Monday, July 31, 2006


Sunday, July 30, 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
Andres by L7
God is a Bullet by Concrete Blonde
Alcohog by Hog Molly
Going South by Dead Moon
Everybody's Going Wild by The Detroit Cobras
Domino by Pretty Girls Make Graves
Walk Idiot Walk by The Hives
Cradle of Lies by Johnny Dowd

Toward the Waves/I'm Ready by The Twilight Singers
Spider's Web by Mission of Burma
Down in a Hole by Alice in Chains
The Worm by Audioslave
Record Junkie by The Monsters
Baby Vampire Made Me by Helium
Crude and Absurd by Chocolate Helicopter

Baptized in Dirty Water by Chris Thomas King
What's Happening Brother by Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Bettye LaVette
Jumper on the Line by R.L. Burnside
Good Bread Alley by Carl Hancock Rux
Johnny Souled Out by The Bus Boys
Crawdad Hole by Big Bill Broonzy
Hearsay by The Soul Children

Enter the Lists by The Mekons
E-Pro by Beck
Mickey's Son and Daughter by Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
Spider in the Bed by Hellwood
Heartbreak Hotel by John Cale, Shawn Colvin & Richard Thompson
My Little Corner of the World by Yo La Tengo
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Friday, July 28, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
The Shape I'm In by The Band
Stupid Boy by The Gear Daddies
Mother Hubbard's Blues by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Eve of Destruction by P.F. Sloan with Buddy Miller & Frank Black
So Long Baby by Jo-El Sonier
Hymn 4 My Soul by Andy Fairweather Low
All Men Are Liars by Nick Lowe
Highway Cafe by Kinky Friedman

Borrowed Car by Tom Adler
He Ain't Jesus by Carrie Rodriguez
Would They Love Him Down in Shreveport by Kate Campbell & Spooner Oldham
Travelin' Light by Todd Snider
Evangeline by The Sadies with Neko Case
Cowboy Song by Dan Reeder
30 Years Waltz by Terry Allen

(All songs by GP except where noted)
The Return of the Grevous Angel
California Cottonfields
Dark End of the Street by The Flying Burrito Brothers
Do You Know How It Feels to Be Lonesome by Carla Olson
The Christian Life by The Byrds
Sleepless Nights GP & Emmylou Harris
$1,000 Wedding by The Mekons
A Song For You

Joy Tears by Greg Brown
Mary's Dream by Acie Cargill
Old Cracked Looking Glass by Tony Gilkyson
Tramps and Hawkers by Dave Alvin
Shame on You by Jessie Mae Hemphill
You Cannot Win 'em All by Steve Forbert
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, July 28, 2006


The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes in his blog The Fix about the lower tier presidential candidates including our governor:

On paper, Richardson belongs in the top five. No candidate in the field has the resume depth of the New Mexico governor: former member of Congress, U. N. Ambassador, cabinet secretary and now chief executive of a state. Plus he is Hispanic -- the fastest growing population in the country. But we are hesitant about treating Richardson as a top-tier candidate for one reason: discipline (or the lack of it). Richardson is an ebullient personality who seems to love the back and forth of politics. But we are not convinced that he can develop a message and stick to it for months on end. A successful presidential candidate needs to be committed to regular repetition of the basic message each day. Can Richardson stick to that kind of rigid script?


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 28, 2006

The new documentary Fallen Angel: Gram Parsons, by longtime Parsons fan Gandulf Hennig, is a thought-provoking look at an enigmatic musician whose life — from his Tennessee Williams/Southern Gothic childhood through his early death and bizarre desert cremation — is a fascinating tale.

When some people talk about Parsons, they salute him as a musical visionary who in the 1960s, garbed in a Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors suit embroidered with marijuana leaves, combined country music and rock ’n’ roll, into a glorious mongrel called “Cosmic American Music.”

That assessment always strikes me as shallow. After all, just 10 years before Parsons’ short stints with The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, a good number of rockers — Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison — were pretty dang country. And many country stars — from Hank Williams through Johnny Cash through Buck Owens — were pretty dang rock ’n’ roll.

And besides, Parsons can’t really be credited with inventing “country rock.” Someone with a stronger right to that claim is Ringo Starr, who, with The Beatles, covered the Buck Owens hit “Act Naturally” and sang the country-flavored “What Goes On” in 1965 — two years before Parsons joined The Byrds.

But Parsons did bring country music to Los Angeles hipsters in the ’60s. Recalling how he first turned her and her friends on to records by real country singers, supergroupie emerita Pamela Des Barres says, “Everyone thought that country music was lame and for old fogies and people in the South and the Midwest [giggles]. Unhip people. And it was like light bulbs going off, you know, because they were so brilliant.”

