Wednesday, May 31, 2006


The Michael Martin Murphey firefighter benefit in Placitas was a blast Saturday. (See a bunch of photos from it HERE)

But one thing Murph said during his set puzzled me. Thanking Smokey Bear, who made an appearance working the crowd at the show, Murphey went into a rap about how Smokey had become "politically incorrect" during the '70s and had been banned, or at least discouraged from going into classrooms.

I honestly don't recall any left-wing "war on Smokey."

Well, there was John Nichols' The Milagro Beanfield War, where there was a "Smokey Bear santos riot." It's been a few years since I last read the book, but I think Nichols might have used Smokey as a symbol of the U.S. Forest Service, which was a frequent target of Northern New Mexico land grant activists in those days.

(Murph and Nichols both lived in the Taos area at the same time. Could they have engaged in some late-night cantina arguments over Smokey? Actually, the most passionate debate over the Bear is whether "The" is part of his name. I say it is. He's from Lincoln County, where that's a common middle name -- i.e. Billy the Kid).

But from my own hippie daze, I recall a more benevolent attitude toward the shovel wielder, as embodied in this 1969 epic by beat poet Gary Snyder:

Smokey the Bear Sutra
by Gary Snyder

Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago, the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite Void gave a Discourse to all the assembled elements and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings, the flying beings, and the sitting beings — even grasses, to the number of thirteen billions, each one born from a seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning Enlightenment on the planet Earth.

"In some future time, there will be a continent called America. It will have great centers of power called such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur, Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon. The human race in that era will get into troubles all over its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature."

"The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth. My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger: and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it."

And he showed himself in his true form of

A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and watchful.
Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war;
His left paw in the Mudra of Comradely Display — indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma;
Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a civilization that claims to save but often destroys;
Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the West, symbolic of the forces that guard the Wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the True Path of man on earth: all true paths lead through mountains—
With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind;
Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her;
Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs; smashing the worms of capitalism and totalitarianism;
Indicating the Task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes; master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash.
Wrathful but Calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or slander him,

Thus his great Mantra:

Namah samanta vajranam chanda maharoshana
Sphataya hum traka ham nam
And he will protect those who love woods and rivers, Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children.

And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television, or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR'S WAR SPELL:

And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out with his vajra-shovel.

Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice willl accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada.
Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick.
Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature.
Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts.
Will always have ripe blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at.
thus have we heard.

(may be reproduced free forever)


And what would Cheech and Chong say about all this? CLICK HERE

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


My candidate profiles in The New Mexican for contested races can be found HERE.

The races I'm covering are U.S. Senate (in the Republican primary), land commissioner, secretary of state and the House District 41 race between incumbent Rep. Debbie Rodella and challenger Moises Morales. (All those are in the Democratic primary.)

I've taken a few snapshots of various politicos during this primary season. Check them out HERE

Monday, May 29, 2006


Sunday, May 28, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Fancy by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Shotgun John by Hundred Year Flood
What it Means by Mates of State
Nobody Cares by The 88
Greasy Heart by The Jefferson Airplane
Another Day of Hunting by Redneck Manifesto
That Summer Feeling by Jonathan Richman

Taxi Driver by The Rodeo Carburettor
Lovefire by The Emeralds
Manhole by TsuShiMaMiRe
Pray For Asia by Takeharu Kunimoto & The Last Frontier
Sun Dance Moon Dance by Bleach 03
Stabbing by Jon
Sukiyaki Kyu Sakimoto

Bitter Tea by Fiery Furnaces
Escargot by Solex
Anxiety by Johnny Dowd
Blue Skies Will Haunt You by The Electric Ghosts
Nebraska Alcohol Abuse by David Thomas & Two Pale Boys
Cooper by Deerhoof
I'd Rather Be Dead by Harry Nilsson

Downtown Baghdad Blues by Black 47
Shock and Awe by Neil Young
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart by Wilco
Milky Way by Syd Barrett
Magpie by Mountain Goats
Goin' On by The Flaming Lips
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Friday, May 26, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Street Walkin' Woman by Billy Joe Shaver
Motorcycle Mama by I See Hawks in L.A.
My Pretty Quadroon by Jerry Lee Lewis
Crawfishin' by Marcia Ball
We Shall Overcome by Bruce Springsteen
River of Love by T-Bone Burnett
Divers Are Out Tonight by Porter Wagoner

Johnny Armstrong by Michael Martin Murphey
What Am I Doing Hangin' Round by The Monkees
Big Beaver by Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys
Pussy Pussy Pussy by The Light Crust Doughboys
Smoke Smoke Smoke That Cigarette by Tex Williams & His Western Caravan
Stranger in Your Mind by Miss Leslie & Her Juke Jointers
You Only Kiss Me When We Say Goodbye by Cornell Hurd
Stalin Kicked the Bucket by Johnny Dilks
Lead Me On by Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty

Matthew 24 is Knocking at the Door/Girl in Saskatoon/If Jesus Ever Loved a Woman by Johnny Cash
Tiffany Anastasia Lowe by June Carter Cash
Your Great Journey by The Handsome Family
Seeds and Candy by Boris & The Saltlicks
Assembly of Dog by Hundred Year Flood
Rubberball by ThaMuseMeant
Say a Little Prayer by Mary & Mars

But I Love You by Albert & Gage
I Know You're Married (But I Love You Still) by Don Reno & Bill Harrell & The Tennessee Cut-Ups
The Silver Tongued Devil & I by Shooter Jennings
The Window Up Above by George Jones
Poor Old Tom by Richard Buckner
Blue Dreams by Ronny Elliott
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, May 26, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New MexicanMay 19, 2006

Johnny Cash’s decades-spanning career produced a humongous catalog, which even before his death had been heading toward the same mindless route of recycling, repackaging, and regurgitation previously suffered by The Beach Boys and Elvis.

So when I first opened the envelope containing a new double-disc compilation of Cash material called Personal File, I was less than excited.

Until I looked at the song list and realized I hadn’t heard most of these 49 tunes, at least not by Johnny Cash. It turns out that this is a collection of home recordings, just Cash and his guitar, mostly from the mid-’70s, though there are a few stray tunes from the early ’80s. It was a period just past Cash’s height of popularity, a time when he was sliding toward the bitter sidelines of Nashville’s music-industrial complex.

Apparently these are from tapes uncovered, after the singer’s death, in a storeroom in Cash’s home studio. The ones included in this collection — and apparently more collections will follow, as there were “hundreds of boxes” of tapes, according to the press release — are from a group of white boxes marked “Personal File.”

No, it wasn’t a great era for the Man in Black. But this is a powerful collection of music for those of us who loved him. It’s almost as if Johnny Cash is singing songs from beyond the grave for a troubled world that still needs him.

There are a bunch of sentimental songs about home and Mama. There’s a smattering of Irish songs (“I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen,” “Galway Bay”), a set of Alaska (!) songs, capped off by a five-minute recitation of a Robert Service poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee”; there are covers of country classics like the Louvin Brothers’ “When I Stop Dreaming,” the Kershaw Brothers’ “Louisiana Man,” and John Prine’s “Paradise.” The recordings also include a tune by Cash’s stepdaughter (and former Santa Fe resident) Carlene Carter, “It Takes One to Know Me,” and “Missouri Waltz,” the state song of Missouri. (Sorry, but I can’t listen to this track without recalling a weird ditty my mama taught me that used the same melody. It starts off, “Mary Margaret Truman is the daughter of the pres/lives up in the White House with her father, Harry S.”)

And there’s an entire disc of gospel songs, including a couple of traditional tunes (“Farther Along,” “Have Thine Own Way Lord”) but also a whole slew of original Cash tunes that never were released before. These are the most important discoveries of Personal File.

He gets downright apocalyptic on a couple of songs. “Look Unto the East,” another Cash original, has such an abundance of alluring alliteration it could cause Kris Kristofferson to croak. “The teacher of truth told tales of troubled times that would begin/And the cynical sower sowed the sorrowful seeds of seven sins.”

The next track is “Matthew 24 (Is Knocking at the Door),” which Cash wrote with his son John Carter Cash in the early ’80s. The title refers to a chapter in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus warns of false Messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, and earthquakes — the beginning of the end.

“I heard on the radio rumors of war/People gettin’ ready for battle/And there may be just one more,” Cash sings here. The image of “the great bear from the northland” seems almost quaint now. (For you post-Cold War kids, the “great bear” was Russia, which people my age were supposed to fear and despise.)

Maybe the apocalypse Cash envisioned here didn’t happen right away. But no doubt about it, these are troubling times, and more troubles are certainly ahead.

But if you believe in Cash’s vision of Christianity, the answer is not to head for the hills — it’s to help and love each other. The songs here I like best are those that express Cash’s brand of Christian love and tolerance. In “If Jesus Ever Loved a Woman,” a song about Mary Magdalene (Holy Da Vinci Code, Batman!), Cash says of Jesus, “He never did condemn a man or woman just for being man or woman/and he always will forgive if someone tells him that they’re really truly sorry/but couldn’t stand the hypocrite, a person who’d pretend that they were holy and were not/I think he’d love someone like Mary Magdalene quite a lot.” This song is uncredited, at least on the advance copy I have. But I suspect, if it’s not an original, it might have been written by June Carter Cash. The phrasing, meter, and rhyme scheme remind me of some of her songs such as “Tiffany Anastasia Lowe.”

