Saturday, March 17, 2018

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Barrence Whitfield & The Savages and The Electric Mess

OnceA version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
March 16, 2018

Once again, Barrence Whitfield and his savage band, The Savages, have hit another one out of the park. His new album, Soul Flowers of Titan, hits — seemingly effortlessly — that sweet spot between garage rock, R&B, soul, blues, and who-cares-what-you-call-it.

This is his fourth album since Whitfield reunited with original Savages Peter Greenberg (a New Mexico resident for nearly a decade) and Phil Lenker. And, even though the frontman is pushing sixty-three, there doesn’t seem to be any sign he’s slowing down. And, most important: This sound never gets old.

For those unfamiliar, the Florida-born Whitfield was working in a Boston record store in the early ’80s when he met up with guitarist Greenberg, a veteran of garage-punk bands like Lyres and DMZ. Barrence Whitfield and the Savages’ self-titled album was released in 1984. After a second record, the band broke up.

BARRENCE WHITFIELD & THE SAVAGES Whitfield kept recording until the mid-’90s (including a couple of country-folk flavored albums with Tom Russell). Then came the reunion with Greenberg and Lenker circa 2010 (the first reunion concerts were in Taos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque). And the rest is — ongoing — history.

Hardcore Whitfield fans will notice some tweaks to the basic Savages sound — the band’s added a keyboard player, Brian Olive. And a couple of tracks feature a trumpet alongside regular sax man Tom Quartulli. But the additions seem natural. And the sound is still savage.

The album kicks off with a strong rocker called “Slowly Losing My Mind,” originally done by an obscure R&B group called Willie Wright & His Sparklers, who recorded it for the Federal label in 1960. I bet if Eric Burdon heard this, he’d say, “Damn, The Animals should have done this!” And there’s another Sparklers song on Soul Flowers, the nearly-as-raucous “I’m Going to Leave You.”

I liked the carefree “Let’s Go to Mars” when I first heard it. But I liked it about 10 times more after seeing the goofy, almost surreal video the group did for the song, which was written by Greenberg and Lenker. I won’t describe the whole thing, but I’ll just say the best part is when Greenberg performs a guitar solo inside Whitfield’s mouth. (You’d think it would be dark in there, but Greenberg’s wearing his sunglasses.)

Other highlights on Soul Flowers include “Adorable” (“I’m gonna get a gun/Just to shoot it at the sky”); “I Can’t Get No Ride,” originally done by Memphis soulman Finley Brown (and originally recorded by Whitfield on his 2009 solo album Raw, Raw, Rough); and “I’ll Be Home Someday,” an intense minor-key blues that was co-written by Hank Ballard of The Midnighters. (Speaking of whom, I’d love to hear Whitfield sing “Work With Me Annie.”)

But ask me on another day, and I might tell you the highlights of this album are “Sunshine Don’t Make the Sun” or “Tall, Black and Bitter” or “Edie Please” or the slow-burner called “Tingling.” Like just about all of Whitfield’s releases, Soul Flowers of Titan is a consistent work — consistently excellent. If I were going to Mars, I’d want to take my Whitfield albums with me for the trip.

Also recommended:

* The Beast Is You by The Electric Mess. Four years ago, when I reviewed House on Fire, the previous album by this Brooklyn band, I said, “Next time I review an Electric Mess album, I don’t want to talk about how undeservedly obscure this band is.”

So I won’t talk about that. Even though …

It took them nearly four years, but the Mess is back with another electrifying collection of 13 fast-and-furious neo-garage/quasi-psychedelic pounders.

With her raspy voice and audible sneer, singer Esther Crow (she’s apparently dropped her “Chip Fontaine” persona) sounds like she’s either perpetually outraged by or perhaps sardonically bemused by the world around her. On “I’m Gone,” she snarls, “Got no use for all your spiritual talk/All your positive vibes are really such a crock.”

And a few songs later, a tune called “You Can’t Hide” — my favorite cut on the album, at least so far — features a spoken-word segment where she says, “Like a wild dog in the night/I’m gonna sniff you out, baby.”

