Friday, April 30, 2010

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, April 29, 2010
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
Born Bred Corn Fed by The Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band
Funnel of Love by Wanda Jackson with The Cramps
Drinking Champagne by Willie Nelson
Been Down Too Long by Scott H. Biram
Husbands and Wives by Bill Kirchen with Chris O'Connell
Loser by The Hormonauts
Hillbilly Jive with a Boogie Beat by Reece Shipley & The Rainbow Valley Boys
Nothin' But A Nuthin' by Jimmy Stewart & His Nighthawks
Ring of Fire by Mingo Saldivar

Done Gone by Ray Condo & His Ricochets
Alimony by Bobby Bare
Invitation to the Blues by Cornell Hurd
May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose by Little Dickens
Down in the Bayou by The Watzloves
Daddy's Moonshine Still by Dolly Parton
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights by The Texas Tornados
Hogtied Over You by Billy Bacon & The Forbidden Pigs with Candye Kane
Hot Rod by The Collins Kids
Slick Chick Boogie by Maston Music Makers

Good Fearing People by Tha Legendary Shack Shakers
Whoop and Holler by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In by Mojo Nixon
All the Way to Jericho by The Gourds
Dem Bones by The Strange
Fire's Still Burnin' by Hipbone Slim & The Knee-Tremblers
Canada Dry by Ethyl & The Regulars
Funky Tonk by Moby Grape

Days of Wine and Roses by Jason & The Scorchers
The Late Love Of Mine by Porter Wagoner
Better Than This by by Jason & The Scorchers
Another Year by The Sadies
Summer Wages by David Bromberg
Down in The Willow Gardens by The Everly Brothers
Slowly by Webb Pierce
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: FOWLEY'S GOLDEN GARBAGE

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 30, 2010


Here’s a short film review. The Runaways is basically an R-rated after-school special.

By far the most interesting aspect of this movie, which concerns the rise and fall of the underappreciated band that gave the world Joan Jett, is the villain of the story, Kim Fowley, portrayed by Michael Shannon. And even more interesting is how the real-life Fowley, instead of responding with threats of defamation suits, has thoroughly embraced Shannon’s portrayal of him as an abusive, exploitative eccentric. This shouldn’t be surprising, though. After all, Fowley has described himself as a jerk, a genius, and a pig.

The genius and the jerkiness can be heard on the recent two-disc compilations by Norton Records. The first volume is called One Man’s Garbage, and the second is Another Man’s Gold. The discs are sold separately, and both are subtitled Lost Treasures From the Vaults, 1959-1969.

Flashback: I once met Fowley at a South by Southwest Festival in the mid-’90s. He was walking around the Austin Convention Center wearing a psychedelic coat of many colors and was in the company of a sexy young songbird he claimed was “the next Janis Joplin.” I don’t remember how our conversation started, but Fowley was pitching this singer to me so intently you would have thought I was a major record-company exec. Some film crew from God knows where approached us, so naturally he addressed his pitch to the camera. Fowley ranted, and the next Janis Joplin slinked around looking lovely. I just held up the singer’s tape with a stern expression, nodding my head, as if I were the muscle in the entourage. What I’d give to have that footage now! I eventually listened to the singer’s cassette. Alas, Fowley’s sweet young companion was not the next Janis Joplin.

Present tense: Although Fowley is most famous as a producer — besides The Runaways, he has worked for artists ranging from The Germs to Helen Reddy — he was also a performer. America first heard him on a goofy 1960 novelty tune called “Alley Oop,” credited to a “band” called The Hollywood Argyles.

You’ll find The Argyles here doing a tune called “Long Hair, Unsquare Dude Called Jack,” not “Alley Oop.” These are compilations of true obscurities. There’s no Helen Reddy either. Instead there’s a barrel of mostly unknown groups that Fowley produced and/or performed with — The Patterns, The Players, The Renegades, The Rituals, U.S. Rockets, Donny and The Outcasts, and more.
These records are full of novelty songs, parodies, answer songs, teenage melodrama, Mad magazine-worthy hipster lingo, surf instrumentals, and some unabashed doo-wop. They can stand proud beside other Norton collections like the Mad Mike Monsters and I Hate CDs series.

But what distinguishes Garbage and Gold is the Fowley touch. Permeating the tracks are Fowley’s self-deprecating, anything-for-money, Hollywood-in-the-’60s sensibility. On so many of these songs, it’s easy to imagine Fowley and his cronies laughing at the dumb humor — intentional and otherwise — of the lyrics while at the same time praying that he’s got another “Alley Oop” megahit on his hands.

Some of the tunes are easily recognizable echoes of teen hits of the day. “Big Fat Alaskan” by Donnie and The Outcasts is an apparent answer to Jerry Woodard’s “Long Tall Texan.” “Surfer’s Rule” by The Rituals is a rewrite of “Johnny B. Goode,” while “The Rebel” by The Players alludes to The Shangri-Las’ saga “The Leader of the Pack,” though it also has elements drawn from Don and Dewey’s “Big Boy Pete” and an Archie comics character, Big Moose.

Speaking of The Players, this Fowley ensemble didn’t just do songs. The group’s records were demented little skits that featured a narrator who would put Jack Webb to shame. “Memories of a High School Bride” is a weird morality play that must have been a lot of fun to record.

And there’s some piggishness here too. Check out “Surf Pig” by Fowley and Mars Bonfire — the composer of Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.”

Fowley takes a stab at protest songs with “Big Sur, Bear Mountain, Ciro’s, Flip Side, Protest Song,” which was released under his own name. Fowley drawls, “I protest against the songs I’ve been hearing on everyone’s radio. ... I protest against the kids who want to flip their lids instead of thinkin’ where it’s really at. ... I protest against things that are never going to happen, and I really don’t like things that I do.” He’s not really protesting. He’s basically just sneering at everyone, including himself.

