Thursday, February 22, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday Ernie K-Doe


Happy birthday Ernest Kador, Jr., a New Orleans R&B singer who probably would be accurate to describe as a one-hit wonder.

Except for the fact that he's Ernie K-Doe.  

He's the kind of artist whose work you'd like to think was full of hit potential --  even if he did in fact only have one,  a smoldering little tune from 1961 called "Mother-In-Law," written by Allen Tousaint.

With or without Toussaint, Ernie  kept plugging away, releasing records for decades after "Mother-In-Law," even though none of his releases made it as big as his signature tune.

And Ernie persevered, eventually becoming a beloved New Orleans fixture.  In the 1980s he became a radio personality on WWOZ. And in the '90s, he opened his own club,  Ernie K-Doe's Mother-in-Law Lounge on Claiborne Avenue in Treme.

Ernie died in 2001.                                                                                                                                                                                          
Here's his big hit:



And here's one that shoulda been a hit. This song has been sung by Warren Zevon, Mary Weiss and untold others.



Here's one called "Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta," which is secret New Orleans code talk for "Keep listening and maybe I'll play mother-in-law again."                                               



Here's one called "I Got to Find Somebody."



Ernie was a real man ...




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WACKY WEDNESDAY: I Don't Think Jimi Done it That Way


Over the weekend, the biggest threat to America and the freedoms we cherish was the version of "The Star Spangled Banner sung by Fergie, formerly with The Black Eyed Peas (not to be confused with The Dutchess of York) sung at the NBA All-Star Game.

I don't think that was how Jimi Hendrix intended it be performed.

True, Cosmopolitan called it "different AND sexy," but other reaction on social media was far less positive. (I think my favorite was comedian Johnny Taylor, Jr., who tweeted, "Not sure what Fergie was going for on that national anthem performance but if it was `my friends drunk mom acting sexy' she nailed it."

By Monday, the singer apologized in a statement saying, “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

Judge for yourself:



This whole stink reminded me of 1968, when at a World Series game, Jose Feiciano, known as "The Blind Puerto Rican Fergie," shocked an dismayed patriots everywhere by his unconventional take on the national anthem. 

An NPR story last year explained:

 Back then, the anthem was generally performed by popular musicians of stage and screen, or talented first-responders and members of the military, always in a very straightforward way.

Feliciano's gentle, Latin jazz-infused version puzzled some people. And it outraged others. 

"After I sang it, it was really strange to hear me being booed, as well as yay'd, and I didn't know what happened," he recalled when I reached him by telephone last week, while he was on tour in London.


A Tigers official told him the club's phones were lighting up with angry calls from around the country: "Some veterans were taking off their shoes and throwing them at their television screens," he was told.




Jumping ahead a few decades, I do like this version of the anthem by the group Patax, "a communion between flamenco, funk and Afro-Cuban folklore" from Spain.  "Star Spangled Banner" appears on their latest album, Creepy Monsters.

On their Youtube channel the band says the song is their, "humble contribution to tolerance and mind openness sending a musical message to the Trump Administration: lets make America open minded and tolerant again. Greatness will be the result."

What kind of commie talk is that? (By the way, percussionist Jorge Perez is a citizen of both Spain and the US of A.)



And if you don't like that, there's always Tiny Tim. He even knew the largely forgotten second verse  ...



Sunday, February 18, 2018

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST





Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018
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
Did It All by Gogol Bordello
I've Really Got the Blues by Jackie Shane
Don't Mess With My Toot Toot by Jello Biafra
Ooh Poo Pah Doo by Jesse Hill
Shotgun Pistol Grip by Ghost Wolves
The Traveler by Archie & The Bunkers
Tall Black and Bitter by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
I Gotcha by Joe Tex
Comet by Baronen & Satan
40 Great Unclaimed Melodies by The Firesign Theatre

The Other Side of This Life by Jefferson Airplane
White Wedding by Herman's Hermits
Down the Road by The Monsters
Love by Country Joe & The Fish
Total Destruction to Your Mind by Swamp Dogg

One Kind Favor by Canned Heat
Shut Up Woman by Bo Diddley
Poor Beast, Marginal Man by Rattasnson
Runaway Child, Runnin' Wild by The Temptations
Before I Die by The Guttercats
Radio by Young Harvel
House of the Rising Sun by Johnny Dowd

