Monday, February 28, 2005


Sunday, February 27, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Act Naturally by Buck Owens with Ringo Starr
Celluloid Heroes by The Kinks
New Age by The Velvet Underground
My Beloved Movie Star by Stan Ridgway
Everyone's Gone to the Movies by Steely Dan
Burn, Hollywood, Burn by Public Enemy with Ice Cube and Big Daddy Kane
No Business Like Show Business by Ethel Merman

You're a Whole Different Person When You're Scared by Warren Zevon
White Rabbit by The Jefferson Airplane
Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles
Hothead by Captain Beefheart
Sinister Exaggerator by The Residents
Worlds Apart by ...and You Will Know Us by The Trail of Dead
It's a Gas by Alfred E. Newman

Jesus Will Fix It For You by Sonny Treadway
Father In Jesus' Name by Aubrey Ghent
The March by Robert Randolph
Hollering by Rev. Craig Pringle with The Campbell Brothers
If I Couldn't Say a Word by Lamar Nelson
I Need Thee by Rayfield "Ray Ray" Holloman

Movies Are a Mother to Me by Loudon Wainwright III
Confusion Illusion by Eddie Turner
Lone Wolf by The Eels
Hunted by Freaks by Mogwai
Hospital Window by Ana da Silva
Fairytale in the Supermarket by The Raincoats
Manitoba by Frank Black & The Catholics
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Friday, February 25, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
I Ain't Living Long Like This by Waylon Jennings
Bad News by Johnny Cash
Gallo de Cielo by Joe Ely
Dirty Drawers by Vassar Clements with Elvin Bishop
Hogtied Over You by Billy Bacon & The Forbidden Pigs with Candye Kane
18 Wheels of Love by Drive By Truckers

Valentino's Dream by Ronny Elliott
Pardon Me, I've Someone to Kill by Lonesome Bob
Dirty Little Secret by Elizabeth McQueen & The Firebrands
Mr. and Mrs. Used to Be by Ernest Tubb & Loretta Lynn
Sober and Stupid by Fortytwenty
All Over Again by Susie Salley
Love Rollercoaster by Cornell Hurd
Empty House, Dawn and Twilight by Rex Hobart & The Misery Boys
Endless Sleep by Jody Reynolds

Zuni Mountain Ramble by Raising Cane
Footprints in the Snow by Bill Monroe
Old Rattler by Grandpa Jones
Chicago by Ramsay Midwood
Ode to Billy Joe by Bobbie Gentry
Walk Through the Fire by Mary Gauthier
There Stands the Glass by Jack Neal
Port of Amsterdam by Dave Van Ronk

Over Yonder by Steve Earle
Sing Me Back Home by Edith Frost
Here Comes a Regular by Nathan Hamilton
Pyramid of Tears by Alejandro Escovedo
On the Banks of the Rio Grande by Blind James
One of the Unsatisfied by Lacy J. Dalton
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 25, 2005


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 25, 2005

I’ve said it before. If any church around here played music as exhilarating and wonderful as that found on the album Sacred Steel Instrumentals, I’d go to church. It’s loud, lively, sometimes heart-breaking, sometimes crazy -- and I can’t imagine anyone sitting quietly in their pews while it’s being played. It’s rock ‘n’ roll in everything but name.

Fortunately for me, there are no House of God congregations in Santa Fe, so I’m off the hook.

The House of God, for those who have not been touched by the spirit of sacred steel, is an African- American Pentecostal denomination where the music originated in the 1930s.

Florida is where some of the most revered sacred steel players come from -- though probably the best known, Robert Randolph, learned to play steel guitar at a House of God church in New Jersey.

The steel guitar -- yes that wonderful instrument that puts the cry in the best cry-in-your-beer country songs -- is the main instrument of sacred steel. The old-fashioned lap steel, then later the amplified pedal steel became popular in House of God congregations that couldn’t afford an organ or piano.

Like some arcane religious mystery, sacred steel stayed a virtual House of God secret for some 60 years, unknown to most to most of the outside world until about 10 years when Arhoolie Records began releasing sacred steel albums.

This record is a compilation featuring cuts from previous Arhoolie compilations and CDs by noted masters like The Campbell Brothers, Aubrey Ghent and Sonny Treadway.

I have the feeling that Arhoolie compiled this one with the neophyte in mind. Thus there are many familiar titles among the selections -- “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” (performed here by Ghent) “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” (by Lonnie “Big Ben” Bennett) “When the Saints Go Marching In” (by Willie Eason), “Down by the Riverside” (done by The Campbell Brothers as part of a medley.)

But even these are well-worn tunes, these guys play them as if they were fresh revelations. If you haven’t heard sacred steel before, you’ll be amazed at the power still in them.

Though I love the wild hip-shakin’ songs, some of my favorite ones here are slow and meditative. That’s the case with “End of My Journey” by The Campbell Brothers.

Meanwhile, Robert Randolph’s “Without God” starts off that way, but nearly four minutes into it, he and the band erupt into a righteous frenzy. (Randolph walks in two musical worlds -- his sacred steel church music and his rocking “secular steel,” which has become a hit with the jam-band crowd.)

So much contemporary gospel music is just as overproduced, stale and bloodless as hot new country or lite jazz. Sacred steel, by contrast is rootsy, soulful and live. And one healthy sign is that while some of the sacred-steel icons are getting up in age, others, like Randolph, Rayfield “Ray Ray” Holloman and Lamar Nelson, are in their early 20s. (Holloman was 16 when he recorded “I Need Thee,” included here.)

I just hope Arhoolie keeps it up, making sure there’s plenty of new sacred steel available.

Also Recommended:

*Livin’ With the Blues
by Vassar Clements. Although the fiddle was an integral part of jug bands and string bands that were early manifestations of what we now call “blues,” the instrument has been rare in blues as we‘ve known it for the past 50 years or more. With but a few exceptions -- Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Papa John Creach --you just don’t here the fiddle in blues.

But that didn’t stop veteran fiddler Clements from putting together a classy album of blues-based material.

It’s not surprising that he would record a blues album. Clements, who started out more than 50 years ago with Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, long ago slipped the surly bonds of bluegrass. He’s used the phrase “hillbilly jazz” in a couple of albums and called another one Backporch Swing.

And longtime Clements fans know that the blues seeped into his bow years ago. Listen to his playing on The Grateful Dead‘s “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo” or on “Trail of the Buffalo” with the hippie-grass super group Old and In the Way.

So Clements sounds right at home on this new album collaborating with the likes of Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Norton Buffalo and Roy Rogers playing songs by Skip James, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson and Tampa Red.

Almost all the instruments here are acoustic. The credits make special note that Rogers plays an “amplified Martin guitar” on “Phonograph Blues.”

