Friday, January 30, 2015

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


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Friday, January 30, 2015 
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, January 29, 2015

TERRELL's TUNE-UP: Jes Suis Negativland

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Jan. 31, 2015

A couple of months ago, when I first got my copy of It’s All in Your Head, the latest offering by that “culture jamming” audio prankster collective known as Negativland, I realized that this work, packaged in a copy of the Bible, could offend a lot of people. (A collector’s edition of the album comes in a Koran.)

But I didn’t suspect that it could literally be dangerous. However, the murders in Paris of Charlie Hebdo staff members by Islamic extremists outraged by irreverent cartoons reminded me that we live in a world in which satire can get you killed. This makes It’s All in Your Head far more relevant than it was the day I opened it.

The project is a rambling exploration of faith, God, organized religions, and how prevailing attitudes toward matters of the spirit affect us all. The first disc bites into Christianity, while the second mostly takes on Islam.

Using clips borrowed from television; radio; movies; children’s records; sermons; scientific lectures; comedy routines; the group’s trademark electronic blips, bloops, and squalls; and even a few songs you might recognize (among them the Talking Heads’ “Heaven,” Jefferson Starship’s “Miracles,” and “I’ve Gotta Be Me” by Sammy Davis Jr.), Negativland constructs an aural theme-park ride that’s funny, horrifying, educational, emotional, and mystifying — sometimes all at once.

“There is no God!” a man insanely shouts at various points throughout this two-disc extended sound collage. I’m not sure whether this sound clip is from a movie (it reminds me a little of Charlton Heston bellowing “It’s a madhouse!” in the original Planet of the Apes) or if it’s one of the Negativlads yelling. It doesn’t matter. The message is clear. However, a counterpart to that is another sound clip, frequently repeated throughout It’s All in Your Head, in which a different man solemnly says, “Let us have faith.” The voice sounds familiar. I think it might be Richard Nixon.

Anyone who has followed Negativland knows where the group stands. In 1987 the band became notorious for a hilarious track called “Christianity Is Stupid,” in which the words of the title are repeated in an out-of-context sound clip by some blustery preacher.

This album delves deeper. It could be subtitled "All Religions Are Stupid." It’s built around a radio station, It’s All in Your Head FM (“Monotheism, but in stereo”), on the Universal Media Netweb.

For most of the first disc, you hear different voices, sometimes interrupted by the imaginary radio staff, presenting religious arguments. On one side are Christian preachers, country singers, and others arguing against atheism, evolution, same-sex marriage, and so on. On the other side there are anthropologists, scientists, and other critics of religion, basically arguing that Christianity is, well, stupid.

Negativland in Portland, August 2014
The track titled “Alone With Just a Story” features the voice of a man with a British accent (is this the late Christopher Hitchens?) questioning the entire idea of faith.

“It teaches people, especially teaches children, that to believe in something without evidence is a virtue, ,,, I think children should be taught to seek evidence. … You’re taught if you start to have doubts, then you must pray to overcome those doubts. You’re taught that if somebody comes to you with plausible arguments to the contrary, then that’s probably the devil speaking.” 

After this, a woman says, “This is really fun because you can make a Jello mold that looks like a brain.”

God bless Negativland!

But in addition to mocking anti-evolution preachers, Negativland also lampoons pro-evolution scientists in what is probably the funniest part of the album: a Firesign Theatre-like track called “Wildlife Tonight.” This is an original piece — not something sampled from radio or TV — in which goofy scientists shave a chimp to prove that apes are related to humans. (“Don’t worry about Cherry, folks, we have a little skirt and sweater for her.”)

The first disc tends to be lighthearted. Poking fun at preachers is a time-honored American comedy tradition, going back before Mark Twain. Even the serious parts seem like overly earnest dorm-room discussions. Negativland is on safe ground here.

But at the very end of the disc, there is a blaring tone followed by an announcement of an attack on the United States and a blast of sonic discordance.

At the outset of the next disc, the host announces that the station is under new management. Middle Eastern music and people speaking in Arabic follow. The announcer, in his generic radio voice, says, “You’re listening to It’s All in Your Head FM. We’re all Mohammads now.”

And now there are ghostly voices saying “God is perfect” and repeating the word Islam. This is followed by a series of clips of scholarly lectures on the history of Islam, terrorism, and the Crusades. In a track called “Holy War,” we hear the voice of George W. Bush announcing the bombing of Baghdad and the invasion of Iraq and hear some American berserker calling for the bombing of Mecca and other holy places. “This is a holy war,” he says.

The most chilling moment of the entire album comes in the middle of a lengthy track called “Push the Button.” Here a woman, purportedly a jihadist (her accent sounds British), explains, “I don’t target women and children in particular. … The way I see it is that the Jews weren’t merciful with my nation. I don’t have anything against Israeli children. But I know there is the possibility that an Israeli child could grow up and one day come to kill my son or my neighbor’s son. Therefore I feel he should be dead now.”

And while she is justifying these unspeakable acts, in the background you hear a group of schoolchildren singing a sweet version of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” (from the Langley Schools Music Project, 1970s recordings of popular songs performed by kids).

The major theme of It’s All in Your Head is that blind faith in the god of whatever culture you come from, in conjunction with unblinking obedience to political leaders (a by-product of that unquestioning faith), can only lead to hatred and violence against those who believe otherwise. Not a terribly original thought, though a valid one.

The album ends with a message from the radio station, which seems to have returned to its old management. The announcer puts forth the question:

“God, natural fact or unnatural fiction? This decision is your head’s to decide. And the next step will be yours to remove your blindfold and take this All in Your Head message out of this building to all of those unable to attend this broadcast.”

With “Awesome God,” Rich Mullins’ slick 1988 contemporary gospel song swelling in the background, a listener might envision a righteous, godless army of determined rationalists marching forth with the terrible swift sword of intellect to vanquish the blind and hateful forces of religious fanaticism.

What could possibly go wrong?