Mog Maz (My Husband) by Kult
Everything's Dead by The Dead Brothers
Storm Warning by Mac Rebennack
Desert Mile by King Khan
In Your Hnds by Phil Hayes & The Trees
Lay Me Low by Nick Cave
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.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST



Friday, Feb. 16, 2018
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
Country Girl by Roger Miller
Glendale Train by New Riders of the Purple Sage
You Can't Talk to Me Like That by Nikki Lane
I'll Stand In Line by Miss Leslie
Cowboy in Flames by The Waco Brothers
8 Piece Box by Southern Culture on the Skids
Rainy Day Woman by Waylon Jennings
Wanna Get Outta Here by The War and Treaty
I've Endured by Ola Belle Reed

Lesson by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
Fool for Love by Marty Stuart
Jealous Loving Heart by Ernest Tubb & Johnny Cash
Man With the Blues by Willie Nelson
Toot Toot Man by Doug Kershaw
Alligator Waltz by Rockin' Sidney
Wolverton Mountain by Claude King

Some of Shelly's Blues by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Secrets and Lies by Becky Lee & Drunkfoot
Crazy Sons of Bitches by John Egenes
Hog of the Forsaken by Micheal Hurley
Watching the River Go By by John Hartford
Last Train from Poor Valley by Norman Blake
Mystery of the Dunbar Child by Richard "Rabbit" Brown

Midnight Moonlight by Old and In the Way
Wild Heart by Modern Mal
Mercy Now by Bobby Bare
Blue Distance by Peter Case
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets



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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, February 15, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Songs of Bobby Dunbar

Little Bobby Dunbar -- or was it Bruce Anderson? -- standing in front of a car with "unidentified people." 
I just heard an amazing story on This American Life called "The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar." First presented in 2008, it was just recently replayed.

Here's the basic outline of the story from the show's website:

In 1912 a four-year-old boy named Bobby Dunbar went missing in a swamp in Louisiana. Eight months later, he was found in the hands of a wandering handyman in Mississippi. In 2004, Bobby Dunbar's granddaughter discovered a secret beneath the legend of her grandfather's kidnapping, a secret whose revelation would divide her own family, bring redemption to another, and become the answer to a third family's century-old prayer. 

You can listen to the whole story at the bottom of this post. But suffice it to say it's such a crazy story it inspired its own instant folk ballad.

Here's the story according to New Orleans bluesman Richard "Rabbit" Brown. i'm not sure when this was recorded but I'd guess sometime in the 1920s:



Here are a couple of more recent songs dealing with the Bobby Dunbar  legend. First this one from an Denver artist called King Cardinal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


Jon Dee Graham wrote a song about Bobby also



And, as promised, here's the episode of This American Life



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

All on a Mardi Gras Day


Wild Indians Down in New Orleans

Instead of Wacky Wednesday this week, let's do Fat Tuesday.

That's right, it's Mardi Gras Day. I've never actually been to a Mardi Gras. The couple of times I've been to New Orleans, an average summer weekday night has more festive celebrations in the streets than most places I've ever seen.

But I sure love the music associated with Mardi Gras -- as those of you who listened to the second hour of my radio show Sunday night must realize. So for those of you who can't make it to New Orleans, here are some of my favorite Mardi Gras songs.

For those of you who are in New Orleans ... WHY THE HELL ARE YOU SITTING AROUND READING BLOGS???!!?!? GET OUT AND PARTY!!!!!!

Firsst some Fess ...



Kermit Ruffins with The Rebirth Brass Band



Below is a scene from HBO's Treme featuring the song "Indian Red." This scene was among Actor Wendell Piece's favorite scenes in Treme  listed in Rolling Stone.

We had all the [Mardi Gras Indian] chiefs — who had never been photographed together in New Orleans, or anywhere, — come together to sing 'Indian Red' to memorialize their friend who they found buried in the wreckage of his house in the Lower 9th ward. All of these people who are cultural icons and heroes in the community getting international attention," Pierce says. The scene features several Big Chiefs of local Mardi Gras tribes singing the traditional prayer-chant song including Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles, Chief Darryl Montana of the Yellow Pocahontas Hunters, Chief Lionel Delpit of the Black Feathers, Chief Otto DeJean of the Hard Head Hunters, Chief Clarence Dalcour of the Creole Osceolas, Council Chief Fred Johnson, and Spyboy Irving "Honey" Banister of the Creole Wildwest. 