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking Parsons and his music, the best of which — “Hickory Wind,” “Hot Burrito # 1,” “Sin City,” “Return of the Grievous Angel” — ranks up there in the same pantheon as Hank and Merle and The Beatles. His two solo albums, GP and Grievous Angel, the Burritos’ The Gilded Palace of Sin, and, of course, The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, are some of the greatest country albums ever made.

Parsons deserves to be remembered not as someone who created some musical subgenre that goes in and out of style every few years but as a powerful songwriter who saw through the artificial boundaries imposed upon American music.

In Fallen Angel, Parsons’ tale is told through interviews. There are family members such as his half-sister, stepsister, and niece; old family friends; and boyhood pals. And there are the musical greats who worked and hung out with Parsons: fellow Byrd and Burrito Brother Chris Hillman, Emmylou Harris, guitar great James Burton, and Keith Richards, an inspiration and ultimate bad influence.

It turns out that Parsons was somewhat of a starry-eyed Stones groupie. Hillman tells a story of the difficult time he had pulling Parsons out of a Stones recording session to go to a much-needed Burritos rehearsal. It took Mick Jagger to talk Parsons into leaving, Hillman says.

My major complaint about Fallen Angel is that there’s not nearly enough live musical footage.

My guess is that there’s not a whole lot of quality footage available. And from hearing descriptions in the documentary of some of Parsons’ gigs with his various groups, it’s apparent that the Grievous Angel was a spotty performer at best, especially in his latter years, when he was usually in some stage of intoxication.

Grand Theft detour: It’s downright astonishing that until Fallen Angel, the only film to even touch upon the Gram Parsons story was Grand Theft Parsons, a 2003 Johnny Knoxville (Jackass) vehicle in which Parsons appears only as a corpse and a ghost.

It’s the story of how after Parsons’ 1973 drug overdose death, his road manager, Phil Kaufman, stole his body from the Los Angeles airport, took the corpse to Joshua Tree National Park and set it on fire.

In interviews on both Fallen Angel and the Grand Theft Parsons DVD, Kaufman said he did this because of a pact that he and Parsons made after the funeral of Byrds guitarist Clarence White.

In Grand Theft, Knoxville tries to portray Kaufman as a classic antihero. The movie devolves into a near-slapstick chase flick — a morbid, hippie version of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World — with Parsons’ father and a hysterical money-grubbing girlfriend (Christina Applegate) hot on the trail of Knoxville in a psychedelic yellow hearse. Later, Parsons’ father (in real life, it was his stepfather who flew to Los Angeles to claim the body) watches in tacit approval as his son’s body burns in the desert night.

However, in real life, that didn’t happen. In Fallen Angel, Parsons’ half-sister, who was a child in 1973, still cries when she talks about the pain that Kaufman’s actions caused.

Bernie Leadon, a former Eagle who played in the Burrito Brothers with Parsons, was not impressed with what Kaufman did.

“In the first place, it wasn’t a proper cremation. It was a partial burning,” Leadon says in the documentary. “And they left him; that’s what’s so stupid. If you’re going to cremate someone, do a little research, you know, and like do it properly. But don’t go leave him in the desert by the side of the road half-burnt. That’s not cool.”

I don’t think many people would cry if someone stole Grand Theft Parsons, burned it, and left it in the desert.

A recommended music DVD:

* Rude Boy. This is a surprisingly dull 1980 British movie about a kid who quits his job at a dirty bookstore to become a roadie for a punk-rock band. That band happens to be The Clash, and that’s the saving grace here.

As far as I’m concerned, the best part of this DVD is a feature called “Just Play The Clash.”

There you get seven full Clash songs performed live in the late ’70s. And you can find a few more in the “Extras” section, including the powerful “English Civil War,” the band’s rewrite of that classic anti-war song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

GP on SFO: I'll do a set of Parsons tunes on The Santa Fe Opry tonight. Show starts at 10 p.m., the Gram set will start at 11 p.m. That's on KSFR, 90.7 FM. (And it streams live on the Web.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 27, 2006

The mystery of the missing teddy bear — a saga of intrigue that caused one out-of-state pundit to ponder its possible effect on Gov. Bill Richardson’s political ambitions — has been solved.

And Popeye the teddy bear is heading home to 8-year-old Branden Murphy of Clarksville, Md.

Laura Vozzella of the Baltimore Sun told the sad story in her column last week.

“No telling what all this could mean for Richardson’s presidential aspirations,” Vozzella wrote, “But here’s the fallout closer to home.”

It seems Branden was participating in a class project that involved mailing a teddy bear. It was, Vozzella wrote, “an exercise one part geography lesson, one part chain letter. Branden and his classmates mailed bears to people in other parts of the country. Recipients wrote postcards back, then sent the toy travelers on to someone else.”

According to the column, Popeye made it to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida, Kansas and Arizona, among other stops.

People sent Branden postcards indicating Popeye had been taken to the Oklahoma City bombing site and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. He reportedly was received by an astronaut in Houston. “Across the country, he has picked up friends in high places,” Vozzella wrote. “A state treasurer here. A couple of state senators there.”

