Friday, December 29, 2017

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST



Friday, Dec. 29, 2017
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 :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Make it Up to Mama by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
Down on the Corner of Love by Buck Owens
Crazy Mixed Up World by Eilen Jewell
Days of 49 by Jim Kweskin
Hobos are my Heroes by J.D. Wilkes
Long Legs by Legendary Shack Shakers
Jesus Don't Love Me by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Believe in Heaven by Ruby Boots
Lonely Goth Girl by Peter Stampfel

R.I.P. Bonnie Hearne (All Songs by Bill & Bonnie Hearne)

Wild Geese
Bluebonnet Girl
Somewhere Between
Saturday Night Girl
New Mexico Rain

Above and Beyond by Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary
I Can Still Feel by Miss Leslie

Room 102 by Chris Shifett
Here She Comes Again by Chris Hillman
Louisiana Swing by Bud Hobbs
Let's Do Wrong Tonight by Simon Stokes with Annette Zilinkas
You'll Lose a Good Thing by Dad Horse Experience
Big Girl Blues by Danny Barnes
Big Dark World of Hate and Lies by Graham Lindsey
Walking on Hell's Roof Looking at the Flowers by Waco Brothers
Dead Thumb King by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Set My Soul on Fire by The War and Treaty

Honky Tonk Flame by Tyler Childers
Vandalism Spree by Hellbound Glory
I'm Just a Country Boy by Don Williams
Four Strong Winds by Neil Young
My Rose Marie by Stan Ridgway
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets



Like the Santa Fe Opry Facebook page

Want to keep this hoedown going after I sign off at midnight?
Check out The Big Enchilada Podcast Hillbilly Episode Archive where there are hours of shows where I play music like you hear on the SF Opry.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

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

Thursday, December 28, 2017

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: The Best Albums of 2017

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Dec. 29, 2017




Here are my favorite albums of 2017.

Sidelong by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers. On my very first listen, I was a fan by the end of the first two tracks: “Keep the Home Fires Burnin’ “ (with its beyond catchy melody, similar to the bluegrass classic “Rocky Top”) and “The Nail” (a love-gone-wrong honky-tonker with some fine guitar and lap steel in which Shook sings, “Well, I ain’t your last, you ain’t my first/You can’t decide which fact is worse”). With her voice sporting more than a hint of a whiskey rasp, Shook sounds as if she’s the punk-rock granddaughter of Hazel Dickens.



Texa$ Platinum by Ghost Wolves. This Austin band made some of the finest garage rock I’ve heard all year. Singer Carley Wolf has a pixieish voice that wouldn’t seem out of place in some of my favorite Japanese girl-punk bands. Actually, the first time I heard her, I thought of KatieJane Garside, the singer of the early-’90s group Daisy Chainsaw (“Love Your Money”). Carley is also a heck of a guitarist. Her hubby Jonathan is not only downright powerful on the drums, he also adds subtle iggly-squiggly, sci-fi synth effects.



Boy in the Well by The Yawpers. This rowdy little band from Denver has created one of the most rocking little albums of the year. With big sonic traces of The Gun Club, ZZ Top, The Legendary Shack Shakers, and their own twisted take on rockabilly, The Yawpers rip through most these songs with an urgency that’s undeniable. And the whole thing centers on a bizarre story of a World War I love child who, yes, spent most of his life in a well — before he emerges and unleashes a series of Oedipal wrecks.



Tell the Devil I’m Gettin’ There As Fast As I Can by Ray Wylie Hubbard. Another fine revelation from the crusty old Texan, who only seems to get tougher and ornerier with age. Like the Bible, the album starts out with the creation story — a song called “God Looked Around,” in which Hubbard, in his knowing drawl and slow-moving guitar, tells the story of the origin of the universe, Adam and Eve, and that pesky snake. But the next song, “Dead Thumb King” goes right to the hoodoo, as Hubbard explains that he’s armed with “some dirt from Lightnin’ Hopkins’ grave,” “bones from an old black crow,” and a “rattlesnake tail inside my guitar.”



Goin’ Back to Wurstville by King Salami & The Cumberland 3. This hopped-up, high-energy London-based band has been around for more than a decade, but despite my overly optimistic prediction a few years ago, they never really have made a huge splash in the good old USA. That’s our loss, my fellow Americans. With Salami and the Cumberlands’ seamless bend of garage-rock, ’50s and ’60s R&B, and occasionally a little instrumental surf music, few bands match their sound in terms of pure fun.



20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo by Pere Ubu. This is the most outright rocking studio album Ubu has unleashed in about a decade, maybe longer. No, the band, which emerged during the punk and New Wave scare of the late ’70s, hasn’t forsaken their heritage of avant-garde, experimental, atmospheric sounds. But they also haven’t forgotten how to make your feet move and head bang either. The group’s foundation was garage and surf rock — colored by darkly bizarre lyrics, David Thomas’ warbling vocals, and Plan 9 From Outer Space-esque  synth noises. And Missile Silo shows that foundation is strong.



Purgatory by Tyler Childers. This twenty-six-year-old guitar slinger from Kentucky writes and sings songs that sound timeless. Covering evergreen hillbilly themes, he tells tales of good moonshine, bad drugs, an all-seeing God, a powerful devil, and the joys of love and sex. Some tracks have a pure outlaw country sound, while some come right out of the world of bluegrass. Purgatory was produced by Sturgill Simpson. And it shows.



Existentialism by The Mekons. Technically, this album was originally released in 2016, but it was part of a fancy, expensive “limited edition” package. But this year, Bloodshot Records released it as a single (and affordable) CD. Recorded live at a small club in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, this album has all the things Mekons fans love — rowdy barroom singalongs over inexplicable ambient noise, nods to Hank Williams and dub reggae, and lyrics that seem soaked in alcohol and revolutionary fervor. Speaking of which, the song “Fear and Beer,” subtitled “Hymn for Brexit,” is as sad as it is lovely.