Speaking of Mardi Gras Indians, you're probably familiar with the song "Iko Iko" by The Dixie Cups, which was a big hit in 1964. But 11 years before that, a New Orleans R&B singer named James "Sugar Boy" Crawford released a song called "Jock-A-Mo" that's strikingly familiar ....



And nearly a decade before that, a song called "Chocko Me Feendo Hey" by Baby Dodds Trio sounds kind of similar too ...



Meanwhile, in 2003 Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & The Golden Eagles recorded this close cousin of all these songs



Finally, here's Dr. John with The Neville Brothers and a cameo by Pete Fountain



A one-woman Mardi Gras

Sunday, February 11, 2018

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST





Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018
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
Dial 666 by The Night Beats
Laptop Dog by The Fall
Riot in Cell Block #9 by Flat Duo Jets
Little Girl by The Goon Mat & Lord Bernardo
Lil Lobo by Joe "King" Carrasco  with Patricia Vonne
Coyote by Wild Evel & The Trahbones
Memphis Creep by The Oblivians
Mumbles by Jack Ross
Shock the Monkey by Don Ho

Let's Go to Mars by Barrence Whitfierld & The Savages
Tainted Love by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Sugar Walls by Baronen & Satan
Chum on the Drum by Bee Bee Sea
Tie My Hands to the Floor by Sulphur City
I Love Mean Girl by Pan Ron & In Yeng
Two Thumbs Up by Rattanson
All's Well in Roswell by Harvey McLaughlin
200 Years Old by Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart


IMG_3377


MARDI GRAS SET
Mardi Gras in New Orleans by Professor Longhair
Chock Mo Feendo Hey by Baby Dodds Trio
Jockamo Sugar Boy Crawford
Zydeco Mardi Gras by C.J. Chenier
My Indian Red by Dr. John
Meet Me Boys on the Battlefront by Wild Tchoupitoulas
Wild Injuns by The Neville Brothers
Mardi Gras Day by Kermit Ruffins & The Rebirth Brass Band
Mardi Gras Mambo by The Hawkettes
Down at the Mardi Gras by Rockin' Dopsie, Jr.
La Danse de Mardi Gras by Steve Riley, Steve Earle & The Eunice Revelers
Might Mighty Chief by Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolias
In the Morning (Jockomo) by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & The Golden Eagles
I Wish I Was in New Orleans by Tom Waits
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, February 09, 2018

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST



Friday, Feb. 9, 2018
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
Trouble by Sam Outlaw
I've Endured by Stump Tail Dolly
Mama's Got the Catfish Blues by Tom T. Hall
Four Years of Chances by Margo Price
Gin and Juice by The Gourds
Out in the Smokehouse Takin' a Bath by Leroy Pullins
Pretty Polly by The Dead Brothers
Little Sadie by The Sadies

Sing a Worried Song by Legendary Shack Shakers
Starlings, Ky /Rain and Snow by J.D.Wilkes
Something's Goin' On by Jessica Lee Wilkes
Trucks Tractors and Trains by The Dirt Daubers
Invisible Hand by Legendary Shack Shakers

Parting Words by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
I Love My Truck by Glenn Campbell
The Mermaid Song by Jim Kweskin

Buy My Snake Oil by Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon
Snake Oil by Steve Earle
The Snakes Crawl at Night by Charley Pride
Man Overboard by Libbi Bosworth with Toni Price
Single Girl Again by Oh Lazarus
Pay Day by Laino & Broken Seeds

I Know Your Name by Dad Horse Experience
Looks Like I Killed Again by Slackeye Slim
Soul Mercenary Blues by Blues Against Youth &The Restless Livers Collective
Springtime of Life by Zane Campbell
The Hard Way by Turnpike Troubadours
E.T. Bass at Last Finds the Woman of His Dreams by Jim White
Cold Trail Blues 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

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: The Latest from Col Wilkes

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Feb. 9 , 2018




I’ve got a few things in common with J.D. Wilkes. For one, he lives in Paducah, Kentucky. My grandfather was born and raised in Kuttawa, Kentucky, a small town near Paducah. (My grandfather pronounced it “Ka-TOY.”) Another thing — Wilkes has been honored by his state as a “Kentucky Colonel.” Similarly, I’m a colonel aide-de-camp, that distinction having been bestowed upon me by former New Mexico Gov. David F. Cargo and former Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley. So we both know the pressures and responsibilities that such an office demands. We both were present at a Legendary Shack Shakers and Dirt Daubers show at the old Santa Fe Brewing Company in June 2012. (He was on stage. I was in the audience.)

