Thursday, July 31, 2014

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: New Albums by NRBQ and Billy Joe Shaver

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Aug. 1, 2014

When I read in the press release for NRBQ’s Brass Tacks that the band has been around nearly 50 years, I thought it was a typo.

But it wasn’t. It indeed was the mid-1960s, back during the Great Society era, when Kentucky natives Terry Adams, a true keyboard kook, and guitarist Steve Ferguson met up with bassist Joey Spampinato and formed the band.

And though they didn’t produce any huge hits, in the years to come The Q established itself as a band for music lovers in the know — a group that would record albums with Carl Perkins, Skeeter Davis, and wrestling icon “Captain Lou” Albano; that could play Sun Ra-like jazz excursions, rootsy-bluesy rockers, and sweet McCartney-like melodies; and that championed outsider music like The Shaggs and song-poems.

Members came and went through the years, though for about a two-decade period the lineup of Spampinato, drummer Tom Ardolino, and guitarist “Big” Al Anderson, a part-time Santa Fe resident, endured. After Anderson left in 1994, Joey’s guitarist brother, Johnny Spampinato, stepped in, and the band played on for another 10 years.

The group broke up in 2004, after Adams was diagnosed with cancer. But he beat the disease and kept playing with a new, self-named group.

In 2011 The Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet reclaimed the name NRBQ. I was skeptical about this. Until recently, I didn’t even listen to the “comeback” album, Keep This Love Goin’, or the live album, We Travel the Spaceways, that followed. How could it be The Q without at least one Spampinato?

But just a few seconds into Brass Tacks and I realized I was wrong. I immediately loved it for the same reasons I loved NRBQ in the first place. Adams is still in great form, but new Qs Scott Ligon and Casey McDonough both sing and write some fine tunes. In fact, my immediate favorite on the album was McDonough’s country-flavored “Fightin’ Back” (“You know my name is Casey/But you always call me Jack”).

Other highlights are the snappy opening track, “Waitin’ on My Sweetie Pie,” which sounds like a cross between country and Caribbean music, “Greetings From Delaware” (an ode to credit cards with a chameleon melody that seems to switch from The Knack to Steely Dan and several shades in between), and “This Flat Tire,” in which tires on a car talk to one another in herky-jerky rhythm.

The band has long had a talent for creating songs that at first glance seem easy and lighthearted but on closer examination turn out to be at least somewhat twisted. Such is the case with “I’d Like to Know,” which sounds like it could be an outtake from The Beatles’ Rubber Soul. It’s a one-sided conversation between passengers on a bus or train. A listener assumes they’re strangers until the narrator sings, “By the way, I have seen you before/Mostly on Tuesdays and Fridays.” Stalker alert!

NRBQ has long been known for inspired covers, from the early days when they did a rocking version of “Accentuate the Positive” to their 2004 album, Dummy, where they turned the 1950 Sammy Cahn/Nicholas Brodszky tune “Be My Love” into a sweet country song. On Brass Tacks they make the Rogers and Hammerstein chestnut “Getting to Know You” a bouncy future NRBQ classic.

I’m just getting to know this latest configuration of NRBQ, but right now I’m hoping they last another 50 years.

Also recommended:

* Long in the Tooth by Billy Joe Shaver. This is a guy who could have rested on his laurels for the remaining years of his life just for his songs that Waylon Jennings covered on Honky Tonk Heroes back in the early ’70s.

Of course, resting on anything isn’t in Shaver’s nature — though he did take six years off between this and his preceding album, Everybody’s Brother. (He does have a good excuse for at least part of that time, standing trial for shooting a guy outside a bar in Waco, for which he was acquitted.)

Even though he’s getting “long in the tooth,” like the title says, at almost 75, he’s still writing some fine songs and singing like the tough old bird he is. “I’m still doing more than most men do,” he brags in the title song. He proves it here.

Few in his chosen profession could pack so many great songs into an album. The opening tune, “Hard to Be an Outlaw,” is the story of an old hell-raiser. He sings it with his old pal (and character witness) Willie Nelson — who includes this recording on his latest album, Band of Brothers. In the last verse, Shaver and Nelson put down the modern Nashville “outlaws,” singing, “They go and call it country, but that ain’t the way it sounds/It’s enough to make a renegade want to terrorize the town.” The chorus of the song starts out declaring, “It’s hard to be an outlaw who ain’t wanted anymore.”