Down to the River by The War  and Treaty. Singer Michael Trotter Jr. has one of the greatest music biographies I’ve ever seen. He was a soldier during the invasion of Iraq and was assigned to guard one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces after the strongman was driven from power. In the basement of the building, the occupying Americans found an old piano said to have belonged to Saddam himself. Trotter taught himself to play on that abandoned instrument, writing his first song, a tribute to a fallen captain. But even without that crazy back story, this music, on which Trotter shares vocal duties with his wife Tanya Blount, is soulful, bluesy, and rootsy.



Down Hearted Blues by Eilen Jewell. Can a white girl from Idaho sing the blues? Should a white girl from Idaho sing the blues? I’ll leave those important questions to the guardians of political correctness. All I know is that on this collection of old songs — mainly obscurities, spanning Memphis Minnie to Howlin’ Wolf — Jewell pulls it off with grace and grit. A former St. John’s student who used to busk at the Santa Fe Farmers Market, Jewell even includes a great hillbilly blues song here, Moonshine Kate’s “The Poor Girl’s Story.”



Just to show how obsessive I can be I created a new tag on this blog for my annual Top 10 album lists. If you're as bored as I am obsessive, you can go back to the very early days of this blog and see what albums I liked best between the present and 2003. CLICK HERE

Finally here's a Spotify list featuring a couple of tracks from each of my favorite 20017 albums.

Happy New New!



THROWBACK THURSDAY: Did We Just Miss Cab Calloway's Birthday?


Why yes we did. But I'll make up for it.

Cabell Calloway was born on Christmas Day in Rochester New York 110 years ago. His folks wanted him to be a lawyer like his dad. He did attend law school but his career in law got derailed by the Hi De Ho. By 1930 his band was headlining at The Cotton Club in New York City. And soon he would become one of the greatest showmen American music has ever known.

Enough yack! Let's get on with the jive.



Here's one called "The Skunk Song"



Cab sings Harold Arlen's and Johnny Mercer's "One for My Baby" (and One More For the Road)" and makes it dreamy and sad.



Hep us, cats!



This was one of several follow-ups to Cab's signature song.



And here's the song that made gong-kicking a national obsession. Keep that Hi De Ho in your heart!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Salute to Lonzo & Oscar


Along with the better-known Homer & Jethro, Lonzo & Oscar, who began their career in the 1940s opening for Eddie Arnold, epitomized cornball country comedy on the Grand Ol' Opry in the 1950s.

Kentucky native Rollin Sullivan portrayed Oscar, the goofy-looking hillbilly who played a mean mandolin. The role of Lonzo, the straight man of the band, was something of a revolving door. A guy named Lloyd George was the original Lonzo. He sang on their big hit "I'm My Own Grandpa" in 1948. But he left the act in 1950.

In the clips below, which are from the 1950s, Lonzo is Johnny Sullivan, Rollin's brother.

Don't ask me what "Cousin Jody's" real name is. The guy gives me the willies (though he's a fine lap steel player.)

On with the music!

Here is one I first heard performed by Hank Thompson, "No Help Wanted"



This is called "Hole in the Bottom of the Sea"



Little Jimmy Dickens introduces the boys for their parody of  "16 tons."



Here's a love song called "Dear Joan."



Finally here's a parody of Hank Snow' signature song.

Friday, December 22, 2017

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST



Friday, Dec. 22, 2017
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 :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Blue Christmas Lights by Buck Owens
Six Bullets for Christmas by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
I Bought the Shoes That Just Walked Out on Me by Cornell Hurd
Brace for Impact by Sturgill Simpson
Scarecrow in the Garden by Chris Stapleton
Will I Ever Feel Fine by Tommy Miles & The Milestones
Dangerous Times by The Imperial Rooster
Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy by Rev. Horton Heat
Christmas Without Daddy by Loretta Lynn

The Christians and the Pagans by Dar Williams
Down Hearted Blues by Eilen Jewell
I Lie When I Drink by Dale Watson
Drunk on Love by The Hens
Rats in My Amp by Salty Pajamas
Shimmy Shakin' Daddy Maddox Brothers & Rose
Great Big Donut by Kell Robertson
Christmas Island by Leon Redbone

Billy's Christmas Wish by Red Sovine
Do Right by Me by Margo Price
Lost in the Desert by Marty Stuart
It's So Cruel by Ruby Boots
Josh Went to Yoga by Joe West
Born Again by Tyler Childers
Coulda Shoulda Woulda by Peter Case
Dancing With the Women at the Bar by Whiskeytown
No Vacancy by Marlee MacLeod

I Know Your Name by Dad Horse Experience
Guitar Man by David Rawlings
Bottle by My Bed by Sunny Sweeney
Old Toy Trains by Roger Miller
Nothing But a Child by Steve Earle with Maria McKee
Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets


Like the Santa Fe Opry Facebook page

Want to keep this hoedown going after I sign off at midnight?
Check out The Big Enchilada Podcast Hillbilly Episode Archive where there are hours of shows where I play music like you hear on the SF Opry.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

CHRISTMAS, DONUTS and THE GIFT OF MUSIC

Turner & me at Whoo's Donuts, August 2017.
Photo by Kristina Pardue

This Saturday, Gregg Turner and his usual gang of weirdos -- including me -- will be playing one of our fun-filled music spectaculars at Santa Fe's number one secret music venue, Whoo's Donuts.

Turner, a founding member of The Angry Samoans will be backed up by his band of lovelies, singer Kristina Pardue and bassist Sarah Meadows.

I'm one of the "special guests," so I'll be doing a couple of the songs that made us all fall in love.
And rumor has it that the one and only Joe West is threatening to show up.

