Wednesday, September 30, 2009

R.I.P. AMY FARRIS

AMY FARRIS: A GUILTY WOMAN
I just learned that Austin fiddler Amy Farris died over the weekend.

I just saw her in August playing with Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women at the Santa Fe Brewing Company, where I snapped this photo. She was a wonderful musician.

A brief in the Austin Statesman blog is HERE.

UPDATE:
Still no word on cause of death. The Yep-Roc site says she'd suffered a long illness.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages you to send a donation in her honor to Hungry For Music, Inc, a nonprofit effort to provide musical instruments to underprivileged children with a hunger to play.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, September 27, 2009
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

Webcasting!
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell@ksfr.org

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
It's Money That I Love by Randy Newman
Where's the Money by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Long Green by Barrence Whitfield
Money (That's What I Want) by Jerry Lee Lewis
Money Honey by Elvis Presley
No Money, No Honey by Beck
Give Me Wine or Money by The Mekons
Material Girl by Petty Booka
Brother Can You Spare a Dime by Dr. John & Odetta

Didn't It Rain by The Tormenters
I Ain't Got You by The Yardbirds
Blues That Defy My Soul by Dex Romweber
Baby Doll by The Del Moroccos
Bow Down and Die by The Almighty Defenders
Holy Hack Jack by Demented Are Go
Wasting My Time by The White Stripes
Gimme Some Water by The Guilty Hearts
Green Fuzz by The Cramps
Little Annie Fanny by The Kingsmen

Look for the Question Mark by The Fuzztones
Outrun the Law by The Things
Satanic Rite by Los Peyotes
Into the Drink by Mudhoney
Do You Swing by The Fleshtones
Shake It Wild by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Hey Joe by The Leaves
Get on the Right Track, Baby by The Monsters
Sea and Sand by The Polkaholics

Somebody Stop Me by The Dynamites with Charles Walker
Bad Trip by Lee Fields
Ode to Billy Joe/Hip Hug Her by Wiley & The Checkmates
King Cobra by The Budos Band
Cold Bologna by The Isley Brothers
Choices by Bettye LaVette
This Land Is Your Land by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

SUPPORT THE KSFR FUNDRAISER

OK you ham-and-eggers, KSFR, Santa Fe Public Radio, is in the middle of our fall fund drive and it's about time you forked it over.

I know these are difficult financial times for a lot of us, but we have to keep KSFR afloat.

In case you didn't know, I produce two shows on KSFR, The Santa Fe Opry on Friday nights (starts 10 pm Mountain Time) and Terrell's Sound World same time on Sunday night. (My podcast, The Big Enchilada, isn't directly affiliated with KSFR, but the music on the podcasts is the same type of stuff I play on my shows.)

KSFR is a public station is a public station which means we aren't supported by advertising. We're supported by our listeners and our underwriters. (If your business would like to consider underwriting CHECK THIS PAGE.)

Being a public station also means its locally controlled. Our music shows don't follow playlists created by out of state marketers. Local people like we play the music we want. Check out the great shows KSFR officers on our program guide.

But like I said at the beginning of this post, it's time to fork it over! You can pledge online or during daytime hours you can call 428-1393. If you're out of the Santa Fe area, there's a toll-free pledge number, 1-800-907-5737. I'll be on the air tonight at 10 pm, so I'll be happy to personally take your pledge at 505-428-1382.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

BIG ENCHILADA # 14

THE BIG ENCHILADA


Another Big Enchilada podcast is served. Watch out, that plate is hot!

Unlike my past few Big Enchilada shows, there's no overriding theme on Podcast 14 -- just Freeform Weirdo podcasting at its finest with pulse-pounding tunes by Roky Erikson, Wolfman Jack & The Wolfpack , The Almighty Defenders, Johnny Burnette, John Schooley, Nathaniel Mayer, Monkeyshines and so many more.

And in the middle of the show there's a mini-version of what I like to call "Around The World in a Daze," raw, rockin' international sounds from the four corners of this delightful planet.

CLICK HERE to download the podcast. (To save it, right click on the link and select "Save Target As.") NOTE: This link was repaired on 10-10-09.

Or better yet, stop messing around and CLICK HERE to subscribe to my podcasts and HERE to directly subscribe on iTunes.

You can play it on the little feedplayer below:




The (New Improved!) Big Enchilada Web Site with my podcast jukebox and all the shows is HERE.

The official Big Enchilada Web Site with my podcast jukebox and all the shows is HERE.

Here's the play list:

(Background Music: Special Rate Sherry by Vinnie Santino)
All My Lovin' by The Almighty Defenders
It's a Crying Shame by The Gentlemen
Lonesome Train (On a Lonesome Track) by Johnny Burnette & The Rock 'n' Roll Trio
Rattlesnake, Baby, Rattlesnake by Joe Johnson
Mama Get the Hammer by Barrence Whitfield
The Crooked Path by John Schooley & His One Man Band

(Background Music: The Good, The Bad and The Chutney by Kalyanji & Anandji Shah)
Chlopci by Kazik Staszewski
El Reportero by Los Tigres del Norte
Go Man Go by The Olympians
Betchayén Tègodahu by Alemayehu Eshete
Good to Be Bad by The Deadly Vibes
Kaw Liga by Silver Sand

(Background Music: Pale White Surfer by The Mistaken)
Two Gray Hairs by Monkeyshines
White Dress by Nathaniel Mayer
Wolfman Boogie (Part 1) by Wolfman Jack & The Wolfpack
It's a Cold Night for Alligators by Roky Erikson & The Aliens
House of Voodoo by Half Japanese
(Background Music: Chicken Slacks by RIAA)

Friday, September 25, 2009

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, September 25, 2009
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell@ksfr.org

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Boogie Woogie Country Girl by Cornell Hurd
Rebel Rock Armageddon by The Riptones
Rockin' Spot by Cody Coldiron
Battle of Love by Mose McCormack
Long Gone Daddy by Arty Hill & The Long Gone Daddies
Good Lovin' by C.C. Adcock
Shake a Leg by Kim Lenz & Her Jaguars
Word to the Wise by Quarter Mile Combo
Ants on the Melon by The Gourds
Didn't He Ramble by Loudon Wainwright III

Betty and Dupree by Billy Lee Riley
Let's Pretend by Ethyl & The Regulars
Dumb Blonde by Dolly Parton
Heartache Ahead by Wanda Jackson
Big City Good Time Gal by Wayne Hancock
Bring it On Down to My House by Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel
Bayou Tortue by James McMurty
I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again by The Maddox Brothers & Rose