And someone thought it would be a good idea to send Popeye to the governor of New Mexico.

The bear was supposed to be sent back to Branden by May 1, when all the kids in the class were to take their bears to school. But Branden was the only one whose bear was missing in action.

The boy’s mother, Kate Murphy, called Richardson’s office. There, she told Vozzella, a Richardson staffer “said something about that he thought it was a gift.”

However, Vozzella wrote, “when I called, the governor’s office said the bear never came its way. Spokesman Jon Goldstein played dumb: ‘This is a real bear?’ ”

So what happened to Popeye?

Did someone at the governor’s office report him as being one of those “suspicious packages” that pop up from time to time and get ripped apart by a state police bomb squad? Was he stashed somewhere to be used as a prop in an upcoming “Year-After-the-Year-of-the-Child” press conference? Had he been named to some state task force, never to be heard from again?

The answer was discovered after Vozzella’s column appeared in the Sun and New Mexico news organizations started asking questions. Popeye emerged — as if by magic.

Turns out the missing bear had gone to Richardson campaign headquarters in Albuquerque, not to the governor’s office in Santa Fe.

Campaign staffer Josh McNeil said Thursday that the office received Popeye in May — after the deadline for Branden’s class assignment. “We decided to take him on an adventure,” McNeil said.

Campaign workers photographed Popeye at a dinner at the governor’s mansion, on horseback with the governor, at the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center and with U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M.

Why nobody in the campaign notified Branden about Popeye’s whereabouts for two months is unclear.

“He’s going back today,” McNeil said. He’ll be accompanied by a companion — a doll of New Mexico’s most famous bear: Smokey.

Naked clowns? Apparently Vozzella’s source for her story was Maryland lobbyist Don Murphy, young Branden’s uncle.

Murphy is a registered lobbyist for clients that include Feld Entertainment, an umbrella corporation that owns Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice. He once represented a major nudist organization called the American Association for Nude Recreation.

Nudists and circuses! Now there’s a lobbyist after my own heart.

A significant contribution. We’re always writing about politicians taking contributions, but here’s a case in which a legislative candidate is making a dramatic contribution.

Christy Bourgeois of Carlsbad, a Democratic candidate for an open seat in District 54, is donating a kidney to her ailing father. The surgery is scheduled for Aug. 3.

A news release from the state Democratic Party quotes Bougeois, 44, as saying: “There’s no question about it. It’s the right thing to do.” She will put her campaign on hold until she recovers from the surgery. “Without question, my father would donate his kidney to me if he could and I needed one. Parents are very special people in our lives, and we all need to respect God’s gift — parents.”

Bourgeois, 44, is a former Carlsbad police officer who now works for Valor Telecommunications. She’s running against Republican William Gray of Artesia for the seat held by retiring Rep. Joe Stell, D-Carlsbad.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


My analysis of the latest Bill Richardson television commercial can be found HERE . You can watch the commercial itself HERE.

My colleague Dave Miles got the scoop about my buddy Gregg Turner settling his lawsuit against Highlands University. Read it HERE. Because of my friendship with Turner I've had to stay out of this one. (I sang at his wedding several years ago and he's forgiven me for it. That's true friendship.)

Speaking of Turner and music, the former Angry Samoan is playing a solo set Friday night at Gelato Benissimo, behind Willee's. One of these days we're going to gig together again.

Funny Typos Dept. : For several hours on this post, I referred to Greg Turner as "my biddy." It's been corrected.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Santa Fe photographer David Goldberg has a Web site, including his shots of local and touring musicians. CLICK HERE to check them out.

(Pictured here is Bethleham & Eggs, featuring Michael Kott preaching the gospel in his own peculiar way. See Goldberg's full-size version HERE)


I've been dabbling in the fine art of rock 'n' roll photography myself lately. My amatuer shots can be found HERE .


And speaking of music photography, about every two months someone sends me a the "Bad Album Covers" e-mail -- featuring the covers I blogged about HERE.

Fooling around on FLICKR this morning I came across a site dedicated to bad album covers. (There's actually two volumes of the site, the second being HERE)

All your favorites like Devastatin' Dave, Julie's Sixteenth Birthday, Let Me Touch Him, etc. are there.

But there's dozens of others, mainly thrift-store treasures, but some newer covers including that of Radio Pyongyang, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. (Actually I find the CD cover not nearly as bad as the music inside, but that's probably true of a lot of these.)


