Monday, December 30, 2013


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Dec. 27, 2013

I recently read a funny article on titled “4 Common Music Arguments and What They Really Mean.” The very first argument struck me as I was compiling my annual best-albums list: “There Is No Good Music Anymore.” According to Cracked, what people who say this are really saying is “I don’t know how to use a computer.”

“Look, thanks to the Internet, there is good everything available pretty much everywhere,” Cracked contributor Adam Tod Brown writes. “And nothing is easier to find than new music. … It’s not rocket science. You can find anything on the Internet, and bands making music you enjoy are no exception.”

I’m aware that most people haven’t heard the music on this list or even heard of many of the artists I enjoyed in 2013. And sadly, record stores are scarce in these parts these days. So get yourself to a computer and check out any of my of my selections that sound interesting. And if you like any of them, buy the darn things.

Top 10 in 2013
John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees
in Albuquerque

* Floating Coffin by Thee Oh Sees. This one’s a rocker, and I knew right away that it would end up high on my year-end list. It became the benchmark against which I measured all contenders.
Most of the songs have happy, catchy melodies that make you want to sing along. However, just below the surface there seems to be something sinister lurking. Just look at the cover. There’s a bunch of ripe red strawberries — delicious looking, except for vampire teeth and eyeballs peering out. Singer/guitarist/frontman John Dwyer has said, “These songs occur in the mind-set of a world that’s perpetually war-ridden. Overall, it’s pretty dark.”

Thee Oh Sees came to Albuquerque in November and performed a mighty show. But as I began preparing this list there came some bad news: The band is going on an “indefinite hiatus.” Dwyer is moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles, while keyboardist and vocalist Brigid Dawson is leaving for Santa Cruz. The one spot of good news is that Thee Oh Sees will be releasing a new album — hopefully not their final one — early next year.

* Vanishing Point by Mudhoney. Sometimes I wish it would have been Mudhoney instead of Nirvana to carry the banner back in the days when the flannel flew. I’d argue that Steve Turner is a better guitarist than Kurt Cobain was. Mark Arm’s lyrics have lots more humor than those of Cobain. Musically, Mudhoney drew far more from garage, psychedelic rock, and The Stooges than Nirvana did. Two decades after the glory days of grunge, Mudhoney has recorded one of its finest albums ever.
Black Joe in Santa Fe

* Electric Slave by Black Joe Lewis. This is the hardest-edged record so far in Lewis’ short but thrilling catalog. Electric Slave is raw, punk-infused electric blues rock — less jive and more wallop. Unlike his earlier records, this one was released under Lewis’ name alone, not with his band The Honeybears. While the Honeybear horn section is still here, the soul and funk elements of Lewis’ early work are less apparent.

* Merles Just Want to Have Fun by Bryan & the Haggards with Dr. Eugene Chadbourne. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of Merle Haggard fans who came across this album went away thinking that these guys were making fun of ol’ Hag considering some of the off-key horns and Bizarro World solos. But that’s not true. Eugene Chadbourne, an avant-garde guitarist, and sax maniac Bryan Murray just want to have fun. And even though Hag didn’t do it this a-way, this is a sincere tribute done with smiles on faces and love in hearts.
Barrence in Santa Fe 2009

* Dig Thy Savage Soul by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages. After a powerful comeback album (Savage Kings) a couple of years ago, Boston’s — perhaps the world’s — greatest R & B/punk-rock band shows the savagery continues. Once again the group gives us a near-perfect collection of songs for those who like a little garage rock in their soul music or a lot of soul in their garage.

* Desperation by The Oblivians. The first studio album by this Memphis trio in 16 years isfull of humor, passion, and lo-fi crazy slop, with echoes of soul, blues, rockabilly, and of course, wild, unfettered garage rock. There are even a few somewhat melodious tunes that almost suggest a certain tenderness.

* Pura Vida Conspiracy by Gogol Bordello. “Borders are scars on the face of the planet,” frontman Eugene Hütz sings in his thick Ukrainian accent on “We Rise Again,” the opening song. And where better to make such a proclamation than in El Paso, a real live border town? That’s where this New York-based multinational group recorded this rousing album.

* Wilderness by The Handsome Family. Once again Brett and Rennie Sparks have made a mysterious, dark, and alluring album. We wouldn’t expect any less from them. The melodies are mostly pretty, sentimental, and frequently sad, with sweet harmonies. Most tunes remind me of old folk songs or parlor music from some century gone by. But when you allow the lyrics to sink in, you realize there’s a lot more going on here than sweet nostalgia.

* Sonic Bloom by Night Beats. Here’s the psychedelic album of the year, a good-time rock ’n’ roll journey to the center of the mind. The Night Beats’ sound has several discernible DNA strands in addition to psychedelia. You’ll hear bits of T. Rex as well as The Velvet Underground and even echoes of 1960s soul music.
Hickoids in Austin this week

* Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit by The Hickoids. Mamas don’t let your little babies grow up to be cowpunks. This record is a raw, trashy gas, a drunken joy ride down Thunder Road all the way to Armageddon.

Honorable mention:

* Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey by The Dirtbombs
* Gone Away Backward by Robbie Fulks
* Old World’s Ocean by The Calamity Cubes!
* Haunted Head by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds
* Divided & United: Songs of the Civil War by various artists
* Indigo Meadow by The Black Angels
* The Dinosaur Truckers (self-titled)
* Re-Mit by The Fall
* Bottom of the World by Terry Allen
* El Valiente by Piñata Protest (This might have landed in the Top 10 had it been a full album, not just a 15-minute EP.)

Reissues/archival releases of the year:

* The South Side of Soul Street: The Minaret Soul Singles, 1967-1976 by various artists
* Honky Tonk Man: Buck Sings Country Classics by Buck Owens
* Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) by Bob Dylan
* Los Nuggetz: ’60s Garage & Psych From Latin America by various artists.
* I’m a Loser by Doris Duke. (This is my favorite album released as part of Alive/Natural Sound’s Swamp Dogg archives series. Too Many People in One Bed by Sandra Phillips, The Brand New Z.Z. Hill, and the self-titled Wolfmoon also are fine examples of late ’60s, early ’70s deep Southern soul. There’s also one in the series I haven’t heard yet by Irma Thomas. It’s hard to imagine that one not being worthy as well.)