This is followed by “The Git Go,” a minor-key state-of-the-universe address (with a dark harmonica by Mickey Raphael, Nelson’s longtime harp-tooter) in which Shaver laments politics, war, religious hypocrisy, and relations between the genders. “Money breeds war, as long as there’s a man alive/Rich kids go to college, and the poor kids fight/High-rollers crap out every time, roll a soldier’s bones like loaded dice/War is the beast that makes every mother cry.” (Nelson does his own version of this on Band of Brothers.)

That rich man/poor man dichotomy surfaces again in “Checkers and Chess,” where Shaver sings, “I learned all the rules to their game/Fair and square you play ’em, but you’re losin’ just the same.../Rich man gets the money, poor man gets the blame.”

Shaver gives us honky-tonk tunes, like the Johnny Cash-flavored “Music City USA” (“One Sunday evening found me Lord/In a corner booth at Linebaugh’s/Drinking black coffee and eating chili/Like Marty Robbins and Ernest Tubb”) and “Last Call for Alcohol,” along with a bluegrass-influenced “Sunbeam Special” and even a Tex-Mex flavored “American Me,” featuring Joel Guzman on accordion.

And the title song, which reminds me of some long-lost Ray Wylie Hubbard workout, features a crunchy, funky beat and Tony Joe White on background vocals. “Used to go bear huntin’ with a switch/Sleep all week with a Salem witch,” he sings.

I believe him. And I think her magic rubbed off.

Youtube time!

One of the new tunes from NRBQ



Here's one of the classics (with the Joey, Tom and Big Al lineup)



A new one from Billy Joe


And here's some legal commentary by Billy Joe & Willie

Sunday, July 27, 2014

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST


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Sunday, July 27, 2014 
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

Here's the playlist below
Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Friday, July 25, 2014

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


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Friday, July 25, 2014 
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

Here's my playlist below:






Like the Santa Fe Opry Facebook page 

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE
Steve Terrell is proud to report to the monthly Freeform American Roots Radio list

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's Family Fun Nite at The Big Enchilada!


THE BIG ENCHILADA






It's Family Fun Nite at The Big Enchilada and what we have here is a fiesta of fun for the young and old. Inspired by one of my favorite Figures of Light song, which  kicks off this mess, Family Fun Nite is an hour of good-time entertainment for responsible citizens. Featuring bands from all over the world and a brief tribute to the immortal Ramones.

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Here's the playlist

(Background Music: No Fun by The Ridiculous Trio)
Family Fun Night by Figures of Light
Countdown to a Breakdown by Viki Vortex & The Cumshots
Nobody Knows by Pea & The Pees
Riot by The Naxalites
Devil in the Woods by Gun Club
Pepper Spray Boogie by Compulsive Gamblers
Country Boy by Clarence "Frogman" Henry

(Background Music: Red Rose Tea by The Marquis Chimps)
Remember the Ramones by The Fleshtones
WWJD by Scott Orr & The Rochesterfield Kings
Ramones Forever by The 99ers

(Background Music: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Hugo Montenegro)
Going Nowhere by House of Ghosts
Dinah Wants Religion by The Fabs
You Gotta Tell Me by The Downbeats
Your Money Ain't Long Enough by Cherri Lynn
Evil Evil Evel Kninievel by Eddie Carr

(Background Music: Night Walk by The Swingers)
Make You Wild by Lynx Lynx
The Diep by The Come N Go
Tim's Last Stand by Graveshare 
Mommy's Little Baby by Wizzard Sleeve
Down the Road by Fred and Toody Cole

Play it Here:



Sunday, July 20, 2014

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

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Sunday, July 20, 2014 
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

Here's the playlist below
Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Friday, July 18, 2014

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


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Friday, July 18, 2014 
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

Here's my playlist below:






Like the Santa Fe Opry Facebook page 

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE
Steve Terrell is proud to report to the monthly Freeform American Roots Radio list

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: The Ramones are Dead, Long Live The Ramones!

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
July 18, 2014



Four out of five Rolling Stones who appeared on the band’s first album are still alive. Half of The Beatles, half of The Who, and half of The Velvet Underground are still with us. All of the Sex Pistols except Sid Vicious still walk the earth.