But most important, both Wilkes and I are fans of American folk songs, blues, bluegrass, Gypsy jazz and swamp rock. (He plays it a lot better than I do. I do better in the audience.)

Wilkes’ love for this music and his ability to make it sound fresh, fun, and vital, is obvious in his new solo album Fire Dream, which will be officially released next week. This comes just a scant few months after the Shack Shakers’ most recent album, After You’ve Gone, which I’ll get to later.

Fire Dream, which was co-produced by Jimbo Mathus, is more eclectic than either the Shakers or The Dirt Daubers, a more country/bluegrass-based group that also featured Wilkes’ ex-wife Jessica.

A lot of the songs should sound familiar. There are at least a couple of tunes here — “Hoboes Are My Heroes” and “Bible, Candle and a Skull” — that Wilkes recorded before with the Shack Shakers. “Hoboes” was my favorite song from the Shakers’ 2010 album AgriDustrial. While both versions feature Wilkes’ banjo, the slower new version also has a dreamy violin and clarinet. The new take on “Bible, Candle and a Skull,” which first appeared on Pandelerium (2006), is also a departure from the more rocked-out original. On the solo record, Wilkes’ vocals are deep into the mix while a ghostly, tinkling piano and clarinet play an otherworldly tango.

Also here are a couple of venerated classics of rural America songs — a fine old outlaw ballad called “Wild Bill Jones” (first recorded by a woman named Eva Davis in 1924 but undoubtedly much older) and “Rain and Snow,” which I first heard as “Cold, Rain and Snow,” on The Grateful Dead’s first album but actually goes back at least to 1917, when it was collected in North Carolina by folklorists Olive Dame Campbell and Cecil Sharp in their compilation English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians. “Well I married me a wife, she’s been trouble all my life/Left me out in the cold, rain and snow.”

Tom Waits fans might hear some similarities between Wilkes and Waits in some of the tunes here. Their voices aren’t similar at all, but both are fond of Gypsy violins and Eastern European stomps. The song “Fire Dream” has serious echoes of Waits’ “Cemetery Polka.” And try to listen to “Moonbottle” without thinking of “Jockey Full of Bourbon,” I dare you!

Meanwhile, “Down in the Hidey Hole” has traces of metal and (might that be?) reggae. And “Starlings, Ky” might be described as lo-fi bluegrass, though the fiddle solo sounds suspiciously Cajun.

Fire Dream stands well on its own, but playing it side by side with the recent Legendary Shack Shakers record gives you a fuller glimpse of Wilkes’ artistry. As Shakers fans have come to expect, After You’ve Gone is a rocking, bluesy assault with some rockabilly overtones. This album comes closer in sound and raw spirit to roots-punk pioneers The Gun Club than past Shack Shakers efforts.

Though the music is more upbeat than Fire Dream, much of the subject matter, sparked by Wilkes’ divorce, is the personal, confessional kind of material that you might expect on a solo album.

There is something classic about break-up albums. Think Marvin Gaye’s stunning Here My Dear or Willie Nelson’s Phases and Stages or Shoot Out the Lights by Richard and Linda Thompson. Lots of the song titles here can be heard as Wilkes raging at his pain. In fact, the first words you hear on the opening track “Curse of the Cajun Queen,” are “Well, I feel so bad.”

The sax-augmented “War Whoop (Chief Paduke’s Revenge)” is pure anger. In the title song, Wilkes states his case clearly: “This place just ain’t the same/And I’m calling out your name/Just an empty echo/After you’ve gone.” And the hyped-up “Get Out of My Brain” shows just how hard a haunted psyche can rock. “You’re welcome to my heart, but stay out of my brain,” Wilkes pleads.

