Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Sgt. Barry Sadler: Deep Cuts

 


When I think of songs about the Vietnam war, the first one that comes to my mind Country Joe & The Fish's "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag," However, for anyone who was out of diapers in 1966, the best know Vietnam song probably is  "The Ballad of the Green Berets" by Sgt. Barry Sadler (a New Mexico native, born in Carlsbad in 1940).  For some weird reason, Sgt. Barry's song got tons more commercial radio play than Country Joe's. 

Encyclopedia Brittanica says Sadler's patriotic song with the military beat and bugles "reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in late February [1966] and stayed there for five weeks, going on to sell more than nine million records. The album sold some two million copies and hit No.1 on Billboard’s best-selling albums chart in early April."

Though it was more corny than a field in Nebraska,  I believe part of the appeal of Sadler's song was that the singer knew what he was singing about. Unlike John Wayne, who later starred in a spectacularly bad movie called The Green Berets (the soundtrack of which used a choral arrangement of the song), Sadler was no poser. He was a real combat veteran, a medic with the Green Berets who was nearly lost a leg after he stepped on a punji stick booby trap the year before he became a recording star.

Look ma, no beret!

He released one other album in 1966 called The A-Team, then the next year he dropped the "Sgt." from his stage name and released another album, Back Home, in which he posed in civilian attire (with no beret!) and contained songs not dealing with warfare. 

But "Green Berets" was such a colossal hit, all of Sadler's subsequent musical efforts paled and failed in comparison. The public was quickly turning against the war and Sadler's songs that followed seemed like faint echoes of the one song of his we know.

After his music career stiffed, Sadler turned to writing. Starting in 1977, he wrote more than 30 adventure novels, most of which were part of a series called  Casca: The Eternal Mercenary. (Casca was the Roman soldier who speared Jesus on the cross. The Son of God wasn't amused, so he cursed Casca to live and fight wars until the Second Coming. (Other authors took over the series after Sadler died.)

Sadler's life became more troubled in the late '70s, as this 1989 Los Angeles Times story shows. He'd basically become a major lush and a womanizer. In 1978, while living in Nashville, Sadler shot and killed a wanna-be country singer named Lee Emerson Bellamy. The dead man was the ex-boyfriend of a woman with whom Sadler was having an affair. Bellamy allegedly was stalking and harassing the woman. 


During a confrontation in his girlfriend's apartment parking lot, Sadler shot Bellamy, who'd reached for his pocket. Sadler thought he was pulling a gun, but in reality he was reaching for his car key. Sadler pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to four to five years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. However, according to the Times, "The judge later reduced the sentence to 30 days with two years’ probation. Sadler got off after 22 days on good behavior."

After all, silver wings upon his chest ...

In the early '80s, Sadler moved to Central America, where he wrote some of his Casca books. He also allegedly got involved with mercenaries, ran guns and trained the Contras for Nicaragua's civil war. (The Times article says, "The people who claim to know Sadler best say he nurtured the mercenary image only to sell books."

Almost exactly 33 years ago, on September 7, 1988, Sadler was shot in the head in Guatemala City. According to Brittanica, "Witnesses and the police said he accidentally shot himself. Others claimed he was the victim of a robbery or assassination attempt." He was brought back to the U.S., where he died in November 1989.

Even though it's hard for people my age to have avoided "The Ballad of the Green Berets," only the most die-hard Sgt. Barry fans know the rest of his musical repertoir. His follow-up was a song called "The A-Team," which, disappointingly, has nothing to do with Mr. T. (And for reasons best known to RCA Records, was not on the album of the same name.)

Here's the B-Side of "The A-Team"


Sgt. Barry loved the women. He undoubtedly was thinking of some Hotlips Houlihan -- or several -- when he wrote this song. 


Here's another tear-jerker from the Sarge


Finally here's one of Sgt. Barry's non-military tunes


Sunday, September 12, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, September 12, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org


OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
The Show is Over by The Fleshtones
25th Floor by The Divine Horsemen
Far Away by Sleater-Kinney
Erased by Ty Segall
Long Way Down by The Ar-Kaics
Drug Me by ET Explore Me
Ode to a Mermaid by Robbie Quine
Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me by Mississippi John Hurt

Baron Samedi by The Dead Brothers
Marie LaVeau by Tete 
Walk on Gilded Splinters by Sonny & Cher 
Where the Wolf Bane Grows by The Nomads
Beware by The Warlocks
Lost Dead Island by Laino & The Bad Seeds
Heart Attack and Vine by Screain' Jay Hawkins
Natty Kicks Like Lightning by Dillinger

Get Your Damn Vaccine by Jim Terr
Jesus Was a Social Drinker by Chuck Prophet
On the Run by The Gories
So Long by Les Grys Grys
Action Woman by The Litter
Miss Luann by George Thorogood 
King of the New York Streets by Dion
Martin Scorsese by King Missile

How the Light Knows by Shinyribs
Pink Cadillac by Paul Bascomb 
I the Fly by Powell St. John
Goodbye Sweet Dreams by Roky Erickson & Okkervil River
Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends by Joan Osborne
Crossing Muddy Waters by John Hiatt
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Go to The Big Enchilada Podcast which has hours and hours of music like this. CLICK HERE

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Thursday, September 09, 2021

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday, Voodoo Queen


Tomorrow, September 10, is the birthday of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo queen of New Orleans, who was active for most of the 19th Century until her death in 1881. She would have been 220 years old today.

Happy birthday, Queen Marie!

Marie, born a "free woman of color" in New Orleans, started out as a hairdresser. She also served as a nurse, tending to patients during outbreaks of yellow fever and and cholera.