“Sanctified” seems to be a dialogue between a joyful, religious man and his inner demon. Cash plays both roles, speaking in his gruffest baritone for the voice of doubt and temptation and singing his better self’s response. “I don’t believe in God,” the lower voice mocks. “Well God bless you/you ain’t got no argument for what I feel inside,” the singer responds.

“No Earthly Good,” which has a melody eerily similar to “The Times They Are a Changin’,” razzes the holier-than-thou who are “so Heavenly minded, you’re no earthly good,” charging them to help the “hungry hands reaching up here from the ground.”

Similarly, on “What on Earth (Will You Do for Heaven’s Sake)” he asks, “Did you feed the poor in spirit and befriend the persecuted?” The song, he explains in the spoken introduction, was inspired by looking at the stars through a telescope from his home in Jamaica. “God cares for each and every one of us,” he says. “I guess he’s as small as we want him to be or as big as we want him to be. Although we’re earthbound, we can still be more like him if we try.”

Some say this country is headed toward theocracy. I sure hope that’s not true, and I’m pretty sure Cash wouldn’t want it that way. Maybe the antidote is the Gospel According to Johnny.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 25, 2006

A spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association contacted me to inform me that last week’s column about an in-kind $102,000 contribution to the DGA from a mortgage company that just settled a multimillion-dollar deceptive-practices class-action suit with New Mexico and 48 other states contained an error.

The contribution from Ameriquest — which according to a federal disclosure report was for “catering and facilities” — was not used for a spring DGA conference in Arizona, spokesman Jon Summers said.

The dates of in-kind contributions listed on the disclosure reports, Summers explained, are the dates on letters from the contributors listing the value of the contributions — and usually are different from the dates when the contributions were used.

In this case, the listed date of the contribution, March 31, coincided with the DGA conference in Phoenix.

So I erred in connecting those dots.

Ameriquest is a company founded by DGA chairman Gov. Bill Richardson’s friend Roland Arnall, who now is ambassador to The Netherlands. Many Democrats opposed his nomination last year because of the class-action suit, which was prompted by thousands of consumer complaints around the country. That didn’t stop Richardson from endorsing him for the post last year, even while New Mexico was suing his company.

So if the $102,000 worth of catering and facility rental didn’t go for the Arizona shindig, what was it used for?

The DGA isn’t saying. “We won’t go beyond what is on the report,” Summers said this week.

Frozen Lightning: Here’s the perfect gift for the opposition research operative on your shopping list.

Frozen Lightning, subtitled "Bill Richardson’s Strike on the Political Landscape of New Mexico," is a quality paperback written by “Bill Althouse & a Thousand and One New Mexicans.”

Althouse is a Santa Fe author and longtime Richardson critic. The index cites works by everyone I know in the press corps, including yours truly. The book, whose cover is a photo of Richardson with lightning coming out of his underarms and a mushroom cloud exploding from below his belt — is scathing.

“Richardson rules his empire much like a prison warden,” Althouse writes, “walling off his enemies by stripping them of rank and placing them in a kind of solitary confinement that is the political equivalent of purgatory.”

And that’s just Page 1.

Almost any Richardson flap, foible or fumble you can think of can be found in Frozen Lightning. Wen Ho Lee; Guy Riordan; Eric Serna; Gerald Peters; the gov-ex-temp employees; Milton Sanchez and the Retiree Health Care Authority; the hiring of a good chunk of the state press corps; Sen. John Grubesic’s “flabby king” op-ed; the Hollywood connections; Billy the Kid; trains, planes, speeding sport-utility vehicles and spacecraft.

There are recaps of well-known stories and outright innuendo from anonymous sources that you haven’t read anywhere else (and probably never will).

Sometimes the rhetoric goes way overboard, such as calling Richardson a “tool for fascism” and “a politician driven to evil by his presidential aspirations.”

But anyone interested in New Mexico politics will have fun reading it.

And an inside color photo of the governor surrounded by a bevy of buxom belly dancers is itself almost worth the $12.95 price tag.

Election notes: The e-mail arrived too late to include it in my secretary of state candidate profiles Wednesday.

But a couple of groups active in election reform — VerifiedVotingNM and United Voters of New Mexico — made a joint endorsement of Stephanie Gonzales in that Democratic primary.

These groups pushed the bill requiring paper-ballot voting in all New Mexico counties.

Roxanne Rivera, who is working for state Sen. Joe Carraro’s U.S. Senate campaign, e-mailed me saying that I was wrong to say one of Carraro’s rivals was the only GOP candidate to have paid staffers.

Rivera said she’s being paid as communications director. Plus the Albuquerque senator has a paid campaign coordinator and a paid staff to handle campaign signs.

The Lamb that roared: Former state Election Director Denise Lamb said I made a slight error in a recent article where I paraphrased a quote about her frustrations with a former Bernalillo County clerk.

I said Lamb wanted to hang the clerk out of her window at the Secretary of State’s Office. But Lamb, who originally was quoted in The Los Angeles Times, says she wanted to dangle the clerk out of the clerk’s own window.

The difference? The Secretary of State’s Office is only two stories highs. The clerk’s office in Albuquerque was on the sixth floor.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I just received a call from the New Mexican's cop reporter Jason Auslander asking if I'd been arrested over the weekend.

Apparently some poor boob with the name "Steven Terrell" was picked up Friday by the Santa Fe police. Jason didn't know what the charge was.

So if you read something about Steve Terrell getting arrested -- IT WASN'T ME! I was busy hosting The Santa Fe Opry on Friday night and taking strange pictures with my son all day Saturday.

I don't have time for jail. I'm innocent!


Damn, this makes me mad!

from The Associated Press:

GRUENE, Texas -- Vandals toppled a wooden statue of the King of Western Swing. Now he has to wear a sling.

"We came in (Wednesday) morning, and he was laying on his back with his arm broken off," said Clair Devers of the Lone Star Music store in Gruene, home of the 8-foot-tall carving of Bob Wills by local musician Doug Moreland.

Gruene is about 30 miles north of San Antonio.

The music store and a radio station offered a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest. The vandalism apparently happened early Wednesday and could not have been accomplished easily.

Read Full Story HERE


Congratulations to my pal, New Mexican Web editor and Bubbadino veteran Stefan Dill (that's Mustafa Stefan Dill to you) for landing a soundtrack gig for an upcoming independent Indian film. Here's the press release:

The Sama' Duo (sarodist/oudist Mustafa Stefan Dill and percussionist Jefferson Voorhees) have been chosen to provide the soundtrack score for an upcoming film by independent film director Sharmy Pandey, a Bengali filmaker and writer based in Kolkata, India.

This will be Ms. Pandey's third film to date. Entitled Birth of a Pillow, it will be a " film which deals with Indian sexuality", according to a statement on a blog by a Bengali artist collective to which she belongs.

Her experimental short Ebang Falguni (2004), based on the text of a lesser known '60s alternative Bengali poet Falguni Roy, has been screened to critical acclaim at the Florence Indian Film Festival, the Alternative Film Festival, Picciano, Italy, Tirana Film festival and others.

Her second film, 29 Minutes of Loneliness has also gotten strong attention and is currently being presented at film festivals, including the Stuttgart Film Festival, July 2006.

Birth of a Pillow is currently finishing filming in and around Kolkata.

As the Sama' Duo places a lot of emphasis and experience on improvisation, the Duo will take an interesting approach by recording several passes of improvised takes (some with differing instrumentation) while watching and absorbing the film. A few area guest artists may be invited to participate in some of the passes, and several takes may appear simultaneously in the final mix.

Final post -production and synchronization will take place in Kolkata in July. Mustafa Stefan Dill will go to Kolkata to help in this phase.


Sunday, May 21, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Love Train by The Yayhoos
Compared to What by Les McCann & Eddie Harris
I Want to Take You Higher by Sly & The Family Stone with Steven Tyler & Robert Randolph
Big Wave by Pearl Jam
Ifa by Tunji Oyelana & The Benders
You're Breakin' My Heart by Harry Nilsson

Town Without Pity by Gene Pitney
The Dance by Prince
Into the Woods by My Morning Jacket
Tobacco Road by The Nashville Teens
Bubble Gum Independence (from Radio Phnom Penh)
Pencil Neck Geek by Fred Blassie

New Orleans Set
Miss New Orleans by Clay Cotton
It's All Over Now by Rebirth Brass Band
Back Water Blues by Irma Thomas
New Orleans Cookin' by Cyril Neville
Bald Headed by Dr. John
When the Saints Go Marching In by Eddie Bo
When the Saints Go Marching Back In by Kirk Whalum with Coolio etc.
Drop Me Off in New Orleans by Kermit Ruffins
Cryin' in the Streets by Buckwheat Zydeco
Mardi Gras in New Orleans by Professor Longhair
Mighty Mighty Chief by Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolias
Louisiana 1927 by Marcia Ball
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Robert Nott's Pasatiempo cover story about Josh Schrei's Cerrillos Road photo exhibit inspired me to engage in a fun Saturday project with my son.

