Wednesday, August 31, 2005


O.K. Here's the deal:

The fine folks at CD Baby, who sell my album and oh so many more, have offered to let artists donate their profits to the Red Cross in order to help the Gulf Coast relief effort.

I'm doing it with my CD, Picnic Time for Potatoheads. It costs $12.97 and nearly nine bucks of that will go to the Red Cross.

I'll do this at least until the end of the year, so remember the gift of Potatoheads this holiday season ...

I won't get a dime of it -- just that warm feeling a musician gets when you know your work is doing more than just providing a soundtrack to debauchery.

Buy it. Don't be a chump.

And if you don't want my tacky music, here's the gallery of CD Baby artists who are donating their profits to Katrina Relief.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican August 30, 2005 City Councilor David Pfeffer — a former Democrat who switched parties this year after campaigning for President Bush in the 2004 election — is expected to announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Albuquerque today. 

Pfeffer, 60, who represents the north-side District 1 on the council, would be running against popular Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a four-term incumbent who earlier this year announced his intent to seek re-election. 

A Monday news release for Pfeffer said the councilor “has been touring New Mexico in recent months exploring a run for the United States Senate, meeting with GOP groups in Taos, Clovis, Los Alamos, Roswell, Albuquerque, Socorro, Alamogordo, Las Cruces and other communities.” 

The news release said Pfeffer would “discuss his political plans” at today’s news conference. In a telephone interview Monday he declined to publicly discuss his decision about the Senate race — though he joked about the unlikeness of holding a press conference in Albuquerque to announce he is seeking re-election to his Santa Fe council seat.

Most political observers agree that Bingaman will be hard to beat. His career has been virtually free of controversy. After defeating an incumbent Republican Sen. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt in 1982, Bingaman has been re-elected by healthy, usually landslide margins. 

A statewide poll of 600 New Mexican adults conducted Aug. 12 through Aug. 14 by the Survey U.S.A. organization showed that 59 percent of those polled approved of Bingaman’s performance in the Senate while only 26 percent disapproved. (The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.) 

But one of Pfeffer’s City Council colleagues — a Democrat — said Pfeffer’s chances shouldn’t be dismissed. Councilor Carol Robertson-Lopez said Pfeffer is articulate and media savvy, and probably is the best-known of the eight Santa Fe city councilors. Robertson-Lopez also said she expects the Republican Party to pour impressive amounts of cash into Pfeffer’s campaign. 

Earlier this month Pfeffer acknowledged that he has raised more than $5,000 for his Senate campaign. But he refused to name any of his contributors and refused to say who owns the two planes he used during the “exploratory” part of his campaign. Bingaman already has raised more than $1 million for his re-election effort.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Sunday, August 28, 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
Like a Hurricane by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
New Orleans is Sinking/Fire in the Hole/Nautical Disaster by The Tragically Hip
Louisiana 1927 by Randy Newman
Tokyo Storm Warning by Elvis Costello

That Big Weird Thing by Drywall
Call of the West by Wall of Voodoo
Driftin' by Big Ugly Guys
Pistol of Fire by Kings of Leon
Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan
School Days by The Kinks
She's Up North by James Bilacody & The Cremains

Hookers in the Street by Otis Taylor
Porch Monkey's Theme by Alvin Youngblood Hart
She Caught the Katy (And Left Me a Mule to Ride) by Taj Mahal
Neon Messiah by Terrance Trent D'Arby
Monty is That You? by Quincy Jones
Who Was In My Room Last Night? by The Butthole Surfers

True Love by X
She Floated Away by Husker Du
World Leader Pretend by REM
Swingin' Party by The Replacements
Sea of Love by Iggy Pop
Letters from the Ninth Ward/Walk Away, Rene by Rickie Lee Jones
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Friday, August 26, 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
The Ballad of Charles Whitman by Kinky Friedman & The Texas Jewboys
Old Man from the Mountain by The Gourds
I Got Stoned and Missed It by Shel Silverstein
Newry Highwayman by Josh Lederman & Los Diablos
The Whole Thing Stinks by Rico Bell & The Snake Handlers
Missing Link by The Waco Brothers
Hammerhead Stew by Delbert McClinton
Birds, Bees, A Girl & Me by Starlings TN

Private Thoughts by Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez
I've Been Fooled by Eleni Mandell
Waiting by Jon Nolan
All You Can Cheat by Robbie Fulks
Let it Ride by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
Dark End of the Street by Frank Black
Sorrow on the Rocks by Porter Wagoner
Many Tears Ago by Durwood Haddock

Oklahoma Bound by Joe West
Central Avenue Romance by Nels Andrews
Manos Arriba by Alvin Youngblood Hart
Silly Fool by Goshen
My Grandfather's Land by Beausoleil
Whippersnapper Snake/Snake Road by Chipper Thompson
Come On by Hundred Year Flood

Beautiful Prison by Boris McCutcheon
Get Up Jake by Raising Cane
God Don't Ever Change by Alex Maryol
Boy Plays Mandolin by Otis Taylor
Can't Make It Here by James McMurtry
So Long by Rickie Lee Jones
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, August 26, 2005

HEY, KIDS ....

Here's a link to my story in today's New Mexican about the proposal to prohibit liquor sales at all-ages shows in nightclubs. CLICK HERE

Here's the deal kiddies -- the state probably will adopt these new regs and one excuse they will use is that hardly any youngsters showed up to give their side of it.

I humbly suggest if you really care about this issue, don't just whine about it at the coffee house or on your blogs. Show up to the meeting Tuesday morning! It'll be boring and bureaucratic and at the inconvenient hour of 9 a.m. But if you care, be there and let them know.

Santa Fe Alcohol and Gaming Hearing on Minors on Licensed Premises
Tuesday, Aug. 30, 9:00 AM
Regulation and Licensing Dept.
Rio Grande Conference Room
2550 Cerrillos Rd.
Santa Fe, NM

Here's from the official release of the Department of Regulation and Licensing:

At the hearing, the Hearing Officer will allow all interested persons reasonable opportunity to provide testimony. If you are unable to attend the hearings, written comments may be made to the Alcohol and Gaming Division at P. O. Box 25101, Santa Fe New Mexico 87504. Written comments must be received by August 8, 2005 to allow time for distribution to the Alcohol and Gaming Division Director and available at the hearing.
You can find a copy of the actual proposal HERE.

And here's a copy of an e-mail from Fan Man's Jamie Lenfesty:

Live music in New Mexico is under attack by Alcohol and Gaming.

As you may know, the NM Alcohol and Gaming commission has been considering a change to the rules that allow minors to attend concerts at venues that have liquor licenses. Aside from having no real basis in any actual complaints and further limiting the options for teens in New Mexico, this would ostensibly mean the end of the Sunshine and Launchpad in Albuquerque. No matter whether you have ever been to either of those clubs or what you may think of them as venues, they are pretty much the only remaining clubs for smaller artist to play in New Mexico.