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Terrell's Sound World Facebook BannerSunday, Dec. 22, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M. 
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell(at)

 OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Suddenly It's Christmas by Loudon Wainwright III
Beaver Fever by The Brain Eaters
Gravedigger by Billy Joe Winghead
Some Velvet Morning by The Frontier Circus
Oblivian by The Oblivians 
White Light/White Heat by Lou Reed
Christmas Out of Sight (Wonder) by New Mystery Girl
Gloria by Elastica
The Witch by Los Peyotes
Sing This Song of Joy by Mudhoney 

Santa Won't You Please Bring Me Some Beer by The Mojo Gurus
Crazy For You by La La Brooks
Milwaukee's Beast by Slab City
Let's Snap by The Mobbs
Hey Santa Claus by The Moonglows
Paralyze Ya by Left Lane Cruiser
Why You Leave Me by T. Valentine & Daddy Long Legs
Six Bullets for Christmas by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies

Sand Surfin' by The Four Dimensions
Border Town Blues by Long John Hunter
Don't Need You No More by The Outer Limits
When You Were Mine by. The Morfomen 
El Vampiro by Los Vampiranos 
Love's Made a Fool of You by The Bobby Fuller Four

BC Clark's Anniversary Sale
We Got the Eggnog if You Got the Whiskey by Hickoids
Jinglecide by The Rockin' Guys
Father Christmas is Dressed in Green by Wild Billy Childish & The Musicians of the British Empire

I Was on the Bozo Show by Nobunny
Stick a Fork in It by Lovestruck 
Daddy's Gone toBed by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Chokin' Kind by Z.Z. Hill
The Season 's Upon Us by Dropkick Murphys 
Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope by Sonic Youth
That Feel by Ze'ev Tene
Lucky Day by Tom Waits
Substitute CLOSING THEME: Oh Holy Night by Brian Wilson

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Friday, December 20, 2013


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Dec. 20, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)
 OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
How You Want It Done by Big Bill
They Call Me Country by DM Bob & The Deficits
I Guess I'm Crazy For Loving You by Werly Fairburn
Polk Salad Annie by Jason & The Scorchers
Ole Rattler by Long John Hunter
The Crawdad Song by The Meat Purveyors
Moonshine Still by Jack Holt
Live Fast, love Hard, Die Young by Faron Young
Hard Rain's Gonna Fall by Paul Burch & The Waco Brothers
Liquored Up by Southern Culture on the Skids 

Closing Time / Take a Letter Maria by The Pleasure Barons
Hawkeye Jordan by Jimbo Mathis
Songs We Used to Sing by Possessed by Paul James
Ain't That a Mess by Al Miller & His Swing Stompers
Making Believe by Social Distortion
Everybody's Sweetheart by Art Gibson & His  Mountain Melody Boys

Bright Lights and Blonde Haired Women / There's No Fool Like a Young Fool by Ray Price
I Hung It Up by Junior Brown
Something's Gonna Get Us All by Earl Poole Ball
Merry Christmas From the Family by Robert Earl Keen
Christmas in Southgate by Ry Cooder
Lonesome Road Blues by Ernest Stoneman

Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You by Sally Timms
Rose of the Summer by Robbie Fulks
Wildebeest by The Handsome Family
The Christians and the Pagans by Dar Williams
Someday by Blaze Foley
Old Toy Trains by Roger Miller 
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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TERRELL'S TUNEUP: Some NM Musical History from Norton Records

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Dec. 20 , 2013

UPDATED 12-23-13 (Check below the videos)

Two recent compilations from Norton Records hit close to home. Well, two or three hundred miles or so from home. El Vampiro, which is all instrumental surf rock from 1963 and 1964, and Sand Surfin’, which includes surf music as well as garage-band snot-rock from the mid-1960s, are the latest entries in Norton’s El Paso Rock series (Volumes 8 and 9, respectively).

The name of this series isn’t quite accurate. These “El Paso” albums include several New Mexico bands as well as labels and recording studios from our enchanted land. Indeed, these impressive collections provide a great introduction to the rock ’n’ roll side of three influential southern New Mexico record labels operated by giants of New Mexico’s musical history.

Let’s start off with Goldust Records of Las Cruces, which was owned and operated by Emmit Brooks, who still runs the Goldust recording studio, releasing more than 100 singles in its day. A 2011 profile in the Las Cruces Sun News noted that Brooks is a country musician himself, playing bass and singing with a touring band called The Aggie Ramblers from 1957 to 1975. Before he opened the studio, Brooks recorded an original country song called “Peach Blossoms” at Petty Studios in Clovis (most famous for recording the lion’s share of Buddy Holly’s hits).

Goldust was the home of a Las Cruces band called The Four Dimensions, which provides the title song of Sand Surfin’. It’s about the joys of riding plywood planks down the gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument: “Down in the wastelands of New Mexico/Where there’s a definite lack of H2O/The kids get their kicks in this barren land/When they go surfin’ on pure white sand.”

In an interview for the website Garage Hangover a few years ago, Dimension Jack Starkey recalled his Goldust days. “We had a great relationship with Emmit, and he shared in the cost and profit of the record (I don’t think there was any profit). We backed other performers at the studio also.”

Goldust is also the label that released “Don’t Need You No More” by The Outer Limits, also on Sand Surfin’. The liner notes say the (unidentified) lead singer was frequently compared to Roky Erickson. I don’t hear 13th Floor Elevators in the song so much as I hear the melancholy folk rock of The Beau Brummels (“Laugh Laugh,” “Just a Little”). Though not included on the Norton compilations, Santa Fe’s Morfomen also recorded at least a couple of tracks for Goldust in the ’60s.

Starkey, in that Garage Hangover interview, also talks about hanging out with other Las Cruces and El Paso rockers of the day at The Lobby in Juárez, where he watched and undoubtedly picked up licks and tricks from bluesman Long John Hunter, who recorded with Yucca Records of Alamogordo.

A couple of years ago, Norton Records acquired Yucca’s entire catalog, including music that never saw the light of day. Nortonville’s blog describes Yucca as “a star in Norton’s ever growing constellation of able labels. Yucca’s output in the 1950’s and 1960’s is equaled by the number of world-class recordings that sat in the can for fifty years.”

It was headed by the late Calvin Boles, who, like Emmit Brooks, was a country musician. With a voice like Ernest Tubbs’, he played in a band called The Rocket City Playboys. Yucca recorded some great rock, country, and blues sounds in the 1950s and ’60s.

The best-known artist to record with Yucca was an El Paso singer named Bobby Fuller, who released two singles on the label in 1962. Not long afterward, Fuller would hit it big with “I Fought the Law.” Fuller’s music makes up the first three volumes in the El Paso Rock series.

Among Yucca’s classics is a politically incorrect 1961 rockabilly single by Big Lloyd Dalton & The El Paso Trail Blazers called “Thees Plane Ees Mine.” It was inspired by Antulio Ramirez Ortiz’s hijacking of a National Airlines flight to Cuba that year, eight years or so before hijacking planes to Cuba became a national plague. Unfortunately Dalton’s song hasn’t yet been reissued by Norton. I hope they rectify that situation.

El Vampiro has five tracks, some previously unreleased, from Yucca by The Monarcs, featuring guitarist Tim Taylor. The best Monarcs song is the slow, eerie, whammy-bar heavy “Forever Lost.”