And here is most of the Negativland show in Portland I saw last summer

THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Wild and Bloody Journey of Sam Hall

I first heard of the outlaw Sam Hall as a little kid. I heard it on a Tex Ritter album called Blood on the Saddle, which originally was released in 1960. Next to the title song -- which is a story for another day -- "Sam Hall" was my favorite track on the album.

There was nothing heroic about Sam Hall, at least the way Tex told it. No mythic elements. No scent of injustice in his execution. He was just a hardcore, unrepentant bad-ass, a self-admitted murderer ("I killed a man they said, and I smashed in his head and I left him there for dead ...") facing the gallows with sneer and weird little whoop. He confronts the sheriff, a preacher, a woman named Molly, or may or may not have done him wrong and a hostile crowd that wants to see him die.

And Sam's main message to them all: "Damn your eyes!" Or was it "Blast Your Hide"? Or some other variation?

I didn't realize it at the time, but Tex Ritter had done a few versions of Sam Hall, It was the first single he recorded for Decca Records in the mid 1930s. And he sang in his first movie, Song of the Gringo in 1936. Here's a video of that:



But "Sam Hall" is much older than that.

Richard Thompson on his 2003 album 10,000 Years of Popular Music, introduces it, saying introduces it calling it "an 1840s" song. Says Thompson, "And the guy who sang it would come on stage in the prison stripes and manacles.... So feel free to boo during the song, boo and hiss ..."

And that's basically correct. The song apparently comes from an old British folk song about a condemned criminal called "Jack Hall," A 1904 book, Folk Songs from the Sommerset edited by Cecil Sharp, quotes Frank Kidson, an early folksong scholar:

Jack Hall was a chimney sweeper, who was executed for burglary in 1701. He had been sold when a child to a chimney sweeper for a guinea ...

About 1845-50 a comic singer named G. W. Ross revived [`Jack Hall'] under the name `Sam Hall,' with an added coarseness not in the original." 

Ross apparently turned it into the kind of stage routine Thompson described.

Here's Thompson's version which is based on Ross' song.



Skipping ahead to the 1960s, The Dubliners, an Irish folk group recorded a version of "Sam Hall." I their re-telling, the condemned chimney sweep isn't just a blustery bad guy. He has taken on some aspects of Robin Hood.

I have twenty pounds in store and I’ll rob for twenty more
For the rich must help the poor, so must I ...



Note that the Sam Hall in the British or Irish versions is just a robber, not a murderer. But here in America, our Sam is a killer. Singer Josh White's lyrics are closer in to Ritter's: "You're a bunch of muckers all, goddamn your eyes ..." Here's his version, which first appeared in 1955 on White's  album The Story Of John Henry & Ballads, Blues And Other Songs.



Meanwhile, Johnny Cash's Sam, from his 1965 album Sings the Ballads of the True West sounds like a psychotic drunk.



In their 1996 album Green Suede Shoes, the Celt-rock band Black 47 took Sam back to the Emerald Isle. In their version, loosely based on that of The Dubliners, Sam is a chimney sweep again, an oppressed worker who lost his temper at a cruel boss.

I had three fine sons to feed, that's no joke, that's no joke
And a wife worn out from need, that's no joke
But the boss he said to me, "Get your brats out on the street
For they cost too much to feed", that's no lie, that's no lie
My wife died from misery, that's no lie

Oh, I struck the bastard down, I don't deny, I don't deny
Raised the black flag up on high for anarchy
Oh, I struck the bastard down, to hell with bosses, church and crown
But they hunted me to ground like a dog.




Black 47's anarchist martyr's last words are "Liberty for all mankind!"

Very noble. But somehow "Damn your eyes!" strangely is more satisfying.





Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WACKY WEDNESDAY: The Doctor, The Eggplant and Me

Most people familiar with Norman Greenbaum know him as the "Spirit in the Sky" guy.

But years before Greenbaum was doing the psychedelic Jesus boogie, he was selling some musical snake oil under the name of Dr. West.

Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band never got to be as famous as Jim Kweskin's Jug Band, which came before them, or Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, who came after them.

But Greenbaum's band had a true novelty hit, circa 1966 with a goofy jug-band style tune called "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago."

For the uninitiated, here's how that song went:



According to an old rock 'n' roll cliche, The Velvet Underground didn't sell many records, but every one who bought one of their records started a band.

That was my story, except instead of The Velvet Underground, it was Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band. (Except I didn't actually buy their album I won my copy from WKY Radio in Oklahoma City. They had a contest for people to draw the Eggplant that Ate Chicago. I did and I was one of the winners. I was in the 8th grade.)

And just like the Eggplant thought about Chicago, it "was a treat, it was sweet, it was just like sugar.”

As I wrote when reviewing a Dr. West retrospect in No Depression magazine back in 1999:

Ramhorn City, here we come
The official punk rock party line is that punk is the most democratic of all types of music because you don’t even know how to play your instrument to be in a band. But for me, as a youngster in the late 1960s, it was jug-band music that opened the door. With a jug band, you didn’t even need to have a real instrument to join in. Antiquated household appliances like the washtub and washboard could be turned into a rhythm section, kindergarten percussion instruments were welcome, and kazoos were mandatory.

The band with my brother Jack was called The Ramhorn City Go-Go Squad & Uptight Washtub Band. We covered "Eggplant," (though to be honest, we never got the hang of the song), as well as other Dr. West tunes, including these two:






But apparently we weren't the only ones who dug "Eggplant." Here's a soul version by the great Big Maybelle.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Politicians: Watch the Songs You're Using

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker apparently likes The Dropkick Murphys more than the Murphs like him.

The Boston Celt -punk band took to Twitter to call Walker for using their song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" at his political events -- most recently at the Iowa Freedom Summit over the weekend.

“@ScottWalker @GovWalker Please stop using our music in any way. We literally hate you. Love, Dropkick Murphys,”
You can read more HERE (Thanks, Elena)

Walker should heed the story of another governor, ex-Florida Gov. Charlie Crist who appropriated a song from a rock band The Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere," without permission. (Warning: The following video is painful to watch.)