Sunday, July 23, 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
Psychotic Reaction by The Cramps
Heavy Soul by The Black Keys
A Fix Back East by The Tarbox Ramblers
Rock and Shock by Screaming Lord Sutch
Don't Slander Me by Roky Erikson
Get Lost by Boogy Hut
Designed to Kill by James Chance
Goin' on Down to the BBQ by Drywall

The Devil in Miss Jones by Mike Ness
Vampires & Failures by Grandpaboy
Soul Letter by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Death in the Afternoon by Havana 3 a.m.
Broadway by The Clash
Dead to Rights by The Twilight Singers
Rockin' All Night by Richie Valens
My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle by Frank Crumit

The Meth of a Rockette's Kick by Mercury Rev
Heroes & Villains by The Beach Boys
Violenza Domestica by Mr. Bungle
Spider Wisdom by Nels Cline
I'm in No Mood by Fiery Furnaces

She Floated Away by Husker Du
Donna Sumeria by Mission of Burma
(title unknown -- track 12) by Chocolate Helicopter
An Untitled Protest by Country Joe & The Fish
This One's From the Heart by Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, July 23, 2006


My story on Stan Fulton -- owner of Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino and bigtime political contributor to N.M. politicos -- published in today's New Mexican can be found HERE.


I forgot to post a link to my interview with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman last week. You can find that HERE.


But enough about poltics. Here's a music announcement Kendra from Hundred Year Flood sent me:

Frogville Independent Records is proud to announce
the 2nd Annual FROGFEST
Aug 19 & 20, 2006
at the Santa Fe Brewing Company (35 Fire Place, Santa Fe, NM)

FROGFEST 2 is two days of incredible music from 12 noon to 12 midnight, featuring:

James McMurtry, Hundred Year Flood, the Texas Sapphires, Goshen, Boris McCutcheon, the Bill Hearne Trio, Nathan Moore (from Thamusemeant),
the Santa Fe All Stars, Toast, Taarka, Jono Manson, Ryan McGarvey, Dave Insley's Careless Smokers.... and much more!

Santa Fe Brewing Company has a great atmosphere, with two stages (indoor and outdoor), awesome beer, food, and ice cream!

TICKETS are $25 per day in advance, or $40 for both days in advance. They will be $30 per day at the door (no two-day passes sold at the door)

ALL AGES WELCOME, children under 12 FREE

Tickets available at these locations:
Lensic Box Office & Tickets Santa Fe Online 505-988-1234
the Candyman in Santa Fe, 505-983-9309
Birdland in Albuquerque, 505-255-9205
Santa Fe Brewing Co 505-424-3333
Online from Frogville HERE

For More Information, please check out:
or call 505-982-4001


My beautiful daughter Molly was supposed to get married this coming November.

But she and John decided to elope instead, so that's what they did Friday evening.

They got married in the backroom of the Aztec Cafe, where they met 11 years ago, in front of just a handful of friends.

She let me and her mother know a few minutes after the vows were exchanged. I caught up with them at The Cowgirl -- though I had to rush off to do my radio show. (Yes, that's what my "Wedding Set" on The Santa Fe Opry was about.)

Speaking of which, I couldn't help but see a strange irony in the difference between a couple of classic country songs I played. There was "The Ceremony" by George & Tammy -- a very solemn, deadly serious and extremely corny song in which the couple exchange their vows. Then there's "Jackson" by Johnny & June -- irreverent, funny, sexy ...

George and Tammy split after a miserable few years together. Johnny and June stayed together more than 30 years. Til death did they part.

Maybe my daughter and my son-in-law instinctively knew that it might just be better to get married in a fever.

It's hard to believe that my little girl, my firstborn, is now a married woman. But she and John seem so happy that happiness is all I feel.

That and a little shock.

More pictures of this surprise development can be found HERE and HERE.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Friday, July 21, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos

Wedding Day by Alejandro Escovedo
Marry Me by The Drive-By Truckers
Jackson by Johnny Cash & June Carter
The Ceremony by George Jones & Tammy Wynette
Wedding of the Bugs by Robbie Fulks
Wedding Bells by Hank Williams
Let's Elope by Janis Martin
White Trash Wedding by The Dixie Chicks
Froggie Went a Courtin' by Bruce Springsteen

$1,000 Wedding by Gram Parsons
Polecat by Ray Wylie Hubbard
American Pagaent by The Sadies with Jon Langford
My Eyes by Tony Gilkyson
Your Eyes by Audrey Auld Mezera & Nina Gerber
Take a Letter Maria by The New Riders of the Purple Sage
Marie by Allison Moorer

Yuppie Scum by Emily Kaitz
Wyoming County Catamount by Panama Red
I'm So Lonesome Without You by Hazeldine
Don't Go Cuttin' on My Cattle by Bone Orchard
God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign by Ralph Stanley
Miss Molly by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
Joe Sawyer by Jono Manson
Mrs. Hank Williams by Fred Eaglesmith

The River Knows Your Name by John Hiatt
Expose by Guy Clark
Waiting Round to Die by Townes Van Zandt
Blind Love by Dave Alvin
Crooked Mile by Peter Case
Tomorrow Night by Bob Dylan
One of the Unsatisfied by Lacy J. Dalton
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, July 21, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 21, 2006

I’ve just stumbled across a weird little corner of the Internet that’s twisted my honky head off, causing me to re-examine some of my long-cherished attitudes about music.