The other Yucca acts represented on these recent El Paso Rock compilations are: Steve Cooper & The Avantis, whose stinging 1966 instrumental “Sky Diver” is on Sand Surfin’; Las Cruces guitarist Chuck Sledge, who has three previously unissued instrumentals, including his version of “La Bamba,” on El Vampiro; The Pitiful Panics, whose low and slow “Why I Cry” on Sand Surfin’ is as full of teenage yearning as the title suggests; and The Fortunes, an Alamogordo band whose “Chi-Wa-Wa,” which is on El Vampiro, was a favorite of the late Steve Crosno, a DJ on the popular KELP station in El Paso (a religious station these days). Crosno used it as the background music leading up to the news breaks during his show.

Crosno was perhaps El Paso’s major go-to rock ’n’ roll figure of the ’60s. In addition to his radio show, he had an American Bandstand-like TV show in El Paso and promoted concerts in the area. And he’s also responsible for the third New Mexico label and studio to be featured on these albums, the slightly more obscure Frogdeath Records. Yes, decades before New Mexico had Frogville Records, it had Frogdeath Records.

Crosno, who died of cancer in 2006, operated Frogdeath out of his home in University Park (part of the Las Cruces area). Crosno’s goofy sense of humor was apparent in Frogdeath’s logo. It was a parody of RCA-Victor’s logo — Nipper the dog listening to “his master’s voice” on a Victrola. Frogdeath had a frog instead of a dog. And right above the poor creature’s head was a boot, apparently ready to stomp.

Sand Surfin’ includes the first Frogdeath single, “Wipe In” by The Imposters. This is basically a parody of The Surfaris’ hit “Wipe Out,” down to the crazy laugh that opens that record. (There’s another song on this album, “Bogus” by The Scavengers, which sounds like a slowed-down version of “Wipe Out.”)

Also on Sand Surfin’ is the instrumental “Mr. Big” by The Four Frogs. According to the liner notes of the album, one of the Four Frogs, Colin Flannigan, also has a song here — “You Came to Me,” a Beatles-ish rocker he recorded for a different label, Suemi, under the pseudonym Dave Caflan. Frogdeath also released “When Will I Find Her,” a fuzzy garage rocker by Mike Renolds (real name Reynolds) backed by The Infants of Soul.

And while its records weren’t released on Frogdeath, a Las Cruces band called The Key Men was produced by Crosno. The group’s instrumentals “Sun-Burstin’” and “Up to News” are on El Vampiro.

Southern New Mexico and El Paso are very rarely, if indeed ever, mentioned as major rock ’n’ roll meccas of the ’60s. But these compilations show that this area was bursting with crazy energy back in those daysin those days.

Here's some songs from those three New Mexico labels. There are some more Youtubes from Yucca Records on this old blog post.

UPDATE 12-23-13

Santa Fe musician Flash Swank sent me this anecdote after reading this column. I'm copying it here with his permission.

Sometime around 11 years ago I was working on a small job in Alamogordo. My rental car had a CD player, and I was coincidentally listening to Long John Hunter on what I believe was one of the early Norton records  “El Paso Rock” series. I had recently been exposed to Long John by seeing him at one of the free blues shows at the recently built Camel Rock Casino, and had purchased the CD after seeing a review in Vintage Guitar magazine.

One night I remembered that the tunes I was listening to were recorded in Alamogordo, and I reread the excellent liner notes on the Norton release. When I got back to the motel, I got out the phone book to see if Calvin Boles was still listed there. He was. I spent some time wondering if he would welcome a cold call from someone he had never met. His wife answered, and put Calvin on the line.

I opened with an apology for bothering him, but it turned out that he loved getting the call. He was in declining health and on dialysis, but loved talking about Yucca Records and the old days. He really got energized talking about music. When we were saying goodbye, he said he was going to warm up the garage and write some songs.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pussy Riot Home For Christmas?

Two members of the punk band Pussy Riot jailed in the Soviet Union, uh, I mean Russia, will be freed under an amnesty plan that includes the release of 30 environmental activists, jolly old Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, and Maria Alyokhina, 25, are serving a two-year sentences for their "punk prayer"  in Moscow's main cathedral last year.

A third Pussy Rioter who was convicted for the protest, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on appeal last year.

"I feel sorry for Pussy Riot not for the fact that they were jailed, but for disgraceful behavior that has degraded the image of women,” Putin said during his annual televised news conference.

There's no truth to the rumor that the Pussy Riot members were released as a part of a prisoner exchange program involving the U.S. instrumental band Los Straitjackets.

To celebrate their release, here's some Pussy Riot. The song is called "Putin Lights Up the Fires."


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas From The Big Enchilada!


Merry Christmas, my dear young friends! Once again  the Big Enchilada is going to rock your stockings off. Roll your Yule logs and hang your little balls on the tree. The War on Christmas never sounded so good.

Here's the playlist:

(Background Music: O Christmas Tree by Brave Combo)
Beatnik's Wish by Patsy Ray & The Beatniks
We Got the Eggnog If You Got the Whiskey by Hickoids
Jail by The Rockin' Guys
Father Christmas is Dressed in Green by Wild Billy Childish & The Musicians of The British Empire
Nothin' But Tears Under My Christmas Tree by Thee Fine Lines
I Wanna Spend Christmas with Elvis by Marlene Paul
Hey Santa Claus by The Moonglows
(Background Music: Deck the Halls by The Klezmonauts)

Groovy Christmas and New Year by Kojo Donkoh & Pee Pee Dynamite
My Mom and Santa (Twistin') by George Jones
I Still Believe in Christmas by The Fleshtones
Poncho Claus by El Vez
Christmas Cheer by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
The Season's Upon Us by Dropkick Murphys
(Background Music: Jingle Bells by Gene Krupa & Charlie Ventura )

Christmas Outta Site (Wonder) by New Mystery Girl
Santa on the Roof by Reverend Horton Heat
I Know What You Want For Christmas by Kay Martin & Her Body Guards
'67 Christmas by The Electric Prunes
Merry Christmas Darlin' by James Hand
White Christmas by Iggy Pop

Play it here:

 For all my Christmas podcasts, CLICK HERE

Monday, December 16, 2013

GiG Performance Space's Non-Appeal For Donations

This email from GiG Performance Space made me look twice.

The subject line was "From GiG - Please Stop the Donations!"

It's either a creative donation pitch ... or a cry for help. You be the judge.


We are so grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support for GiG Performance Space this Holiday Season. It has been really been nice to be on the receiving end of all this Holiday cheer. And you have our sincere gratitude for supporting the many hundreds of great performances at GiG over the past 8 years!


We really must ask you to refrain from any more donations at this time. On average, we have been seeing two-dozen large, black mailbags per day filled with checks. The post office has been working long hours already and now this happens! We are being forced out of our space by the sheer volume of checks that are climbing to the ceiling, and we have crashed the servers several times -- evidently people are banging the donation button so hard that repetitive stress injuries (giginitus) are becoming all to common among GiG supporters. We have hired a technical support team in India to help field all the inquiries. (Just dial 1-800-OUT-SORC.)

