Friday, November 29, 2013

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Nov. 29, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
Webcasting! 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org
 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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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

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Nov. 22, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
Webcasting! 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org
 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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Thursday, November 21, 2013

TERRELL's TUNEUP: Strange Rumblings From The Grassy Knoll

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Nov. 22, 2013

Tragic Songs From the Grassy Knoll is a rather cheeky name for a collection of songs about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy -- which is exactly what fans of the fun-loving Norton Records have come to expect from the label from Brooklyn, N.Y.

But the title is one of the few irreverent things about this album. All but arguably one of the 16 songs here are dripping with sincerity and profound grief over the murder of the president.

The performers here are mostly obscure country singers who recorded their heartfelt odes to JFK on a galaxy of tiny, obscure, regional labels like Avenue, Prism and Cowboy Junction.

In fact, I'd only heard of two of the performers on this collection: The late Hasil Adkins (who has two songs here, both titled "Memories of Kennedy," both of which are uncharacteristically somber for the normally hyper-exuberant West Virginia wild man) and Homer Henderson, a one-man band from Dallas.

The original recording of Henderson's most famous song, "Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine" is here. This song has become something of an underground classic, recorded by artists including The Asylum Street Spankers, T. Tex Edwards, Laura Cantrell and New Mexico's own Boris & The Saltlicks. It's the story of a youngster who was a neighbor of Lee Harvey Oswald's. ("He used to throw the ball to me when I was just a kid / They say he shot the president, but I don't think he did.")

Originally released in 1985, "Lee Harvey" is the most recent vintage recording on Grassy Knoll. It's also the only one that even mentions the possibility of a conspiracy.

Immediately following the assassination, the immediate reaction was grief and a sense of patriotic shock. Most of these singers were more concerned about mythic notions of the brave commander-in-chief struck down while trying to spread freedom and liberty and sentimental images of Jackie placing her wedding ring into the hands of her husband's corpse than niggling cynicism dealing in magic bullets and grassy knolls.

"The Tragedy of John F. Kennedy" by The Justice Brothers, which uses the melody of the old murder ballad, "Knoxville Girl," as performed by The Louvin Brothers. In "JFK and That Terrible Day," Bill Kushner recites the lyrics over the melody of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" played on organ and piano.

One of the later songs included here, released sometime after the 1968 killing of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is one called "Two Brothers" by a singer named Bobby Jenzen. He refers to the Kennedy Brothers as "two of America's greatest men. Speaking rather than singing the verses of the song, Jenzen says, "It's ironic that the wrongs they tried to right would be the wrongs that struck them down. ... As Americans we should all feel ashamed that this kind of evil lives among us."

The idea of innate "evil" being responsible for Kennedy's killing pops up in "A Sunny Day in Dallas Part 1" by The Honorable Bob Peters (apparently he  became honorable by serving as a state senator from Tennessee), who says JFK was "the victim of the hatred and prejudice of man." As reporter Scott K. parks wrote in a recent historic piece in The Dallas Morning News, "The image of Dallas as a bulwark of right-wing extremism lodged in the American mind during the early 1960s ...  Dallas became known to the world as the city of hate, the city that killed Kennedy."

But Texans being Texans, there has to be at least song that's extremely defensive about the Lone Star State and it's part in the assassination. In "Don't Blame the State of Texas'" singer Lowell Yoder basically washes the state's hands of any responsibility. It contains a curious chorus, in which Yoder offered what almost sounds like a veiled threat: "Don't blame the state of Texas and Texas won't blame you."

While listening to this album, I was struck by the fact that there were so few songs at the time by mainstream artists dealing with the assassination.

Three years after the events at Dealy Plaza, The Byrds did a sad but beautiful song called "He Was a Friend of Mine" (rewritten from an old folk song that had nothing to do with Camelot) and a few years later, following the killings of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Dion had an actual radio hit with "Abraham, Martin and John" It wasn’t until years later that I heard Jerry Lee Lewis’ 1966 assassination song “Lincoln Limousine.”

I guess at the time, the radio, major record companies and Dick Clark weren't interested in downer material about assassinations. So these songs from unknown singers on unheard-of record labels actually represent folk music in its purest sense -- honest musical reactions by real people to a major historical event. Corny as some of the tunes are, the compilation is a valuable historical document.

Also Recommended:

* Conspiracy a-Go Go by Various Artists. This is a free MP3 compilation of JFK assassination songs by (mostly unknown) garage/psychedelic, punk and noise bands put together this year by Todd Gardner of the Turn Me On Dead Man internet radio show.

Unlike the reverent singers on Tragic Songs from the Grassy Knoll, the bands on this collection go full throttle down the conspiracy rabbit hole. You can tell by the titles of some of the songs – “Back and to the Left” (a reference to the Zapruder film) by JFn’K; “Kennedy’s Head” by Buckwheat Caterpillar (“We all want to know about Kennedy’s brain … / The government lost it, that’s insane,” goes one verse.) – and even some band names: Single Bullet Theory (who do a crazed Butthole Surfers-like tune called “Exploding Castro Cigars”), The New Jack Rubies among them.