They have been successful because they have been very carefully able to control their spaces to have COMPLETELY SEPARATE, CONTROLLED areas for those patrons who are 21 and over and choose to drink, and for fans who are under 21 and just want to see the band. Given the litany of things that one may argue are morally and culturally bankrupt in America, I do not believe that the major threat to our youth is being in the presence of adults drinking alcohol at concerts. Excluding minors from these events will only serve to further isolate and alienate them, driving them more and more to uncontrolled underground parties where drugs and alcohol are readily available. I know for a fact that I personally would have imbibed less as a teen if I would have been able to attend concerts at Minneapolis clubs like First Avenue instead of house parties at whomevers parents happened to be out of town that weekend. Now, as a parent of two, I also know I would much prefer my own kids attend a concert at the Launchpad then drive off to who knows where to do who knows what.

While purportedly seeking to protect our youth from the evils of drink, this new legislation hypocritically does nothing to address much less controlled alcohol service at venues like the Journal Pavilion, Kiva Auditorium and Sandia Casino Amphitheater, where patrons are allowed to buy alcoholic beverages and take them out into the theaters themselves, intermingling with patrons of all ages and where an unscrupulous person might even give a drink to a friend who is under age. The Sunshine and Launchpad are being unfairly targeted unless the greater issues at these larger, big money, corporate venues are to also addressed.

I hope you will consider showing your support for live music by attending the hearing at Alcohol and Gaming on Tuesday Aug. 30 at 9:00 AM. Full information is attached and below. I will be there, along whit others form the music community. If you cannot attend but would like to have your comments included feel free to email me your thoughts and remarks.


One consequence of the Defense Department's decision to close Walter Reed Army Medical Center is that the National Museum of Health and Medicine will have to be relocated.

My friend Chuck took me on a tour of this fascinating and macabre little attraction when I was in Washington, D.C. a few years ago. It's the type of place the Addams Family would enjoy. You can see fragments of Abraham Lincoln's skull and the bullet that killed him, various pickled body parts and this cute array of baby skeletons. ("Hi! I'm Caspar the Friendly Skeleton ...")

Here's a link to a story that was on NPR last May.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
August 27, 2005

As a solo artist, Stan Ridgway is nothing short of an eclectic, eccentric musician.

He draws from all sorts of musical sources -- garage rock, horror movie soundtracks, crime jazz, and more. His most recent solo album, last year’s Snakebite, showed a fine knack for rootsy country and blues.

Lyrically, Ridgway has a skewed outlook and a soft spot for losers, loonies, small-time crooks and society’s dregs. Most of his songs are sympathetic to his characters. He grants them dignity and many of his songs seem to offer a ray of hope for those struggling beneath the underbelly.

But when Ridgway records as the front man of his band Drywall, all bets are off.

And, after a ridiculously long recess, Drywall is back with Barbecue Babylon, “The Third Installment of the Trilogy of Apocalyptic Documents.”

Drywall is Ridgway, his wife, keyboardist Pietra Wexstun and guitarist/bassist Rick King.

(For those keeping score, the first installment was 1995’s Work the Dumb Oracle, which contained some of Ridgway’s most intense songs -- “Police Call,” “Bel Air Blues,” “Big American Problem.” The second was The Drywall Incident which was mainly instrumental tracks.)

Like Work the Dumb Oracle, the songs on the new album are darker, harsher, more extreme both musically and lyrically than Ridgway‘s other work. Rays of hope don‘t last long in Drywall Land. And except for a few stray moments, forget about kindness or dignity.

And, yes, the world of Barbecue Babylon is apocalyptic. Corruption is everywhere. A desperate spirit of lawless has settled over the land. Thievery and murder abound, but the government has gone even more insane than the populace. To play on a few song titles here -- It‘s a “Land of Spook” run by people seemingly intent on achieving a “Wargasm.”

Life is cheap. Love is tawdry. Paranoia thrives. (“The AARP is after me," sings one sad Ridgway narrator.) Doom is always just around the corner.

Luckily, Ridgway’s twisted humor still abounds.

Not only does Ridgway make a great carnival barker at the gates of Armageddon, but the music here is some of the strongest he’s ever done.

The opening tune “Goin’ on Down to the BBQ,” is a deceptively upbeat tropical romp with shaking maracas and a happy organ that sounds like it might break into “Tequila” at any moment. The song sounds like a darker version of Joe “King” Carrasco. "Tammy Got a Knife with a razor blade/ She brought her baby with a burnt teddy bear/ Lost her finger on a midnight swinger/ Cook it up and like it medium rare.”

But after the cops break up the backyard party, Drywall goes straight for the Bizarro world with the acid jazzy “Fortune Cookies.” A honking sax soars over the techno rhythms as Ridgway declares, “Fascist state television, it’s a blast … that‘s the way the cookie crumbles.”

On “Big Weird Thing,” against a throbbing electronic sonic backdrop punctuated by sampled voices and sinister clanking bells, Ridgway goes into a berserk rant. He sounds like the celebrated crank Francis E. Dec (Google him, if you dare) or one of those frothing preachers and political crackpots that David Byrne and Brian Eno sampled from short-wave radio broadcasts on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. “It’s a whitewash! Disintegration! Surely something that just seems to rot and fester … Show me these things and I shall salute it.”

On Barbecue, Drywall sounds more like a band than they did on Dumb Oracle. Wexstun, whose voice is a proven delight on her own albums (released under the name Hecate’s Angels) gets two solo spots on this album. The most impressive is “Bold Marauder,” an old Richard & Mimi Farina song that‘s appropriately sinister and, yes, apocalyptic for a Drywall CD:.

“For I will sour the winds on high and I will soil the river/And I will burn the grain in the field and I will be your mother/And I will go to ravage and kill and I will go to plunder/And I will take a fury to wife and I will be your mother/And death will be our darling and fear will be our name …”

Pietra’s also out front on “Something’s Gonna Blow” (with Stan providing unison baritone backup.) This one, with its rolicking garage-rock backup, reminds me of the Farinas also, their more rocked-out tunes like’ “House Un-American Blues Activity Dream” (or maybe Frank Zappa’s “Trouble Every Day.“) Drywall’s tune is a bitchen funky-chicken dance about economic decay.

There’s a secret hidden track featuring the voice of the president of the United States of America. Ridgway surely remembers The National Lampoon’'s infamous cut-and-paste manipulation of a Richard Nixon speech (“I am … a crook …”). He’s done the same shock-and-awe editing here for President Bush.

“Every year by law and by custom we meet here to threaten the world,” the president says, backed by an ominous Mid Eastern sounding Drywall instrumental track, interrupted every now and then by applause. “We must offer every child in America three nuclear missiles … We are building a culture to encourage international terrorism … I have a message for the people of Iraq: `Go home and die.’ ”

There’s one notable calm in the madness of Barbecue Babylon, a cool, almost jazzy little finger-popper called “Buried the Pope.” Ridgway released this surprising reverent tune as a free internet download just days after Pope John Paul II’s death.

“A world choked up with lies and politician doublespeak/ Nowhere to get the truth sometimes, but some will always seek/ Now you can criticize it, run it down/ Maybe religion’s not your dope/ But it’s hard to argue solid about a man of peace and hope/ That’s the day they buried the pope.”

But the funeral is just a short respite for Ridgway’s outrage. Elsewhere he has nothing but contempt for the large and in charge. In a sweet, almost western-sound waltz called “Robbers & Bandits & Bastards & Thieves,” he sings, “Hey nothing’ is new, this story is old/ Some will always steal tin and then sell it for gold …”

That’s not the case for Ridgway and Drywall. They’re selling pure gold with this record.