Quoting Schrei from Robert's story:

"I never gave Cerrillos Road a second thought. But a month ago I was doing some errands there, and I suddenly saw it as a cultural gold mine with amazing graphic detail -- the Mexican grocery store, the graveyard, the old motels. That's when and where I got the idea to photograph it. So I took my camera and began walking it."
In that spirit, Anton and I took our cameras and went around town photographing Santa Fe's unsung everyday artistic treasures. I don't pretend to be at Shrei's level, but it was a lot fun.

We didn't limit ourselves to Cerrillos Road. In fact, Airport Road is a "gold mine" too. We both really got into shooting the wonderful windows of the little shops in the strip mall with El Palenque, Subway, etc.

We'd have done a lot more, but the batteries on both our cameras kept conking out. We ran into our friend Michelle who told us about a cool house with a bunch of birdhouses ... but that'll have to wait until another day.

You can see a bunch of my images from Saturday over at my FLCKR spot. We might have to set Anton up with his own FLICKR account. Until then, you can see one of his shots below -- taken at a great little Mexican art joint on Cerrillos Road.

UPDATE: Anton has a Flickr page CLICK HERE

And while I'm at it, my daughter, who introduced me to this Flickr thing, has a page too CLICK HERE

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Here's a concert I'm taking part in next Saturday at the Rockin' R Gallery Chuckwagon in Placitas.

According to my pal, behind-the-scenes dude Erik Ness, I'm supposed to be the MC

from the official flyer:





Also special guest SMOKEY THE BEAR !!

Saturday, May 27th
Gallery opens 2:00
Dinner Served from 3:00 to 7:30 p.m.*
Music 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.

or by calling 867-9595


ROCKIN’ R GALLERY-CHUCKWAGON 3 Homesteads Road, Placitas .

(Directions and more info HERE)

This is first in a series of summer chuckwagon concerts featuring
Syd Masters and The Swing Riders.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Friday, May 19, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Indian Creek by Porter Wagoner & John Anderson
My Name is Jorge by The Gourds
Drifter's Escape by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
I Threw Your Picture Away by Miss Leslie & Her Juke Jointers
Doc Bronner by Emily Herring
I Stayed Away by I See Hawks in L.A.
One Voice by The Gear Daddies
Hillbilly Music by Jerry Lee Lewis

Drop Us Off at Bob's Place/Sugar Moon/Liza Pull Down the Shades by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
A Girl Don't Have to Drink to Have Fun by The Stumbleweeds
Candy Man by Hot Tuna
Enchanted Forest by Mohawk & The Rednecks
Al Gore's Farewell by Tom Adler & Co.
Wager Down by Goshen
Psycho by Jack Kittel

Fear Country by T Bone Burnett
Stolen Children by Tom Russell
Bowling Alley Bars by The Handsome Family
White Man Singin' the Blues by Merle Haggard
Hank Williams' Ghost by Darrell Scott
Run by Eric Hisaw

If Jesus Ever Loved a Woman by Johnny Cash
In Bone by Curt Kirkwood
I Dug Up a Diamond by Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris
Snake River by Trilobite
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Steve Young
O Mary Don't You Weep by Bruce Springsteen
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New MexicanMay 19, 2006

New Orleans soul matriarch Irma Thomas is leading a camera crew through her hurricane-damaged home. She points to what looks like a bas-relief portrait of herself on the floor. Like virtually everything else in the house, it’s water-damaged.

“Ironically, it looks like I’ve got a tear coming out of my eyes,” Thomas says with a laugh. “I’ve had a few of those, trust me.”

This is a scene from New Orleans Music in Exile, a new film from music-documentary master Robert Mugge, scheduled to debut Friday, May 19, on Starz InBlack, a premium cable/satellite channel.

The film, shot last fall, tells the story of Hurricane Katrina from the perspective of those engaged in New Orleans’ greatest export — music.

If, like me, you’re one of those people who shed a tear of joy when Fats Domino was found alive in Katrina’s aftermath after being reported missing for several days and who followed Web sites that listed New Orleans musicians who had been accounted for and those still missing, this film is for you.

“The story of what’s happening in New Orleans is so big, you can turn on a camera anywhere there and get something interesting,” Mugge told me in an interview last November, shortly after he’d shot most of the documentary. “You can talk to anyone you see on the street and get a great story. So music makes it a manageable focus.”

Mugge lets musicians tell their stories about how the hurricane devastated their world. Thomas takes us into what’s left of her nightclub, the Lion’s Den. There she points out the Christmas lights that Mugge and his crew put up about 10 years before while filming a happier documentary.

Similarly, piano man Eddie Bo goes into his coffee shop for the first time with his manager and sister, several weeks after Katrina. It’s lucky that the film doesn’t come in Smell-o-Rama.

The film takes us to cities musicians have fled to — possibly for good. Bo’s gone to Lafayette, La. Cyril Neville and The Iguanas moved to Austin, Texas, a city whose live-music scene rivals that of New Orleans. Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins and ReBirth Brass Band went to Houston, where they found a home at a joint called the Red Cat Jazz CafĂ©.

These exiles are grateful to be welcomed in their new locales. “All of the musicians here have opened their arms to us like you would not believe,” Ruffins says.

Eddie Wilson, owner of Threadgill’s in Austin, tells how singer Marcia Ball approached him in September to tell him that Neville was moving there. “She told me, Wilson, you take care of these people. And in her eyes she says ‘or your ass is grass.’” Neville got a regular gig at the famed restaurant.

But their homesickness is obvious.

Even though Ruffins is well-known in his home town, he had to prove himself at a weeknight open jam session at Red Cat before he got a steady gig. In an interview in the film, he nostalgically talks about how he’d walk up the street before a gig in New Orleans and catch five different bands before his own show.

Phil Frazier of ReBirth Brass Band regrets the band is no longer able to do all the little gigs — the backyard birthday parties, the jazz funerals — it used to do.

One of the film’s major undercurrents is the fear that even if New Orleans is rebuilt, it will never be the same. Will the city rise again? Or will it be transformed into a Disney-like tourist playground?

“There’s gonna be a great big fight that’s gonna go on for who’s gonna own what in New Orleans and whether that’s really gonna be New Orleans,” says Neville, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the New Orleans power structure. “It’s a spiritless body,” he says. “And that’s all it’s gonna be without those people from the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th wards.”

Dr. John is more optimistic. “Well, I can’t say what it could be now,” he drawls. “But I know that with some serious help, it could be New Orleans, because we plannin’ on comin’ back stronger than ever.” But that promise is somewhat at odds with the weary and worried expression the Doctor has throughout the documentary.

As in all Mugge films (others include Deep Blues, Last of the Mississippi Jukes and Gospel According to Al Green), the music speaks even more clearly than his interview subjects. There are some dynamic performances here.

My favorite new discovery is ReBirth Brass Band, which performs a song called “Lord, Lord, Lord” in a Houston park.

Dr. John does a spirited take on his hoodoo classic “I Walk on Guilded Splinters” (shown just before an actual living-room voodoo ceremony shot in a neighborhood where electricity hadn’t been restored).

The Iguanas do a Mexed-up version of the Nick Cave song “Right Now I’m A-Roamin’” at the Continental Club in Austin.

And it wouldn’t be a film about Katrina without Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927.” Originally appearing on Newman’s 1974 epic album Good Old Boys, this tune has virtually become the official theme song of Katrina. With its reference to a cynical President Coolidge coming down with “a little fat man” to survey the damage of a terrible flood and the refrain “Louisiana, Louisiana, they’re trying to wash us away,” Newman’s lyrics resonate stronger than ever. Aaron Neville, who had recorded the song before, sang it on the Concert for Hurricane Relief television special last September. Newman cut a new version of it for the Our New Orleans benefit CD. And Marcia Ball does a soulful version in the documentary.

I hope Starz releases the film as a DVD and that it includes full performances of these songs and others. The importance of New Orleans to American music has become almost a clichĂ© since Katrina. But Mugge’s film shows just how true that truism is and what a cultural tragedy that hurricane created.

On the radio: There’s no soundtrack album,at least not yet, for New Orleans Music in Exile. But I’ll play some of the music and other works by the musicians discussed here on Terrell’s Sound World, Sunday on KSFR, 90.7 FM. The show starts at 10 p.m., and the New Orleans set will start just after 11 p.m.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Embattled state Insurance Commissioner has accepted a deal from the Public Regulation Commission and has agreed to retire. (Read the Associated Press story HERE.)

Here's part of a statement he issued:

Events, unfortunate timing and political agendas that have come to light over the last several weeks have placed the State of New Mexico Insurance Department in an unfortunate light. Your effort to clear my name is very much appreciated. That effort, combined with the inaccurate rumors, innuendo and speculation being raised by political agendas continue to have a ripple effect on the ability of our office to effectively and efficiently serve the people of our great state. In order to help this department refocus on serving the people, I submit to you my intention to retire as Superintendent of Insurance for the New Mexico Insurance Division June 14, 2006.