And yet all four of the original Ramones have died. Last week Tommy Erdelyi — a native of Hungary who became the group’s first drummer after a short stint as its manager — died of bile duct cancer. Cancer took Tommy, Joey, and Johnny. Drugs got Dee Dee. Horrible, miserable demises for musicians whose work was so full of joy and crazy energy. All the Ramones who played on those first three albums — Ramones, Leave Home, and my favorite, Rocket to Russia; the four guys who gave the world songs like “Cretin Hop,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” “We’re a Happy Family,” “Beat on the Brat” — all are gone.

The Ramones are dead. Long live The Ramones!
Tommy!

I got to see them in person only once. That was back in July 1996 (nearly 20 years after Tommy had left the band and long after Dee Dee left as well). This was at a Lollapalooza festival, and they weren’t even the headliners.

The Ramones sounded fine, but it was not a pleasant show. Brutal is too kind a word for the 107-degree Arizona heat that day. And worst of all, The Ramones’ set was cut short by a vicious windstorm. Joey Ramone had joked onstage about the venue — a horrible, dusty desert hellhole known as Compton Terrace — being built on an ancient pet cemetery. (This of course was right before the band launched into its song “Pet Sematary,” from the horror movie adapted from the Stephen King novel.)

Soon after Joey’s little joke came the dark clouds and the blasting winds. The stage lights and sound monitors suspended above were swaying ominously. I wrote in my review of the festival, “While it might be the cool rock ’n’ roll way to die, being crushed by a giant speaker in front of a cheering mosh pit, that is not the way Joey planned to say adios, amigos.”

According to the website setlist.fm, the Ramones made it through 16 songs that day in Arizona. At most other Lollapalooza shows they did 21. So maybe we were cheated out of only five songs. At least I got to see them do “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “Teenage Lobotomy,” and their cover of the Spider-Man theme song, a latter-day Ramones favorite.

That would be the group’s last tour. Joey died five years later. Johnny soon followed, as did Dee Dee. And now, Tommy.
Ramones in action

The influence of the Ramones on rock ’n’ roll in the past 40 years cannot be underestimated. Although the punk rock movement they helped spawn definitely had its own excesses, it was a much-needed corrective force for popular music in the mid- to late ’70s.

In fact, whenever rock ’n’ roll gets too heavy and serious and self-important and gloomy, the musicians behind it should ask, What would The Ramones do?

In recent years, at least three songs about that very concept have popped up. In 1999 a band called The Huntingtons recorded “What Would Joey Do?” in which they asked what he’d do “about the state of rock ’n’ roll.” (They also did an album of all Ramones covers.) More recently, The Creeping Ivies recorded “What Would Joey Ramone Do?” which airs similar complaints about lousy radio and TV. And just a few years ago, a friend of a friend, a guy named Scott Orr, had a stripped-down lo-fi tune called “WWJD.” (It’s about Joey, not Jesus.)

But these are only a small subgenre of songs about The Ramones. Here are my favorite Ramones tribute songs by musicians who felt they owed something to those oddballs from Queens.

* “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” by Motörhead. Lemmy Kilmister’s big blasting tribute to the brothers first appeared on Motörhead’s 1916 album in the early ’90s. The Ramones liked it so much that they recorded two versions of it themselves.

* “I Heard Ramona Sing” by Frank Black. This tune, on Black Francis’ first solo album, Frank Black, is a sincere tribute, even though it sounds a lot more like The Pixies, which had just broken up, than the Ramones. It tells of a young guy’s first encounter with the boys from Queens: “I had so many problems/Then I got me a Walkman ... I heard Ramona sing, and I heard everything.” By the end of the song, Black expresses the hope that The Ramones keep replenishing themselves like a certain Puerto Rican boy band of that era: “I hope if someone retires/They pull another Menudo,” he sings. If only …

* “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” by Sleater-Kinney. This 1996 ode appeared on Sleater’s Call the Doctor album. Singer Carrie Brownstein wants to be your Joey — “Pictures of me on your bedroom door,” that is — but halfway through the song she also wants “to be your Thurston Moore.” What gives here?

* “Dancing With Joey Ramone” by Amy Rigby. Another song specifically about the singer of the band, Rigby’s is a bittersweet, rocking fantasy that was released on her Little Fugitive album a few years after Joey’s death. “I tried to say something, he said, `Girl, shut your mouth, they’re playin’ ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone' ’/Last night I was dancin’ with Joey Ramone.” The lyrics include a great playlist with such venerated oldies as “The Worst That Could Happen” by Brooklyn Bridge, “He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss,” “Glad All Over,” and “Needles and Pins.” (The Ramones themselves covered that last Jackie DeShannon classic.) I’m sure Joey would have loved to dance to any of those.