It is the same every day. At 7AM when we begin to inform potential donors that we can no longer accept their checks and online donations, they begin to  stutter and say things like, "Well what about the new BiG GiG that you are wanting to move into? Won't you need new chairs? Or what about more recording and video equipment for the new production facility, at least let us buy you the new espresso/chai bar for the new front room. What about new staff members? Don't you need to grow your organization? But I absolutely must help you with your endowment fund dear. Please! You must let us help!" (And not to mention the irate reindeer that have been tap dancing on our roof at all hours!) 

As you can see it's been hell over here. I need to appeal to you all in this time of crisis to kindly refrain from any tax-deductible, 501(c)(3) check writing to:

The Open Arts Foundation
1808 Second Street, Suite H
Santa Fe, NM  87505

And if you have any shred of decency left this Holiday season you will refrain from any simple, secure online donating at GiG Performance Space - Home.

With your help, we are confident we can work through these growth pains together.

Many thanks and happy holidays,

Bruce Dunlap
Executive Director
Open Arts Foundation

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Terrell's Sound World Facebook BannerSunday, Dec. 15, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M. 
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell(at)

 OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Cosmic Thing by The B 52s
Dance Like a Monkey by New York Dolls
Wiggin' Out by The Del-Gators
Astral by The Rockin' Guys
Some Velvet Morning by The Frontier Circus
The Mad Daddy by The Cramps
Real Change by Night Beats
Eve of Destruction by Gregg Turner

Bad Reruns by Big Foot Chester
Don't Need You No More by The Outer Limits
Make Dat Money by Black Joe Lewis
If You Leave Me by Andre Williams
Fruta Podrida by Wau y Los Arrrghs!!!
Two Headed Dog by Roky Erikson & The Aliens
Prehistoric Love by J.C. Satan

Back Street Hangout by The Oblivians
Eviler by The Grannies
Little Sally Tease by The Standells
We Tried It, Try It by The Movin' Morfomen
Springtime for Argentina by Billy Joe Winghead
Hey Cookie by The Dirtbombs
South of the Borderline by J.J. & The Real Jerks
The Talking Hot Pants Blues by Hickoids
Banana Bike by Dot Wiggins Band

Maze Fancier by Thee Oh Sees
All or Nothing by La La Brooks
I Should Have Been in Art School by Wild Billy Chyldish & CTMF
All That Glitters by Pietra Wexstun & Hecate's Angels
I Know It's Too Late / Starchild by Sam Samudio
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, December 13, 2013


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Dec. 13, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)
 OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Everybody's Doin' It by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Voodoo Cadillac by Southern Culture on the Skids
I'm No Communist by Granda Jones
How Cold Hearted Can You Get? by Hank Thompson 
Peg and Awl by Carolina Tar Heels
Hello Walls by Rev. Horton Heat with Willie Nelson
West Virginia Gals by Al Hopkins & The Buckle Busters
Dragons by Possessed By Paul James
I'm  a Long Gone Daddy by The The

Goodbye, Ray Price set
Lonely Street by Ray Price
Pick Me Up on Your Way Down by Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard & Ray Price
I'll Be There If Ever You Need Me by John Fogerty
Crazy Arms by Van Morrison & Linda Gail Lewis 
Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride at All by Johnny Bush & Ray Price
Under Your Spell Again by Buck Owens
Sittin' and Thinkin' by Ray Price
Old Friends by Roger Miller, Willie Nelson & Ray Price

Marching Through Georgia by Old Crow Medicine Show
Secesh by the Tennessee Jugband Mafia
Kingdom Come by Pokey LaFarge
The Legend of the Rebel Soldier by Lee Ann Womack
Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette by Johnny Bond
Drunkard's Hiccups by J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers 
Walkin' My Baby Back Home by Dan Hicks with Maryanne Price

Charleston Girl by Tyler Childers
Up on High by The Gourds
Don't Let Her Know by Ray Charles
Give Me Wine or Money by The Mekons
Today I Started Loving You Again by Rufus Thomas
Highway Cafe by Tom Waits
Flowers on the Wall by The Statler Brothers
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Dec. 13, 2013

As terrible as the Civil War was, it was a very musical war.

Probably because of the movies and various documentary depictions that have become inseparable from that war in the popular mind-set, when you think about the Civil War, you’re likely to think of rousing marches, blue coats, and gray coats. Or perhaps you conjure up the image of a lonesome soldier sitting by a campfire at night playing sweet nostalgic songs of home on his old harmonica.

Or maybe you think of contemporary songs about the Civil War like The Band’s haunting “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” or Hank Williams Jr.’s shockingly clueless “If the South Woulda Won.”

While a few of the popular songs of 150 years ago have remained somewhat familiar, many have faded from memory. Producer Randall Poster has collected 32 Civil War-era songs from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line and rounded up a bunch of country, bluegrass, blues, and folk musicians for an impressive two-disc compilation called Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War.

“Because of the richness of the music of the 1850s and 1860s, so much of it concerned with universal themes of longing, death, and liberty, experiences like that constantly recur on Divided & United,” writes historian Sean Willentz in the liner notes.

Although most of the tunes in the project deal directly with the war, some are just songs that were popular during that era, among them “Listen to the Mockingbird,” done by Stuart Duncan and Dolly Parton; “Wildwood Flower,” performed by Sam Amidon; and a heartbreaking “Lorena,” which was beloved by soldiers on both sides of the war, sung by bluegrass master Del McCoury.

A couple of the most popular songwriters of the war years are well represented. Stephen Foster songs include “Beautiful Dreamer,” sung by Cowboy Jack Clement (who died in August); an instrumental version of “Old Folks at Home,” by Noam Pikelny and David Grisman; and a heartfelt “Hard Times” by ex-Byrd/Flying Burrito Brother Chris Hillman.
Henry C. Work

But even more impressive are the songs of Henry Clay Work, who is far less remembered these days than Foster. Born in Connecticut, Work wrote songs for minstrel shows. But before you condemn him as a bigot, realize that he was an avid abolitionist whose parents’ house was used as a stop in the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves fleeing to Canada. His abolitionist views frequently come across in his minstrel songs. More on Work’s works later.

Loretta Lynn kicks off the album with “Take Your Gun and Go, John,” a song about a farm woman sending her husband off to battle. “Don’t fear for me nor the children, John, I’ll care for them you know,” she sings. It’s not only child care she’ll be dealing with, but heavy agricultural labor as well. “Ruth can drive the ox, dear John, and I can use the hoe.”

One of the few gung-ho, go-team songs here is “Marching Through Georgia,” written by Work and performed by Old Crow Medicine Show. It starts off sad and slow, but after one verse and chorus, it erupts into a joyful hoedown as the Yanks drive the rebels to the sea. From the Confederate side, there’s The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band’s upbeat “Secesh,” which is the story of a Southern kid excited about going to Shiloh. “I’ll put a rifle on my back and there I’ll be a soldier.”

But more typical for Divided & United are songs that take a hard look at war, songs like T Bone Burnett’s “The Battle of Antietam” (a song about two brothers on opposite sides in the war); Lee Ann Womack’s gut-wrenching “The Legend of the Rebel Soldier,” which deals with a Confederate soldier dying in a “dreary Yankee prison”); and John Doe’s “Tenting on the Old Campground,” in which the former X man sings, “Many are the hearts weary tonight, wishing for the war to cease/Many are the hearts looking for the right to see the dawn of peace.”