I’ve always argued that music has been a positive force in our culture. I believe that rock ’n’ roll played a role in ending segregation, cutting short the carnage in Vietnam, and tearing down the Berlin Wall; that Woody Guthrie’s guitar killed fascists; that somewhere in heaven Louie Armstrong still blows his trumpet, standing on a corner beside a celestial Jimmie Rodgers singing “Blue Yodel No. 9” for all the assembled saints.

During the past couple of years I’ve written in this very column about songs pertaining to issues such as the death penalty and Mexican immigration, offering the theory that the songs of America reflect a more compassionate and humanistic vision than the modern political rhetoric concerning those topics.

However, there’s a cache of musical weirdities from about 100 years ago that makes that theory seem naive and Pollyanna-ish. Spending time downloading songs in an innocuous-sounding section of the Internet Audio Archive called 78RPMs forces you to consider an era in which music was used as a tool of oppression.

This “collection of 78 rpm records released in the early part of the 20th century contributed by Archive users” includes several recording artists you should have heard of — such as Al Jolson, Sophie Tucker, Enrico Caruso — and early recordings of songs that are revered cornerstones of American music: “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Ain’t We Got Fun?,” “Silver Threads Among the Gold,” and other chestnuts.

But there are also weird and even frightening recordings to be uncovered here — some funny, some strangely beautiful, and some outright despicable stuff -- what was referred to at the time as “coon songs.”

Yes, it’s what you think it is. These are recordings from around the turn of the 20th century that stereotyped African American life. They were popular until around the time of World War I. And yes, they’re as bad as you think they are. I’ve always known these tunes were out there. But actually listening to them in their original form and realizing how popular they were with mainstream America is a startling revelation.

Coon songs were born out of blackface minstrel acts, an art form that goes back to pre-Civil War times. With the rise of the recording industry in the late 1800s, coon songs were a popular genre. An advertisement for singer Arthur Collins in a Victor Records catalog from that era says, “The charm of this special kind of art seems to have a never-ending appeal for the American public.” The Internet Audio Archive has some examples of Collins’ work. He recorded a version of one of the most notorious of these songs, “All Coons Look Alike to Me.”

Collins also performed on “A Possum Supper at the Darktown Church,” which consists mainly of dialogue in an incomprehensible, phony dialect The supposed love of eating possum was a preoccupation of the coon songsters. “Carve Dat Possum” by Peerless Quartet with Harry C. Browne (dated 1917) is a more musical number. “The possum meat am good to eat/you always find it good and sweet,” Browne sings. The chorus — “Carve dat possum, carve dat possum, chillun” — is majestic in a troubling way, a prototype for the soundtrack of Disney’s Song of the South.

But there’s nothing quite like “The Whistling Coon.” I found two versions: the original 1896 cylinder recording by George W. Johnson, the author of the song (which unfortunately is so scratchy and lo-fi it’s barely listenable), and a much clearer 1911 version by Billy Murray.

The song is about “a colored individual” who doesn’t talk much and always whistles. Well, OK, the image of the simple, easygoing black man with musical proclivities is just a little racist, but then the song gets uglier as the singer describes the whistler’s appearance strictly within the confines of racist cartoon images (which Robert Crumb later would sardonically appropriate).

“Oh he’s got a pair of lips like a pound of liver split and a nose like an Indian rubber shoe. ... He’s an independent, free and easy, fat and greasy ham with a cranium like a big baboon.”
What’s truly shocking is that Murray doesn’t sound hateful. There’s no peckerwood sneer like that found in 1960s Ku Klux Klan records by “Johnny Reb” or “James Crow.” Murray sounds almost loving as he sings the gentle, catchy melody — the way you might sing about the antics of a favorite dog.

But, in the last verse, when “a fella hit him with a brick upon the mouth,” the singer doesn’t seem to condemn the attacker — or even explain the attack. All we know is that the singer is impressed that the man just keeps whistling, even though “his face swelled like a big balloon.”

It’s tempting to dismiss this as ignorant but ultimately harmless humor. However, as Richard Crawford observes in his book America’s Musical Life, these songs emerged during “a time when black Americans felt increasingly under political siege, with racial segregation established as law in the South and lynching on the increase.”

Indeed, in 1915, toward the end of the golden age of the coon song, the Ku Klux Klan would officially begin its second act, and the movie Birth of a Nation would reinforce white America’s fear of the black man.

It’s significant that the namesake of the “Jim Crow” laws was a character out of minstrelry — credited to Thomas Dartmouth Rice and made famous in the 1836 song “Jump Jim Crow.” But even more puzzling is the fact that Johnson, the man who wrote “The Whistling Coon,” was a former slave who became one of the pioneer African American recording artists of the 1890s.