The show starts at 11:30 am Saturday, Dec. 23 at Whoo's, 851 Cerrillos Road. Come on down have some coffee and a fresh-baked pastry and let us entertain you.

Kristina, Sarah and Turner.
Photo by swt

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Some Sad Old Country Christmas Songs



If you're looking for Christmas cheer ... don't come here.

Deep in heart I do believe that 99-percent of Christmas music sucks the warts. For the most part I agree with these guys.

But there is a major exception. I'm a sucker for a sad country Christmas song.

In my Terrell's Tune-up column last week, I mentioned a song by George Jones (included on Rhino Records' Bummed Out Christmas compilation. It's one of the best country Christmas weepers. Check it out below.



You know it's going to be sad one when Kitty Wells sings "Holidays are lonely days for me ..." at the very beginning of  "Christmas Ain't Christmas Anymore."



This is just one beautiful song by Buck Owens. Hell, I'd even listen to this in July.



Loretta Lynn tugs at your holiday heartstrings with "Christmas Without Daddy."



But the most over-the-top maudlin Christmas tune in the history of country music has to be "Billy's Christmas Wish." This is the saddest Red Sovine song since the Phantom 309 ran over Teddy Bear.








Wednesday, December 20, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Have yourself a wacky little Christmas ...



Last Friday in my Terrell's Tune-Up column, I reviewed several wacky (and/or tacky) Christmas albums.

In that spirit, here are some random wacky Christmas songs. Some are tacky too.

Lat's start with the meeting of  two super-groups of the '60s Canned Heat and The Chipmunks



This giant chicken could give the children nightmares



When I was growing up in Oklahoma City in the 1960s, my favorite radio station, WKY, used to play this Little Cindy smash. ... All the damned time every December!



Enjoy some Pantera Christmas lights ...



But nothing says "Merry Christmas" quite like a disturbing Captain Beefheart cover



As The Red Baron told Snoopy,  "Merry Christmas, mein friend!"



Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It's the Big Enchilada's December Episode!

THE BIG ENCHILADA


Call me Scrooge. Call me Grinch. Call me Ishmael. But once again I just couldn't bring myself to produce another damned Christmas show. Sometime in the past couple of holiday seasons, I just burned out on Christmas songs. So, just like last year, once again I'm giving you an hour of crazed rock 'n' roll -- with just a sprinkling of songs from the season. (And if you really need some Christmas music right now, you can find all my Christmas specials HERE)


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Here's the playlist:

(Background Music: Richard Diamond by Buddy Morrow)
You're Humbuggin' Me by Ronnie Dawson
New Facts Emerge by The Fall
White Collar Wolf by The Devils
Flacid is the Night by Pocket FishRmen
Dr. Benway by Mean Motor Scooter
Santa Claus Has Got the AIDS This Year by Tiny Tim

(Background Music: Swing Cremona by Pierre Omer's Swing Revue)
You Won't Get Away With Murder by Gino & The Goons
John Cale by Count Vaseline
The Mess I'm In by Wild Evel & The Trashbones
Nasty Girl, Nasty Boy by The Cavemen
Ain't Got No Life by Mary's Kids
May Day by Tone Rodent
Stick a Knife in His Heart by Casey Jones Dead
Santa's Claws Are Coming to Town by Bill Bachmann

(Background Music: Here Comes Santa Claus by Los Straitjackets)
Papa Barrence's Christmas by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
I Need Somebody by Question Mark & The Mysterians
Come On by Reptilians from Andromeda 
Fly Like a Rat by Quintron & Miss Pussycat
Black Shiny Beast by Buick MacKane
(Background Music: Auld Lang Syne by Brave Combo)

Play it below:

Sunday, December 17, 2017

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST





Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
You're Humbuggin' Me by Rocket Morgan
Second House Now by The Fall
The Leader is Burning by Pocket FishRMen
Diddy Wah Diddy by Captain Beefheart
I Ain't Got No by Mary's Kids
Break a Guitar by Ty Segall
Red Grave by The Devils
Signal by Boss Hog
Danger by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Santa Claus Has Got the AIDS This Year by Tiny Tim
Happy Birthday Jesus by Little Cindy

Drowned Beast by Thee Oh Sees
Comet by Baronen & Satan
Moon by Travel in Space
There Ain't No Other Way by The Blasting Fondas
Church Mouse by Nobunny
Heavy is the Head That Wears the Crown by Count Vaseline
I Found a Peanut by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds
Strange Days by The Darts
Egg Nog by The Rockin' Guys

Rock and Soul by Country Joe & The Fish
Kiss and Ride by King Soul
Man With Soul by Alex Maiorano & The Black Tales
King of the Jungle by King Khan & The Shrines
Wonderful Girl by Jack Mack & The Heart Attack
House Party II by The Soul Deacons
Galactic Zoo by Swamp Dog

Beginning to See the Light by The Velvet Underground
Usurpentine by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
Demona by Dead Moon
Fish Out of Water by Jon Langford's Four Lost Souls
O Holy Night by Brian Wilson
Star of Wonder by The Roches
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Want to keep the party going after I sign off at midnight?
Go to The Big Enchilada Podcast which has hours and hours of music like this.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast CLICK HERE

Friday, December 15, 2017

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST



Friday, Dec. , 2017
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 :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
99 Problems by Hugo
Midnight Train to Memphis by Chris Stapleton
I'm Still Drunk by Chris Shiflett
LSD Made a Wreck Out of Me by T. Tex Edwards & Out on Patrol
My Last Ride by The Dad Horse Experience
Between the Ditches by The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Swingin' Cat by Felton Jarvis
White Trash by Southern Culture on the Skids
Mother's Chile by The War & Treaty
Somebody Stole My Santa Suit by Dan Hicks & The Christmas Jugband

