There is no Terrell's Tune-Up this week. But as a consolation prize, please enjoy this new video (actually it's only audio) by Dave & Phil Alvin from their upcoming album, Lost Time, scheduled for a mid September release.
The song is "Mister Kicks," which is one of my favorite old Oscar Brown, Jr. tunes.
And here's Oscar Brown, Jr. doing another one of best songs.
I want to thank the good folks who voted in the Santa Fe Reporter Best of Santa Fe Poll for choosing this humble blog as one of the best "Arts, Music or Food" blogs in the city. The Stephen W. Terrell [Music] Web Log was tied with Victor Romero's The Santa Fe V.I.P. for first place.
Arts, music or food. I'm guessing it was those tasty Rice-a-Roni recipes I posted here a few months ago that did the trick.
The Reporter said:
We all probably know the Terrell win is no surprise—he’s a downright local institution and the kind of writer we all aspire to be and is prolific, to say the least. Kudos as well to Victor Romero and his site that basically makes it easier to go out at night. Y’all are both VIPs in the eyes of this town.
Yesterday, July 29, would have been jazz guitar pioneer Charlie Christian's 99th birthday.
That's a good excuse to re-run an old column I did about Christian, a fellow native Oklahoman.
Read on ...
A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican October 26, 2002
This isn’t a record review. It’s a tirade, so get ready.
While listening to the wonderful music in Charlie Christian: The Genius of the Electric Guitar, a four-disc box set and reading the booklet, I got seriously angry.
Charlie Christian was the first great electric guitarist. Ever. He played with Benny Goodman circa 1939 to 1942, the year Christian died of tuberculosis. Virtually all the tracks in the box are by Goodman’s band, which, at least in Christian’s early days, included Lionel Hampton on vibes and Lester Young on sax.
In reading the booklet, I learned Charlie Christian was from Oklahoma City, my hometown. An essay by Les Paul even tells how Charlie sat in with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in OKC.
What angers me is the fact that I didn’t know that until now. I hadn’t even heard of Christian until my early 20s, probably the first time I read an interview with B.B. King, who worshiped him.
It is inexcusable that no teacher in all those years I went to school in Oklahoma (up to the ninth grade) ever mentioned that one of the true innovators of jazz was from Douglas High School, just across town. No teacher ever mentioned that it was possible for even a poor black kid from OKC to go to the top of his profession, as Charlie Christian did.
Maybe it’s because my worthless history teacher was too busy preaching the virtues of George Wallace and bemoaning the fact that Vietnam War protesters weren’t being tried for treason.
Maybe it’s because Charlie Christian was black. Segregation was dying hard in Oklahoma in the 1960s.
Or maybe it was nothing sinister. It’s probably just that the teachers were too unhip, too thick and culturally crippled even to know that a local kid had grown up to play in Benny Goodman’s band. Still ...
We were never taught about Woody Guthrie in Oklahoma either, which also is a stupid shame, but given the twisted anti-commie paranoia of the day, I can understand that omission far more than I can understand ignoring Charlie Christian.
So Charlie Christian: The Genius of the Electric Guitar isn’t just great music. To me, it’s small reparation for something I was cheated out of as a youngster.
No question about it, religion has given the world some beautiful music, from
Gregorian chants to the Hallelujah Choral to Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
It's also given us stuff like you'll hear in the videos below.
These are musical expressions by members of various "alternative" faiths some
Warning: If you listen to them all, you might have to be deprogrammed.
Let's have a listen, starting with Jeremy Spencer, who was an original member of
Fleetwood Mac (back in the pre-Buckingham/Nicks days when they were a British
One day in February 1971 while Fleetwood Mac was in Los Angeles for a gig at the
Whiskey a Go Go, Spencer slipped away. He met up with members of a group called
The Children of God and rather suddenly decided he wanted to join the group. So
he did. He never went back to Fleetwood Mac.
The Children of God seemed to be everywhere in the early '70s. I was frequently
accosted by them in my early years at the University of New Mexico. The group
was known for a controversial recruiting technique called "Flirty Fishing,"
which basically involved young female members using sex to entice new male
members into joining. That never happened to me. All I got were hairy, stinky
guys who wanted to rant about their crazy apocalyptic visions of the nuclear
bombs stored deep in the Manzano Mountains.
Anyway, here's Jeremy Spencer singing one of his religious songs. I'm not sure
how old it is. These days Spencer has white hair and less of it.
One day in the late 70s or early '80s when I was working at Stag Tobacoonists,
this hairy, barefoot guy wearing a white robe came in the store and bought a
cigars. Jesus, he told us, likes Royal Jamaicas. All us Stag employees were big
fans of RJs, so we just agreed with him.
He told us he was a member of a church called The Christ Family.
During the next few years I would see several members of the Christ Family --
you could recognize them by their white robes and bare feet -- on the streets of
Santa Fe. When I started writing a weekly features column for the
Santa Fe Reporter in the early '80s, I decided to interview members of the group.
I found a half dozen or so members in a bus near the Santa Fe River off
Guadalupe Street. They welcomed me aboard, but as the interview wore on, it was
obvious they weren't welcoming my questions.