Johnson wasn’t alone. “All Coons Look Alike to Me” was written by Ernest Hogan, another black songwriter of the era. He got famous for the song, but reportedly said on his deathbed he regretted ever writing it. (The song was published in 1896 by M. Witmark & Sons, the same company that would publish Bob Dylan’s early music in the 1960s.)

As Crawford explains in American Musical Life, “Any African American who worked in show business was faced with the conflict between pleasing an audience and knowing that many standard crowd-pleasing devices reinforced the racial divide.”

Johnson, Hogan, and others were carrying on a tradition that began earlier in the 19th century with minstrelry. Though it started with white performers in blackface parodying the music and dialect of black slaves, beginning about 1855, black singers donning the blackface mask of burnt cork joined in.

Minstrelry, according to author and jazz critic Stanley Crouch, was on its way out by the end of the Civil War.

But the coming of black performers ironically revitalized the art form. “They came and reinforced the bars on their cages,” Crouch said in an interview on the DVD of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, a 2000 film that takes a hard look at minstrelry, coon songs, and other racist images of African Americans in American culture.

If there is a bright side to this ugly period, it’s the fact that it served as fertilizer for good, serious American art.

Scott Joplin, the father of ragtime, started out as a minstrel. W.C. Handy, the bandleader whose “St. Louis Blues” introduced the blues to mainstream America in 1914, started out in a black minstrel show. Handy said his most famous song was a love story, told “in the humorous spirit of bygone coon songs.”

As tempting as it is to assign coon songs and minstrelry to a shameful footnote of American musical history, some say the spirit lives on. Music writer Nick Tosches wrote in his book Country, “Years later, the Rolling Stones gave us a new sort of minstrelry. It was minstrelry without blackface, but minstrelry just the same.” And in Lee’s Bamboozled, fictional hip-hop troupe The Mau Maus are just as ignorant and stereotypical as the shuffling coon singers of centuries past.

Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields said of gangsta rap in a 2004 interview with, “I think it’s shocking that we’re not allowed to play coon songs anymore, but people, both white and black, behave in more vicious caricatures of African Americans than they had in the 19th century. It’s grotesque. Presumably it’s just a character, and that person doesn’t actually talk that way, but that accent, that vocal presentation, would not have been out of place in the Christy Minstrels. In fact, it would probably have been considered too tasteless for the Christy Minstrels.”

Some say we should suppress coon songs, metaphorically burn this music like right-wingers torching the Dixie Chicks. But I say listen to these songs and shake your head. Then watch Bamboozled and listen to Howlin’ Wolf’s defiant musical commentary, “Coon on the Moon”:

“You know they call us coons/Say we don’t have no sense/You gonna wake up one morning/And the old coon gonna be the president.”

Other fun songs in the 78s archive:

* “My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle” sung by Frank Crumit (1920). A shipwreck never sounded so sexy. “But by heck there never was a wreck like the wreck she made of me/For all she wore was a great big Zulu smile.”

* “O’Brien Is Tryin’ to Learn to Talk Hawaiian” by Horace Wright (1917) A twofer for ethnic humor, this one is sung in a phony brogue with that cool slack-key guitar that was sweeping the nation back then.

* “Navajo” by The Columbia Band with Billy Murray (1903) written by Egbert Van Alstyne and Harry Williams for a Broadway play called Nancy Brown. There’s a tom-tom beat at the very beginning, but not much else “Indian” about this tune. It’s about a guy in love with a Navajo woman. At least, unlike that other Murray song, nobody hits her in the face with a brick.

* “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am” by Harry Champion (1911) Yes, this song was around way before Herman’s Hermits. Champion, born William Crump, was an English music-hall star known for singing cockney songs. In this version, he still marries the widow next door, but the second verse is not same as the first.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 20, 2006

The robots are rebelling.

In perhaps the funniest e-mail I saw last week, the state Republican Party was seeking forgiveness from some of its members.

“Dear Sandoval County Republicans,” the message began. “Please accept our sincere apologies if you received an autodial late last night. Our new phone system was programmed to shut down at 8 p.m. but there was a malfunction. We have shut down the system and are looking into what caused the glitch. Again, we apologize for the late night call. If you have any questions please call our office ...”

A simple mistake, you might be tempted to think.

Not so fast.

Consider what happened early last month to Democratic attorney-general candidate Gary King.

About 11 p.m. the Friday night before his contested primary race came to a head, a couple of thousand Democrats were startled by a ringing phone. When they answered, they heard the recorded voice of former Gov. Bruce King — Gary’s dad — urging them to vote for his son.

The calls were supposed to have gone out a 11 a.m. the next day, the King camp sheepishly explained.

Another “malfunction.”

Are you willing to believe these two incidents are mere “coincidence”?

Gentle readers, can’t you see that the phone machines are purposely malfunctioning in a true bi-partisan effort to alert the politicos that most folks really hate getting these annoying automated telephone calls?