Insane Thing by Exene Cervenka
Big Mamou by Waylon Jennings
Can't Go On This Way by Hot Club of Cowtown
Party Slab by Ronnie Dawson
Gee I Really Love You by Heavy Trash
I Push Right Over by Robbie Fulks
Umm Boy You're My Baby by Bill Johnson & The Dabblers
Foothill Boogie by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys
Drinking With Jesus by The Red Elvises
Hard Travelin' by Simon Stokes

Somedays You Write the Song by Guy Clark
Across the Borderline by Jim Dickinson with Chuck Prophet
Walking to the End of the World by Amy Allison
It's All Over Now Baby Blue by The Byrds
I'm Not Ready Yet by George Jones
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: FUZZY SOUNDS

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 25, 2009



At last a “greatest hits” compilation by The Fuzztones. This is the first ever such collection — well, at least since 2005’s LSD 25: 25 Years of Fuzz and Fury.

But if you’re like me and don’t have that previous compilation, this new one, Lysergic Legacy, by Rudi Protrudi and his philosophers of furious fuzz — on the Cleopatra label, if anyone’s keeping score — is great. (If you do have the older album, take note: according to the Allmusic Guide, the two albums have 17 of the same songs.)

As lovers of the garage-rock sound know, “fuzz” is more than just an effect on the guitar. It’s a state of mind. It’s an attitude that The Fuzztones have championed since the early ’80s. Like their contemporaries, The Fleshtones and The Cramps, they sprang out of New York. But, along with the obligatory personnel changes, The Fuzztones have moved around. They were in California for awhile, but fell apart in the early ’90s after a major record label deal flopped. The Fuzztones regrouped this century in Europe. Protrudi and his fuzzy friends have been based in Germany in recent years.

Lysergic Legacy includes a couple of tunes (“Garden of My Mind” and “Third Time’s the Charm”) from the band’s most recent studio record, last year’s Horny as Hell — an album known for the addition of a horn section to the basic psychedelic/garage sound. There are also several original versions of songs that were reworked for Horny, like “Johnson in a Headlock,” which was originally released in 2004, and “Ward 81,” which goes back to the early ’80s.

If you listen to a particular handful of tracks here, you might think you have a garage-punk version of Frank Sinatra’s Duets. That’s because of some impressive guest appearances by ’60s Nuggets-era greats. “Get Naked” features the late Sky “Sunlight” Saxon of The Seeds. Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere & The Raiders belts out “Caught You Red Handed.” James Lowe of The Electric Prunes can be heard on “Hallucination Generation.” And the raga-rocking “All the King’s Horses” features Arthur Lee of Love and Sean Bonniwell of The Music Machine.

Sorry Mysterians fans — you won’t hear the artist formerly known as Rudy Martinez on “Look for the Question Mark.”

And there’s not one but two covers of songs by The Sonics, “Strychnine” and “Cinderella.” The Fuzztones did a tribute EP to this classic garage band from Seattle a few years ago.

A quarter century is a long time to be in the fuzz and fury game. But, judging by the sound of the more recent tracks on this collection, I’m betting Rudy Protrudi has many more years in him.

More sounds from the world garage:

* Some Kind of Kick by The Things. This is a garage-punk band from Dublin that I stumbled across while looking for new kicks on eMusic. The quartet is led by singer Neilo Thing (the musicians should have gone Dr. Seuss on us, calling themselves “Thing 1,” “Thing 2,” etc.). This album, full of high-charged snot-rock, was released early this year.

Despite The Things’ Irish heritage, you don’t hear much of the shamrock shores in them. They sound nothing like The Pogues — and, thankfully, even less like U2. In fact, if anything, they remind me a lot of The Fuzztones, whom I bet they idolize. Both bands are heavy on the retro electric organ (in The Things’ case, sometimes played on a nice-and-cheesy-sounding synth) and basic garage hooks.

There are some cool spooky tunes like “Demon Stomp” (I can’t really make out the lyrics, except where Neilo says complimentary things about vampire girls) and “Psycho Lover.” You can hear the guiding spirit of The Doors’ Ray Manzarek in Ruairi Paxton’s keyboard solo on “Think” (try not to think of “Break on Through”). The jittery “Make Her Cry” name-checks Johnny Cash. And the slow-dance “Sandy” sounds like The Black Lips attempting country music.

But my favorite here is “Set Me Free,” in which Neilo seems to channel The Hives’ Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist.


* ¡Cavernicola! by Los Peyotes. Here’s a reissue of an early album (from the golden days of 2005) by Argentina’s leading garage band. London’s Dirty Water records recently made the album available in a digital version on your popular download services (including Amazon, iTunes, and eMusic).

There are plenty of Peyotes originals on this record as well as Spanish-language covers of crazy old rock songs. The group resurrects the infamous “Fire” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, called “Fuego” here. Los Peyotes also do “Jack the Ripper” (Screamin’ Lord Sutch’s song, not Link Wray’s famous instrumental).

And like The Fuzztones (and like me), these Argentines are Sonics fans. Here they do “The Witch.”

Give el Diablo his due. Los Peyotes do a four-and-a-half-minute “Satanic Ritual” kicked off with a slow cheapo horror-movie organ solo. Two tunes, “El humo te hace mal” and “I Don’t Mind” would later appear on Introducing Los Peyotes, which was released last year. And the “secret” bonus song at the end of “The Witch” (no, it’s not really a 10-minute version of the song) is “Scream,” a song that also appears on Introducing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE DAY: LSD MADE A WRECK OUTTA ME

Here's a live 1991 performance by T. Tex Edwards & The Swingin' Cornflake Killers (I gues his band Out on Parole hadn't been paroled yet) doing a classic musical cautionary tale.



I like this almost as much as this one.