Governor Bill Richardson just issued a statement about Serna, praising his friend, who is being investigated for dealings with a Santa Fe bank and a non-profit health organization.

“Eric Serna has devoted 29 years of his life to public service. During his career, he has served the people of New Mexico ably, promoted economic development, and helped the underprivileged. I support his decision to retire and put the interests of the people of New Mexico first.”
Be sure to read The New Mexican tomorrow ...


You really have to wonder who -- or what -- is sending some of the SPAM I get these days.

Here's one I got this morning on my work e-mail, from someone allegedly named Tom, though, as you'll see, he's talking about a "Tom" as well. The subject heading was "Swamped."

This is verbatim, except for the link, which I won't post in case it's some virus.

I just heard from Tom and he looks completely different than he
looked a couple mos ago. He told me these guys,
{LINK DELETED}, assisted him out.

I read all there info and was impressed with everything they said. face
towards town. height would and I thought

be was glad length when and to it

I'm not really sure what this garbled thing is trying to sell me. It can't be good. I wonder if anyone actually responds to these.

Maybe "Tom" is like that Enzite Bob guy, who's "steppin' large and laughin' easy."


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 18, 2006

In January, attorneys general in dozens of states, including New Mexico, announced a $325 million class-action settlement with Ameriquest, a California-based mortgage company accused of predatory lending and unfair and deceptive practices.

Two months later, the Democratic Governors Association, chaired by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, was wining and dining on Ameriquest’s tab at a DGA conference in Phoenix.

According to a report the DGA filed with the federal government, Ameriquest made an in-kind donation of $102,000 for catering and renting a facility March 31 during the DGA’s Spring Policy Conference.
The March donation was the biggest contribution Ameriquest made to the DGA. But it’s not the only one.

The company contributed cash totaling $61,000 to the DGA in 2005 plus an “in-kind travel” contribution valued at $7,708 on Sept. 29.

That’s about the same time that Richardson flew to Washington, D.C., to speak to a national conference of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and meet with the secretary of Homeland Security and Pentagon officials, according to a Sept. 30 news release from the governor’s office.

The release said DGA would pay for that trip.

Richardson spokesman Pahl Shipley said Wednesday that he couldn’t verify Ameriquest paid for that trip. “I honestly don’t know,” he said. “We don’t arrange his travel. That’s all done through the DGA.”

Richardson in recent weeks has made headlines for taking DGA-arranged trips in corporate jets owned by a major payday-loan company and a national tobacco giant.

Shipley gave the same answer he has given regarding contributions and in-kind gifts from controversial companies: Asked whether the contributions from Ameriquest influences Richardson’s policy decisions, Shipley said, “Absolutely not. The governor always puts the best interests of New Mexico first.”

Dutch treat: Whether or not it’s connected with the contributions, the former principal owner of Ameriquest, Roland Arnall, did get at least one thing from Richardson.

Last year, President Bush nominated Arnall to be ambassador to The Netherlands. Richardson endorsed the nomination, though many Democrats — notably U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts — were opposing him because of the class-action suit against Ameriquest.

The nomination was stuck in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for months. Only after Ameriquest settled with the states did the Senate finally confirm Arnall earlier this year.

Shipley said Richardson considers Arnall a friend. He said he didn’t know how long they have known each other. Richardson “respects him for being a leader of a very large company.”

Ameriquest the Beautiful: In settling the lawsuit, Ameriquest “admitted they made mistakes, and they’ve moved on, Shipley said. That’s obvious, or the Senate wouldn’t have confirmed him.” (Actually, according to the settlement, the company admitted to no wrongdoing, though it did agree to change many of its practices.)

According to the attorney general, the Ameriquest settlement is the second-largest consumer-protection settlement in history, after the $484 million agreement reached in 2002 with Household Finance.

Under the settlement, 1,523 Ameriquest debtors in New Mexico will get an estimated $913,800. The state is set to receive about $245,000 for further restitution to Ameriquest customers and to fund consumer-protection programs and pay the costs of the lawsuit.

Matthew Henderson of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) said his group was at odds with Ameriquest for years. “They had extremely high fees,” he said. “They’d get people into mortgages regardless of their credit history.”

According to a July 29 article in The Washington Post, “In depositions, Ameriquest customers have alleged that they were promised good loan terms but instead got high rates, sometimes higher than they had previously been paying; that their incomes were overstated so they could qualify for the high-price loans; that appraisers overvalued their homes so they seemed valuable enough to secure the loan; and that they learned only after closing that they would be required to pay steep prepayment penalties if they sought to move to other lenders.”

Henderson pointed out Ameriquest closed down its offices in New Mexico in 2003, after the state Legislature passed the Home Loan Protection Act, which was designed to prevent companies from luring homeowners into mortgages they can’t afford.

Despite its generosity toward the DGA, Ameriquest hasn't dropped much money among New Mexico politicians. According to, the Web site of the Institute on Money in State Politics, only two Ameriquest contributions are recorded -- $1,000 to Patricia Madrid in 2002 and $2,000 to former Sen. Roman Maes in his unsuccessful 2004 race.

Madrid was part of the executive committee of state attorneys general that began investigating the conduct of Ameriquest. She also served on the negotiating committee for the settlement.

Sky King: Republicans probably won’t be squawking about the Richardson/Ameriquest relationship since Arnall is a Bush appointee and all. But they’ve got plenty of other items to have fun with.

Earlier this week, the state GOP paid for an ad blasting Richardson for a helicopter trip he probably wishes he’d never taken.

The spot features a man and a woman skewering the governor for criticizing Bush’s plan to dispatch 6,000 National Guard troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Let me get this straight,” the woman says. “Bill Richardson opposes using National Guard troops to secure the border. But supports using them to fly him around the state for weekend getaways with political cronies?”

She’s referring to a 2003 Richardson trip on a National Guard helicopter that included a stop in Chama to go horseback riding at the ranch of Santa Fe art-gallery owner and major Richardson campaign contributor Gerald Peters.

“This is a pathetic attempt to hide the fact that the Republican Party is weak on border security,” Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said Tuesday.

“The governor, on the other hand, declared an emergency, invested millions in additional law enforcement and is fighting for 265 additional Border Patrol agents.”

Reporter David Miles contributed to this report

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Gimme that old time religion!

I've just stumbled across a church dedicated to the power and the glory of Tom Jones.

It's run by a guy in Sacramento, Cal named Pastor Jack J. Stahl. (I don't think this is the former lieutenant governor of New Mexico.)

"The tabloids have dubbed me `THE TOM JONES EXORCIST' because I travel around the country leading prayer meetings & healing services with the help of the Welsh superstar's beautiful voice playing softly in the background. Why? His voice enables me to get in touch with the holy spirit & cast out demons."
I wonder if he yells, "The power of Tom Jones compells you!" during these ceremionies.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 17, 2006

ALBUQUERQUE — Former Santa Fe City Councilor David Pfeffer made headlines in 2004 by being a Democrat who publicly supported President Bush. But at a forum Tuesday for Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls, he was the only candidate to openly criticize Bush’s plan to secure the Mexican border.

Pfeffer joined state Sen. Joe Carraro of Albuquerque and Farmington physician Allen McCulloch — the other two GOP contenders for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Jeff Bingaman — at the forum at the Fraternal Order of Police building in Albuquerque.

Pfeffer said Bush’s plan to send National Guard troops to help the Border Patrol will not be effective.

“Having 6,000 troops (along the border) is going to do nothing but make us look bad when the coyotes figure out they can get past them right under their noses,” said Pfeffer, who recently completed a 183-mile walk along the New Mexico-Mexico border to call attention to border security.

Coyotes are those who smuggle illegal immigrants across the border.

McCulloch said he supports Bush’s plan to send troops to aid the Border Patrol. But he said, “I don’t want to militarize the border. And I don’t want a war with Mexico.”

Carraro said, “If they know they can’t get past the border, they won’t try. If they know they won’t get hired here, they won’t try.”

But then he said he’d like to help Mexico improve its economy, which he said would decrease illegal immigration.

The candidates were asked what they would ask Bush about the war on terror.

Carraro said he wants to know why more countries aren’t helping in the Iraq war effort. He specifically mentioned Saudi Arabia.

McCulloch said he’d like to know about the number of terrorist attacks that have been prevented as a result of the war on terror and the number of terrorist plots foiled by phone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency. He said he supports the war in Iraq, but that senators should question the administration.

Pfeffer said the only thing he would ask Bush about Iraq is how it could become better at getting good news about the war out to the public.

On the subject of ethics, Carraro was the only candidate openly critical of the scandals in Washington, D.C.

He disagreed with his rivals who said you can’t legislate ethics. “You have to legislate ethics,” he said. “My gosh, what’s going on in Washington? You have to make sure they are obeying the law or you put ’em in jail.”

All candidates called for more reporting of campaign contributions. McCulloch said contributions should be posted on a government Web site immediately instead of filing reports every several months.