But it’s not just country blues covered here. The material ranges from the New Orleans style of “Mambo Boogie” (Dave Matthews -- no not that Dave Matthews plays piano) to a hillbilly-soul cover of Booker T’s signature “Green Onions,” featuring Musselwhite on harmonica.

Some of favorites here are the ones sung by Muldaur, whose voice has only gotten richer since her early ‘70s “Midnight at the Oasis” heyday. She belts out “Honey Babe Blues” and one called “I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle.”

Then there’s the contributions of Bishop, who rose to fame in the ’70s with songs like “Stealin’ Watermelons” and “Struttin’ My Stuff.“ In case you’d forgotten how much fun Bishop is, check out “Dirty Drawers” and the cool funky “That’s My Thing” from this record.

*Rise by Eddie Turner. Fans of bluesman Otis Taylor should be familiar with Turner's psychedelic guitar. Turner along with bassist Kenny Passarelli, formed the backbone of Taylor’s band on all his albums.

All but the last one, that is. For reasons of which I’m not sure, Taylor didn’t use his longtime sidemen for last year’s Double V. And as far as I’m concerned, the album suffered for it.

But Turner and Passarelli are together on Turner’s new solo album.

This album is crawling with Santa Fe musicians. It’s produced by Passarelli (a longtime Santa Fe resident, who also plays bass and keyboards), Mark Clark plays drums, Alex Maryol makes a guest appearance. And the whole shebang was recorded at Stepbridge Studios.

Rise doesn’t rise to the intensity of Turner’s best work with Taylor. Turner’s an amazing picker, but he’s no match for Otis as a lyricist or singer.

Still, the album is a worthy. Turner and crew take their music seriously and the result is truly innovative blues.

Some of my favorites here are instrumentals. “Resurrection,” for instance, features Turner dueling with himself, slide guitar vs. electric guitar. It almost could be described as a shorter, more downhome version of Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain.”

“The River” is a guitar boogie featuring Turner and Maryol that through the magic of tape loops keeps adding more layers.

Other notable tunes are “Confusion Illusion,” the closest thing here to a protest song (and Passarelli plays a mean, jazzy organ here) and “Sin” which could almost be described as a psychedelic spiritual. It’s almost a capella, except the guitar and organ rumbling in the background.

And speaking of psychedelic, Turner just might have saved his best for the last here with “Secret.” With revved-up, trip hoppy percussion ghostly vocal parts fade in and out.

The free world really didn’t really need another cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary.” And the same thing could be said of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Gangster of Love,” except that Turner’s take on it is such a good-time rollick, it’s worth it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


“When a jackrabbit gets addicted to road running, it is only a matter of time before he gets smashed -- and when a journalist turns into a politics junkie he will sooner or later start raving and babbling in print about things that only a person who has Been There can possibly understand.”

-- Hunter S. Thompson from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72.

1972 was a major year in my personal political development.

It was the year of my first anti-war demonstration at the University of New Mexico — an adrenalin-charged and tear gas-soaked week that still gets me riled and antsy.

It was the first year in which people between the ages of 18 and 20 were legally eligible to vote. I was 19 and I voted as part of that youth vote that some — wrongly — predicted would be huge enough to oust Richard Nixon.

And one thing that helped make the year bearable were the regular mondo gonzo campaign dispatches from Hunter Thompson published in Rolling Stone.

Thompson’s bad-craziness exit this week prompted me to pick up my well-worn first edition paperback (price tag: $1.75) of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72, which I‘ve always thought to be his greatest work, despite the greater infamy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Reading all the praise and final respects for Thompson from mainstream press folk around the country struck me as ironic. Though Thompson had plenty of friends among non-gonzo journalists, he didn’t think much of the establishment political press.

“The most consistent and ultimately damaging failure of political journalism in America has its roots in the clubby/cocktail personal relationships that inevitably develop between politicians and journalists — in Washington or anywhere else they meet on a day-to-day basis,” Thompson wrote in the introduction of Campaign Trail. “When professional antagonists become after-hours drinking buddies, they are not likely to turn each other in … especially for the `minor infractions of rules that neither side takes seriously; and on the rare occasions when Minor infractions suddenly become Major, there is panic on both ends.”

Many of us envied Thompson’s fearlessness and reckless freedom shown in Campaign Trail. Who among us doesn’t fantasize about blurting out — in print — pejoratives like “evil swine,” or “treacherous geek” or “corrupt old ward-heeler” when describing some of the politicos we cover? (Note to politicos: You know who you are.)

But while many of us admired Thompson, few, if any, actually emulate him either in writing or antics. Here in New Mexico some of our judges come a lot closer to Hunter Thompson than our journalists.

The ‘72 race was Thompson‘s high-water mark for political writing. His subsequent stabs at writing about presidential campaigns seemed half-hearted and weary.

I remember trying to trudge through his late ‘80s book Generation of Swine, a collection of his columns about national politics. His observations there seemed like warmed-over conventional wisdom spiced up with familiar Thompsonisms like “money-sucking animals,” and “greed-crazed lunatics.”

Some believe Thompson by the end had become a sad parody of himself. Many believe his legendary drug and booze intake eventually fried his spirit and diminished his talent.

But for one glorious stretch 35 years ago, Thompson single-handedly cut through the crap of politics and journalism, revealed disturbing truths and made his work seem like twisted fun. For that he should be honored.

Remembering Campaign ‘72: New Mexico voted for Nixon over Democrat George McGovern — as did every state but Massachusetts.

But there was weirdness in the air earlier that year. In the June primary there were enough renegade Republicans here who voted for Paul McCloskey — an anti-war congressman from California — that New Mexico sent the only delegate to that year’s Republican convention who didn’t vote for Nixon. (That was Tom Mayer, an author from EspaƱola who taught creative writing at The University of New Mexico.)

The most surreal political event I attended that year — not counting the war demonstrations — was an Albuquerque airport rally for Democratic vice presidential candidate Sargent Shriver. The main draw wasn’t Shriver but singer Richie Havens, who explained to the crowd that he personally didn’t intend to vote because he refused to give control of his life to anyone. Not the message the organizers wanted.

At the rally, then-Gov. Bruce King urged the crowd to “knock on doorbells for George McGovern.” The cowboy governor then introduced actor Dennis Hopper, who read Rudyard Kipling’s poem If.

Ring of Fred: Thumbing through Campaign Trail '72, I found a Thompson reference to New Mexico political figure — Fred Harris, a former state Democratic chair who then was a U.S. senator from Oklahoma. Describing a press conference to announce the formation of a National Youth Caucus, Thompson wrote, “Harris didn’t say much; he just sat there looking like Johnny Cash …”

Monday, February 21, 2005


I just learned that Hunter Thompson killed himself. CLICK HERE

He hadn't written a great book since 1972 and probably hadn't uttered a coherent sentence in 20 years.

But this hurts.

I tried to read some book of political columns by him back in the '80s but found it sadly boring. Not very funny and even less insightful. Thompson had set the standard years before, but he never met it again.