* “Our Ramones” and “Ramones Forever” by The 99ers. Yes, this Minnesota band has two different songs on two different albums celebrating Mama Ramone’s baby boys. I prefer the latter one, which is from the 2011 album Everybody’s Rocking.

* “Remember The Ramones” by The Fleshtones. Released earlier this year on The Fleshtones’ most recent album, Wheel of Talent, this rouser is a sweet tribute from a fellow New York band that started out at about the same time as The Ramones. It’s with complete sincerity that The Fleshtones sing, “You don’t know what it means/To hit the Bowery and make the scene/For a rock ’n’ roller and a kid from Queens.”

Here's some videos ...

Amy Rigby doing her song live with Wreckless Eric.



Here's Sleater-Kinney



And here's the four lads in all their 1977 glory!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Sturgill on Letterman



Sturgill Simpson, whose album Metamodern Sounds In Country Music is definitely my favorite country album of the year so far, was on Late Night with David Letterman Monday night.

He did a strong version of his song "Life of Sin."

But don't stop watching when the song is done. It's worth it to hear Letterman babbling about "The Commonwealth of Kentucky" and "Get yourself, I don't know, one them 46 ounce things of Mountain Dew, rent a car and just start drivin' ... ever so often stop some place, start a fight, get back in the car ..."

I guess Dave was inspired too.


 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

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Sunday, July 13, 2014 
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

Here's the playlist:
Opening Theme: Let it Out ( Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Pachuco Hop by Joe " King" Carrasco & The. Crowns
Better to Be Lucky Than to Be Good by The Electric Mess
Still Got a Long Way to Go by Alice Cooper
Busman's Holiday by Allah-Las
Graveyard Girl by The Vagoos
And Then Nothing Happened by Pere Ubu
Everybody's Got a Little Devil in Their Soul by Bobby Patterson

One More Try by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
I Can See Everything by JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound
What a Shame by The Stompin' Riff Raffs
Big Road Blues by Daddy Long Legs
Something I've Got to Tell You by The Compressions
Luck by The Supersuckers
I Don't Wanna Live Alone by The Oblivians
I Wanna Get in Your Pants by The Cramps
Memphis Egypt by The Mekons
I Flipped my Wig in San Francisco by Harry "The Hipster" Gibson

Remembering The Ramones
Remember The Ramones by The Fleshtones
Cretin Hop by The Ramones
Cretin Family by The Ramones
You're Gonna Kill That Girl by The Ramones
I Heard Ramona Sing by Frank Black
Ramona by The Ramones
The Return of Jackie and Judy by Tom Waits
I Don't Wanna Grow Up by The Ramones
Sheena is a Punk by Husker Du
You Should Never Have Opened That Door by Ty Segal 

Emotional Needs by Uncle Monk
Pet Sematary by The Ramones
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Sleater-Kinney
WWJD by Scott Orr
I Can't Control Myself by The Ramones
The KKK Took My Baby Away by Full Blown Cherry
Bad Brain by The Ramones
I Wanna Be Sedated by Two Tons of Steel
Spider-Man by The Ramones
Dancing With Joey Ramone by Amy Rigby
We're a Happy Family by The Ramones
Substitute Closing Theme: Ramones Forever by The 99ers

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bonnie "Prince" Billy at Railyard Sunday



Will Oldham, aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy aka aka Palace aka Palace Music aka Palace Brothers aka The Palace Corp. aka Palace Plumbing & Electric (Ok, I made up the last couple) is playing Sunday night at the Santa Fe Railyard.

The show starts at 7 pm. David Ferguson is opening. More info at the Heath Music site.

I like this venue. In past years the likes of Big Sandy & The Flyrite Boys and Bob Logg III have played there.

I've been playing his new self-titled album on The Santa Fe Opry. Here's a video from it:


Friday, July 11, 2014

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


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Friday, July11, 2014 
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

Here's my playlist below:

Opening Theme: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Look At That Moon by Carl Mann
Making Believe by Social Distortion
Truckin' Little Woman by Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin
Checkers and Chess by Billy Joe Shaver
For All That Ails You by Holly Golightly
I've Always Been Crazy by Carlene Carter