I Buried Your Love Alive by Ashley Monroe
Nothing Rambling by Eilen Jewell
Do Right by Me by Margo Price
Alabama Wild Man by Jerry Reed
Garden of Delights by Legendary Shack Shakers
Old Town Drunk by Clark Bentley
Hop Old Rabbit by Elizabeth LaPrelle
Lonely Christmas Call by George Jones

A Week in a County Jail by Tom T. Hall
How I Got to Memphis by The V-Roys
One Toke Over the Line by Jeannie C. Riley
Harper Valley PTA by Syd Straw & The Skeletons
The Preacher and the Movie by Lawton Williams
I'm on Fire by Whitey Morgan & The 78s
The Sound of Laughter by Joecephus & The George Jonestown Massacre
Walking Backwards by Pork Chop Party
Out in the Smokehouse Takin' a Bath by Leroy Pullins
Christmas Eve Can Kill You by The Everly Brothers

He'll Have to Go by Ry Cooder
Please Don't Say Goodbye by Marty Stuart
Something Happens by Peter Case
Airplane by David Rawlings
Lady May by Tyler Childers
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets



Like the Santa Fe Opry Facebook page

Want to keep this hoedown going after I sign off at midnight?
Check out The Big Enchilada Podcast Hillbilly Episode Archive where there are hours of shows where I play music like you hear on the SF Opry.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

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

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: WACKY, TACKY XMAS ALBUMS

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Dec. 15, 2017

Christmas is coming, and America’s annual explosion of holiday blitz of glitz and other stuff is in full gear. And music, from the sublime to the syrupy, plays no small part in it. There is no escaping all the seasonal songs about Baby Jesus, Santa Claus, snow, and sleigh bells. From sappy sentimentality to cringe-worthy novelty tunes to songs professing hardcore religious zealotry — hark the herald hucksters sing!

And you can’t complain about it, you communist Grinch, you malcontent Scrooge. It’s for the children. It’s for the health of the economy! So get with the program. It’s best for everyone if you just embrace the Christmas craziness and join in the cheer.

Here are a few insane Christmas albums to keep you sane through it all.

* Tiny Tim’s Christmas Album. Just about everyone my age remembers Tiny Tim. But it occurred to me that younger folk probably don’t know Tiny Tim from Fibber McGee and Molly.

A quick Tiny Tim primer: Back in 1968, a war-weary nation shared a collective laugh at a strange, slightly creepy crooner who plucked a ukulele and warbled in an unsettling falsetto — Herbert Khaury, aka Tiny Tim. At first Tiny might have thought we were laughing with him, as he crooned “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and revived “On the Good Ship Lollipop” while the nation’s youth sang “Street Fighting Man.” But no, we were actually laughing at him. Tiny’s career pinnacled when he got married on The Tonight Show. It was obvious that he was a carnival freak and we, the public, were the rubes cramming into the sideshow tent to gawk.

The most puzzling thing about his Christmas album is that Tiny didn’t get around to making a full-press effort to cash in on the holiday until the 1990s. This was released in 1996, the same year he died.

This collection includes several Christmas chestnuts like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (sung in his trademark falsetto) and White Christmas” (showing off his warbling baritone). And for some reason, there are a handful of tunes that have nothing to do with Christmas. The most surprisingly relevant song here is his take on “Silent Night,” during which he launches into an angry sermon against Christians who don’t act very Christian. “Hypocrites!” he snarls. “Professing His name! Fornicating with children! Fornicating with young girls!”

Roy Moore, the ghost of Tiny Tim is on to you!

Sadly, this record doesn’t include Tiny’s best, and most tasteless, Yuletide classic, “Santa Claus Has Got the AIDS This Year.” I've embedded it below.

Bummed Out Christmas by various artists. Back in the late ’80s, when Rhino Records was one of the coolest labels around, they used to release some wonderful, irreverent compilations, such as this one. It’s full of songs about people having a hard time finding any Christmas cheer.

There is a weeper by The Everly Brothers called “Christmas Eve Can Kill You,” as well as one of George Jones’ saddest songs, “Lonely Christmas Call.”  There is the heart-stopping lonesome soldier lament, “Christmas in Viet Nam” by the soul duo Johnny & Jon.

Some of my favorites are a couple of fine old ’50s R&B songs about holiday drunkenness — “Santa Came Home Drunk” by Clyde Lasley & The Cadillac Baby Specials and “Christmas in Jail” by The Youngsters (a tune that many local folks may associate with the cover by The Soul Deacons about a decade back).

* I Know What He Wants for Christmas ... But I Don’t Know How to Wrap It! by Kay Martin and Her Body Guards. Back in the 1950s, they used to call risqué records like this “party album.” Martin was a former model who claimed she’d posed for Playboy. (Though I’ve read several accounts that say she’s not the scantily clad redhead on the album cover.)

With her kittenish voice and a dominant electric organ that sounds as if it were stolen from a roller rink, Martin purrs through suggestive holiday numbers like “Santa’s Doing the Horizontal Twist” and “Santa’s Going to Be Late Tonight.”


*A Twismas Story by Conway Twitty With Twitty Bird & Their Little Friends. Here is a little Christmas recycling. I wrote about this bizarre holiday album 10 years ago in this very publication. First released in 1983, it was reissued in 2007 to shock a new generation. A decade later, this album is just as frightening now as it was then.

A Twismas Story goes well beyond normal Christmas albums by country stars you find in bargain bins at supermarkets, drugstores, and truck stops this time of year — at humiliatingly low prices. Your average Nashville holiday clunker features disturbingly similar overproduced, underinspired, twangy takes on the same 20 or so holiday standards. But the late Twitty and his imaginary friends went above and beyond. This is so tacky, so cheesy, so over-the-top, and so overstuffed with Christmas corn that it’s a perverse classic.

Twitty Bird — who was Conway’s Tweety-like cartoon mascot (how did he not get sued by Warner Bros.?) — is portrayed here by the singer’s granddaughter. The “Little Friends” are sped-up “chipmunk” voices. They all chatter insanely and sing about Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, etc.