They told me that they lived celibate, vegetarian lives because Christ Family
was against "killing, sex and materialism." They told me their messiah was
someone named Lightning Amen (who I later learned was fond of good cigars. I
assume those included Royal Jamaicas.)
At one point the man who was doing nearly all the talking became so angry with
my questions, he was turning read in the face. I asked him why he was so upset.
"BECAUSE YOU ARE KILLING, SEX AND MATERIALISM!"
He didn't laugh when I joked, "That's what she said last night."
Lightning Amen -- real name Charles McHugh -- died about five years ago. In 1987
sentenced to five years in prison
for drug charges, including the transportation and possession for sale of
But at least some of the Christ Family is still together in Helmut, Calif. Here
is one of their songs.
[UPDATE: 11-14-15 Some time after I posted this, this and all the
other Christ Family videos disappeared off of YouTube. I don't know why.]
Next is Scientology's answer to "We Are the World." You might have heard this on
the HBO documentary,
And then there are the Hare Krishnas. They definitely had a presence in Santa Fe
and Albuquerque in the late 60s and early '70s. They had a storefront temple on
Water Street when I was at Mid High school here (in the same building that used
to house the Adobe Laundromat.) A couple of times I stopped in to yack with them
at the temple. Unlike the Christ Family, they never yelled at me when I asked
questions. No heavy proselytizing either, though they always invited me to their
Sunday feasts. (I never went.)
This song comes from the album
The Radha Krsna Temple,
which was produced by none other than George Harrison. And unlike the other
songs posted here, it doesn't suck that much ...
This next Krishna chant goes on for nearly seven hours. Give it a listen if you
have the time.
[UPDATE 4-6-23: The 7-hour Hare Krishna video has disappeared from Youtube!
But fret not. I just found an EIGHT AND A HALF (!) hour video to take its
Know any more "cult classics" from other "alternative" religions? Post
links in the comments section.
Sunday, July 26, 2015 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
Lupine Ossuary by Thee Oh Sees
Lemonade Man by The Electric Mess
Little Girl by Hollywood Sinners
Bad Girl by Detroit Cobras
Summer Boyfriend by The Manxx
Brain Dead by Sons of Hercules
It's Great by Wau y Los Arrrggghs!!!
Police on My Back by The Clash
Hot Rod Worm by The Slow Poisoner
Leaving Here by The Sonics
Willow by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Shake Me by Motobunny
Soul Shoes by Graham Parker & The Rumour
Playing with Jack by The Plimsouls
The Crawler by Ty Segall
The Trip of Kambo by O Lendario Chucrobillman
Elephant Stomp by Left Lane Cruiser
Garbage Dump by G.G. Allin
Dum Maro Dum by Asha Bhonsle
Naane Maharaja (I Am the Emperor) by Vijaya Anand
Fists of Curry by Anandji V. Shah & Kalyan V. Shah
Nothing is Impossible by Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi, Sushma Shreshtha
Do You Swing by The Fleshtones
Mysterious Mystery by Persian Claws
Hot Sour Salty Sweet by The Dirtbombs
Don't Stop to Dance by Rev. Beat-Man
Let's Make the Water Turn Black by The Mothers of Invention
What a Wonderful World by Joey Ramone
Federales by Joe "King" Carrasco
Nightclub by Andre Williams & The Goldstars
Junkyard in the Sun by Butch Hancock
Ring of Fire by Social Distortion
Lucky Day by Tom Waits CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis
Welcome to the latest summertime episode of the Big Enchilada Podcast. We're going to have a rocking time with selections from Barrence Whitfield, The Sonics, Thee Oh Sees, T-Model Ford, G.G. Allin, The Angry Samoans, The Grannies, Frontier Circus, Crankshaft & The Geargrinders, The Routes, Butch Hancock (with the song that inspired the name of this episode) and many more. As Butch says, "For every graveyard in the moonlight, there's a junkyard in the sun!"
Carrasco and the band seemed to come out of nowhere right about the time New Wave was starting to fade. Elvis Costello had repopularized the Farfisa/Vox organ sound a few years before (on his album This Year’s Model), but Carrasco, keyboardist Chris Cummings, and the others took it further, creating spirited music that sounded like a joyful blend of The B-52s and Question Mark & The Mysterians. Carrasco was just a gringo loco (born Joseph Teutsch in Dumas, Texas), but his love for Tex-Mex music and Chicano rock in general propelled his Nuevo Wavo sound. Carrasco and The Crowns seemed to be everywhere for a brief moment. They played “Don’t Bug Me Baby” on Saturday Night Live. Later, “Party Weekend” became a staple on MTV. Carrasco was interviewed in Rolling Stone. After a chance meeting at a recording studio, he did a duet with (pre-Thriller) Michael Jackson. And for a few years it seemed he was at Club West in Santa Fe at least every few months. He was the one of the first national acts, if not the very first, to play there, treating local folks to his crazed, high-energy, hopped-up, crowd-surfing, wall-crawling antics in a stage show that was part James Brown, part Sam the Sham, and part Spider-Man. Truth is, Carrasco and The Crowns became more of a regional phenomenon. Here in the Southwest, we still loved them long after the trendies and the mainstream forgot about them.