One of the most interesting cuts here is a cover song — a Bo Diddley-on-diet-pills version of a hillbilly classic, “Single Boy.” Usually this is done as “Single Girl” with a female singer. That’s how The Maddox Brothers and Rose recorded it back in the ’40s. And that’s how The Dirt Daubers recorded it with Jessica Wilkes singing just a few years ago. I’m not sure whether this is Wilkes thumbing his nose at his ex, or if it’s a private joke between them. Or what.

A little more subtle is the final song, “Invisible Hand,” in which Wilkes sings a pretty melody backed by what sounds like a player piano. And that melody seems hauntingly familiar. It took me a minute or two, but I realized that the melody is dangerously close to “Trucks, Tractors and Trains,” another Dirt Daubers song that Jessica sang. The Daubers did it upbeat in a jaunty bluegrass style. But the After You’ve Gone version is slow and sad.

Fire Dream shows a man still standing, made stronger by his musical roots. After You’ve Gone shows the storm he has endured.

* Los Lobos returns to Santa Fe Friday night, Feb. 9,with a 7:30 p.m. concert at Santa Fe Community Convention Center. The show is a benefit for the EspaƱola Valley Humane Society, which gets 100 percent of the proceeds. Tickets are $35 in advance; $40 at the door; and $100 (which includes a meet-and-greet with the band). Get tickets at holdmyticket.com.

Video Time

Let's start with the official video for Wilkes' "Walk Between the Raindrops"



Here's a live recording of "Wild Bill Jones"



The Legendary Shack Shakers "Curse of the Cajun Queen"


 A cool cartoon for "Sing a Worried Song."



And here is The Dirt Daubers' "Single Girl"




Thursday, February 08, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: It was Dock Boggs' Birthday

Art by R. Crumb

Yesterday was the birthday of Moran Lee Boggs, better known as Dock Boggs, was botn in Norton Virginia on Feb. 7, 1898.

Yesterday also was the anniversary of the death of Dock Boggs. He died in 1971 in Needmore, Virginia, about four miles from Norton.

Oh Death! You sure know how to ruin a birthday party.

Of all the early hillbilly singers, the banjo-picking Boggs was spookiest. His thin, terse tenor seemed to embody hard times and hard living.

Here's what Greil Marcus, on a 1994 road trip through Virginia coal country, had to say about the man called Dock:

Dock Boggs was born in Norton in 1898. For most of his life he worked the coal mines in the area, save for time as a moonshiner in the ’20s and as a professional musician between 1927 and 1929, when he recorded twelve sides for the Brunswick and Lonesome Ace labels. In 1963, at the height of the folk-music revival, he was rediscovered, right where he’d always been, and went on to record three albums and play festivals and concerts around the country. He died in Norton in 1971. He was—as Thomas Hart Benton had recognized from the first, pressing Boggs’s version of the old ballad “Pretty Polly” on anyone who would listen to it—pos­sessed of one of the most distinctive and uncanny voices the American language has ever produced.

On Boggs’s 1927 “Country Blues” a wastrel faces ordinary, everyday doom. The banjo, which as a white man Boggs plays like a blues guitar, presses a queer sort of fatalism: fate in a hurry. At the close (“When I am dead and buried/My pale face turned to the sun”—Boggs worms you into the old, common lines until you sense the strange racial transformation they hint at), the singing rises and falls, jumps and plummets in a rush, as if  to say, Get it over with. In 1963 Boggs recorded “Oh Death”—“Won’t you spare me over for another year?”—and you can imagine Death’s reply, which would have been as fitting thirty-six years be­fore. Sure thing, man, what the hell. It’s no skin off my back. You sound like you’re already dead.


Here's Dock's "Country Blues":



Here's "Oh Death," recorded in the 1960s when Boggs was getting older. It's starker, far less melodic, and, true to Marcus, more dead than the Ralph Stanley that everyone knows from O,  Brother Where Art Thou?



Marcus also talked about another song Boggs sung, the ancient murder ballad "Pretty Polly," which he recorded in 1927.:

... in its English versions Polly’s pregnancy is part of the story. In Boggs’s version there is ... no mention of it — but there is something more, or anyway something else. The evil in his singing, a psychotic momentum that goes beyond any plain need to do-this-to-achieve-that, overwhelms the song’s musicological history. As Boggs sings, the event is happening for the first time and the last.