I remember seeing him on Letterman about that time in the late 80s. He was drunk and mumbling and wasn't even funny. I felt sorry for him. Of course, I was drunk and probably mumbling myself that night. Maybe I was looking in a mirror.

When I was a student teacher back in 1976, a girl in my English class asked me if I could recommend a "book about drugs." She was a very straight, clean-cut kid and very sincere. The little devil on my shoulder whispered in my ear. I loaned her my dog-eared copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

(Lord have mercy, can you imagine the firestorm a teacher would face today if he loaned a crazy, drug-soaked, profanity-laced book like Fear and Loathing to an innocent young student and the parents complained? WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE ARE YOU SENDING TO THE CHILDREN????!??!?!!)

A few days later, she returned it and thanked me. "That was the saddest book I've ever read," she replied. "Especially the last chapter."

Note to today's youngsters: Back then when a kid described something as "sad," it wasn't slang for something uncool, annoying or slightly unpleasant. She meant SAD, as in sorrowful. Fear and Loathing had moved her.

At the time I was puzzled. To me Thompson was a hilarious hero, a rebel grabbing the establishment bull by the horns.

So I re-read the book.

And I learned she was correct. It is a sad book. By the last chapter, Thompson knows that not only is everything good about the '60s gone, probably for good, but he himself is a defeated man.

I'm glad he had one more great book in him. I'm glad Johnny Depp immortalized him in that movie. (What happened, Billy Murray? You blew it!) I'm glad he co-wrote that song with Warren Zevon.

Good night, doctor. You were our friend. You weren't like the others.


Sunday, February 20, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
You Don't Love Me Yet by Roky Erickson
The End (Again) by The Hollis Wake
Terrier by The Moaners
I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman by The White Stripes
Curly Hair by Doo Rag
Bad Girl by The New York Dolls
Hard Drivin' Man by The J. Geils Band
We Have a Savior by The Shaggs

Pull Your Clothes Off by Junior Kimbrough
You Better Run by Iggy & The Stooges
I'm Leaving by Junior Kimbrough/Go Gittas
Do the Rump by The Black Keys
Sad Days, Lonely Nights by Spiritualized
I Feel Good Again by Junior Kimbrough & Charlie Feathers
Done Got Old by Buddy Guy

Crazy Words, Crazy Tune by Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band
Booth Killed Lincoln by Bascom Lamar Lunsford
Mr. Garfield by Johnny Cash
Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Poor Man's Friend by Willie Eason
Eisenhower Blues by J.B. Lenoir
PT-109 by Jimmy Dean
Knee Deep in the Big Muddy by Pete Seeger
Nixon's Dead Ass by Russell Means
Read My Lips by A Thousand Points of Night
The President's Penis is Missing by Drive-By Truckers
President's Day by Loudon Wainwright III

All These Things by Art Neville
Mrs. O'Leary's Cow by Brian Wilson
Help Me Make It Through the Night by Mark Eitzel
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, February 19, 2005


Friday, February 18, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Poison by The Waco Brothers
Gimme a Ride to Heaven, Boy by Terry Allen
You Ain't Nothin' But Fine by Elizabeth McQueen & The Firebrands
When the Hammer Comes Down by House of Freaks
Elizabeth Cotton's Song by The Moaners
Shake Sugaree by Elizabeth Cotton with Brenda Evans
Junkyard in the Sun by Butch Hancock

I Don't Hear Freedom Ring Anymore by Ronny Elliott
What Did the Deep Sea Say? by Dave Alvin
We Never Killed Each Other (But Didn't We Try?) by Dallas Wayne
(I've Got a Woman In) San Angelo by Cornell Hurd
Why Henry Drinks by Drive-By Truckers
This Ol' Cowboy by The Marshall Tucker Band
Maricopa Mountain by Dave Insley & Rosie Flores
I'm a Nut by Leroy Pullens

Four Walls of Raiford by Lynyrd Skynyrd
I Was Drunk by Alejandro Escovedo
She Never Spoke Spanish to Me by Joe Ely
Out on the Streets (Junk is Still King) by Gary Heffern
Bound for Glory by Raising Cane
Gunfight in Durango by Chatham County Line
I'm Not a Communist by Grandpa Jones
Mike the Can Man by Joe West

Help Me Make it Through the Night by Sammi Smith
Lonesome Valley Blues by Eric Carlson
Lonesome Valley by Jon Dee Graham
Lakes of Ponchartrain by Peter Case
I've Just Destroyed the World by Willie Nelson
If I Could Only Fly by Merle Haggard
Come Fly Away by Jimmie Dale Gilmore
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 18, 2005


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Feruary 18, 2005

In recent years a minimalist rock ‘n’ roll sound has emerged. Thanks mainly to The White Stripes and The Black Keys, we have the power duo -- just guitar and drums.

There were antecedents, of course. Back in the late ‘80s there was House of Freaks, a guitar-drum duo that had a high energy, yet very melodic sound. In the mid ‘90s there was Doo Rag, an Arizona blues twosome that sounded like Hound Dog Taylor caught in a meth lab explosion.

Melissa Swingle with Trailer Bride
One might even argue that the true forefather of the power duo was Lee Michaels, whose band, for a time in the early ‘70s, consisted of only himself (on keyboards) and a drummer.

A new addition to the guitar/drums sound movement is The Moaners, the new band led by singer/guitarist Melissa Swingle, the force behind the late, lamented Trailer Bride. They’ve got a new album on Yep Roc called Dark Snack.

Joined by drummer Laura King, Swingle rocks and roars with a power rarely heard in more country sounding Trailer Bride. Dark Snack’s very first tune, “Heart Attack” starts out with a blast of feedback screech, as if to announce, “Warning: This is not a Trailer Bride album.”

(Could economics rather than artistic aesthetics have something to do with Swingle‘s new band? “A 4-piece band just won’t make ends meet/ tonight, baby, it’s you and me,” she sings on “Hard Times.” )

And yet, there’s much about The Moaners that will appeal to Trailer Bride fan’s -- namely Swingle’s voice, that unique, laconic, cool-as-a-raspberry-Slurpee North Carolina drawl, and Swingle’s writing.

She pays tribute to folk/blues icon Libby Cotton by retitling a strong, grinding version of “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad” as “Elizabeth Cotton’s Song,” and to southern author Flannery O’Connor in “Flannery Said.”

“You can't get any poorer than dead / Yeah that's what Flannery said," Swingle sings over her distorted guitar.

The Moaners get political on “Hard Times,” which features a spacey quasi-jug band guitar riff .

“Why do they love to fight these wars?/ Hard times keep me pacing the floor/ It’s hard to proud to be American/ when our country’s being run by rich, greedy men,”

And yet she gets goofy and playful on the hard crunching “Terrier,” where she discusses the advantages and disadvantages of various breeds of dogs.

