual Hawaiian/country/bluegrass repertoire to play their version of mambo, samba, rumba, and cha cha. They also rock out with the “Desanoyo Twist” and go ska, Japanese style, on their cover of “My Boy Lollipop.”

Still, my favorite here is a country-sounding track called “Sho-Jo-Ji/The Hungry Raccoon,” featuring a dreamy steel guitar.

*The Rodeo Carburettor. This is nothing but good, loud, metallic punk rock by a leather-clad Japanese trio led by singer/guitarist Takeshi Kaji.

A few songs seem concerned with motorcycles. Reading the lyrics is a lot of fun. The song “Motor Head,” for instance, which I assume is a tribute to Lemmy and the boys from Motörhead, is nothing but Japanese characters in the midst of which is one English word, rockers.

For some reason, the company sent me a couple of extra copies of this CD. So I’ll send one to the first two readers who e-mail me at robotclaww@msn.com. Include your mailing address, and put “RODEO CARB” in the subject line.

UPDATE: We have two winners! Congratulations Mark and Kristina.

Be sure to tune into Terrell's Soundworld on KSFR Sunday night. At about 11 p.m. I'll do a set of the above music and more Asian rock. That's 90.7 FM for Santa Fe area and http://www.KSFR.org on the web.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: TO BE SLAUGHTERED IN THE LAST SCENE?

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 29, 2006


A state task force looking into ethics and campaign-finance reform is working hard on some essential issues.

But watching this panel at work is almost like watching a movie when you know all the good guys are going to be slaughtered in the last scene.

I hate to sound like a gloom monger, but having observed the Legislature’s reactions to “reforms” in recent years, I just can’t help it.

The task force, meeting in the Roundhouse on Wednesday, had an engaging discussion about possible public financing of state campaigns with Todd Lang, the executive director of Arizona’s public-campaign-funding program.

It wasn’t clear whether the task force eventually would recommend a similar plan for New Mexico. Some members had serious questions about how public financing would work in New Mexico elections. Republicans generally oppose the idea on philosophical grounds. And some of the most probing questions came from Rep. Kenny Martinez of Grants, the House Democratic floor leader.

It was clear the panel is taking its job seriously. Every member seemed engaged.

And nobody argued with member Matt Brix, executive director of New Mexico’s Common Cause chapter, when he said the state is one of the least restrictive in campaign finance. There are no limits on the contributions of individuals, businesses, unions or political-action committees. The disclosure requirements often make for ambiguous reports.

Gov. Bill Richardson appointed the task force during this spring’s corruption trial of former state Treasurer Robert Vigil (which ended in a mistrial.)

But the earnestness of the task force only makes the probable fate of any of its recommendations sadder.

Anyone who watched the state Senate in action last February knows that body’s attitude toward ethics reform.

Despite the fact the state-treasurer follies were being called the biggest political scandal in state history, basically, the Senate this year ripped out the heart of the effort for ethics reform.

Ripped out the heart and stomped on it.

Only one bill out of an entire package of “anti-corruption” bills backed by Richardson made it through both houses.

One measure sponsored by Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque, would have required candidates to disclose their contributor’s employers — as opposed to just the donor’s occupation, as now required.

“I think that’s too much information,” said Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington, during the floor debate on a bill, which was defeated on a 22-12 vote.

That bill also would have required more frequent campaign-report filings and would have required campaign-disclosure reports to list the cumulative amount of contributions received from a donor.

These were some of the possible reforms discussed by the task force Wednesday.

So what has changed since that stormy legislative session?

Feldman, a member of the task force, who has sponsored several ethics bills through the years, said she couldn’t say.

Still, she expressed reserved optimism about a new ethics package arising from the task force. “It’s an educational process for the public and the Legislature,” she told me after the meeting.

“Things don’t happen overnight.” She said she hopes the task force is able to form a public consensus on the issues, which will give it a smoother ride in the Legislature.

Former Gov. Garrey Carruthers, a co-chairman of the task force, had a slightly more ominous reason to think the Legislature might react differently to ethics reform.

Talking first about the treasurer scandals and the conflict-of-interest allegations that led to the resignation of state Insurance Superintendent Eric Serna, Carruthers said: “If you listen to the rumors, there’s some other problems out there. If the rumors come to pass, there may be more public support for ethics reforms.”

The task force meets again today.

Always a loophole: Brix pointed out an interesting little flaw in the state’s campaign-finance-disclosure system.

One of the few restrictions on campaign contributions in New Mexico’s law is that it’s illegal for a legislator, candidate for legislator or the governor to “knowingly solicit a contribution for a political purpose” during a regular or special legislative session.

However, Brix pointed out, there is nothing against a legislator, candidate for legislator or the governor accepting campaign contributions during a session.

That must be why the Richardson river of campaign cash slowed to a sad little trickle between Jan. 17 and Feb. 16.

During that period, he only reported $11,560 in contributions, plus about $8,500 in interest from campaign bank accounts.

The biggest chunk — $10,000 from a Santa Fe media consultant named David Horowitz — is dated Feb. 3, about halfway through the session.

In fairness, some of the contributions might have come in before the session started. Sometimes the mail is slow around here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

FOREMAN SCOTTY'S KIDS


I've recently been in e-mail contact with the daughter of one of my childhood heroes, FOREMAN SCOTTY.

For those of you who didn't grow up in Oklahoma City in the 50s and 60s, Scotty -- real name Steve Powell -- was a kiddy show host on what was then known as WKY. His character was a cowboy.

Not only did he have a studio full of kids every weekday in his "Circle 4 Ranch," (I was on a couple of times), he also had "adventure" segments in which he and his friends -- Xavier T. Willard, Cannonball McCoy, and sometimes 3-D Danny and back in the old, old days, Hog Waller -- would travel back in time through the Mystery Mine or explore the Amazon in a submarine or fight the Dog Man Robots ... You can see how this show shaped, or probably warped my imagination.


Anyway, Scotty's daughter Lisa has started a new blog and wants people to share their Foreman Scotty memories. The first, and so far only post, features my memory of ruining a live adventure shot at Wedgewood Amusement Park back in the '50s.

If you have a story to share, e-mail LISA.

Monday, June 26, 2006

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, June 25, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
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
Ride Away by The Fall
Roller Coaster by Red Bacteria Vacuum
Man in Decline by Mission of Burma
Teenage Head by The Flamin' Groovies
Ding Dong by Johnny Dowd
Just Drums by Tapes 'n' Tapes
Faith, Hope, Love by Rev. Beat Man & The Church of Herpes

Don't Go by Hundred Year Flood
Slow Night, So Long by Kings of Leon
Puzzlin' Evidence by Talking Heads
The Train Kept a Rollin' by The Yardbirds
I'm Cryin' by The Animals
I Want the Answers by The Fleshtones
Little Dawn by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

Sex With the Devil by Ann Magnuson
No Business Like Show Business by Ethel Merman
Lipstick Vogue by Elvis Costello
Mystic Eyes by Them
Real Crazy Apartment by Winston's Fumbs
Crack in the Universe by Wayne Kramer
I See the Light by The Five Americans
It Won't Be Long Now by Barbecue Bob & Laughin' Charlie

I'm Gonna Dig Up Howlin' Wolf by Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
Like a Hurricane (The Ghost of Marie LaVeau) by Chris Thomas King
Rickity Tickity Tin by Barbara Manning
The Comedians by Roy Orbison
Poison by Susan James
Rainbow Eyes by Brian Wilson
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, June 25, 2006

MISC. SUNDAY

Here's my story in today's New Mexican about Gov. Richardson's re-election team: CLICK HERE and, for the list of top-paid staff and consultants CLICK HERE.

XXXXXXXX

Hey, I just got word that Joe Ely is opening for Hundred Year Flood next Saturday at Santa Fe Brewing Company.

Seriously, here's a note from HYF's lovely Kendra:
Since he will be playing solo, he is going to play first, at 7pm. We will go on around 9pm.? Tickets will be $20 for all night, or $10 after 9pm for just the Flood.I'm pretty sure it will be outside on the big stage. We are excited and honored to play a show with Joe Ely!
Looks like Jono Manson might be part of this show too.