(Barbecue Babylon is available only at Stan Ridgway concerts and the internet. Check out CD Baby)

UDATE: This just in from International Ridgway HQs: Barbeque Babylon will be out and in record stores and at Amazon Aug. 30th.

So there ya go.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


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

After the criticism that Gov. Bill Richardson received for his appointment of former state police officer Tommy Rodella for Rio Arriba County Magistrate Judge earlier this year, the governor said he was going to get tougher on the selection process for judges.

At first the promise seemed rather empty. As documented in this column last month, some applicants for a Santa Fe County magistrate position described their interviews with Richardson as short and superficial.

Since then, Rodella resigned after criticism from Richardson over a drunken driving case Rodella had handled.

So now there’s a new application form for magistrate positions that shows Richardson at least is asking tougher questions than before.

Some of the questions on the form — which is available on the governor’s web site — seem to be directly inspired by Rodella — who had been investigated by state police for several alleged infractions, including using his influence as a cop to fix traffic tickets to garner political support for his wife, State Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-San Juan Pueblo.

Richardson and his staff claimed he was unaware of these problems until they hit the papers.

Among the new questions:

* “Is there any past or present conduct in your professional or personal life that creates a substantial question as to your qualifications to serve in the judicial position involved or which might interfere with your ability to so serve?”

*“Have you ever been terminated, disciplined, admonished, warned, reprimanded, sanctioned or otherwise punished for any conduct that occurred in your present or previous employment? If so, please explain the nature of the conduct and the result.”

*“To the best of your knowledge, have your ever been investigated by your present or previous employer for misconduct? If so, please explain the nature of the allegation(s) and the result.

Applicants are now asked to sign waiver forms giving up their rights to confidentiality for personnel records, including files related to disciplinary investigations.

The new form asks whether the applicant has been arrested or charged with any misdemeanor or felony other than a minor traffic offense. Separate questions ask about drunken driving charges and domestic violence offenses.

There’s a special question for lawyer applicants. “If you are an attorney, have you ever been the subject of a formal complaint or charged with any violation of any rules of professional conduct in any jurisdiction? If so, have you ever received any discipline, formal or informal, including an ‘Informal Admonition(?) If so, when, and please explain.”

There’s one for judges who apply: “If you have served as a judge, has any formal charge of a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct been filed against you, and if so, how was it resolved?”

One applicant for the position, former public defender Andrew O’Connor, said this week he thought the new questions were “intrusive” and possibly illegal.

O’Connor admitted he probably doesn’t have much of a chance of getting the appointment due to comments he made last month in this column after being rejected for the Santa Fe magistrate position. He said the only question the governor asked in the previous interview was “Is there anything in your past that would hurt me politically if I appoint you?”

Alien Nation: Did Richardson just have a “Sister Souljah moment”?

You remember Sister Souljah, don’t you? If so, it’s probably not for her music but for her coming under fire in 1992 by Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Clinton. The rapper had made a statement about “killing white people,” which candidate Clinton repudiated — even though the repudiation was repudiated by some Clinton allies like the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

On this week’s Latino USA syndicated radio show (heard locally on KUNM FM), Richardson -- talking about his recently declared state of emergency for our state's border with Mexico -- used the phrase “illegal alien” to describe undocumented immigrants.

Some Hispanic activists who those who work for immigration rights say that term is offensive. But those who favor a crackdown on people who enter the country illegally say the objection to the phrase is unbridled political correctness.

Richardson used the term at least twice on that show and once during his interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

Maria Hinojosa of Latino USA called him on it, noting that this was the first time she’d ever heard him say “illegal aliens.”

Richardson responded, “ ... as a matter of frustration, I have, you know, started using ‘illegal aliens’ because I have seen how some of the traffic of these individuals in trucks and cars come into my state.”

He said human traffickers known as “coyotes” and “other crime-infested people” are hurting some of his constituents, including “many that are Hispanic.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


By DEBORAH BAKER Associated Press
August 24, 2005

SANTA FE - The state Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily suspended a Santa Fe municipal judge while a disciplinary panel investigates allegations
of misconduct.

Judge Frances Gallegos will be suspended with pay for 90 days as of Monday, the high court ruled following a hearing.

So I'm trying to figure out what I can to at work to get a three-month suspension with pay ...

Monday, August 22, 2005


I returned to work today after a two-week vacation. First time in two weeks that I wore long pants. Luckily it was a pretty easy day.

But tomorrow should be even stranger. I'm going back to school -- and even to my old alma mater, The University of New Mexico.

I'm already feeling like Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School. But instead of "Hot Lips" Houlihan, my professor will be former U.S. Sen. Fred R. Harris, a fellow Okie in exile.

I'm taking Harris' American Politics class. For years I nagged my daughter to take this. Only recently I realized that my real motivation was that I wanted to take it myself.

But the cool thing is that my daughter is going to take the class with me. She'll probably embarass me and get a better grade. But I'll probably be the only student with a direct memory of Harris' jingle when he ran for Senate back in the '60s:

The man from Oklahoma
Is a man that you can trust
A vote for Fred R. Harris
Is a vote of confidence ...


This just in from the Thirsty Ear Festival publicity machine:

Due to an injury, ODETTA will be unable to perform at the Santa Fe Thirsty Ear Festival on Saturday, Sept. 3. We have little hard information on the injury, other than it's caused the cancelation of all her pending performances. We're all hoping for a thorough recovery. Replacing her is critically acclaimed bluesman OTIS TAYLOR, a W.C. Handy award winner whom Guitar Player magazine calls "arguably the most relevant blues artist of our time." One of our personal favorites, Taylor and his band play stark, original, hard-hitting, trance-like blues whose stories are often based in sometimes brutal history ...

I'm sorry to hear about Odetta's injury, but the cold hard truth is, I'd much rather see Otis. I'll never forget his performance at the 2001 (Dang, has it been that long?) Thirsty Ear, the year they held it at the Bonanza Creek movie ranch.

Speaking of the festival, I'll be doing a lengthy Thirsty Ear set on Friday night's Santa Fe Opry (10 p.m. Friday on KSFR, 90.7 FM)featuring the music of James McMurtry, Beausoleil, Ricki Lee Jones, Alvin Youngblood Hart, etc.