Some political operatives might not have a conscience, but apparently their machines do.

Chances are nobody will heed these warnings, and by November, our phones all will be ringing off the hook every night with recorded messages from politicians — local, state and national, Democrat and Republican — begging for our votes and driving us nuts.

But what if these robots mean business? Ever see the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey?

What if the next time the machines try to warn us, they don’t tamper with the time of the call, but the message itself? A little spontaneous digital editing could make a candidate appear to say crazy and disgusting things.

“Hello, I’m Gov. Bill Richardson and I just killed your cat ... ”

“Hi, I’m John Dendahl. I have X-ray vision and I’m looking into your house ... ”

“Daisy, Daisy ... ”

You never know about these machines.

If I were running a campaign, I sure wouldn’t chance it.

Attention pickers and singers: The state Music Commission wants your photos and song samples. Nancy Laflin, the commission’s executive director, said this week that musicians and bands can upload photos and up to three song samples (no more than 20 seconds each) for the commission’s Web site for free.

About 300 acts are currently on the state Web site, Laflin said, though not all of those have taken advantage of posting their pictures and music.

This isn’t just a vanity project, Laflin said. There is potential payoff.

“It really comes in handy for referrals,” she said. In recent days, someone working for a large movie production currently shooting in the state called up asking for a traditional mariachi group to perform in the film, Laflin said. “Another production was looking for a fiddler and bass player from the same band.”

The Music Commission’s Web site is And yes, it’s far easier to use than the Secretary of State’s page.

Speaking of Web sites: Both gubernatorial candidates have them up now. Republican John Dendahl just this week went on line with

Much of it’s still in development, but Web surfers can find several old newspaper columns by the candidate in the “John’s Archives” section. And lots of pictures of skiing with Dendahl and his family. In fact, the top of his home page shows a photo of the former Olympic ski-team member (in his words) “busting champagne powder in the mountains of his beloved New Mexico.”

Richardson’s site — — has been up for several weeks and has more bells and whistles. You can watch all his campaign ads there and even listen to a podcast featuring the governor and his wife.

One thing Richardson’s site has that Dendahl’s doesn’t is a place to contribute money online. A spokeswoman for the GOP candidate said a contribution and other features will be added.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


A new Gallup Poll asked 496 "Democrats or Democratic leaners" on whether they thought certain possible 2008 presidential candidates were "acceptable" or "not acceptable."

Click HERE to see all the results.

Coming in at a solid 8th place finish (out of 13 listed) was our Gov. Bill Richardson.

According to the poll, 36 percent found Richardson acceptable, 38 found him unacceptable and 26 percent had no opinion.

Nowhere is it explained what the polled found unacceptable about Richardson -- or any of the others mentioned.

On the bright side for the gov, he scored higher here than other governors on the list -- former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. And his "unacceptable" numbers are lower than those of Dennis Kucinich, Tom Daschle, Howard Dean, John Kerry and some of the others listed.

But no getting around it: At this stage of the game Richardson still is a dark horse, underdog or whatever animal metaphor you want to use.

There was a separate poll done for Republicans, where Rudy Giuliani is the most acceptable and Vice President Dick Cheney the most unacceptable.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


The bucks from companies with economic interests in New Mexico keep rolling in to the Bill Richardson-chaired Democratic Governors Association.

Big donors from the last quarter included The GEO Group (a private prison company with a growing presence in the state), Sunland Park owner Stan Fulton (who is fighting a proposed casino near Anthony, N.M.)and U.S. Tobacco, (which wants to change the way New Mexico taxes chewing tobacco and already changed the way that legislative fiscal impact reports are done).

Read my story in today's New Mexican HERE.

UPDATE: Blogger Heath Haussamen has more on Stan Fulton and his campaign contributions HERE

Monday, July 17, 2006


I was very startled when I read this Washington Post headline:



Sunday, July 16, 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
Honey Hush by Johnny Burnette
I Dig Them Little Green Men by The Uglies with J.D.
Apartment Wrestling Rock 'n' Roll Girl by Rev. Beat-Man
Justine Alright by The Sadies with Jon Spencer
Up Jumped the Devil by Ronnie Dawson
Snakepit by Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers
That's My Little Suzie by Richie Valens
The Twitch by James Chance
You Broke My Mood Ring by Root Boy Slim & His Sex Change Band
Runaway by The Antartics

The Good Die Young by Hellwood
Corner Laundromat by Johnny Dowd
The Number by Pretty Girls Make Graves
Powder Burns by Twilight Singers
Let's Go Crazy by The Clash
The Craig Torso Show by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
She's Goin' Bald by The Beach Boys