“Hound dogs are lazy but they ain’t mean/ poodles are pussy, they don’t bother me/ beagles are stinky, I wouldn’t have one/ but there’s just one kind to stay away from …”

Of course, the funniest line in the song is when Swingle snaps, “Get off my leg.”

The last song on Dark Snack, “Chasing Down the Moon,” is a slow ethereal instrumental, less than two minutes long, featuring Swingle’s musical saw sounding like a distant ghost. It only goes to show, ou can take the girl out of Trailer Bride, but you can’t take Trailer Bride out of the girl.

Also Recommended

*Sunday Nights: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough
by Various Artists. One trouble with many tribute albums -- blues tributes in particular -- is that the various artists involved tend to be too reverent towards the subject of the tribute. Fortunately this isn’t the case with this Fat Possum tribute to the late Mississippi blues giant.

Of course Kimbrough, who died in 1998 at the age of 67, never lent himself to conventional reverence. His songs were rough and often outright lecherous, and even when he sang about the ravages of age, as he did on “Done Got Old” you can tell his biggest regret was that he was no longer as credible as he was when he sang songs like “Pull Your Clothes Off.”

The contributors here aren’t Kimbrough’s blues peers, but acts from the alternate rock universe. Fat Possum honcho Matthew Johnson is forthright on the CD cover when he says the main purpose of this is to turn on more people to Kimbrough’s music -- much of which is available on Fat Possum.

I’ll second his motion -- go acquaint yourself with Kimbrough’s primitive, hypnotic blues -- though this album has enough good tracks to stand on its own.

Sunday Nights starts and ends with wild versions of Kimbrough’s “You Better Run,” both done by the reformed Iggy & The Stooges. It’s a crazed fantasy in which the singer rescues a rape victim, who later declares her love for him. It’s fun and raucous, even the slower, longer second version, in which Iggy risks the ire of the political-correctness police as he sings “Come along a baby, there’s a whole lot of rapin’ goin’ on.”

Most of the selections are done in this spirit -- loud raunchy guitars, primitive beats -- you know you’re in trouble when the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has one of the mellower songs on an album.

Standout performances include The Fiery Furnaces’ psychedelic stomp version of “I’m Leaving,” Spiritualized’s “Sad Days and Lonely Nights,” which starts out with what sounds like a mellow melodica but builds up to a punched-up frenzy and Mark Lanegan’s slow-moving but dangerous “All Night Long.”

The only disappointments are Entrance and Cat Powers’ too precious and ultimately rumpless “Do the Romp,” and the two versions of “Done Got Old.”

While Jim White’s is more inventive in its Beckish kind of way with its weird tape loops, and the Heartless Bastards rock hard, neither actually sound like it’s being sung by someone fearing the advance of age. For that, check out Buddy Guy’s cover a few ago on his Sweet Tea album.

*Happy Doing What We’re Doing by Elizabeth McQueen & The Firebrands. Before there was punk rock in Great Britain, there was something called “pub rock.” Pioneered by bands like Brinsley Schwarz, Eddie & The Hotrods and Ducks Deluxe, championed by the veteran Dave Edmunds and serving as the breeding grounds for Nick Lowe, Graham Parker, Squeeze, and Elvis Costello, pub rock was an energetic mix of blues, early rock ’n’ roll, a touch of honky tonk and a whole lot of soul.

On paper it might sound like good old American bar band music. But there was something intrinsically English about the best pub rock, sometimes the melodies, sometimes the chord changes, sometimes just the attitude.

In this record, named after a Brinsley Schwarz tune, Texas country rocker Elizabeth McQueen celebrates the pub rock era, covering tunes by the above listed artists plus more obscure pub bands like Eggs Over Easy (which actually was an American band living in England) and Dr. Feelgood.

With her clear, strong, unaffected voice, McQueen (who sometimes gigs locally at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame) makes these 30-year-old songs sound fresh and vital.

McQueen’s best performances here include “All I Need is Money” (originally by Eddie & The Hotrods), which rocks like The Sir Douglas Quintet; Edmunds’ “A-1 on the Juke Box,” which could be an anthem for all alt country rockers ignored by Nashville; and Rockpile’s “You Ain’t Nothin’ But Fine,” which features a cool steel guitar solo by Jimmy Murphy.

And McQueen proves she’s got the knack for this style with “Dirty Little Secret,” which sounds like a long lost Costello or Parker , but actually it’s an original.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Feb. 17, 2004

We live in an era of sound-bite politics. Policy debate too often is reduced to noisy Crossfire-like exchange of talking points and sloganeering. Public interaction with public officials frequently consists of hand-picked supporters asking pre-screened, softball questions.

Considering that, something refreshing happened at the Roundhouse this week.

Two state senators from the social-conservative wing of the Republican Party - Bill Sharer of Farmington and Mark Boitano of Albuquerque - did something that too few politicians do these days. They went out among the public and had civil, but very serious, conversations with people who they know passionately oppose their political philosophy.

The occasion was a Valentine Day press conference featuring GOP lawmakers talking about a package of bills they would encourage the institution of marriage and discourage divorce in the state.

Among the proposals: Reducing the $25 marriage license fee for couples who take marriage education programs; requiring 10 percent of federal welfare funds received by the state be used to encourage two-parent families; requiring divorcing couples with children -- or those in which one spouse doesn't want a divorce -- go to pre-divorce counseling classes; and spending $200,000 to community groups and religious organizations for a range of educational programs and advertising campaigns to promote marriage.

The issue of gay marriage wasn't even mentioned by the senators and other speakers at the press conference itself.

But it was very much on the minds of a majority of audience members. Monday also was Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Lobbying Day at the capitol.

Dozens of those who came to lobby against bills that would prohibit same-sex marriage - including SB 587, sponsored by Sharer - showed up to the Republican event on the west side of the Roundhouse. The speakers looked out to a crowd with large signs reading "Love = Love" and "All Love is Equal" and a poster with photos captioned "The Faces of Gay and Lesbian Families."

To fully appreciate this, you've got to realize how radically different this scene was from the typical Roundhouse "news conference." Usually these exercises are preaching-to-the-choir pep rallies where the audience consists primarily of true believers who applaud at all the right places.

This event had every potential of becoming just another screaming battle in the culture war.

It didn't.

There was a couple of instances of mild heckling from a few in the crowd. And a few times when a speaker said something about strengthening marriage, some audience members responded, "for us too."

"I didn't feel much hostility at all," Boitano said immediately after the event. But heck, he had just received loud applause from both straights and gays in the crowd when he concluded his talk by saying love is the most powerful force in the universe.

Sharer later told me he was prepared for much worse. "I thought they might throw tomatoes at us," he said. I think he was only half-joking.

Nobody threw anything, but several people wanted to let the senators know how they felt about same-sex marriage and how legislation would affect their lives and their families.