Among the highlights here are “Bullet” by Hounds, Hounds Hounds (who apparently never listened to Lowell Yoder’s song, as the singer declares, “Texas is the reason that the president’s dead”); the hard crunching “Mark My Words” by Black Rabbit; “Get Out of Dallas” by fellow GaragePunk Pirate Radio podcaster Mal Thursday and his band The Cheetahs; and “O.H. Lee,” which actually is a rocked-out mutation  of “Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine” by the Arkansas punk band The Rockin’ Guys, which was part of their Assassination EP a few decades ago.

(Disclosure: Knowing The Rockin’ Guys had done that EP, I alerted their singer Rockin’ Dan to this project a few months ago after seeing a solicitation for submissions. Apparently Dan followed through.)

Download any or all songs from this compilation for free HERE or from the widget below:


And check out Turn Me On Dead Man’s massive list of JFK assassination songs HERE.

* Radio Plug: I’ll be doing a lengthy assassination set including many of the songs mentioned here on Terrell’s Sound World Sunday Nov. 24 (the 50th Anniversary of Lee Harvey Oswald’s death) 10 p.m. on KSFR, 101.1 FM and streaming RIGHT HERE.

Now heeeeeeeere's Homer!




Roger Miller on Opry Almanac

My friend Paul Milosevich, an artist with impeccable taste, alerted me to this series of videos.

It's  the late great Roger Miller on a local Nashville show called Opry Almanac, hosted by Ralph Emory. This was shot in the mid 60s, when men were men and you could smoke right there in a tv studio! That's Thumbs Carlisle in the Batman shirt playing guitar with Roger. And Roger's interview banter is as classic as his music.

Other guests include Charlie Louvin and Jerry Allison of The Crickets.

Watch one, watch 'em all.













Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Earl Poole Ball on The Santa Fe Opry



Honky-tonk/rockabilly piano titan Earl Poole Ball, who has played with the likes of Johnny Cash, Gram Parsons, Wynn Stewart, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, The Byrds and many other greats will appear this Friday night on the Santa Fe Opry.

Ball, who recently has been playing with Dale Watson in Austin -- including an upcoming appearance on Austin City Limits, which they're taping next week -- released a solo album, Pianography, earlier this year. (SF Opry listeners have heard many cuts from this.)

He's coming to the area for a show Saturday at the Mine Shaft Tavern with Honky Tonk Deluxe, a band featuring Susan Hyde Holmes, Ollie O'Shea, George Langston and Pete Amaral. 

Tune into The Santa Fe Opry 10 p.m. Friday on KSFR, 101.1 FM, and streaming live HERE


Here's a recent video:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST


Terrell's Sound World Facebook BannerSunday, Nov. 17, 2013 
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(at)ksfr.org

 OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Revolution by Mudhoney 
Tell Me Pretty Baby by Screamin' Joe Neal
I Can't Control Myself by The Troggs
Use It or Lose It by The Deadly Vibes
54/40 or Fight by Dead Moon
Directly From My Heart to You by The Mothers of Invention
Hard Lessons by The Manxx
Steppin' Out by Paul Revere & The Raiders

Long Gone by The Customs
Self Destructive by The Motards
Be So Fine by Left Lane Cruiser
Grease Monkey Go by The X-Rays
I Blew My Speakers  by The Angel Babies
It's Lame by Figures of Light
1880 or So by Television
El Vampiro by Los Vampiranos
I Lost My Baby to the Guy at the Bobcat Bite by Gregg Turner

It Ain't No Use by Z.Z. Hill
To The Other Woman, I'm the Other Woman by Sandra Phillips
Laughin' and Clownin' by Sam Cooke
Will it Go Round in Circles by Billy Preston
People Get Ready by Wolfmoon
He's Gone by Doris Duke
When My Baby Comes by La La Brooks

Diddly Wah Diddy by Captain Beefheart
Fruit Fly by The Hickoids
Breaking My Heart by Robrert Belfour
The Trip by Kim Fowley
Take it Away by Pietra Wexstun & Hecate's Angels
Love Letters Straight From My Heart by Kitty Lester
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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A New Big Enchilada Hillbilly Episode





Howdy friends and neighbors and welcome to the latest hillbilly episode of The Big Enchilada. Every song this month truly is a trophy in its own peculiar way. And smack dab in the middle of the episode is a set, inspired by Norton Records' new compilation, Tragic Songs From the Grassy Knoll,  of country and blues songs commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Hang on!