But while she sounds like the aggressor there, just a few seconds later, she’s saying, “Get off of me, you get off of me! Get off of me!” (That’s an especially surprising turn in a song that starts out, “Let me be your sloppy seconds, baby.”) [Author's Note: In a Facebook post yesterday Esther Crow herself said, "... the lyrics he refers to: "you get off of me!" Are really: "you can't hide from me!" So I remain the creepy aggressor after all!"]

And on another favorite, “Plastic Jack,” Crow confesses, “I’m a charlatan to the highest degree ... I’m a fraud, a phony ... a quack, a swindler, a deceiver, imposter, a backslider.”

While Ms. Crow is the undisputed star, she couldn’t do it without the rest of the band. The musical interplay between guitarist Dan Crow (Esther’s husband) and keyboardist Oweinama Biu continues to amaze and mystify, while the rhythm section of bass man Derek Davidson (who also writes a large share of the songs) and drummer Alan Camlet provide a solid, if frantic, foundation.

Though the group is a self-proclaimed “mess,” there is nothing slapdash about this tight little unit.

Video time!

Here's that Barrence Whitfield video I mentioned above

And here's the title song of the new album by The Electric Mess


Austin March 2018
Those wascally Waco Brothers with some Waco sisters
I've been going to see The Waco Brothers play the annual Bloodshot Records Party at the Yard Dog Gallery during South by Southwest for more than 20 years now. Not every year. When I started covering the state Legislature back in 2001 I had to start skipping every other year because the last week of the 60-day session always falls during SXSW. And I had to miss SXSW 2010. And there was one year, 2004 I believe, that The Wacos didn't play, though Jon Langford was there with The Mekons and with various other bands he plays in.

Austin March 2018
A rare fiddle solo from Tracy Dear
(the world's greatest living Englishman)
But I've been going to see The Waco Brothers at the Yard Dog for more than 20 years now. I guess you could call it a ritual -- a  Dionysian ritual where the frenzy becomes enlightenment.

Or something like that.

all these times I've seen The Wacos play, no show has ever been the same. They've all been high-energy, irreverent, frequently chaotic and almost always inspiring. But they've never been the same.They never get old and almost always they are one of my favorite SXSW shows.

That's certainty the case this year at the Yard Dog on Friday.

For those not acquainted, The Waco Brothers started off as a country-rock side project for Mekons conspirator Jon Langford back in the mid '90s after he moved to Chicago. The group quickly took on a life of its own, hooking up with Bloodshot, an upstart independent record company in Chicago. They've done 11 albums for Bloodshot. (The only non-Bloodshot record the Wacos did was 2004's Nine Slices of My Midlife Crisis, which was done under the name of  Uncle Dave & The Waco Brothers. Uncle Dave was Dave Herndon, a former editor of New Mexico Magazine.)

Besides Langford, the group have two other lead singers -- Dean Schlabowske and Tracey Dear -- which means you don't get sick of the same voice over and over again. While membership has changed over the year -- and for the record I miss steel guitarist Mark Durante -- Langford, Schlabowske and Dear have been there from the start. And bassist Alan Doughty has been there almost as long.

On Friday, the band stormed through their classic songs -- "See Willy Fly By," "Red Brick Wall," "Plenty Tough Union Made," including some of their most inspired covers like George Jones' "White Lightnin' ," Johnny Cash's "Big River," and Neil Young's "Revolution Blues."

My favorite moment in today's show came after their performance of "Walking on Hell's Roof." In the middle of the song Langford announced a fiddle solo from Jean Cook. However, her microphone wasn't working, so the solo was unheard. You could tell this irked Langford. So, after the mike problem was solved, the band decided to play that part again so Cook could have her solo. It was short but amazing.

I just hope I'm able to go to Waco Brothers shows at the Yard Dog for another 20 years.

Austin March 2018
* Another great show Friday was Shinyribs' set at a West 6th Street bar called the Dogwood.

I was a huge fan of The Gourds, perhaps the greatest alt-country group to come out of Austin during the great alt-country scare of the late '90s. I'm not sure what happened to them.

But Gourd singer Kevin Russell has carried on with a new band, Shinyribs and done quite well.

Last year they released a fine New Orleans flavored album called I Got Your Medicine. And just recently the band was named band of the year by the Austin Chronicle.

The band includes a horn section (sax and trumpet), two female backup singers, piano and bass, with Russell on guitar.