IU've seen Carrasco the last couple of times he played Plaza Bandstand. And while he's gotten a little too old for some his his '80s acrobatics, he still gives a powerful performance.
He'll be playing with a band called Los Side FX. I haven't heard them, but if they're with Joe, they're bound to be good.
Santa Fe's own Alex Maryol opens the show. According to the AMP Concerts website, the doors open at 6 pm (which is weird, because there are no doors at Railyard Plaza) and the show starts at 7.
A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican July 24, 2015
In Dec. 2013, John Dwyer — the lead singer, guitarist, songwriter, and resident visionary of Thee Oh Sees — said the band was taking a break from the music biz. Some fans, including me, thought perhaps Dwyer was ending the group while it was at its peak.
But since then, the group has released two albums: last year’s Dropand now Mutilator Defeated at Last — a rockin’ masterpiece that will please and delight old fans and is bound to win new ones.
During the band’s brief timeout, Dwyer moved to Los Angeles and got a new bunch of Oh Sees to take the place of the bandmates he’d worked with for the past few years. Mutilator is the first to feature Dwyer’s current touring version of the group — with Tim Hellman on bass and drummer Nick Murray. The sound is unmistakably Oh Sees: rubbery post-psychedelic guitar-based excursions into the unknown with distorted echoes of garage rock, punk, and noise-rock.
While Drop is a decent album, it is marred by too many mellow and airy-fairy tracks. In reviewing it last year, I accused Dwyer of trying to channel the Electric Light Orchestra on some songs.
Fortunately, Mutilator is much closer in sound to my favorite Oh Sees album, 2013’s Floating Coffin. Though the new album isn’t without its quieter moments, for the most part it’s way more frantic and raw than Drop. Opening with a bouncy tune called “Web,” which gets denser and louder as the song progresses, Dwyer and his new gang make it obvious that this time around, they are here to rock.
The most ferocious song here is the crazed “Lupine Ossuary,” which features downright nasty guitars and relentless drums, over which Dwyer’s trademark falsetto vocals drift in and out. As much as I love it, it’s so intense that it’s probably a good thing it’s only a little longer than four minutes. This is the second song by Thee Oh Sees to have the word “Lupine” in the title. Back in 2012, one of the high-water marks on their album Putrifiers II was a fierce little tune called “Lupine Dominus.” (What can I say? This is music you’ll want to wolf down.)
Dwyer with Thee Oh Sees in Albuquerque, 2013
Another favorite on Mutilator is a crunching stomp called “Turned Out Light,” which starts off with a guitar hook right out of some Southern rock boogie. No, nobody’s going to mistake Thee Oh Sees for the Allman Brothers or Wet Willie, but it’s a refreshing touch.
“Withered Hand” deceptively starts off slow, with eerie effects that sound as if you’re standing at the mouth of some wind cavern for the first 40 seconds or so. But that changes quickly, and the next three minutes turn into a screaming demolition derby of a song.
And the hopped up “Poor Queen” sounds like it could be the national anthem of some insect nation.
Yes, I did say there are some quieter moments on Mutilator Defeated at Last. “Holy Smoke,” featuring an acoustic guitar and a mellotron, and the keyboard-heavy “Sticky Hulks” both remind me of mellow Dinosaur Jr. tunes such as “Thumb.”
And speaking of bands of that era, Jane’s Addiction could easily cover “Palace Doctor,” which closes the album. All three of these start off nice and mellow, but none of them stay that way for the whole song.
It’s good to know that Thee Oh Sees haven’t drifted away as so many feared might happen back in late 2013. They truly are one of the finest rock ’n’ roll bands walking the Earth — and maybe other planets — today. If you’re not familiar with them, wise up. They’re just a few clicks away on the internet music service of your choice. And if you’re wondering which album to start with, Mutilator Defeated at Last is as good a place as any.
Good news for New Mexico Oh Sees devotees. The group is scheduled to play at the Launchpad in Albuquerque on Thursday, Sept. 24. Tickets are only $12. Check them out before they go on hiatus again!
* Motobunny by Motobunny. This is one of the more fun-filled CDs to cross my desk in recent weeks. Motobunny is a hard-rocking foursome fronted by two women: Christa Collins and Nicole Laurrene.
In their music I hear Joan Jett, a little Sleater-Kinney, some Donnas, and in some songs (here’s the surprise) the B-52s. In fact, Collins and Laurrene sound so much like Kate and Cindy on “Spider & Fly” and “You’re Killing Me” that you easily can imagine either song being played in a medley with “Rock Lobster.” Like the 52s ladies, Collins and Laurrene tend to sing in unison rather than harmony.
“Spider” is my favorite on this debut album, but there are other good ones. “Apocalypse Twist” lives up to its name. “You’re Killing Me” is a raging stomp.
The group has its own “Hey, hey we’re The Monkees”-like theme song in “Motobunny,” which features a souped-up Peter Gunn guitar riff. And the final song, “I Warned You,” is downright pretty. The melody sounds like some long-lost Shangri-Las B-side that should have been an A-side.
My one complaint about this album is that it’s a little too slick-sounding — which is surprising, considering Detroit’s Jim Diamond recorded and mastered it. Next time out, I hope Motobunny keeps it a little rougher and rawer.