Although it’s Bingaman’s seat all three GOP candidates are after, there was relatively little specific criticism of New Mexico’s junior senator. The harshest words came from Pfeffer, who said Bingaman has been like “a bump on a log” for the past 20 years.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


The Denver Post just ran an article about the New Mexico Music Commission. READ IT HERE

But how could they fail to mention the hippest commissioner of all -- Tony Orlando? His contributions to the commission are immeasurable.


True, he's never been to a meeting of the commission. But like the state Web site says, "His love of New Mexico and the people here are reasons he is a member of the Music Commission. "

Monday, May 15, 2006


Sunday, May 14, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres

My Mammy by Al Jolson
Cosmic Slop by Funkadelic
Dear Mother by Acie Cargill
Unwed Mother by Johnny Dowd
Grandma's Hands by Bill Withers
That's What Mama Said by The Jones Family Singers
Please Don't Go Topless, Mother by Troy Hess
April Fool's Day Morn by Loudon Wainwright III
Dear Mama by Tupac Shakur
Mother's Last Word to Her Son by Washington Phillips

Crawdad Song by Jerry Lee Lewis
Severed Hand by Pearl Jam
Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil by Jefferson Airplane
This Magnificent Bird Will Rise by Deerhoof
Lingerie Shop by Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re
No Boy No Cry by Stance Punks
The Vietnamese Telephone Ministry by Fiery Furnaces

Flags of Freedom by Neil Young
Monster by Steppenwolf
Ghosts on the Screen by Gary Heffern
War Pigs by Faith No More
Futy by Prince
Summer Jazz by The Electric Ghosts
Fancy by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Outragious by Paul Simon
Think Long by Mates of State
Randy Costanza by Solex
Free Radicals by Flaming Lips
The Donor by Judee Sill
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I just added a bunch of links to the sidebar (on the right hand side of this blog).

I've added a direct link to Picnic Time For Potatoheads on iTunes. (Make me rich!) and I've broken up my long list of blog links into "N.M. Blogs" and "Crony Blogs." For argument's sake I still consider Larry Calloway a New Mexican even though he's in Colorado. I've added some new links to all categories. Check 'em all out.

Happy Mother's Day all you moms out there! (Yes, I'll do my annual Mother's Day set on Terrell's Sound World tonight.)

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Friday, May 12, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Nasty Dan by Johnny Cash
The Trouble With Girls by The Stumbleweeds
Half a Boy and Half a Man by Queen Ida
Jacob's Ladder by Bruce Springsteen
Meximelt by Southern Culture on The Skids
I Don't Know Why I Love You (But I Do) by Cornell Hurd
Ghost Riders in the Sky by Last Mile Ramblers

Rednecks by Steve Earle
Feb 14 by Drive-By Truckers
Gusty Winds May Exist by The Rivet Gang
Pour Me a Strong One by Tobias Rene
Horse and Crow by Ronnie Elliott
Community Property by The Whiskey Rebellion
Flapping Your Broken Wings by The Handsome Family
Take Your Place by Allejandro Escovedo
Lion in Winter by Hoyt Axton

All Songs by Merle Haggard except where noted
Okie From Muskogee's Comin' Home
Fightin' Side of Me
That's the News
Tulare Dust
Are the Good Times Really Over (Wish a Buck Was Still Silver)
Wishin' All These Old Things Were New
Big Time Annie's Square
I'll Fix Your Flat Tire, Merle by Pure Prairie League
America First

Belle Star by Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris
The Needle Has Landed by Neko Case
Satan's Jewled Crown by The Louvin Brothers
La La Land by Gary Heffern
Crossing Muddy Waters by John Hiatt
Love and Mercy by Jeff Tweedy
I am Born to Preach the Gospel by Washington Phillips
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, May 12, 2006


Many of you have been asking, Where do I go to get my Devastatin' Dave dog shirts and wall clocks.

Devastatin' Dave Barsanti alerted me to the other Devastatin' Dave's own Cafepress store.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 12, 2006

Some people are surprised by “America First,” a tune from Merle Haggard’s latest album, Chicago Wind (released last October), where Hag declares the need to “liberate these United States; we’re the ones who need it the worst,” and “Freedom is stuck in reverse/Let’s get out of Iraq and get back on the track/And let’s rebuild America first.”

For that matter, some were surprised that Haggard would tour with Bob Dylan. After all, the Okie from Muskogee was supposed to be the grand bard of the right wing. Hippies and squirrelly guys who don’t believe in fightin’ ought to love it or leave it, according to some of Hag’s most notorious songs. What’s the guy who sang “Fightin’ Side of Me” doing now, talking like a liberal and hanging out with that guy who wrote all those subversive songs like “Masters of War” and “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall”?

Well, for one thing, for most of his five-decade career, Haggard has delighted in surprising people. To paraphrase one old song, he wears his own kind of hat. The singer’s politics are and always have been a lot more complex than people give him credit for. In another song on Chicago Wind, “Where’s the Freedom,” he bemoans the fact that schools and governments can’t display the 10 commandments — as well as the fact that people can’t afford gasoline.

We’ve known Merle is no partisan hack since at least 1981, with “Are the Good Times Really Over (I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver).” Here he sings about how Nixon — who years before had embraced Haggard at a White House command performance — “lied to us all on TV.”

And two years before “America First,” Hag, on his song “That’s the News,” cast a cynical eye on President Bush declaring “mission accomplished” in Iraq.

In reality Haggard’s always been more tolerant of those with different opinions and lifestyles than he shows on “Okie” or “Fightin’ Side.”

Some important clues can be found on Hag/Someday We’ll Look Back, a couple of albums recently released as a single CD. Hag includes the touching song “The Farmer’s Daughter.” It’s about a farmer who’s accepting his city-boy son-in-law even though “his hair’s a little longer than we’re used to.”

But while that song has the spirit of reconciliation, on the next tune, “I’ve Done it All,” he sings “I’ve even been to ’Frisco wearing regular clothes/Felt them modern hippie folks starin’ down their nose.”

But note that he’s not claiming the “hippie folks” tried to make him take a trip on LSD or burned a flag in his face. No, their offense was their elitism, looking down at a working-class guy.

The greatest country album, ever. Before going on with this discussion, I have to declare an extreme prejudice here. I believe in my heart that Someday We’ll Look Back is not only Merle Haggard’s greatest album, but the greatest album in country-music history, bar none.

Hag’s voice is at full power, and The Strangers (curiously and inexcusably uncredited individually on this reissue) prove why they’re considered among the finest C&W units ever.

Someday features masterful country existential-angst songs like Roger Miller’s “Train of Life”; love songs including The George Jones-worthy “One Sweet Hello” and “I’d Rather Be Gone”; and the bleak but beautiful “Carolyn,” (written by Bakersfield titan Tommy Collins), where you can’t tell if the singer is warning his wife that he’s considering adultery or if he’s confessing in a backhanded way.

There are a couple of cheeky humorous numbers like “The Only Trouble With Me” (the rest of that sentence being “is you”) and the prison tune “Huntsville,” which ain’t “Mama Tried” but is still pretty cool.

And there are all these tough and gritty Steinbeckian Dust Bowl ballads where Haggard sounds more in touch with that old lefty Woody Guthrie than Dylan ever did in songs like “Tulare Dust,” “One Row at a Time,” and Dallas Frazier’s “California Cottonfields”: “Our Model A was loaded down and California-bound/And a change of luck was just four days away/But the only change that I remember seeing in my daddy/was when his dark hair turned to silver gray.”

Big Time Annie’s Square: “Big Time Annie’s Square” was one song on Someday We’ll Look Back that proved Haggard wasn’t the hippie-hating redneck many thought he was. Although this track is almost a throwaway compared with some of the others on the album, at the time it came out, I considered it sort of an apology for “The Fightin’ Side of Me.” It’s about an Okie soldier who comes back from Vietnam to find his Tulsa girl moved to “some town in California called ‘San something’ somewhere close to East L.A.” He discovers Annie has become one of them hippies. He’s wary. He’s “heard about those sugar cubes before I ever came to find her there.”

“We don’t agree on nothin’, but I’ll be damned if we don’t make a pair,” he sings. And he’s “glad to be accepted” by Annie’s strange new associates.

Big Time Annie’s friends: Indeed, not all the “hippie folk” looked down their collective nose at him. Gram Parsons, who did a wonderful version of “California Cottonfields,” actually tried back in the eao get Haggard to produce one of his albums.

The Grateful Dead did "Mama Tried." Every local country-rock outfit in the country played "Silver Wings."

One of the finest hippie Hag tributes was “I’ll Change Your Flat Tire, Merle,” written by Nick Gravenites. It was originally recorded by the post-Janis Big Brother and the Holding Company, though the better-known version is by Pure Prairie League. It’s a fantasy in which a hippie offers to help “the greatest country singer alive.”

“You’re a honky I know/But Merle, you’ve got soul.”

Hag said it best: Haggard’s attitude toward all of this perhaps was best expressed when I saw him in concert about 10 years ago. He began singing one of his best-known songs. “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee ...” The crowd went wild. But Haggard stopped the song. “Now who really gives a damn whether or not they smoke marijuana in Muskogee?” he said.

The crowd went even wilder

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 11, 2006

The race for governor of New Mexico is over. At least if you believe the Washington, D.C.-based Congressional Quarterly.