Sunday, August xx, 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
Let Me Take You to the Beach by Frank Zappa
Goin' on Down to the BBQ by Drywall
Garbagehead by Eric "Roscoe' Ambel
Slow Night, So Long by The Kings of Leon
The Wagon by Dinosaur Jr.
Pokin' Around by Mudhoney
Moonraker by Hog Molly

Dog Food by Iggy Pop
Wild Thyme (H) by The Jefferson Airplane
Soul Kitchen by X
Rumble on the Docks by Link Wray
Shady Grove by Quicksilver Messenger Service
Sing Remember Me by James Bilacody & The Cremains
Bumble Bee by The Searchers
The House of the Rising Sun by Frijid Pink

Missed Your Big Chance by Mark Weber & Out of Context
Say I Am (What I Am) by Tommy James & The Shondells
Distant Shore by Robert Cray
Terrorized by Willie King & The Liberators
Government Lied by Otis Taylor
Dope by Stuurbarrd Bakkebaard
El UFO Man by Jonathan Richman

My Baby Joined the Army by Terry Evans
You Are So Beautiful by The Rev. Al Green
The Lion This Time by Van Morrison
Miss Patsy by Richard Thompson
This One's From the Heart by Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Friday, August 19, 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
Back From the Shadows Again by The Firesign Theatre
Diggy Liggy Lo by Doug & Rusty Kershaw
On the Sly by The Waco Brothers
Chaos Streams by Son Volt
Different Drum by Michael Nesmith
Ignorance is the Enemy by Rodney Crowell with Emmylou Harris and John Prine
Whiskey 6 Years Old by Marti Brom
Winter Time Blues by John Hiatt
Violet by Frank Black

Every Morning by Jon Nolan
Trotsky's Blues by Joe West
Meadowlake Street by Ryan Adams
We Sure Make Good Love by George Jones & Loretta Lynn
Railroad Bill by Dave Alvin
Skid Row Joe by Porter Wagoner
Just Because I'm a Woman by Dolly Parton
I Love Nickels and Dimes by Robbie Fulks


Dirty Drawers by Vassar Clements with Elvin Bishop
With a Vamp in the Middle by John Hartford
Lonesome Fiddle Blues by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Vassar Clements
Honey Babe Blues by Vassar Clements with Maria Muldaur
Land of the Navajo by Old and In the Way
White Room by Vassar Clements with John Cowan

American Boy by Eleni Mandell
Touch of Evil by Tom Russell with Eliza Gilkyson
Buffalo Skinners by Tim O'Brien
Something Strange is Happening by The Clothesline Revival
Pray For the Boys by Flatt & Scruggs
Sweet Little Bluebird by Grey DeLisle
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, August 19, 2005


Sorry, but I've got to unring a bell.

Seems like I've got to unring a bell here.

Turns out that this week's Terrell's Tune-up was held this week because of all the Indian Market stuff. (Sure wish I'd known that was going to happen a couple of Sundays ago when scrambling to get that column written before I left town ...)

Anyway, I've temporarily pulled what was supposed to be this week's column, my reviewing of the new Drywall album Barbecue Baylon. If you read it while it was posted here for 14 hours or so, please forget everything I said ... until next week when I post it again.

For dynamic coverage of Santa Fe Indian Market, read this week's Pasatiempo in Friday's Santa Fe New Mexican. (Speaking of Indian Market, I freelanced a story on tomorrow night's Native Roots & Rhythms concert at Paolo Soleri. Sorry, it's not online. But an old story I did on NR&R in No Depression is here (scroll down).

Thursday, August 18, 2005


This is the last batch, I promise ...

The Southwest Chief pulls into Lamy, Aug. 9, 2005.
Johnny Cash inspired me to take this train ... Posted by Picasa

I really thought this was Ozzie until he asked for a tip to have his picture taken.
Fake Ozzie's web site is here. Posted by Picasa

"Clowns to the left of me/Jokers to the right ..."
(Having fun on Redondo Beach)

Posted by Picasa

Give me that old time (Venice Beach) religion .. Posted by Picasa

"If I could just get off this L.A. Freeway without gettin' killed or caught .." Posted by Picasa


Laurell Reynolds not only was kind enough to substitute for me on my radio shows on KSFR last weekend, she also sent me her playlists.

They're not in my usual format, but who cares? Here's what you heard last week on The Santa Fe Opry and Terrell's Sound World:

The Santa Fe Opry
Friday, August 12, 2005

Buck Owens-Buckaroo
Emmylou Harris-Ain't Livin Long Like This
Tammy Wynette-Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
Gordon Lightfoot-Bossman
Jamie Hartford Band-Who Cut Your Heart Out?
Byrds-100 Years From Now
-Blue Canadian Rockies
Waylon Jennings-Lovin Her Was Easier
-Freedom To Stay

Michael Hurley-Natl Weed Growers Assc.
Holy Modal Rounders-Bound to Lose
-Statesboro Blues
Janette & Joe Carter-Through The Eyes Of An Eagle
Sandy Denny-Tommorrow Is A Long Time
Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty-Feelins'
Kitty Wells-Making Believe
-It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
Jeanne Pruett-Satin Sheets
Patsy Montana-I Only Want A Buddy Not A Sweetheart

The Statler Brothers-Flowers On The Wall
Ricky Nelson-Lonesome Town
Everly Brothers-Cryin' In The Rain
Tommy Duncan-Who Drank My Beer?
Lynn Anderson-Rose Garden
Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris - Love Hurts
Neil Young-Wayward Wind
Dolly Parton-Coat Of Many Colors
Tanya Tucker-Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)

Maria McKee-If Love Is A Red Dress
Patsy Cline-Crazy
Cordelia's Dad-Knife
Judy Roderick-Someone To Talk My Troubles To
-Woman Blue
Townes Van Zandt-For The Sake Of The Song
Meat Puppets-Comin Down

Terrell's Sound World
Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Hombres-Let It All Hang Out
Frank Zappa-Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
-Fountain Of Love
Pink Floyd-Ibiza Bar
Spinal Tap-Listen To The Flower People
Strawberry Alarm Clock-Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow
The Amboy Dukes-Journey To The Center Of Your Mind
Status Quo-Pictures Of Matchstick Men
The Moving Sidewalks-Crimson Witch

The Silver Apples-Oscillations
The Monkees-The Porpoise Song
Jethro Tull-A New Day Yesterday
The Byrds-I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better
The Yardbirds-I Ain't Got You
-Got Love If You Want It
Jefferson Airplane-Watch Her Ride
Grateful Dead-China Cat Sunflower

X-White Girl
-Your Phone's Off The Hook
David Bowie-Speed Of Life
Pink Floyd-The Nile Song
-Cirus Minor
-Biding My Time

Derek And The Dominos-Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?
Country Joe And The Fish-Section 43
Crosby, Stills & Nash-Marrakesh Express
Jewel-Pieces Of You
Sinead O'Connor-My Darling Child
The Yardbirds-White Summer
Jerry Lee Lewis-Over The Rainbow


Santa Fe Municipal Judge Fran Gallegos' latest problems with the Judicial Standards Commission made me recall a controversy I wrote about during her first year in office.

Basically her court issued summonses to hundreds of people who had already taken care of traffic tickets, forcing them to go to court a second time and pay additional court and Motor Vehicle Division fees.

Gallegos quietly dropped her pursuit of ancient traffic tickets shortly after my story about it. As you'll read, the city attorney was working on a legal opinion about the matter. I don't remember what that opinion was -- though I've got a pretty good idea what that might have been. I can't find any old story about that opinion.

Although this didn't cause the uproar that Gallegos' subsequent troubles have -- and indeed, it's not as serious as her current charges -- you could argue that it showed a basic lack of knowledge about legal concepts like "double jeopardy" "right to a speedy trial," etc. This early ticket fiasco might be viewed as a precursor to Gallegos' present situation.

Here's the story I wrote way back then:

As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Feb. 16, 1997

Because of court glitch, hundreds who thought their tickets were taken care of are receiving summonses

Connie remembers when her 16-year-old son got his first traffic tickets early last year and had to go to Municipal Judge Tom Fiorina's court.