Hear the evil in his singing here:




One of Boggs' best known songs is "Sugar Baby." But it's not very sweet. It sounds like it's coming from a guy who truly hates his wife. The song has a similar line as one in "Pay Day," a Mississippi John Hurt song, also from the late 1920s. But when Hurt sings, "I've done all I can do and can't get along with you/ Gonna take you to your mama pay day," he sounds sweet, if sad. But when Boggs sings, "I'll send it to your mama next payday," a listener just hopes the woman does make it back to her mama. And when he sings, , "I'll rock the cradle when you gone," you hope he doesn't murder the baby too.



If this music is just too intense for you, calm your nerves with a good stiff belt of rub alacohol. Bottoms up and happy belated birthday, Dock!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

WACKY WEDNESDAY: In an Age of Fake News We Need True Stories


So what do you do with all the fake news that's spewing forth on social media these days? Well if you're David Byrne, you make a movie with it.

That's what Byrne did back in 1986, while still a member of The Talking Heads. He took a bunch of twisted tabloid tales of the day and made them come to life in a little town in the middle of nowhere called Virgil, Texas.

Aided by his band, and a handful of other musicians -- including Pops Staples and Tito Larriva -- and actors including John Goodman, Spalding Gray, Swoosie Kurtz, Annie McEnroe and Santa Fe's own Jo Harvey Allen --  Byrne's True Stories was, in my book, the most under-rated movie of the '80s. It was a commercial flop, but it's one that I keep going back to, each one uncovering a new secret I'd missed before.

Critic Roger Ebert was a fan:

 There is no real plot here, just wonderment. ... This movie does what some painters try to do: It recasts ordinary images into strange new shapes. There is hardly a moment in "True Stories" that doesn't seem everyday to anyone who has grown up in Middle America, and not a moment that doesn't seem haunted with secrets, evasions, loneliness, depravity or hidden joy - sometimes all at once. 

In the Los Angeles Times, Sheila Benson wrote:

Byrne's Polaroids of Virgil become an accumulative portrait that hints at unease in the heartland. ... When Byrne shows us that glowing neon stage out in that eerie emptiness, or The Invisible Hospital of St. John the Baptist, a great voodoo altar to love, ...  he also fixes in our minds a view of the country he is unwilling to see vanish.  

Here are some of the songs and scnes that made True Stories the wonder it is:

In this scene, featuring John Ingle, Byrne foresaw the rise of Alex Jones -- if Jones were backed by good music. Contemplate the "Puzzling Evidence."



In that scene the choir's keyboard player was none other than Tito Larriva from the influential Chicano punk-rock band The Plugz (and later Cruzados and Tito & Tarantula) Here is Tito's big solo spot in True Stories, a song called "Radiohead," featuring Tejano music titan Steve Jordan on accordion.  I heard a rumor that some overrated band in the '90s named themselves for this song.



Pops Staples, known for his gospel and soul music with The Staples singers, appeared as a voodoo priest to invoke the trickster god Legba in this scene.



John Goodman, as the lovelorn bachelor Louis "The Bear" was the star of True Stories. He wrote a little song that, with the help of Papa Legba, won the heart of his true love. (And he's not a bad country singer!) What good is freedom? God laughs at people like us.



One of the most memorable citizens of Virgil, Texas was a lady known only as "The Lying Woman." She was portrayed by Jo Harvey Allen (wife of artist/musician Terry Allen) (This looks like a dead YouTube link, but it's not. Go ahead and click.)


"I wrote 'Billie Jean.' And half of Elvis' songs."