Here's the playlist:

(Background Music: Dance, Cajun Dance by Sammy Naquin)
Old Man from the Mountain by Bryan & The Haggards with Eugene Chadbourne
My Frijoles Ain't Free Anymore by Augie Meyers
Shackin' Up by Daddy Longlegs
All Hearts in Wichita By Two Ton Strap
Dreamin' Ain't Waltzin' by Copper & Coal
Welfare Music by The Bottle Rockets
(Background Music: Brownie's Stomp by Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies)

COUNTRY & BLUES ASSASSINATION SET

Memories of Kennedy by Hasil Adkins
Sad Day in Texas by Otis Spann
The Death of John F. Kennedy by The Southern Gospel Band
Lee Harvey by T. Tex Edwards
Friend by The Rockin' Guys

(Background Music: Texas Guitar Stomp by The Maddox Brothers & Rose)
I Don't Want to Wash Off Last Night by The Gaunga Dyns
Ain't That a Dilly? by Marlon Grisham
Two Hoops and a Holler by Jean Shepard
Your Wildlife's Gonna Get You Down by Carol S. Johnson
Julia Belle Swain by The Howlin' Brothers
I'll Trade You Money For Wine by Robbie Fulks
Corn Liquor Made a Fool Out of Me by The Bad Livers


Friday, November 15, 2013

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Nov. 15, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
Webcasting! 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org
 OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Lose Your Mind by Wayne Hancock
Banana Puddin' by Southern Culture on the Skids
Must've Been High by The Supersuckers
Pretty Boy Floyd by The Byrds
Dumb Blonde by Dolly Parton 
Gutter Queen by Soda Gardocki
Cowgirl Hall of Fame by Joe West
American Trash by Betty Dylan

Standing at the Edge of the World by Earl Poole Ball
Monkey on a String by Charlie Poole
Ragz n Bones by The Goddamn Gallows
Devil in Her Eyes by The Calamity Cubes
Get Up and Go by David Bromberg 
Ophelia by Country Blues Revue
A Rejected Television Theme Song by Shooter Jennings

Where I Fell by Robbie Fulks
Boy Crazy by Lydia Loveless
Idiot's Revenge by The Bottle Rockets
The Death of John F. Kennedy by The Southern Gospel Band
Lee Harvey by Boris & The Saltlicks
Don't Blame the State of Texas by Lowell Yoder
Mama Tried by Bryan & The Haggards with Eugene Chadbourne 
Steamboat Whistle Blues by John Hartford

No Reason to Quit by Merle Haggard
Apartment #9 by Tammy Wynette
Do Remember Me by Willard Artis Blind Pete Burrell
Missouri Gal by Big Sandy & The Fly Rite Boys
Tell Me Twice by Eleni Mandell
Back Street Affair by Webb Pierce
You're Still on My Mind by George Jones
My Old Man by Jerry Jeff Walker
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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TERRELL'S TUNEUP: A Triple Shot of Bloodshot

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Nov. 15, 2013

At any given moment since the mid-’90s, some of my favorite music — at a few odd points most of my favorite music — has come from the independent Chicago record label Bloodshot Records .

Starting out as an “alternative country” label (actually, Bloodshot coined the handle “insurgent country”), the company has included in its stable the likes of Neko Case, Alejandro Escovedo, The Old 97s, various Jon Langford projects — most notably The Waco Brothers — Andre Williams, Wayne Hancock, Barrence Whitfield, Scott H. Biram, Graham Parker, The Detroit Cobras, Rosie Flores, and many more.

I’m not saying I’ve liked every act they’ve signed or every album they’ve released. But Bloodshot’s batting average is pretty impressive. Three recent releases are especially noteworthy.


*  Gone Away Backward by Robbie Fulks. Singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks is a Bloodshot OG. Back in the ’90s he was a natural for the label, with twanging, irreverent songs like the anti-Nashville anthem “Darn This Town” (I cleaned that up for this family publication), and “She Took a Lot of Pills and Died.”

Fulks helped the label build its reputation in its early days. But while those songs are fun and outrageous, Fulks’ “serious” songs from the early albums, such as the self-loathing “Barely Human” and “I Just Want to Meet the Man” (which may or may not be a prelude to a murder), showed he had more than just comic songs in him.

He left Bloodshot shortly after the turn of the century. But now he’s back. And that’s as it should be.

It took me a little while to warm up to Gone Away Backward. It’s a low-key acoustic affair, with some outright bluegrass songs and a few instrumentals. Hard to believe this was produced by Chicago noise monster Steve Albini, though he’s produced Fulks before. The record has very few rousers and not a lot of Fulks’ trademark humor. But there are more than enough songs to keep me coming back, and I like it more with every listen.

“That’s Where I’m From” is a haunting tale of a suburban guy originally from the country who worked hard to make sure his children never knew the hardships of his youth: “I’ve watched them grow now I see, one thing separates them from me/And that’s where I’m from.” The bluegrass tune “Sometimes the Grass Is Really Greener” is about a backwoods musician who won’t go along with a record company’s plan to make him the next hot new country sensation.