Her son got one ticket for lacking proof of insurance and an other for not having a vehicle registration, violations for which Connie felt she was to blame.

She remembers waiting her turn in court, waiting for arraign ment of new jail inmates and for other cases that came ahead of her son's. Finally, when it was her boy's turn, Connie remembers Fiorina giving her son a mild lecture about taking responsibility to help his mom remember to keep the car's paperwork in order. Then she remembers Fiorina telling her son he would give him a break. As he did for countless others during his 13 years on the bench, Fiorina wrote "dismissed" on the tickets.

And that was that, or so Connie thought.

But in late September of last year, Connie's son received a letter from the state Motor Vehicle Division informing him that his driver's license had been suspended.

He was accused of failing to appear in municipal court. He had been driving on a suspended license for nearly a month with out knowing it.

Connie's son is not alone. He is one of hundreds of Santa Feans who thought they had taken care of their traffic tickets and other misdemeanor violations who are receiving summonses from Municipal Court and notices from the Motor Vehicle Division saying otherwise.

This situation began getting publicity after it happened to a city councilor, Amy Manning, who earlier this month received an order to show cause why she should not be held in contempt of court for allegedly skipping out on a hearing on a 1993 traffic ticket -- something she denies.

Municipal Judge Frances Gallegos, who defeated Fiorina at the polls about two months after Connie's son went to court, says her court computers indicate that some 340,000 citations going back as far as 1988 are "open" cases with no sign that they have ever been resolved.

Every Tuesday the court computer spits out a new pile of summonses to the next batch of people with open cases, Gallegos said. And virtually every day more people come in to endure a second day in court for the same offense they thought they took care of months or years ago.

Gallegos blames the situation on Fiorina, whose problems with record-keeping were well-documented in city audits. Gallegos said the state auditor recently began examining records from the Fiorina era to see whether there are major discrepancies.

However, some say that Gallegos is aware that most of the tickets in question involve people who went through the system in good faith, that she was told that the computer records are unreliable for the years before 1995.

And others, such as Manning, who have received such summonses say that Gallegos is causing needless problems for scores of people by pursuing the issue.

"What makes me mad is that even assuming Fiorina's record keeping wasn't up to snuff, if there was a problem, the court should have notified us that there was a problem, not just send it off to Motor Vehicles," said Connie, who asked that her last name not be used.

Her son like others caught in this trap had to pay a $17 court- cost fee as well as another fee of $25 at Motor Vehicles to get her son's license out of suspension.

Manning -- a political ally of Fiorina's, and Gallegos' harshest critic on the City Council long before Manning received her own summons -- used stronger words.

"I believe this judge is committing a fraud against the people of Santa Fe," Manning said.

But Gallegos insists she is only doing what is legally required of her.

"I can't just go in and close (the cases). I can't forgive all these charges," she said. "That would be amnesty. It's amnesty that got Fiorina in trouble, his `turkeys program.'

She was referring to Fiorina's practice of forgiving parking tickets before Thanksgiving each year in exchange for food donations to charities. In his last year of office he dropped the program after the state Judicial Standards Commission ruled that it was illegal.

City Manager Ron Curry told the City Council on Wednesday that he intends to ask the city attorney to issue a legal opinion on whether the show-cause orders issued by Gallegos are proper.

Earlier in the week City Attorney Mark Basham declined to comment on the situation except to say, "I think these cases would be difficult to prosecute if there's no information in the file."

Manning said she learned last week that her file did not even contain the original citation. "She's sending these summonses on the basis of a computer entry," Manning said. "I would urge anyone in this situation to demand to see their file and see whether their citations are still there."

Gallegos said the fact that an original citation is missing does not affect traffic cases. She also denied that most of the cases in question are missing the citations.

So where are the citations?

Dolores Baca, who worked as records clerk and head administrator during Fiorina's last two years, said all old files were routinely boxed and sent to the city archives.

Joseph Valdez of the city archives says his office keeps non-drunken-driving traffic records for three years, then as per state law has the boxes destroyed. Thus, the archives no longer has any of the files dated before 1994, Valdez said.

Michelle Ryals worked as a records clerk at the court for the last year of Fiorina's tenure and the first six months of Gallegos' administration. She said that when she started working there the court was severely understaffed and records were in a state of disarray.

Both Ryals and Baca said court staffers at that time rarely used the computer to enter dispositions of cases.

"It was a new computer system and there were a tremendous amount of glitches," Ryals said. "The staff was never properly trained on them." Most of the ticket dispositions were made by hand in the paper files, she said.

When Gallegos became judge in March 1996, Ryals said she told Gallegos about the situation. "I brought this up with her many times," Ryals said. "I left a note on the clerk's computer saying this and talked to everyone in the place about it."

Gallegos does not deny that Ryals told her about the reason for the lack of case dispositions showing up on the computer. But the judge insists it is her duty to pursue the opened cases.

Gallegos said about half the people who receive the summons admit that they indeed never showed up in court.

Because of Fiorina's record keeping, she says, she "takes people at their word if they say the charge was dismissed."

But, she still charges the $17 court-cost fee. "That fee is mandatory for all cases," she said.

Asked whether making people pay court fees if their case has already been disposed of constitutes double jeopardy, Gallegos said, "That fee should have been collected the first time they went in."

Is Gallegos justified in forcing people to come back to court for old tickets that likely were disposed of?

Fern Goodman, general counsel to the state Administrative Office of the Courts said, "She's trying to close these cases. It's good she's trying to close cases. She's inherited a big mess. But maybe there's a better way to go about it."

Goodman suggested that the court try to cross check court records with Motor Vehicle Division records.

However, an MVD records clerk last week said traffic cases that are dismissed must be sent to her agency by the courts; dismissed cases are not recorded and are routinely destroyed within days of being received.

At last week's City Council meeting, Councilor Art Sanchez tried to raise the question of whether any statute of limitations would prohibit the court from pursuing years-old traffic charges. Others have raised the question of the "six-month rule," which requires a court to drop charges if a defendant is not prosecuted within six months of the time in which he was charged.

Gallegos said in an interview last week that when failure to appear is the issue, the six-month rule does not apply.

Those who received summonses from Gallegos who were interviewed last week said they never received any previous notice from the court about failure to appear.

Asked about the six-month rule and failure to appear, District Attorney Henry Valdez whose office does not prosecute cases at the municipal level said, "Usually it's incumbent on the prosecutor to prove that the defendant was at fault for not appearing.

"With inadequate records it would be hard to prove a willful failure to appear."

Asked about whether a judge has the right to impose a fine on someone whose case was previously adjudicated, Valdez said, "I think we have something called `double jeopardy.' "

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


O.K here's a bunch of photos from my trip to southern California last week. Most of them were taken by Helen. I'll probably post a few more when my batch of film is developed.

Dogs of the deep Posted by Picasa

"You can see all the stars as you walk down Hollywood Boulevard ..." Posted by Picasa

"One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small ..." Posted by Picasa

Where the food is sanctifiably delicious ...  Posted by Picasa

The mural is gloomy, but the food at Lucy's Mexican drive-in next door on Pico Boulevard was inspiring. Posted by Picasa

"To those who are successful/Stay always on your guard/For success walks hand-in-hand with failure/along Hollywood Boulevard ..." Posted by Picasa

Here's an o.k. Spade Cooley link.