Long Road Home by Whitey Morgan and the 78's
Lawd I'm Just a Country Boy in This Great Big Freaky City by The Bottle Rockets
Some Velvet Morning by The Frontier Circus
Work With Me Annie by Dave Van Ronk
Rock and Roll Shoes by Johnny Cash
Cry, Cry, Cry by Robbie Fulks
Lone Star Blues by Delbert McClinton
I Was Wrong by The Howlin' Brothers
She Texted Me Goodbye by Asylum Street Spankers

Down Among the Dead Men by Steve Train and His Bad Habits
Hey Pendejo by Chuck E. Weiss
The Spotted Pig by Bonnie Prince Billy
Hungover Together by Supersuckers with Kelly Deal
So Far From Home by Husky Burnette
Mountain of Love by Robert Gordon
Lugnut Larry by Dale Watson
Mona Lisa by James Hand
Rub-A-Dub-Dub by Hank Thompson
White Dress by Anthony Leon & The Chain
The Happy Cajun by Jimmy C. Newman

Turtles All the Way Down by Sturgill Simpson
Black Girl by Long John Baldry
The Only Other Person in the Room by Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay
Clear Day by The Calamity Cubes
Whispering Pines by Johnny Horton
Broken Paddles by Joseph Huber
Wildebeest by The Handsome Family
Closing Theme: Comin' Down  by Meat Puppets

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

Monday, July 07, 2014

Carrasco Plays the Plaza on Wednesday


It's been two years since Joe "King" Carrasco played the Santa Fe Bandstand.

Friend, that's too long.

He'll be playing his crazy Nuevo Wavo music 7:15 pm Wednesday night on the Plaza. And like all Bandstand shows, it's free. (Or as I say on my public radio shows: "If you pay a penny, you've paid too much."

You haven't heard of Joe "King"? Check out my review of his album Que Wow HERE

And here's a video from .his 2012 Bandstand show:



And here's one recorded in Houston about a week before, a version of Question Mark & The Mysterians' classic "96 Tears":




And speaking of bandstand, if you're down on the Plaza at noon today, check out J. Michael Combs, king of the buskers.

He'll be playing "old new Mexican marchas, cutilios, cuadrillas chotises y polkas; old Texas Blues, Quebecois Reels & Jigs, Gospel & Honky-Tonk, Labor & Union Songs, Folk and Protest songs, a song of the Sea, an Appalachian murder ballad or a 500-year-old maiden’s lament."

As Michael says, "My repertoire is a mile wide and an inch deep."

Sunday, July 06, 2014

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

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Sunday, July 6, 2014 
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

Here's the playlist below

Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Friday, July 04, 2014

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: New Fireworks from Norton

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
July 4, 2014

Since today’s the Fourth of July — or Independence Day, as the cool people call it — I thought it would be appropriate to salute Norton Records, a truly independent American record company and a firecracker of a label, which recently released three bitchen albums that will make you feel patriotic just listening to them. I know, I know. I’ll stop.

Norton is a great American story. It was founded in 1986 by Billy Miller and Miriam Linna, a Brooklyn couple that published a rock ’n’ roll magazine called Kicks. After Miller and Linna ran a story about rocking West Virginia wild man Hasil Adkins that received a huge response, they decided to start a label to reissue Adkins’ recordings (eventually recording some new material with him). The pair named their label after Ed Norton, Ralph Cramden’s pal on The Honeymooners, and it grew, reissuing tons and tons of obscure old R & B, garage rock, soul, rockabilly, proto-punk, and general craziness — not to mention the fresh sounds of singers and bands who fit in with the general Norton aesthetic.

And then, not quite two years ago, disaster struck. Hurricane Sandy smashed into Norton’s Brooklyn warehouse, destroying a major portion of the company’s inventory. Miller and Linna, who worked countless hours trying to salvage what they could, soon found they had a lot of support. Friends and label fans showed up to help dry off vinyl records and put them in fresh sleeves before they all went to mold. Around the country, people organized benefit rock ’n’ roll shows for Norton, while hip radio programs and podcasts played special shows to draw attention to the label’s plight. Norton survived, and it’s still the place “where the loud sound abounds.” These new albums attest to that.

* Ears Wide Shut by The A-Bones. This loose-knit group of rock fanatics might be considered Norton’s house band. Billy Miller is the lead singer and Miriam Linna plays drums and sings. (She was the first drummer for The Cramps, back in the ‘70s.) Longtime A-Bones bassist Marcus “The Carcass” Natale and guitarist Bruce Bennett are on this album, as are Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan, on keyboards, guitar, and vocals, and sax man Stan Zenkoff.