And for the original "LSD" by Wendell Austin (as well as a link to the landmark "I Wanna Come Back from the World of LSD" by New Mexico's Fe-Fi-Four Plus Two, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, September 20, 2009
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell@ksfr.org

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
(Brian Hardgroove in studio for interviews between songs)
Can You Hear Me by OverShine
How Can You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul by Public Enemy
69 Faces of Love by King Khan & The Shrines
Got a Thing on My Mind by Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
It's a Sunny Day by The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker

Fugo Fish by Simon Stokes & Timothy Leary
This Sinister Urge by The Fuzztone
I Don't Want No Funky Chicken by Wiley & The Checkmates
That Man in Your Bed by The Hormonauts
Blue Black Hair by The Del Moroccos
Rootie Tootie Baby by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
The Lover's Curse by The A-Bones
Gunpowder by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

Satisfy You by The Seeds
Moving On by The Things
Ferryboat Bill by The Velvet Underground
The Other Side of This Life by The Jefferson Airplane
Mocker by Los Peyotes
Psycho by The Sonics
Whatcha Gonna Do by Andre Williams & The Dirtbombs
Get on the Good Foot by Lee Fields

Tower of Song by Nick Cave
God Box by The Fall
Haywire Hodaddy by The Hodads
Battle Cry by Monkeyshines
Mama Get the Hammer by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Into the Drink by Mudhoney
Walking Through a Cemetery by The Monsters
Please Please Please by James Brown
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

HARDGROOVE ON SOUNDWORLD TONIGHT

CHUCK D & BRIAN HARDGRROVE Don't forget to tune into Terrell's Sound World 10 p.m. Mountain Time tonight on KSFR. I'll be joined by Brian Hardgroove who's going to talk about his new band OverShine, the upcoming Santa Fe Pumpkin Festival (that's Oct. 3), his career with Public Eneny (that's him with Chuck D in this picture I took at the Santa Fe Music Festival a couple of years ago), his own Saturday Morning radio show The Fusebox on KBAC.

In Santa Fe and much of Northern New Mexico you'll find KSFR at 101.1 FM. For the rest of the world, listen to us online.

And speaking of KSFR, the fall pledge drive is starting today. You know what that means. FORK IT OVER, YOU FREELOADERS! You can donate online HERE. Thanks for your support.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

LIVE BUICK MacKANE SHOW


Here's a little treat for your Saturday musical enjoyment. It's a cool show I stumbled across on the Live Music Archive , a 1997 show in North Carolina by Buick MacKane, Alejandro Escovedo's "garage band" in which he played with his brother Javier.



Here's the playlist:

01 introduction
02 The End
03 Gravity
04 Everybody Loves Me
05 stage banter
06 Falling Down Again
07 band introductions
08 Paradise (introduction)
09 Paradise
10 Say Goodnight
11 Edith
12 stage banter
13 Marianne
14 She's Got
15 Shine a Light
16 stage banter and Powderfinger false start
17 Powderfinger (with Chip Robinson and Brad Rice of The Backsliders)

To download the show yourself and for more information CLICK HERE.

Friday, September 18, 2009

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, September 18, 2009
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell@ksfr.org

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
I'm Gonna Take You Home and Make You Like me by Robbie & Donna Fulks
Electrified by Quarter Mile Combo
Guvment by Roger Miller
Deep as Your Pocket by Amber Digby
Oh Babe by Big Al Dowling
The Great State of Misery by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys
Good Lovin' by C.C. Adcock
Cool Love by Kim Lenz
How Come it by Thumper Jones
Fish House Blues by Georgia Tom & Kansas City Kitty

Bring the Noise by The Unholy Trio
Gin & Juice by The Gourds
Six Nights a Week by Peter Case
High on a Hilltop by Tommy Collins
Trouble by Ethyl & The Regulars
Buzz Buzz Buzz by The Blasters
Bumble Bee by Heavy Trash
Fireball Mail by Roy Acuff
Strangler in the Night by T. Tex Edwards & Out on Parole

Hush, Sorrow by Buddy & Julie Miller with Regina McCrary
Chain Gang by Fred Eaglesmith
Safe and Sorry by Nathan Moore
Frankie and Johnny by Jerry Lee Lewis
Death Metal Guys by Rev. Horton Heat
Nighttime Ramblin' Man by Hank Williams III
Handcuffed to Love by Johnny Paycheck
The Ballad of Charles Whitman by Kinky Friedman & His Texas Jewboys

Strip Joint is Closed by The Red Elvises
I Hate These Songs by Dale Watson
One Sweet Hello by Merle Haggard
TVA by Drive-By Truckers
I Tremble for You by Johnny Cash
Going Down the Road Feeling Bad by Doc & Merle Watson
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: HOT SOUL

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 18, 2009



Here's one to file under "weird science."

A few weeks ago I got an advance copy of the new album by The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker. I'd been looking forward to this release, because I truly enjoyed this band's first album, which came out a couple of years ago. So I took it out to my car and popped it in the CD player. From Leo Black's rasty little guitar lick that kicks off the title song to the end, I was happy.

The next day I drove to Albuquerque. After a couple of stops, I decided to play the CD again. I reached down to my little plastic CD box to grab my copy only to experience a startling discovery. The jewel box was warped. It had melted — both the clear plastic part and the black plastic part. I keep CDs in my car all the time, winter and summer, and this has never happened before (or since).

Here's the good news. Somehow, by the grace of the music gods, the CD was unscathed. To my relief, the funk flowed fine in my car stereo.

Oh yeah, the title of this CD is Burn It Down. Yikes! I'm just happy that The Dynamite's first album, Kaboom!, didn't explode in my car back in 2007.

Burn It Down is a hot time. Walker is a soul shouter from Nashville — that's right, not Memphis — whose career goes back more than 40 years. (I'm not sure why they don't just call the band "Charles Walker & The Dynamites," but the group didn't ask for my opinion.)

The music goes down the same path as Kaboom! does — tight, horn-heavy, gritty Southern soul. Sure, the sound recalls the heyday of funky soul, but this is no nostalgia trip. The songs are new and original, and the lyrics, while mainly dealing with the time-honored themes of love and heartache, make occasional reference to modern times. There's a shout-out to our first black president at the end of the title song.

Walker gets political on other songs, too. There's "Somebody's Got it Better," which deals with the gap between the rich and poor. Over riffs that sound like they're straight out of James Brown's "Super Bad," Walkers, "I know a man who works all night/Never gets home until the morning light/I know another man don't even have a job/Got so much money, must be breakin' the law. ... You can see it in the paper, see it in the news/Some people got the green, others got the blues."

On "It's a Sunny Day," Walker chides the doomsday prophets, presumably from all political sides. "It don't take much to get you down, there's no shortage of bad news. ... Turn off that TV, walk out that front door/Get out, it's a sunny day."

"Can't Have Enough," with its funky flute and wah-wah guitar, sounds like it could be from a blaxploitation movie. It would sound great alongside Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" or Curtis Mayfield's "Freddy's Dead." The lyrics warn against materialism and excess.