Notice Crist didn't use "Psycho Killer" when he ran for governor of Florida last year.

I know know how these artists feel. I hated it when Lyndon Larouche used my song at the campaign rallies. (Just kidding, just kidding ...)

Here is the Dropkick song that started the fuss:



Sunday, January 25, 2015

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST


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Sunday, January 25, 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 below


Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Friday, January 23, 2015

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


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Friday, January 23, 2015 
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:


Check out some of my recently archived radio shows at Radio Free America
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

I'm Emceeing a Gregg Turner Show

Poster by Ronn Spencer


I'll be the Master of Ceremonies Saturday night at a show my my pal, ex-Angry Samoan Gregg Turner,

Turner currently is pushing his Kickstarter project to raise cash to record a new album he;s calling Chartbusters! (Click that link and check out the groovy promo video where you'll see my sensituve portrayal of Sammy the Spatula.)

The show is at Phil's Space Gallery, 1410 Second Street at 7 pm Saturday Jan. 24.

It's free, but Gregg will be shamelessly begging you to donate to his Kickstarter. (For $15 you get a CD when Chartbusters! is released. Bigger pledges bring you more goodies).

So come by Saturday night. I might even join turner to sing our favorite Bono song.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Aloha!

Damn, I hate winter! The snow here in Santa Fe made me start fantasizing about Hawaii ...

So let's have some music from Andy Iona & His Islanders to warm us up.

Ioana was born New Year's Day, 1902. He's best known for combining traditional Hawaiian music with swing jazz. According to his bio at the University of Hawaii's Hawaiian Music Collection site:

He was considered an all around musician with the ability to play many instruments; but was noted for being an excellent steel guitarist and saxophonist. Beyond his musical talent, Andy was a superb arranger and composer, having the ability to write a quality orchestral arrangement without using an instrument. Despite the loss of his thumb in a machine shop accident at school, Andy became the first saxophone player for John Noble and the Moana Orchestra in the early 1920s. He also was a member of the Royal Hawaiian Band.

Though he started out in the biz playng sax, Ioan became better know for playing Hawaiian steel guitar.

Ioana  died in 1966, but his music lives on through the records he left behind -- and through Youtube and the Internet Archives.

Here is one of his better-known songs:



I'd heard "Lovely Hula Hands" (done by Bing Crosby, Don Ho, Marty Robbins, Junior Brown and many more) by "Naughty Hula Eyes" is even more intriguing:


Here's one of the tunes he recorded with Louis Armstrong



And in case you can't get enough, here is a playlist of 14 Ioana tunes from the Internet Archive. Most of these were recorded in the 1930s.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WACKY WEDNESDAY: A Popeye Serenade

On this Wacky Wednesday, I'm going to pay musical tribute to one of my childhood heroes, Popeye the Sailor Man.

I first became acquainted with Popeye through TV in the late 1950s or early '60s. If my memory serves me well, one of the stations in Oklahoma City had an afternoon slot where they ran Popeye cartoons weekday afternoons.

I didn't know -- or care -- at the time, but Popeye had been around a lot longer than TV. He was around even before he was an animated cartton. He first appeared as a character in a comic strip called Thimble Theater by  Elzie Crisler Segar. That was Jan. 17, 1929 -- 86 years ago last Saturday.

The spinach-chomping sailor became so popular that in 1931, Billy Murray, a well-known singer of his era, recorded a novelty tune with Al Dollar & His Ten Cent Band.



This was two years before Popeye became the subject of animated cartoons. Along with  Olive Oyl and Bluto, he first appeared in a 1934 Betty Boop cartoon by Max  Fleischer, for my money the greatest of all the animated cartoonists.

Fleischer Studios cranked out 90 cartoons between 1934 and 1942. (They showed a few of these ever so often when I was watching Popeye on the tube as a kid. But most of the ones I saw were the vastly inferior ones made by Famous Studios and King Features Syndicate

Music always seemed to play a big part in the cartoons. Here's Popeye's version of one of my favorite songs, "The Man on the Flying Trapeze."



Just for historic weirdness, here's Woody Guthrie & The Almanac Singers singing one of Popeye's favorites



And here is Popeye's theme song from the live-action Popeye movie from 1980, directed by Robert Altman and starring Robin Williams. (Despite the fact that I love Altman, William and Popeye, the movie was pretty crappy. But this little scene is cool.)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

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Sunday, January 18, 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 below
Check out some of my recently archived radio shows at Radio Free America
Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Friday, January 16, 2015

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


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Friday, January 16, 2015 
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:



Check out some of my recently archived radio shows at Radio Free America
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, January 15, 2015

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Swamp Dogg Made Me Do It

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Jan. 16, 2015

With humor, grace, and funk — not to mention just enough weirdness to keep it interesting — Jerry Williams Jr., better known as Swamp Dogg, has not only released his best album in years but done it in an amazingly timely fashion.

The irascible Swamp Dogg spends much of the provocatively titled The White Man Made Me Do It singing, and frequently talking, about race relations — past and present — in these United States. And as anyone who has read a newspaper or watched more than five minutes of news in the last couple of months knows, race relations have been a major topic of national discussion because of the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner on Staten Island — and the decisions of grand juries in those communities not to indict the killers.

Swamp doesn’t specifically mention either of those controversies on this album, which was recorded before either grand-jury decision. “I have a tendency to be a wee bit clairvoyant,” the singer said in a recent interview in the Glendale News-Press when asked about that.

Swamp Dogg at Ponderosa Stomp
New Orleans 2013
It’s not hard to figure where he stands on the issue of race. Mr. Dogg tackled this subject in his albums since he was a swamp pup in the early ’70s. On the new album, in a song called “Light a Candle … Ring a Bell,” he declares, “America’s sick, and it needs a doctor quick.”