The melody and banjo on “Long I Ride,” one of the upbeat songs here, remind me of “The Swimming Song” by Loudon Wainwright III. It’s about a happy-go- lucky hillbilly in New York whose major goal is “to make a bit more in the daytime than I drink down at night.” “Imogene” is a slow bluesy love/sex fantasy.

But I suggest listeners start out with “Where I Fell.” It’s the sad story of a man who is dissatisfied with virtually every aspect of his life. The song begins: “Daddy used to catch his supper in this river now you can’t swim it/Smells like a 20- ton truck full of paint thinner sank down in it.” The narrator hates his job (“Now I sling hash for what all spills off the interstate”), he’s not in love with his sometime lover (who “comes by for some TV and leg it down with me every now and again”), and he’s sick of the mindless prattle of his friends down at the bar (“Game score, Tea Party, world war, I don’t give a good goddamn”). There’s no ray of hope for this poor guy. As he sings in the chorus, where he fell is where he dwells.

I’m glad Fulks fell back to Bloodshot Records.

* Bottle Rockets/The Brooklyn Side (reissue) by The Bottles Rockets. More than two decades ago this band became the pride of Festus, Missouri. Back before anyone was calling it alt-country, The Bottle Rockets, along with Uncle Tupelo, were helping to define that sound. Arguably, their sound was closer to Skynyrd-soaked Southern rock than to Gram Parsons-style country. In any case, they were powerful.

They’ve been Bloodshot mainstays since the early part of the 21st century, but unfortunately the band’s early albums have been out of print for years. So it’s great news that Bloodshot is reissuing their first two albums as a double-disc package, generous with bonus tracks (including some live tracks by Chicken Truck, an early incarnation of The Bottle Rockets).

Frontman and chief songwriter Brian Henneman has always shown a blue- collar sensibility. Struggling working-class regular guys populate songs like “1,000 Dollar Car.” (I played this for my son a few years ago when he was considering buying an $800 car, but did he listen?) Henneman even shows sympathy for the dim-witted protagonists who accidentally burn down their trailer in “Kerosene.” (“If kerosene works, why not gasoline,” goes the chorus.)

As these first albums show, the band sometimes got political as well. “Wave That Flag” on Bottle Rockets is a putdown of meatheads in four-wheel drives displaying Confederate flags: “You can whistle ‘Dixie’ all day long/If the table turned wouldn’t you hate that song?” On The Brooklyn Side, the song “Welfare Music” takes a shot at Rush Limbaugh (“angry fat man on the radio”) and anyone else attacking single moms on government assistance.

Even a punchy rocker like “Radar Gun” — which makes fun of law enforcement agencies and local governments that raise revenue by busting speeding motorists — can be seen as carrying a political message, though most listeners will be drawn more to the raunchy guitar crunch than the civics lesson. And speaking of speed, if you love cranked-up 90-mph guitar rock, “Rural Route” is nothing short of a rush.

It’s great to have this music readily available again. And hopefully The Bottle Rockets are working on some new music too.

* Boy Crazy by Lydia Loveless. This five-song EP is a follow-up to young Lydia Loveless’ eye-Indestructible Machine. The singer from Columbus, Ohio, was only 21 when that album came out, but as I said about that record, “Her throaty voice suggests an ancient soul.” And that holds true on these songs.
opening 2011 Bloodshot debut,

Some critics quibbled that there were too many songs about booze on Indestructible Machine — as if they didn’t remember being 21. (I don’t actually remember either, but people have told me what I was like then.) But on Boy Crazy, sex seems to have replaced alcohol as the main theme.

Here Loveless’ songs are more pop and rock and less country than on her previous album, though the steel guitar still wails. There’s nothing on this EP that immediately grabs and shakes you as much as “Bad Way to Go” or “Can’t Change Me” on Indestructible Machine, but the new songs are full of irresistible hooks that invite repeat listens.

And speaking of repeat listens, the first time you hear “Lover’s Spat,” you might not realize the story behind the song. Go back and listen again. Loveless wrote it about boy-crazy serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Loveless, according to Bloodshot, is working on a full-length album expected to be released next year. Boy Crazy is a good appetizer.

UPDATE 4:05 pm I misquoted a Bottle Rockets song in the original version. The correct lyric in "Welfare Music" is "angry fat man on the radio." The text has been changed. My apologies to white people.

Enjoy some videos:





I couldn't find any of Lydia's new songs, but here's a good one from her first album.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy Anniversary Danny Boy!

"Danny Boy" is one of those songs that you might assume has been around since the dawn of history. But according to a story on the BBC website today, "Danny Boy" as we know it was first published 100 years ago.

The origins of Danny Boy have long been the subject of debate.
The melody itself is believed to have been penned by the blind Irish harpist Rory Dall O'Cahan in the late 16th or early 17th Century.
Folk legend says that Rory, having collapsed drunk one night by the riverside, heard fairies performing a melody on his harp.

I'll buy that.