Another favorite is the jumping "The Third Degree," which features some tasty organ licks from either Charles Treadway or Tyrone Dickerson — the band's blessed with two fine keyboardists. And “The Real Deal,” which concludes the album is a duet between Walker and fellow Nashville soulster Shawna P.

So yes, I heartily recommend this album. Just don't leave it in your car.

Also recommended:

We Call It Soul by Wiley and The Checkmates. Like Charles Walker, Mississippi native Herbert Wiley is a veteran journeyman soul singer whose career goes back to the 1960s — although he also had a day job for a few decades, operating a cobbler shop in Oxford. Guess you could call that sole-to-soul. According to one interview, Wiley claims that, as a child, he worked on William Faulkner's shoes.

Wiley got back into the music game around 2004, rounding up a band with members who have played with a diverse group of musicians, including the late Fat Possum blues belter Paul "Wine" Jones and techno-rock outfit LCD Sound System. Wiley and his group released Introducing Wiley and The Checkmates in 2004.

The Checkmates tend to sound a little looser than The Dynamites do. And humor creeps into Wiley's music a little more often. The funniest here is definitely "I Don't Want No Funky Chicken." Wiley tells how his experience working on a chicken farm as a youth ruined his appetite for poultry as an adult.

One of my favorite tracks is a cover song — actually a medley of covers, Booker T. & The MG's "Hip Hug-Her" slinking around an upbeat take on Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe." I'm just a sucker for that song, though my favorite version is the irreverent one I saw the late Joe Tex perform on American Bandstand at least 40 years ago. (Tex played with the ending lyrics, "And me I spend all my time eatin' cold watermelon up on Choctaw Ridge/And I spit the seeds in the muddy waters off the Tallahatchie Bridge.")

Perhaps the highlight of this record is "I Did My Part," a dark minor-key song that slowly builds into an emotional storm with call-and-response vocals with Tricianna McGee and a crazy trumpet solo by Marc Franklin.

Listening to Wiley and The Checkmates along with The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker — not to mention Black Joe The Honeybears plus Sharon Jones and her Daptone label pals, it's easy to conclude that soul music is very much alive in the 21st century.

Monday, September 14, 2009

eMUSIC SEPTEMBER

This is late and long!

Just as I was about to finish up this post and publish the darn thing about a week ago, eMusic surprised me by bestowing me with 50 extra downloads. That was a "loyalty bonus" for those of us who didn't dump them when they decreased the number of downloads allowed. This post also includes the 25 extra downloads given to loyal members last month. Confused? Don't worry about it. Let's just talk about the music.

* A Thousand Footprints in the Sand by Jim Dickinson with Chuck Prophet. I didn't even read the info about this album when I pressed "download." I didn't recognize the title, so I just assumed it was the new album by Dickinson, the great Memphis producer who died last month.

But I was wrong. The new one is Dinosaurs Run in Circles. But I wasn't too disappointed. Footprints is a live set from the early '90s featuring Dickinson disciple Chuck Prophet and his band. And it's full of fire and steaming voodoo soul.

Most of the songs are old blues and R&B tunes. There's a lean and mean version of J.B. Lenoir's "Down in Mississippi," which Dickinson shouts as if his life depended on it. There's a straightforward version of "The Gypsy," (an old chestnut recorded by The Ink Spots and Dinah Shore, but my favorite version is by Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs).

He also does what might the the finest song he ever wrote, "Across the Borderline," whose best-known version was sung by Freddy Fender. Jim didn't have the Mayor of Milagro's voice, but his soul still comes through.

Now I have to get my hands on Dickinson's new one.


* Lysergic Legacy by The Fuzztones. This is a "greatest hits" compilation by Rudy Protrudi and the boys. Since I didn't have LSD 25: 25 Years of Fuzz and Fury, the Fuzztones best-of that just came out four years ago, I was happy to see this new collection.

Yes, this group's been around in one form or another since the early 1980s, spreading the gospel of Farfisa and fuzz through good times and bad.

Legacy includes a couple of songs from their most recent album, last year's Horny as Hell -- plus several original versions of songs that were reworked for Horny.

It's not quite a "duets" album, but Legacy includes several impressive guest appearances by '60s garage/psychedelic greats. "Get Naked" features the late Sky Saxon. Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & The Raiders sings on "Caught You Red Handed." James Lowe of The Electric Prunes can be heard on "Hallucination Generation." And the sitar-soaked "All the King's Horse" features both Arthur Lee of Love and Sean Bonniwell of The Music Machine. (Sorry, "Look For the Question Mark" doesn't have the lead singer of The Mysterians.)

And there's not one but two covers of Sonics songs here, "Strychnine" and "Cinderella." The Fuzztones did an Sonics tribute EP a few years ago.

* Stay With We by NRBQ. When I interviewed "Big" Al Anderson a few years a few years ago (you can read that HERE, he insisted that his predecessor, Steve Ferguson was the best guitarist NRBQ ever had and that their first album, the self-titled 1969 release, was NRBQ's greatest album.

I'm still partial to NRBQ at Yankee Stadium and Kick Me Hard, but Big Al's right that early Q was dynamite. This album is a compilation of songs from that first album (10 of the fist album's 14 songs are here) plus a few cuts from Boppin' the Blues, (a 1970 collaboration with Carl Perkins) and lots of previously unreleased tunes from that era.



* Dirty Blues Licks by Various Artists. Here's the bargain of the month -- 49 tracks for 12 credits (even though I already owned several tracks -- Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith Bo Carter, Mississippi Sheiks, etc.)

The blues as a genre has made such a strong bid for respectability, some of its modern hawkers would like to forget its down-and-dirty, raunchy past. This collection is a blow against bowdlerizing.

Some of the biggest names in the blues are here -- Smith, Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins. There's even one from R&B shouter Wynonie Harris

Of course, little if anything in these songs is all that explicit, especially by modern standards.. The singers assume their listeners realize the metaphorical significance of bananas, hotdogs, cabbage and poodles. If these tunes actually offend you, you must not have any lead in your pencil.

This a good companion for another collection I picked up on eMusic years ago, Please Warm My Weiner.

* Not Now! by The A-Bones The album cover is an homage to an ancient Rolling Stones LP. But The A-Bones aren’t one of those neo-Stones bands, such as The Chesterfield Kings, and they don’t sound much like Mick and the lads.

But on this new record they capture some of the spirit of the early Stones, sharing a love for greasy old blues and R&B. In fact, you could argue that the Bones go for greasier, nastier and definitely more obscure source material than did The Stones.