Last week I was catching up on Portlandia, when a haunting song played at the end of a skit caught my ear.
As fate would have it, I easily found that very skit on YouTube. Watch the whole thing. It's worth it.
The song is called "Going Home," and it's sung by Rosalie Folger-Vent, who I'd never heard of before.
But I'd heard that melody. And even though it's well known in high cultural circles, the first place I'd ever heard it was on country radio in 1981. It was performed by one of my favorite country artists of that era, Don Williams. But the song he sang was called "Miracles."
The lyrics aren't deep, but they're sweet. I don't have the original record, but all the online sources credit the song to Roger Cook. And he's a story in himself.
He's a British songwriter who wrote or co-wrote other Don Williams hots including "I Believe in You" and "Love is on a Roll," (co-written by none other than John Prine.)
Cook had a hand in writing radio hits include The Fortunes' "You've Got Your Troubles," "Long cool Woman in a Black Dress" by The Hollies and "Talking in Your Sleep" by Crystal Gayle. But his best known song probably is "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)," which became famous as an ad jingle for Coca Cola. (And you thought Don Draper wrote that, admit it!)
Though Roger Cook may have written the lyrics to "Miracles," he certainly didn't write the melody.
Credit for that goes to a Czechoslovakian composer, Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904). It comes from Dvořák's "Largo" theme from his Symphony No. 9 (From the New World), Op. 95. According to American Music Preservation.com, "His symphony was composed while he was in America and was first performed by the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall on December 16, 1893."
According to that website, "It has been said that Dvořák's themes in his symphony were inspired by American folk melodies, especially Afro-American or American Indian. But his themes are just as similar to Bohemian folk music."
One of Dvořák's students, William Arms Fisher (1861-1948), created a song out of the Largo theme and added his own lyrics. He called it "Going Home."
Said Fisher in 1922: The Largo, with its haunting English horn solo, is the outpouring of Dvorak's own home-longing, with something of the loneliness of far-off prairie horizons, the faint memory of the red-man's bygone days, and a sense of the tragedy of the black-man as it sings in his "spirituals." Deeper still it is a moving expression of that nostalgia of the soul all human beings feel. That the lyric opening theme of the Largo should spontaneously suggest the words 'Goin' home, goin' home' is natural enough, and that the lines that follow the melody should take the form of a negro spiritual accords with the genesis of the symphony.
"Going Home" has been performed by boys' choirs, bagpipers and Old Man River himself, the great Paul Robeson. Here is a version of Robeson singing it in 1958.
And here is the Dvořák piece from which it came. This is the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Herbert von Karajan.
All quite lovely. But I'm still a fan of Don Williams' "Miracles."
This week's Wacky Wednesday was inspired by the first video below, posted last week on my brother's Facebook page by a mutual friend, Joe. Hat tips all around.
I don't speak Hindi and I've never seen most of the movies these clips come from so I won't pretend to know what's going on in any of them.
But trust me, you won't need to know what's going on in these clips.
Just sit back and enjoy the work of people having a lot more fun that you!
This first one is from a 1985 film called Adavi Donga
I've actually seen the movie Zakhmee, (1975) from which the following clip comes. I didn't understand the plot, but it was full of great songs, my favorite being the one below. No animal masks, but plenty of hot pants!
This one is from a 1968 movie called Padosan. I don't really know what's going on in this one, but it might be about a beautiful woman who has fallen under the sway of a goofy guru.
Here's a fairly recent one. It's called "The Mutton Song" and it's from a 2011 film called Luv Ka The End (The End of Luv).
Sunday, July 19, 2015 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
Riot on Sunset Strip by The Standells
That Girl by The Mummies
Withered Hand by Thee Oh Sees
A New Wave by Sleater-Kinney
Steppin' Out by Paul Revere & The Raiders
Big Mistake by Royal Crescent Mob
Cha Dooky-Doo by Art Neville
People Who Died by The Jim Carroll Band
Questions I Can't Answer by The A-Bones
I Love Little Pussy by Little Marcy
Come Back Bird by Manby's Head The Future is Now ... (and it Stinks!) by J.J. & The Real Jerks
You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover by The Sonics
She's a Knockout by Social Distortion
I See the Light by Reverend Beat-Man
Tres Borrachos by Left Lane Cruiser
Big Beat Strong by The Woggles
El Tren de la Costa by The Del Moroccos
Don't Shake Me Lucifer by Roky Erikson
Mr. Supernatural by King Khan & The Shrines
I Ain't Going Home Alone by The Hares
I Want to Rock You by Frankie Lucas
Amazons and Coyotes by Simon Stokes
Desperation by The Oblivians
Walking on My Grave by Dead Moon
I Warned You by Motobunny
Shot on Meredith by J.B. Lenoir
I Am Fire by Afghan Whigs
I Can't Stop Loving You by Laura St. Jude
Pierce the Sky by Dinosaur Jr.