And to those who argue that American racism is a thing of the past, this album has a song titled “Prejudice Is Alive and Well.” Here he sings, “Tell my children why their schools are so poor/Tell my children why colleges are closing their doors/Tell my people why they can’t get a job/To feed their children, it’s either welfare or rob.” (Swamp Dogg also takes aim at the representatives in Washington, D.C., on the tune, singing, “Congress fights worse than the Crips and the Bloods/They act like they’re on hardcore drugs.”

In the title song, which kicks off the album, he deals with the lingering effects of slavery. “I used to sit on the rooftop and read by moonlight/While the master was in my shack screwing my wife,” he sings. (That line was the inspiration for the album cover.)

But Swamp’s purpose isn’t self-pity. He contends that racial injustices and personal humiliations were the impetus that fueled many descendants of slaves to excel. “When you get right down to it, my hat’s off to the white man/’Cause the white man, he made me do it/I had to break free, so I could be me.” And in the spoken-word part of the song, he names and discusses African-American role models — scientists, inventors, artists, business leaders, and a female aviator, who received her aviation license before Amelia Earhart. “And she didn’t get lost,” Swamp Dogg says.

Not all of the songs deal with America’s racial problems. There are several that are about gender relations. You probably can guess what “Lying Lying Lying Woman” entails. “Bitch started acting like Frankenstein,” he growls at one point, but on “I’m So Happy” and “Hey Renae,” he sings about marital bliss.

There are several covers of R & B and soul classics like “You Send Me,” “Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ but Trash,” and, my favorite, Leiber and Stoller’s “Smokey Joe’s Café.” And he invokes the memory of perhaps the greatest rock ’n’ souler of all time, Sylvester Stewart, aka Sly Stone. “Where Is Sly” is not only a wonderful ode to the man but a plea for him to get back in the game. While I appreciate this sentiment, Stone has made umpteen comeback attempts through the years, including a 2009 album called I’m Back! Family and Friends, which featured mostly rerecordings and remixes of old material.

In addition to the contents of its lyrics, a major asset of The White Man Made Me Do It is Swamp Dogg’s band. Among the players is David Kearney, better known as Guitar Shorty, a veteran blues-slinger who has played numerous times in Santa Fe. Shorty gives the album an earthier and definitely more bluesy feel than many of Swamp’s recent efforts have.

Swamp Dogg, or, rather Jerry Williams, is seventy-two years old, and I can testify that he’s still a dynamite performer. I saw him in New Orleans a little more than a year ago, and White Man shows he’s still got a lot to say.

You gotta watch this video:




Also noted:

* While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records. For the past two decades, Bloodshot, an independent seat-of-the-pants “insurgent country” outfit from Chicago, has been among my very favorite record labels.

Its stable has at various times included Alejandro Escovedo, Neko Case, Robbie Fulks, Andre Williams, the Old 97’s, Wayne Hancock, the Bottle Rockets, the Dex Romweber Duo, Scott H. Biram, Graham Parker, and, since the very beginning, the wonderful, wascally Waco Brothers.

So yes, I definitely toast Bloodshot Records’ owners, Rob Miller and Nan Warshaw, all the above artists, and many more who have made crazy music there.

Unfortunately, I have to say that this compilation is something of a disappointment. The idea behind it is good — having various bands and singers, mostly those not affiliated with the label, cover songs by Bloodshot artists. There are some famous, or at least relatively famous, artists here — Mike Watt, Superchunk, Ted Leo, The Minus 5, and Carolyn Mark — though most are pretty obscure.

And there are some wonderful tracks. Chuck Prophet’s version of Andre Williams’ “Dirt” is fun, while Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s “St. Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor,” a song by Ha Ha Tonka, makes me wonder why the Rev. wasn’t on Bloodshot to begin with. The Handsome Family nails the Bottle Rockets’ “1000 Dollar Car.” I hope Possessed by Paul James adds Murder by Death’s “I Came Around” to his live shows. And while I still like the original better, Andrew Bird and Nora O’Connor do a fine version of Fulks’ “I’ll Trade You Money for Wine.”

But way too many songs on this collection lack the crazy energy and wild spirit that made Bloodshot what it is. There are lots of soft singer-songwriter and wimpy alt-rock renderings here. Most of these aren’t bad — they’re just unremarkable.

My advice: Celebrate Bloodshot’s anniversary by spending the dough you would have on While No One Was Looking on some classic Bloodshot albums by the Wacos, the Meat Purveyors, or Trailer Bride. Other good investments include last year’s Born Raised & Live From Flint, by Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, as well as fairly recent releases from the Dex Romweber Duo, Biram, and Lydia Loveless. You’ll be happy you did.

Here's one of the better tunes on this collection:

R.I.P. KIM FOWLEY



Kim Fowley died today. He was 75.

Fowley was the long, tall pasty-skinned rock 'n' roll producer and performer whose weird vision delighted confused and terrified rock 'n' roll and L.A. pop for decades.

In recent years he was best known as the ruthless Svengali who created The Runaways. He's also responsible for the 1960 rock novelty "Alley Oop," recorded under the name of The Hollywood Argyles.

He also wrote songs for and/or produced records by Gene Vincent, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, The Mothers of Invention, Warren Zevon, The Germs and, brace yourself Bridget , , , Helen Reddy!

Here's his story from the L.A. Times' Pop & Hiss blog.

I've written before in this very blog about my one encounter with Fowley, In my 3-10-2010 post I wrote about meeting him ...

... at one of the first South by Southwest festivals I attended back in the mid 90s. He was in the Austin Convention Center wearing a fairly psychedelic coat of many colors and was in the company of a sexy young singer he claimed to be "The Next Janis Joplin." (I listened to her cassette tape when I got back home. She was not the next Janis Joplin.) I don't even remember how our conversation started, but he was pitching this singer to me so intently you'd have thought I was some major producer. A film crew approached us and Fowley focused his pitch on the camera. Fowley ranted, the Next Janis Joplin slinked around looking sexy. I decided, what the hell, I held up the tape with a stern expression, nodding my head, as if I were the muscle in the entourage. I don't know where that camera crew was from, but what I'd give to have that footage!