That’s even more evident on “The Worst Record Ever Made.” Here Fowley talks over a girl group called Althea & The Memories. Elsewhere in the collection this group sings sweet straight-faced doo-wop ditties like “Daddy Said” and “Dedication.” But on “Worst Record,” they do a call-and-response over a “Louie Louie” riff while Fowley rants “Hey surfers are you listening to me? ... Do you think there’s ever been a dance called ‘The Wheelchair’? ... Do you know how hard it is to yell in a microphone for two and a half minutes? It’s pretty hard. It shows how desperate we are. It shows you how desperate you are to be listening to all this.”

At one point during the song, Fowley ponders, “I wonder if they’ll still be doing this when they’re 74 years old.” Fowley’s 70 now. I bet he’ll still be doing it in four years.

These CDs can be found at the Norton Records site. And you can download them for real cheap at Amie Street.

For a recent Fowley interview and some Fowley music, check out the Mal Thursday podcast in the GaragePunk Hideout.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

THE DAY ZAPPA SOCKED IT TO THE HARPER VALLEY PTA

Ah, remember "Porn Rock"? Weren't the '80s fabulous?

Mother Frank is outnumbered here on a 1986 Los Angeles local TV show. But he holds his own quite well against a Pat Boone wannabe, the frumpiest PTA lady central casting could find and the host Roberta Weintraub, who does quite an impressive spoken-word interpretation of Prince's "Darling Nikki." in Part 1.

Watch 'em all. Zappa's truth goes marching on. Let freedom ring!







Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WHY I HATE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY: REASON 9,348

First they came for the child pornographers and I didn't say anything ...
Then they came for my MP3s ...

Here's something posted on the blog of Christian Engström, a Swedish member of the European Parliament -- and , yo ho ho, he's a leader of the Pirate Party (!), which is dedicated to reforming copyright and patent laws. (it's the third largest political party in Sweden.)

"Child pornography is great,” the speaker at the podium declared enthusiastically. ”It is great because politicians understand child pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites”.

The venue was a seminar organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm on May 27, 2007, under the title ”Sweden — A Safe Haven for Pirates?”. The speaker was Johan Schlüter from the Danish Anti-Piracy Group, a lobby organization for the music and film industry associations ...

"One day we will have a giant filter that we develop ... We continuously monitor the child porn on the net, to show the politicians that filtering works. Child porn is an issue they understand,” Johan Schlüter said with a grin, his whole being radiating pride and enthusiasm from the podium.


Lovely. A symbiotic (or is it "semi-bionic") relationship among kiddie porn producers, music biz scum and cheesy politicians.

Keep your eye on all these creeps.

(Thanks and a tip of the hat to Vic Milan.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

HELP YOURSELF TO A FRESH BIG ENCHILADA (PODCAST)

THE BIG ENCHILADA



Howdy, friends and neighbors. This month the Big Enchilada goes hillbilly nuts. Time to check into the Sunshine Motel, where I've stashed all sorts of rockabilly, hard-core honky tonk and other crazy country sounds.

There's lots of local talent from New Mexico like Mose McCormack, Kell Robertson and Kris Hollis Key, plus the likes of The Ex Husbands, Bloodshot Bill, Flat Duo Jets, The Corn Sisters and Miss Tammy Faye Starlite. Plus there's all sorts of hillbilly heroes from the days of yore -- Rose Maddox, Jess Willard, Roy Hall, Tani Allen and so many more. Like my KSFR radio show, The Santa Fe Opy, this is the country music Nashville does NOT want you to hear!

You can play it here:




DOWNLOAD | SUBSCRIBE



(Background Music: El Rancho Grande by The Tune Wranglers)
I'm Just a Honky by The Ex-Husbands
Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor by Jess Willard
Pepper Hot Baby by Bloodshot Bill
Frog Went a Courtin' by Flat Duo Jets
Wild, Wild Young Men by Rose Maddox
God Has Lodged a Tenant in My Uterus by Miss Tammy Faye Starlite
Oh These Troubled Times by The Corn Sisters

(Background Music: Silver City Two-Step by Bayou Seco)
Battle of Love by Mose McCormack
Blazing Trailer of Love by Neil Mooney
Rockabilly Hop by Bill Moss
Trucker From Tennessee by Link Davis
Who Put the Turtle in Myrtle's Girdle? by The Western Melody Makers
Cheater's World by Amy Allison & The Maudlins

(Background Music: Sweet Georgia Brown by Johnny Gimble)
She Devil by Kris Hollis Key
Liver Lover by Zeno Tornado & The Boney Google Brothers
Dirty Boogie by Roy Hall & His Cohutta Mountain Boys
Down and Out by Chuck Wells
When Hillbilly Willie Met Kitty From the City by Tani Allen & His Tennessee Pals
Star Motel Blues by Kell Robertson
Catch Me a Possum by The Watzloves


If you like this stuff, check out some of my previous country episodes at www.bigenchilada.podcast.com including Episodes 16, 10, 8 and 2.

Friday, April 23, 2010

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, April 23, 2010
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
Deisel Smoke, Dangerous Curves by The Last Mile Ramblers
Snake Dance Boogie by Roy Hogsed
Huntsville by Merle Haggard
Bang Bang Bang by Big Al Anderson
The Blues Come Around by Sleepy LaBeef
Miss Maggie Rose by Mike Cullison
You Shake Me Up by Andy Anderson
I'm Not in Love (Just Involved) by Hank Penny
Rocky Byways The Austin Lounge Lizards
Hold That Critter Down by Sons of the Pioneers

Dead Gun byThe Strange
It's the Law by Bob Log III
Sugar Baby by Tha Legendary Shack Shakers
Twang Town Blues by Jason & The Scorchers
Dead Love Rag by Mama Rosin
Death Blues by The Dead Brothers
The Talking Hot Pants Blues by The Hickoids
God Has Lodged a Tenant in My Uterus by Tammy Faye Starlite
Hepcat Baby by Eddy Arnold

My Primitive Joy by Michael Tarbox
Little Red Corvette by The Gear Daddies
A Bad Year for Love by Cornell Hurd
Who Is She by Ruby Dee & The Snakehandlers
You Can't Catch Me by Ray Campi
Snatch It and Grab It by Deke Dekerson
Hog Wild Too by Pee Wee King
Cherry Wine by Charlie Feathers
Cowbell Polka by Spade Cooley

Ditty Wah Ditty by Ry Cooder with Earl "Fatha" Hines
Blow Yo' Whistle Freight Train by The Delmore Brothers
Don't Judge Your Neighbor by Roy Acuff
Lead Me On by Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
Say It's Not You by George Jones with Keith Richards
Mississippi by Bob Dylan
Swing Low Sweet Chariot by Ralph Stanley
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, April 22, 2010

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: AFTER THE VAMPIRES FLEE

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 23, 2010


This is music for the closing credits — when the stake his been driven through the vampire’s heart, when the last zombie’s head has been blown off, when the sun is rising and the ghosts all fade.