HYF also is part of the big Santa Fe Community Picnic on Sunday, July 2 at Fort Marcy parkwith Ozomatli, Solfire, the Abeyta Family, Ryan McGarvey and others.

CLICK HERE for more details on the picnic.


Speaking ofthe Abeyta Family, I'd better get out to KSFR and relieve Chris or Buddy at the board!

eMUSIC JUNE


Here's my eMusic downloads from the month of June. Unlike last month, I showed patience, restaint and maturity and didn't download my limit before the first week of the month was over. Found some great stuff.

Mr. Stranger Man by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & The Golden Eagles. I got interested in Monk after seeing his brief appearance in Robert Mugge's film New Orleans Music in Exile. This isn't quite on the level of The Wild Tchoupitoulas, but it's lots of Mardi Gras fun.

The Obliterati by Mission of Burma. This New England indie band that first made its mark in the early '80s is back in business. This is their secong album since re-forming a couple of years ago for their comeback ONoffON. If you like Afghan Whigs or Dinosaur Jr. try Mission of Burma.

The Magic City by Sun Ra. eMusic has a good collection of Sun Ra. This one was recorded in 1965. The title track is a 27-minute space journey, starting off slow and taking about 15 minutes to work itself into a cosmic frenzy. A subsequent piece called "The Shadow World" sounds like crime jazz from Neptune.


Radio Days by Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys. Live radio performances by the King of Western Swing. Some eMusicers complain about the sound quality, but I don't find this to be distracting. This is a good companion to the upcoming 4-disc Wills box set to be released by Sony Legacy.


Wattstax The Living Word. This one is a jewel! Reportedly some of the music here was recorded in a studio, not at the landmark 1972 festival in Los Angeles, but who cares? There's some amazing stuff by The Staples Singers (my favorite being "I Like The Things About Me"), The Soul Children, and the late Rufus Thomas. ("Do the Funky Penguin"!) I'd already downloaded Isaac Hayes' magnificant "Aint' No Sunshine/Lonely Avenue" medley on Isaac's At Wattstax (also highly recommended), so my favorite discovery here is The Bar-Kays' "Son of Shaft/Feel It." 11 minutes of pure funk. eMusic also offers an album called Wattstax: Highlights from the Soundtrack, which has some stray tracks not found on the Living Word or Hayes albums. I used my last remaining track this month on a gospel song called "Peace Be Still" by The Emotions. I'll probably pick up some more from there, like Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton and Luther Ingram next month.


West of the West by Dave Alvin. This is Alvin's new one where he covers songs by California songwriters. He does fine interpretations of Los Lobos' "Down on the Riverbed" and Jerry Garcia's "Loser." But my favorite on this album is John Fogerty's "Don't Look Now." Though this wasn't a hit, this is one of Creedence Clearwater Revival's most poignant songs. When it appeared on Willie and the Poor Boys way back when, it was a slam at the the underlying antagonism between the self-satisfied hip and working class reality. ("Who'll take the coal from the mine? ... Don't look now it ain't you or me.") Alvin subtly transforms it into a cold look at globalization. ("Who makes the shoes for your feet and who makes those clothes that you wear?")


Vietnam by The Revolutionary Ensemble. Call me a rube, but when I think of the music of the Vietnam War I think of "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die," "Run Through the Jungle," Edwin Star's "War." "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" and Les McCann's "Compared to What." And O.K. "The Battle Hymn of Lt. Calley." This work, like the war itself, is long often tedious. The Revolutionary Ensemble, led by violinist Leroy Jenkins, does have a certain hypnotic appeal, but you really have to be in the mood.


J.J.D./Unnnecessary Begging by Fela Kuti.
Music is The Weapon of the Future (Volume One) by Fela Kuti.
No Agreement by Fela Kuti.
Comparing Fela to most African musicians favored by world beat weenies is like comparing John Coltrane to John Denver. Fela's music transcends Africa. It's tough, gritty and funky. I went on a Fela binge this month on eMusic. But what a bargain, both in quality and quantity. These three albums (actually the first one is a "twofer" so it's actually four albums), make for well over two hours of music and you're only charged for eight tracks. Lester Bowie of the Art Ensemble of Chicago plays trumpet on No Agreement

Free Bonus!

One of the cooler things eMusic has done lately is to offer the entire 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler for free. It consists of mainly indie rock, but there's a smattering of rap, jazz and experimental music. It's got a few artists with whom I'm already familar (Mission of Burma, Yo La Tengo, Nels Cline, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, The Mountain Goats) and some new discoveries for me -- 8 Bold Souls, Art Brut. At this writing the whole set still is free for members, so download and check all of it out.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, June 23, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Big Dwarf Rodeo by Rev. Horton Heat
Cowboy in Flames by The Waco Brothers
Kiss My Ring by Frank Black
Happy Anniversary by The Bottle Rockets
Burn the Honeysuckle by The Gourds
Keep on Truckin' by Hot Tuna
Eve Stole the Apple by Abigail Washburn
Bad Brahma Bull by Rex Allen

Loser by Dave Alvin
Rich Man's Town by Country Dick Montana
Hadacol Blues by James Luther Dickinson
Old Pine Box by The Dead Brothers
Since the Well Ran Dry by Tony Gilkyson
Black Label Blues by Gamble Rogers
You're Still on My Mind by George Jones
Just a Rodeo Cowboy by Vincent Craig
These Boots Ain't Made For Walkin' by Buckshot Dot

Tesla's Hotel Room by The Handsome Family
Scar on Her Cheek by The Rivet Gang
One Plate Guy by The Lonesome Brothers
Traveling on the Dark Side by Rico Bell & The Snake Handlers
Kangaroo Blues by Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers
Black Rider Blues by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
Rockin' Rollin' Mama by Buddy Jones
Little Joe the Wrangler by Joe West

Funnybone by Guy Clark
Mama's Picture by Mose McCormack
Winter Ground (Long and Lonesome Ride to Dalhart) by Michael Martin Murphey
Barely Human by Robbie Fulks
As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone by Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
The Sound of One Heart Breaking by Tom Russell
Out of This World by The V-Roys
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, June 23, 2006

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: HANDSOME SOUNDS

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 23, 2006


The thing I like best about The Handsome Family is how they create these deceptively sweet country melodies that invite you to drift along — but somewhere along the line, the lyrics take unexpected twists and lead you into strange realms.

A vibrant but alien spirit world will be uncovered, gurgling just below mundane surfaces. Ancient myths are re-enacted by helpless mortals. Or sometimes the song turns into a tale in which humans behave bizarrely, sometimes atrociously.

This holds true with the Albuquerque couple’s latest album, Last Days of Wonder. Not only is Rennie Sparks’ songwriting as mysterious and funny as ever, but this album also might just be the group’s strongest musically. Brett Sparks’ baritone, as always, is the perfect narrative vehicle for his wife’s lyrics. (I once wrote that he sings like you’d imagine Abe Lincoln would.) But the instrumentation makes for one sonically pleasing experience. Most of it is done by Brett, but some is supplied by members of Albuquerque’s Rivet Gang, which includes Brett’s brother Darrell Sparks.

The record starts off with a slow, cowboy-sounding tune called “Your Great Journey.” This is basically a poetic rewrite of Louis Jordan’s “Jack, You Dead.”

“When automatic sinks in airports/no longer see your hands/and elevator doors close on you/when buses drive right past./When the only voice that answers/is the whir of a ceiling fan/your great journey has begun.”

There’s “Tesla’s Hotel Room,” a biographical ode to the inventor and engineer who discovered alternating current and who died impoverished in 1943. The Wikipedia entry on Nikola Tesla says, “In his later years, Tesla was regarded as a mad scientist and became noted for making bizarre claims about possible scientific developments. ... Many of his achievements have been used, with some controversy, to support various pseudosciences, UFO theories, and New Age occultism.”

But The Handsome Family is kinder, calling Tesla’s final days “the last days of wonder/when spirits still flew round bubbling test tubes in half-darkened rooms.” They show Tesla eating only saltines, nursing sick pigeons, and “dreaming of God as an X-ray machine.”