I stand by my advice from 2007: Friends don’t let friends take hallucinogenic drugs and listen to A Twismas Story at the same time.

Proceed at you own risk! Wacky, tacky Xmas songs below:

Here is Tiny Tim's playful spoof about a virus that would kill millions.



This song, from Bummed Out Christmas actually is pretty bitchen



Kay Martin seduces Santa



Yes, the great Conway stooped to this. For the children.



Thursday, December 14, 2017

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Songs for Alabama



On this day in 1819, Alabama was admitted to the United States of America as the 22nd state.

And just a couple of days ago, Alabama apparently decided it was time to rejoin the U.S.

Yesterday I noticed on Facebook that a lot of my friends were posting the words "Sweet Home Alabama" to celebrate Democrat Doug Jones' victory over Republican Roy Moore, a former state Supreme Court judge and a former creepy guy at mall.

I support the sentiment, but "Sweet Home Alabama"? Really? There is a rich history of great American songs about Alabama that goes way beyond Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Here are a few of them. Let's start with "Alabama Bound" by Lead Belly



The Delmore Brothers sang this one, "Alabama Lullabye."



Cowboy Copas did this hillbilly classic simply called "Alabama."



But the greatest of all Alabama songs has no words at all. This of course was John Coltrane's song "Alabama" which the great sax man wrote in response to the Sept. 15, 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, which killed four little girls -- Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley.

Here's a live version of Coltrane performing "Alabama" in December, 1963 on a public television show called Jazz Casual. He's playing with my favorite Coltrane band -- McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums.  The entire episode can be seen HERE.

By the way, the good people of Alabama just elected to the U.S. Senate a man who successfully prosecuted two of the Birmingham church bombers.

Somewhere in the universe, Coltrane smiles.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Songs for Tonya


America's sweetheart, Tonya Harding, is back in the national consciousness once again thanks to an upcoming biopic I, Tonya,  starring Margot Robbie that looks back on the life of the champion figure skater from the wrong side of the tracks.

Anyone remember why Tonya got famous?

From Biography.com:

In 1991 Tonya Harding won her first national skating title and became the first woman to complete a triple axel in competition.

In January 1994, Harding earned notoriety when her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, hired a hitman to assault fellow U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. The attack seriously bruised Kerrigan's kneecap and quadriceps tendon, and prevented her from participating in the U.S. Championships.

Harding pleaded guilty to hindering the investigation into Kerrigan's attack, which allowed her to avoid jail time. Under the plea bargain, Harding was stripped of her '94 national title and banned from competing in the U.S. for life. Despite her knee injury, Kerrigan went on to win the silver medal at the 1994 Olympic Games. 
You confronted your sorrow
Like was no tomorrow


Kerrigan was clearly the victim in this story. But while there is still dispute about whether Harding was responsible for the attack, Harding became a national villain, hated and reviled.

But guess which one the nation's songwriters preferred. As one of my favorite college professor posed to a literature class, "Who do we love, Pat Garrett or Billy the Kid? Jesse James or the dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard?"

In short, I'm not aware of any songs about Nancy Kerrigan. But here are three about Tonya.

Singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens recently released two versions of a song he wrote for Tonya. In an essay on his record label's website, he wrote:

I’ve been trying to write a Tonya Harding song since I first saw her skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1991. She’s a complicated subject for a song partly because the hard facts of her life are so strange, disputable, heroic, unprecedented, and indelibly American. ...

Tonya Harding’s dramatic rise and fall was fiercely followed by the media, and she very quickly became the brunt of jokes, the subject of tabloid headlines and public outcry. She was a reality TV star before such a thing even existed. But she was also simply un-categorical: America’s sweetheart with a dark twist. But I believe this is what made her so interesting, and a true American hero. In the face of outrage and defeat, Tonya bolstered shameless resolve and succeeded again and again with all manners of re-invention and self-determination.

He reportedly submitted the song for I, Tonya, but it wasn't used in the film.

Here's my favorite of Stevens' Tonya songs


But I don't like Stevens' lonesome ode a fraction as much as I love Loudon Wainwright's "Tonya's Twirls." I first saw him perform it at a Santa Fe concert about a year and a half after the Kerrigan attack. 

It's truly a subversive little ditty, that starts off with a quick yuk at the expense of Hardin's "body guard" Shawn Eckardt, and includes a little bit of the " puns, punch lines and light-hearted jabs" Sufjan Stevens says he tried to avoid.

But once you're drawn into the song Wainwright hits you with the sad tale of class struggle -- the lower-class girl in that world of prissy little ice princesses. 

... she was your parents' worst nightmare: the slut who moved next door
From the wrong side of the track, she liked the boys more than the girls
With their gliding and their sliding and their girlish dainty twirls-

And then Wainwright pulls back and uses the story to decry the corruption of a fun little activity for "giddy, slipping, sliding, laughing, happy little girls" that grew to be more about corporate sponsorship deals and American nationalism. 


And I just learned that the immortal Tiny Tim wrote a little song for Tonya not long after the knee-capping incident. Dedicated to "Miss Tonya Harding," Tiny's song has some invaluable advice here:

Though you are sighing, though you are crying and everything has gone wrong 
The world is waiting, keep right on skating 
Skate to the iceskater's song.