Sunday, February 04, 2018

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST





Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018
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
Good Morning Judge by Wynonie Harris
We're So Ugly by Hornet Leg
This Dog is the King of Losers by Bee Bee Sea
Close to Me by The Cynics
Blue Ether by The Loons
Wimp by Jean Caffeine
Black Eyes by Boss Hog
Pictures of Lily by Hickoids

Flesh Eating Parasite by Pocket FishRMen
You'll Bring Me Flowers by The Darts
Surrender My Heart by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
Don't Look Down by Lovestruck
Sunshine Don't Make the Sun by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
It's a Lie by King Khan
Mysterioso Blues by Harvey McLaughlin
You Keep Me Hangin' On by Vanilla Fudge
Saved by Lavern Baker

Manny's Bones / Walking Song by Los Lobos
Red Hot by Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs
Dick's Automotive by Rugburns
Late Night by Dinola
Stand by Your Ghoul by The Cavemen
1932 Berlin by Kult
Hell by The Bonevilles

Job 17: 11-17 by Johnny Dowd
Ride Cyclo by Yol Aularong
Gravy for My Mashed Potatoes by Dee Dee Sharp
I'm Not Satisfied by The Fall
In My Tenement by Jackie Shane
Lay Me Low by Nick Cave
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, February 02, 2018

THE SANTA FE OPRY PLAYLIST



Friday, Feb. 2, 2018
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
I Got Mine by Tommy Collins
A Little Pain by Margo Price
Twelve Gates by Joe West
Heartache in Hell by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
Texarkana Baby by Jason Ringenberg
Dirty Water by Salty Pajamas
Stranger by Houston Barks
Trying to Get to You by Tex Rubinowitz & Bob Newscaster
The Wreck of the Old 97 by Jim Kweskin

Dyin' Crapshooter Blues by David Bromberg
Hippies and Cowboys by Cody Jinks
Banded Clovis by Tyler Childers
Big Iron by Mike Ness
Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie by John Hartford
My Rough and Rowdy Ways by Dad Horse Experience
Black Lady Blues by Paul Burch

You Mean Too Much to Me by Big Sandy & The Fly-Rite Boys
A Day Late and a Darlin' Short by Clay Blaker
I Ain't Gonna Hang Around by Southern Culture on the Skids
Long White Line by Sturgill Simpson
Walk Between the Raindrops by J.D. Wilkes
Get Off My Land by Ramblin' Deano
One Good Gal by Charlie Feathers
A Woman Lives for Love by Wanda Jackson
Misty Blue by Wilma Burgess
Left to Right by Kitty Wells
Seein' Double by Nikki Lane

Drunkard's Prayer by Chris Stapleton
When I Get a Little Money by Chris Hillman
Howard Hughes' Blues by Laura Cantrell
This Old Road by Kris Kristofferson
I'll Think of Something by Hank Williams, Jr.
Darkness on the Face of the Earth by Willie Nelson
I Catch Myself Crying by Roger Miller
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets



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Thursday, February 01, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Songs of the Civil Rights Movement


Mahalia Jackson sings at the March on Washington
Aug. 28, 1963

In honor of this being the first day of Black History, I'm just going to post a bunch of great songs from the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s.

You've probably heard some of these a thousand times.

Listen again. The spiritual heirs of Bull Connor and George Wallace and Thomas Edwin Blanton, Jr. are raising their hateful heads again. These songs need to be heard!

Let's start with the immortal Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson singing the anthem -- "We Shall Overcome."

This performance is said to be from "the late '60s" and might be from a European concert. It appears to be part of some kind of documentary. The actual songs ends right before the 4 minute mark. the last couple of minutes consist of biographical narrative.



Here is some actual Civil Rights history. It's The Freedom Singers (from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) singing "We Shall Not Be Moved" at the 1963 March on Washington.



The song is Sam Cooke's "A Change Gonna Come." The video is a scene from Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992).



Bluesman J.B. Lenoir was known for writing topical songs from the day's headlines. "Down in Mississippi" probably is his most haunting.



Mavis Staples back in 2007 released an entire album of Civil Rights songs. Here's the title tack, "Eyes on the Prize."



I'm fortunate to have been able to see Odetta play live at a Thirsty Ear Festival a few years before she died. I believe she ended her set with this song.



I'll end this with Nina Simone. Titling this song "Mississippi Goddam" probably ensured it would never get any radio airplay to speak of back in 1964. But let's not kid ourselves -- if if she'd called it "Mississippi Gosh Darn" the lyrics are so direct and Simone's anger so palpable, commercial radio still would have been scared to touch it.



THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday Ernie K-Doe

Happy birthday Ernest Kador, Jr., a New Orleans R&B singer who probably would be accurate to describe as a one-hit wonder. Exce...