Dressed in a loud yellow suit he did songs including a medley of ”Hey Pocky Way,” “Shotgun Willie” and at least one other song. At other points in the show he started singing "Helter Skelter" during an unrelated song. And at least a couple of times he made incongruous references to Roky Erikson's "Cold Night for Alligators."

I do miss The Gourds, but Shinyribs is fantastic in its own right.

Austin March 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018


Sxsw 3-15-18
Count Vaseline preaches to the sinners

When I was a younger man going to South by Southwest back in the 1990s, I'd frequently zig-zag across downtown Austin walking great lengths to see the next act. From the old Austin Music Hall to Emo's, then back to Antone's then over to Stubbs' ... I'm getting exhausted just writing about it.

In recent years though I've tried to stay in one area in a night. And Thursday night I managed to stay in one venue -- Hotel Vegas on East 6th Street the whole night (except one short excursion a couple of blocks up the street to a bar where I didn't find any notable music.) Guess I'm getting old and lazy but sometimes that works.
Beware of Puppy

Here's who I heard Thursday night:

* Bubble Puppy. This is the band that brought to Hotel Vegas. They're a Texas psychedelic band from the late '60s known mostly for their one hit "Hot Smoke and Sassafras."

Unfortunately the Puppy disappointed.

No, it's not because they're old guys. I'm way too old to be an ageist. Besides, two of the greatest rock 'n' roll shows I've seen in recent years -- The Sonics, who I saw in New Orleans in 2013 and Question Mark & The Mysterians, who I saw in New York in 2010 - were old guys by the time I saw them. But both of these bands play with the same abandon and energy that propelled them as youngsters, sticking to their unique original visions.

Bubble Puppy, which features three lead guitarists, are competent musicians. But instead of the crazy energy that I remember from "Hot Smoke and Sassafras" the group seems to have settled into a style I'll describe as "Dad Metal." They seem to have embraced that moment when psychedelic music drifted away from t.he spirit of proto-punk garage music and music became "heavy."

I admit I got to the show late and I assume I missed "Hot Smoke and Sassafras." Perhaps my opinion would have been softened had I heard that.

I did, however, get to Bubble Puppy's set in plenty of time for the drum solo ...

* Yamantaka // Sonic Titan. This was my major music discovery Thursday. It's an avant-garde experimental noise group from Canada that calls its style "Noh-Wave" -- a sly reference to Noh theater, a Japanese musical theater that's been around since the 14th Century.

The band has two female singers, one of whom plays guitar, the other playing percussion instruments, including a large round drum and cymbals.

Yamantaka did one number with serious Native American overtones. My first thought was that it sounded like Yoko Ono had produced a pow wow record.

I've got to hear more of this band.

* Holy Wave. This definitely is my favorite psychedelic band from El Paso. They're about to release their latest album Adult Fear.

The sickly sweet aroma of illegal and dangerous marijuana permeated the area in front of he stage as the band started out slow and dreamy.

Slowly and methodically, the music builds. Drums slowly come in and the beat builds slowly. Before you know it, the buzzing guitars build up to the point it seems like they're going to explode. A listener finds himself engulfed.

Damn, it IS like a wave!

* Count Vaseline. I didn't even realize the Count was playing tonight. But he turned out to be my favorite act of the evening.

Sxsw 3-15-18
Born Stefan Murphy, Vaseline is an Irish guy with a Beatle Bob hairdo who on stage adopts the persona of a deranged man standing on a soapbox (he actually was standing on a plastic box for much of his set) demanding his crackpot warnings be heard. His band includes a guitarist and drummer, though I also saw Vaseline fooling with some kind of music software on a tablet.

Like Holy Wave, who were still playing outside when Count Vaseline began his indoors performance, Vaseline started off slow. A growling guitar and ominous drums created the atmosphere as the Count went into a Jim Morrison-like vamp like some beatnik shaman. There is more than a little Mark E. Smith from the latter-day Fall in this heady stew.

He sounded like he was trying to stave off Doomsday by prodding the audience to dance.  Occasionally Vaseline would pick up an electric guitar. At one point, he had a tambourine around his neck.

I've gotta say this performance is much different than Vaseline's recent EP Tales From The Megaplex, which is far poppier. While I like that record, especially a Velvetesque song called "John Cale" ("Lou Reed wishes he could be John Cale ...") I like Thursday's version of the Count even more.