I’m talking about True Love Cast Out All Evil, the new album by Roky Erickson, his most recent comeback album (the first in 15 years or so). Recorded with the Austin band Okkervil River, this record is a sweet statement from a battered soul, a musical chronicle of triumph over mental illness and years in the psychic wilderness.

That’s the good news. The bad news for those of us who love Erickson for his crazed psychedelic rockers is that there aren’t nearly enough crazed psychedelic rockers here and too many gentle reflective ballads. True Love Cast Out All Evil might be seen as proof of the truth in the old Tom Waits line, “If I exorcise my demons, well, my angels might leave too.”

Back in the mid-’60s, the Texas-born howler was the singer and frontman for The 13th Floor Elevators. Although the group only had one actual hit, “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” which it performed on American Bandstand, 13th Floor was influential far beyond that. The group is credited with being the first to use the word “psychedelic” to describe its sound.

And Erickson was the true psychedelic ranger, taking hallucinogens like they were Lay’s potato chips. In 1969, he got busted for marijuana in Texas, which at the time had some of the nation’s most Draconian drug laws. He pleaded insanity to avoid prison and spent three years in a state forensic hospital, where he was treated with electroshock therapy.

By most accounts, including his own, Erickson came out crazier than when he went in. But as seen in the 2005 documentary You’re Gonna Miss Me, his mental health began to improve when his younger brother intervened. Erickson has been performing now for several years. And, according to the liner notes of the new CD, he bought a house and car and is living with his first ex-wife and his son — from whom he had been estranged for years and who is now his road manager.

Much of True Love Cast Out All Evil deals with Erickson’s years in hell.

In fact, the first song, “Devotional Number One” is a below-lo-fi tape of a tune he wrote in Rusk State Hospital. This is one of several on this album that were written during his stay there. It’s a sweet melody about Jesus meeting Moses, with Erickson singing in a near falsetto. By the time he earnestly sings my favorite line in the song (“Jesus is not a hallucinogenic mushroom”), you begin hearing the slow creep of (recently overdubbed) keyboards and ambient cacophony taking you into the present.

This is followed by a short gospel-flavored tune, “Ain’t Blues Too Sad,” in which he sings, “Electricity hammered me through my head/Until nothing at all is backward instead.”

Such references to time in jails or mental hospitals are woven throughout the album’s lyrics. On “Be and Bring Me Home,” he sings, “They said I might need their dirty prison/But I love the way you don’t give me time,” he sings.

The saddest one of these is another one he wrote while actually at Rusk, "Please Judge." It appeared in a more genteel version on Erickson’s previous comeback album, All That May Do My Rhyme. The new version has a weird Sparklehorsey arrangement. It sounds as if it were recorded in a wind tunnel with Erickson’s vocals accompanied, in the first verses, only by electric piano. Gradually you start hearing noises from a thunderstorm, electronic feedback, and random noises that ebb and flow.
ROKY STRAPS IT ON
There are a couple of decent rockers here. “Goodbye Sweet Dreams” is a terse minor-key tune with images — a pentagram, a clock striking midnight — that make it sound like an outtake from Erickson’s greatest album, The Evil One. I’m not the first to compare this song to something by Fleetwood Mac. It’s easy to envision a crazy Lindsey Buckingham guitar solo in it.

Even more powerful is “John Lawman.” You know it’s going to be a classic Roky song when it starts off with “I kill people all day long, I sing my song.”

The trouble is, there are just not enough songs like these. From this point, the album simply loses steam. “John Lawman” is followed by the title song, which is pretty but plodding. And that’s the case with the four remaining songs.

Another “field recording” from Rusk, “God Is Everywhere,” puts the album to bed. But many listeners will be asleep before they get there.

I don’t know whether Erickson wanted a relatively mellow album or Okkervil River talked him into one. But he’s past 60, he’s been through a lot, and he deserves to make whatever kind of music he wants. As “John Lawman” — not to mention his shows in recent years with his road band, The Explosives — demonstrates, Roky can still rock.

Now that the comeback album is out of the way, maybe Roky will cut loose on the next one.

Recommended:
* Manby’s Head. If you’ve recently listened to Terrell’s Sound World (10 p.m. Sundays on KSFR-FM 101.1) or heard my latest Big Enchilada podcast, you’ve heard a cool garage band from Taos called Manby’s Head.

The group’s guitarist, Peter Greenberg actually has a fancy pedigree, having played in such bands as The Lyres and, most impressive to me, Barrence Whitfield & The Savages. He joined up with guitarist Michael Mooney, bass player Paul Reid, and drummer Eric Whitlock.

The group is named for Arthur Rochford Manby, a British immigrant and Taos huckster who, at least according to legend, was murdered and decapitated in his Taos home in 1929.

The band has released a six-song EP of bitchen originals, my favorite being “Licking the Frog,” plus a cover of “Come Back Bird,” an obscurity by a ’60s Texas band called Chevelle V.

You can find it for sale at www.myspace.com/manby39shead.

Or better yet, buy it from the band at its Santa Fe debut gig. The group is playing with the rollicking Santa Fe band Monkeyshines down under in The Underground (the basement of Evangelo’s, 200 W. San Francisco St., 982-9014), at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 25. The cover charge is $5.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A TREASURE TROVE OF PRIMITIVE ROCK, R&B, SURF AND ROCKABILLY

Here's a good musical way to start off your week.