But let's give Kim the last word. Here are a few videos of some of his own tunes.

This one goes back to the psychedelic '60s


This one is from his 1968 album Outrageous.


And here's something more recent.



Here's a Fowley primer on Spotify


Expect to hear some Fowley music on Sunday's Terrell's Sound World, 10 p.m. Mountain Time on KSFR.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: I'm the Mayor of Crawdad Town

"You get a line, I'll get a pole ..."

"The Crawdad Song," "Sometimes called "Crawdad Hole," was the very first song I ever learned to play when I first started taking guitar lessons when I was 12 or 13 in Oklahoma City. I had this guitar teacher named Julian Akins, an old country singer. (I just found out he also was Vince Gill's guitar teacher. Guess Vince was a better student than me.)

It's kind of a dumb song, but easy to remember. There are a lot of variations, but here's one set of lyrics I like:

You get a line and I'll get a pole, Honey,
You get a line and I'll get a pole, Babe.
You get a line and I'll get a pole,
We'll go fishin' in the crawdad hole,
Honey, Baby mine.

Sittin' on the bank 'til my feet get cold, Honey,
Sittin' on the bank 'til my feet get cold, Babe,
Sittin' on the bank 'til my feet get cold,
Lookin' down that crawdad hole,
Honey, Baby mine.

Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back, Honey,
Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back, Babe,
Yonder comes a man with a sack on his back,
Packin' all the crawdads he can pack,
Honey, Baby mine.

The man fell down and he broke that sack, Honey,
The man fell down and he broke that sack, Babe,
The man fell down and he broke that sack,
See those crawdads backing back,
Honey, Baby mine.

I heard the duck say to the drake, Honey,
I heard the duck say to the drake, Babe,
I heard the duck say to the drake,
There ain't no crawdads in this lake,
Honey, Baby mine.

Other versions have verses with the question "What you gonna do when the well runs dry?" ( The morbid answer is "Sit on the banks and watch the crawdads die") and my favorite, "See that crawdad crawling 'round? He's the mayor of Crawdad Town."

I couldn't find much on the history of this tune. It apparently comes from the American South, where crawdads are plenty (and where people call them "crawdads" rather than "crawfish or crayfish."

According to Ballad of America, "This song evolved from Anglo-American play-party traditions and African-American blues. Workers building levees to prevent the flooding of the Mississippi River in the South were among the first to sing it."

The "play party" concept is interesting. These took place in regions where dancing was banned,  "Here the singing was a cappella, the dancers followed prescribed steps, and arm and elbow swings would be the only touching," writes Alan L. Spurgeon in his book Waltz the Hall: The American Play Party

I guess that beats sitting on the banks and watching the crawdads die.

Here's a more scholarly look at the African-American origins of "The Crawdad Song". CLICK HERE

One thing for certain, a lot of musicians I like in the realm of folk, country, blues and rockabilly, have recorded this song. Gus Cannon, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Doc Watson, Big Jack Johnson, Jessie Mae Hemphill, The Meat Purveyors, Tim Timebomb, Clothesline Revival (built around the vocals of Mrs. Vernon Allen) and more. A band called The Tune Wranglers did a great western-swing version. Unfortunately they apparently thought the lyrics would be funnier if they used a racist term for the poor guy who broke his crawdad sack. So to hell with them,

Here are a few other classic versions:

Here's Big Bill Broonzy



And a live version by Red Foley



Big Joe Turner's rewrite was the basis for the versions by Solomon Burke and Swamp Dogg


And in the '90s. The Gories brought Bo Diddley to the crawdad table




And here is a big bowl of crawdad gumbo for you Spotify users:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Take the Skinheads Through the Tulips

Live in Columbus! Tiny Tim & Camper Van Beethoven
In what had to have been Camper Van Beethoven's strangest concert of their early career, on October 26, 1986, the band found themselves backing the one and only Tiny Tim at a bar in Columbus, Ohio.

Yes, that Tiny Tim. The man who brought us "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," the scraggly-haired falsetto-voiced freak who was all over the ukulele some 40 years before bands like Beirut made the uke hip.

Yes, there was Camper, backing Tiny on timeless classics like "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," "If You Knew Susie," and "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey."

And don't forget God and country. Tiny and Camper roared through "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and "You're a Grand Old Flag."

Most all of the tunes are under two minutes long and many are less than 60 seconds. Too bad D. Boone already had died by this point. Tiny could have hired The Minutemen.

In an interview in 2013 with The Atlanta Music Guide, Camper's Jonathan Segel said the show was the funniest moment in the group's career.

We pulled up at Stache’s in Columbus, OH, and saw the bill was Camper Van Beethoven and Tiny Tim, and the promoter met us outside and said he had promised him we’d be his back up band. He was like a grandma, and he did not rehearse us at all, just said: you’ll know the songs, I’ll just tell you how fast to go and what key. And sure enough, before the song, he would wave a hand and say “in D, Maestro!”… that was it.


CVB's singer David Lowrey talked about the Columbus gig  just a few weeks after the show in a radio interview preserved at the Live Music Archive.

 "It was an experiment in new colognes, I think. ... state-sponsored cologne terrorism. ... What he did is he just came out and he told us, `Well, I'll tell you what keys the songs are in and I'll kind of indicate the tempo and you guys just figure it out. And we did."

(Lowrey says this about three minutes into the interview)

Camper Van Beethoven isn't the only rock band to back Tiny Tim. In the '90s he did a live album with The New Duncan Imperials as well as a studio album with Brave Combo.

Unfortunately, there was no professional recording done at the Camper Van Beethoven show in Columbus.