Damn, it's already Friday ...

Sxsw 3-15-18
Holy Wave, getting holy

Thursday, March 15, 2018


SXSW 2018
The Ghost Wolves at the 720 Club Austin
Barely a year ago I had never heard of the duo known as The Ghost Wolves.

But after seeing them tear up the Red River Street dive known as the 720 Club Wednesday night with their unique brand of punk/blues/garage sounds, I feel like an over-zealous cult member bent on spreading the word.

Carley of The Ghost Wolves
"Nobody like a cry baby!"
Faithful readers should know I already was a fan. Their most recent album Texa$ Platinum was high in my Top 10 list for 2017

As I wrote in my review of that record:

The Austin couple of singer/guitarist Carley Wolf and her husband, drummer Jonathan Wolf, rock hard and wild with lyrics and song titles (“Attitude Problem,” “Whettin’ My Knife,” “Strychnine in My Lemonade”) that seem to seethe with vexation. And yet somehow listening to them only makes me grin.

Indeed. I was grinning plenty last night.

But the cool thing was Carley was grinning even more. The lady has an infectious smile that serves to fortify her monster guitar playing.

And she doesn't even need all six strings to make her magic. On the last several songs, Carley played an electric guitar with only one string -- the low E string I think, though it might have been the A. I couldn't help but be reminded of Eddie "One-String" Jones, the mysterious Skid Row bluesman discovered in Los Angeles in 1960 whose amazing primitive music was documented on the album One-String Blues.

But like I said, this is a duo and The Ghost Wolves wouldn't be the Ghost Wolves with the sturdy drumming of Johnny Wolf. He keeps the relentless energy going.

Speaking of energy, I'm about out mine. Stay tuned for tomorrow!

SXSW 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

It's SXSW Music Festival Week!

Thee Oh Sees at SXSW 2016

Once again I'm heading to Austin, Texas this week for South by Southwest.

Starting Wednesday -- (meaning early Thursday) I'll be posting here about the music I see. It looks like great year for punk and garage-punk. Among the bands I hope to be seeing are The Dwarves, The Ghost Wolves, The Sloths, Bubble Puppy (!), local Austin favorites The Ugly Beats, etc. Plus, as usual, Bloodshot Records has a great line-up, including my old favorites The Waco Brothers and a new favorite, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers.
Jon Langford and Bill Kirchen Reenact the Battle of Waco
Bill Kirchen with The Waco Brothers during SXSW 2012

Because of SXSW there will be no Wacky Wednesday or Throwback Thursday this week. (And no radio playlists because Tom Adler's covering The Santa Fe Opry for me and Steve Tibbs is doing Terrell's Sound World.)

Last time I went to SXSW, two years ago, I had to crap out on my blogging because I was trying to do it on my iPad and the blogging program I had sucked the warts. Hopefully you won't have to put up with my sniveling excuses this year.

Be sure to follow my Instagram feed for cool bitchen iPhone shots of rock 'n' roll in action. (Of course there you'll have to endure cute snapshots of my grandsons, who live in Austin.)

I posted this memory on this blog exactly four years. Hope it's not too early to recycle.

The Grannies, during SXSW 2014
I've got a long history with SXSW. The first time I attended was in 1995. It basically was a spur of the moment decision following a conversation with the late Alex Magosci, a coworker who had a band called Junk, which he fondly referred to as "Santa Fe's most dysfunctional band." He convinced me to travel with junk, which at that point was just a duo, Alex and his girlfriend Virginia Plain (but everyone knew her as "Sandy"), in their convertred school bus, lovingly dubbed The Junk Heap.

No, they didn't have an actual slot at the festival, but Alex thought he had lined up a few non-affiliated gigs. So I got my press credentials (which was so much easier back then) and talked my editor into giving me time off to go to Austin for a big Sunday spread. She even got me a little walking around money for the trip. (That was so much easier back then too.)

It was a wild trip. The Junk Heap, which we all thought was parked safely, started rolling unmanned and nearly hit a gas pump in Santa Rosa. The the damned thing broke down in Clovis. It was obvious the bus would never get to Austin. My editor was expecting a big feature on the festival, so I ditched Alex and Sandy and took a plane from Lubbock.