The first thing a devoted Bones fan notices about Ears is that it’s raw and lo-fi, even by A-Bones standards. It has a real-live-at-the-amusement-park-picnic-pavilion feel. Which, to my ears, is not a bad thing.

There are some fine songs here. As usual, the majority are covers, but most are so obscure they might as well be original material. Only two were actually written by The A-Bones, “Lula Baby,” which sounds like a slower, sludgier “Tutti Frutti,” and Catahoula Stomp,” which could be passed off as a long-forgotten masterpiece by Paul Revere & The Raiders. It features some tasty — if a little psychotic — organ from Kaplan.

I’m not even sure where “Henrietta” came from, but it’s one of those songs that has bounced around at the edges of a lot of old rockers’ repertoires. Doug Sahm, John Fogerty, and The Trashmen have all recorded it.

“Luci Baines,” apparently a rocking ode from Arthur Lee, of the band Love, to one of LBJ’s daughters, was initially recorded by Lee’s pre-Love band, The American Four, back in the Great Society era. There’s a surfy instrumental, “Thunder,” first recorded by Bob Taylor & The Counts on Yucca Records, an old Alamogordo label.

And they saved their best for the last. The crunchy, frantic “Sorry” was first recorded by The Easybeats, an Australian band from the mid-’60s. I’ve always preferred the version done a couple of decades later by The Plimsouls (available only on a couple of their live albums), but The A-Bones give the latter group a run for their money here.

My only serious complaint about Ears Wide Shut is that there’s only one track here sung by Linna: the perfectly lecherous “Little School Boy,” originally done by Billy Garner as “Little School Girl.” But if you’re craving more Miriam songs, read on.

* Nobody’s Baby by Miriam. That’s right, just one name, like Cher or Madonna. Or Winger, for that matter. This is Miriam’s first solo album, and it’s a gem. If you’re expecting the same high-intensity, raucous ’n’ roll you find with The A-Bones, you won’t get it on Nobody’s Baby.

Instead, this album reminds me of two previous records, classy efforts both, in the Norton catalog: Dangerous Game, the 2007 “comeback” album by Mary Weiss, lead singer of The Shangri-Las, and All or Nothing by La La Brooks, who used to sing with The Crystals. Like those older albums, Nobody’s Baby is a contemporary take on the classic early- to mid-’60s girl-group sound  — an adult update on the teen yearning and, yes, angst of that golden period.

Linna draws from a wide variety of songwriters, including Jeff Barry (who, with partner Ellie Greenwich, wrote “Leader of the Pack,” “Chapel of Love,” hits for The Ronettes, and dozens more songs — many, you’ve probably never heard of), Tim Buckley, Bobby Darin, Gene Clark (formerly of The Byrds), Neil Young (an early, obscure tune called “There Goes My Babe”), and The Ramones (though Miriam’s version of “Questioningly” sounds more like The Chiffons than anyone who ever played CBGBs).

Besides the influence of Shangri-Las, The Crystals, The Ronettes, and The Angels, I also hear echoes of folk rock – at least Jackie DeShannon-style folk rock – here. That’s especially obvious in the opening song, “My Love Is Gone.” And there are traces of British Invasion siren Sandie Shaw on the noirish “So Lonely.”

Currently, my favorite on Nobody’s Baby is “Walking Down the Street.” It’s the closest thing to a real rocker on the album. I thought this might be an obscure Shangri-Las B-side, but it was originally done by a Pretty Things offshoot band called The Electric Banana.

* Blood From a Stone by Daddy Long Legs. Simply put, this Brooklyn-based trio (originally from St. Louis) is the most exciting blues/punk group, this side of Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, on the scene today.

Led by a tall, gangly singer, who also goes by the name Daddy Long Legs, they are raw but melodic. This is the group’s second full-length album for Norton — its third, if you count The Vampire, on which they backed R & B crazy man T. Valentine (of “Lucille, Are You a Lesbian” infamy).

Highlights include the frantic “Motorcycle Madness,” the Bo Diddley-inspired “Castin’ My Spell,” a banjo-enhanced country stomp called “Chains-a-Rattlin’,” and “Flesh-Eating Cocaine Blues,” which is just as herky-jerky jittery-wild as the title suggests.

Hear songs from all three of these albums on my latest Big Enchilada podcast episode Canteen Dance .

Here's a couple of videos

The A-Bones performing Luci Baines



Here's some live Miriam


And here's Daddy Long Legs doing the title cut of Blood from a Stone

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...