The melody is known as "The Londonderry Air."

Several lyricists attempted to put words to the tune, but it wasn't until the 20th Century that it merged with the words we know today.
Fred Weatherly, an English barrister who moonlighted as a songwriter, had written lyrics for a song named Danny Boy in 1910.
His Irish-American sister-in-law Margaret Weatherly sang him the melody of the Londonderry Air.
Fred adapted his lyrics to the tune to create Danny Boy, which was published in 1913. No credit was given to Margaret - who died penniless in 1939
There's a zillion easy-listening versions of "Danny Boy." But I prefer The Pogue's take on the song.




And here's Johnny Cash's version, including the story of how the song came to him.

Friday, November 08, 2013

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Nov. 8, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
Webcasting! 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Pinetree Boogey by Legendary Shack Shakers
Lovers' Spat by Lydia Loveless
You Was For Real by Doug Sahm
Trailer Mama by The Bottle Rockets
No Help Wanted by Dale Watson
One Day After Pay Day by Buck Griffin
There Stands the Glass by Van Morrison
Mama Hated Diesels by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Animal Hoedown by Harry Hayward

JFK and That Terrible Day by Bill Kushner
Lee Harvey by T. Tex Edwards
What a Day for a Daydream by Candye Kane
Jesus in the Waiting Room by The Goddamn Gallows
Hard to Be Humble by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Cocaine Cowboy by Terry Allen
Greasy Love by Pearls Mahone
Honky Tonk Man by Johnny Horton
Can't Go to Heaven by The Dirt Daubers
St. James Infirmary by Dave Van Ronk

I Ain't Got Nobody by Merle Haggard
Bob Wills Medley by Bryan & The Haggards with Eugene Chadbourne 
O'Reilly at the Bar by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Rockabilly Blues by Johnny Cash
Catch 'em Young, Treat 'em Rough and Tell 'em Nothin' by Hank Penny
Men Like Me Can Fly by James Hand
Wreck on the Highway by The Waco Brothers
I Remember Her Still by Devil in the Woodpile

The Way I Feel by ThaMuseMeant
Boss of the blues by Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women
When You Get to the Bottom by Robbie Fulks
Come Fly Away by Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Naked Light of Day by Butch Hancock
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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TERRELL'S TUNEUP: The Night Beats' Psychedelia For the Now Generation

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Nov. 8, 2013

Somewhere, in the cosmic region that lies along the border of psychedelic music and garage rock — a border where crossings are frequent and uncontrollable — lives a trio known as The Night Beats, who just released their second studio album, Sonic Bloom.

Actually they’re from Seattle, but two of the three members — singer and guitarist Danny Lee Blackwell and drummer James Traeger — are originally from Texas.

I’d like to think they were raised on a steady musical diet of The 13th Floor Elevators, those psychedelic pioneers originally from Texas. That influence is definitely there. Psychedelia is the band’s bread and butter.

This is a good time in rock ’n’ roll for musical journeys to the center of the mind. The Night Beats are part of a movement that includes bands like The Black Angels, a Texas crew considered the premier lysergic rangers of this era (Blackwell is part of a trippy side band, The UFO Club, with Christian Bland of The Black Angels), and Holy Wave, a band from El Paso.

The epicenter of this musical phenomenon is the capital of Texas, home of the Austin Psych Fest, which for the past six years has showcased such groups, old and new. (The festival started a record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society, which released Sonic Bloom.) The sound of these newer psychedelic cowboys is different from that of the jam-band movement that sprang up in the 1990s. For one thing, there’s more debt owed to Roky Erickson than Jerry Garcia. And there’s more of a footing in punk rock.

But listening to this album, I’m realizing The Night Beats’ sound has several discernible DNA strands in addition to psychedelia. I’m hearing bits of T. Rex (there’s some Marc Bolan in Blackwell’s vocals) as well as The Velvet Underground. And yes, there are echoes of 1960s soul music. After all, the band is named after a classic Sam Cooke album (though, truthfully, The Night Beats don’t sound much like Cooke).

The first song on the album, “Love Ain’t Strange,” starts out with a discordant guitar attack reminiscent of the avant-garde ’90s group Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. But it only lasts a few seconds. Tarek Wegner’s bass starts throbbing, and the band settles into a more laid-back groove that’s just short of funky.

The title song is heavy on Electric Prunes-style reverb, while the melody of “Playing Dead” may remind you of a snazzier version of The 13th Floor Elevators’ “Earthquake.” The “Louie Louie” chords of “Real Change” expose the group’s garage roots, as does the nasty “Tobacco Road” guitar on “As You Want.” Mean- while, “Satisfy Your Mind,” with its slide guitar and tinkling piano, is a nod to boozy blues rock.