But she became far more famous for her side gig of selling sold magic potions and gris gris (pouches of  herbs, stones, grave dirt and other hoodoo material), telling fortunes and giving advice to spiritual seekers of all stripes.

Marie is said to have had followers among the wealthy elite as well as by poor people. Her funeral is said to have been attended by many prominent whites. And when she died in 1881, the New Orleans Time Picayune editorialized:

All in all Marie Laveau was a most wonderful woman. Doing good for the sake of doing good alone, she obtained no reward, oft times meeting with prejudice and loathing, she was nevertheless contented and did not lag in her work. She always had the cause of the people at heart and was with them in all things. ... While God's sunshine plays around the little tomb where her remains are buried, by the side of her second husband, and her sons and daughters, Marie Laveau's name will not be forgotten in New Orleans.

And, as you'll see below, she inspired many songs.

But first, here's one of my favorite personal shaggy dog stories (or maybe more appropriately a shaggy cat story) from my hitchhiking days.

I paid a visit to that "little tomb" where God's sunshine plays back when I was 21.

It was in the summer of 1975, on my second great hitchhiking adventure. I was going down to Birmingham, Alabama (by way of Arkansas and Kansas City)  to help my friend, Julie move her stuff back to Albuquerque. I decided to stop in New Orleans for a few days. 

There's an old superstition about going to the crypt of Marie and making a red X on the crypt with a brick. For good luck. So on my last day in town I decided to do that, just to get a little good hoodoo going for the last stretch of my trip.

Little Darrell Terrellk
Not the same black cat
So I found the cemetery where she's said to be entombed -- St. Louis Cemetery #1, though some have disputed that Marie actually rests there. There I went looking for her crypt. The rows and rows of big marble crypts all looked alike to me, so I just wandered around for several minutes trying to read the inscriptions on each one. It was very frustrating.

But then I saw the black cat. 

The dang thing literally crossed my path so I decided to follow it. Was he an emissary of Marie? I followed the cat who turned a sharp corner . As I turned I almost bumped into this very tall, thin Black man in some weird, red Sgt. Pepper-like uniform.

“May I help you, sir?” he said in some kind of accent that sounded Caribbean. 

I told him I was looking for the grave of Marie LaVeau. “Right this way,” he said and led me through the graveyard maze. I wondered whether this man might be an incarnation of Baron Samedi, Voodoo loa of the dead.

Whoever he was, he showed me the way to the white marble crypt covered with red Xs. On the ground, conveniently, were lots of pieces of red pieces of bricks. My guide disappeared before I made my X and asked Marie for her blessing for my travels. 

Despite some bumps in the road, I like to think that I've traveled with that blessing ever since. 

As I later wrote in my song "The Vagabond Treasure": 

“Every highway has a demon, and buddy, I’ve met some. / But there are angels who will answer when you’re prayin’ with your thumb …”

I tried to go back to St. Louis Cemetery #1 when I was in New Orleans nearly 40 years later in 2013.

But I didn't get there until a Sunday afternoon and the graveyard was closed. I was leaving town the next day, so I couldn't return to her tomb.

And apparently, a few weeks after that trip, some idiot vandal had spray-painted the crypt, coloring it pink. Shortly thereafte,r The Archdiocese of New Orleans closed St. Louis #1 to visitors except for paid guided tours. I didn't learn of this until I returned to New Orleans in 2019. I went back to the ceremon7 on a weekday during regular business hours. 

I decided against paying for a guided tours when I saw that the tour guide was neither the tall guy the Sgt. Peppers suit nor a black cat. 

But let's get on to the music.

This song, simply known as "Marie Laveau," was recorded in the early1950s by Papa Celestine's New Orleans Band.  It was later covered by Dr. John


There was a spate of Marie songs in the 1970s. Holy Modal Rounders celebrated "Voodoo Queen Marie" on their 1975 album Alleged in Their Own Time. The melody here is borrowed from the old fiddle song "Colored Aristocracy" 

Also in the '70s, the  Native American band, Redbone, helped spread the legend of  the "Witch Queen of New Orleans."



And even though it doesn't really have much to do with the historic Marie, Bobby Bare's "Marie LaVeau," written by Shel Silverstein, is a hoot.


Skipping ahead to the 21st Century, the Danish metal band Volbeat (not to be confused with the alt country band from Michigan, The Volebeats) showed that the legends of Marie have spread to Scandinavia. 


And in 2013,  Tété, a Senegalese expatriate living in France, did his own haunting tribute to Marie,



Marie's tomb much like I remember it
(From Wikimedia Commons)


Sunday, September 05, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, September 5, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Abigail Beecher by Freddy Cannon
Keep Movin' by Freddy Cannon & The Gears
Love by Country Joe & The Fish
No Makeup by Sloks
Forming by The Germs
Reog Doom by Arrington de Dionyso with Gal Lazer Shiloach
Time is Gonna Kill Me by The Devils
I Want to Be Your Love by Pan Ron
The Ballad of Forty Dollars by Jerry Lee Lewis

Wash My Bones by Hipbone Slim & The Knee-Tremblers
The Ape Who Loved by Pocket FishRMen
The FBI by The Control Freaks
Travolter by Control Freak
She's a Rainbow by The Barbarellatones 
In My Garden by Martha Fields
Twilight by Alice Howe
She Loves My Dog More Than Me by Freebo

Crash the Party by The A-Bones
Run Baby Run by Southern Culture on the Skids
Queen of Suffolk County by Dropkick Murphys
Funky Music Sho 'Nuff Turns Me On by Edwin Starr
Won't Let Fear In by Honshu Wolves
Walking Talking People by Roy & The Devil's Motorcycle
You Gotta Move by The William Loveday Intention
The Mouse by Soupy Sales