Ain't Gonna Rain Anymore by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
I'll Be Blue by Frank Black & The Catholics
Face to the Highway by Tom Waits CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page
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The issue of coal has been in the news a lot lately. On Wednesday an Iowa utility agreed to stop burning coal five of its Iowa plants. The pants will either shut down or switch from coal to natural gas. This is due to a legal settlement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The government says this will make 200 coal-burning plants that have shut down in the past five years.
Locally, in my day job I've been covering the controversy over the coal-burning San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. (My latest article is HERE.)
Getting away from coal would mean less pollution, less black-lung disease and a lot fewer mining disasters.
But what about the music?
Coal-mining songs are a staple of American folk and country music for decades. Coal might be dirty and awful. But come on, can you truthfully imagine a song as powerful as "Dark as a Dungeon" or even "Big Bad John" coming out of a solar plant?
At the end of the column I listed my Top 10 favorite coal-mining songs. I figured this Throwback Thursday is a good time to revisit those songs:
For my money, "Dark as a Dungeon" written by Merle Travis is the greatest song about coal ever written. It doesn't deal with a mining disaster or black lung or labor strife. It's about the psychic effects of spending day in and day out in a "dark dreary mine." This version is performed by Travis with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their landmark May The Circle Be Unbroken album.
"Dream of a Miner's Child" is a terrifying little number about a coal miner who's about to leave the house to go to work when his little girl stops him and tells him about her vivid nightmare: "I dreamed that the mines were all flamin' with fire /And the workers all fought for their lives ... "
In "16 Tons," (which also was written by Merle Travis) Tennessee Ernie Ford makes coal mining seem rather cool. It doesn’t pay well, but it apparently it gives you license to kill those who refuse to step aside when they see you comin’.
New Orleans soul man Lee Dorsey also made coal mining seem pretty cool with his 1966 hit
"Workin' in a Coal Mine."
And in the '70s, Loretta Lynn took great pride in being a "Coal Miner's Daughter."
In "Paradise," written in the early '70s, native Kentuckian John Prine sang of the environmental and psychic damage caused by "Mr. Peabody's coal mine."
Jimmy Dean immortalized a coal miner called "Big Bad John" in this early '60s hit -- before Jimmy started working at the sausage mine.
"Last Train to Poor Valley" by Norman Blake is about what happens to the workers when the mines all shut down.
'Quecreek" by Buddy Miller is the most recent song on this list. Buddy's wife Julie Miller (who sings with Buddy in the video below) wrote it in 2002 after nine Pennsylvania coal miners who had been trapped in a collapsed mine for three days were rescued. It's one of the few mining disaster songs with a happy ending,
The main message of “Timothy” by The Buoys is that just because you’re in a mining disaster, that doesn’t mean you have to start skipping meals.
Her songs and stories were upbeat, joyful, positive, full of devout Christian love -- heavy on the Golden Rule, light on the Hellfire -- good-spirited entertainment for children.
But something about Little Marcy just gave me the willies.
For one thing, she wasn't even a real little girl. She was some kind of ventriloquist dummy -- devil doll, they used to call them -- operated by a frustrated gospel trombonist .
The puppet meister was one Marcellaise Tigner, a native of Wichita, Kansas who released more than 40 Little Marcy albums between 1964 and 1982.
After Tigner's husband, Everett, overheard a group of record company executives discussing plans to hire child singers to make a children's album, she and Whitney entered the studio to record her rendition of the standard "Jesus Loves Me" as a showcase for her own childlike voice. The demo landed Tigner a deal with Cornerstone Records, and in 1964 she released her first children's effort, Happy Day Express: Sing With Marcy. A series of albums and live performances followed, but Tigner felt uncomfortable appearing on-stage while singing in a child's voice. While appearing in the film Teenage Diary, she befriended co-star (and Miss America 1965) Vonda Van Dyke, herself an accomplished ventriloquist; at Van Dyke's urging, Tigner purchased a copy of Paul Winchell's book Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit and began learning the trade. The same doll maker who designed Edgar Bergen's Charlie McCarthy character was soon commissioned to create Little Marcy, who became the on-stage conduit for Tigner's vocal performances.
Weirdomusic noted, "Though largely inactive from the 1980s onward, [Little Marcy] retained a large fan following, although in latter years her core audience counted far fewer Sunday school students than collectors of so-called "incredibly strange music."
Sunday, July 12, 2015 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
The Phantom by Flat Duo Jets
Ring of Fire by Social Distortion
Skeletons by The Routes
Kill You Tonight by The Sinister Six
Killers From Space by Figures of Light
Motobunny by Motobunny
The Wolf Pack Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Cadillac Hips by Soledad Brothers
Bikini Girl by Panty Meltdown Aftermath
Bikini Girls With Machine Guns by The Cramps
Web by Thee Oh Sees
Golden Surf II by Pere Ubu
Jesus Built My Hotrod by Ministry
Mean Ass Girlfriend by The Barbarellatones
Call of the West by Wall of Voodoo
Fattening Frogs for Snakes by Sonny Boy Williamson
Song for a Future Generation by B-52s
Star Dream Girl by David Lynch
Daddy Rolling Stone by The Who
Can't Do Nuttin' For Ya Man by Public Enemy
Wicked Waters by Benjamin Booker
Jimmy's Warmup by Jimmy Russell
Medley: It's Allright/ For Sentimental Reasons by Sam Cooke
Feel All Right by The Oblivians with Mr. Quintron
Sugar Farm by T-Model Ford
Vodka is Poison by Golem
El Perversion by Deadbolt
We're Desperate by X
Run Run Run by The Velvet Underground
On a Mississippi Porch by Marcus James
Glow in the Dark by Lovestruck
Yours to Destroy by Laura St. Jude CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page
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A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican July 10, 2015
It’s the war that never seems to end.