Steve Earle and Dirk Powell engage in a little historical revisionism in “Just Before the Battle, Mother.” The original version tells of a brave Union soldier proud to die for a noble cause. But in this version, the narrator remembers his mother’s advice that “discretion is the better part of valor,” and he deserts when he sees the Confederate army approach. Most of the songs deal with the soldiers and their families left behind — their hardships, horrors, and occasional joys.

There were others whose lives were turned upside down by the war — the slaves. A few, probably too few, selections in Divided & United tell those stories. Taj Mahal does a rousing version of “Down by the Riverside,” a spiritual known for its chorus: “I ain’t gonna study war no more.”

And there’s Work’s “Wake Nicodemus,” performed by the Carolina Chocolate Drops (under the title “Day of Liberty”). It’s about an old slave whose last dying wish was to be woken up when freedom finally came for the slaves. “He was known as a prophet — at least was as wise — for he told of the battles to come,” recites Chocolate Drop Dom Flemons. A longtime personal favorite is “Kingdom Come,” another Work tune, sung by Pokey LaFarge.
Pokey LaFarge

Sometimes known as “Year of Jubilo,” this is one of those classic tunes you’d probably recognize by its melody, if not the lyrics. It was used extensively in Ken Burns’ Civil War series, not to mention a couple of Tex Avery cartoons. Originally written for a minstrel show, this classic was meant to ridicule the white masters and overseers rather than the black slaves.

In the song, the master has been frightened away from the plantation by Union gunships. The slaves are celebrating, locking the cruel overseer in the smokehouse, throwing the key down the well, and helping themselves to the master’s liquor cabinet. “The whip is lost, the handcuffs broken, but the master will have his pay/He’s old enough, big enough, he ought to have known better than try to run away.” With the trumpet and military drums on LaFarge’s track, it’s easy to envision the Yankee army in pursuit of the fleeing plantation master

(Jubilation flashback: My favorite version of this song is by The Holy Modal Rounders, though they rewrote the lyrics. Both versions start out with the hated master “with the mustache on his face.” But in the Rounders’ hands you don’t see Lincoln’s gunships, you see Lincoln himself with “a piece of paper in his hand,” presumably the Emancipation Proclamation. “Abe Lincoln come, ha ha/Jeff Davis go, ho ho,” they sing.)

As is frequently the case with large-scale various-artist musical projects involving singer-songwriters, a few songs drift into the predictable and maudlin. But the duds are few and far between. Listeners who let Divided & United sink in can’t help but come away with a greater understanding of the Civil War and those it affected.

Blog Bonus:

These promo videos are pretty good. Enjoy

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fascist Puppet Rock 'n' Roll Medley

I just got Billy Joe Winghead's new album Spanish Asshole Magnet (Jimi Hendrix fans will know what's behind that title) from Saustex Records.

BJW is a band from my hometown, Oklahoma City.

Below is a video of a bizarre little puppet show performance of Winghead's heart-lifting medley of "Springtime for Hitler" and "Don't Cry for Me Argentina." You don't have to be a fascist to love it.

So how ya like them apples?

Sunday, December 08, 2013


Terrell's Sound World Facebook BannerSunday, Dec. 8, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M. 
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell(at)

 OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Call the Police by The Oblivians
Million Miles Away by The Flamin' Groovies
Shaky City by The Plimsouls
Toe Cutter- Thumb Buster by Thee Oh Sees
She Looks Like a Woman by The Fleshtones
Mama's Queen by Black Joe Lewis
The Devil Writhed In by The Mobbs
Speed Limit by Dot Wiggin Band
That Little Sports Car by The Shaggs

Rat King by The Night Beats
Albuquerque Freakout by Holy Wave
You Don't Love Me by Bo Diddley
Sugar Dyed Honey Pants by St. Paul & The Broken Bones
I Think I'll Do It by ZZ Hill
Dimples by The Animals 
Stick With Her by Gaunga Dyns 
Neighborhood by Left Lane Cruiser
Looking the World Over by Big Mama Thornton
Boney Maronie by The Who

Kick Me One Down by The Raunch Hands
A Different Kind of Ugly by The Sons of Hercules
Betty Lou Got a New Tattoo by The A-Bones
In This Rubber Tomb by Mudhoney
Am I Blue by The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black
Lost Innocent World. By Gogol Bordello
Horse Thief by Kulture Shock
Charlie's Enormous Mouth by Frank Zappa

Another Lost Heartache by Gregg Turner with Billy Miller
Nobody's Baby Now by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Ghost of Myself by Doris Duke
Dead and Lovely by Talya Eliav
Time by Shiela Ferber
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Folk Remedy Playlist

KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
8 - 10 a.m Mountain Time 
Substitute Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)

In That Great Gettin' Up Morning by The Leonard DePaur Infantry Chorus
My Robe Will Fit Me by The Original Blind Boys of Mississippi 
I'm on My Way by Rev. Louis Overstreet
Jesus is Coming Soon by Blind Willie Johnson
Do You Call That Religion? By Rev. A. Johnson
Christian Automobile by Bright Light Quartet
Just Got Over It at Last by Little Brother Montgomery
Lift Him Up That's All by Washington Phillips
Same Man by Gospel Writers
Let the Church Say Amen by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee 
The Christian Warfare by The Original Sacred Harp Choir

Nine Pound Hammer by The Monroe Brothers
Pig Ankle Strut by Cannon's Jug Stompers
Three Nights Drunk by J.E. MainerRailroad Blues by Sam McGee
False Hearted Lover by Dock Boggs
Don't Wake it Up by Mississippi Sheiks
Frankie and Albert by Mississippi John Hurt
Chicken Roost Blues by Cliff Carlisle

United & Divided Set
Take Your Guns and Go John by Loretta Lynn
The Vacant Chair by Ralph Stanley
Marching Through Georgia by Old Crow Medicine Show
Down by the Riverside by Taj Mahal
Dear Old Flag by Vince Gill
Secesh by The Tennessee Jug Band Mafia
Kingdom Come by Pokey LaFarge
Year of Jubilo by Holy Modal Rounders (not actually from United & Divided)

Cocaine by Dick Justice
My Four Reasons by Howard Armstrong
Hadacol Boogie by Jesse Rogers & His 49ers
Diga Diga Do by The Hoosier Hotshots
That's My Rabbit, My Dog Caught It by The Walter Family
Standing by a Window by Clay Everheart & The North Carolina Cooper Boys
Keep on the Sunny Side by The Carter Family

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Friday, December 06, 2013


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Dec. 6, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)
 OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Long White Cadillac by Janis Martin
Fruit of the Vine by Nancy Apple
Wild Man Boogie by Ray Batts
TJ by The Hickoids
Wave That Flag by The Bottle Rockets
Lookout Mountain by Drive-by Truckers
Yankee Taste by Jayke Orvis
Dig Them Squeaky Shoes by Andy Starr
Whiskey and Women and Money to Burn by Joe Ely 