There’s “Flapping Your Broken Wings,” a song that, as Brett told me in an interview last year, is about “golf course vandalism.” The first line is a classic: “I can still see you there/in your grass-stained underwear/Dancing crooked circles across the golf course green.” It’s a happy tune about a drunken couple trespassing on a golf course at 3 a.m. just for a crazy frolic. By the last verse, consequences portend: “Like jewels on your green dress, my lady of the golf course/running in your underwear to greet the cops who’d driven up.” (I don’t think this song is autobiographical, but the Sparkses do live near a nine-hole golf course.)

Probably the prettiest song here is “Beautiful William,” where Brett’s guitar is accompanied by ghostly synths. It’s about a man who mysteriously disappears: “Was he given a package by a man on a train?/We found his car by the roadside later that day.” But even more mysterious is the reaction of William’s friends. “Rose smashed his windows till the glass/was all gone. Polly broke the back door/and she screamed down the hall./But no answer sounded but the wind flying/through as we tore up the green lawn/and torched all the rooms.”

“Hunter Green,” one of the rare songs on which Rennie sings lead, alludes to Celtic mythology and William Butler Yeats. A hunter kills a deer that turns into “my true love ... in a dress of darkest green” and then reverts back into a deer.

My favorite here is “After We Shot the Grizzly,” a breezy little tune with dark lyrics about castaways. But this ain’t Gilligan’s Island. “We built a raft from skin and bones./Only five could safely float. The others stood/upon the shore. They screamed and threw sharp stones ...”

Whether they’re singing of legendary seas, sad little forgotten graveyards, bowling alleys, golf courses, airports, or drive-in restaurants, The Handsome Family leads their listeners to magic. Are these not still the days of wonder?

CD-release party: The Handsome Family performs on Saturday, June 24, at the Launchpad, 618 Central Ave. S.W., Albuquerque, with Fast Heart Mart and The Rivet Gang. Doors open at 8 p.m. It’s only $7! For more information, call 505-764-8887.

Also recommended:

The Time Is Now
by The Rivet Gang. The latest album by this Albuquerque band is a fine showcase for its off-kilter, laid-back, acoustic brand of country. Featuring the songwriting talents of Darrell Sparks and Eric Johnson — and the cool picking of Dave Gutierrez — this record is perfect for your car CD player on a long drive into the desert.

There’s even a song called “Sunday Drive” that starts out: “My car is my church ... Mary Magdalene is a hula dancer/dancing to my favorite hymn, the sound of the wheels going round and round ...”

My favorite tune here is “Scar on Her Cheek,” an accordion (by Brett Sparks) and mandolin waltz with the refrain, “The scar on her cheek are the secrets we keep/Some things too real are hard to reveal/The scar on her cheek are the secrets we keep/I know where she walks her dog.”
There’s one cover song here — the bluegrassy “Spider and I,” a Brian Eno song that fits right in with the Gang’s originals.

Belated congratulations: to the Jimmy Stadler Band. Jimmy and the boys (drummer Craig Neil and bassist Dave Toland) last month won the New Mexico Music Award for CD of the Year for last year’s release, Sagebrush Alley. That album also featured New Mexico Music Award winners “Let’s Go See Daddy” (Best Song) and “Bad Habit” (Best Novelty/Humorous Song).

Bonus!

In honor of The Handsome Family, here's the story I did for New Mexico Magazine on alternative country in this state, published earlier this year, featuring them Handsomes, Terry Allen and Joe West.

A version of this was published in New Mexico Magazine
March, 2006


For a couple of weeks in the mid 1990s “alternative country,” often abbreviated to the more computer-friendly “alt. country,” was supposed to be the next big thing in the music world.

To the relief of many of its fans and leading lights -- definitely a crowd that doesn‘t place much value on trendiness -- it didn’t happen. Whatever “the next big thing” turned out to be, it didn’t have much of a twang.

But even though alt. country didn’t become the juggernaut that some predicted, there are plenty of country music fans who believe that the slick, sanitized mainstream music played on commercial country stations today isn’t traditional enough, isn’t rough enough, isn’t dark enough, isn’t weird enough.

Thus, there’s still a market for “alternative country.” And it’s a field in which New Mexico has made its mark.

The state has attracted some musicians who had already made their mark before moving to New Mexico. These include Terry Allen, a major don in what’s known as “The Lubbock Mafia,” who has lived in Santa Fe since the late ‘80s and The Handsome Family, who moved from Chicago to Albuquerque in 2001.

And the state can claim at least one homegrown musician -- singer/songwriter/latter-day rhinestone cowboy Joe West of Santa Fe -- whose fandom is growing beyond New Mexico’s borders.

There’s been much ink devoted to pondering what exactly alt. country is. Until last year, No Depression magazine, a national publication devoted to the sound, described itself as the “alternative country (whatever that is) bi-monthly.”

I take the big-tent approach to defining alt. country, or, as the music is sometimes referred to, “Americana.”

Let’s include rock bands with a country or rootsy sound, aging outlaws and cosmic cowboys, edgy singer songwriters with drawls in their voices and country in their souls, renegade rockabillies, retro-honky tonkers and insurgent bluegrassers who are too country for country radio, and basically any singer or picker who knows the secret connections between Hank and Hendrix.

From at least the time of the “Outlaw Era” of the early to mid ‘70s, there has been a traditional underground country/folk “trade route” between Austin, Texas and New Mexico. Austin’s cosmic cowboys -- icons like Willie Nelson or Jerry Jeff Walker as well as lesser-known acts.


And some even moved here. The ski town of Red River has been home to Ray Wylie Hubbard and Bill & Bonnie Hearne -- a blind Texas honky-tonk couple who lived in Red River before settling in Santa Fe, where they have lived for more than 20 years.


Another Texan to rise from the Outlaw Era was Michael Martin Murphey, who lived near Taos for most the ‘80s and ‘90s.

And while he didn’t perform here much, northern New Mexico was a place of retreat and relaxation for Doug Sahm, who died in Taos in 1999.

But the Austin/New Mexico route is a two-way street. The state’s ever-struggling music scene -- in long-defunct bars like The Golden Inn, The Thunderbird in Placitas, The Bourbon & Blues and The Turf Club in Santa Fe -- has produced a handful of artists who went on to bigger things in Austin.

Jamie Brown, who attended high school in Santa Fe, played here in the ‘70s with a band called The Last Mile Ramblers before becoming famous as “Junior Brown,” melding elements of Ernest Tubb and Jimi Hendrix in Austin’s Continental Club.

Eliza Gilkyson, who has become a respected singer/songwriter, was another fixture in the Santa Fe music scene from the late ‘60s through the early ‘80s, where she was known as Lisa Gilkyson. The daughter of song writer Terry Gilkyson (“The Bear Necessities,” “Memories Are Made of This”), she has been an Austin resident for several years. Her brother Tony Gilkyson moved west to Los Angeles, where he was a guitarist for the 1980s roots-rock band Lone Justice, as well as L.A. punk giants X.

In the mid 1990s a female-dominated band called Hazeldine rose from the streets of Albuquerque -- in fact they were named for a street in Albuquerque -- to become an important influence in the national alt. country scene.

Today the state is home to many impressive musicians who could be considered alt. country. Nels Andrews plays his dark brooding tunes with his band The El Paso Eyepatch in Albuquerque, while Chipper Thompson creates his bluegrass-drenched “folk ’n’ roll in Taos. Septuagenarian Kell Robertson comes out of his Santa Fe County chicken coop ever so often to sing his beatnik/cowboy tunes. In Silver City Bayou Seco plays a sweet blend of Cajun, New Mexican and country music.

Here’s a look at some major alt. country heroes currently living in New Mexico.

XXX

Terry Allen is not your typical musician -- alt. country or otherwise. He’s more like a mad scientist who uses music, painting, sculpture, film, video, and just about all aspects of theater in his art. He’ll get an idea and sometimes it will involve words, paintings, and often, music.


Of his various disciplines he said “They feed each other so much,” he said, “It depends on what I’m curious about and what the ideas are at the time I’m working. I kind of let the work dictate where it goes, whatever form it takes.”