Right Track Now by Powell St. John with Roky Erickson
I'm Tired of Singing My Song in Las Vegas by The Everly Brothers
The Hula Hula Boys by Warren Zevon
Tell It Like It Is by Trish Toledo
Magic Mirror by Leon Russell
Tower of Song by Leonard Cohen
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Go to The Big Enchilada Podcast which has hours and hours of music like this. CLICK HERE

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Saturday, September 04, 2021

TWISTED GROOVE PLAYLIST






Saturday, September 4, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist:

Heavy Voodoo by Lee "Scratch" Perry
Love and Death by Ebo Taylor
Cosmic Serenade by King Khan & The Shrines
Sar Di Va by Cankisou
Prosto by Kazik & Zdunek Ensemble 
You've Got My Soul on Fire by Edwin Starr

Ronco Symphony by Stereolab
The Breather by M. Conn
The Particulate Black Soot on Sunset Boulevard by Gloop Nox & The Stik People
The Stranger in Town by John Trubee & The Ugly Janitors of America
Grease Paint and Monkey Brains by White Zombie
Dr. Terror's Chamber of Horrors by S.T. Mikael
Take Me to the Other Side by Spacemen 3

The Road Ahead by Pere Ubu
Smile by The Fall
Halleluhwah by Can

Birds of Fire by Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Forest of No Return by Sun Ra
Igba Alusi by Original Wings
Elysium by Portishead


Wednesday, September 01, 2021

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Village People Deep Cuts

 


Next only to The Banana Splits and possibly GWAR, The Village People are America's most beloved costume band. As Hillary Clinton would say, it takes The Village People to raise a child. (No, I never get tired of that joke.) 

Although this flamboyant disco ensemble hasn't had any hit songs since their late-'70s glory daze, their biggest hit, 1978's "YMCA" is known to practically everyone. Hell, they even play it at Trump rallies. To a lesser extent, VP songs like "Macho Man," "In the Navy" and "San Francisco" still ring a few bells in the national consciousness. 

But beyond those songs, practically all of The Village Peoples' joyous repertoire has sunk beneath our wisdom like a stone. But Hell's bells, the group produced five studio between 1977 and 1980, and a few more after that. So let's dive into the lesser-known material of this disco powerhouse, shall we?

Here the boys expressing their support for law-enforcement with a song called "Hot Cop."

On this one, the Villagers praise Fire Island. According to the website FireIsland.com, "A weekend on Fire Island gets you back to nature. With all the biking, hiking, swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, kayaking, and tennis, you can finally break free of that monotonous gym routine." And according to the testimony of one happy visitor,  it's the "Best place on earth! Grew up in Ocean Bay Park. Still remember crawling around in diapers ..."


They even shared a Bible story:


I've always liked this little gem, "My Roommate":


At the end of the Me Decade, the group asked an important question: Are you "Ready for the '80s"? Sadly, I don't think The Village People were.

It never got much radio play, but here is a latter-day Village People tune circa 1985, a song about a favorite hobby of millions, "Sex Over the Phone" (There's a new lead singer here: Ray Stephens, not to be confused with this guy):


Sunday, August 29, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, August 29, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Bo Diddley is Crazy by Bo Diddley
Soul Typecast by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Land of the Freak by King Khan & The Shrines
Nasty Boogie by Champion Jack Dupree
House of Blue Lights by George Thorogood
Jungle Love by Hipbone Slim & The Knee-Tremblers
Ex-Lax Superstars from Hell Vomiting in Ecstacy by Gloop Nox & The Stik People
I Got the Hots for Charlie Watts by The Exbats

Fired Up by Mo Tucker
Eye of the Hurricane by Half Japanese with Mo Tucker
Stoney Path by Divine Horsemen
Hot Summer by Prince
Blood by REQ'D
Four on the Floor by The Gears
Turn it On, Turn it On, Turn it On by Tom T. Hall
Powell St. John

RIP POWELL ST. JOHN 
All songs by PSJ except where noted

Living With the Animals by Mother Earth
Monkey Island by 13th Floor Elevators
Bye Bye Baby by Big Brother & The Holding Company
On My Way to Houston by Powell St. John & The Aliens 
You Don't Know How Young You Are by Sir Douglas Quintet
Marvel Group
Right Track Now by Gregg Turner Group
Synthetic Love by Cold Sun
I'll Be Moving On by Mother Earth

A Man and His Dog by Joe Ely
Soul Fire by Lee "Scratch" Perry
California Dreamin' by Eddie Hazel
The Collector by The Everly Brothers
That's How I Got to Memphis by Solomon Burke
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. CLICK HERE

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday, Moe Tucker


 On this day in 1944, a girl named Maureen Ann Tucker was born in Queens, New York. She grew up to become Moe Tucker, the drummer of weird little group called The Velvet Underground,  which didn't sell many records while they were together, but went on to become one of the most influential bands in rock history.

Tucker, who played standing up, is almost always described as a "minimalist" drummer and often a "primitivist." But besides her pounding, she also occasionally took the spotlight, contributing vocals to three Velvets songs. In contrast to main singer Lou Reed's snarl, Tucker's voice was sweet, girlish, almost shy. 

Reed wrote the song "After Hours," but he was quoted saying the tune was "so innocent and pure" that he couldn't possibly sing it. So Moe did:


Another Velvet song featuring Tucker's voice wasn't all that sweet and innocent. In fact Tucker sounds almost sinister here:


Moe's other Velvet Underground vocal number, "I'm Sticking With You," like "After Hours," sounds childlike and innocent, but more playful. And yet when you listen to the actual lyrics, you realize the song actually is darker than you might have thought: "You held up a stagecoach in the rain / And I’m doing the same / Saw you’re hanging from a tree / And I made believe it was me ..."