Last month’s killing of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston reopened a lot of old wounds; the young man who police say has confessed to the crime reportedly had the deluded hope of starting a race war. Dylann Roof didn’t accomplish that.
But what he did spark was another intense national debate about the Confederate flag, the nature of the Confederacy itself, and the meaning of the American Civil War.
And what do you know? The scars still are too tender to declare this debate done.
This week South Carolina's legislature voted to remove the Confederate flag from the Capital grounds and Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill. Somehow, I don't think this war is over.
The battle over Confederate culture has been fought in the world of music as well — and I’m not just whistling “Dixie.” Here is a look at a handful of the musical shots fired in the past 50-some years.
* “The Burning of Atlanta” by Claude King. This 1962 single was the follow-up to Claude King’s biggest hit, the country classic “Wolverton Mountain.” In many ways, the song — which concerns Gen. William Sherman’s torching of the Georgia city in Nov. 1864 — fits in the “faux folk song” phenomenon of that era, songs like Johnny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans,” “El Paso” by Marty Robbins, and Bobby Bare’s “Miller’s Cave.” But “Atlanta” has an edge to it, especially considering what was going on with the civil rights movement in the South in 1962. King singing, “We don’t care what the Yankees say, the South’s gonna rise again,” was more than a little charged in this context.
* “Down in Mississippi” by J.B. Lenoir. For some reason, bluesman J.B. Lenoir’s swampy tune, recorded in Chicago in 1966, didn’t get a fraction of the airplay that “The Burning of Atlanta” received. Lenoir definitely wasn’t fantasizing about the South rising again. As far as he was concerned, things hadn’t really changed that much from the old days. Lenoir had been writing topical blues and protest songs since the ’50s. “Mississippi” is his finest. “They had a huntin’ season on a rabbit/If you shoot him you went to jail/The season was always open on me/Nobody needed no bail.”
* “An American Trilogy” by Mickey Newbury. Elvis Presley turned this haunting medley into a showstopper for his live performances in the mid-’70s. But it was renegade Nashville songwriter Mickey Newbury who put the three songs — “Dixie,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “All My Trials” together. It is a sweet plea for reconciliation. Hat tip to the online publication Saving Country Music for recently re-publishing Chris Campion’s liner notes to Newbury’s An American Trilogy compilation album, which focuses on Newbury’s performance of “Trilogy” at a Hollywood nightclub in 1970. Campion describes “All My Trials” as “a Bahamian lullaby turned plantation spiritual.” He continues, “It fit so well, forming a breach and symbolizing a quiet revolution to the other two songs, charged as they were by their association with Civil War conflict.” Campion says that Newbury’s wife was concerned that the Confederate anthem “Dixie” would offend Odetta, the iconic African-American folksinger who was in the audience that night. But from the stage, Newbury himself “could see Odetta’s eyes glisten as they welled up, her face shine as the emotion stained her cheek.”
Remember this guy?
* “If the South Woulda Won” by Hank Williams Jr. Had the South won the Civil War, Hank Williams Jr. suggests in this 1988 ditty, it would be so cool. We’d celebrate Kentucky bourbon, Cajun cooking, Elvis, Patsy, and his dad. The Supreme Court would be in Texas where they’d execute criminals quicker to avoid all those boring appeals and embarrassing exonerations. The girls all would have sexy Southern accents. All this, plus slaves!
* “Ronnie & Neil” by Drive-By Truckers. The Truckers’ 2001 album Southern Rock Opera is a concept album about what frontman Patterson Hood calls “the duality of the South.” This song is the strongest. It starts off talking about the 1963 Birmingham church bombing. (“Four little black girls killed for no goddamn good reason,” Hood sings.) Then it gets into the rhetorical back and forth between Lynyrd Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant and Neil Young, who had written a couple of disparaging songs about the South (“Southern Man” and “Alabama”). Van Zant in “Sweet Home Alabama,” responded, singing, “I hope Neil Young will remember Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.” But Hood points out that in real life Ronnie and Neil became pals, a symbol of reconciliation.
* “Wave That Flag” by The Bottle Rockets. This song, from the 1993 debut album of the influential alt-country band from Festus, Missouri, deals directly with the stars and bars. “Wave that flag, hoss, wave it high/Do you know what it means? Do you know why?/Maybe being a Rebel ain’t no big deal/But if somebody owned your ass, how would you feel?”
* “Take it Down” by John Hiatt. This stark and mournful song from John Hiatt’s Crossing Muddy Waters album from 2000, starts out talking about lost love and ends up commenting on the issue of the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina capitol. The message is that people should realize when they’ve been defeated — be it a romance or a civil war — and stop clinging to symbols of the past.