Still, he’s one of the most respected songwriters in the country music underground. Allen’s 1979 album Lubbock on Everything, a roadhouse rocker (the first to feature his Panhandle Mystery Band) with hilarious, sardonic and often poignant stories of West Texas characters -- generally is considered one of the seminal country-rock albums of all time. His songs have been covered by Doug Sahm, Bobby Bare, Little Feat, Robert Earl Keene, Cracker and others.

Allen is from Lubbock, Texas and his name is synonymous with the music of Lubbock -- a scene that gave the world Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock.

But for the past 18 years he’s lived in Santa Fe with his wife of 40 some years, Jo Harvey Allen, an actress and performance artist whose voice frequently pops up on Terry’s albums.

For the past three years, the thrust of Allen’s musical output “at least CD-wise,” he said, has been reissues of some of his lesser-known work from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Among the recent re-issues are Juarez (originally released in 1975) a wild, violent, desperate, often funny but ultimately tragic tour of the underbelly of the Southwest; Amerasia, a soundtrack for Wolf-Eckart Bühler’s 1985 film, which dealt with Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War and the Americans who stayed there after the war; and The Silent Majority, which Allen describes as “a compilation of out-takes, in-takes, mis-takes, work tapes, added tos, taken froms, omissions and foreign materials.” The original album cover was a photo of Allen with Nancy Reagan taken at the in Washington, D.C. where Allen had won a National Gallery award for video arts.

While you won’t find it in record stores, another Allen CD can be found in the book version of Dug Out, a multi-media work that involves writing, painting, video and sculpture installations, and a theater presentation. The work, Allen said, is loosely based on the lives of his father -- a one-time pro-baseball player who promoted wrestling matches and rock ‘n‘ roll shows in Lubbock in the ‘50s -- and his mother, a professional jazz pianist. The CD is a recording of a live recording of the Dugout theater piece broadcast on National Public Radio.

Soon to be reissued is Pedal Steal, originally commissioned as a soundtrack by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in the ‘80s.

The song cycle revolves around true stories a steel guitarist named Wayne Gayley, who toured in bands around Texas and New Mexico and died of a drug overdose in the late 70s. “It came from a bunch of stories that a guy named Roxy Gordon told me,“ he said, referring to the American Indian artist, musician and writer who for a brief time in the ‘70s published Picking Up the Tempo, a paper in Albuquerque dedicated to country music.

Allen has no current plans for a CD of new material. “I steadily write songs, but not necessarily songs to put out on a CD,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever done that, just sit down and try to write a CD.”

But who knows when a play or a painting could bloom into a full-blown new Terry Allen album?

XXX

The Handsome Family sing melodies that sound as if they came out of scratchy old cowboy records or dusty hymnals secretly smuggled out of backwoods churches. And the lyrics take you to mysterious places, telling strange tales of ghosts, dead children, murders, supernatural animals, drunken domestic disputes, uneasy little victories and somber little defeats.

The Family is actually just a couple -- Brett and Rennie Sparks, who live and record at their home in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill.

Rennie writes the lyrics to the songs and plays instruments including the autoharp, which adds an old-timey Carter Family sound. Brett is the lead vocalist. “He sings like you’d imagine Abe Lincoln would sing,” a wise critic once wrote.

Though they usually are identified as a Chicago act, and they say they make most of their money touring in the United Kingdom, Brett has roots in New Mexico.

“I grew up in the Southwest,” he said in a recent interview. “I was raised in Texas and New Mexico. I was born in a little town, Perryton, Texas up near the Oklahoma border. My father worked in the oil fields. We lived in Bush country, Odessa, Midland. And we lived in Farmington. I graduated from UNM. I was there in Albuquerque for five years in the 80s.”

Moving to New Mexico has affected Rennie’s songwriting.

“Chicago was a dark, gloomy place with terrible weather,” she said. “There was no sense of being in the natural world living in Chicago.”

But New Mexico, she said, has been good for her mental health. “No matter how bad the day’s been there’s always going to be a good sunset,” she said. “Here there’s more songs with the color gold and the color red. In Chicago there were more songs about snow.”

In recent years, The Handsome Family was in Searching For the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, a captivating documentary by Andrew Douglas, an Englishman who, along with singer Jim White as a tour guide explores whiskey-soaked honky tonks, backwoods Pentecostal churches, truckstops, swamps, coal mines, prisons and barber shops of the South. Not only did they perform their music, but Douglas inserted a conversation between Brett and Rennie talking in the car about the significance of blood in Southern literature, music and religion.

Meanwhile, Rennie contributed a chapter to a 2004 collection of essays called The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad. She wrote about the classic American murder ballad “Pretty Polly,” which is the story of a woman stabbed to death in the woods by her lover.

The group’s most recent album, 2003’s Singing Bones, showed a definite southwestern influence. There was much desert imagery -- red-rock deserts, dusty mesas, rattlesnakes and mountain cats -- and even hints of Mexican music here and there.

“I’m writing a song about all these strange little graveyards you find in Albuquerque tucked away where the city’s grown around them,” Rennie said.

Added Brett, “We’ve got songs about a bowling alley bar, about deer hunting, about golf course vandalism …” The couple lives near a golf course, he explained.

The New Mexico landscape is a perfect backdrop for The Handsome Family’s stark, spooky and sometimes tragic songs.

Brett pointed out that there’s a long tradition of such themes in country music.

“I believe fundamentally that any work of art that doesn’t acknowledge the fact that we’re all mortal is incomplete or childish,” Rennie said. “I try to encompass that in my songs, even happy songs. That doesn’t mean that I’m obsessed by suicide and murder. Everybody’s had a dream where you’ve killed someone. That doesn’t mean you want to go out and murder people in your waking life.

“It doesn’t mean you should be paralyzed by fear and loathing,” she said. “You should appreciate things for their ephemeral nature. It’s nothing to be scared of.”

XXX

Joe West recently experienced a “One of Our 50 is Missing” moment. During an interview on Scottish BBC during his Fall 2005 tour of the British Isles, a radio host was praising West’s song “Trotsky’s Blues,” a surreal little rocker in which the singer sees the Russian revolutionary at Santa Fe’s Bert’s Burger Bowl.

The interviewer stated that Leon Trotsky had been killed in New Mexico and asked whether there was a “Trotsky visitor center” in Santa Fe. (Trotsky was assassinated near Mexico City.) At first West thought he was joking. “By the time I realized what he was saying, I had to play a song,” West said in a recent interview.

Maybe it’s just a testament to West’s songwriting. Even his funniest numbers ring true. A listener is tempted to believe even his wilder fantasies.

Many of West’s songs are down-to-earth tales of real-live working folks -- “Mike the Can Man,” about a neighbor of West’s who earns a living recycling trash; “Anita Pita” a single mom who cleans art galleries; “Rehab Girl,” who works at a substance-abuse treatment center and “likes her men shady.”

Many of his songs are strong on social commentary, such as “$2,000 Navajo Rug,” which lampoons Santa Fe excess.

Then there’s a whole body of Joe West “Jamie” songs, dealing with West’s mythical composite lost-love muse, who has survived domestic violence, alcoholism and untold stupid love affairs. “But the truth of the matter is I ain’t never loved a girl like her before,” West sings of Jamie on “Reprimand.”

And in his live show, you’ll be treated to West versions of cheesy ‘70s pop-country hits. At his CD release party for Human Cannonball at Santa Fe’s Tiny’s Lounge last year, he had the whole crowd singing along with every word of Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

West, 38, the son of Santa Fe artist Jerry West, has deep roots in Santa Fe. After his parents’ divorce, he split most of his school years between Santa Fe and South Dakota, where his mother had moved.

“I went to a different school almost every year,” West said. He graduated from high school in South Dakota. He graduated from the University of South Dakota, where he majored in theater.

After college in 1991 he went to New York City to pursue a career in theater. There he hooked up with a gaggle of bluegrass musicians.

“I started playing in subways,” he said. “I evolved from being a theater person to being a musician full time.”

West had dabbled in music much earlier. “When I was in junior high I got very much into punk rock, and tried to start a punk rock band, which sounded very much like an alternative folk country band,” he said. “As hard as I tried I never quite became a punk rocker.