The A-Bones, in case you've never had the pleasure, is a project of singer Billy Miller and drummer/singer Miriam Linna, a couple whose other major project is Norton Records, one of the finest labels in the known universe (and one I regularly turn to on eMusic.)
For my full review of Not Now! CLICK HERE

* Cavernicola by Los Peyotes This is an early album by Argentina’s finest garage band, first released in 2005, recently made available in download version by London’s Dirty Water records.

Among their originals, on this record the boys cover crazy old rock songs, Los Peyotes do justice here to the infamous “Fire” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (called “Fuego” here), "Jack the Ripper" (Screamin' Lord Sutch's song, not Link Wray's) and “The Witch.” by The Sonics.

Warning to those who took my advice last year and got Introducing Los Peyotes: “El Humo te Hace Mal” and “I Don’t Mind” appear on both albums (and sound like the same versions.) And the "secret bonus song at the end of "The Witch" (no, it's not really a 10-minute version of the song) is "Scream," which also appears on Introducing.


* Do the Wurst , Mojo Workout and Shake It Wild by King Salami & The Cumberland 3. These actually are an EP (Mojo Workout) and two "singles," totalling eight songs.

The London-based Salami reminds me of another "King," namely Khan. Like Khan's work with The Shrines, Salami plays a high-charged melding of soul and punk rock. But The Cumberland Three is a much smaller group than Khan's Shrines, so the sound is more stripped down.

The band tries its hand at surf music on "Uprising." It sounds like "Apache" (complete with tacky faux Indian war cries). And "Birddog" is a takeoff of The Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird."

But my favorite has to be the cover of Bobby Long & The Satellites' "Mojo Workout," a little-known but powerful R&B stomper. You can hear that song in its entirety on the 39th episode of RadiOblivion.


*Some Kind of Kick by The Things. No, not The Pretty Things. Not even The Dirty Pretty Things. Just The Things, a garage-punk band from Dublin that I somehow stumbled across while fooling around eMusic. This album that apparently was released early this year.

Despite their Irish heritage you don't hear much of the olde sod in The Things. They sound nothing like The Pogues -- and thankfully, even less like U2. In fact, if anything, they remind me a lot of The Fuzztones -- heavy on the Farfisa and fury.

There's some cool spooky tunes -- "Psycho Lover," "Demon Stomp" -- but I think my favorite here is "Set Me Free" in which singer Neilo Thing sounds like The Hives' Howlin' Pelle Almqvist.

* Butterbeans & Susie Vol. 1: 1924-1925 Jodie Edwards and his wife Susie Hawthorne were stars of TOBA (Theatre Owners Bookers Association -- or popularly known as "Tough on Black Asses") circuit starting in the 1920s. This basically was Black vaudeville. I wouldn't want to live in that era, but what I'd give to be able to go back in time and sit in the front row at a Butterbeans & Susie show.

The duo sang funny songs about domestic disputes and sex. Decades before The Rolling Stones' "Some Girls," Butterbeans even gave a lesson in the sexual politics of skin color -- "high yellow gals" vs. "browns" in "Brown Skin Gal." They mocked each each other, making wisecracks to punctuate each other's singing. "Is that so?" Susie would say dryly as some Butterbean boast, putting him firmly in place with three little words.

Sometimes there were even insinuations of physical violence. Nobody of course took this literally back then. Joking about domestic violence has been so taboo for so long, such blatant political incorrectness now seems wickedly daring. Besides, Susie was no mousy pushover. "If you raise your hand to hit me, I'll put you under the jail" she sings in "Bow Legged Papa." Note, that's not in the jail it's under the building!

"A Married Man's a Fool," Butter declares in the song of the same title. And yet the two stayed married until Susie's death in 1963.

Most of the songs feature simple piano accompaniment, though King Oliver -- the King Oliver! -- sits in on cornet on "Kiss Me Sweet" and "Construction Gang."

This collection was taken from old 78s and Document Records made no effort to clean up the scratching. (Some songs, like "You Ain't Talkin' to Me" are nearly unlistenable.) Even so, this record, as well as Vol. 2, which I've owned for years, is just sheer delight.

* Eight Miles High/Makes No Sense No Sense at All (single) by Husker Du. It says single, but it's really four songs. I got it for "Love is All Around" -- yes, the Mary Tyler Moore theme (written by Buddy Holly crony and sometimes Cricket, Sonny Curtis!). There's also Husker's fantastic cover of The Byrds' "Eight Miles High." Because of some weird policy, you can't download individual songs for this work, it's all four or nothing, so to get the others, I had to download the song "Makes No Sense at All" even though I already have the tune on the Flip Your Wig album.

Plus

* "Strutting with Some Barbecue" by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five. I got this for my latest podcast. Classic Satch. A great tune and it makes me hungry for barbecue. (Then again, most things do.)

* Three songs from Introducing Wiley & The Checkmates. More on that one next month.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, September 13, 2009
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

Guest Co-host Stan Rosen
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell@ksfr.org
Annual Post-Labor Day Songs For the Workin' Man Show

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Plenty Tuff and Union Made by The Waco Brothers
Joe Hill by Paul Robeson
There is Power in the Union by Utah Phillips
May the Work I Have Done by Freedom Song Network

Big Boss Man by Jimmy Reed
Anita Pita by Joe West
Revolution by Larry Burch

Corrido de Dolores Huerta by Carmen Moreno
We Were There by Brooklyn Women's Chorus
Then Death of Mother Jones by Gene Autry
Yo Estoy con Chavez by Ramon "Tiguere" Rodriguez & Los Lobos
We're All a Dodgin' by The Weavers
Have You Been to Jail For Justice? by Anne Feeney
All the Weary Mothers by Charles Bernhardt

Workin' man Blues by Merle Haggard
Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore by John Prine
Union Medley by Peter, Paul & Mary
Pie in the Sky by Utah Phillips & Ani DiFranco
Talking Union by The Almanac Singers
Wal-Mart Union Gonna Rise Again by Charlie King & Karen Brandow
Working at Working by Wayne Hancock
Freedom is Coming by Seattle Labor Chorus

Bougeois Blues by Taj Mahal
Working Man by Bo Diddley
Red Neck, Blue Collar by James Luther Dickinson
(Happy Birthday to You (Dave Barsanti) by Steve Terrell & Stan Rosen)
This Land is Your Land by Pete Seeger, Sweet Honey in The Rock, Doc Watson & The Little Red Schoolhouse Chorus
Banker's Son by Joe West
Banks Were Made of Marble by The Weavers
Bread and Rose by Utah Phillips & Ani DiFranco
SUBSTITUTE CLOSING THEME: Solidarity Forever by Joe Glaser

Saturday, September 12, 2009

BLOODSHOT'S TURNING 15


I played "Bloodshot's Turning Five" by Robbie Fulks on The Santa Fe Opry last night in honor of Bloodshot Record's 15th Anniversary.