WFMU's Beware the Blog always has been lots of fun, but while searching for MP3s of The Weird-ohs/Silly Surfers, I stumbled across this: Beware the Blog posts by one Debbie D.


Here you'll find Songs the A-Bone Taught Us, Songs The Reigning Sound Taught Us, Songs We Taught The Blasters, Songs The Fall Taught Us, etc etc.

Basically these are the original versions (or at least OLDER versions) of songs those bands covered.

This plus lots more. Check out the super soul of The Masked Man and His Agents. Not to mention the "movers and shakers" at the top of the page.

And yes, I found a Silly Surfers song!

Thanks, Debbie, D!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, April 18, 2010
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
Velvet Touch by Figures of Light
Raw Power by The Stooges
Cursed World by Mark Sultan
What You Lack in Brains by Batusis
Daddy Rollin' Stone by Jimmy Ricks & The Raves
John Lawman by Roky Erikson with Okkerville River
We Sell Souls by The Lyres
Louie Louie by The Sonics

I Need Somebody by Manby's Head
Scotch and Water and You by Monkeyshines
Licking the Frog by Manby's Head

A Different Kind of Ugly by Sons of Hercules
I Lost My Mind by The Angry Samoans
Slumber Blues by Pirate Love 2:13
Pirate Love by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers
Sittin' on it All the Time by Wynonie Harris

Worst Record Ever Made by Althea and the Memories 2:45
Big Fat Alaskan by Donnie and the Outcasts 2:14
Memories Of A High School Bride by The Players 3:51
Cherry Bomb by L7 & Joan Jett 3:43
Tiny Town by The Strawberry Zots
Anywhere You Go by The Fleshtones
Congo Square at Midnight by Chuck E. Weiss
Sarala by Huun Huur Tu

Soul on Fire by Laern Baker
Mama Don't Like My Man by Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
My Time Will Come by Andre Williams
Wizard of Ahs by Count Ferrell
Way Down In the Congo by Ike and Bonnie Turner
Snatch and Grab It by Julia Lee & Her Boyfriends
Gabbin' Blues by Big Maybelle
My Brain by Mose Allison
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, April 16, 2010

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, April 16, 2010
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
Land of the Free by Jason & The Scorchers
Maverick by Laurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick
Sugar Baby by The Legendary Shack Shakers
Hello Walls by The Rev. Horton Heat with Willie Nelson
Turn It On, Turn It On, Turn It On by Tom T. Hall
Big Love by Carrie Rodriguez
Little Bells by Rosie Flores and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts
In the Jailhouse by The Grevious Angels
That's the Way Love Goes by The Harmony Sisters

Jack O Diamonds by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Sam Hall by Johnny Cash
Blood on the Saddle by Tex Ritter
Walking Cane by Catherine Irwin & The Sadies
I Want To Live And Love by The Maddox Brothers and Rose
I Got Wine on My Mind by Cornell Hurd
Country Hixes by T.Tex Edwards & Out On Parole
I've Got Blood in My Eyes for You by The Mississippi Sheiks

Ruination Day Set
April the 14th part 1 by Gillian Welch
The Titantic by Bessie Jones, Hobart Smith & The Georgia Sea Island Singers
The Great Dust Storm by Woody Guthrie
Boothe Killed Lincoln by Bascom Lamar Lunsford
Ruination Day by Gillian Welch
Legend of the U.S.S. Titantic by Jaime Brokett
My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titantic) by Los Straightjackets

Your Cheatin' Heart by Gene Autry
Hookie Junk by The Gourds
Someday My Prince Will Come by Skeeter Davis & NRBQ
California Stars by Wilco & Billy Bragg
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: BLOOD IN MEDICINE COUNTY

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 16, 2010


Former Billy Childish protégé Holly Golightly Smith continues her funky backwoods explorations on Medicine County, the third and latest album credited to Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs. The other half of this band is her longtime collaborator, Texas-born “Lawyer Dave” Drake.

Golightly, for the benefit of newcomers, was an original member of Thee Headcoatees, a garage-rock girl group that sprang from Childish’s band of the moment, Thee Headcoats, in the early 1990s. She has operated as a solo act since the mid-1990s, and she’s sung on tunes by The White Stripes, Rocket From the Crypt, Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers, and others. She also did a tune in Jim Jarmusch’s 2005 movie, Broken Flowers.

Though she was born in England, Golightly now lives on a farm outside Athens, Georgia, with Lawyer Dave. This undoubtedly contributes to the rural vibe of her recent work.

This is The Brokeoffs’ third album, following Dirt Don’t Hurt (2008) and You Can’t Buy a Gun When You’re Crying (2007). It has a slightly more diverse sound than those previous records. It starts off with a twangy, exotic tune called “Forget It” that features a piercing organ. It’s not hard imagining the Cambodian/American psychedelic surf band Dengue Fever performing this one. It’s jarring but alluring.

But Holly and Dave are back on more familiar ground on the next song, “Two Left Feet.” No, it’s not the Richard Thompson song of the same name. This is a lazy, loping stomper featuring a nasty slide-guitar lick.

The next couple of tunes — the title song and “I Can’t Lose” — are fine hoedown numbers. The latter in particular is tasty. The screechy fiddle sounds as if it’s straight out of The Holy Modal Rounders. This leads to “Murder in My Mind,” a song written by British New Waver Wreckless Eric. It has a “Louie Louie”-type chord pattern that can be seen as a nod to Golightly’s garage roots. She and Lawyer Dave trade off on verses with lyrics like “One day they’ll find you hangin’ from a tree/or lyin’ in an alley with a knife stickin’ out of your spleen.”

Speaking of blood and guts, these two apparently have been listening to old Tex Ritter records. Ritter’s signature tune, “Blood on the Saddle,” appears here as a loopy waltz with Oregon singer Tom Heinl providing the frog-throated spoken-word section at the end of the tune.