The Buzzard Was Their Friend by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Everyone in Town Wants You Dead by Singing Sadie
If It Ain't Love by The Delta Sisters
Dark Inside by Al Duval 
Trouble in Mind by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Pearly Lee by Billy Lee Riley
Harder Than Your Husband by Frank Zappa with Jimmy Carl Black

Please Me When You Can by James Hand
Getting By by The Riptones
Bluest Boy in Town by Yuichi & The Hilltones
Too Sweet to Die by The Waco Brothers
Pepper Hot Baby by Bloodshot Bill
Rich Man's Town by Country Dick Montana
She's a Hum Dum Dinger by Gov. Jimmie Davis
Love is Blind by Country Blues Revue
Tenting on the Old Camp Ground by John Doe
Bed Bug Blues by Dave Van Ronk

The Low Lights of Town by Butch Hancock
One Click Away from Judgement Day by The Imperial Rooster
Beauty Meets Beast by Angry Johnny
You've Never Been This Far Before by Freakwater
Lead Me On by Conway Twitter & Loretta Lynn
After the Ball by Dave Davies
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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TERRELL'S TUNEUP: Dot Wiggin is Shaggsadelic!

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Dec. 6, 2013

When listening to Ready! Get! Go! by The Dot Wiggin Band, it might be helpful to realize that it all started with a palm reading.

The Gypsy woman — actually, it was his mom — told Austin Wiggin of Fremont, New Hampshire, that one day he would have daughters who would be in a famous band. And verily, he had daughters, four of them.

In the mid-1960s, when the girls hit their teens, Austin bought them guitars and drums, told them they were going to be a band, ordered them to rehearse hours and hours in the basement, named them The Shaggs, and, in 1968, way before the girls actually thought they were ready, took them to a Massachusetts recording studio. What came out was an album called Philosophy of the World. It wasn’t a monster hit. In fact, it never had a chance.

According to Shaggslore, the president of their “record company” made off with 900 of the thousand copies they had pressed. The Wiggin family just assumed the whole endeavor was a flop. When Austin Wiggin died in the mid-’70s, The Shaggs broke up.

But somehow Philosophy of the World lived on, its strange charm spreading like a secret. Frank Zappa allegedly said Philosophy was his favorite album and, though I’ve never been able to find the original source of this assertion, claimed The Shaggs were “better than The Beatles.”

Terry Adams of NRBQ was so blown away when he heard them that in 1980 he persuaded Rounder Records to give Philosophy a proper rerelease.

Basically, the music was too crazy to die.

It was like a strange language spoken only by the Wiggin girls. Dot and Betty Wiggin sang all the songs in unison and not always on key, assuming they were using traditional Western scales. Dot’s lead guitar basically followed the melody of the song, while Helen Wiggin’s drums sounded like urgent tribal messages from a different universe. Their vocal phrasing was “unique.” And the lyrics were sweet and guileless — earnest songs about their parents, boys they were crushing on, Halloween and their cat Foot Foot.

The Shaggs’ philosophy? “Well the poor people want what the rich people’s got/And the rich people want what the poor people’s got/And the skinny people want what the fat people’s got/And the fat people want what the skinny people’s got.”

At the urging of NRBQ, The Shaggs had one brief reunion around the turn of the century. The Wiggin sisters were less than enthusiastic about trying to make music for a living, but somehow, Dot Wiggin, known in her private life by her married name, Semprini, let New York musician Jesse Krakow talk her into fronting a new band and recording a new album — her first time in the studio in decades.

And it’s a delight. A strange delight to be sure, and definitely an acquired taste. But it’s a delight nonetheless.

True, Ready! Get! Go! is far more self-aware than The Shaggs’ original recordings. And Krakow assembled a bunch of actual musicians for the group. So even though you can’t say the record is overproduced, some of the primitivism of Philosophy of The World is missing (though drummer Laura Cromwell of The Vivian Sisters often seems to be channeling the insane rhythms of Helen Wiggin, who died in 2006).

The music might remind you of late-’80s/early-’90s bands like Half Japanese or Beat Happening. But the songwriting on the new album is pure Shaggs. Some of the songs were written back in the day. One of them, “My Cutie,” appears on the 1980s compilation Shaggs’ Own Thing. The melodies meander down unexpected corridors. Dot is now in her 60s, but that doesn’t distract from the clumsy grace of her childlike lyrics.

Some of the best songs on the album deal with transportation. The first song, “Banana Bike,” concerns a girl who zips around on such a vehicle. Later, Wiggin sings about her secret outlaw life as a speed demon behind the wheel of a motor vehicle on two songs — “Speed Limit” and “Speed Limit 2.” The first is crazed, hopped-up garage rock; the second starts with sonic weirdness before slowing down into a sludge/grunge tempo. Someone hearing only the instrumental break in this song might think the Butthole Surfers are back.

The album has several splendid Shaggsy love songs. “The Fella With a Happy Heart” is equal parts heartfelt and kooky with a bouncy melody that will stick to your brain. “The fella with a happy heart is my kind of man,” Wiggin sings with longing. “Boo Hoo” features a twangy country guitar.

My favorite love song here is “Love at First Sight”: Wiggin duets with Krakow. It starts off with a greasy sax solo and is driven by a one-finger piano. The melody is similar to that of the song “Philosophy of the World.” And though the pace is somewhat plodding, the deeper you sink into it, the more addictive it becomes.

The album ends with a cover song, the late Skeeter Davis’ “The End of the World.” The selection isn’t surprising considering that The Shaggs had a fondness for pop country. (Shaggs’ Own Thing includes the Wiggin sisters’ versions of songs like “Paper Roses” and Tom T. Hall’s “I Love.”) Davis sang “End of the World” as if losing a lover left her nothing to live for; Wiggin, as a mature woman, sings it with world-weary resignation, as if this is just her latest “end of the world.”

This track is one of the only places on the album where Krakow adds a truly un-Shaggs-like touch, a brief angelic Brian Wilson-esque vocal harmony flourish behind Wiggin in the final verse. Behind Wiggin and her limited vocal range, it sounds strange. But nobody involved with this album — including the listener — is averse to strange.

Something tells me this is a one-shot deal. In recent interviews, Wiggin hasn’t seemed like she’s overwhelmed by a thirst for fame. She’s still kind of amazed that people still remember The Shaggs and that so many strangers like her old music.

“I’m not making a whole lot of money, but basically I’m doing it for the fans that have stuck with us all these years, that we didn’t even realize that we had all these fans,” she recently told the Associated Press. “So, I figure if the fans have been there all these years for us, then I’ll do as much as I can, as long as I can.”

As a fan, I just want to say thanks, Dot.

Here's some videos. And be sure to watch all the videos in the “Dot Speaks” section of Dot's website.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Busy Musical Sunday

UPDATE Dec. 8, 1:05 pm Gregg just told met that the venue had to cancel the gig today because of electrical issues. We may reschedule for NEXT Sunday.Watch this blog!