West moved to Austin, Texas in the late ‘90s where he formed a band called Joe West & The Sinners.

But before his move to Austin, West was hanging out in Santa Fe. He befriended members of a band called ThaMuseMeant and recorded his first proper CD, Trip to Roswell New Mexico.

When West moved back to Santa Fe in 2001, ThaMuseMeant introduced him to a whole community of musicians including bands like Hundred Year Flood and Goshen who formed the nucleus of what became Frogville Records.

West has recorded two albums for the label, South Dakota Hairdo and Human Cannonball.

But he’s got outside projects as well. He’s a member of a Santa Fe gospel group called Bethleham and Eggs. And for more experimental music he’s got this contraption called The Intergalactic Honky-Tonk Machine, which West says is a "time traveling music device," which includes a drum machine, electronic tape loops and a smoke machine.

And he’s talking about doing a concept album about an “androgynous time-traveler space character” who claims to be the love child of a glam-rock star, conceived in New Mexico during the filming of The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Now that’s alternative country!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

THIS RACE IS JUST STARTING FOLKS ...

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 22, 2006


Surrogates for Gov. Bill Richardson took little time in blasting the new Republican gubernatorial candidate John Dendahl. But one e-mail from a Richardson spokesman has angered Dendahl and other Republicans. Dendahl says a news release from Richardson’s communications director, Pahl Shipley, amounts to campaigning on taxpayer’s money.

Shipley on Saturday e-mailed reporters with a short statement saying Dendahl, a former state GOP chairman, “embraces division and negativity” and decrying the Republican candidate’s “pro-drug legalization plan.”

Dendahl, as party chairman, had backed former Gov. Gary Johnson’s drug-law-reform ideas. He has said he is not proposing drug decriminalization in his campaign, but the Richardson camp has made an issue of Dendahl’s stance.

Dendahl on Wednesday faxed Richardson a letter complaining about the Shipley statement and asking to see a copy of the governor’s office policies “guiding government employees with respect to activities in support of your state and national campaigns.”

Rep. Dan Foley, R-Roswell, also weighed in on the Shipley e-mail. “This is another example of tax money being used to advertise their political agenda,” Foley said Tuesday. “If he’s such an eloquent spokesman, let him go to work for the campaign.”

Shipley responded, “The fact is it was done on my personal time and on my personal computer, although an official response was appropriate because Mr. Dendahl attacked the governor’s performance as governor.”

Then he made a jab of his own, referring to a Foley controversy: “Nevertheless, I bet my e-mail cost taxpayers a lot less than Rep. Foley's military flyover for his car-dealer friend."

The state National Guard, at Foley’s request in November, sent two New Mexico Air National Guard fighter jets to fly over the grand opening of a Roswell Toyota dealership — who was a Foley campaign contributor. Foley has denied the request was connected to the contributions.

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 22, 2006



The silence was screaming.

Last Friday, the buzz was out that J.R. Damron would be stepping down as the Republican nominee for governor. It seemed like it should have been easy enough to get someone to confirm or deny it — or perhaps to get someone to refuse to confirm or deny it, which would have been almost as good.

But it was one of those frustrating days in which nobody who knew anything about the impending move would return my phone calls. (I know at least one other reporter who went through the same thing.)

Damron, his wife, Barbara, lieutenant governor candidate Sue Wilson Beffort, state GOP chairman Allen Weh, party executive director Marta Kramer ... the list goes on.

And, not knowing he would be the one who would get the nomination, I put in a call to John Dendahl, who usually is helpful in filling me in on what’s happening with the Republican Party. But for the first time in the six years since I’ve been covering state politics, Dendahl didn’t get back to me that day.

This made me know something big was up.

Complicating matters was the fact that President Bush made an appearance in Albuquerque on Friday to help raise money for U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson’s re-election effort. Many of those I was trying to reach were there.

One might assume that one reason no Republican wanted to talk about the gubernatorial switcheroo on Friday is they didn’t want that news to compete with the coverage of the Bush visit.

However, Damron this week said the Bush visit wasn’t a consideration, at least in the discussions he’d heard.

By Saturday, the Republican Central Committee made it official. Damron was out; Dendahl was in.

Most of the people I’d called later apologized for not getting back to me. I’m still not sure why it was so important to keep this news under wrap until Saturday.

But when we get behind closed doors ... Even on Saturday, Republican honchos were determined to keep reporters in the dark until the deal was done. Moments after Damron arrived, news hounds were asked to “excuse themselves” from the room.

They closed it tighter than a conference committee at the Legislature.

“We had a little internal business,” Weh later told reporters.

Some Republicans there weren’t sure what was going on before the meeting started. Former Gov. David Cargo noted that the written agenda for the meeting said nothing about replacing the gubernatorial candidate. The action would come under “new business,” Cargo said.

Dendahl would later apologize for the move, saying he wouldn’t have closed the meeting.

Damron said he thought party leaders were worried there might be unexpected fireworks.
But back in 2003 when the central committee voted to replace Dendahl with Ramsay Gorham, the meeting was open and somehow the GOP survived.

Apparently there were no serious fights Saturday. Dendahl was nominated by acclamation. All we could hear from the outside was occasional applause. No screaming or breaking glass.

There was one almost comical moment when Cargo, ever the maverick, came out to the lobby to tell reporters Dendahl was being nominated for governor, and we should “get in there.”

We did. The reporters returned to the back of the room as Beffort was giving a speech praising her new running mate. Several committee members shot us quizzical looks. A few moments later, a young man came back and asked us to leave again.

But the room apparently was getting hot. For a while, they opened an outside door, away from the sight of reporters in the lobby. They closed those doors, however, when reporters from the Associated Press moseyed by.

Later, someone opened the door near the podium. Several reporters gathered there for a couple of minutes and heard a little more of Beffort’s speech before someone inside closed it on us.

The Cargo train: When he’s not leading reporters into meetings where they’re not welcome, Cargo is chairman of the commission that oversees the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which is owned jointly by the states of New Mexico and Colorado.

Cargo has been bragging a lot lately about the 64-mile railroad.

According to Cargo, there were 4,158 riders on the steam-powered train during the week of June 5, up from 3,285 the same week last year.

The ex-guv said he recently ribbed the current guv over his planned RailRunner Express commuter railroad. “I told him I bet more people ride my train than his,” Cargo said.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MORE ON DENDAHL/DAMRON SWITCHEROO

You can find my latest story HERE

I got a voice mail this morning from an anonymous reader who seemed angry that my stories on this political development have appeared on page one. He pointed out that Andy Lenderman's story on the drought was way back in the local section. (Then the caller got all emotional, saying, "Who gives a POOP about Dendahl??? Who gives a POOP?")

I'm pretty sure it wasn't Andy who called.

A couple of points: Reporters don't decide what goes where in the paper. Now and then I've seen stories of mine on page one that probably wouldn't have been there on busier news days. And there have been a few times I've seen stories of mine back with the hog reports and truss ads I thought should have been on page on. Every day it's a crap shoot.

But more importantly, I think there are a lot of folks out there who do "give a POOP" about this political development. If nothing else, it's one of the most unusual political moves in this state in recent memory.

If you do give a POOP, follow the link. If not, then don't. Same for the link to the drought story.

Monday, June 19, 2006

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, June 18, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
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

FATHERS DAY SET
Just Like My Dad by ThaMuseMeant
Pappa Won't Leave You, Henry by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Pappa Was a Steel-Headed Man by Robbie Fulks
Dad, I'm In Jail by Was (Not Was)
Drunk Daddy by Cherry-Poppin' Daddies
Adam Raised a Cain by Bruce Springsteen

A Father and a Son by Loudon Wainwright III
My Old Man's a Fatso by The Angry Samoans
Bow Tie Daddy by The Mothers of Invention
The Farmer's Daughter by Merle Haggard
Our Patriarch by The Gourds
I Want You to Hurt Like I Do by Randy Newman
My Old Man by Jerry Jeff Walker
Last Ship Leaving by Elvis Costello


Get on the Boat by Prince
Everybody is a Star by Sly & The Family Stone with The Roots
Cloud 9 by The Temptations
Why Can't We Be Friends by War
Bunzu Sounds by Zinabu
I Like the Things About Me by The Staples Singers
St. James Infirmary by Chris Thomas King

Bad Treatment by Rev. Beat Man & The Church of Herpes
Bucket of Juice by Big Ugly Guys
Nancy Reagan's Head by Mission of Burma
Japanese Rhumba by Petty Booka
I-Yah-Hoy by Shoukichi Kina
Golden Shore by Frank Black
I Love Her, She Loves Me by NRBQ
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, June 18, 2006

ENTER DENDAHL

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 18, 2006


JOHN DENDAHL
ALBUQUERQUE — Following the abrupt withdrawal of Republican gubernatorial candidate J.R. Damron from the race, GOP leaders meeting behind closed doors Saturday named former state party chairman John Dendahl to run against incumbent Gov. Bill Richardson.