In a story published Wednesday, CQ’s Marie Horrigan wrote: “New Mexico Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, who is seeking a second term this year, appeared a solid favorite over little-known Republican challenger J.R. Damron — even before their latest campaign-finance filings were posted.

“But the reports, posted this week by the New Mexico Secretary of State, document that the race is a financial mismatch and suggest Richardson now appears virtually certain to secure re-election, and has led to change its rating on the race to Safe Democratic from Leans Democratic. ... it appears at this juncture that Richardson is a shoo-in.”

The article notes that Richardson, who has raised close to $7 million in the race, has “a monumental 267-to-1 advantage in cash reserves over Damron ...”

Richardson is one of two Dem governors on CQ’s “Safe” list. The other is New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, who Richardson has visited a couple of times in the past year.

Candidates love revealing huge amounts of campaign contributions for the same reason Soviets loved having big parades with missiles and tanks: It discourages potential enemies.

Or, as then-state Treasurer Robert Vigil explained to investment councilor Kent Nelson (in a conversation taped by the FBI), “If you don't have any money man, you'll get 'em lined up like hot cakes.”

A modest proposal: So if Richardson is a “shoo-in,” it raises the question why he needs to keep raising money, as he surely will do.

Consider the recent news that the Richardson campaign gave more than $44,000 of “tainted” money from his pal Guy Riordan to 70-plus charities in the state. Albuquerque investor and former state Game Commissioner Riordan, if you haven’t been paying attention, was implicated last month in Vigil’s federal corruption trial.

This raises another interesting scenario.

Since Richardson’s such a sure bet, why doesn’t he give the rest of his campaign war chest to charity? Or, if not the whole thing, give enough away so he only has, say, 100 times the amount Damron has.

It had to have felt great giving away $44,560 to homeless shelters, literacy programs, fallen firefighter memorials, libraries, animal-protection sanctuaries, museums, domestic-violence shelters and junior rodeos. Just think how wonderful it would feel to give away a few million.

The only people who would suffer would be campaign consultants and television-ad reps.

And what Richardson would lose in campaign cash-on-hand, he’d be repaid 10 times over in national publicity. He’d get to play the good guy on Larry King and Bill O’Reilly, talking about how campaigns really have gotten too expensive and, doggone it, someone finally had to take a stand, and how it wouldn’t hurt other politicians to follow suit.

Dream on.

Truckin’ down the campaign trail: Or, if you’re swimming in campaign bucks, you can always do what state Land Commissioner Pat Lyons did — buy yourself a pickup truck.

According to his campaign-finance report, filed Monday with the Secretary of State’s Office, last October Lyons paid himself $29,700 for a “campaign truck.”

It’s a Ford Diesel F-250 Supercab, Lyons said Wednesday. So far, he’s put 20,000 to 30,000 miles on the truck, he said.

In the 2002 campaign, Republican Lyons said, he bought a truck — out of his own pocket — for $22,000. After the campaign, he was able to get only about $6,000 for it, he said.

“I didn’t want to do that again,” he said. So after discussing it with his campaign committee, he decided to buy a new truck with campaign funds.

The two Democrats competing for the land-commissioner nomination — both former land commissioners — were quick to blast Lyons. “It may not be illegal, but it strains ethical considerations,” Jim Baca said.

Ray Powell said he was appalled and this illustrates the need for public financing of land-commissioner campaigns.

Lyons has raised more than $373,000 this year for his campaign.

Where the politicians and the antelope play: One unusual campaign expense on Lyons’ report were several payments — totaling more than $18,000 — for antelope permits. “I bought antelope permits for $800 each and sold them to raise funds,” Lyons said.

Sounds like more fun than a rubber-chicken dinner and a no-host bar.

One of the ranchers who sold the permits was the commissioner’s brother, Phil Lyons of Cuervo. He was paid $8,000 for 10 permits. Both Baca and Powell found this questionable.

Lyons got a refund on one batch of permits (totaling $7,200) from another rancher because he couldn’t sell them, he said.

A bipartisan Guy: Lyons is the first Republican I’ve seen to receive money from Riordan. According to Lyons’ report, he got $2,000 from Riordan last September.

Like all the Democrats who got Riordan money, Lyons got rid of his in late April, just days after former Treasurer Michael Montoya testified at Vigil’s trial about taking kickbacks from Riordan in restroom stalls.

But unlike the Democrats, Lyons didn’t give his Riordan money to charity. Instead, he deposited it in the state general fund. “I don’t think you should be giving it to your favorite charity,” Lyons said Wednesday. “It’s a state investment scandal. The money belongs to all the people.”

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


The campaign finance reports are in. Well ... most of them. Here's a link to the Secretary of State's page. Hope you don't get as frustrated as us reporters -- and some candidates -- were yesterday.

In the big race, Gov. Bill Richard has raised $3.8 million in the past year, bringing his total up to nearly $7 million. His Republican opponent Dr. J.R. Damron has raised only $285,000, two thirds of which is from himself.

I wrote a couple sidebars about the campaign finance reports filed Monday in the Secretary of State's Office.

First there's a piece on the charities that got a windfall from the Richardson treasury -- courtesy of the Guy Riordan/state Treasurer scandal.

Then there's a story about money raced in local contested legislative races.

Here's a link to the Associated Press story on the governor's race.

Versions of these stories were published in The Santa Fe New Mexican

May 9, 2006

Gov. Bill Richardson’s re-election campaign donated $44,560 in contributions from his friend Guy Riordan — an Albuquerque investor implicated in the state treasurer scandal — to a wide array of charities, Richardson’s campaign manager said Monday.

The contributions include Riordan money going back to Richardson’s first run for governor four years ago, said campaign manager Amanda Cooper.

The total amount of Riordan contributions to Richardson was higher than what previously has been reported. This is a result of new campaign-finance reports filed Monday with the Secretary of State’s Office. Richardson’s report shows Riordan gave Richardson at least four contributions totaling $15,560 between May and August 2005.

Most of the 70-plus contributions were for $500.

Several Santa Fe charities were among the recipients of the Riordan money.

Some of these were the St. Elizabeth Shelter, Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families, Kitchen Angels, the Food Depot, the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, Youth Shelters and Family Services, The Santa Fe Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc., Partners in Education, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and the Santa Fe Public Library.

But the Riordan contributions allowed Richardson to play Santa Claus all over the state. Other recipients included Character Counts in Roswell, Alternatives to Violence in Grants, the High Plains Junior Rodeo in Tatum, the New Mexico Immunization Coalition in Albuquerque, the Deming Senior Center Meals on Wheels program, the Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission, the National Indian Youth Leadership Program in Gallup and the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Committee in Socorro.

A Riordan contribution entered into another political race Monday.

The campaign of Lem Martinez, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, released a statement blasting primary rival Geno Zamora for accepting a $2,500 contribution from Riordan. "Zamora receives tainted money," the e-mailed statement said.

However, Zamora spokesman Allan Oliver pointed out that April 20 — the same week Riordan’s name came up in the federal corruption trial of former Treasurer Robert Vigil — Zamora donated the money to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Early in his term, Richardson appointed Riordan, who owns a commercial hunting ranch, to the state Gaming Commission.

On the first day of the federal trial, Vigil’s predecessor, Michael Montoya, testified that he received as much as $100,000 in kickbacks from Riordan in exchange for investment contracts. Most of this money, Montoya said, was passed to him in restroom stalls at restaurants.

Riordan’s lawyer denied this. Riordan hasn’t been charged with any crime.

But the governor didn’t take any chances. Shortly after the story hit the wires, Richardson announced he immediately was removing Riordan from the Game Commission and said he’d donate all his Riordan contributions to charity.

Other candidates, including Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, Attorney General Patricia Madrid and Gary King, another Democratic candidate for attorney general, have passed on donations from Riordan to charities.


Incumbent state Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela leads his two primary-election rivals in contributions, reports filed Monday reveal.

According to Varela’s report, filed Monday with the Secretary of State, Varela has raised more than $72,000 and has spent nearly $16,000 in his campaign to keep his seat in Santa Fe’s District 48.

His closest challenger, former Santa Fe City Councilor Ouida MacGregor, has raised more than $23,000 and spent more than $15,000.

The remaining contender, accountant Andrew Perkins, had not filed his report by Monday evening. In an interview, he said he’d raised more than $8,600 — of which more than $5,700 was a loan from himself. Perkins has spent all but $2 of his treasury, he said.

Varela’s report filed Monday does not include some $6,000 he received at an October fundraiser hosted by state Insurance Commissioner Eric Serna. Serna is on paid leave while the Attorney General’s Office investigates his relationship with Century Bank and Con Alma, a nonprofit health-care organization that he chaired.

Varela announced he would returned that money to the contributors after The New Mexican revealed several figures tied to the insurance industry attended the fundraiser.

Varela couldn’t be reached for comment Monday. His campaign treasurer, E.J. Martinez, said those contributions — as well as the refunds — were filed with the county Elections Bureau after Varela folded his campaign for state treasurer earlier this year.

County offices were closed Monday night by the time Martinez was interviewed.