15 years old! And I remember when they were just a little baby record company.

DO THE LANGFORD
Bloodshot's still one of the best. Through the years they've released excellent records by Fulks, Wayne "The Train" Hancock, Neko Case, Alejandro Escovedo, Trailer Bride, Dex Romweber, Kelly Hogan, The Bottle Rockets, The Sadies, The Detroit Cobras, Paul Burch, Graham Parker, Ryan Adams, Charlie Pickett, Scott H. Biram, Andre Williams, Rex Hobart (who lived in Santa Fe for awhile), Bobby Bare, Jr., The Old 97s, The Meat Purveyors, Sally Timms and of those those wonderful Waco Brothers ... among others.

Here's a story about Bloodshot from the Chicago Tribune (thanks David Barsanti for sending me this.) In it, Bloodshot cofounder Nan Warsaw, talking about the importance of music labels, says something to think about: "It’s easier than ever to put your music out there, but it’s tougher than ever to get your music noticed."

Congratulations Rob Miller and Nan and thanks for all the great music.

Friday, September 11, 2009

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, September 11, 2009
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell


101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell@ksfr.org

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Bloody Mary Morning by Willie Nelson
Make Room on the Lifeboat for Me by The Delmore Brothers
The Governor by James McMurtry
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Laura Cantrell
Under Lock and Key by Gary Gorence
Down in Mississippi by Jim Dickinson with Chuck Prophet
Bloodshot's Turning Five by Robbie Fulks

Ain't No Saguaro in Texas by The Rev. Horton Heat
The Streets of Bakerfield by Dwight Yoakam & Buck Owens
Uncle Frank by Drive-by Truckers
Beyond the Madness by Mike Cullison
Moving on #3 by Wayne Hancock
Slide Me Some Sugar by Nancy Apple
Julie's Neon Shoes by Kell Robertson
Get Yourself a Monkey Man, Make Him Strut His Stuff by Butterbeans & Susie

Move Along Train by Levon Helm
You Win Again by Mother Earth
Oh Lonesome Me by Ana Fermin's Trigger Gospel
Big Swamp Land by Johnny Paycheck
Preacher Man by Quarter Mile Combo
Ubangi Stomp by The Stray Cats
Chile Verde by Bayou Seco
Peor de Nada by El Trio Alegre

Get Off My Back Lucy by The Iguanas
Ta Bueno Compadre by Flaco Jimenez with the West Side Horns
The Garden by Freddy Fender
The Genitalia of a Fool by Cornell Hurd featurning Justin Trevino
I Couldn't Believe it Was True by Doc & Merle Watson
September Song by Hank Penny
Sweet Dreams by Leon Russell
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

ZOZOBRA ON VIDEO

Courtesy KOB TV.

It's 40 minutes long.

He burns and dies.

Viva la Fiesta!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: LAUGHIN' MORE THAN CRYIN'


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 11, 2009


On his new album, Laughin' & Cryin', released last week, The Reverend Horton Heat has slowed down a bit since his old psychobilly freakout days 20 years ago or so.

The man from Dallas is still capable of playing with wild energy. He proved that when I saw him at the Hootenanny festival in California a couple of months ago. But in his recordings through the years, he's become a little jazzier, maybe a little more country, and it sounds like he's paying more attention to his vocals. As he declares in one of the songs on his first album in five years (or at least his first non-Christmas album in that time), he's taken a definite stand on the great culture war between death-metal guys and rockabilly cats.

But The Rev. (whose real name is Jim Heath) still has a knack for machine-gun twang-guitar licks. And the man who introduced us to the concept of the "Big Dwarf Rodeo" all those years ago still has a love for crazy novelty songs. Laughin' & Cryin' is in fact built upon a foundation of topical songs, some of which have the potential to become Heat standards. Others stand a good chance of being remembered by Heat fans as weird curiosities.

One of those tunes is bound to become a favorite with New Mexico fans. "Ain't No Saguaro in Texas" is a musical complaint, featuring some Mexican-style accordion, about the fact that "Hollywood and misinformed artists" have the knack of depicting his home state as having tall saguaro cacti — which, in the U.S., only grows in Arizona and a small part of California. We've got the same problem in New Mexico. Sometimes politicians here who have hired out-of-state companies to do their ads find pictures of mighty saguaros decorating their campaign literature.

Speaking of Texas, another song on Laughin' and Cryin', "There's a Little Bit of Everything in Texas" sounds like Heat's making a serious bid to get a gig with his home state's tourism department.
REV. HEAT & JIMBO
Heat gives some good advice to parents in "Please Don't Take the Baby to the Liquor Store." This song reminds me of an old tune by the Dead Milkmen, "Let's Get the Baby High."

One of my favorites here is "Crazy Ex-Boyfriend," a tune about an obsessed former lover. "The next time she saw him, he called her a slut/So I rolled up my sleeves and kicked his butt."

But the CD's best song won't be well received by the politically correct. "Rural Point of View" is a defense of big old pickup trucks over little electric cars and a screed against Ivy League professors and organic-food snobs. "That pompous little fool can ride his bike to school 'cause a farmer with a truck is how he eats."

And yes, that "Death Metal Guys" song. Wanna know the real difference between rockabilly cats and death-metal dudes? Jerry Lee Lewis shot his bass player. But a death-metal guy, according to The Rev. Heat, would have "eaten his brain."

This album isn't very deep. But deep's overrated. Laughin' & Cryin' is lots of fun.

Also recommended

* The Fine of Oddities and Rarities 2003-2008 by Drive-By Truckers. Like the title explains, this is an odds 'n' sods collection of outtakes, alternate takes, cover songs, and other previously unreleased tracks by these wild-eyed Southern boys. To be honest, I find this album fresher than the Truckers' past couple of studio albums.

The album kicks off with an irreverent ode to a honky-tonk hero. "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues" deals with the Possum's 1999 car wreck. (He was driving drunk and yakking with his daughter on a cell phone when he drove off a bridge.)