Dendahl described the nomination by the state Republican Central Committee as a “wonderful homecoming.” Three years ago, the committee ousted Dendahl as state chairman in a bitter contest.

Dendahl was nominated by acclamation, state GOP chairman Allen Weh told reporters following the meeting. He noted that many present who voted for Dendahl on Saturday had voted against him in 2003. “This party is very, very unified,” Weh said.

Damron, a Santa Fe physician and political novice, mailed a letter Friday to the secretary of state officially withdrawing from the race, Weh told reporters.

Damron, who left the meeting before reporters were allowed in, didn’t explain exactly why he decided to quit the race. One campaign staffer said the move was “100 percent voluntary.”

In recent weeks, some Republicans have complained privately that the Damron campaign had not been aggressive enough in the race against Richardson, whose poll numbers remain high and whose money-raising ability has dwarfed Damron’s.

By the first of June, the incumbent reported about $5.7 million in the bank. Damron had just over $43,000 and campaign debts totaling $120,000.

“I’ve got to start at scratch,” Dendahl said Saturday. “We have to find out whether there’s serious Republicans in this state and out of state who will help finance this campaign.”

But Dendahl said he doesn’t have to match Richardson “dollar for dollar” to run a credible campaign.

Dendahl has written a political column for The New Mexican and other newspapers in recent years. “I’m able to make terse, clear statements to clearly and concisely articulate why Bill Richardson’s approach is so bad for our state,” he said.

Dendahl, 67, headed what was then the Tourism and Economic Development Department in the 1980s under the Gov. Garrey Carruthers. He ran for the GOP nomination for governor in 1994, losing to Gary Johnson in the primary.

While Dendahl has never been afraid to take off the gloves with any political opponent, Democrats on Saturday didn’t hesitate to attack Dendahl’s nomination.

“For the Republicans to nominate a negative-campaigning partisan in a last-minute political deal strikes me as an act of desperation,” said Dave Contarino, Richardson’s chief political adviser. “A lot of right-thinking Republicans are going to scratch their heads. Dendahl has been divisive in his own party.”

One Republican at the meeting was less than enthusiastic about Dendahl. “We couldn’t have chosen a more divisive candidate,” said former Gov. David Cargo, long known as a party maverick.

In an e-mail statement, state Democratic Party chairman John Wertheim called Dendahl, “a venomous and divisive radical.”

Both Contarino and Wertheim immediately seized upon an issue that got Dendahl in trouble with his own party: drug-law reform. During the last term of Gov. Johnson’s administration, Dendahl strongly backed Johnson’s efforts to decriminalize marijuana.

On Saturday, Dendahl said he’d told state party leaders that his gubernatorial campaign would not “have the luxury of pioneering new policies” because he’ll be too focused on pointing out flaws in Richardson’s policies.

Polls in New Mexico show strong support for at least one of the ideas Dendahl backed — making marijuana legal for treating certain serious illnesses. Richardson this year endorsed a bill that would have established a state medical-marijuana program.

Though Contarino said Richardson is looking forward to “a public debate” over the issues during the campaign, he said it’s too early to say whether the governor would debate Dendahl one-on-one.

Dendahl said he first heard about Damron’s decision to withdraw early last week. Lieutenant governor candidate Sue Beffort Wilson said she only learned about it Friday.

Damron’s withdrawal comes only two weeks after he won the Republican primary. He only had a write-in opponent in the primary.

Also about two weeks ago, Damron announced he was closing his medical practice in Santa Fe. He is president of Santa Fe Radiology.

Though Damron was considered a political unknown, he’d been active in county Republican politics, serving as treasurer of the Santa Fe County GOP.

He started out the year aggressively campaigning against Richardson. Shortly after Richardson’s state-of-the-state address on the first day of the state Legislature’s session in January, Damron came to the Capitol Rotunda and gave a response, blasting Richardson for traveling too much and for increasing the governor’s staff as well as for transportation proposals including the planned spaceport and passenger-rail system.

In May, he made a speech blasting Richardson for running “the most corrupt administration in our state’s history.”

At least one of his attacks proved untrue, however. Damron recently claimed Richardson had convinced the Legislature to increase the number of days the governor could travel out of state. No such legislation ever passed.

Damron’s campaign manager Greg Graves quit in April, and no one was hired to replace him.

There appeared to be personal animosity between Damron and Richardson.

In April, Damron’s wife, Barbara, said she had been “pressured” to resign from the St. Vincent Regional Medical Center’s governing board by hospital officials who feared retribution from Richardson.

According to Barbara Damron, hospital president Alex Valdez told her that her presence on the board might jeopardize state funds for St. Vincent. When asked about that statement, Valdez said, “I don’t respond to rumors.” A Richardson spokesman denied the governor forced Barbara Damron off the board.

Prior to J.R. Damron’s announcement, Graves, a former executive director of the state Republican Party, said before he left the Damron campaign in April, he advised the candidate to “think very strongly if he really wanted to do this or not.” J.R. Damron at the time said he wanted to go through with the campaign, Graves said.

Also on Saturday, the GOP chose another candidate for the state auditor’s race. Albuquerque accountant Lorenzo Garcia will replace Daniel Alvarez, who withdrew his candidacy. Garcia is up against Democrat Jeff Armijo in the general election.

XXXX

John Dendahl



Age: 67

Residence: Santa Fe

Education: Bachelor’s degree, electrical engineering, business administration, University of Colorado, 1961

Past government experience: Secretary of Economic Development and Tourism, 1988-90

Past political experience: Chairman of New Mexico Republican Party, 1995-2003; sought GOP nomination for governor, 1994

Other work: Newspaper columnist; property manager; president First National Bank of Santa Fe; real-estate developer; former chief executive officer of Eberline Instrument Co., a Santa Fe firm now known as Thermo, that manufactures radiation-measuring equipment

Civic: Former chairman of the St. John’s College board; former member of Santa Fe Opera board

Personal: Wife, Jackie Dendahl; five children, two stepchildren, nine grandchildren. Dendahl was a member of the 1960 Olympic Cross Country Ski team. His father grew up on the land where the present state Capitol now stands.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

DAMRON OUT/DENDAHL IN


In an abrupt move, Republican Dr. J.R. Damron dropped out of the race for governor. The state GOP Central Committee chose former state party chairman John Dendahl to take his place.

Here's the wire story

Here's Republican blogger Whitney Cheshire's post.

Here's the official press release from the Republicans:


ALBUQUERQUE - Members of the New Mexico Republican State Central Committee voted unanimously this morning to place John Dendahl on the ballot in the race for New Mexico Governor.

At the meeting - which had been previously scheduled to deal with the withdrawal of GOP State Auditor Candidate Dan Alvarez - party activists were notified by candidate JR Damron that he was withdrawing from the race for Governor. Following Damron's announcement, John Dendahl was nominated by a member of the State Central Committee to fill newly created vacancy in this year's gubernatorial contest.

Dendahl's nomination was seconded by GOP 2nd Vice Chair Ceil Levatino from Las Cruces, New Mexico. GOP Lieutenant Governor candidate Sue Wilson Beffort also spoke in support of the nomination.

John Dendahl is a former State GOP Chairman, Secretary of Economic Development and was a candidate for Governor in 1994.