I'm going to be busy this Sunday, with two radio shows and a performance with my Angry Samoan pal Gregg Turner.

Once again I'll be subbing for Tom Adler on Folk Remedy on KSFR. I'll be playing the strange and wonderful sounds that made America great (mostly old hillbilly, blues and gospel sounds of the 1920s and '30s. That's from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Then I'm heading out to Eldorado where I'll be doing a short set with Turner -- the first time we've played together since our Jean Cocteau gig in September. This will be at the Cafe Dre in the Agora shopping center.

Gregg's wife Mindy will be there to autograph copies of her new children's book The Punkydoodle. Tom Sibley will do some spoken word.

Then I'll end my day back at KSFR, where I'll do my regular Terrell's Sound World. That starts at 10 p.m.

That's a long day of musical entertainment. Hope to see you at Cafe Dre.

Sunday, December 01, 2013


Terrell's Sound World Facebook BannerSunday, Dec. 1, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M. 
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell(at)

 OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
The New World by The Night Beats
In This Rubber Tomb by Mudhoney 
Speed Limit 2 by The Dot Wiggin Band
Chicken Flow by O Lenario Chucrobillyman
The Beat by Elvis Costello
Rescate Griego by Wau y Los Arrrghs!!!
Jack Ruby by Camper Van Beethoven 

Nov. 22, 1963 by Destroy All Monsters
Greasy Meal by Lawn Chair Kings
Leave Her Alone by Figures of Light
Jukebox by Left Lane Cruiser
Up in the Treehouse by Pocket FishRmen
You Are Not Your Job by  Gas Huffer
Prissy Missy by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
My Baby Loves the Secret Agent by Detroit Cobras
Mark My Words by Black Rabbit

Tango til They're Sore by Aya Korem
Big Black Mariah by John Hammond
Invitation to the Blues by Giant Sand
Heart of Saturday Night by Jonathan Richman
Telephone Call from Istanbul by Kazik Staszewski
The House Where Nobody Lives by King Ernest
Heart Attack and Vine by Lydia Lunch
Dirt in the Ground by Yehu Yaron

Strawberries 1and 2 by Thee Oh Sees
Justine Alright by Heavy Trash
The Headless Flowerpot Girl by Wild Billy Chyldish & CTMF
I Don't Care Anymore by Doris Duke
A Psychopath by Lisa Germano
Poor Kennedy by Avery Brady
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
8 a.m. to 10 a.m Sundays Mountain Time 
Substitute Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)
Jesus' Blood by Golden Stars of Greenwood, S.C.
He Will Welcome Me There by The Sensational Nightingales
Jericho by Sister Rosetta Tharpe
I Cried Holy by Swan Silvertines
Wonder Where Is the Gambling Man by Norfolk Jubilee Quartet
I'm Working on a Building by Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys
Pray On by The Staples Singers
I'll Lead a Christian Life by Elder Golden Harris
Two Wings by Rev. Utah Smith
Be With Me Jesus by The Soul Stirrers

Didn't it Rain by Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet
I Know I Got Religion by Andy Mosely & Hogman Maxey
Angels by Professor Johnson & His Gospel Singers 
I Know I've Been Changed by Rev. Johnny L. Jones
He's Got His Eyes On You by Rev. James Cleveland
The Old Gospel Ship by Ruby Vass
Life is a Mountain Railroad by Dorothy Norwood
Run Children, Run by Rev. A. Johnson
Gideon and the Sword by The Trumpeteers

Beautiful Blue Eyes by Red Allen & The Kentuckians
Take Your Foot Out of the Mud and Put It In the Sand by Dr. Humphrey Bates' Possum Hunters
Did Die Wah Diddie by Blind Blake
Bath House Blues by Ashley's Melody Men
The Coo Coo Bird by Clarence "Tom" Ashley
When My Man Shimmies by Butterbeans & Susie
Jelly Roll Blues by Gov. Jimmie Davis
Selling the Jelly by Noah Lewis' Jug Band
Yes, Pappy, Yes by Martin, Bogan & The Armstrongs
That Yodelin' Gal Miss Julie by The Delmore Brothers

Jimbo Jambo Land by Shorty Godwin 
Sail Away Ladies by Uncle Dave Macon
It's Movin' Day by Charlie Poole
The Last Shot Him by The Mississippi Possum Hunters
Onion Eatin' Mama by Cliff Carlisle 
Frankie by Dykes Magic City Trio
Last Kind Word Blues by Geeshie Wylie
Lindberg Hop by Memphis Jug Band

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Friday, November 29, 2013


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Nov. 29, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)
 OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Turkey in The Straw by Sen. Robert Byrd
It Was the Whiskey Talking, Not Me by Jerry Lee Lewis
Secesh by The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band
Highway Cafe by Kinky Friedman & The Texas Jewboys
Don't Remember Me by The Misery Jackals 
Done Gone Crazy by Ray Condo & His Ricochets
Double A Daddy by Wayne Hancock
Hot Dog by Rosie Flores
Pick Me Up on Your Way Down by Augie Meyers

How the West Was Won by Anthony Leon & The Chain
I Don't Want Love by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Skills Bom Billy Flop by The Imperial Rooster
Pass the Booze by Ernest Tubb
4th Street Mess Around by Old Time Honey
Big River by Earle Poole Ball
Shadow Fallin' Down My Face by The Dinosaur Truckers
Wasp's Nest by Ray Wylie Hubbard 

Don't  Monkey With Another Monkey's Monkey by Johnny Paycheck
Puddin' Truck by NRBQ 
Take Your Gun and Go, John by Loretta Lynn
The Flying Trapeze by Graham Parker
The Mermaid Song by Jorma Kaukonen 
Blues Stay Away from Me by The Louvin Brothers
Seein' Double, Feelin' Single by Merle Kilgore
Rockability by Country Blues Revue
One Teardrop at a Time by Wanda Jackson

Water by Lydia Loveless
Get Behind the Mule by John Hammond
When You Get to the Bottom by Robbie Fulks
Drink in' Thing by Gary Stewart
Thanksgiving by Loudon Wainwright III
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: Happy Hanukkah! A Hebrew Tom Waits Tribute

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Nov. 29, 2013

Making a tribute album honoring the music of Tom Waits isn’t a new idea. A few of them have come out over the years, though since Waits’ stature, especially among his fellow artists, it’s actually surprising there haven’t been more. (A good surprise, I have to say, considering that most tribute albums suck out loud.)
Shirim Meshumashim

Speaking of surprises, I just stumbled across a various-artists Waits tribute that might just twist your head off. Shirim Meshumashim — in English, “Used Songs” (which is also the name of a Waits “best-of” compilation a few years back) — features songs by an assortment of Israeli musicians little known outside their own country.