After the Velvets broke up, Moe released several solo albums. Here's a tune from the early '90s where she sounds like a precursor to the riot grrl movement. (Lou Reed's on guitar here.)


And here Moe sings "Eye of the Hurricane" with Jad Fair of Half Japanese. The song appeared on Half Japanese's 1993 album Fire in the Sky.


Finally, here's another song from Tucker's 1991 album I Spent a Week There the Other Night. She's backed here by ex-bandmates Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison, the first time those four recorded together since Cale left the Velvets more than 20 years before.


Happy birthday Ms. Tucker!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, August 22, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Money (That's What I Want) by Jerry Lee Lewis
Yes by Prince
Raspberry Beret by Hindu Love Gods
Living in the Heart of Love by The Rolling Stones 
Redhead Girl by Coyotes y Krotal
I'm Always Right by The Control Freaks
Castrati by PocketFishRmen
I Ain't Crying by The Darts
Great Big Kiss by Johnny Thunders

Tupelo Joe by Chuck E. Weiss
Long Way Down by The Ar-Kaics
You're the One I Idolise by CTMF
Lost Dead Island by Laino & The Bad Seeds
Messin' With the Kid by Junior Wells
Violet Crumble, Cherry Ripe by The Fleshtones
Graveyard by Dead Moon
See What You Cause by Cold Sun
Rock of Ages by Homer Henderson

Human Breakdown of Absurdity by Norm Burns
Little Rug Bug by NRBQ
Beat of the Traps by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
I Lost My Girl to an Argentinian Cowboy by (unknown)
Deaf Woman's Vagina by John Trubee & The Ugly Janitors of America
Gold Digger's Rag by San Antonio Kid

Dream Operator by Annie McEnroe with Talking Heads
J'entends Siffler le Train / 500 Miles by Martha Fields
Treasure of Love by The Flatlanders
Bowling Green by The Everly Brothers
That's How I Got to Memphis by Tom T. Hall
The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You by 13th Floor Elevators
Where I Fell by Robbie Fulks
Since I Don't Have You by The Skyliners
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. CLICK HERE

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

TWISTED GROOVE PLAYLIST






Saturday, August 21, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

Sharkey's Night by Laurie Anderson
Thunder by The Mekons
Welcome 2 America by Prince
Let the Devil In by TV on the Radio
Son of a Bitch's Brew by The Invertebrates
We're Laughing by The Psychedelic Aliens 

Funky Tonk by Miles Davis
Nebulae by Sun Ra

Bright New Day by John Trubee & The Ugly Janitors of America
A Real Indication by Xiu Xiu
Jack Paints it Red by The Thought Gang
Twisted Flower by Cold Sun
Organ Mission of Love by S.T. Mikael
Terraplane by Captain Beefheart 

Help Me Somebody by Brian Eno & David Byrne
Hunted by a Freak by Mogwai
There's No Such Thing as the Masses by Sue Ann Harkey
Flicking Cigarettes at the Sun by Pere Ubu


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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. CLICK HERE

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Song-Poem Cover Versions


It's been nearly six years since I blogged about the twisted world of song-poems on a Wacky Wednesday.

Well, friend, that's too long!

Today I'm going to feature some examples of actual musicians, some of whom you might have even heard of, who have covered some classic song poems. 

Their love is obvious.

But first, I know many of you who somehow missed my post in 2015 might be scratching your head, or other parts of your body wondering "What in tarnation is a `song-poem' ?"

Quoting again from the brilliant, if crazed, now out of print compilation called I'm Just the Other Woman, which I reviewed in The New Mexican back in 2001.

You've seen those ads in the back of supermarket tabloids, detective mags, movie rags and girlie books: “Song Poems Wanted. Your poems turned into songs by professional musicians. Send immediately for FREE evaluation ...

Of course, its a scam. It's been going on for years — a century by some reports. 

You send in your poem and the company sends you back a glowing evaluation. Your song has true hit potential. Now all you need to do is send in $100 (or whatever the going rate is these days) and your poem will be put to music and recorded in an actual recording studio by some of the nations top session musicians.

... Theres always the implication that this recording will be sent around to the top A&R people at major record companies. And of course you'll get a few copies of the record to show your friends; in fact some song-poem companies actually have put out compilations.

The liner notes also point out that "this sleazy little corner of the music industry has attracted a subculture of fans who collect and groove on the strangest and most unintentionally funny song-poems they can unearth."

Here I'll spotlight the work on some members of that subculture who have performed song-poems. And each of those tunes will be followed by the original.

Let's start with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's version of "Beat of the Traps," which appeared on their outtakes compilation Mo' Width.

Somehow Spencer's version sprang from this tune sung -- or shouted -- by the Pavarotti of the Song-Poem, Rodd Keith. The Allmusic review of Spencer's album said the Blues Explosion's take is "never as weird as the original, hard as it tries. "


Iconic iconoclast R. Stevie Moore included John Trubee's  "A Blind Man's Penis" (originally titled "Peace and Love") as part of a medley with a couple of other classic American songs.


Trubee, who for decades has created wild music, usually under the name "John Trubee & The Ugly Janitors of America" wrote the lyrics in the '70s as a young man (was a teenager at the time) and paid some fee for a song-poem company to write the melody and record it. The country-fried singer is Ramsey Kearney, a monster of song poem vocals. Here's the original that made us all fall in love:


Texas singer Gretchen Phillips made a few changes to one of the greatest song poems in human history. Note, despite the title listed for this video, the correct title is "Gretchen Phillips Says Yes."