* “The Lost Cause” by The Legendary Shack Shakers. Over the strains of what sounds like a player piano, in this 2010 tune, J.D. Wilkes describes a battalion of undead Confederate soldiers. It’s not really a ghost story; it’s a refutation of historical revisionism that glorifies the Confederacy: “A company of skeletons in rags/March home under tattered white flags/Dusty Bibles and deep empty pockets/Dark dreams and deeper eye sockets/We ain’t right in the head and our women lay dead/We’re the losers who chose the Lost Cause.” The final verse seems even more ominous after Charleston: “From the dirt where they plant us,/‘Sic semper tyrannis!’/ May we one day avenge our lost cause."
You can hear most of these songs on this playlist, plus a few bonus tracks:
And here are the others:
Finally South Carolina granted Hiatt's wish
(Note from 2019: Hiatt's version disappeared from YouTube. But I'm updating with a cover by Patty Griffin.)
Consider this Throwback Thursday post a prelude to this week's Terrell's Tune-up column. I can't say why right now, but a certain song I mention in the column has an obvious connection with "All My Trails," a tune I first learned at various United Methodist Youth Fellowship gatherings during my high school days in the late '60s and early '70s.
I've always had a special place in my heart for the song. And lots of great -- and some not-so-great -- singers have recorded and performed versions of it. Most the usual folkie suspects -- Seeger, Baez, Van Ronk, The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary -- have done it. The Bible-soaked lyrics tie in nicely with the Civil Rights struggle of the early '60s. "If religion were a thing that money could buy / The rich would live and the poor would die ..." and "I had a little book was given to me / And every page spelled liberty .." etc.
The lyrics get changed around from version to version. Some even cut out the first verse "Hush little baby don't you cry/ You know your mama was born to die ..." which is pretty morbid for a goddamn lullaby!
Yes, a lullaby. Practically every source I looked at while researching the song said it came from or might have come from an old "Bahamian lullaby" or perhaps a Bahamian "spiritual." One dubious source even referred to it as a "Jamaican slave song."
But when I set out trying to find out where the darn thing came from, I kept running into a brick wall. I couldn't find anything definite. No accounts of Nassau sailors singing it to delighted British journalists. Not even any Youtubes with Bahamian singers. (And I seriously wanted to find a crazed, incomprehensible version by Joseph Spence to post here!) Seems like Alan Lomax or somebody should have stumble across some mama in the Bahamas trying to put her kid to sleep with something like this.
It turns out that another blogger (and fellow podcaster and fellow musician and fellow DJ) who wanted to explore "All My Trials" ran into the same problems. Jim Moran of Comparative Video 101 wrote:
It turned out that "All My Trials" is of extremely uncertain pedigree, and the chances seem very good that the "folk" song was in fact assembled from fragments of earlier spirituals to sound like a traditional song when it was set to a mysterious Bahamian lullaby that no one really seems ever to have heard or bothered to record.
If Moran is right -- and I suspect he is -- then I've got an inaccuracy in tomorrow's Tune-up!
So where did it first appear? According to Moran, "The earliest commercial recording anyone can find seems to be Bob Gibson in 1957 -- on an album of what he thought were `strange' folk songs."
Here are some of my favorite versions, starting with Odetta (who also figures into tomorrow's column)
The first non-United Methodist Youth Fellowship version of "All My Trials" I ever heard was Harry Belafonte's. My mom had an album that contained it.
Over on the country side of the tracks, Anita Carter (June's sister, Maybelle's daughter, Hank Williams' singing partner) did this lovely take.
And, thanks to a blog by a Portland soul DJ called DJ Action Slacks, I just discovered this 1967 version by a classic girl group called The Cookies, bettter known for their early '60s hits "Chains" and "Don't Say Nothin' Bad About My Baby." In the middle of the song they sing a verse of "Kumbaya" another song I learned from my Methodist youth group.
Early on in the history of "All My Trials," there was a spin-off version. The Kingston Trio used the same basic melody -- apparently that good old Bahamian lullaby -- but overhauled the lyrics to create "All My Sorrows," a song full of heartache but at least no dying mamas. This song was recorded by The Chordettes, The Shadows and, best of all, The Searchers,
And don't forget that Nashville songwriter Mickey Newbury merged "All My Trials" with "Dixie" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" to create "American Trilogy," best known through Elvis Presley's version.
Phil Austin of The Firesign Theatre died June 18. I'm still getting over that.
Hell, I'm still getting over Peter Bergman's death three years ago. Phil Proctor and David Ossman now are the only Firesigns left.
Back in my college days in the early '70s I practically worshiped The Firesign Theatre. They were far more than a comedy team. And it wasn't just hippie humor. In their records they created new worlds, surreal, satirical, multi-layered universes where the jokes had multiple meanings. They were full of references to pop culture of the day and Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe and spoofs of old radio shows and televangelists and politicians and cheesy TV shows and commercials
So if you've never heard The Firesign Theatre, by all means seek them out. (Most of their albums, including their early classics, are on Spotify and a bunch of their stuff is on Youtube. Or you might do something old timey and BUY some of their albums. (Start with Dwarf or How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All -- which includes the debut of Austin's most famous character, Nick Danger.)