The Brokeoffs also cover “Jack O’ Diamonds” (which Ritter recorded as “Rye Whiskey”). Holly and Dave do it as a sinister-sounding minor-key tune with fiddle and banjos.

While most of the tunes here are originals or traditional songs, Heinl wrote one of the most fun songs here, “Escalator.” It’s a clunky little tune about a guy, perhaps a child, who fears escalators. “Escalator, you won’t eat me/With your big rubber tongue and your shiny teeth,” Lawyer Dave sings. The narrator gets so riled up and fearful that he ends up hiding in a rack of nightgowns.

The prettiest song on Medicine County is “Dearly Departed.” The opening guitar strums remind me of the beginning of Waylon Jennings’ “Dreaming My Dreams With You.” Golightly sings it soft and somber. Somebody’s playing a church organ in the background, which gives the song an otherworldly feel.

Meanwhile, the song “Don’t Fail Me Now,” with its feedback and tortured electric guitar, sounds like it’s champing at the bit to break out into a crazy rocker. They keep it restrained, but the tension adds some dimension.

Also recommended:

* Under Construction by The Del-Lords. After 20 years or so, the mighty Del-Lords are back, with a way-too-short but very tantalizing EP.

In case you missed its original run (circa 1984-1991), this New York band was led by Scott “Top Ten” Kempner, formerly of The Dictators, and Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, an original member of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. (In more recent years, Ambel has played guitar in Steve Earle’s band and in his own group, The Yayhoos.

Although urban, the Del-Lords did credible covers of “Folsom Prison Blues” and the best version ever of Blind Alfred Reed’s “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?”)

The boys still sound in fine form on the five songs here, from the opening rocker, “When the Drugs Kick In” — “I was right in the middle of a big idea (when the drugs kicked, when the drugs kicked in)/I forgot everything right there and then (when the drugs kicked, when the drugs kicked in) — to the last track, a pretty Kempner ballad called “All of My Life.”

My favorite here is “Me & the Lord Blues,” sung by Ambel and featuring a crazy, raunchy guitar hook. This might be seen as a modern rewrite of the Blind Alfred tune the Del-Lords did so well: “I woke up this morning, and I says to God/‘I know you’re gonna hit me if you’re gonna hit me/but do you have to hit so hard?’/No food upon my table, too much on my plate ... please tell me, Lord, it’s all a mistake.”

These songs are just enough to make a Del-Lords fan hope for a new full-fledged album.

Under Construction is available only at the Del-Lords’ Web site, www.del-lords.com.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, April 11, 2010
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
Love Taco by Pinata Protest
Get Off the Road by The Cramps
Ride on Angel by Simon Stokes
Daddy Rolling Stone by The Blasters
Colourfast Girl by The Laundronauts
Take My Hand by The Organs
Grease Box by TAD
Would Yo Go All the Way by Frank Zappa
Little School Girl by Larry Williams

Be and Bring Me Home by Roky Erikson with Okerville River
Bury You Alive by Batusis
When the Drugs Kick In by The Del-Lords
Wig Wag by Manby's Head
Tiger Phone Card by Dengue Fever
Weeping Blues by Roscoe Gordon
Wooly Bully by Hasil Adkins

She Ain't a Child No More by Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
(It's a) Sunny Day by The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker
I Don't Want No Funky Chicken by Wiley And The Checkmates
Me and Mr. Jones by Amy Winehouse
Miss Beehive by Howard Tate
Goin' to Jump and Shout by Barrence Whitfield
Big Booty Woman by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart by J.C. Brooks & The Uptown Sound

I Still Want to be Your Baby (Take Me as I Am) by Bettye Lavette
Tricks by Andre Williams
The Trip by Donovan
The Ballad of Dwight Fry/Sun Arise by Alice Cooper
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, April 09, 2010

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, April 9, 2010
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
Honky Tonk Heroes by Billy Joe Shaver
Lonesome, Onery and Mean by Waylon Jennings
Hillbilly Blues by Ronnie Dawson
White Sands (Home of the Radar Men) by Cornell Hurd
Viva Sequin / Do Re Mi by Ry Cooder with Flaco Jimenez
Hot Dog That Made Him Mad by Wanda Jackson
His Rockin' Little Angel by Rosie Flores with Wanda Jackson
She Started Comin' Round Again by The Ex-Husbands
Try and Try Again by Billy Joe Shaver

Duck For The Oyster by Malcolm McLaren
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive by Jerry Lee Lewis
Dr. Demon & The Robot Girl by Capt. Clegg & The Night Creatures
Look at That Moon by Carl Mann
Lawd I'm Just a Country Boy in This Great Big Freaky City by The Bottle Rockets
Real Cool Ride by The Hillbilly Hellcats
Hard Luck 'n' Old Dogs by Nancy Apple
Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor by Jess Willard
My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now by Sleepy Jeffers & The Jeffers Twins

Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other by Willie Nelson
Cowboy Song by Dan Reeder
Fire Down Below by The Waco Brothers
It's Just That Song by The Cramps
Up Above My Head by Maria Muldaur & Tracy Nelson
When I Move to The Sky by Sister Rosetta Tharpe
In the Pines by Delaney Davidson
Dearly Departed by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs

The Fourth Night of My Drinking by The Drive-By Truckers
Drinkin' Wine by Gene Simmons
Aw the Humanity by Rev. Horton Heat
Sweet Rosie Jones by Jim Lauderdale
Wheels by The Coal Porters
It's Been So Long by Webb Pearce
The Petrified Forest by The Handsome Family
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, April 08, 2010

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: T.A.M.I.'s IN LOVE

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 9, 2010


The Teenage Awards Music International Show might sound like a tacky Nickelodeon special in which some Hannah Montana wannabe gets green Jell-O poured on her head. But it wasn’t. The T.A.M.I. Show, as it was known, is nothing short of one of the lost treasures of rock ’n’ roll, a live concert film that has been missing in action for nearly 45 years. Until now.