Lorenzo Garcia was nominated and approved unanimously by the State Central Committee as the replacement for withdrawn State Auditor candidate Dan Alvarez.

Here's the response from the office of Democratic incumbent Bill Richardson:


“It looks like the Republican Party has chosen a candidate who embraces division and negativity, and who is completely out of touch with what matters to most New Mexicans.” said Pahl Shipley, Communications Director for Governor Richardson. “We welcome the opportunity to hear John Dendahl explain his pro-drug legalization plan throughout the campaign."
I'll have more in Sunday's New Mexican.

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, June 16, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
I'm Ragged but I'm Right by George Jones
Slash From Guns 'n' Roses by I See Hawks in L.A.
The Night Miss Nancy's Ann's Hotel For Single Girls Burned Down by Hank Thompson
Cry Like a Baby by Hacienda Brothers
Helium Heart by Lonesome Brothers
Down on the Riverbed by Dave Alvin
Mohave High by Tony Gilkyson
Red Neck, Blue Collar by James Luther Dickinson

Long Gone by The Rivet Gang
It's Surprising What the Lord Can Do by The Del McCoury Band
To Ramona by The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Dolphins by Panama Red
Travelin' Man by David Bromberg
Sputnik 57 by The Minus Five
Old and In the Way by Hazel Dickens

Expose by Guy Clark
Ohoopee River Bottomland by Larry Jon Wilson
Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes by Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man) by Sam Bush
Cookville Kid by Porter Wagoner
I Love You So Much It Hurts Me by Floyd Tillman with Connie Smith
Blind by The Bottle Rockets
Beautiful William by The Handsome Family
Pappa's Jumpin' by Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys

Sign on the Wall by Fred Eaglesmith
Help Me Make it Through the Night by Bruce Robinson & Kelly Willis
Honeychild by Susan Cowsill
Holes by Jon Dee Graham
A Teardrop on a Rose by Hank Williams
Wings of a Dove by Lucinda Williams & Nanci Griffith
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, June 16, 2006

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: HIS NAME IS PRINCE, HE IS STILL FUNKY

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 16, 2006



Here’s the deal on Prince: I’ve liked just about every Prince album I’ve ever heard. (I confess, I’ve heard very little from the decade or so between Emancipation and Musicology.)


But I haven’t loved a Prince album since his Batman soundtrack back in 1989. I’ll argue that that’s his most unjustly underrated work, and I’m surprised that more artists haven’t sampled Jack Nicholson, as The Joker, proclaiming, “This town needs an enema!”

As for Prince’s latest, 3121, I can’t say I love it. But I do like it, and I like it a little more with each listening. Like Musicology, which immediately preceded it, 3121 is a fine showcase of everything that makes Prince the Prince he is: wild funk workouts, sultry soul ballads, unbridled weirdness, unabashed self-indulgence and sly, self-effacing humor.

The title song starts off like some twisted, midperiod Talking Heads groove. Prince, aided by a chorus of altered funk-Munchkin voices (his own, of course), sings about a place that’s magically hedonistic. “Take your pick from the Japanese robes and sandals/Drink champagne from a glass with chocolate handles/Don’t you wanna come? 3121.”

So what exactly is 3121? Don’t ask me. It sounds like an address, but knowing Prince, there’s probably some esoteric numerology going on here. My favorite guess is one I found on a Prince fan site that quotes the New Living Translation of the Bible’s Psalm 31:21. “Praise the Lord, for he has shown me his unfailing love. He kept me safe when my city was under attack.” But someone else there guesses it’s a PIN for an ATM.

The next song is downright hilarious. “Lolita” deals with the ever-present rock ’n’ roll danger of jail bait. But here Prince takes the moral high ground, refusing Lolita’s advances, surprising himself in the process. “Cool together, yes I must admit/Long time ago, we’d be the shhh ... uh oh.” The funniest part is the call-and-response section, when Prince asks the “fellas” just “How bad is this girl?” Then he asks Lolita herself: “Then what you wanna do?/(Anything you want?)/Then come on, let’s dance/(Dance?!)” The girl (actually Prince, again in altered voice) is dismayed.

So this is the same guy who inspired Tipper Gore’s children’s crusade against raunch in rock 20 years ago? Don’t worry; he hasn’t become a complete prude. He gets downright prurient in “Black Sweat,” bragging, “You’ll be screaming like a white lady when I count to three.” And in the next song, he’s seducing a woman in “a room of incense and candles.”

The final cut, “Get on the Boat,” is nothing short of irresistible. It sounds almost like salsa, but it’s got gospel overtones — an old-fashioned joyful call for loving one another and unity: “Get on the boat now/We got room for a hundred more,” Prince sings. Instead of sounding corny, the song is so high-energy it’s exhilarating.

And it’s an impressive little band Prince has assembled. James Brown’s sax man Maceo Parker blows here, as does Dutch sax princess Candy Dulfer. Longtime Prince cohort Sheila E. does her trademark Latin percussion assault. And Prince’s own piano solo sounds like he’s auditioning for the Afro-Cuban All Stars.

Unfortunately not all the songs reach this level. There are too many slow ones, like the MOR religious statement called “Beautiful, Loved and Blessed.” And then there’s “Te Amo Corazón,” which sounds like Prince is trying to get a foothold in the “romantico” Latin radio format.

But don’t be too quick with the skip button. Prince is still capable of surprising his listeners and rescuing a weak song. For instance, “The Dance” starts out like an overblown, mediocre ballad. But by the end, the singer works himself into an inspired emotional tizzy, alternately pleading with and threatening his lover, and the monologue melts into delicious self-parody: “Oh baby, I can find another just like you anywhere/Oh baby, they might not have your hips girl/Or all that pretty hair/But at least they won’t spend all day in the mirror.”

I don’t know what boat Prince is on, but it’s great to see he’s still afloat.

Also recommended:

* Different Strokes by Different Folks by Sly & The Family Stone (and different folks). When I first played this CD, I thought it was a tribute album. There are all these different singers and rappers doing Sly songs — though you keep hearing familiar voices and instrumentals by Sly and his old band.

But no, it’s not a tribute album in the usual sense of the word. These are actually “14 Sly and the Family Stone classics reimagined by today’s hottest stars.” In other words, those great old songs like “Dance to the Music,”“I Want to Take You Higher,” and “Family Affair” have been remixed and regurgitated.

For years I’ve had a bizarre fantasy of “reimagining” the song “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” adding my voice to those of Willie and Julio, as if I were one of their pals.

Actually, the idea’s not new. Years ago a character who called himself “Orion,” with the help of producer/con man Shelby Singleton, “reimagined” hits by Elvis and other Sun Records giants. Then there were those musical séances in which Hank Williams Jr. and Natalie Cole performed “duets” with their long-dead fathers.

In the case of Different Strokes, however, Sly himself produced this tampering with his landmark recordings. And I’m surprised I like them as much as I do. How could you not like a team-up of Public Enemy’s Chuck D with soul demiurge Isaac Hayes (and younger singer D’Angelo) on “Sing a Simple Song”?

While rappers and contemporary R & B artists dominate this project, there are exceptions. “I Want to Take You Higher” features Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and sacred-steel jam-bander Robert Randolph, both of whom do the tune justice. And “You Can Make It If You Try” has bluesman Buddy Guy and John Mayer turning the song into a snazzy little guitar pull.

No, these new versions never will take the place of the old Sly hits. But most of them are a lot of fun.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

ART APPRECIATION

Dogs Playing Poker and the Two Kings



O.K., I just wanted to try this YouTube deal. (This one's for John Yeager.)

KEEP ON TRUCKIN'

State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons got some heat for his campaign pickup truck. (CLICK HERE, then scroll down to about the middle of the page.)

Now his Democratic opponent, Jim Baca, has a campaign truck of his own.

MELVIN AND HOWARD AND STUART

A lawyer I've known for nearly 20 years is representing Melvin Dummar in his new effort to win part of Howard Hughes' estate. Below is my quick account of the case in today's New Mexican. And here's a story that appeared in The Wall Street Journal. CLICK HERE

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 15, 2006



No, it’s not a remake of the 1980 movie Melvin and Howard. It’s real life.