I felt bad for them, but a couple of days later, who did I run into but Alex and Sandy. The Junk Heap had come through. Of course, all the gigs Alex thought he had lined up fizzled one by one. They tried to set up in various spots along Sixth Street only to get get thwarted one by one. 
Junk rocks the Littlefield Mall, 1995

Finally Alex found a friendly shopkeep on Brazos who let him plug into the store's electrical outlet. They started playing right after an Irma Thomas outdoor show about a block away, so they got an instant crowd. They played an inspired handful of songs, which was cut short once again by the Austin police. But they sold about $200 worth of their cassette tapes.

I joined them for the drive back. The Junk Heap broke down again, this time in Fort Stockton, Texas. I barely made it to work Monday afternoon.

Austin Banjo Band
Perhaps the Austin Banjo Club is playing this week

Sunday, March 11, 2018



Sunday, March 11, 2018
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
You Got Good Taste by The Cramps
Lust by The Sloths
I Was Wrong by The Ghost Wolves
Bad She Gone Voodoo by Chief Fuzzer
Ride That Train by Oblivians
Play Money by Ricky Hell & The Voidboys
Hash House Pallor by Ross Johnson & Young Seniors
It Happens All the Time by The Electric Mess
Jettisoned by Thee Oh Sees
(Background Music: Big Irv the Meatman by Vinnie Santino)

Standing on the Corner by Mal Thursday Quintet
Hey Hey We're the Gories by The Gories
Voodoo Got Me by The Goon Mat & Lord Bernardo
Dagger Moon by Dead Moon
Comb Your Hair by Lovestruck
Transylvanian Night by Rattanson
Harbor Lights by Jerry Lee Lewis
Why Pick on Me by The Standells
Frybread Queen by Red Fever

Bukë E Kripë Në Vatër Tonë / Kalaxhojnë by 3 Mustaphas 3
Gdy nie ma dzieci (When the Kids Are Away) by Kult
Wait for Me by Roger Damawuzan
Do the Watusi by Cat
Don't Be Angry by Ros Serey Sothea
Walking on the Burning Coal by Gogol Bordello
We're Laughing by The Psychedelic Aliens
Mad Queen by Zuvuki Mu
Summertime Blues by Lolita No. 18

Bull in the Heather by Sonic Youth
Dreams Don't Cost a Thing by Flat Duo Jets
Say What You Want by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
From Here to Acuna by De Los Muertos
Lucky Day 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, March 09, 2018


Friday, March 9, 2018
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
The Wheels Fell Off the Wagon Again by Johnny Dollar
Goodnight Little Rock by Chris Shiflett
Kick in the Head by New Riders of the Purple Sage
All You Fascists Bound to Lose by The Tillers
California Stars by Billy Bragg & Wilco
The Winding Stair Mountain Blues by Turnpike Troubadours
Hey Sheriff by Josie Kreuzer
Shake a Leg by Kim Lenz
Hillbilly Blues by Ronnie Dawson
Hard Luck by Pearls Mahone
(Background Music: Cincinnati Rag by Hardrock Gunter)

Country Home by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Need Somebody Bad Tonight by Rhonda Vincent
Lesson by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
Another Pretty Country Song by The Blues Against Youth
It's Hard to Be a White Christian Man by Ramblin' Deano
Ants on the Melon by The Gourds
(Background Music: Banjoreno by Dixieland Jug Blowers)

Honky Tonk Flame by Tyler Childers
A Man Like Me by Roger Miller
I'm Not Looking for an Angel by Tommy Collins
Her Hair is a Mess by Big Sandy & His Flyright Boys
I Dreamed I Heard Buddy Bolden Play by Tex Rubinowitz & Bob Newscaster
And a Bang on the Ear by The Waterboys
Johnny Come Lately by Steve Earle & The Pogues
(Background Music: Bile 'em Cabbage Down by Buck Owens)

I Know You Are There by The Handsome Family
The Day The World Stood Still by Charlie Pride
Miller's Cave by Bobby Bare
I Still Can't Believe You're Gone by Willie Nelson
He'll Have to Go by Jim Reeves
Always Lift Him Up / Kanaka Wai Wai by Ry Cooder
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, March 08, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday, Johnny $ Dollar

We all know Johnny Cash and Johnny Paycheck. But less well known is a singer from Kilgore, Texas named Johnny Dollar. And yes, according to his biography at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, "John Washington Dollar, Jr." was the name he was born with on this day in 1933.