And here's the original disco version, about an actual president, sung by the amazing Gene Marshall:


For more info on song poems, check out the American Song-Poem Music Archives (which is still up ut hasn't been updated in years.

Here is my 2015 song-poem blog post. Among the videos are the original "Little Rug Bug" by Rodd Keith and the heart-wrenching cover by NRBQ.

Also this documentary by Jamie Meltzer called Off the Charts is a must-see. I've got the DVD. You can watch it HERE.

And HERE is NPR's Scott Simon interviewing Gene Marshall and song-poem aficionado Phil Milstein


Sunday, August 15, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, August 15, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Baby Doll by The Del Moroccos 
Society by The Routes
Jezebel by Bernadette Seacrest 
Glam Racket by The Fall
Chaise Lougue by Wet Leg
Do You Understand by Sinister Six
Get Some Help by The Control Freaks
Ain't I'm A Dog by Ronnie Self
Not Me by The Orlons
Necrophiliac in Love by The Blood Drained Cows

World of Freaks by Harry Perry
It's a Hard World by The Seeds
Nude Sexuality in the Afternoon by John Trubee & The Ugly Janitors of America
Black Plague Blues by Figures of Light
Subliminal Fascism by Fishbone
Stop Breaking Down by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
What Do They Watch by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Golden Shower of Hits by The Circle Jerks

We Are Normal by Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Walking to You by Dinosaur Jr.
Waiting for the Bus by Violent Femmes
You're Crazy for Taking the Bus by Jonathan Richman
Own It, Bone It by The Barbaraellatones 
Fever by Bandemic
Where Were You by The Mekons
Murdered Out by Kim Gordon
Destroying Anything by Negativeland

Dynamite Woman by Dave Alvin
Veronica by Elvis Costello
Politicians In My Eyes by Black Pumas
You're a Prisoner by Death
Snowing in Raton by The Flatlanders
The Curtain Falls by Bobby Darin
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. CLICK HERE

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast CLICK HERE

Sunday, August 08, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, August 8, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Sinner Man / Hey Miss Lucy by Esquerita 
Face of the Screaming Werewolf by The Fleshtones
Oliver Plunkett's Head by Too Much Joy
President by ET Explore Me
Bad Dumplings by Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers
It's OK by Dead Moon
Fire in the Western World by The Dirtbombs
Many Whores Copulate for Money by John Trubee & The Ugly Janitors of America


One Tin Soldier by The Dick Nixons
Tiger Man by John Schooley
Baby You Crazy by Nick Curran & The Lowlifes
The Clown of the Town by Reverend Beat-Man
Wild Man by The Shadows of Knight
Treat Her Right by Los Straitjackets starring Mark Lindsey
Hit the Road Jack by The Cat
Crazy Mixed Up World by Ray Condo

Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo
Your Haunted Head by Concrete Blonde
Ain't Got a Worry by Roy & The Devil's Motorcycle
You Knock Me Out by The Tenants
Hot Biscuits and Sweet Marie by Lincoln Chase
Humans by Pocket FishRmen
Junior's Whoop by Junior Wells & The Aces

A Man and His Dog by Joe Ely
Give My Love to Rose by The Flatlanders
No Help Wanted by Dale Watson
Tangled Web by Harvey McLaughlin
Swing Low Sweet Chariot by Homer Henderson
Vampire by Bernadette Seacrest
Give Me Wine or Money by The Mekons
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Thursday, August 05, 2021

THROWBACK THURSDAY: American Bandstand Memories

 


On August 5, 1957 -- which wasn't long before I turned four years old -- the ABC network debuted an afternoon teenage dance show hosted by a clean-cut guy from Philadelphia named Dick Clark.

Known as "America's Oldest Teenager," Clark had been with the show's precursor, "Bandstand," which aired on local TV in Philadelphia. (WFIL, now WPVI). The original show had been around since 1952. Clark came aboard in 1956. When ABC asked local affiliates for suggestions for a an afternoon show, Clark lobbied for "Bandstand" to go national.

According to Clark's obituary (he died in 2012 at the age of 82) in the Los Angeles Times, "Clark and “American Bandstand” not only gave young fans what they wanted, it gave their parents a measure of assurance that this new music craze was not as scruffy or as scary as they feared. Buttoned-down and always upbeat, polite and polished, Clark came across more like an articulate graduate student than a carnival barker."

That obit discusses that first national show:

"...from the no-frills Studio B of WFIL-TV on Market Street in Philadelphia, Clark greeted a national television audience for the first time with the backdrop of a faux record store, a concrete floor and crowd of giddy teens in clean-cut mode: Ties for boys, no slacks for girls and no gum chewing were the rules from the first day."

Indeed Clark's innate square demeanor made for a pretty weird show. Most of the time American Bandstand  simply played current hits and showed teenagers dancing. The guest artists who came to th studio never played live. They just lip-synched.

Clark used “Bandstand” as a springboard for various business schemes. He became an artist manager, a music publisher and had his fingers in record-pressing plants as well as a distribution business. America's Oldest Teenager had partial rights to more than 100 songs and, according to the Los Angeles Times, "had his name on the financial paperwork of more than 30 music-related businesses." 

Those wheelings and dealings led him to testify before Congress during the payola scandal in 1960. Though he testified that he never accepted any money to play records on the show, ABC made him sell off his business holdings that some saw as conflicts of interest.

Here are some videos of American Bandstand through the years:

Here's Jackie Wilson. According to the Internet Movie Data Base, Jackie appeared on Bandstand five times between 1957 and 1965. "Lonely Teardrops" was released in 1958, so I expect this clip was from one of his two appearances on the show that year.