Sunday, December 10, 2017

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST





Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
No  Rest for the Wicked by Wayne Cochran
Stutterin' Sue by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Gravy for My Mashed Potatoes by Dee Dee Sharp
Hot Pastrami With Mashed Potatoes Part 1 by Joey Dee & The Starliters
Hot Pastrami With Mashed Potatoes Part 2 by Joey Dee & The Starliters
Living Wreck by Mudhoney
Midnight Motorway by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
Caught in the Devil's Game by The Darts
The Devil and Me by The Vagoos
If You Live by Meet Your Death
She Left Me With the Herpes by Tiny Tim

Time Has Come by Mary's Kids
Pray You Parrots by The Devils
Loose It by Arvidson & Butterflies
Fox by Travel in Space
Police Call by Drywall
Brillo de Facto by The Fall
Yen For Your Yang by Pocket FishRMen
Stick a Knife in His Heart by Casey Jones Dead

Andres by L7
Yabba Ding Ding by Joe "King" Carrasco
A Lap Full of Hate by Movie Star Junkies
Monkey Bizness by Pere Ubu
Cave Girl by The Texreys
Steppin' Out by Paul Revere & The Raiders
Teeth by Baronen & Satan
The Unsignposted Road by The Masonics
Geraldine by The A-Bones
Bumble Bee by LaVern Baker

Dagger Moon by Dead Moon
Haunt by Roky Erickson
Nocturne by Mark Lanegan
I Felt My Courage Fail by Jon Langford's Four Lot Souls
House Where Nobody Lives by King Ernest
Take it With Me by Tom Waits
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page


Want to keep the party going after I sign off at midnight?
Go to The Big Enchilada Podcast which has hours and hours of music like this.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast CLICK HERE

Friday, December 08, 2017

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST



Friday, Dec. 8, 2017
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 :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Pinball by Hellbound Glory
Hard Livin' by Chris Stapleton
Ain't No Bars in Heaven by T. Tex Edwards & The Swingin' Kornflake Killers
Fast, Cheap or Well Done by Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones
Heal Me by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
Gonna Be Flyin' Tonight by Wayne Hancock
Tape Deck in His Tractor by Dottie Cormier
Lay Me Down by The Perreze Family
To Heck With Ol' Santa Claus by Loretta Lynn

Walk Between the Raindrops by J.D. Wilkes
After You've Gone by Legendary Shack Shakers
Long Black Veil by Jocephus & The George Jonestown Massacre
Through the Hole by Dad Horse Experience
Devil Do by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Goodnight Dear Diary by Joe Ely
Dead Thumb King by Ray Wylie Hubbard
A Little Pain by Margo Price
I've Got Christmas by The Tail by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks

God Less America and other Country Weirdness

8 Weeks in a Barroom by Ramblin' Red Bailey
Ballad of a Small Town Sheriff by Clark Bentley
Too Many Pills by Arkey Blue & The Blue Cowboys
Insane by Katie Lee
Chick Inspector by Dick Curless
The School Bus by T. Tommy Cutrer
Ed's Place by Horace Heller
Please Don't Go Topless Mother by Troy Hess
Is Santa Claus a Hippy by Linda Cassady

Dysfunction by Joe West
Time Don't Wait by Marty Stuart
Honky Doodle by Peter Stampfel
Two Throwed Dat Rock by Ira Louvin
I'm No Longer in Your Heart by Charlie Louvin
Good God a Woman by David Rawlings
Blue Distance by Peter Case
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets



Like the Santa Fe Opry Facebook page

Want to keep this hoedown going after I sign off at midnight?
Check out The Big Enchilada Podcast Hillbilly Episode Archive where there are hours of shows where I play music like you hear on the SF Opry.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

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

Thursday, December 07, 2017

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Belated R.I.P. to the White Knight



On Nov. 21, while I was on vacation (and taking a break from blogging), a unique force in American music became an ascended master.

That was Wayne Cochran, "The White Knight," known for his gigantic blonde pompadour and his credible take on blue-eyed soul. He was 78.

The Georgia native, who wrote the classic teenage death song "Last Kiss" (a hit for J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers, was better known for his high-energy southern soul sound with his band The C.C. Riders -- which at one point included a teenage bass player named Jaco Pastorius, who later became an iconic jazz musician. (Cochran himself had played bass on some early Otis Redding recordings.)

The White Knight didn't have many radio hits of his own. At one point he left the music racket and became an evangelist. Somehow that makes sense.

But his music influenced a lot of people. Check out these videos and you'll get some idea why.

R.I.P Wayne Cochran.













Wednesday, December 06, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: God Less America


Maybe it's because I just started watching the new Netflix western series Godless. But somehow today I couldn't get this crazy country compilation out of my head.

Released back in 1995 by the wonderful Crypt label -- yes, that outfit responsible for the influential 60s garage music series Back from the Grave and the sleaze-sational Las Vegas Grind compilations -- God Less America is a collection of obscure country non-hits mostly by artists you've never heard of.

Covering the years between 1955 and 1965, the subject matter covered here includes murder, drugs, insanity and, on one track, a little boy pleading with his mom not to become a topless go-go dancer.

Several of these songs are included in the sprawling, multi-volume series Twisted Tales from the Vinyl Wastelands -- which I've blathered about several times here. (See THIS, THIS, and THIS )

But for a distilled, single-volume collection of hillbilly weirdness, nothing beats God Less America

Both the CD and vinyl versions of God Less are long out of print. You can buy it at Amazon for $28.99 (CD) or LP ($125) on eBay for $49 (CD)

But you can listen to several songs from it right here for free!

Probably the most famous of the contributors to God Less is Eddie Noack -- yes, the first guy to record "Psycho." It's a pretty song about a serial killer who tried to warn his latest victim.



This one is a spoken-word masterpiece by Horace Heller.



Chances are you've never heard of Country Johnny Mathis. But he sang a sweet tribute to Caryl Chessman, a convicted California murderer known as the "Red Light Bandit" who was executed in 1960. (Supposedly Chessman inspired Merle Haggard, who met him him at San Quentin prison, to write "Sing Me Back Home.")