But somebody was recording it, and it's on the Live Music Achive. Audiophiles can exit right now, but everyone else enjoy it on the player below. Tiny comes on right after Camper's regular set:



And just for the heck of it, here's Tiny's amazing take on "Stairway to Heaven" with Brave Combo.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

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Sunday, January 11, 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 below
Check out some of my recently archived radio shows at Radio Free America
Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE 
Enjoy the brand new episode HERE

Get Friendly with the Latest Big Enchilada Podcast Episode


THE BIG ENCHILADA



Welcome to the first Big Enchilada episode of 2015. The Big Enchilada only wants to be your friend, So sit back and enjoy this friendly rock 'n' roll. We won't hurt you. Honest. 

 SUBSCRIBE TO ALL GARAGEPUNK PIRATE RADIO PODCASTS |

Here's the playlist:
(Background Music: The Westhell by The West Hell 5)
Electric Mind Machine by Electric Mind Machine
Voodoo Mirror by Iguana Death Cult
Treat Her Right by Bluebonnets
I'm a Trashman by Deke Dickerson & The Trashmen
Poor But Proud by Johnny Dowd 
Hej Młody Junaku (Hey Young Brave One) by Zuch Kazik

(Background Music: Beat Party 1 by Richie & The Squires)
The Thing That Wouldn't Leave by The Electric Mess
Chemtrailer Trash by Churchwood
A Yellow Mellow Hardtrop by Ray Johnson & The Bystanders
Make Some Time with You by John Schooley
Bird Brain by Scovilles
Trouble Hurricane by The Grannies
Two Lovely Black Eyes by Charles Coborn

(Background Music: Ya Ha Bi Bi by The Sheiks )
Golden Surf II by Pere Ubu
Camera (Queer Sound) by Thee Oh Sees
Jailbird by Narco States
Teenage Jamboree by The Dusters
Before I Let You Go by Frantic Flattops
It's Over by Ty Segal 

Play the silly thing below:


Friday, January 09, 2015

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


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Friday, January 9, 2015 
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:




Check out some of my recently archived radio shows at Radio Free America
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, January 08, 2015

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Two Lovely Black Eyes

Here's an old song from the English Music Hall tradition that came to me via a British Invasion band that doesn't get nearly enough respect:

Herman's Hermits.

The song is called "Two Lovely Black Eyes." It first appeared on the long out of print 1966 album Both Sides of Herman's Hermits. What made this album different was that on Side Two there were four songs that came from the Music Hall, which basically was a British cousin of American vaudeville. Music Hall started out around 1850 and lasted well into the 20th Century. Although it was considered rther corny by the time rock 'n' roll came around, its influences can be heard in certain songs by British invasion bands including The Beatles  (think "When I'm 64"), The Kinks, The Bonzo Dog Band and even The Rolling Stones ("Something Happened to Me Yesterday")

And Herman's Hermits. One of their biggest hits, "I'm Henry the VIII I Am" came straight out of Music Hall, first recorded by Harry Champion in 1911.

Besides "Two Lovely Black Eyes," Both Sides included "The Future Mrs. 'Awkins," "Oh Mr. Porter," and "My Old Dutch."

Curiously, on the album the songwriting credits of all of these songs go to someone named Kenny Lynch. There was a British pop star by that name around that time (he recorded a cover of The Beatles' "Misery" before The Beatles recorded it.) I can't swear if he's the same Kenny Lynch claiming credit for these four songs.

Trouble is, all four of these were written by others.

Albert Chevalier wrote "The Future Mrs. 'Awkins" and "My Old Dutch." George and Thomas Le Brunn wrote "Oh Mr. Porter."

And "Two Lovely Black Eyes" was written in 1886  by Charles Coborn. He also first recorded it. (He actually recorded several versions, some of which with the chorus sung in several languages.)

Take a listen:



Coborn wrote the words, but he borrowed the melody from an older song called "My Nellie's Blues Eyes." Here's a version of that by Irish tenor Dennis Day.


But back to the lyrics:

The words Colson wrote in the 1880s are different that the ones Herman sang in the '60s. Colson sang about getting beat up in overheated political arguments.

Strolling so happy down Bethnal Green
This gay youth you might have seen,
Tompkins and I, with his girl between, 
Oh! what a surprise!
I prais'd the Conservatives frank and free,
Tompkins got angry so speedilee,
All in a moment he handed to me,
Two lovely black eyes!

Next time, I argued I thought it best,
To give the conservative side a rest.
The merits of Gladstone I freely pressed, When
Oh! what a surprise!
The chap I had met was a Tory true,
Nothing the Liberals right could do,
This was my share of that argument too,
Two lovely black eyes!

The moral you've caught I can hardly doubt
Never on politics rave and shout,
Leave it to others to fight it out, if
You would be wise
Better, far better, it is to let,
Lib'rals and Tories alone, you bet,
Unless you're willing and anxious to get,
Two lovely black eyes!

CHORUS:
Two lovely black eyes!
Oh! what a surprise!
Only for telling a man he was wrong,
Two lovely black eyes!

But in the version I've been carrying around in my head for almost 50 years, the singer got his black eyes from a jealous husband, then his own jealous wife.

Strolling with me mate down Petticoat Lane
I fancied this bird, so I asked her her name
Pointed to her husband - six foot two
Oh, what a surprise

Two lovely black eyes, two lovely black eyes
Only for telling the man he was wrong, I got two lovely black eyes

Strolling with the bird down Bethnell Green
Suddenly find my wife I have seen
Oh what a rumpus, oh what a din
She blacked my eyes with the rolling pin

(I got) Two lovely black eyes, two lovely black eyes
Only for telling my wife she was wrong, I got two lovely black eyes

Two lovely black eyes, two lovely black eyes
Only for telling my wife she was wrong, I got two lovely black eyes

Two lovely black eyes, oh what a surprise
Only for telling the man he was wrong, I got two lovely black eyes

Two lovely black eyes, oh what a surprise
Only for telling my wife she was wrong, I got two lovely black eyes

CHORUS:
Two lovely black eyes!
Oh! what a surprise! (etc etc)

Maybe it was the mysterious Kenny Lunch who rewrote Coburn's song.