The Shout Factory has released a “Collector’s Edition” of The T.A.M.I. Show in all its black-and-white glory. And all the stars are there. Lesley Gore! Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas! And best of all ... Gerry & The Pacemakers!

And also a few others like James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and The Supremes.

It was filmed live in Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in October 1964 — with Shindig/Hullabaloo-style go-go dancers and a house band featuring top L.A. studio cats, including Leon Russell and Glen Campbell — and was in theaters across the land two weeks later.

I saw this movie in a theater in late 1964 or early 1965, when it first came out. I was in sixth grade, and to cut to the chase, James Brown’s crazed performance of “Please, Please, Please” — the now famous routine in which he falls to his knees screaming like a man possessed and an aide puts a cape around his shoulders, helps him up, and tries to lead him offstage — made an imprint on my psyche that still burns.

I’ve complained for years that The T.A.M.I. Show was unavailable. Until now, it never made it to DVD — heck, it never made it to VHS — at least, not legally. According to the liner notes, the holdup apparently was the fault of The Beach Boys, who sued to get their four songs removed from copies of the film, for reasons that aren’t clear. Some performances have popped up on YouTube here and there — usually removed by the secret masters of the music industry. But not since the 1960s has T.A.M.I. been available in its entirety.

It’s almost as good as I remember it.

Even though several of the acts seem dated (Billy J. who?), it was a pretty good cross section of rock ’n’ roll in 1964. There are British Invasion groups, Motown, Southern soul, old masters, teen pop (love the hair, Lesley), California surf (though no Dick Dale-style instrumental music, which we now know as “surf”) — even a representative of what would later be called “garage music” with The Barbarians.

Music writer Don Waller makes a sociological observation in his liner notes: “At a time when — after weathering a 57-day filibuster — the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had just put an end to legal segregation, it’s worth noting that almost half the stars of The T.A.M.I. Show were then what would be politely referred to as ‘Negroes.’”

The songs by James Brown & His Famous Flames seem even stronger than they did when I was a wide-eyed kid in the movie theater. A lot of fine soul groups are on this bill. Smokey, Marvin (backed by female trio The Blossoms, including the great Darlene Love), and The Supremes all give superb performances that have held up well with the passage of time. Still, compared with Brown, the Motown acts seem so tame. I don’t think any record label made Brown go to charm school.

And The Rolling Stones, introduced by emcees Jan & Dean as “those five fellas from England,” weren’t half bad either. They’re all so fresh-faced, even Keith Richards. Mick Jagger was already strutting, and Brian Jones, playing an oval-shaped guitar, mugged shamelessly for the cameras.

Speaking of The Stones, the theme song of The T.A.M.I. Show (co-written by P.F. Sloan, whose best-known tune was “Eve of Destruction”), contains a factual error. Listing many of the performers on the show, Jan & Dean cluelessly sing, “Those bad-lookin’ guys with the moppy long hair/The Rolling Stones from Liverpool have gotta be there.”

But there were certainly some artistic problems with this show. And I’m not just talking about Jan & Dean’s corny shtick between some of the performances.

To put it bluntly, Chuck Berry, who opens the , was cheated.

After an abbreviated version of “Johnny B. Goode,” he starts in on “Maybellene,” finishing the first verse before the song is hijacked by Gerry & The Pacemakers. This clean-cut British Invasion act performs a couple of tunes until Chuck is allowed to come back with “Sweet Little Sixteen.” For the next few songs, he alternates with Gerry & The Pacemakers.

Whose brilliant idea was this?

This band wasn’t worthy of cleaning the one-way mirrors in Chuck Berry’s mansion, much less being put on equal footing with the master.

But there are unexpected gems here too. One is The Barbarians, who would later have a dumb hit with “Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?” and a cult classic with “Moulty,” a spoken song by their drummer Victor Moulton, who talks about losing his hand. The band was allowed only one song here (come on, they could have cut a couple of songs by Billy J. Kramer or Lesley Gore), and it’s not one of their best-known songs. But “Hey Little Bird” is a fine rocker. And hook or not, Moulty really was a fine drummer.

After seeing The T.A.M.I. Show again after all these years, I felt I needed to have someone put a cape around my shoulders and lead me away.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

TWO UPCOMING SHOWS


Manby's Head, that Taos garage band I've been playing a lot on Terrell's Sound World lately, will be playing with the ever delightful Monkeyshines on Sunday April 25 down under in The Underground (the basement of Evangelos).

They were previously booked to play the week before, but a scheduling conflict caused it to be postponed. (I had announced the original date on last week's Sound World, gentle listeners, so I'm correcting that.)

Come to think of it, I played both bands on my most recent episode of The Big Enchilada.
27 Devils Shirt
Another groovy gig coming up is next Wednesday, April 14, when 27 Devils Joking plays with a San Francisco band called Triple Cobra at Corazon.

UPDATE: Looks like the cover for both shows is a mere $5. Be there!

eMUSIC APRIL


* Like Flies on Sherbert by Alex Chilton. I downloaded this the night after Alex died. I'm still coping with the concept of losing Jim Dickinson and Alex Chilton within a few months of each other. What a loss for Memphis music -- though I'm sure Memphis not only will endure but prevail.

I was a fan of the Box Tops -- "The Letter" was a hit when I was in junior high and somehow memories of the Oklahoma State Fair are tied up in that song for me. And I was a fan of lots of the bands Alex produced -- The Replacements, The Cramps, etc.

But I wasn't that huge of a Big Star fan. Their sound always seemed just a little too pretty for me.

If you agree with me on that -- and please spare me the hate mail if your don't-- this album, recorded in the late '70s, is a twisted treat. It's roots rock for the criminally insane -- mutant blues and inspirational slop. True AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine called this "a front-runner for the worst album ever made." I don't care. I like it.

Chilton obviously foresaw the rise of punk-blues here. Jon Spencer, Bob Logg and half the bands on Voodoo Rhythm probably owe him a debt of gratitude. I love the lazy boogie shuffle of "My Rival" colored by Ubu-like electro-noise and "Hey! Little Child" which almost sounds like he hired The Shaggs' drummer Helen Wiggin to sit in.