All of the 22 songs, compiled by Israeli producer Guy Hajjaj, are sung in Hebrew. Don’t worry if you’re like this Okie goy boy and don’t understand a word of that language. This only adds an element of mystery and majesty to the music. That’s apparent from the opening of the first song, “Clap Hands” by Yaron Ben Ami & Noa Golandski. The duo recites an a cappella, sing-song nursery rhyme (one of them in a mocking falsetto voice) before starting the actual song. The effect is impressively spooky.

A recent review of this album in the online Heeb magazine (an irreverent “lifestyle” publication aimed at young Jews) sums it up best: “Tom Waits always seemed to me to have more in common with biblical prophets than he did with other musicians. Listening to his gravely yowl, it’s not hard to imagine Waits in good company next to the wild haired, wild eyed madmen of the Bible, who stumbled out of the desert with evil visions in their heads, declaring to anyone within earshot that, yes, they’d seen God in the wilderness, and boy was he pissed.”

Like Waits’ own vast catalog over the past 40 years or so, on Shirim Meshumashim you can find sleazed-up torch songs, beatnik jazz, sweet folkie ditties, dirty-sounding blues, hobo confessionals, ominous barnyard banjo tunes, and crazy sonic experiments.

As is the case with any tribute album, the contributions that work best are the ones that take some subtle liberties with the source material but capture the original artist’s spirit. A good example of this is Ursula Shwartz’s take on “God’s Away on Business.” With a steady trombone and urgent rhythm, Shwartz’s multitracked vocals sound distant and understated.

Meanwhile, Einav Jackson Cohen & Iddo Sternberg offer a tense, minimalist version of “Lie to Me” featuring hand claps, piano, and a slide guitar, while Shany Kedar makes “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” into a cool singalong. Though she mostly employs acoustic instruments (even ukulele), Kedar seems to draw, spiritually at least, from The Ramones’ cover of this song as well as Waits’ original.

Sheila Ferber’s performance of the slow, sad “Time” isn’t really a radical departure from Waits’ original version on Rain Dogs. But her husky voice gives the song a maternal edge. “Dead and Lovely,” performed here by Talya Eliav, suggests a 21st-century Israeli version of “St. James Infirmary.” Aya Korem adds some sex appeal to Waits’ “Tango Till They’re Sore.” Less successful is her earnest rendition of “Falling Down,” making it sound like a Joni Mitchell piano ballad.

Yes, there are some disappointments, including “A Little Rain” by Tal Cohen-Shalev and David Blau’s version of “Martha.” I’m prejudiced, because these are not my favorite Waits songs, but neither artist lifts them beyond inoffensive folkie dribble. And poor Ze’ev Tene was up against not only Waits but Waits’ duet partner Keith Richard on the immortal after-hours barroom lament “That Feel.” Tene doesn’t even attempt to sing it, instead choosing to recite it. Though he’s not speaking French, his delivery reminds me of Maurice Chevalier.

But see for yourself. You can listen for free to the stream of any or all of the songs from Shirim Meshumashim HERE (or on the widget below). If you want to download the album, you can name your own price.

Below are some previous tributes to Waits:

* Piosenki Toma Waitsa by Kazik Staszewski. This album by Polish rock star Kazik Staszewski should have become a classic. It’s the only other foreign language Waits tribute I'm aware of, so if you like Shirim Meshumashim, definitely seek this out. As I said when I reviewed this album in 2004, Waits’ music has detectable Eastern European influences. You can hear it in his songs like “Cemetery Polka,” “Innocent When You Dream,” “Underground,” and “I’ll Be Gone” (all of which Staszewski covers on this album) and in the entire album Blood Money, which he wrote for a theater production of the tragic Woyzeck. (Staszewski does three songs from that.) Kazik's tribute also has a version of “In the Neighborhood,” which he turns into an eight-minute odyssey. This record isn’t easy to find, but you can order it for a fairly reasonable price online at D&Z House of Books in Chicago.
as I know) foreign-language album of Waits tunes, so if you like Shirim Meshumashim, you definitely should seek this out. As I said

* Wicked Grin by Johnny Hammond. This 2001 album by veteran blues interpreter Hammond captured Waits’ blues spirit. With help by sidemen including keyboardist Augie Meyers, harmonica man Charlie Musselwhite, and Waits bassist Larry "The Mole" Taylor, this album, which Waits produced, has excellent versions of “Heart Attack and Vine,” “Get Behind the Mule,” “Murder in the Red Barn,” and “Big Black Mariah.” The album ends with a gospel tune called “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which is a rowdy duet between Hammond and Waits himself. (It has never appeared on a proper Waits solo album, but you can find some videos of Waits doing it on Youtube.)

* Step Right Up and New Coat of Paint. These collections, both released by Manifesto Records, are fairly typical 1990s-style tribute albums (though Paint was released in 2000) with lots of alternative stars taking a swing at Waits tunes. A large number of the tracks are bland and forgettable, but a few covers are good. Step Right Up — at least later digital versions of the album — includes a jaunty “Heart of Saturday Night” performed by Jonathan Richman and a nice and crazy Giant Sand version of “Invitation to the Blues.” New Coat of Paint’s highlights are Lydia Lunch’s brutal “Heart Attack and Vine,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard,” and Carla Bozulich’s sad and beautiful “On the Nickel.”

* Anywhere I Lay My Head by Scarlett Johansson. OK, even though I have a weird fondness for “Golden Throats” material — songs performed by non-musician celebrities — and even though it was produced by Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio, and even though The Village Voice in 2008 raved “Pretty Good, Actually!” I confess I’ve never been able to bring myself to listen to this album. It’s available on Spotify, but I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

Listen to and/or download Shirim Meshumashim below:

Here's Waits singing a gospel classic:

And here's one of my all-time favorite Waits covers. It's by the late King Ernest.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Nov. 22, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)
 OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
You Don't Miss Your Water by The Byrds
Standing at the Edge of the World by Earl Poole Ball
(Earl Poole Ball Interview)
Luxury Liner by The International Submarine Band
(Earl Poole Ball Interview)
The Night Hank Williams Came to Town by Johnny Cash
(Earl Poole Ball Interview)
One of Those Things We All Go Through/I Still Miss Someone by Earl Poole Ball
(Earl Poole Ball Interview)
Southern Rain by Jimmy Lee Hannaford
Something's Gonna Get Us All by Earl Poole Ball

Between Lust and Watching Tv by Cal Smith
Three Years Blind by Big Sandy & The Fly-Rite Boys 
Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets by DM Bob & The Deficits
I Feel Alright by Steve Earle
Sure Fire Kisses by Justin Tubb & Goldie Hill 
Marie by Willie Nelson
Goddamn Holy Roll by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
The Gypsy by. Cornell Hurd
You're  Still On My Mind by Courtney Granger
Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine by Homer Henderson

And in Time by Country Blues Revue
Dreamin' Ain't Waltzin' by Copper & Coal
Let's Turn This Thing Around by Peter Case
Welfare Music by The Bottle Rockets
Get Behind the Mule by John Hammond
That's Where I'm From by Robbie Fulks
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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