I'm thinking the following clip might just be the only Andre Williams song ever to be played on Bandstand. This version is by James & Bobby Purify (which was the first version I ever heard.) I also like Dick Clark's Dr. Pepper commercial that introduces it, though I wonder if the "Proud Crowd" he mentions was a precursor of the Proud Boys.


Dick Clark, as he shows in this 1967 interview with The Jefferson Airplane, was in tune with the far-out youth of the Swingin' '60s. He asks bassist Jack Cassidy a very insightful question: "If you gave $100,000 to a hippie ..."


American Bandstand lasted until 1989. At the beginning of that decade, he had a 19-year-old Prince on the show:


Also in 1980, there was something Rotten on Bandstand.


But one group you never heard on American Bandstand was The Tandoori Knights (King Khan & Bloodshot Bill, who wouldn't be around until about 20 years after Clark's show went off the air.) Here is the Tandooris' lament about that fact:


Sunday, August 01, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, August 1, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
La Grange by ZZ Top
Nothing's Easy But You and Me by The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
To Sing The Blues You Gotta Be Blue by The William Loveday Intention
Roadrunner by Bo Diddley
Hairy Lula by Hipbone Slim & The Knee-Tremblers
Commuter by Danger Cutterhead
Bayou Fever by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Lipstick Vogue by Elvis Costello
Total Destruction of Your Mind by Swamp Dogg

Chemtrailer Trash by Churchwood
60 Pound Mall Rat by Sicko
Electric Pussycat Lounge by Robbie Quine
Sick to the Bone by Laino & The Broken Seeds
Te Puebes Quemar by Rolando Bruno
Weaver Wear by Quintron & Miss Pussycat
Make it Up by Reigning Sound
Devil Whistle, Don't Sing by The Devils with Mark Lanegan

Vicious Pygmy by John Trubee & The Ugly Janitors of America
The Salt Mines of Zanzibar by Gloop Nox & The Stik People
Never Been by Degurutieni
Betty by Johnny Dowd
Mausoleum by Manic Street Preachers
Amorous by Brides of Funkenstein
America the Beautiful by Bobby Rush & The Curb Collective

Civil War by Pocket FishRmen
Another Drunken Sailor Song by Chuck E. Weiss
Lavada's Lounge by Martha Fields
High Shelf Booze by Eilen Jewell
Satin Shoes by The Flatlanders
Everything Grows in Her Garden by Southern Culture on the Skids
Muriel by Eleni Mandell
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. CLICK HERE

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Happy Birthday Weird Frank Yankovic


 Today is the birthday of a famous accordion player named Yankovic. 

No, I'm not talking about Weird Al. I'm talking about "America's Polka King," Frankie Yankovic, who was born on this day in 1915 in Davis, West Virginia, where his parents worked in a lumber camp.

The Yankovic family moved to Cleveland when Frankie was but a small lad. There he became immersed in Slovenian-style polka. According to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune:

After learning to play button accordion from one of the Slovenian boarders in his parents' Cleveland home, Mr. Yankovic got a squeezebox of his own as a teenager and made a name for himself in the region by his early 20s.

In 1943, he left to fight in World War II, where he served in the 1st Infantry Division at the Battle of the Bulge. The battle proved nearly fatal for Mr. Yankovic and his musical career when he emerged with frost-bitten hands and feet.

"It was a dreadful experience," he said in a 1995 interview. "My limbs were frozen. In Oxford, England, the doctors said they were going to have to amputate my hands and legs. I told them, `No way. I'd rather die.' What good would I be, an accordionist, with no fingers?

"But you know what happened? The gangrene started going away; it started clearing up. Then the doctors told me there was an accordion in the hospital that I could try practicing on, if I wanted to. So that became my therapy."

Frankie died in 1998 at the age of 83

Here is "Just Because," Frankie's first national hit. Elvis Presley recorded this song during his Sun Records period. But Frankie first released it in 1948. (Actually it goes back to the late 1920s when a band called Nelstone's Hawaiians recorded it.)

Here's one called "Tick Tock Polka":

Frankie sings "Julida Polka":


And no, Frankie was not related to Weird Al -- though the parodist has often joked that his parents bought him an accordion as a child because "there should be at least one more accordion-playing Yankovic in the world." The two famous Yankovics combined forces in 1986:

I'm not sure what this video is, but the song is a polka classic by Frankie Yankovic

Sunday, July 25, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, July 25, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Steppin' Out by Paul Revere & The Raiders
Manpower Debut by The Fleshtones
Ain't That Lovin' You Baby by Link Wray
Negativity No by Pocket FishRmen
I Saw The Smokestack Fall by Hipbone Slim & The Knee-Tremblers
Sally Go 'Round the Roses by Question Mark & The Mysterians
96 Tears by Big Maybelle
Psychotic Reaction by Brenton Wood
Dirty Water by Dropkick Murphys
High Shelf Mama by Martha Fields

Drag Queens on Choppers by The Barbarellatones
Night of the Vampire by Ty Segall
You're Crazy for Taking the Bus by Jonathan Richman
Just Around the Bend by Too Much Joy
Distemper by The Ar-Kaics
Singing the Blues Around Booze by Laino & The Broken Seeds
Listening to Gospel Music on the Radio by The Moonlight 5
You Can Count on Me by Sammy Davis Jr.