The title song sounds like some Electric Light Orchestra tune being torn apart by wild dogs.

He also does a cowpunk assault on country music on songs like "Waltz Across Texas," "No More The Moon Shines On Lorena," (an old Carter Family song about slaves I suspect has roots in minstrelry) and "Alligator Man," in which Chilton sounds more like Alfred E. Neuman than Jimmie C. Newman.

But my favorite here is "Baron of Love Part II" feature a crazed Ross Johnson, Tav Falco's drummer, on a stoned rant. (This song also is available on Johnson's own compilation Make It Stop!: The Most of Ross Johnson.)

R.I.P. Alex. You rarely failed to surprise.

* His Guitar, His Sons And The Congregation Of St. Luke's Powerhouse Church Of God In Christ by Rev. Louis Overstreet. Here's some raw, rocking gospel from Arizona (!) recorded in the early '60s by Arhoolie Records' Chris Strachwitz.

Before he settled in Phoenix, Overstreet, a Louisiana native traveled throughout the South and West as a street preacher and musical evangelist. He sang playing electric guitar and bass drum, backed up by a joyful vocal group made up of his four sons . In 1961, he became pastor of the St. Luke's Powerhouse Church of God in Christ. (I don't think that particular congregation exists anymore. I found 10 other Churches of God in Christ in Phoenix, but no St. Luke's Powerhouse.)

"Powerhouse" was a fitting name. Overstreet bellowed his praises of the Lord. It's no exaggeration to say that you can hear the spirit at work, especially in the lengthy and frenzied "Holiness Dances."

This version of the album includes the original 1962 recordings, but some additional recording by Strachwitz, including several recorded at Overstreet's home in which the preacher plays acoustic guitar.


* Born Losers by The Stomachmouth. Before there was The Hives, The Stomachmouths were your favorite band --at least for garage rock fans in Sweden in the 1980s.

This is a compilation of Stomachmoth hits, plus a couple of tunes from frontman Stefan Kery's post-Stomachmouths bands, The Mongrels and The Toneblenders. (Thus the "various Artists" tag by eMusic.)

The music is good basic Fuzz & Farisa very Seedsy, very Standellish, with proper nods to The Yardbirds and "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone." My favorite tune has to be the appropriately titled "Wild Trip."

For a history of The Stomachmouths CLICK HERE


* Showtime by Ry Cooder. Here's one I remember from the mid '70s. Following his wonderful Chickenskin Music album, in which he introduced Flaco Jimenenz and Hawaiian giants Gabby Pahinui and Atta Isaacs, Cooder took to the road with The Chicken Skin Revue, a band that included Flaco and soul singers Terry Evans, Bobby King, and Eldridge King.

There's a sad, slow version of Blind Alfred Reed's "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Time and Live?" I still like The Del-Lords' stomping version the best, but this version hits from another direction. Also worthy is "Dark End of the Street" featuring Evans and Bobby King on vocals and Ry's slide guitar. And you can't go wrong with "Jesus on the Main Line," a longtime Cooder favorite.

But the reason I downloaded this is because of the ones in which Flaco and his magic accordion are spotlighted -- "Volver, Volver" (almost as good as the version by the late Chris Gaffney with Billy Bacon) and the medley of a polka called "Viva Seguin" and Woody Guthrie's "Do Re Mi." Woody surely would have appreciated his Okie migration classic being slyly transformed into an anthem for a new group of California-bound migrants also lacking in the Do-Re-Mi.

PLUS:

* Two songs featuring the team-up of The Dubliners & The Pogues. I picked up "The Rare Auld Montain Dew" and "Irish Rover," which I played on my Irish music special on Terrell's Sound World a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

YOU KNOW YOU'RE REALLY STARTING TO GET OLD ...

When you discover that you're a Collector's Item.

When fooling around Amazon.com a few minutes ago, I discovered they're not only selling digital copies of songs from my CD Picnic Time For Potatoheads And Best Loved Songs from Pandemonium Jukebox), but some stray copies of the CD as well.

What really surprised me was that some outfit down in Florida has a copy going for $69.24!

Yikes!

And yes, that's the CD from the '90s, not the 1981 LP, which I guess might be considered a collector's item.

Another seller, offering the Potatoheads CD for a mere $29.98, has a note saying that the CD is "out of print" and that it's a "Canada Import." Neither is true. I still have an embarrassing number of CDs here at home, so it's still "in print.". As for the other claim, the company I used to manufacture the CD was from Canada, so there's a "Made in Canada" sticker.

I''m flattered to know that anyone would think Potatoheads is worth $69.24. But if you really want the darn thing, you can find it for a lot cheaper over at CD Baby .


Sunday, April 04, 2010

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, April 4, 2010
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
Peter Cottontail Take 4 by The Bubbadinos
Don't Bring Me Down by The Pretty Things
Trash Talkin' Woman by The Electric Mess
Can't Hardly Stand It by The Cramps
She's Kind of Evil by Thee Fine Lines
Sea of Blasphemy by The Black Lips
Silk of the Snow by Tight White Jeans
Let Me Know by The Saints
Pie-Ella by Hipbone Slim & The Knee-Tremblers
Pokin' Around by Mudhoney

Kat by The Vonz
Visitation by Manby's Head
Stink Bug by The Dirtbag Surfers
Pretty Conservative by Cyco Sanchez Supergroup
Get Your Kicks by The Deadly Vibes
16 Tons by Bo Diddley
Love Taco by Pinata Protest
What You Lack in Brains by Batusis
Cannibal Girls by The Hydes
My Wig Fell Off by Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band
Hey Rat Fink by Mr. Gasser & The Weirdos

John Lawman by Roky Erikson with Okkerville River
Not to Touch the Earth by The Doors
Hallucination Generation by The Fuzztones
Nitro by Dick Dale
Ghost of a Texas Ladies' Man by Concrete Blonde
Stack-O-Lee by Samuel L. Jackson
There Ain't No Such Thing as Good Dope by Andre Williams