The line for Splash Mountain is how long???!!??  Posted by Picasa

What do you mean "Move along," officer? Posted by Picasa

Defying the Empire's "No Cameras" rule. Posted by Picasa

I wonder if the dead fish discourages anyone from ordering the fish tacos at Lucy's ... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 14, 2005


... and I wake up early this morning and grab the L.A. Times at my door. Mistakenly thinking I'd gotten away from New Mexico politics, I start reading the front page and there's an article about ... you guessed it ... Bill Richardson.

It's a pretty positive story -- and New Mexico Republicans will hate reading again that Richardson "slashed taxes."

There is mention of local grumbling about Richardson's "high-handed manner." And there's this:
More serious doubts about Richardson center on his style, including the carefree — some say careless — attitude he sometimes has in public. (In political circles, it is usually phrased as doubts that Richardson has the "discipline" to run for president; he was famous in Washington for his ribald sense of humor and penchant for late-night, cigar-smoking conviviality.)

"He's a likable guy, a personable guy" who has "obviously been in a lot of roles," said Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan campaign handicapper. The question, Rothenberg said, is: "Does he have the stature of a future president? Does he behave the way presidents ought to?"
What a weird concept. Cigars could stop Richardson from becoming president?

Two other things make this article remarkable. It's one of the few Richardson profiles I've seen lately that doesn't mention Wen Ho Lee. And it might be the only one that doesn't quote Joe Monahan.


I'm writing this at an internet cafe near LAX. There's a pay internet machine at my hotel, but the other day, it ate one of my blog posts -- and never spat it out.

I was blogging about a strange character I met in Anaheim. No, not Goofy. It was this dude behind me in line at In-N-Out Burger. He asked to speak to the manager about a job. A few minutes later he was at a table near us, berating some poor wife or girlfriend. "I saved your fucking life FOUR TIMES, and you never said `Thanks.' Do you LOVE ME? DO YO LOVE ME?. The poor woman said she did.

Then he went into an angry white man rant. "They won't hire me here because I'm white and because I'm an American. That's discrimination. They hate me because I'm WHITE. They should go back to wherever they came from ..."

Something tells me this guy's ethnicity wasn't why he was passed over for this job. Ironically, two of the people on duty at the restaurant at the time were Anglo kids.

He started getting louder and crazier demanding his woman give him a root beer. She held her cup up in front of his face. "Where's my soda? WHERE'S MY FUCKING SODA ..."

I talked to one of then workers. "Oh he comes in all the time," he said. "He says he's going to run for governor."

I say watch the news for spree killings in Orange County.

Back to my vacation ...

Friday, August 12, 2005


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
August 12, 2005

The funny thing is, for years I suspected that contemporary bluesman Robert Cray might have Republican leanings. Not only was he raised in a military family, some of his lyrics betray some GOP sensibilities. Back in the ‘80s on “Nothin’ But a Woman” on his breakthrough album Strong Persuader, he cheerfully fantasized, “Tell me a boat full of lawyers just sank …” And on over a Howlin’ Wolf guitar riff on “!040 Blues” on 1993’s Shame + A Sin) he convincingly snarled, “I hate taxes.”

But on his new album Twenty, Cray has released one of the most moving anti-war songs of the Bush era.

The title song is the story of a young man who joins the military after Sept. 11. But fighting the insurgents in Iraq sours his initial idealism.

With a sob in his voice over a slow, slinky guitar that builds up to mad strumming, Cray sings:

“Standing out here in the desert/Trying to protect an oil line/I’d really like to do my job but/This ain’t the country that I had in mind/They call this a war on terror/I see a lot of civilians dying/Mothers, sons, fathers and daughters/Not to mention some friends of mine …”

Fighting what he calls a “rich man’s war,” the narrator is demoralized. “We were supposed to leave last week/Promises they don’t keep any more …” By the end of the song, there’s a stranger knocking at his mother’s door and the disembodied voice of the narrator pleads “Mother don’t you cry …”

Actually this is a continuation of anti-war sentiments Cray first started expressing on his previous album, 2003’s Time Will Tell. There he had a couple of protest songs including the opening track “Survivor,” (“you take a little schoolboy and teach him who to hate/ then you send him to the desert for the oil near Kuwait") and the hoppy, New Wavey “Distant Shore” (“war begat war/all on a distant shore …”)

With these songs Cray has bucked the apolitical stereotype of blues artists, earning his place alongside of ascended masters like J.B. Lenoir -- the Chicago bluesman who wrote “Korea Blues” and “Vietnam Blues” -- not to mention Junior Wells, who in the ‘60s wrote and sang an angry song called “Viet Cong Blues.”

B.B. King in 1971 recorded “The Power of the Blues” (“Now me and Lucille/We're gonna stop this war/I'm no politician/But I know the score.”)

And meanwhile, back at church, don’t forget Sister Rosetta Tharpe shouting “Ain’t gonna study war no more …” in “Down By the Riverside.”

Cray’s only contemporary challenger in the anti-war arena is Terry Evans, whose latest album Fire in the Feeling includes a sad Ry Cooder-penned song called “My Baby Joined the Army,” which is about a guy watching his daughter board a plane to Iraq.

But Cray’s no Steve Earle. Even though a striking photo of a soldier covering his head adorns the album cover, the new album deals mostly with the politics of the heart and the war of the sexes. Infidelity figures into more songs than government lies.

“Poor Johnny” is a slow burner with a beat suggesting reggae that deals with the consequences of cheating; “That Ain‘t Love“ is a minor-key rocker that recalls some of Cray’s tougher Strong Persuader material with drummer Kevin Hayes sounding like Mitch Mitchell.

“It Doesn’t Show” is a sweet, sad ballad of a broken romance (starting with a classic image “You threw out my clothes …“) with the most beautiful melody on the album. Cray has said “I’m Walkin’” (not the Fats Domino song) is influenced by the late Johnny “Guitar” Watson. Indeed, you can hear echoes of Watson’s mid ‘70s FM radio staple “Ain’t That a Bitch” here. And like much of Cray’s best recent work, it’s got some nice interplay -- sometimes almost a call-and-response -- between Cray’s guitar and Jim Pugh’s keyboards.

“Two Steps From the End,” with Jim Pugh playing a Jimmy Smith-style organ and Cray’s guitar sounding jazzy sounds a bit like Ray Charles’ “Night Time is the Right Time”; and Cray -- whose basic sound owes more to Memphis soul than Chicago blues -- nails William Bell’s under-appreciated Stax classic “I Forgot to Be Your Lover.”

“My Last Regret” at first sounds like psychotic love about to turn violent. (“I want to see you burn all the way down/I want to see your ashes all over the ground …” ) Actually, however it’s a song Pugh wrote about quitting smoking. Cray sings it in an understated falsetto, with Pugh, keeping those fingers busy, comes in with a snazzy little piano solo at the end of the track.