Some of those who donated to Varela at the Serna fundraiser gave Varela more money afterward. This includes the AFLAC insurance company of Columbus Ga., which gave Varela $1,000 April 30, and lobbyist Dan Najjar, whose clients include AFLAC. Najjar’s firm gave Varela $500 April 30.

On March 30, Nestor Romero — who was at the Serna fundraiser — and his wife gave Varela’s treasurer campaign $1,000. The treasurer-campaign funds later were transferred to Varela’s legislative campaign.

Romero’s company, Regulatory Consultants Inc., has received fees totaling more than $10 million in the past two years for performing examinations of insurance companies for Serna’s office. Under the state’s system, the examiner is paid by the insurance companies instead of state funds. Romero’s company has performed 90 percent of the insurance examinations since 2003 through no-bid contracts.

In October, members of the state Legislative Finance Committee — chaired by Varela — expressed concern that the practice of hiring examiners without a formal bidding process could give the appearance of favoritism.

In a contested legislative Democratic-primary race in Rio Arriba County, incumbent Rep. Debbie Rodella reported raising more than $10,000 in the past year. That’s on top of the $18,000-plus she previously had in her campaign treasury. Rodella reported spending more than $11,000 in the past year, leaving her war chest with more than $17,000.

Her opponent, former Rio Arriba County Commissioner Moises Morales, did not file a report Monday. He couldn’t be reached for comment Monday evening.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Sunday, May 7, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Warrior by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
As Ugly As I Seem by The White Stripes
Shot in the Arm by Wilco
Screaming Night Hog by Steppenwolf
Unemployable by Pearl Jam
Bobbin' by J Mascis & The Fog
Bumblebee by The Casual Dots
Niki Hoeky by P.J. Proby

3121 by Prince
Oh Sweet Woods by The Fiery Furnaces
Dork at 12 O'Clock by Solex
So Many Ways by Mates of State
Scary Monsters by The Electric Ghosts
Do the Freddie by Freddie & The Dreamers
Freddy's Dead by Curtis Mayfield

Neil Young Set
Living With War
Rockin' in The Free World
Let's Roll
Let's Impeach the President
Be the Rain

Love Train by The Yayhoos
Take a Chance by Hundred Year Flood
Miracles Never Happen by Johnny Dowd
A Town Too Fast For Your Blues by Mark Pickeral
Prohibo Cochilar by Cabruera
Worried Spirits by Howe Gelb
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Just for the Hell of it, I'm going to start posting my eMusic downloads every month.

This month I was like a kid in the candy store. I reached my 90-track limit less than a week after my account refreshed. No self control -- but some great tunes.

Here we go:

The Main Event: Live At The Maple Leaf by ReBirth Brass Band. I just saw these guys in Robert Mugge's new film New Orleans Music in Exile. This is a 1999 concert.

American Primitive, Vol. 1 - Raw Pre-War Gospel 1926 - 1936 This is a Revenant -- John Fahey -- collection. Mostly very obscure artists, though Charlie Patton has a few tracks here. There's some real crazy stuff here, such as "Good Lord (Run Old Jeremiah)" by Austin Coleman with Joe Washington Brown, which sounds like a voodoo ceremony. Some of the tracks are pretty scratchy, but sometimes even the scratches tell a story.

27 fairly obscure Jerry Lee Lewis tracks from various Sun Records compilations, including "My Pretty Quadroon," "The Crawdad Song," "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia," "Old Black Joe" and an instrumental version of "The Marine Hymn."

Early Movie Hits by Maurice Chevalier. A real French tickler.

'Sno Angel Like You by Howe Gelb. Sounds like Giant Sand with a big ol' gospel choir.

Town Hall Concert by Charles Mingus. Plus a 23-minute cut called "New Fables" from another album, Right Now: Live At The Jazz Workshop.

Here's my April downloads:

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood by Neko Case. It's almost as good as everyone says it is.

16 tracks from A Case for Case, the Peter Case tribute

Gogol Bordello Live at Maxwells plus the East Infection EP and some stray cuts from other Gogol albums. If the Pogues were gypsies ...

A Toast to You by American Music Club. This is from AMC's 2004 reunion tour. It has two of my favorite AMC songs, "Johnny Mathis' Feet" and "Patriot's Heart."

Daddy When is Mama Coming Home? by Big Jack Johnson . He's modern Mississippi soul blues and another artist to whom I was turned on by a Mugge film.

Good To Me: Recorded Live At The Whiskey A Go Go Volume 2 by Otis Redding. Otis live!

An Evening With Sammy Cahn. One hour-plus cut featuring one of Tin Pan Alley's finest.

plus the song "Across the Wire" by Calexico (which I included in a recent column about immigration songs.)

My March downloads included:

Texas Tornado Live by Sir Douglas Quintet. This is the early '80s SDQ, with fiddler Alvin Crow. Good early version of "Who Were You Thinking Of?" They even do "Wooly Bully." Would that make Doug "Sahm the Sham"? (plus a stray SDQ version of Butch Hancock's "I Keep Wishing For You." from Takoma Eclectic Sampler Volume 1)

Keys to the Kingdom by Washington Phillips: Wow! I'd never been hip to this guy before now. Where have I been. He's a gospel singer and preacher who recorded in the 1920s, singing original songs and playing a mysterious instrument that sounds a little like an autoharp and a little like a hammer dulcimer. According to the All Music Guide Phillips played:
what was believed to be a dolceola, a zither-like instrument with a small keyboard invented by Ohio piano tuner David P. Boyd in the 1890s. Only around a hundred of this odd instrument were ever made, leading to the question of how a route preacher in East Texas ended up with one. Recent studies suggest that Phillips may have actually played a modified fretless zither on his recordings rather than a true dolceola, and in fact, he may have been playing two such instruments at the same time, one with the left hand and one with his right."
Whatever it was, it was heavenly.

Phillips' songs include "Lift Him Up, that's All," covered recently by Ralph Stanley and "Denomination Blues," covered a million years ago by Ry Cooder.

Body of Song by Bob Mould. Mould's guitar rock comeback from last year. Not bad, though no Black Sheets of Rain.

Vs. by Mission of Burma. I'm a newcomer to Mission. Maybe I was always too wary about a band featuring a singer named Roger Miller who wasn't the Roger Miller I know and love. But I'm loving this album. I hear the seeds of Dinosaur Junior and Afghan Whigs (who come to think of it, once had a member named Steve Earle.)

First Songs by Michael Hurley. These are from the mid '60s. He hadn't quite developed his loveable kooky personna at this point, but he was working on it. ("I like my wine, yes I love my wine, but it ate my stomach out ...")

Kultura-Diktatura by Kultur Shock. A "world-beat" band (based in Seattle) designed to frighten your average world-beat weenie. Sounds like a cross between 3 Mustaphas 3 and Mr. Bungle. Anyone remember the Man From U.N.C.L.E episode when some Eastern-Block rock band sang a song called "My Bulgarian Baby"? I think I've found that band's spiritual heirs.

Ornette Coleman on Unique Jazz, a 1971 Berlin concert with some of the songs from Science Fiction. Plus a 23-minute track called "The Ark" from Coleman's Town Hall 1962 album.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Friday, May 5, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

(A strange night. Lightning struck KSFR's tower during my first song. We went off the air for about 45 minutes, though we kept webcasting straight through.)

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Fishin' Hole by Henry Kaiser
Black Smoke a Blowin' Over 18 Wheels by Cornell Hurd
Tearin' Up the Town by The Stumbleweeds
Act Like a Married Man by Robbie Fulks
Dirt Track Date by Southern Culture on the Skids
Stupid Boy by The Gear Daddies
Pay Me My Money Down by Bruce Springsteen
Pine Leaf Boy Two Step by The Pine Leaf Boys

Cinco de Mayo set
Guacamole by The Texas Tornados
La Mula Bronca by Al Hurricane
El Mosquito by Eddie Dimas
Fiesta by The Pogues
El Corrido de Emilio Naranjo by Angel Espinoza
Pepito by Baby Gaby
Matadora by Cordero
Deportee by The Byrds

After We Shot the Grizzley by The Handsome Family
Scar on Her Cheek by The Rivet Gang
The Ledge by Trilobite
I Can't Be Satisfied by Hot Tuna
Traveling Light by Todd Snider
Maybe Sparrow by Neko Case
Crackerjack by Janis Martin
Cool and Dark Inside by Kell Robertson

The Farmer's Daughter by Merle Haggard
Dollar Dress by Jon Langford
The House is Falling Down by Johnny Cash
A World of Hurt by Drive-By Truckers
Remain by Jon Dee Graham
Mr. President (Have Pity on the Workin' Man) by Sam Bush
Waitin' Around to Die by Townes Van Zandt
I Still Sing the Old Songs by David Allen Coe
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, May 05, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 5, 2006

Neil Young is righteously pissed again.

His latest album, Living With War, is a hard-rocking electric tirade against the war and the Bush administration.

“Won’t need no shadow man running the government/Won’t need no stinking war ... after the garden is gone,” Young sings in the opening song. “And on the flat-screen we kill and we’re killed again/and when the night falls, I pray for peace” goes a verse in the title song.