Arky Blue & The Blue Cowboys warn about popping too many pills



Finally, here is the sad story of little Troy Hess who's ashamed that his mama works as an exotic dancer in a gentleman's club.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST





Sunday, Dec.3 , 2017
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Oft Times When We Pork by The Pocket Fishrmen
Satan is a Lady by Baronen & Satan
Bad America by The Gun Club
Step Aside by Sleater-Kinney
Get Messy by The Darts
Mon Nom by The Yawpers
Make It Mine by The Howlin' Max Messer Show
Come Back Lord by Reverend Beat-Man

Groove is in The Heart by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Linda Blair by Redd Kross
LSD by The Pretty Things
Half Believing by The Black Angels
Swampland by Pere Ubu
Texas Band by Count Vaseline
Valley of the Wolves by The Ghost Wolves
The Wasp by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
Then We Kissed by Skip Church

William Blake set
A Poison Tree by Movie Star Junkies
Tyger by Arrington de Dionyso & Old Time Relijun
Jerusalem by The Fall

So Long Sucker by Oh! Gunquit
Down to Earth by Pearced Arrows
Vegetable Man by The Movements
Leadfoot Down by Leadfoot Tea


Love Has It's Jokes by Flat Duo Jets
School by Travel in Space
Captain Captain by Mark "Porkchop" Holder
Come and Be a Winner by Sharon Jones
Tough Guy by Phil Hayes & The Trees
I Thought He Was Dead by Jon Langford & Four Lost Souls
Fear and Beer by The Mekons
Lord I've Been Changed by Tom Waits with John Hammond
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page


Want to keep the party going after I sign off at midnight?
Go to The Big Enchilada Podcast which has hours and hours of music like this.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast CLICK HERE

Friday, December 01, 2017

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST



Friday, Dec. 1 , 2017
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 :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Don't Say It by Margo Price
Sun Valley Blues #3 (Bloodweiser) by Hellbound Glory
Hard Luck n' Old Dogs by Nancy Apple
A Hangover Ago by Dale Watson & Ray Benson
My Wife Thinks You're Dead by Junior Brown
Burn Your Fun by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Down to the River by The War & Treaty
Curse of the Cajun Queen by Legendary Shack Shakers
The Pill by Loretta Lynn

Honky Tonk Flame by Tyler Childers
Long White Line by Sturgill Simpson
Air Mail Special by Marty Stuart
Choctaw Bingo by James McMurtry
Amie by Pure Prairie League

Bobbie Gentry tribute
Okolona River Bottom Band by Bobbie Gentry
Fancy by The Geraldine Fibbers
Ode to Billy Joe by Ike & Tina Turner
Harlan County by Jim Ford
Touch 'em With Love by Bobbie Gentry

Sing Me Back Home by Chesterfield Kings
You Broke My Heart by Steve Earle
What's It? by Jimmie Rodgers

The Secret in This Lady's Heart by Ellen McIlWaine
I'll Walk Out by Miss Leslie
Don't Touch Me by George Jones
Possum Ran Over My Grave by Jesse Dayton
The Vigilante by Judee Sill
Don't Leave Poor Me by Eilen Jewell
Dublin Blues by Guy Clark
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets



Like the Santa Fe Opry Facebook page

Want to keep this hoedown going after I sign off at midnight?
Check out The Big Enchilada Podcast Hillbilly Episode Archive where there are hours of shows where I play music like you hear on the SF Opry.

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

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

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Four Fine Country Albums


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Dec. 1, 2017

Here are four recent (and fairly recent) country albums that I’ve been enjoying lately.

Tyler Childers
* Purgatory by Tyler Childers. Let’s get to the point: This is the year’s best album by a young country singer. Hands down. It’s also the best Sturgill Simpson album of the year, as Simpson co-produced the record for his fellow Kentuckian Childers.

This twenty-six-year-old guitar slinger writes and sings songs that sound timeless. Covering evergreen hillbilly themes, he tells tales of good moonshine, bad drugs, an all-seeing God, a powerful devil, and the joys of love and sex. Some tracks have a pure outlaw country sound, while some come right out of the world of bluegrass.

One of my favorites is the fiddle-and-banjo-fueled title song, a fast-moving hoedown concerning a hillbilly kid looking for salvation from his religious girlfriend. Each verse ends in the refrain “Catholic girl, pray for me/You’re my only hope for heaven.”

The most impressive musical moment here comes in the sweet love song “Honky Tonk Flame.” It starts out as a kind of clunky waltz, but evolves into an extended fiddle/guitar showdown.

The whole album consists of just 10 songs and weighs in at a modest 37 minutes (pretty much how long albums used to be when I was a lad). So it leaves you wanting a little more. But something tells me there’s a lot more to come from young Tyler.

Margot Price
Margo in Austin last March
* All American Made by Margo Price. I was a latecomer to Price’s solo debut, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (released last year). But I soon came to realize that it’s one of the best country albums released in recent years. I even got to see Price in concert in Austin earlier this year — and she was fantastic. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the new album just doesn’t measure up to her first one. I have to admit, I’m slightly disappointed.

But it’s still a good record with plenty of worthy songs. The first two tracks, “Don’t Say It” and “Weakness,” are rocking little tunes. I love this bit of advice in the former: “Don’t blame me for what you did to yourself/Don’t fall in love if you’re in it for your health.” And “Learning to Lose,” her duet with Willie Nelson, is beyond lovely. It sounds so much like a long-lost Willie weeper I was surprised to learn that Price, not Nelson, wrote it.

There are more than a little politics on All American Made. “Pay Gap” is about the fact that womenfolk are paid less than the men. And on “Heart of America,” Price sings about a subject dear to her: the corporate takeover of family farms and the brutal effect it had on families like her own.

All American Made ends with the title song, a sad tune in which Price contemplates the future of the country: “I wonder if the president gets much sleep at night/And if the folks on welfare are making it all right/ I’m dreaming of that highway that stretches out of sight/That’s all American made.”