RIP CHUCK E. WEISS
All songs by Chuck except where noted

Jolie's Nightmare (Mr. House Dick)
Hey Pendejo
Do You Know What I Idi Amin (with Tom Waits)
Chuck E's in Love by Rickie Lee Jones
Piccolo Pete
Spare Parts (A Nocturnal Emission) by Tom Waits
Luigi's Starlite Lounge

Mama Does the Kangaroo by The Flatlanders
Daddy Was a Preacher But Mama Was a Go-Go Girl by Southern Culture on the Skids
Theme from a Summer Place byRoss Johnson
Just Like a Woman by Richie Havens
I'm Going Home by Slackeye Slim
Time by Pozo Seco Singers
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. CLICK HERE

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

THROWBACK THURSDAY: From Sea to Shining Sea

 


On this day in 1893, an English professor at Colorado College sat down and wrote a song about purple mountains, amber waves of grain, spacious skies and shining seas.

And thus did Katharine Lee Bates become a one-hit wonder -- though that one hit, "America the Beautiful," was a doozy. 

Bates, a Massachusetts native born in 1859, never got as famous as Francis Scott Key. But I'm not alone when I say I like her song better.

From the Colorado Virtual Library:

Katharine Lee Bates only spent one summer living in Colorado, but that year she wrote the words to one of the United States’ most famous patriotic songs, “America the Beautiful.” At the time she wrote the song, in 1893, she was living in Colorado Springs teaching English at Colorado College. The words, particularly the phrase “purple mountain majesty,” are said to have been inspired by Bates’ stay in Colorado.

Unless she was thinking of the majestic purple mountains of Massachusetts.

Actually, according to her page at the Songwriters Hall of Fame website, it was one purple mountain in particular that inspired bates to write to the song. It quotes an interview with Bates:

 "It was then and there, as I was looking out over the sea-like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind. When we left Colorado Springs the four stanzas were penciled in my notebook, together with other memoranda, in verse and prose, of the trip. The Wellesley work soon absorbed time and attention again, the notebook was laid aside, and I do not remember paying heed to these verses until the second summer following, when I copied them out and sent them to The Congregationalist, where they first appeared in print July 4, 1895. The hymn attracted an unexpected amount of attention. It was almost at once set to music by Silas G. Pratt. Other tunes were written for the words and so many requests came to me, with still increasing frequency, that in 1904 I rewrote it, trying to make the phraseology more simple and direct."

"America the Beautiful" in its early days was sung to the tunes of several existing melodies. But the one that stuck was a song by one Samuel A. Ward, a "hymn-tune 'Materna,' previously known as 'O Mother Dear Jerusalem,' which was written in 1888."

No, she wasn't Norman Bates' mom

Bates had graduated in 1880 from Wellesley College in her home state. That was a time in which very few colleges in this great nation were open to women. She later taught at Wellesley.

And though she's best known for this song, Bates also published several books, including books of poetry children's literature. She worked as a New York Times reporter covering the Spanish-American War. She crusaded for various social reforms on behalf of women, immigrants and poor people and worked for attempts to establish the League of Nations, which she told the New York Times was "our one hope of peace on earth."

Bates died in 1929.

I have personal experience with "America the Beautiful." One night back in the early 1980s I was onstage at The Forge performing my regular tacky tunes when I was joined onstage by one of my favorite songwriters Butch Hancock. And guess what song we sang. If I remember correctly we did the first verse, which everybody knows, as well as the verse that begins "O beautiful for pilgrim feet, Whose stern, impassioned stress ..."

It wasn't some random event. I'd met Butch a couple of times before through our mutual friend, artist Paul Milosevich. Both Butch and country star Tom T. Hall were in town for one of Paul's art openings that afternoon and both had come to hear me at The Forge. 

I wish someone would have recorded that duet with Butch. (And I wish Tom T. would have joined us on the stage.)

So let's see how others have covered "America the Beautiful.

Most of us grew up with versions like this one:


However, I like a less pomp and a lot more soul. Ray Charles in the early '70s made it grand without being grandiose.  (The Sunday morning gospel show on WWOZ in New Orleans usually ends the show with Ray's recording of this.)

Here's a blusier, funkier version by Bobby Rush (with the Curb Collective and Eddie Cotton

And The Dictators put some rock 'n' roll into the song

Anyway, have a great Throwback Thursday and may God shed his grace on thee.


For more deep dives into songs, check out The Stephen W. Terrell Web Log Songbook

Sunday, July 18, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, July 18, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Busload of Faith by Lou Reed
Headin' for the Texas Border by The Flamin' Groovies
Smash the Fascists by Pocket FishRmen
Gila Monster by The Barbarellatones
The World's a Mess It's In My Kiss by X
Backstreet Girl. by Social Distortion
Ode to a Black Man by The Dirtbombs
The Glory of Love by Joseph Spence

Drunk Stripper by Bob Log III
Hush by The Plimsouls
Aloha Steve and Danno by Radio Birdman
You Can Count on Me by Los Straitjackets with Deke Dickerson
Love is All Around by Joan Jett
Eight Miles High by Husker Du
No Guilt by The Waitresses
Ain't That Lovin' You Babe by The Devils
Sick and Tired by The Ar-Kaics

Roky Erickson Tribute
(All Songs by Roky Unless Noted)

I Think of Demons
Crazy Crazy Mama
White Faces by Blood-Drained Cows
Bumble Bee Zombie
You're Gonna Miss Me by Lucinda Williams
I Met Roky Erickson by Jad Fair & Daniel Johnston
Don't Shake Me, Lucifer
Bermuda
I Have Always Been Here Before by Hickoids
Don't Slander Me by Lou Ann Barton
Creature with the Atom Brain by Quintron & Miss Pussycat
Red Temple Prayer (Two-Headed Dog) by Margo Price
I Walked With the Zombie

Perfidia by Jon Rauhouse with Sally Timms
My Shit's Fucked Up by Kinky Friedman
Keep Me in Your Heart by Warren Zevon
Lonesome Susie by The Band
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. CLICK HERE

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Happy Birthday and a Hound Dog Howdy to William Hanna

 


Today would have been the 111th birthday of William Hanna, who, with partner Joseph Barbera, was part of an animation team that produced some of the most memorable cartoon characters of my childhood. And he was born in what was then New Mexico Territory in the town of Melrose.