“Fadin’ Away” has an early ‘70s English blues-rock feel about it. The melody reminds me a little of Rod Stewart’s “Handbags and Gladrags.” At first the lyrics seem to suggest a keep-a-tiff-upper-lip advice kind of song: “remember the good times always follow the bad … ”

But by the last verse, after a transcendental guitar solo Cray’s snuck up on you with a verse of subtly political lyrics.

“When you’re feelin’ sad that you’ve been misled/ Hang on, they’ll soon fade away/Ain’t it a shame no one takes the blame/ Hang on …”

With Twenty, Cray has succeeeded in making the personal political.

Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo

The Robert Cray Band is playing 7 p.m. tonight at the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque as part of the summer Zoo Music series. Tickets are $22.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Former New Mexico journalist Shea Andersen, who covered politics for The Albuquerque Tribune before moving to Idaho this year, apparently still is addicted to New Mexico politics. He wrote a profile of Gov. Bill Richardson for Check it out. (If you're not a subscriber you'll have to endure an ad to get a "day pass" to Salon, but it's worth it.)

Shea has a great opening paragraph:
"The camera does not love Bill Richardson. Close-ups, head shots, even profiles do nothing for the New Mexico governor's jowly, moon-faced countenance ..."
I'm catching a train to California tomorrow, and I'm on vacation, so I shouldn't be blogging about politics. But when I read Jason Auslander's story today about Richardson possibly investigating Municipal Judge Fran Gallegos, I couldn't help but think about former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tony Scarborough's comments a couple of weeks ago in Roundhouse Round-up about the governor and the Judicial Standards Commission. (CLICK HERE and scroll down to the last item.)

My trip means no Roundhouse Round-up this week and Laurel Reynolds is subbing for both my radio shows this weekend, but check here Friday for Terrell's Tune-up.


Sunday, August xx, 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
Yeagh! by James Lileks with Howard Dean
California Here I Come by Desi Arnaz
Dis***land by Timbuk 3
Mickey Mouse by The Black Lodge Singers
Disney Girls by The Beach Boys
Out in California by Dave Alvin
Celluloid Heroes by The Kinks
Los Angeles by X

In My Town by Ry Cooder
Eddie Are You Kidding? by Frank Zappa
California Stars by Billy Bragg & Wilco
Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies) by Alice Cooper
Busload of Faith by Lou Reed
Velvet Underground by Jonathan Richman
Crane Cafe by TAD

Twenty by Robert Cray
Korea Blues by J.B. Lenoir
Vietnam Blues by Cassandra Wilson
Vietcong Blues by Junior Wells
Little Soldier Boy by Doctor Ross
World War Blues by Eric Bibb

That Big Weird Thing by Drywall
Bold Marauder by Richard & Mimi Farina
Government Lied by Otis Taylor
Hikky Burr by Quincy Jones & Bill Cosby
Build Me Up by Al Green
Gypsy in My Soul by Van Morrison
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Friday, August 5, 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
Love in Vain by Robert Johnson
Wabash Cabbonball by Roy Acuff
Rock Island Line by The Knitters
New Delhi Freight Train by Terry Allen
Glendale Train by The New Riders of the Purple Sage
Wreck of the Old 97 by Johnny Cash
Georgia on a Fast Train by Billy Joe Shaver
The Little Black Train by The Carter Family

Stop the Train by Mother Earth
Railroad Lady by Lefty Frizzell
Freight Train Boogie by The Whitstein Brothers
Boxcars by Joe Ely
Train of Life by Roger Miller
Mystery Train by The Band
Last Train From Poor Valley by Norman Blake
The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore by June Carter Cash

I'm Going Home on the Morning Train by Clothesline Revival with E.M. Martin & Pearline Johns
Work on the Railroad by Trailer Bride
Train of Love by Paul Reddick
Lord of the Trains by Tom Russell
Ramblin' Man by Hank Williams
I Heard That Lonesome Whistle by Townes Van Zandt
Texas 1947 by Guy Clark
I Like Trains by Fred Eaglesmith

Waiting for a Train by Jimmie Rodgers
The Train Carrying Jimmie Rodgers Home by Iris DeMent
Casey Jones by Mississippi John Hurt
Lightning Express by The Everly Brothers
Train Song by The Holmes Brothers
Waiting For the 103 by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Starlight on the Rails by U. Utah Phillips
Midnight Train 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, August 05, 2005


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
August 5, 2005

Although I consider myself a true Johnny Cash devotee, I have to admit I wasn’t all that excited when I heard that Columbia Legacy was planning to release yet another Johnny Cash box set this year.

After all, more than a decade ago they released what could be considered a definite Cash box, the 3-disc The Essential Johnny Cash, 1955-1983. Perhaps a companion set (“1984-2003“?) might be in order. (Actually none of Cash‘s acclaimed American Recordings series from the final years of his life are here. But don’t worry, that period was compiled on another box set, Unearthed, released last year by American Recordings.)

But did the free world really need yet another collection featuring “I Walk the Line,” “Hey Porter,” “Ring of Fire,” etc. etc.?

Indeed, long before he died Cash was one of those artists doomed to an eternity of reissue after reissue. And there’s even two versions of the new one, called The Legend, the “standard” 4-disc model, and a deluxe limited “coffee-table” edition that includes a fifth CD -- an low-fi, all-too-short but thoroughly entertaining 1954 Memphis radio show featuring songs and local ads -- plus a DVD (more on that later.)

Despite the plethora of Cash standbys that any fan has to already have, there’s a truckload of lesser-known Cash tunes (such as “The Matador,”), obscurities (like his singing cowboy tribute “Who’s Gene Autry?”) and a smattering of previously unreleased songs to keep things interesting.

While nearly all of the first two discs have been on previous collections, the second two are more interesting.

Disc 3, called “The Great American Songbook” consists of country classics (“The Great Speckled Bird,” “In the Jailhouse Now,” “Time Changes Everything” and Cash versions of hoary Americana standards -- “Casey Jones,” “Sweet Betsy from Pike,” “The Streets of Laredo.” Cash sings these with authority and no cheap irony. He’s the only singer I know who could get away recording “I’ve Been working on the Railroad” with a straight face.

The final disc “Family and Friends” consists of collaborations. The most impressive tracks here are the spooky “Another Man Done Gone” featuring sister-in-law Anita Carter; a duet with Ray Charles on a sweet waltz called “Crazy Old Soldier”; an acoustic “One More Ride” with Marty Stuart and former son-in-law Rodney Crowell’s ode to J.C. “I Walk the Line (Revisited).”

Little Junie
As far as retrospectives go, I’m actually more impressed with Keep on The Sunny Side the new two-disc collection by Cash’s wife June Carter Cash.

It starts off with just a few seconds of June as a 10-year-old singing with The Carter Family on the radio in 1939, then, like a dream, a short segment of the tiny precocious June from the same year singing “O Susana” -- or as she pronounces it, “Oh Susie-anna.”

The collection skips ahead 10 years with June singing a sex-charged, faux-hillbilly tune, “Root Hog or Die” with Chet Atkins on guitar.

While I love June’s work with Johnny (yes, “Jackson” and “If I Were a Carpenter” are included in this collection as well as The Legend) and her late period solo work (which also is well represented here), the old recordings from the ’40s and ’50s are a revelation.