From that bio:

In 1952, Johnny started recording for Shelby Singleton's D Records and cut a record called "Walking Away" at his own expense. When nothing happened with the disc, he became a deejay at stations in Louisiana and New Mexico,  formed a band called The Texas Sons, and began performing in Shreveport at the famous Louisiana Hayride, which was regularly broadcast over radio station KWKH. He tried his hand at releasing a record again, this time for Winston Records, called "Lumberjack", but again it failed to garner much attention. By 1957 or '58, he drifted back to Texas where he took up the rockabilly style that Elvis Presley and others were making popular ...

By the way, I've looked but I haven't found exactly where in New Mexico Dollar worked as a DJ.

In Dallas, Dollar became part of the cast for the influential country radio show Big D Jamboree on KRLD in Dallas. During this time he began recording a bunch of rockabilly songs in Dallas. Among them was "Action Packed," which would become a hit for another Jamboree regular, Ronnie Dawson (under the name Ronnie Dee). Dollar also did this one, also covered by Dawson. It was first recorded by Elroy Deitzel (under the title "Rock-N-Bones") and --decades later -- by The Cramps and Flat Duo Jets.

Here's another Dollar rockabilly tune.

But few people knew about his rockabilly records.

An unbeatable combination that should have (and surely would have) made Johnny Dollar famous if the recordings had ever been released on record to the public. Mysteriously, however, they were not and instead they remained trapped in a Bekins Moving Company box on old reels of Scotch audio tape in the closet of a north Dallas home for almost forty years until their discovery in 1997.

Frustrated with his lack of success in the music biz, Dollar hung it up and began selling insurance in Oklahoma. But bu the mid '60s, he met Ray Price, who helped reboot his career in country music. Some of his records were released under the name of "Johnny $ Dollar."

By the '70s Dollar was working more as a producer than a singer. But by the  '80s, his story became tragic:

Unfortunately, after he divorced his fourth wife, Carole Dollar, he appeared to lose his way, became depressed and began to drink heavily. According to his nephew, Dr. Charles Yeargan, Johnny was diagnosed with throat cancer in the early 1980s and underwent an operation to remove the cause of the disease, effectively destroying his voice in the process. The loss of his voice and the subsequent reappearance of the cancer by the mid-1980s plunged Johnny into an even deeper depression, resulting in more drinking bouts and ending with him taking his own life on April 13th, 1986.

But let's remember the good times, Here are some of my favorite Johnny Dollar country songs.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Phoning it in

"A large pepperoni & mushrooms and a Diet Coke, please ..."

On this day in 1876, the U.S. Patent Office granted a patent to a guy named Alexander Graham Bell for an invention he called the "telephone"

Here are just a few songs that would have never been without Mr. Bell

Apparently an early user of this new invention was Jesus. You cold just call Him up and tell Him what you want. Here's a 1959 Alan Lomax field recording of James Shorty, Viola James and some church congregation singing "Jesus on the Mainline."

One of my earliest rock 'n' roll memories was being four or five years old and laughing at the line in Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" where Chuck sang, "My uncle took the message and he wrote it on the wall."

The Big Bopper couldn't have done it without a phone

On this Muddy Waters classic, somebody calls him long distance -- and that used to cost extra back then! -- just to tell him something about a mule.

"Hanging By the Telephone" by The Nerves, about a guy who won't stop calling his ex, shows why caller ID was inevitable.

But I think Meri Wilson would have been happy to take a call from The Nerves

Speaking of Caller ID, The Replacements tackled other new phone technology of their era

Ex-Byrd Roger McGuinn in 1991 sang of the rise of mobile phones. One thing I love about this song is the conversation segment, which features Stan Ridgway and Kimmy Robertson, (Lucy from Twin Peaks!)