The Truckers' song, written and sung by Patterson Hood, is an upbeat country rocker with John Neff's sweet steel guitar. It's got some wickedly funny lines Jones fans will recognize. ("I heard it on the news, you almost stopped loving her today/Better stay on that riding lawnmower if you're gonna keep on carrying on that way.") The love for Jones and his music is obvious in every lick.

But the strongest song here is Hood's weird slow burner called "The Great Car Dealer War." Apparently an outtake from The Dirty South (still my favorite DBT album), this is the story of a guy paid to torch vehicles at a car lot. The best lyrics: "I don't ask questions, I don't assume/I just take a long hard look when I walk into a room."

There are two opposing views about the Tennessee Valley Authority on the CD. One features on a rerecording of Trucker Mike Cooley's "Uncle Frank," a song that first appeared on the DBT's second album, Pizza Deliverance. In it, Frank kills himself after being ripped off by the government. On the other hand, there's former Trucker Jason Isbell's "TVA," which sounds like a Steve Earle song. He credits the TVA for bringing jobs and electricity to the South, as well as for his first teenage sexual conquest.

For pure twistedness, there's a funny Christmas song called "Mrs. Claus' Kimono" Full of adultery, class warfare, and an undercurrent of violence, it almost sounds like a parody of the Drive-By Truckers. And there's a story about a reindeer that Burl Ives never sang about.

The cover songs, for the most part, are inspired. Various Truckers trade off verses of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." There's a snarling version of Warren Zevon's "Play It All Night Long." ("Sweet home Alabama, play that dead band's song.") And best of all is a heartfelt version of Tom T. Hall's "Mama Bake a Pie (Daddy Kill a Chicken)." This is the story of a soldier coming home from war after having a leg blown off. He tries to keep his humor, but he's also got a bottle under his blanket.

The only misstep is a cover of Tom Petty's "Rebels." The DBTs do it like a Springsteen anthem. It sounds tacky in the company of "The Great Car Dealer War" and "Mama Bake a Pie."

Sunday, September 06, 2009

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, September 6, 2009
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

Webcasting!
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell@ksfr.org

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
I'm in With the Out Crowd by Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs
Wolfman Boogie Part 1 by Wolfman Jack & The Wolf Pack
Hey Grandma by Moby Grape
Granny Tops 'em at the Hop by The A-Bones
Dustbowl Flashback by Roy & The Devil's Motorcycle
Wild Wild Lover by The Monsters
Goodbye Ramona by The Neckbones
Skinny Jimmy by The Del Moroccos
Hurdy Gurdy Man by The Butthole Surfers
Woe is Me by The Cadillacs

Psycho Lover by The Things
13 Ghosts by Marshmallow Overcoat
A Thousand Shadows by The Seeds
Teeth by The Mekons
Back in Business by J.J. & The Real Jerks
Have You Ever Spent the Night in Jail? by The Standells
Precious Thing by Big Black
I Wanna Be Your Favorite Pair of Pajamas by Andre Williams & The Green Hornet
Ride the Torpedo by The Tallboys
Don't Worry 'bout That Mule by Louis Jordan


SOUL POWER SET
Soul Power by James Brown
Santa Barbara by Celia Cruz
Saturday Night Fish Fry by B.B. King
Mosadi Ku Rima by Miriam Makeba
I Don't You on My Mind by Bill Withers
Feast of the Mau Mau by Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Ifa by Tunji Oyelana & The Benders
Amos Moses by Primus
Busman's Honeymoon by Pere Ubu
Junco Partner by The Clash
September Song by Lou Reed
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, September 04, 2009

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, September 4, 2009
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell@ksfr.org

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Always Late With Your Kisses by Merle Haggard
Kiss Me Quick an Go by The Maddox Brothers & Rose
I'm Your Man by The Derailers
One Bad Stud by The Blasters
Blazing Trailer of Love by Neil Mooney
A Living Hell by The Bottle Rockets
Devil's Run by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
Rural Point of View by The Rev. Horton Heat
Bad Luck Dice by Clifford Gibson

Tex Mex Mile by The Gourds
Got U on My Mind by The Watzloves
Liquored Up by Southern Culture on the Skids
I Do Drive a Truck by Jon Wayne
Faraway Eyes by The Rolling Stones
Cook County Jail by Ethyl & The Regulars
I'm Tired of Pretending by Hank Thompson
The Sunny Side of the Moon by Johnny Dilks

Barbecue by Devil in a Woodpile
Turn it On, Turn It On, Turn It On by Tom T. Hall
Mama Bake a Pie by Drive-By Truckers
Going Up the Country by Jimbo Mathus
Good Enough for Grandad by The Squirrel Nut Zippers
Satellite Baby by Skip Stanley
Bluest Boy in Town by Yuichi & The Hilltone Boys
Gee I Really Love You by Heavy Trash
(This Ain't Just Another) Lust Affair by Mel Street

Seven Eleven Heaven by Danny Santos
Bruises for Pearls by Trailer Bride
It Wouldn't Be Hell Without You by Cornell Hurd
One Spectacular Moon by Jaime Michaels
Let Me Be The Judge by Amber Digby
Cross My Heart by Martin Zellar
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, September 03, 2009

TERRELL'S TUNEUP:SOUL POWER

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 4, 2009


In a showdown dubbed “Rumble in the Jungle,” two African American giants met in the ring in a land called Zaire in the mid-’70s. Such a momentous clash of titans needed a soundtrack. Thus was born a music festival called Zaire ’74, promoted alongside the fight in Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo).

Godfather of Soul James Brown would headline the three-day music show. Also on the bill were B.B. King, Celia Cruz with the Fania All-Stars, Bill Withers, Big Black, Miriam Makeba, TPOK Jazz, L’Orchestre Afrisa, The Spinners, The Crusaders, and Sister Sledge. (Funny, no one asked Screamin’ Jay Hawkins to sing “Feast of the Mau Mau” for the Congolese audience)

The Rumble was the subject of the 1996 documentary When We Were Kings. Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, who was an editor on that film, took leftover footage of the music festival to make a music documentary, only recently released, called Soul Power, now showing at CCA Cinematheque.

For the record, sports fans, Muhammad Ali, who makes several appearances throughout this film, won the boxing match and regained the heavyweight title, beating future electric-grill hawker George Foreman — who is never shown and is rarely mentioned in the documentary.

The fight had to be delayed for six weeks because Foreman got injured during training. But the music festival, for various reasons, including the bands’ scheduling conflicts, went on as planned.