There are songs about soldiers and their families and titles like “Shock and Awe” and “Flags of Freedom” (with a melody similar to Bob Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom”). There’s a song that calls for Bush’s impeachment and one calling for new leaders to arise. There’s a beautiful, soulful rendition of “America the Beautiful” featuring a choir of 100.

Forgetting the politics and the lyrical content for just a moment, this album is a welcome return for those of us who are mainly fans of Young’s Ragged Glory/Crazy Horse side.

I assumed it was Crazy Horse the first time I heard Living With War, but actually it’s a couple of guys named Chad Cromwell (drums) and Rick Rosas (bass).

The singer underwent brain surgery last year. I was afraid someone had pulled a Clockwork Orange on him. His last album, Prairie Wind, was a snoozer, as far as I’m concerned. And Jonathan Demme’s recently released Neil-cumentary Heart of Gold also shows Young’s mellow side.

But Living With War shows it takes more than brain surgery to keep a good rocker down.

Most of the record was recorded over a five-day period in late March and early April, with a few stray overdubs and “America the Beautiful” added a few days later.

That’s right —recorded a month ago and coming through computer speakers all over the world days later. (“Hard copy” CDs come out next week.)

Obviously, Young wanted these songs out immediately. And it’s that urgency that gives Living With War much of its power.

Actually, this has been Young’s modus operandi before. Back in 1970, after National Guard troops at Kent State University shot and killed four war protesters, we were rocking and rolling to “Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming” in a matter of weeks, after Young rushed to record and release “Ohio.”

Less remembered is “War Song,” another political rush job — released in May 1972 — by Young and Graham Nash. “There’s a man who says he can put an end to war,” Nash and Young sang. With images of jet fighters, napalm, and even the George Wallace assassination attempt, the song was meant to raise money and awareness for anti-war candidate George McGovern.

Zap ahead nearly 30 years to Sept. 11, 2001. Young, inspired by an account of the passenger revolt aboard the hijacked Flight 93, writes and records “Let’s Roll.” By now there was an Internet, so within days, Young released it as a free download. (Months later, he included it on his Are You Passionate CD.)

“No one has the answer/But one thing is true/You’ve got to turn on evil/When it’s coming after you,”

Some of Young’s lefty fans thought this song was an endorsement of Bush’s war policies. Indeed, Young’s politics through the years have been complicated. At one point in the 1980s he was praising Ronald Reagan. But by 1989, Young was angrily mocking some of George Bush the First’s most famous rhetoric. “We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man/We got a kinder, gentler machine-gun hand.” (I always thought Peggy Noonan should have been listed as a co-writer of “Rockin’ in the Free World.”)

Even on this album, there’s at least a token bipartisan gesture. On “Lookin’ For a Leader” (“Someone walks among us ... and I hope he hears the call”), Young nominates two possibilities: “Maybe it’s Obama, but he thinks that he’s too young/Maybe it’s Colin Powell to right what he’s done wrong.” (What, no mention of Bill Richardson?)

But there’s no mercy shown for Bush: “Let’s impeach the president/For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected/Dividing our country into colors/And still leaving black people neglected.”

Of course, cynics say Young is playing it safe, waiting until Bush’s popularity has sunk to the point that there’s no real danger of a Dixie Chicks-like backlash. (The same is being said for Pink, who just released “Dear Mr. President,” and Pearl Jam, who just released the anti-war “World Wide Suicide.”)

Give me a break. Does anyone really think that Neil Young is looking at poll numbers?

A common right-wing beef against the album is that Young is not really an American but a (gasp) Canadian. Next thing you know someone’s going to want to rename a popular pizza ingredient “freedom bacon.” Besides the fact that Young has paid American taxes for 40 years or so, sometimes we can get insights about America by listening to foreigners. Remember, The Band was four-fifths Cannuck.

The immediacy of Living With War and the near-subversive spirit in which Young got it out help make the project exciting. But there’s that nagging question about political works in general: Will it pass the test of time? Will it be remembered like “Ohio” or forgotten like “War Song” (or John Lennon’s Sometime in New York, a dated political curiosity that did have some rocking moments)?

Actually, I don’t think it matters, and I’m pretty sure Young’s not that concerned about whether this album is enshrined as a classic.

Sometimes it’s the now that’s important.

Right now Neil Young is raging.

You can listen to Living With War for free HERE. There’s a lot of information on the album HERE.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


A version of this appeared in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 4, 2006

Attorney General Patricia Madrid’s political headaches stemming from the Robert Vigil trial and the Eric Serna scandal are getting attention from the inside-the-Beltway press.

Madrid is running for Congress against incumbent U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson in the First Congressional District.

Under the headline “Scandals May Cloud Madrid’s Bid Against Rep. Wilson,” Roll Call (“The Newspaper of Capitol Hill since 1955”) on Wednesday observed, “Two developing political scandals in New Mexico threaten to singe one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s top recruits of the election cycle.

“The scandals — one unfolding in an Albuquerque courtroom, the other in the state bureaucracy in Santa Fe — involve current and former Democratic officeholders,” the story says. “Depending on how they’re resolved, they could diminish what had been expected to be a promising election year for Democrats in the Land of Enchantment.”

The article was written by Josh Kurtz, a former writer for The Santa Fe Reporter, now Roll Call’s political editor.

Kurtz’s story talks about the ongoing trial of former state Treasurer Vigil.

“When the Vigil scandal first broke last fall, Madrid and Gov. Bill Richardson (D) — who could also face some collateral damage — were criticized when they signed off on a deal that enabled Vigil to temporarily step down with full pay and benefits,” Kurtz writes.

He also mentions Taxation and Revenue Secretary Jan Goodwin’s testimony last week that as director of the Board of Finance in 2002 she’d written Madrid calling for an investigation of possible hanky-panky with treasurer’s investments. (Madrid’s office said it never received the letter.)

Richardson “could also face some collateral damage,” Kurtz writes.

The Roll Call story talks about Madrid’s ties with state Insurance Commissioner Serna, who currently is on paid leave while being investigated for his dealings with Century Bank, which received a state contract after contributions to Con Alma — a health-care nonprofit that Serna and Madrid co-founded. Serna stepped down as president of Con Alma after the story about Century Bank broke.

The story quotes “one plugged-in Democratic lobbyist in Santa Fe” saying that Serna and Madrid are “two peas in a pod ... They created Con Alma together.”

It’s clear, Kurtz writes, “that the political implications for Madrid’s high-stakes battle with Wilson — a perennial target in an Albuquerque-based district that leans modestly Democratic — are staggering.”

That chicken won’t fight: Also getting national attention is Richardson’s bold and innovative refusal to take a stand on the perennial issue of cockfighting.

The question was brought up this week at a White House press briefing. But as you can see in this transcript from the White House Web site, outgoing spokesman Scott McClellan, in answering questions from an unnamed reporter, is just as slippery as our governor on this issue.

Question: The AP reports from Blackfoot, Idaho, the arrest of 17 people from Idaho, Utah and Nevada for being involved in a cockfight. But in New Mexico, which, with Louisiana, is one of only two states where cockfighting is legal, for any old presidential contender, a Democrat, Gov. Bill Richardson, said of this brutal and deadly, activity, “I have not made my mind up on that,” reported the Las Cruces Sun News. And my question: Does the President have any such indecision on this brutality, as Gov. Richardson does?

McClellan: Well, we really haven’t (had) a conversation about cockfighting lately. (Laughter.) But there are —

Question: The AP reported this, and it’s going on —

McClellan: I hate to inform Terry Hunt that I don’t read every AP article that is out there, but there are laws on the books, and the laws are there for a reason. And I think the President believes that laws —

Question: What does he think of Gov. Richardson —

McClellan: I think the President believes laws ought to be enforced.

Question: What does he think of Gov. Richardson —

McClellan: Well, he knows Gov. Richardson, and I think that they’ve had a fairly good relationship. They certainly have disagreement(s) on a number of issues. But I think they’ve had —

Question: They disagree on this then?

From there, McClellan went on to an easier question.

One about the situation in Darfur.

Sometimes you can get straighter talk from comics than politicians.

Jay Leno recently brought up the issue in his Tonight Show monologue: “In New Mexico, Gov. Bill Richardson — this is unbelievable — Gov. Bill Richardson said he is still undecided about cockfighting, which is not banned in New Mexico. It’s still legal. This is what he said, he said there are arguments on both sides.

Really? What is the good argument for cockfighting? Does this keep the roosters off the street?”

Support Guy’s Kids: Democratic attorney-general candidate Gary King is the latest recipient of investor Guy Riordan campaign contributions to donate Riordan money to charity.

King, who ran for Congress in 2004, received $500 from Riordan. King said Tuesday he’s giving that to the New Mexico Children’s Foundation.

Riordan started a charity stampede a couple of weeks ago after former State Treasurer Michael Montoya testified at the Vigil trial that Riordan had given him kickbacks, sometimes in restroom stalls.

“My guess is that time will tell whether what Michael Montoya said about Guy Riordan is true,” King said.

King said he hadn’t returned my phone calls last week because he’d been in Switzerland speaking at a conference on aviation and the environment.


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