For the most part, The Night Beats seem intent on avoiding overt hippie-dippy, love-bead nostalgia. But there’s one big exception on Sonic Bloom. You can almost imagine the band turning on the black lights and lava lamps for “Catch a Ride to Sonic Bloom,” a five-minute saga that starts off slow and droning (with a sitar) but speeds up a little and starts getting a little more interesting about two minutes into the song. Toward the end it slows down again into feedback rumble, with what sounds like an autoharp, a music box, a ticking clock, and the return of the sitar.

The very next song, “The Seven Poison Wonders,” is a much better use of five minutes. Hey, fellow old-timers, listen to the funky chords of this tune and try not to think of “Plastic Fantastic Lover” by Jefferson Airplane or The Beatles’ “Taxman.” I’m not sure whether Blackwell is doing all the guitars here — it sounds like he’s having a duel with himself.

“At the Gates,” my candidate for best song on the album, is a just-under-three-minute workout, where The Night Beats let their R & B influence shine. Fortified with a piano and honking sax, this track borrows heavily from an ancient, obscure, percussion-heavy rock ’n’ roll instrumental called “Drums a-Go-Go” by The Hollywood Persuaders. (It’s on Volume 1 of the sleaze-o-riffic Las Vegas Grind series released by Crypt Records years ago, and also on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack album.)

Another one of the best songs is “Rat King,” the shortest track on the album — two minutes, 13 seconds packed full of raunchy, squalling guitar.

The album ends with a seven-minute epic, “The New World.” The Night Beats stretch out here and, once again, Blackwell’s guitar impresses without being overly flashy. But it goes on too long for no apparent reason. All in all, the shorter songs on Sonic Bloom pack way more punch.

I just hope The Night Beats concentrate on moving listeners’ feet and shaking their rumps as well as expanding our minds. Check out http://tinyurl.com/nightbeatssonicbloom. If you want to listen to or download some live-on-the-radio Night Beats, check out the Free Music Archive, where the song listed as “Poison in Your Veins” is actually “The Seven Poison Wonders.”

Also recommended:

* Moon Sick by Thee Oh Sees. Back in May, I declared Thee Oh Sees’ Floating Coffin as my likely choice for album of the year. Months have passed, and I still feel that way. And yippee! They’re playing in Albuquerque Sunday.

This four-song EP consists of outtakes from the sessions for Floating Coffin. “Born in a Graveyard” starts off with a beeping computer right out of Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio.” It sounds as if there might be some sort of anthem buried inside, though I can’t make out the lyrics. “Sewer Fire” is one of the band’s harder-edged tunes.

But most impressive is “Humans Be Swayed,” which starts off with slow droning, then bursts into a frantic, choppy rocker.

These three songs would have fit in fine on Floating Coffin. Then there’s the last song, “Candy Clocks.” It isn’t bad. It’s basically an airy-fairy folk-rock tune — maybe a folk-rock parody — with what sounds like a harpsichord and a “la-la-la” refrain.

While I’m not crazy about “Candy Clocks,” I continue to be amazed and infatuated by Thee Oh Sees.

Thee Oh Sees' Launch Pad show is at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at The Launchpad (618 Central Ave. S.W., 505-764-8887; $12 for the 21-and-over show).

And hey kids, there's lots of Oh Sees recordings, both live and studio, are available at The Free Music Archive.

Video Time!





And some Oh Sees:

Monday, November 04, 2013

Geek Culture Bards Coming to Jean Cocteau Saturday

The comical music duo called Paul & Storm, whose best-known song, "Write Like the Wind" is about Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin will be playing on Martin's home turf, the Jean Cocteau Cinema, this Saturday night.

Paul Sabourin and Greg “Storm” DiCostanzo have been playing music together for about 20 years. Much of it lampoons or celebrates the world of Geekdom.

"A lot of our music is kinda nerdy, much like we are kinda nerdy, which led us to found a variety show called w00tstock along with Wil Wheaton and Adam Savage," their website says. (It was at a w00tstock show in San Diego where Paul & Storm met George R.R. Martin. The results weren't pretty.)

The concert is Saturday, November 9, at 7 pm and tickets are $15, available in advance at the Jean Cocteau website or at the theater. Tickets also will be sold at the door.

Here is Storm & Paul's ode to the owner of the Jean Cocteau.

Thee Oh Sees Play Albuquerque Sunday



CORRECTED 
One of my very favorite 21st Century bands, Thee Oh Sees are playing at The Launch Pad in Albuquerque Sunday night. (Not Low Spirits, which the post originally said.)

Opening for the band are The Blind Shakes and OBN IIIs (neither of whom I know anything about.) Tickets are $12

Here's my review of their most recent album Floating Coffin and below are a couple of videos

This one is from last year's Pitchfork Festival.



And this one was taken at Low Spirits in March 2012, which was right before or right after I saw them in Austin.