They approached both Sharer and Boitano, and some interesting conversations ensued.

Despite the friendly tone of Monday's encounters, it's not likely anyone changed his or her mind on the issue.

The activists will continue to fight Sharer's bill. And Sharer and Boitano still are going to vote to define marriage as being only between a man and a woman -- though Sharer held out the possibility he could back Sen. Cisco McSorley's SB 576, which would establish "domestic partnership" licenses that would give unmarried couples the same rights and benefits of married couples.

At one point Monday, Mary Ellen Capek, a lesbian who was married to her partner in Canada, asked Sharer: "How do we get past stereotypes?"

I can't help but think both sides made some steps in that direction that day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


I'm not the only Santa Fe contributor to the Freeform American Roots (FAR) radio chart any more. I'm joined by Kathleen Brandon, musical director and co-owner (with her husband Steve Bumpous) of the new KWRP, 101.5.

Kathleen plays a mix of alt country, bluegrass, blues, southern rock and other music that made America great. (Except late night when they switch to classic rock, for reasons of which I'm not quite certain.)

I just checked out their web site and within the past few minutes they've played:
The Resentments - Rich Man's War
Tres Chicas - In a While
Robinella & The C C Stringband - Man Over
Reckless Kelly - Baby's Got a Whole Lot More
Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Watching The Detectives

Give them a listen. (But not during my shows!)

By the way, other New Mexico FAR reporters include Steve Scott & Denise DeLeon whose show The Real Deal is aired Saturdays on KFUN in Las Vegas and Tom Funk of KGLP in Gallup whose Green Chile Revival & Medicine Show airs Saturday afternoons. And though El Paso officially is in Texas, we in New Mexico know different, so I should include Dan Alloway of KTEP. I've actually appeared on his Saturday night show, Folk Fury.

I just wish Carl, Barry and Marilyn of KUNM's Home of Happy Feet -- a true inspiration of my Santa Fe Opry -- would hook up with FAR.

Monday, February 14, 2005


Sunday, February 13, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Valentine by Concrete Blonde
Laredo (Small Dark Something) by Jon Dee Graham
Reptilia by The Strokes
Crawl Through the Darkness by The Von Bondies
Berlin by Dickie B. Hardy
Time Warp/Brain Damage by Link Wray
Psychedelic Love by Big Ugly Guys
Valentine by The Replacements

The Ring by The Hangdogs
Wedding Day by Alejandro Escovedo
Ballad of the Soldier's Wife by Kazik Staszewski
Hard Times by The Moaners
Truth Doesn't Make a Noise by The White Stripes
I'm Leaving by The Fiery Furnaces
Brand New Special and Unique by Stan Ridgway
You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover by Bo Diddley

Memphis by Jerry Lawler
Nothing is Impossible (from Zakhmee Soundtrack)
Chunga's Revenge by Frank Zappa
Soulsville by Isaac Hayes
Just Step Sideways by The Fall
Robby, The Cook, and 60 Gallons of Booze by Louis & Bebe Barron
Please Warm My Weiner by Bo Carter

My Funny Valentine by Elvis Costello
Hashish in Marseilles by The Mekons
Two Circles by Sraddha
The Kindness of Strangers by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Blue Valentines by Tom Waits
Where or When by Dion & The Belmonts
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, February 13, 2005


I caught Loretta Lynn and Jack White on The Grammy Awards. Loretta's Van Lear Rose won -- rightfully -- country album of the year. White noted that it won without any airplay on (so-called) country radio.

I normally don't put much stock in The Grammys, but hey, when they're, right, they're right. And this is the second time in recent years the Grammys picked a top country album that had virtually no country radio play, the previous one being O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack.

When will these soulless radio twits learn?

Saturday, February 12, 2005


Friday, February 11, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Payday Blues by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
A-1 on the Jukebox by Elizabeth McQueen
St. Valentine by Joe Ely
Wasted by Laura Cantrell
Country Darkness by Elvis Costello
Blacklisted by Neko Case
Junko Partner by The Hindu Love Gods
Tiger Love and Turnip Greens by Duane Eddy
Train Kept a Rollin' by Paul Burlison

Violent Love by Cornell Hurd with Dee Lannon
Harder Than Your Husband by Frank Zappa with Jimmy Carl Black
There Ought to Be a Law Against Sunny California by Terry Allen
Where's the Dress by Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy
The President's Penis is Missing by Drive-By Truckers
Wanted Man by Johnny Cash
The Marriage Song by The Stumbleweeds
You Don't Miss Your Water by Jerry Lee Lewis
Too Many Parties and Too Many Pals by Hank Williams

On a Real Good Day, I'm the World's Best Friend by Robbie Fulks
2000 Man by The Gourds
A Beautiful Thing by The Handsome Family
Tramp on Your Street by Billy Joe Shaver
Right or Wrong by Wanda Jackson
If I Kiss You by Lynn Anderson
Back in My Home Town by Frank Hutchison

The Blue Girl Says Yes by Ronny Elliott
Better Word for Love by Big Al Anderson
Take Me by George Jones
Rough and Rocky by Michael Hurley
Lead Me On by Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
The Last Letter by Waylon Jennings
Everybody Needs Love by Robyn Hitchcock
The End by Justin Trevino
Valentine's Day by Steve Earle & The Fairfield Four
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 11, 2005


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 11, 2005

It seems like only yesterday that a major question haunting the music industry was whether people would actually spend good American money to download music from the Internet. After all, stodgy old members of My Generation had barely gotten used to the idea of buying their Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt albums on compact discs instead of vinyl, while the Napster generation had become used to getting anything they wanted for free.

But in 2003, Apple’s iTunes proved that the public indeed would pay for music from the Internet. The service has sold gazillions of music downloads for 99 cents a pop. It’s also spawned a whole line of imitators -- Musicmatch and RealRhapsody, prominent among them.

Even Wal-Mart has gotten into the act. For a mere 88 cents you can even buy Sheryl Crow’s “Love is a Good Thing” -- a song that initially got Crow’s 1996 self-titled album banned at Wal-Mart for talking about kids buying guns at the giant chain.

And of course the outlaw Napster, deflated, dismantled and basically destroyed by the music industry and the courts, has been reborn with a new corporate face. It’s all legal now, but good luck finding bizarre gems like Alfred E. Newman’s “It’s a Gas” like you could in the good old days.

Though iTunes remains the most popular, my favorite source of music downloads these days is a fun little service that specializes in independent labels -- eMusic.

eMusic is not as well known as it ought to be, even though it made history in 1999 when it released the very first Internet-only by a well-known musical act -- They Might Be Giants‘, Long Tall Weekend. (Yes, it’s still available.)

One major thing eMusic has going for it is its prices. You can find eMusic faves like Frank Zappa and even a smattering of The Fall at some of the bigger services, but they will cost you three or four times more.