New York is Killing Me by Gil-Scott-Heron
Some Unholy War by Amy Winehouse
Get It Together by J.C. Brooks & The Uptown Sound
Worm Mountain by The Flaming Lips
Never Go West by Seasick Sick
Your Mind is on Vacation by Mose Allison
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, April 02, 2010

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST

Friday, April 2, 2010
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
Someone Bring Me a Flower, I'm a Robot by The Gourds
I'm Fed Up Drinking Here by The Starline Rhythm Boys
Racing The Train by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
It Makes No Difference Now by Gov. Jimmie Davis
Wild Wild Young Men by Rose Maddox
Murder in My Mind by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Guv'ment by Roger Miller
Cheeseburger Deluxe by The World Famous Blue Jays
After All These Years by Mose McCormack
Hotdog by Buck Owens

Negro y Azul by Los Cuates De Sinaloa
The Wolves by Felix y Los Gatos
Chords of Fame by Neil Mooney
11 Months and 29 Days by Johnny Paycheck
Nights at the Jolly Ringo by Kris Hollis Key
Beatin' On The Bars by T.Tex Edwards & Out On Parole
Goin' Up the Country by Mike Cullison

True Love Cast Out All Evil by Roky Erikson & Okerville River
Tell Me Twice by Eleni Mandell
The Call of The Wrecking Ball by The Knitters
Way Out in the World by C.W. Stoneking
Hard Time Killing Floor by The Texas Sheiks
Dirty Dozen by Delaney Davidson
Jugband Stomp by Sunshine Skiffle Band
Prince Nez by Squirrel Nut Zippers
By and By by Asylum Street Spankers

You Got Another by Drive-By Truckers
The Dying Truckdriver by The Delmore Brothers
Dirt Nap by Trailer Bride
Slippin' Away by Jean Shepard
In the Good Old Days When Times Were Bad by Dolly Parton
Falling Sky 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

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: A GHOST IN THE ALLEY

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 2, 2010


The singer didn’t really sing. He spoke, sometimes almost shouted, the lyrics over a funky bass line and a funky flute.

“You will not be able to stay home, brother/You will not be able to plug in, turn on, and cop out/You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and/Skip out for beer during commercials/Because the revolution will not be televised.”

It was the dawn of the ’70s, and it was like nothing I’d ever heard before. The Black Panthers hijacking a beatnik poetry reading? H. Rap Brown fronting a soul revue? “The revolution will not be right back after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people. ... The revolution will not be televised.”

After years in the shadows — 16 years since his previous studio album, Spirits, which was his first record in 12 years — Gil Scott-Heron is back with more harrowing songs on a new album called I’m New Here.

A decade after “The Revolution Will Not be Televised,” Scott-Heron would be hailed as one of the major harbingers of hip-hop. With “Televised” and songs like “Whitey on the Moon” (“A rat just bit my sister Nell, with whitey on the moon”), Scott-Heron inspired a generation of politically conscious rappers (think Public Enemy, Kool Moe Dee, and KRS-One).

He even had a string of hits that penetrated the R & B charts in the mid- to late-’70s. Some of these, like “Johannesburg,” “Winter in America,” and “Angel Dust,” could sometimes be heard on rock radio, which back then was basically as segregated as a Mississippi country club.

But despite his successes, Scott-Heron didn’t enjoy a life of ease. He spent much of the last couple of decades struggling with drug addiction and the past 10 years or so behind prison walls for drug charges.

I’m New Here, produced by Richard Russell, is harrowing. It’s mostly low-key and somber and almost like an encounter in a dark alley with a ghost. The album kicks off with an autobiographical spoken-word piece, “On Coming From a Broken Home.” It’s a touching tribute to his grandmother, who raised him in Tennessee.

“Lilly Scott was absolutely not your room-service, typecast black grandmother ... and I loved her from the absolute marrow of my bone,” Scott-Heron says over a musical backdrop that sounds like a distant interplanetary transmission of a blaxploitation movie soundtrack. “Women raised me, and I was full-grown before I knew I came from a broken home.”

But the sweet memory ends with the death of Lilly Scott — “and I was scared and hurt and shocked.” The music gets louder, the beat turns harsher, and suddenly Scott-Heron finds himself in an electronic mutation of one of Robert Johnson’s most frightening blues, “Me and the Devil.”

He actually bowdlerizes one of Johnson’s lines. Unlike the venerated bluesman, Scott-Heron doesn’t “beat my woman until I’m satisfied.” He just “sees” his woman until he’s satisfied. I bet the lessons of Lilly Scott had something to do with that little change. But the song is no less intense It’s been made, along with “Your Soul and Mine,” into a cool black-and-white video that might be described as hip-hop noir. You can find it

That’s not the only classic tune Scott-Heron transforms on this album. He takes on Bobby “Blue” Bland’s masterpiece, “I’ll Take Care of You.” Russell provides the otherworldly musical accompaniment featuring a string section on top of the electronica. And Scott-Heron’s voice, which has grown raspier through the years, sounds more like his heyday voice on this song. The old warble, almost suggesting a yodel, is back.

The title song is written by indie singer-songwriter Bill Callahan, who performs under the name Smog. Scott-Heron recites the verses and sings the choruses as a pensive acoustic guitar plays in the background.

One of the strongest selections on I’m New Here is “New York Is Killing Me.” In this original song, Scott-Heron sings a blues melody over persistent hand claps and a clacking rhythm, punctuated by bass drum. At a couple of points, the Harlem Gospel Choir comes in but disappears like a dream figment. “They got eight million people, and I didn’t have a single friend,” he sings.

The album ends with a reprise of “On Coming From a Broken Home,” this time with Scott-Heron expressing sympathy for the families of soldiers who have been killed in battle, as well as those of police, firefighters, construction workers, pilots, and truckers “who have lost their lives but not what their lives stood for.”

I’m New Here is less than 30 minutes long. But it’s one intense half hour.

BLOG BONUS:

Here's that video I mentioned above:

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...