Anyway, enjoy it:

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Happy (Belated) Birthday Roger Miller!

Roger Miller, one of my boyhood idols, who I got to meet as an adult, would have turned 79 on Jan. 2.

Like me, Miller grew up in Oklahoma (though he was born in Texas.) Erick, Okla. is where Roger spent much of his boyhood. And by the time he rose to fame in the mid 1960s, He was one third of my Holy Okie Trinity -- along with Mickey Mantle and Leroy Gordon Cooper, the first Okie in outer space.

 I'm going to cheat a little bit and re-post something I write in this blog about 11 years ago.

I met Roger shortly after he moved to Santa Fe backstage at a Michael Martin Murphey concert at Paolo Soleri in the summer of 1980. Roger was the "surprise guest. It would have been the first time I'd seen him play since I saw him at Springlake amusement park in Oklahoma City, circa 1965. I was in sixth grade then. ...

But it wasn't meant to be that night at Paolo Soleri in 1980. Roger came out on stage, said, "Hi, I live down the road aways," struck a chord -- and the rain came down. That's back when Santa Fe used to have a "monsoon" season. It rained so hard that the rest of the show was cancelled. 
Roger at his home in Tesque, Autumn 1980
Photo by my late ex-wife Pam Mills

The next time he tried to perform around here was at the Downs of Santa Fe at a Barbara Mandrell show a couple of years later. It rained like hell that night too, but at least the stage was covered, so the show went on. 

I interviewed him for The Santa Fe Reporter shortly after the Paolo fiasco. ...

For a couple of years in the early '80s, I ran into him and his wife Mary frequently. Once he introduced me to Dandy Don Meredith at the Shohko Cafe. But one of the biggest nights for my ego was when Roger Miller introduced to me to Hank Thompson in the dressing room of The Line Camp in Pojoaque. "Steve grew up on Reno Street," Roger said, referring to an old Oklahoma City skid row. 

All three of us laughed at that Okie in-joke.

And now you can laugh at Roger's amazing songs and his crazy wit.

This first one shows the magic of live television. (Notice Roger's reaction when the band blows a chord.)



On this one, Roger talks about his mystical side:


And here's Roger and Dino. "No dirty numbers," he cautions Martin.



Monday, January 05, 2015

R.I.P. Little Jimmy Dickens

Little Jimmy Dickens, a man called "Tater"
Little Jimmy Dickens is with the Bird of Paradise now.

The country star died Friday at the age of 94. To risk sounding hackneyed, he might have been small, but he was a true giant. The West Virginia native may be the last of his generation of hillbilly greats.

Like many of my generation, I first came to his music back in 1965, when he had a crossover hit with "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose." That's back when local radio stations like WKY in Oklahoma City would play hardcore country artists like Little Jimmy, Buck Owens and Johnny Cash alongside of The Beatles, The Supremes and Dean Martin.

But long before the "Bird of Paradise," my mom already was a fan. Little Jimmy was inducted into the Grand Ol' Opry since 1948.

You can read more about his life HERE and HERE.

And you can enjoy some of his songs below:






While he was known for his comical lyrics and funny stage patter, some of his best songs, like "Sleep at the Foot of the Bed" tell stories of childhood poverty and hardships.

That also was the case with his first record "Take an Old Could Tater and Wait," in which he sings of his poor diet as a child: "That is why I look so bad and have these puny ways." It's almost a comical look at malnutrition. Unfortunately, this live video of "Old Cold Tate" doesn't allow embeds. But check it out and wait for his story about his friends Hank Williams at the end.

I couldn't say goodbye to Little Jimmy without posting this song:

Sunday, January 04, 2015

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

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Sunday, January 4, 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 below
Check out some of my recently archived radio shows at Radio Free America
Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Friday, January 02, 2015

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST


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Friday, January 2, 2015 
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:


Check out some of my recently archived radio shows at Radio Free America
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, January 01, 2015

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: BEST OF 2014

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Jan. 2, 2015



One of the most frequent questions I get from readers of this column, as well as from listeners to my podcast and radio shows, is “Where do you find this stuff?” I usually reply, half-joking, “I don’t find it. It finds me.”

But the question underscores what has become the state of music in the early 21st century. It’s harder to find great music with the tightly controlled playlists on commercial radio, the consolidation of major labels, and all that other stuff we’ve been wringing our hands about for so many years. But with the magic of the internet, there are a zillion more choices if music means enough to you that you are willing to invest a little time to seek it out.

Faced with that reality, 2014 didn't produce any new Elvis, Beatles, or Nirvana. But it did bring breakout work by Sturgill Simpson, Benjamin Booker, and The Bloodhounds — plus a lot of cool sounds by old favorites and new favorites who deserve bigger audiences. Here are my favorites of the year.

1. Red Beans and Weiss by Chuck E. Weiss. The craggy-faced, mop-topped hierophant of the hipster underground (and Tom Waits crony) returned in 2014 with a new album that’s full of stripped-down rock ’ n’ roll, R & B, blues, laughs, post-Beat cool, hard-earned wisdom, and flashes of insanity. For sheer goofiness, listen to the crazy New Orleans-soaked singalong, “Willy’s in the Pee Pee House,” or “Hey Pendejo,” the greatest pseudo-Mexican tune by gringos since the Pogues’ “Fiesta.” And for some dead-on insight into the Holocaust, try “Bomb the Tracks.”



2. Metamodern Sounds in Country Music by Sturgill Simpson. This is truly one of the strangest country albums I’ve ever heard. It’s also one of the most authentic-sounding new country albums to cross my eardrums in a long while — even though there are a couple of spots where the music drifts from its sturdy, ’70s-outlaw foundations into raw psychedelia. And yes, this is “authentic country,” even with lyrics like “reptile aliens made of light cut you open and pull out all your pain” and references to marijuana, LSD, psilocybin, and DMT. And that’s just in the first song. Sturgill Simpson is a true hillbilly visionary.