It was the 50-free-downloads trial membership that first attracted me (that offer is still going on). I initially subscribed to the cheap plan -- $9.99 for 40 downloads, though I later switched to the $14.99 for 65 downloads plan. That’s less than a quarter a song. (There’s a more expensive plan -- 90 downloads for $19.99. I’m not there yet.)

In the last 10 months or so, I’ve found a wide array of music here -- from nasty blues songs to emotional and very musical sermons from the Rev. C.L. Franklin (Aretha’s dad); from Steeleye Span to Bollywood extravaganzas; from Bootsy Collins to Billy Joe Shaver; from Keely Smith to Queen Ida.

I've looked, and eMusic is the only place you can download the breathtaking, jazzy funk workout that is the Isaac Hayes At Wattstax album or the alien horror-shocker, proto-electronic music classic Forbidden Planet soundtrack, which might be described as "blip-blop music.

Some of the albums I’ve reviewed in this paper recently -- Frank Black Francis, for instance. and Lynn Anderson’s The Bluegrass Sessions, I downloaded from eMusic.

I’ve also found stuff from rockabilly bizarro Tav Falco, Charles Mingus, country forefather Uncle Dave Macon, The Kinks, Louis Jordan, acoustic maniac Eugene Chadbourne and 16 Horsepower.

Some of my favorite eMusic finds are old blues and hillbilly compilations. The Yazoo/Shanachie label as well as the more obscure Birdman label are well represented on eMusic.

There’s Please Warm My Weiner, a collection of blues tunes dealing with sex, drinking and gambling, featuring the likes of Butterbeans & Susie, Memphis Minnie and Bo Carter; The Roots of Rap, a strange collection of early blues and country in which much of the vocals are spoken rather than sung; and Jim Dickinson’s Field Recordings, AXPCV3, which features rare tracks by blues greats like Sleepy John Estes, Otha Turner and Furry Lewis.

Among my eMusic haul from recent months are several live albums on eMusic’s own label, eMusic Live. There’s fine shows by alternative country stalwarts like Robbie Fulks (which features several tunes that haven’t made it on his “real” albums), The Gourds and The Handsome family. And an exciting 2003 performance by rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson called Alive and Still Kickin'.

eMusic apparently is licensing some of its live album to iTunes. You can find the Gourds, Fulks and Wanda concerts there.

But exclusive to eMusic are a high-energy June 2004 concert album by garage band marvels The Fleshtones and a delightfully reprehensible romp of a 2003 Mojo Nixon show, where his verbal victims include the late Princess Diana and the Bush twins.

So far the only slightly disappointing live set I’ve downloaded from eMusic is Live at Maxwell’s, a show by British garage princess Holly Golightly. Recorded in late November, it just has a flat monotonous sound that doesn’t do her justice. (There’s actually two Golightly live albums available. I haven’t heard Live at the Casbah, recorded about a month earlier.)

My chief complaint about eMusic is that on some concert albums, a few seconds of concert patter counts as a “download.” True, you can skip downloading all these. But for lazy clickers like me it’s far less convenient to have to go through and weed these out instead of just clicking the “Download All” button.

But on the other hand, there are several examples of extremely lengthy tracks that only count as one download. Therefore the 16-minute “Ain’t No Sunshine” from Isaac Hayes At Wattstax or even a 40-minute sermon from Rev. Franklin counts the same as a 16-second wisecrack by The Handsome Family, so I guess it all comes out in the wash.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 10, 2005

Just two years ago one of the Legislature’s most bitter controversies was a move by House Speaker Ben Lujan to make it harder for The Green Party to keep its "major party" status.

Greens themselves referred to it as the "Kill-the-Greens" bill. And Senate Republicans even threatened to use the "F" word (“filibuster”) if the measure made it to the floor of their chamber. It never did.

But now it appears that all the noise and bitterness in 2003 was unnecessary. The Legislature didn’t have to "kill the Greens." In effect, the voters did.

The Secretary of State’s office recently informed the party’s leaders that because their presidential candidate failed to get five percent of the vote last November under state law they were no longer "major."

As a matter of fact, National Green standard bearer David Cobb failed to get even one percent of the vote in New Mexico. He got fewer votes than independent candidate Ralph Nader and Michael Badnarik, candidate of the non-major Libertarian Party.

Having major-party status assures a political party of being on the ballot for the general and primary elections. Without that designation, Green candidates will have to gather petitions to get on the ballots.

But despite the secretary of state’s letter, the Greens aren’t giving up.

Carol Miller, state chairwoman of the Green Party, said Wednesday that the secretary of state is wrong. Even though Cobb missed the 5-percent mark, in Bernalillo County Steve Cabiedes, a Green candidate for county clerk, got better than 17 percent.

In 1996, Miller pointed out, then-Attorney General Tom Udall issued a legal opinion that said as long as any candidate gets more than five percent, the party can retain its major party status.

The Greens first got major-party status when Roberto Mondragon won 11 percent of the gubernatorial vote in 1994. But in 1996 and 1998, the Greens kept that status through a State Corporation Commission race in 1996 and a state auditor race in 1998.

However, in 2000 Santa Fe state District Judge Stephen Pfeffer ruled that either the presidential or gubernatorial candidate must receive five percent. Lesser candidates don’t count.

Since then it’s been up or down for the Greens in this state.

When their presidential candidate Ralph Nader failed to get that percentage in 2000, the party’s status was downgraded. They won it back again when Green gubernatorial candidate David Bacon got 6 percent in 2002.

Miller said the party has until the governor’s call for the next election to take action. "We need clarification from the Legislature or a court," she said.

Star Spangled Spin: Wednesday was Veterans Day at the Legislature — as well as Animal Protection Advocacy Day and Freedom Day for people with disabilities, but that’s beside the point — and the air was thick with patriotism.

Sen. Joe Carraro, R-Albuquerque, made a move to have 12 military-related bills heard Wednesday in the Senate Finance Committee. He argued that expediting consideration of these bills and cutting some red tape would be a good way to honor our men and women in uniform.

Senate Democrats disagreed. Some even accused Carraro of grandstanding. His motion failed on a straight party-line vote.

There may well be good reasons for not hearing all those bills at once. For instance, some of the bills weren’t even assigned to the Finance Committee.

But within minutes of the votes the Dems issued a statement that revealed their position wasn’t one of pragmatism, but patriotism.

“Senate Shows Support of Military,” said the headline.

There Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez was quoted praising war veterans. “One of the many things they fought for was the continuity and process of this august body.”

I haven’t seen any polls of veterans on this, so I’m not sure how many would actually say they went into battle and risked their lives to defend the state Senate committee process.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


The annual Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll is in. CLICK HERE

I was one of 793 critics who voted this year.

If you scroll down far enough you can see some of my wise words on this page.


Looks like the Panzerfaust label was afraid of a little mariachi in their skinhead metal. CLICK HERE

Hasta la vista, pendejos!