Because this is a music blog, this Wacky Wednesday I'm paying tribute to Phil with some Firesign musical bits -- songs The Firesign Theatre taught us.
R.I.P. Nick Danger!
Here is a live version of "Oh Blinding Light" from the movie Martian Space Party. Phil Proctor's fiddle solo comes in at about 1:42
Here's one from I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus.
And finally, "Toad Away," a hymn and sermonette from Dear Friends. Someday we'll all be toad away.
Sunday, July 5, 2015 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
Lupine Ossuary by Thee Oh Sees
Gimme Love by Sleater-Kinney
My Box Rocks by Figures of Light
Non-State Actor by Soundgarden
Glam Rock Girl by The Barbarellatones
The Lover's Curse by The A-Bones
Cretin Hop by The Ramones
Look at Little Sister by The Sonics
Duck for the Oyster by Malcom McLaren
Piñon Lurker by The Gluey Brothers
I'm a Hog For You Baby by Screaming Lord Sutch
Don't Shine Me On by Frankie & The Dell Stars
White Bread n' Beans by Left Lane Cruiser
Candy Man Blues by Copper Gamins
Mine All Mine by The Beat Rats
Funeral by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Catch a Ride to Sonic Bloom by Night Beats
They're Coming to Take Me Away by Napoleon XIV
Backup Man by Greenland Whalefishers
Red Rover by Motobunny
Fly Like A Rat by Quintron & MissPussycat
Lesson Of Crime by YVY
You Treat Me Bad by The Ju Jus
Count Me Out by Boss Hog
( I Got a) Good 'Un by John Lee Hooker
Set Your Mind Free by Wiley & The Checkmates
Lavar dySara by Cankisou
Love Letters by Dex Romweber Duo (with Cat Power)
On the Horizon by The Compressions
Voodoo Boogie by J.B. Lenoir
Down in Mississippi by Ry Cooder
Venus by Television
Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive / Things Are Getting Better by NRBQ CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page
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Yesterday, July 1 was the birthday of two great American musicians born in 1899 in Villa Rica, Georgia.
One was a great blues pianist and occasional singer who played with greats like Ma Rainey and Tampa Red. He co-wrote and sang on Red's best-known song. "Tight Like That" -- and he recorded a few sides under his own name, Georgia Tom.
The other was the Father of Gospel Music, credited with, basically, inventing the genre of Black gospel, bringing the passion of the blues to sacred music ... and writing some of the greatest gospel songs ever known. He even coined the term "gospel music." His name was Reverend Thomas A. Dorsey.
Most of you probably realize Georgia Tom and Thomas Dorsey were the same guy,
He was the son of a Baptist preacher and a church organist. Some say he was a child prodigy. At first he adopted the stage name "Barrelhouse Tom" before settling on "Georgia Tom."
By the age of 19, he moved to Chicago, where he knocked around n some local jazz and blues bands before starting his own group, The Wildcat Jazz Band, which backed up Ma Rainey. Tampa Red was a guitarist in that band.
But in the 1920s, Dorsey's life took a turn toward darkness. According to a PBS documentary caled This Far by Faith:
At twenty-one, his hectic and unhealthy schedule led to a nervous breakdown. He convalesced back home in Atlanta. There, his mother admonished him to stop playing the blues and serve the Lord. He ignored her and returned to Chicago, playing with Ma Rainey. He married his sweetheart, Nettie Harper. But in 1925, a second breakdown left Dorsey unable to play music.
It should be noted that different accounts have several conflicting dates for these "nervous break downs." According to some sources after the second one he sought the spiritual guidance of a faith healer named Bishop H.H. Haley who, Dorsey told biographer, Michael Harris, extracted a `live serpent' out of Dorsey’s throat.
According to the story, Haley told Dorsey, "There is no reason for you to be looking so poorly and feeling so badly, The Lord has too much work for you to let you die." And he helped convince the young musician to turn away from those Devil blues and dedicated his talents to music for the Lord.
But Dorsey hadn't hit bottom yet. According to This Far by Faith:
After his recovery ... Dorsey committed himself to composing sacred music. However, mainstream churches rejected his songs. Then, in August 1932, Dorsey's life was thrown into crisis when his wife and son died during childbirth. In his grief, he turned to the piano for comfort. The tune he wrote, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," came, he says, direct from God.
Dorsey started the Dorsey House of Music, an independent music publishing company for Black gospel composers, in 1932. He established the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, serving as its president for more than 40 years. He would begin an association with Mahalia Jackson, one of the greatest gospel singers of all time
And he sang nothing but gospel music until his death in 1993
So happy birthday, Reverend! Here are a bunch of his songs.
Let's start off with Georgia Tom:
Here is is with a lady called Kansas City Kitty
Here is his most famous song, recorded with his pal Tampa Red
Now on to Dorsey's gospel career. This isn't one of his better known songs, but it's a good one.
Here is Mahalia Jackson singing "(There Will Be) Peace in the Valley," which Dorsey wrote for her in 1937. The song went on to be hits for Red Foley and, later, Elvis Presley. Johnny Cash also did a great version (the first one I ever heard back in the '60s.)
Here is Rev. Dorsey's best known song, performed late in his life