Sunday, November 03, 2013

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST


Terrell's Sound World Facebook BannerSunday, Nov. 3, 2013 
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(at)ksfr.org

 OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Keep it Simple Stupid by King Khan
Slipping Away by Mudhoney
The Fella With a Happy Heart by Dot Wiggin Band
Spanish Rose by Cheater Slicks
Arrested Adolescent by Figures of Light
Rat King by The Night Beats
Sonic Reducer by The Dead Boys
Your Love is Too Strong by The Gaunga Dyns
If I Had a Hammer by Wolfmoon

Candy Sue by Daddy Long Legs
I Want You to Have My Baby by T. Valentine & Daddy Long Legs
I Don't Want One by Steel Wool
Mi Auto Puedes Manejar by Los Tijuana Five
Step Aside by Sleater-Kinney
Sewer Fire by Thee Oh Sees 
Four O'Clocker by Thinking Fellers Union Local 282
Average Guy by Lou Reed
White Heat by Chuck Sledge
Sand Surfin' by The Four Dimensions

BEE GEES tribute
You Don't Know What It's Like by La La Brooks
Massachusetts by Die Zorros
I Started a Joke by The Dirtbombs
I've Got to Get a Message to You by Swamp Dogg 
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart by Al Green
Stayin' Alive by Robyn Hitchcock

Don't Pretend You Didn't Know by Dinosaur Jr
Guess I'm Falling in Love by The A-Bones
Row Row Row by Willie Gable
Magic Touch by Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs
Please Don't Send Him Back to Me by Sandra Phillips
Tiger Phone Card by Dengue Fever 
I'm Sad About It by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Need Your Love So Bad by Little Willie John
A Shell of a Woman by Doris Allen
The Departed by Iggy & The Stooges
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, November 01, 2013

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, Nov. 1, 2013 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM 
Webcasting! 
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell 
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org
OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Satellite of Love by DM Bob & The Deficits
Liquored Up by Southern Culture on the Skids
Stay Here and Drink by Bryan & The Haggards with Eugene Chadbourne 
Big Time Annie's Square by Merle Haggard
Thirty Dollar Room by Dave Alvin
Rock Island Line by Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band
Polka de Nalgas by The Imperial Rooster
Outlaw by Split Lip Rayfield
Gas Girl by The Bottle Rockets
Come Back When You're Younger by The Old Dogs

Caves of Burgundy by Boris & The Saltlicks
Detroit City by John Doe & The Sadies
After the Fire is Gone by Willie Nelson with Tina Rose
I'll Trade You Money for Wine by Robbie Fulks
Nashville Radio by Jon Langford
Pick Me Up on Your Way Down by Augie Meyers
Even the Devil Cannot Kill by Angry Johnny

The Fields Have Turned Brown by David Bromberg
Truckin' Queen (I Got My Nightgown On) by Dale Watson
Busy Body Boogie by The Carlisles
Standin' on the Outside by Hank Thompson
Kiss Me Like Crazy by Rose Maddox
She's All I Got by George Jones
Hillbilly Jive with a Boogie Beat by Reece Shipley & His Rainbow Valley Boys
Kissing You Goodbye by Waylon Jennings
Best to Be Alone by Wayne Hancock
A Tragedy in Dallas by James Dotson
Toot Toot Tootsie by The Hoosier Hotshots

House of Earth by Lucinda Williams
Woodpecker by The Handsome Family
Candy in the Window by Mary Cutrofello
The Long Way Home by Hot Club of Cowtown
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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TERRELL'S TUNEUP: A BLAST FROM LA LA LAND

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Nov. 1 , 2013

You might not be familiar with the name La La Brooks, but you’ve probably heard her sing. As a member of the Phil Spector-produced girl group The Crystals, a teen-age Brooks sang lead on the 1963 hits “Then He Kissed Me” and “Da Doo Ron Ron.”

Like many performers of that era, Brooks faded into obscurity. She had some other music gigs. She did backup vocals for The Neville Brothers, Isaac Hayes, and Bobby Womack, and she collaborated with her then-husband, jazz drummer Idris Muhammad.

But she’s stayed well below the radar for decades. She did a solo album in the mid-’90s, but it was only released in Europe, where she and her family were living at the time.

Now Brooks is back with a tasty album on Norton Records called All or Nothing, featuring a feisty little band led by Mick Collins of The Dirtbombs and The Gories and Matt Verta-Ray of Madder Rose and Heavy Trash. Collins produced the album, while Verta-Ray served as recording engineer.

The first single Norton is releasing from the album is “What’s Mine Is Yours,” written by the crazy garage/doo-wop duo King Khan & BBQ (Arish Khan and Mark Sultan). It has a catchy melody and lyrics like “Pretty baby, give me a chance/You can’t go out with that hole in your pants/I just want to mend your heart for you.” This is the type of song The Crystals might have recorded back in their day.

The tracklist is peppered with tunes by Collins and Verta-Ray, including a version of “Crazy for You,” which was on The Dirtbombs’ recent bubblegum album, Ooey Gooey, Chewy Ka-blooey. I like La La’s version better. The title song is a Small Faces tunes, while the most recognizable song is “To Love Somebody,” which just might be the best Bee Gees cover since The Dirtbombs did “I Started a Joke.”