Hellbound Glory
Hellbound Glory, Austin Elks Lodge 2012
* Pinball by Hellbound Glory. This band is the domain of a Reno singer born Leroy Virgil Bowers. (With a name like “Leroy Virgil,” how could he not end up as a country singer?)

The group rose out of the great underground country scare of seven or eight years ago — a “movement” whose standard-bearers included punk- and metal-influenced acts like The Goddamn Gallows, The .357 String Band, and, of course, Hank 3. But Hellbound sounds more like straight country than many of their wilder, heavily tattooed, heavily bearded contemporaries.

Pinball, which was produced by Shooter Jennings, is filled with good country songs. Lots of the tunes are soaked in lyrics full of “whiskey and hell-raisin’ women” (that’s right out of the good-time “Sun Valley Blues #3 (Bloodweiser).”

The main song that first grabbed me here was “Vandalism Spree,” in which Leroy sings, “Baby how’s about you and me/go on a vandalism spree/Burn down the Dairy Queen/Maybe rob the cash machine.”

Kids, remember that vandalism, arson, and robbery are bad. Please don’t let this song negatively influence you.
MARTY STUART
Marty & Superlatives, doing a gospel set
at a church in Austin 2006

* Way Out West by Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives. For decades, Mississippi native Stuart has been known as one of Nashville’s most respected pickers and singers. He’s been a sideman for bluegrass giant Lester Flatt as well as Johnny Cash (who was his father-in-law for a time).

Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Stuart seemed to be heading toward a comfortable career in mainstream country. Except that he had this artistic integrity thing that got in the way. He’s a country traditionalist who is blessed — or cursed — with musical curiosity and a penchant for experimentation.

And those qualities are what drive Way Out West. On this record, you hear echoes of Marty Robbins, Hag, Buck, The Byrds, and Link Wray, as well as a quick wink to younger contemporaries like Sturgill Simpson. And in the title song — a series of spoken-word vignettes about pill-popping characters from the vast California underbelly set against a dreamy, reverb-heavy soundscape — Stuart sounds almost like a clear-throated Tom Waits. Like a mad scientist of hillbilly music, he seamlessly blends surf music, Bakersfield country, Mexican music, and — getting back to that title song — psychedelia.

The first great Santa Fe concert of next year most likely will be Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on Jan. 20, 2018. For more information, CLICK HERE 

Video Time!

Here's Tyler Childers



Margo Price on The Daily Show



My favorite song from Hellbound Glory's Pinball



And a little psychedelic country with Marty


Thursday, November 30, 2017

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Cocaine & Rhinestones


Near the end of each episode of Cocaine & Rhinestones, an impressive new podcast about the history of country music, host Tyler Mahan Coe asks listeners if they like the show to share it with just one person -- rather than sharing it on Facebook or Twitter. " ... mostly, I really would like to think that there are people out there having real world conversations about this show." 

Well, OK. In the past couple of weeks I have shared individual episodes with a handful of friends and loved ones I think would appreciate them, just like I learned word of mouth from my country music fanatic friend Adam from Ohio.

But fuck it! This is my current favorite podcast (after my own of course), so I want to plaster it on my blog and post it on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else I can think of. I love what Coe is doing here -- even when I disagree with him about some esoteric point.

Coe, who is the son of The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy, David Allen Coe, explains on the show's website what he's trying to accomplish:

You don’t have to know what it’s like to drive a tractor. You don’t need to have spent the last 20 years listening to nothing but Merle Haggard 8 tracks while sipping Pearl beer from a can in order to appreciate these incredible stories and this genius music.

You don’t need to “be country” to hear the truth about country.

Spade Cooley
The truth is that country music is wild and it is amazing because the people who made it were wild and they were amazing. Sometimes they went too far. Sometimes, the amazement we feel will not be the happy kind.

He's darn tootin' there. His episode on Spade Cooley is downright excruciating as Coe goes into deep gruesome detail about what western swing master Cooley did to his poor wife Ella Mae.
Yes, Cooley murdered his wife. But as Coe explains the word "murder" in this case is basically an euphemism. 

Now, I don’t know how so many people are comfortable using a simple word like “murder” to sum up Spade Cooley’s actions on the day of his wife’s killing. This was not a domestic argument that got out of hand. Not an accident with a dangerous weapon. Not a so-called crime of passion. This wasn’t even an isolated incident. It was a savage and deliberate execution which many people had to have seen coming.

Says Coe, "If this episode doesn’t screw you up, you’re already screwed up."

Hear for yourself here:






But not all the episodes are that dark. There are thoughtful deep dives into songs like Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee" and "The Pill" by Loretta Lynn.

There are oral portraits of Ernest Tubb (who apparently was the nicest guy in country music -- except maybe on that night when he was arrested with a loaded he intended to use on the manager of the Grand Old Opry) as well as The Louvin Brothers (the latest episode, which I haven't heard yet.)

And there's the one I listened to yesterday, concerning Bobbi Gentry and why she became a recluse in the early '80s.

(Check that one out below)






So check out Cocaine & Rhinestones. And if you like it, tell one friend. ...

One thing I love about this podcast is the fact that Coe often turns us on to some great obscure songs somehow related to his subject at hand. For instance in the Loretta Lynn episode I learned of a great Jimmie Rodgers tune called "What's It" that like "The Pill" also faced censorship problems.





And in the Bobbie Gentry episode, Coe takes a side trip into the of Jim Ford, a singer-songwriter who at some point claimed that he, not Gentry, actually wrote "Ode to Billy Joe." Coe does a thorough job of demolishing that contention. But like Coe, I can't help but love some of Ford's songs. Here's one of his best, a southern soul stomper called "Harlan County.



Let's go out with a hit from Spade Cooley's band from 1945. Sorry, I couldn't find the name of the singer here.



TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: The latest from Sarah Shook and Holly Golightly

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican   June 22, 2018 Last year an album called Sidelong by an artist I’d never...