Monday, February 07, 2005


Last night on Terrell's Sound World, I played a short cut called "Robby Arranges Flowers, Zaps Monkey by Louis and Bebe Barron" from the Forbidden Planet soundtrack by Louis and Bebe Barron, which I recented downloaded from eMusic.

This morning I woke up to an NPR story about the Barrons and Forbidden Planet.


Zap that monkey, Robby!


Sunday, February 6, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Dropkick Me, Jesus by Bobby Bare
Coney Island Baby by Lou Reed
Button My Lip by Elvis Costello
Lap Dancer by The Big Ugly Guys
Long Haired Guys From England by Too Much Joy
Dresden Dolls by The Fall
Hot Stuff by The Polysics

WWJD by The Rochesterfield Kings
We're a Happy Family by The Ramones
Mystic Eyes by Them
Red Hot by Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs
Rich by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
All Over the World by The Pixies
It's All Too Much by Wayne Kramer
Der Fuehrer's Face by Spike Jones & His City Slickers

Bumble Bee Polka by Brave New Combo
Butterfly Polka by Polkacide
Bohemian Polka by Weird Al Yankovic
Naked City by Mundell Lewis & His All Stars
Ascension to Virginity by Dave Grusin
Birthday by The Sugarcubes
My Girlfiend's Pretty by NRBQ
When You Wish Upon a Star by Dion & The Belmonts

Sponge Bob & Patrick Confront the Psychic Wall by The Flaming Lips
Shepherds of a Nation by The Kinks
Hanging Tree by Bob Mould
Cry me a River by Richard Thompson with Judith Owen
Love Letters Straight From Your Heart by Kitty Lester
Robby Arranges Flowers, Zaps Monkey by Louis and Bebe Barron
I Want You to Hurt Like I Do by Randy Newman
It's Party Time by Lisa Germano
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, February 05, 2005


Friday, February 4, 2005
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Now Webcasting
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Stranger in Our House by Justin Trevino
First Day of the Trial by Cornell Hurd
Hot Dog That Made Him Mad by Carolyn Marks & The Room-Mates
One Night With You by Wanda Jackson
How Can I Unlove You by Lynn Anderson
Country Poor & Country Proud by Robbie Arsenault
Get Up Jake by Raising Cane
Sober and Stupid by Fortytwenty
Automobile Ride Through Alabama by Red Henderson

Western Union Wire by Kinky Friedman
Highway Cafe by Tom Waits
Mr. Edison's Electric Chair by Ronny Elliott
Summer Evening by Gillian Welch
Rated X by Neko Case
Backstreet Affair by Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
Old Missouri Waltz by Acie Cargill
Honey Babe by Guy Davis

Drive-by Truckers Set
All songs by DBT
Steve McQueen
Harold and Margo
Sink Hole
The Sands of Iwo Jima
Don't Be in Love Around Me
Guitar Man Upstairs
The Night G.G. Allin Came to Town

The Night Hank Williams Came to Town by Johnny Cash
Peggy Sue Got Married by Buddy Holly
Learning the Game by Waylon Jennings with Mark Knopfler
Kentucky by The Louvin Brothers
The Tear I Left Behind by Rex Hobart & His Misery Boys
The Man in the Bed by Dave Alvin
It Only Rains on Me by Don Williams
Jimmy's Road by Willie Nelson
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 04, 2005


Pasatiempo started its long-awaited CD review section today. David Prince, Michael Koster and Craig Smith all have reviews in it. Here's my contribution:

The Bluegrass Sessions
Lynn Anderson
DM Nashville

This record earned country songbird Lynn Anderson her first Grammy nomination in nearly 35 years -- back when she was on top of the country charts with her signature tune, Joe South’s “Rose Garden.”

Notice I said “earned.” This album -- which features lively fiddle-and-banjo renditions of Taos resident Anderson’s best known songs plus some other surprises -- is a hoot from start to finish.

Anderson is hardly a stranger to bluegrass. Back in 1969 she was one of the first to record Felice & Boudleaux Bryant’s “Rocky Top,” which since has become a bluegrass standard.

Those who are put off my all that heavy early ‘70s “countrypolitan” pop production that marked Anderson’s best-known material should appreciate the understated, rootsy sound of The Bluegrass Sessions. Anderson hits like “How Can I Unlove You,” the soulful “Cry,“ and, yes, even “Rose Garden,” sound fresh and vital. And if anything, Anderson’s voice has improved with age.

The best cuts here are Anderson’s high-energy version of John Prine’s strip-mining lament “Paradise,” and a sweet country weeper called “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

That’s an Anderson original, not the old Four Seasons classic. She did however include a quasi-bluegrass/quasi-calypso cover of “Under the Boardwalk.” I didn’t really like this track until the very last refrain when Anderson sings “On a blanket with my baby,” then snorts a dirty little laugh as if she’s letting us in on some secret. That boosted the sex appeal in this song by about a thousand percent.

I don't care what Anderson's legal problems are -- and there have been quite a few well-publicized ones lately -- this is one dynamite album.


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 4, 2005

The first time the Drive-By Truckers received any serious attention was in 2002 when Lost Highway Records re-released their wonderful landmark double-disc Southern Rock Opera (originally appearing on the tiny Soul Dump Records, a year before.) That effort was lavishly praised -- and rightly so -- by critics as well as fans of hard crunching roots-conscious guitar rock. And their subsequent efforts, Decoration Day and The Dirty South have lived up to Southern Rock Opera’s huge promise.

(As just one small voice in criticdom, all three made my annual Top 10 lists, The Dirty South topping last year’s.)

But some casual Trucker fans might not release that the Georgia-based band has been making albums years before Southern Rock Opera. The group’s current label, New West.

While neither of these reach the heights of the group’s last three albums, they’re both respectful efforts that, in retrospect, drop huge hints of what was in store. These CDs provide a glimpse at a great band back when they were merely really good.

The Truckers were more “country” sounding than the new ones. You hear a lot more steel guitar and mandolin on these albums as compared with the DBT’s now trademark Skynyrd-esque three-guitar attack. (But you can hear a precursor of that sound in the very first album with the roaring guitars on “Buttholeville” and the lyrics of “Demonic Possession,” in which singer Patterson Hood declares, “I can kick ass and talk backward/I hang out with a bunch of slackers/and I know I can get help from him/I listen to a lot of Led Zeppelin.”)

One thing that has remained constant in the DBT’s career is their obsession with their Southern heritage. Virtually every song deals with Southern culture.

On these first two albums, some of the songs tend to be jokier than their recent work.

You have fun-filled Patterson Hood tunes like “Steve McQueen” (described here as “the coolest doggone motherscratcher on the silver screen“) and “18 Wheels of Love” (the singer’s mom marries a truck driver at Dollywood, with a Porter Wagoner look-alike conducting the ceremony) from Gangstabilly

The on Pizza Deliverance, which came second but contains earlier songs) some tunes -- “Too Much Sex (Too Little Jesus)” and “The President’s Penis is Missing” (a then-timely Bill Clinton spoof) -- are more scatological.