Hanna died in 2001 at the age of 90 (while Barbera died in 2006 at the age of 95.) How did they live so long? Maybe a steady diet of pic-a-nic baskets, Boo Boo!

It's true, as was the case of a lot of cartoons of their era, that the Hanna-Barbera cartoons suffered from poor quality, especially compared with the Disney, Warner Brothers and Fleischer cartoons of preceding decades.

But as I said above, so many of the characters Hanna and Barbera created are immortal. And many of  their theme songs still are stuck in my skull.

Here are a few of those, starting with ol' Huck:

Here's one greater than the average theme song


Ya like westerns?

Here's a song my cat, Little Darrell Terrell loves the best, though he insists that he's the top cat around here:


And finally, this one probably is the best known Hanna-Barbera theme. I can't help myself but I'm using the B-52s' version, which was used in that horrible live-action Flintstones movie from the '90s. They were a band that never was afraid of being cartoonish:


Have a Yabba Dabba Doo birthday in the Great Beyond, Mr. Hanna!



Sunday, July 11, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, July 11, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
You Made It Weird by Quintron & Miss Pussycat
The Corner Man by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
My Heart Aches (Not Because of Love or Any Other Stupid Thing, I Should See a Doctor) by Nots
Saving Nothing by Imperial Wax
This Train by The Hormonauts
Lucky Chicken Foot by The Tenants
Call the Police by The Oblivians
A Little More Time by Reigning Sound
Almost Nearly Nancy by The Hickoids

Surf City by The Black Angels
Toe Cutter, Thumb Buster by Thee Oh Sees
Vault by Sleeve Cannon
Meeting of the Spirits by The Mahavishnu Orchestra
High Noon in Killville by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies



Cool and Dark Inside by Kell Robertson
Julie's Neon Shoes by Blonde Boy Grunt & The Groans
Go on Home by Jason Ecklund, Mike Good & Tom Irwin
Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee by Kell Robertson

Wine Blues (Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee) by Sticks McGee & His Buddies
Drinkin' Wine Spodyody by Pere Ubu
Walking to You by Dinosaur Jr.
Nancy Sinatra by Johnny Dowd
Sleep Thinkers by Laino & The Broken Seeds

I Saw by San Antonio Kid
No Tellin' When by The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Hillbilly Babylon by Martha Fields
Man About Town by Tony Gilyson
Drink to Me, Babe, Then by A.C. Newman
Cast No Shadows by The Mekons
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. CLICK HERE

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Thursday, July 08, 2021

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Pass That Bottle to Me

 


Granville Henry McGhee, nicknamed "Stick" or sometimes "Sticks," was in the Army when he heard what Allmusic describes as "a ribald military chant" about the joys of getting drunk off the fruit of the vine. This tune allegedly had a refrain that went  “Drinkin' wine motherfucker, drinkin' wine, goddamn!"  

But Stick, who was the younger brother of bluesman Brownie McGhee, decided to make it more radio friendly and instead of singing "motherfucker," he substituted a nonsense phrase from an older song -- a wonderful example of creative bowdlerization.

McGhee first recorded "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" in 1947 for the Harlem label. But the song didn't become a hit until 1949 when McGhee signed with Atlantic Records and re-recorded it in 1949. In that second version, McGhee moved the wino action from St. Petersburg to New Orleans.

Here's the original 1947 " 'Petersburg" version credited to "Stick McGhee & His Buddy." (The '49 version was credited to Stick McGhee & His Buddies.")

The mysterious phrase "spo-dee-o-dee" came from a song by that name by Lovin' Sam Theard, a former circus worker from New Orleans who wrote or co-wrote songs including "(I'll Be Glad When You're Dead) You Rascal You" and the Louis Jordan hit "Let The Good Times Roll."   

Not much here in the way of vino in this Theard song, but it's got a similar spirit of wild abandonment as McGhee's tune. (Later Theard would record and perform under the name "Spo-Dee-O-Dee.")


Following McGhee's hit in 1949, several big names recorded the song that same year. It was a natural for jump-blues shaman Wynonie Harris:

Also in 1949, Lionel Hampton brought some good vibes (I sincerely apologize for that) to "Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee":

Besides jazz and R&B artists, the rockabillies became big promotors of the Spo-Dee-O-Dee drink. Here's Johnny Burnette's take:


And here's a guy named Jerry Lee Lewis. I got my first belt of wine spo-dee-o-dee back in the early '70s, with the version the Killer cut with a bevy of British rock stars. But he'd recorded the song before, on his 1966 album Memphis Beat.

One of my favorite latter-day versions is an acoustic version by British folk-rocker Richard Thompson:


Here's where things start getting weird.

Pere Ubu took Spo Dee O Dee to strange galaxies. (Actually, as Ubu fans know, the group is notorious for slapping well-known song titles onto bizarre and seemingly unrelated original songs.)

It's likely that many traditionalists consider Ubu's song to be blasphemous. But come on, you wanna hear some blasphemy? Let me introduce you to a guy named Pat Boone ...

So have some fun, spo-de-o-dee!

For more deep dives into songs, check out The Stephen W. Terrell Web Log Songbook


Sgt. Barry Sadler: Deep Cuts

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