Another highlight is “I Broke That Promise,” written by Willy DeVille. It has a sad, pretty melody with folk-rock guitars and a spoken-word passage in Spanish. Even prettier is “You Gave Me Love,” written by Brooks. It’s a slow, solemn tune with an old-fashioned roller-rink organ.

My current album favorite is “Mind Made Up,” which Brooks co-wrote with Collins and Verta-Ray. Here, she and the band get bluesy and funky. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one on some future Mavis Staples record.

All or Nothing reminds me of another Norton Records project a few years ago starring a talented but nearly forgotten singer of a venerated ’60s girl group. I’m talking about Dangerous Game by Mary Weiss of The Shangri-Las.

Like Brooks on All or Nothing, Weiss was backed by younger indie rockers; she was assisted by The Reigning Sound, whose leader Greg Cartwright served as producer.

Call it the Norton treatment, call it magic. What I love about both these albums is that the producers and backing musicians clearly appreciate and respect the singers — their history and their strengths. The music might sound a little retro, but there is no hint of self-consciousness or cutesy nostalgia.

And, unlike, say, Jack White’s contribution to Wanda Jackson’s The Party Ain’t Over, which he produced a couple of years ago, there is no attempt to do a modern makeover. Both All or Nothing and Dangerous Games are full of good, honest music with an abundance of sweet soul.

Also recommended:


* Wolfmoon (self-titled) and Too Many People in One Bed by Sandra Phillips. These artifacts-from-the-Swamp-Dogg archives (newly released by Alive/Natural Sound) are excellent, if not essential, snapshots of Southern soul music in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Both are produced by Jerry Williams Jr., aka Swamp Dogg, who wrote or co-wrote most of the songs.

And the albums include liner notes from Mr. Dogg that are just as entertaining as the music on the CDs — maybe even more so.

In the liner notes for the Wolfmoon album, recorded in 1969, Swamp Dogg wrote, “What can I say about Wolfmoon that hasn’t already been said about Idi Amin? He’s a treacherous, lying, two-faced song thief with possible cannibal tendencies. With all that said, he was and still may be one of the greatest singers and entertainers that I’ve ever known in my career.”

He is much kinder to Phillips.

In the notes for her 1979 album, Swamp Dogg wrote that he signed Phillips not only because he appreciated her voice and her work ethic, but also because Doris Duke — not the tobacco heiress but a female singer he’d previously produced — “had gone crazy, missing gigs, avoiding my phone calls, and getting the Buick Estate Wagon that I’d bought for her shot up by some nigger that she had appointed as her manager. … I booked Sandra throughout the Midwest, pretending she was Doris. … I encouraged Sandra to talk to DJs on the phone periodically as a promo ploy, and one DJ in Kansas ended up wanting to marry her.”

Getting back to Wolfmoon, whose real name is Tyrone Thomas, Swamp Dogg might be exaggerating slightly by saying he is a great singer. He’s got a slightly gruff voice without a lot of range, though he gets the job done. Many of his album’s tracks have gospel or spiritual themes and/or social commentary. One of the best is “If He Walked Today,” written by Swamp Dogg. It’s about Jesus. “If he walked today on the streets of Harlem, what would he say?”

There are a handful of versions of well-known songs like “Proud Mary” and “If I Had a Hammer.” The best of these is the eight-minute-plus rendition of “People Get Ready,” which opens and closes with a funky/psychedelic instrumental and a spoken-word interlude featuring Swamp Dogg in the middle.

Swamp Dogg in New Orleans last month
Phillips is an expressive singer who shines on songs such as “To the Other Woman (I’m the Other Woman),” which was previously recorded by Duke.

Many of the songs here are about unhealthy relationships and romantic rivalries and have an underlying touch of humor. These include numbers like the upbeat “Please Don’t Send Him Back to Me,” “If You Get Him (He Was Never Mine),” and “Now That I’m Gone (When Are You Leaving?).” She also does a punchy version of The Supremes’ hit “Someday We’ll Be Together,” which is tougher and more down-home than the original.

Because of business reasons, Wolfmoon didn’t get released until 1973 (by a tiny label named Fungus). The Phillips album didn’t get released until now, because the record company it was intended for went bankrupt.

Would Phillips and Wolfmoon have become big soul stars had the gods of the Music Biz been more kind? Maybe not. Phillips was no Aretha, and Wolfmoon was no Al Green. But they were talented, and every one of the songs on these albums are enjoyable, so give them a listen. Check out www.alive-totalenergy.com and take a gander at other Swamp Dogg-produced albums by the likes of Irma Thomas and Doris Duke while you’re there.

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Truly Trubee

John Trubee, God knows how many years ago. This is as good of a Wacky Wednesday as any to celebrate the music of one of my offbeat hero...