Add these titles to Jim Stacy’s funny redneck cartoons that served as the cover art on these albums and some might be able to dismiss it all as Southern Culture on the Skids-style hick shtick.

Unless you listen to the actual music.

Both Hood and original Trucker Mike Cooley -- the only members still with the band -- already were writing some fine songs.

Gangstabilly starts off with a slow tune called “Wife Beater,” featuring a sweet whining steel and a refrain with three-part harmonies.

The singer is pleading to a domestic-violence victim to leave her abusive husband. But it’s obvious it’s a lost cause. “Now you say he‘s changed and you‘re going back to him … ”

The title of the song “The Living Bubba” might sound like something Larry the Cable Guy would approve of. However it’s actually about a friend of the band’s who died of AIDS. “Don’t give me no pity, don’t give me no grief/Wait til I die for sympathy/Just help me with this amp and a guitar or two/I can’t die now cuz I got another show to do.”

Pizza Deliverance kicks off Hood’s “Bulldozers and Dirt,” a song in which the protagonist basically is a lecherous scumbag. Singing to the teenage daughter of his live-in girlfriend, he brags how he met her mother while burglarizing her home.

By the end of the tune he’s coming on to the girl. “I’ve lived with your mama for 11 years/Through good times and bad times, fist fights and tears/But something comes over me when you come near/So won’t you come over and sip on this beer …” Not only can you imagine the horror of the girl, you get a feel of the twisted pain of the singer. You can’t feel much sympathy for him, but you know that pain is real.

And speaking of pain, Cooley’s best song here is “Uncle Frank,” which, over a jangly, Byrdsy guitar, tells a tragic tale of an uneducated man ripped off by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

But Hood’s songs dominate. There are unforgettable images, like the box of spiders kept by his great grandmother, the creepy middle-aged couple Margo and Harold (“fifty and crazy, big hair and cocaine …”), and of G.G. Allin.
“The Night G.G. Allin Came to Town” (the title is a parody of similarly-named country songs about Porter Wagoner and Hank Williams) tells of a Memphis show by the celebrated rock ’n’ roll degenerate, famous for his disgusting, sometimes illegal, stage antics.

The song tells of an indignant old man reading a newspaper account of the concert to his wife, But for Hood, it was a liberating moment, a night that blasted out the boredom of their lives. “Me and Cooley we just laughed so hard we both fell down,” he sings.

One small complaint I have about these reissues is that there are no outtakes or extra cuts. In the liner notes Hood tells about recording on barebones budgets in those days (at one point he was doing construction work at the studio in exchange for recording time.) So maybe there were no outtakes or “lost” tracks.

But it’s good to have these albums available again. Now I just hope New West re-releases The Truckers’ great live album Alabama Ass Whoopin’ .

Hear a whole mess of Drive-By Truckers music tonight on The Santa Fe Opry, 10 p.m. -midnight, KSFR, 90.7 FM

Thursday, February 03, 2005


The job needs Friedman and Friedman needs the job. CLICK HERE


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Feb. 3, 2004

From hot air balloons to horse meat. From cockfighting to enchiladas. From drug-testing state officials to legalizing medical marijuana.

There is never any shortage of controversial bills and sometimes even some quirky bills during a legislative session. But this year some of the most controversial and quirky — and headline grabbing — have come from a colorful two-term Republican senator, Steve Komadina of Corrales.

In general Republicans don’t introduce many bills. For one thing, adding large numbers of new laws to the books goes against their small-government philosophy. Secondly, being in the minority party in both chambers of the Legislature — and these days having a Democratic governor — some Republican lawmakers get rather fatalistic about the chances of their bills passing. Thus, they tend to play defensive during a session, concentrating on a couple of pet issues.

But that’s not the case with Komadina, who has introduced 30 bills so far this session. That’s not as many as some Democrats, more than any other Republican in either chamber — even more than prolific bill author Sen. Joe Carraro, R-Albuquerque, who as of Tuesday night had only dropped 23 bills.

"I always introduce a lot of bills," Komadina said Wednesday. "During my first session I introduced 20. That’s a lot for a freshman."

Komadina said he doesn’t introduce bills for the sake of introducing bills. “These are my issues or those of my constituents. I’m their voice when I’m up here.”

Thus there is the "Right to Eat Enchiladas Act" (SB 291), "tort reform" bill that would prohibit overweight people from filing lawsuits against restaurants for causing obesity and the Elected Official Drug Testing Act — which would set up a state Web site publishing the results of state officials who agree to submit to random drug tests. (Those leaders who refused would be allowed to explain why on the proposed Web site.)

Drug-reform advocates are bound to fight that one. But Komadina is their hero in another issue. He plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill, to legalize the drug for treatment of specific serious ailments. Komadina said his bill would have criminal penalties for unauthorized people using or selling medical marijuana.

Many Komadina bills deal with animals.

Senate Bill 72 would make federal or state wildlife officials personally liable for criminal penalties if any of the wolves they release into the wild attack humans or livestock.

SB 67 would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

SB 66 would prohibit cockfighting in New Mexico — one of the last two states in the union that allows the sport.

A couple of his bills add to the ever growing list of state symbols. SB 13 would make the hot air balloon as official state aircraft. Komadina is a past president of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

It’s not certain whether making the balloon the official state aircraft would conflict with another Komadina bill, SB 159, which would limit hot air balloon tort liability. (Brace yourself for the "Right to Eat Enchiladas on Hot Air Balloons Act.")

And this week he introduced SB 585, which would make the New Mexican horse the official state horse.

"This is one I’m really excited about," he said. The New Mexican horse is a breed that is descended from horses belonging to the Spanish conquistadors.

Komadina pointed out a group called the New Mexican Horse Project, founded by historian Carlos LoPopolo, which is dedicated to preserving the original bloodlines of the Spanish Mustang horses and is building wild horse preserves.

When someone introduces this much talked-about legislation it’s natural to wonder whether a lawmaker is considering a stab at a higher office.

Not so, says Komadina. "I’m not running for anything. I have no ulterior motives. I love being in the Senate."

A river runs through it: My old friend Erik Ness, longtime spokesman for the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, brought my attention to a “Quote of the week” in a recent edition of his organization’s newsletter, attributed to Ramblin' Lee Reaves, a now-retired country disc jockey at KGRT AM in Las Cruces.

"The legislature is a lot like the Rio Grande. Clear and murky, cold and hot, shallow and deep, fast and slow and with just enough quicksand to keep you honest."


Sunday, June 9, 2024 KSFR, Santa Fe, NM, 101.1 FM  Webcasting! 10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time Host: Steve Terrell Email...