3. Benjamin Booker (self-titled). I’ve been a huge fan of Benjamin Booker’s ever since his early days. In fact, I became a devoted, drooling Bookerhead right after the release of this, his debut album, in late August. A discerning ear probably can hear subtle musical nods to the young New Orleans-based rocker’s idols from the realms of primitive rock, raw blues, and gritty soul in Booker’s music. (His record-company hype mentioned the Gun Club, Blind Willie Johnson, and T. Rex.) But there is no obvious imitation at work here. Booker builds on the foundations of the music he loves and creates a sound that’s fresh, though somewhat familiar.



4. Do the Beast by The Afghan Whigs. As with most rock reunions, I was skeptical when I found out that a new version of the Afghan Whigs (a Cincinnati band led by singer/howler Greg Dulli that called it quits around the turn of the century) had risen from the rock ’n’ roll tarpits. I was so apprehensive of disappointment that I put off checking out their new album for nearly four months. But all my fears were for naught. Do the Beast is full of the power and rage that made us love this band back in the ’90s.



5. Brass Tacks by NRBQ. As with The Afghan Whigs, I was leery about the new version of NRBQ, in which singer/keyboardist Terry Adams is the only original member. In fact, I skipped the first couple of albums by the group’s latest lineup. But after just a few seconds into Brass Tacks, I realized I was wrong. Adams is still in great form, but new Qs Scott Ligon and Casey McDonough both sing and write some fine tunes. 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.



6. 3: Trickgnosis by Churchwood. With cryptic but alluring lyrics with references to Gnosticism, voodoo, God, and Satan, Churchwood created a unified work in which some kind of cosmic struggle seems to be playing out from song to song (though there’s no easy story line to grasp on this album). Each tune is a weird tale sung over musical backdrops with changing time signatures and unpredictable twists and turns, with nods to Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, and Pere Ubu.



7. Let Loose! by The Bloodhounds. This mostly Chicano band from East L.A. plays basic, unfettered, rocking blues — closer to gutbucket than to the smooth, tame uptown stuff — a little rockabilly sneer. They honor ascended masters like Hound Dog Taylor and Howlin’ Wolf, as well as the Yardbirds, the Count Five and other ’60s-garage crazies. And sometimes, when you least expect it, the Bloodhounds will slip into jug-band or skiffle mode. Despite all its obvious roots in the past, Let Loose! is some of the most exciting music I’ve heard lately.



8. Only Me by Rhonda Vincent. Rhonda Vincent has to be one of the most undeservedly underrecognized musicians in Nashville today. Starting out in the world of bluegrass, she has a pure, beautiful voice, and she’s not afraid to wail. She also knows her way around a mandolin. This album is divided into two six-song discs (needlessly, because everything would easily have fit on one). The first is a bluegrass set — acoustic, with only traditional instruments — and the second is country. Both are impressive.



9. House on Fire by The Electric Mess. Hands down, this is the garage-rock album of the year. If you like wild, frantic, high-energy, guitar-based (with an electric organ) rock ’n’ roll, you really need to acquaint yourself with this New York band. House on Fire is as good a place as any to start. All 13 tracks are full of fire and craziness. But that’s a good thing. Fronted by singer Chip Fontaine (real name: Esther Crow), the group has a sound rooted in ’60s garage rock but not shackled in nostalgia.



10. Drop by Thee Oh Sees. After only a few months of their “indefinite hiatus,” Thee Oh Sees apparently reformed and sprang back to life. Guitarist/vocalist John Dwyer moved from the group’s home base of San Francisco to Los Angeles, got himself a new bunch of bandmates, and made a dandy album. Although not as overtly powerful as last year’s magical Floating Coffin, it still has several mighty examples of Dwyer’s fuzzed-out, rubbery psychedelic excursions. “Penetrating Eye,” “Encrypted Bounce,” and “Savage Victory” are all powerful tunes.




Runners-up:
* Common Ground by Dave & Phil Alvin;
* Manipulator by Ty Segall
Long in the Tooth by Billy Joe Shaver
 Images 13 by The Dex Romweber Duo

Here's a Spotify list with selctions from these albums (the ones that can be found on Spotify)



I'll be playing tracks from all of these this weekend on The Santa Fe Opry (10 pm Friday) and Terrell's Sound World (10 pm Sunday) on KSFR

THROWBACK THURSDAY: So Many Ways to Tak' a Cup o’ Kindness

Happy New Year!
Flappy New Year!

This is the song you probably heard a million times or so in the days leading up to today. "Auld Lang Syne" was written by Scottish poet Robert Burns (who my grandmother always insisted we were related to. I've never been able to verify that) Burns made no bones about the fact that his poem was based on an older folk song.

Here's the original Burns lyrics:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin' auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin' auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie's a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak' a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

Nobody sings the latter verses anymore, so don't ask me to explain what a right gude-willie waught is.

The first known recording was in 1910 by a singer named Frank C. Stanley. Most the versions you've ever heard stem from this one:



Somewhere along the line the song became associated with Guy Lombardo, whose annual New Year's eve gig in New York, between 1929 and 1976 was broadcast nationwide. It was bigger than Dick Clark's New Year Rockin'  Eve, It was bigger than Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin's annual New Year's Show. Guy Lombardo became known as "Mr. New Year's Eve."



Of course,  I prefer this proto-R&B version by Freddy Mitchell and his piano man Rip Harrigan.



Let's fast-forward to the Rock 'n' Roll era. Jimi Hendrix did a version at the Filmore East right as 1969 was turning into 1970. (Jimi doesn't start attacking the song until about a minute into this Youtube.)



And somehow it's not surprising that "Auld Lang Syn" has caught the ear of modern day Celt-rockers. The Dropkick Murphys have performed it. But I actually prefer the version by a Hungarian Celt-punk group called Paddy & The Rats.


One last time: Happy New Year!