A New Mexico lawyer, who used to practice in Santa Fe, is representing the Utah man who inspired that film in a new effort to win part of the late billionaire Howard Hughes’ fortune — $156 million.

Stuart Stein said Wednesday that new evidence has emerged to justify a new claim by Melvin Dummar.

Dummar, 61, contends that in 1967 he picked up a bloody and haggard man on a lonely Nevada road. The man, Dummar says, identified himself as Hughes. Dummar said he agreed to drive him to Las Vegas.

Dummar, a former gas station operator, originally made the claim following the eccentric billionaire’s death in 1976. In 1978 a jury in a Nevada probate court case determined that an alleged Hughes will, which named Dummar as a beneficiary, was not admissible in court.

The new lawsuit was filed this week in federal court. Dummar claims William Rice Lummis, a cousin of Hughes, and former Hughes executive Frank William Gay got witnesses to lie when they said Hughes never left the suite at The Desert Inn in Las Vegas, where the reclusive Hughes laid low for years.

The new suit cites new evidence uncovered by Gary Magnesen, a former FBI agent who wrote a book about Dummar's claim. In The Investigation, Magnesen said he spoke with Hughes' former pilot, Robert Deiro, who confirmed taking his boss to the Cottontail Ranch brothel at Lida Junction, Nev.

According to the new lawsuit, Deiro was sworn to secrecy while working for Hughes. But recently he came forward and said he took Hughes to the brothel one night late in December 1967. The pilot said he fell asleep and couldn't find Hughes after he woke up.

Dummar claims he found Hughes t when he pulled off on a dirt road to relieve himself. After refusing medical help, Dummar said the stranger asked for a lift to Las Vegas and Dummar took him there, dropping him off behind the Sands Hotel and giving him some pocket change.

"On the way to Las Vegas, he told me who he was, but I didn't believe him. I thought he was just a bum or a prospector or something, and I didn't really believe that he was Howard Hughes," Dummar said at a press conference in Salt Lake City this week.

Dummar said he did come to believe it was Hughes, and that about eight years later a handwritten will leaving him 1/16th of Hughes' estate was delivered to his gas station.

The pilot, Stein said, claims that Hughes frequented the services of a prostitute named “Sunny,” who was known for having a diamond inset in one of her teeth. The pilot claims he transported Hughes to the Cottontail Ranch and another brothel to enjoy the company of “Sunny,” Stein said.

Stein has set up a toll-free number for anyone with information on the prostitute or other aspects of the case. That number is 877-460-0100.

“I spoke to one of the jurors in the original case,” Stein said. “He said that had he known that Hughes frequently left the hotel, he might have decided the other way.”

Stein said he was retained after he interviewed author Magnesen on his radio show earlier this year. Stein has a weekly show about estate planning on KKOB AM that airs 7 am Saturdays.

Another Santa Fe connection to the Dummar suit, Stein said, is a local woman who once worked for Hughes and was acquainted with Hughes. The woman, who Stein declined to name, is a possible witness, he said.

Stein perhaps is best known locally for representing former Municipal Judge Tom Fiorina during his investigations by the state Judicial Standards Commission in the 1990s. He now lives in Albuquerque.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

ROUNDHOUSE ROUND-UP: GOP QUESTIONS PATSY PAC

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 15, 2006



New Mexico’s Republican delegation on Wednesday complained to the Federal Elections Commission about a political-action committee started by Congresswoman Heather Wilson’s Democratic opponent, Attorney General Patricia Madrid.

“It appears that Patricia Madrid has violated federal campaign-finance laws that prohibit the use of “soft money” in a federal election campaign,” says the letter to the FEC signed by Wilson, Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Steve Pearce.

The PAC, called Justice For America, raised nearly $500,000 between May 2005 and October 2005, when Madrid announced her candidacy for Congress. The PAC spent nearly $125,000 between May 2005 and this May and has about $492,000 in the bank.


The PAC was visibly raising money just a month before Madrid announced her candidacy. On Sept. 15, the committee hosted former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at a $1,000-per-ticket fundraiser in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque.

Under federal law, a candidate for a federal office can’t use money raised for a state PAC. A spokeswoman for the Madrid campaign said that money is “frozen” and has never been used for the congressional race.

But the Republican trio said in their FEC complaint that some of the expenditures “seem to have benefited Madrid and her campaign (for Congress).”

Specifically, the delegation mentions $17,000 in payments to a Washington, D.C., political-consulting firm called Lake, Snell, Perry and Mermin between June 2005 and last September. There also is a Jan. 17, 2006, payment to the firm for $49.64 for “conference calls.”

Madrid campaign manager Caroline Buerkle said none of the firm’s services were for the congressional race. The conference calls took place before Madrid announced for Congress, Buerkle said.

Even if the PAC is dormant, the Republicans argued, Madrid’s husband, Michael Messina, is the chairman of the PAC. This indicates Madrid still has some level of control of the funds, the complaint says.

Part of the FEC complaint reads as if it was meant for eyes beyond the FEC bureaucrats who will deal with the complaint. In fact, at least one part sounds like an attack ad.

Referring to Justice for America, the complaints says, “Virtually all of its donors were wealthy lawyers, corporations or affluent businessmen, most of whom donated thousands of dollars, in excess of any federal limits.”

Madrid spokeswoman Heather Brewer said the complaint shows Wilson is “grabbing at straws” and trying to divert attention from the fact that she has returned only a fraction of the money that embattled former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay donated to her.

Since her first election in 1998, Wilson received nearly $47,000 from DeLay's political-action committee. Last year, she returned the $10,000 she'd collected from DeLay's PAC in June after DeLay was indicted on state charges in Texas. But she didn’t return the $36,959 she received from DeLay between 1998 and 2003. Wilson campaign officials have said she won't return that money.

Black-rubber clouds: If the sky seems dark over Albuquerque this afternoon, it might not be the weather.


A group calling itself PAC505 plans to protest today’s visit by President Bush by tethering some 200 helium-filled black balloons over buildings and homes.

“The balloons will be sufficiently large and elevated to significantly alter the skyscape of downtown and the greater metropolitan area,” PAC505’s Web site says.

“The Black Balloon Fiesta represents a new mode of peaceful political action,” the site says. “In an era when progressives are, for whatever reasons, less inclined to take to the streets and protest, PAC505 is formulating new ways of providing them with a unified voice.”

I guess that beats snorting tear gas and dodging police birdshot, like I remember from my Albuquerque protest days a few decades ago.

Bush is going to Albuquerque to help raise money for Wilson’s campaign.

It’s not clear who makes up PAC505. No names appear on the Web site and no one has filed with the FEC. We’re not sure whether the rubber and helium industries are contributors.

The Madrid campaign says it’s not associated with this PAC. But the state Democratic Party apparently has embraced the idea. “The balloons are symbolic of Wilson's reference during the Republican National Convention when she called George W. Bush her ‘beacon,’ ” a state party news release said.

NET NEUTRALITY and UDALL


I published a story in today's New Mexican about Congressman Tom Udall catching grief from Democrats as well as his Republican opponent over his vote last week on the telecommunications bill known as the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act.

Here's what Democracy For New Mexico had to say about the vote:
CLICK HERE

Udall's GOP opponent Ron Dolin doesn't have his statement on this issue posted on his Web site yet. Some of his comments are included in my story.

A little background on the issue:

The COPE Act is opposed by a wide-reaching, diverse umbrella group called the Save the Internet Coalition, whose include groups like The American Civil Liberties Union, The Christian Coalition, Moveon.org, Common Cause, Parents Television Council, U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group), The American Library Association and Gun Owners of America.

According to the coalition’s Web site, net neutrality is “the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.”

According to the coalition, companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner “want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video — while slowing down or blocking their competitors.”

This would be the end result of the COPE Act, the coalition says.

“These companies have a new vision for the Internet,” the Web site says. “Instead of an even playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services — or those from big corporations that can afford the steep tolls — and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road.”

Here's the House vote on the COPE Act: CLICK HERE

Here's the link to an OpenSecrets.org page on Udall's contributors: CLICK HERE

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, July 21, 2017 KSFR, Santa Fe, NM Webcasting! 10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM Email m...