But my favorite phone song of all time is this country weeper from Conway & Loretta

Sunday, March 04, 2018


Sunday, March 4, 2018
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
F*!#in Up by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Sam the Homosapien by Mean Motor Scooter
Lizard Liars by Nobunny
You Can't Hide by The Electric Mess
Mystic Eyes by Them
Bottle of Wine by The Fireballs
The Last Cul de Sac by The Black Lips
Second House Now by The Fall
(Background Music: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf PArt 2 by Jimmy Smith)

Death on the Dial by Killer Hearts
Conception of the Blues by The Goon Mat & Lord Bernardo
Duct Tape Love by He Who Cannot Be Named
Bugs on My Back by Wild Evel & The Trashbones
Slowly Losing My Mind by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Don't Curse the Darkness by The Bonnevilles
This Dog is the King of Losers by Bee Bee Sea
(Background Music: Night Theme by James Williamson & Deniz Tek)

Don't Mess With My Mind by Stomachmouths
Rejection Hurts by Rattanson
King of the Beach by Wavves
Backstreet Girl by Social Distortion
Gudbuy T' Jane by Hickoids
Poor Poor Pitiful Me / I'll Sleep When I'm Dead by Warren Zevon
Ain't That Pretty at All by Pixies
(Background Music: Audrey's Dance by Xiu Xiu)

Just a Little Bit by Bobby King & Terry Evans
The Trip by Donovan
Fat Angel by Jefferson Airplane
Love Letters by Dex Romweber Duo
Down Where the Valleys are Low by Judee Sill
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, March 02, 2018


Friday, March 2, 2018
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
I Won't Go Huntin' With You, Jake (But I'll Go Chasin; Wimmin) by Jimmy Dean
Sweet Love on My Mind by Ray Condo & His Hard Rick Goners
King of Sleaze by Mojo Nixon
Pine Grove Blues by Mama Rosin
Diggy Liggy Lo by Doug & Rusty Kershaw
Honky Tonk Queen by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys
Out There a Ways by Waco Brothers
Truth or Dare by Salty Pajamas
Driftwood 40-23 by Hickoids
The Bottle Never Lets Me Down by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
I Will Stay With You by Emily Kaitz with Ray Wylie Hubbard
[Background Music: High Noon by Duane Eddie]

The Weald & The Wild by The Tillers
I Like the Way by The Imperial Rooster
Oklahoma Stars by Turnpike Troubadours
Go Ahead Baby by Jessica Lee Wilkes
Rain and Snow by J.D. Wilkes
San Antonio Stroll by Tanya Tucker
[Background Music: Gear Shiftin' by Pete Drake]

No No Joe by Hank Williams
Mr. Stalin, You're Eating Too High on the Hog by Arthur Smith
Stalin Kicked the Bucket by Johnny Dilks

Nitty Gritty by Southern Culture on the Skids
Gas Girl by The Bottle Rockets
The Wine Flowed Freely by Stonewall Jackson
Down the Mississippi by Dad Horse Experience
Snake Farm by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Hippies and Cowboys by Cody Jinks
Cocaine Blues by Dave Van Ronk
[Background Music: Beneath the Willow by Bashful Brother Oswald]

Ring of Fire by Steve Ortiz y Mas Tequila
Leave That Junk Alone by Johnny Cash
I'll Trade You Money for Wine by Robbie Fulks
Empty Bottle by Calamity Cubes
Say It's Not You by George Jones & Keith Richard
Seven Bridges Road by Mother Earth
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, March 01, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Country Stars Salute Joe Stalin

J. Stalin

Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, aka Josef Stalin, the Fearless Leader of the Soviet Union (technically the general secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR) for 30 years suffered a stroke on March 1, 1953. He never recovered. Just four dayslater, in the words of American country singer Ray Anderson, "Stalin kicked the bucket."

Apparently country singers, including a couple of America's best-known hillbilly stars, had a thing for Stalin, Here's a 1951 "tribute" from Roy Acuff:

A year before that, Hank Williams himself weighed in on the Stalin question. (Unfortunately, Hank died two months before Stalin did.)

Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith wasn't nearly as famous as Roy Acuff or Hank Williams, but with his band The Crackerjacks, he had a thing or two to say about Stalin in 1950.

But let's let Ray Anderson have the last word. Here's his 1953 novelty hit:

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Barrence Whitfield & The Savages and The Electric Mess

Once A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican   March 16, 2018 Once again, Barrence Whitfield and his savage band, The...