Ali seemed to be everywhere the musicians were, at least before they took the stage. At one point, he seems jealous of all the attention the singers are getting, making it clear in the interview that he, not these musicians, is openly challenging the white power structure.

“I have to lead the way,” he says. “God has made me bigger than all entertainers in America. God has made me bigger than all entertainers in the world.”

During his time onstage, James Brown gives Ali a run for his money. Sporting a thick ’70s-style mustache, Brown lives up to the announcer’s promise that he would “make your liver quiver” and “your bladder splatter.” The man was such an influence on African musicians, and his performance in Zaire was as significant as it was sizzling.

But Mr. Dynamite isn’t the only powerhouse who took the stage in Zaire. Cruz basically steals the show with her All-Stars, which included bandleader and flute man Johnny Pacheco and Ray Barretto, who played the conga in the Congo. You know Cruz is going to be great onstage, because early in the film you see her jamming with members of her band on the jet on the way to Africa.

Withers, one of the most underrated soul stars of the early ’70s, plays acoustic guitar on a little-known tune called “Hope She’ll Be Happier.” Makeba does a song that brought her fame in this country in the ’60s, “Qongqothwane” — which “the colonists” call “the Click Song,” she says — in her native Xhosa language.

Perhaps the most touching scene is when B.B. King is coming off the stage and expressing doubts about his performance. In the movie we see a perfectly good version of “The Thrill Is Gone.” But B.B. just wasn’t sure. “I hope it didn’t sound too bad,” he says backstage. “I enjoyed parts of it.” Maybe he felt awkward being on the same bill with soul stars like Brown.

Maybe there were lingering nightmares about his tour with fellow Mississippian Sam Cooke back in the early ’60s, in which he was heckled by some of Cooke’s younger fans, who considered King’s music to be too old-fashioned and gutbucket.

One of the best musical performances is by an unnamed African group with two singers playing a slow, soulful tune on a traffic island in downtown Kinshasa. The guitarist happily picks away at a battered electric instrument. A decade later, African guitar music would find a huge audience in this country. It seems ridiculous — maybe a little, well, imperialistic — that nobody bothers to tell us who these talented folks are.

Soul Power has a few ironic moments. In some of Ali’s rants, he holds Zaire up as an example of a happy and free society. He’s talking about a land run by dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, described by The New York Times as “a corrupt and brutal strongman with a touch of theatrical flair and unusual fashion sense.”

The film is not without its flaws. About half the movie is taken up with behind-the-scenes kvetching about all the problems involved— economic, logistical, physical, political — in putting on a show this big. I’m not sure why, but this has become an obligatory part of just about every music-festival movie since Woodstock.

Maybe it’s an ego thing in which the money men and guys with the clipboards get their little moment of stardom. Or maybe the festival producers use this as a way to scold the audience, as if to say, “We worked hard to bring you this. You’d better appreciate it.”

Well, thank you very much. It indeed was a fine show, but as a music fan I’d much rather this time be filled with performances from that fine show — or at least some fun backstage shenanigans — than with a bunch of sweaty guys building a stage and a group of self-important clowns barking orders on walkie-talkies.

In a press release for the movie, Levy-Hinte said his original intention was to create a set of concert DVDs from the hours of footage from the show. I hope he follows through.

Soul Power opens Friday, Sept. 4, at CCA Cinematheque, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, 982<2011>1338. Tickets are $9, with discounts for seniors and students.

A STAR-CROSSED TOUR



James Lowe of The Electric talks in the Lance Monthly about what went wrong with the big Electric Prunes/Sky Saxon/Love tour this summer. Saxon's death was only part of it!

By the way Lance monthly is put out by Dick Stewart, whose Lance Records was responsible for lots of garage, surf, psychedelic and Chicano rock in New Mexico in the 1960s, including "I Wanna Come Back from the World of LSD" by the Fi Fi Four Plus 2. There's lots of cool stuff in the Lance Monthly.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

LAST OF THE RED HOT MAMAS


The great Sophie Tucker has sparked an interesting online debate.

It started in a New York Times review by Jody Rosen of a new Sophie box set that included this bit about Tucker's Vaudeville roots:
The bumptious, oversexed woman Tucker portrays in these songs has roots in the broad caricatures of blackface minstrelsy. Tucker knew that material well: she began her career as a “coon shouter,” slathering on burnt cork to sing songs full of watermelon chomping and other racist grotesqueries. The “Origins of the Red Hot Mama” CD package includes a rare photo from about 1907 of Tucker in blackface, on one bended knee, arms outstretched — a pose not unlike the one Jolson struck when performing his blackface anthem, “My Mammy.”

This prompted Sady Doyle to write a response in Salon.com headlined "Can a feminist hero do blackface?":

At first, her bossiness and appetite may have been acceptable because they promoted a stereotype: a big, sassy, sexual black woman was easy to laugh at. As Tucker became more powerful she began to present these qualities, not as attributes of a character, but as attributes of Sophie Tucker. And that, without letting Tucker off the hook, makes her worthy of lasting consideration.


This prompted Rosen to come back in a piece in Slate that concluded

It is crudely ahistorical to condemn—or to speak of "letting off the hook"—an individual singer for performing racial burlesque in 1908. Blackface minstrelsy was the pre-eminent form of entertainment in the United States for most of the 19th-century and remained wildly popular for at least the first few decades of the 20th. ... A growing scholarly literature has shown that minstrelsy was complex—a show business institution and a socio-cultural phenomenon far bigger and more complicated than any one practitioner. Yes, blackface comedy was racist and appalling, and people should never stop saying so. It is also a key to cracking the code of American culture.


(I wrote about "coon songs" a few years ago when I stumbled across some of them on the Free Music archive. That column is HERE )

Both writers agree that Tucker was an important figure in American music. Says Doyle,

Tucker, who started performing in the 1900s and continued until her 1966 death, prefigured the shift in gender roles that marked the 20th century. ... She was big, and proud of her weight; she aged, and flaunted her aging; she was unabashedly funny, carnal, and in control. In an age of pop starlets whose sexuality is Photoshopped and endlessly audience-tested, Tucker's brashness isn't just a history lesson, but a relief.


Whatever you think, Sophie Tucker was indeed a red hot mama!

THROWBACK THURSDAY: I'll Be Down to Get You in a Taxi, Honey

It was 50 years ago this week that one of the greatest rock 'n' roll albums of all time was thrust upon the world. This was the seco...