Back in those early days, Nashville apparently was trying to market June as a real hillbilly version of Dorothy Shay (“The Park Avenue Hillbilly”). Perhaps it was artistically limited — and clearly June was capable of all sorts of material — but she sure was good at the funny, sexy stuff.

There’s a couple of comical tunes with Homer & Jethro, some equally funny solo songs from the early ‘50s, (her trademark growl was well established on 1952’s “Jukebox Blues”), lots of songs with her mother Maybelle and her sisters and even a duet with her first husband Carl Smith, “Love Oh Crazy Love.”

J.C. on DVD
In addition to these music discs, there’s been a spate of Johnny Cash DVDs released lately. What’s lacking here is a compilation of Cash’s 1969-71 ABC television show, which not only showed Cash at his prime, but included musical guests like Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Young and Louis Armstrong -- not to mention the biggest country stars of the day.

* Included in the deluxe version of The Legend is a DVD featuring a 1980 CBS Johnny Cash special called The First 25 Years.
In some ways, this was a strange period for Cash. Basically this was around the start of his “missing years.” After years of being drug-free, Cash, around this period became addicted to pain pills. By this time, the dawn of the “Urban Cowboy” era, he’d virtually disappeared from country radio. Columbia would soon unceremoniously dump him. He’d be largely ignored by mass media for nearly 15 years until his comeback with American Recordings, in which he was marketed as an “alternative” rock star.

But despite all this, and despite being slightly marred by the corny Danny Davis-style Nashville horn section (sometime in the ’70s a lot of country stars added useless horns to “modernize” their sound). Johnny himself sounds loaded for bear. He sings all those old songs everyone’s heard a billion times before as if he’s just discovering them and wants to spread the excitement.

Guests here include Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. The Statler Brothers sing a song called “I Got Paid by Cash,” about their long stint as Cash’s back-up vocalists. And there’s footage of Cash’s mother-in-law Maybelle Carter, who had died a couple of years before the show.

*Johnny Cash Live at Montreux 1994. Here’s Johnny at the outset of his final round of fame, performing at the famed Swiss jazz festival shortly after the release of American Recordings.

With a basic band (no horn section!) he does a set of greatest hits, an acoustic solo set of tunes from the recent album and some more greatest hits with the band, including a couple of classics with June.

Cash doesn’t quite have the fire here that he still had even in the 1980 show. But by this point, he’s acquired the countenance of a Biblical prophet. He’s still an entertainer, but he’s quickly evolving into an American oracle.

* Ridin’ The Rails: The Great American Train Story. This is a 1974 television special about the history of the railroad, hosted by JC, who interrupts his narrative with songs.

There’s a too-short version of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and dramatizations of “The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer” and “Casey Jones” (done as a medley with “The Wreck of the Old 97.”

Cash sings a couple of verses from protest songs about the railroads, written by wagoneers and canal workers who (rightfully) feared losing their jobs to the iron horse.

And there’s a wonderful obscure hobo song called “Crystal Chandeliers and Burgandy.”

There’s plenty of nostalgic corn here, with a big dose of unjustified optimism about Amtrak, which was created just a few years before this special. But after watching it, I decided that my teenage son had to take a train trip while he still had a chance. We’re taking a train to California later this summer.

(Here's a flashback to last summer when Johnny Cash fans took to the streets!)

Thursday, August 04, 2005


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Aug. 4, 2004

When President Bush comes to Albuquerque Monday to sign the energy bill, he’ll be joined by our two U.S. senators, Republican Pete Domenici and Democrat Jeff Bingaman.

But it appears that another powerful New Mexico politician with an interest in energy policy won’t be at the ceremony at Sandia Labs.

A spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson confirmed Wednesday that the governor had not received an invitation for the bill signing.

True, unlike Domenici — who is the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee — and Bingaman — who is the ranking Democrat on that committee — Richardson had nothing to do with the bill, which is considered a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s energy policy.

But he was the secretary of the Energy Department in the last administration, and, hey, he is the governor of the state.

Of course we haven’t seen Richardson’s public schedule for next week, so we don’t know whether he’ll even be in the state — or even the country — on Monday.

Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said Wednesday the governor doesn’t consider the lack of invitation a snub.

“The governor wishes the president a good visit to New Mexico,” Gallegos said.

Novak outs Richardson: When he’s not revealing the names of CIA operatives, conservative columnist Robert Novak sometimes dabbles in mundane electoral politics. In his July 24 column in The Chicago Sun Times, he mentioned our governor.

“Prominent New York City liberals who are concerned about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's electability are quietly talking up New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as her alternative for the 2008 presidential nomination,” Novak wrote.

“Richardson especially intrigues Democratic strategists because he is a Hispanic American with a Mexican mother,” he wrote. “Richardson would be expected to pin down the burgeoning Latino vote.” (Yes, gentle blog readers, you first read about this HERE.)

Is there a doctor in the house? What does Santa Fe radiologist J.R. Damron have in common with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and state Sen. Steve Komadina, R-Corrales?

Well, like those others, Damron might be joining an exclusive “club” of doctors in politics.

Damron said Wednesday that he is strongly considering making a run for the Republican nomination for governor in 2006.

“I’ll make a decision one way or another in the next 30 or 40 days,” he said.

So far no Republicans have announced for next year’s gubernatorial primary.

Incumbent Richardson frequently has said he’s seeking re-election. As of a couple of months ago the governor had raised $3 million for his re-election.

Damron, who is president of Santa Fe Radiology, said he’s concerned about the fact that New Mexico still ranks near the bottom of the list in education. “I’m concerned about health care, water and maintaining a strong border and I don’t feel these issues have been adequately dealt with,” he said.

Damron, who is treasurer of the Santa Fe County Republican Party, never has run for public office before.

So how can an unknown political novice expect to win against a well-known, well-funded incumbent?

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll ask Gary Johnson, who came out of nowhere in 1994 and defeated incumbent Gov. Bruce King.

I’m not the first to make that comparison. And the analogy is flawed. Richardson isn’t expected to face a bitter primary challenge from his lieutenant governor like King did. And the Green Party — which took more than 10 percent of the vote in 1994 with candidate Roberto Mondragon — might not even field a gubernatorial candidate next year, at least one Green honcho says.

But stranger things have happened in New Mexico politics.

Friends of Billy: One thing Richardson and Damron have in common is an interest in New Mexico’s most famous outlaw, Billy the Kid.

In November, 1999, museum officials enlisted Damron to X-ray a section of leg irons that they believe were attached to one of William Bonney 's ankles on April 28, 1881, when he shot and killed two deputies and escaped from the Lincoln County Courthouse.

The shackles belong to the Salazar family of Las Tablas, a town in Lincoln County. An ancestor of the family was one of Billy’s friends, said to have helped hide the Boy Bandit King after the infamous escape. The leg irons, which had been neatly cut, were kept by the Salazars for more than a century.

Damron’s X-rays, according to museum officials, didn’t reveal much, only showing a shadow of the leg irons.

Richardson in 2003 made headlines around the world when he announced a new investigation into the death of the Kid using DNA technology to determine whether it’s actually Bonney buried in Fort Sumner.

However, the investigation hit a brick wall when local officials of Fort Sumner and Silver City strongly objected to exhuming graves thought to belong to the Kid and his mother.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Tales of Tobacco Road

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