Thou Carest Lord for Me by Holy Ghost Sanctified Singers
Ezekial in the Valley by Moving Star Hall Singers
Prayer of Death part 1 by Elder J.J. Hadley (Charley Patton)
The Holy Ghost is Here Right Now by Rev. Milton Brunson
Jesus Met the Woman at the Well by The Famous Blue Jay Singers of Birmingham, Alabama
Waiting at the River by The Original Blind Boys of Mississippi
Stand by Me by The Violinaires
Do Lord Send Me by Georgia Peach & Her Gospel Singers
My Troubles Are So Hard to Bear by Ethel Davenport
Lord Don't Let Me Fail by Mahalia Jackson

Trust in Me by The Dead Brothers
America is Waiting by David Byrne & Brian Eno
Nevers by The Fiery Furnaces
Take Your Place by Alejandro Escovedo
It's Party Time by Lisa Germano
Holiday by The Bee Gees
Star Spangled Banner by Red House Painters
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Here's my allotted 90 downloads from eMusic this month:

* Funkadelic Live: Meadowbrook, Rochester, Mich 12th September 1971. This is an amazing concert featuring guitarist Eddie Hazel at his prime. 14 minutes of "Maggot Brain," 15 minutes of "All Your Goodies Are Gone (The Loser's Seat)" and not one but two takes on "I Call My Baby Pussycat."

* Selections from The Early Years, 1930-1934 by Cab Calloway. I had the pleasure of seeing Cab Calloway in person when I was in 5th or 6th grade back in Oklahoma City. He played with a small combo during the half time at a Harlem Globetrotters game. I had no idea who he was, but my grandmother, who took me to the game, was hep to the Hi-Di-Ho jive. And when Cab sang "It Ain't Necessarily So" it twisted my youthful Okie head! Unfortunately this collection doesn't have that song, but there's more than 70 tracks here of vintage Calloway.

* Strays from Wattstax: Highlights From The Soundtrack. As I reported last month , I downloaded Wattstax The Living Word, a collection of performances from the landmark 1972 concert. But I found this collection, which had several tracks I didn't already have, including songs by Johnnie Taylor, Rance Allen, Luther Ingram and others.

* Powder Burns by The Twilight Singers. I knew this one was going to be a doozy when I saw Greg Dulli and the boys at SXSW in March. I was right!

* Thai Beat a Go Go Volume 2. After my recent column about wild Asian rock and pop, I couldn't resist downloading this one. It's not quite as good as Volume 1, which I've had for months, but the Thai version of "Your Cheatin' Heart" ("tee Makhuea Pok") by Pairote (not sure if that's the band or singer) is a revelation.

* Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt. I was surprised and delighted to find this early '60s album from Smithsonian Folkways on eMusic. I'd just been thinking of Rolf, who died in Santa Fe 12 years ago. And, synchronicity alert, just a few hours after downloading this, I ran into marcia, a mutual friend of Rolf's and mine, who I hadn't seen in many years. This album is pure early '60s whiteboy hootenanny stuff that set the world on fire in the day. Earnest, but subversive for its time. Von Schmidt sings on most the cuts, but Rolf's distinctive Prussian growl can be heard on "Columbus Stockade Blues" and others. And Lord, that man could pick! I hope eMusic picks up Rolf's other Folkways album,California Folk Concert (1959). Until then, you can order Rolf's music HERE.

* Booniay!!: A Compilation of West African Funk . This compilation of 1970s sounds is a missing link between James Brown and Fela Kuti, featuring acts like Bright Engelberts & The B.E. Movement, Atomic Bomb Zigoto and William Onyeabor. Onyeabor also appears on the Luaka Bop compilation World Psychedelic Classics 3, The Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa -- which is another recent favorite of mine.

* Several songs from Been in the Storm So Long: A Collection of Spirituals, Folk Tales and Children's Games from Johns Island, S.C. My brother recently burned me many of the songs from this field recordings compilation, originally recorded in the 1960s. I was happy to find it on eMusic so I could download the rest. These are mostly gospel tunes from an isolated Black community. There's also a version of "Down on Me." It was recorded about the same time that Janis Joplin and Big Brother & The Holding Company were doing their famous version. But this track, by Mary Pickney and Janie Hunter, sounds as if it were recorded 100 years before Janis. David Byrne and Brian Eno apparently were hip to these recordings back when they made My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Samples of the Moving Star Hall Singers appear on their track "Moonlight in Glory" -- though, at least on early versions of Bush of Ghosts, they are identified as being from the "Sea Islands, Georgia." (Alan Lomax, of course recorded some great stuff from Bessie Jones and others from those islands about the same time as these Johns Island recordings, but it's not the same.)

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Friday, July 14, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Seminole Wind by Sally Timms
Takin' the Country back by John Anderson
Kilowatts by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Dirty Old Town by Frank Black
Red Red Robin by Rosie Flores
Cocktail Desperado by Terry Allen
Juanita by Tony Gilkyson
Alcohol and Pills by Audrey Auld Mezera & Nina Gerber
Moon Over the Freeway by The Ditty Bops

That's the Way Love Goes by The Harmony Sisters
Don't You See That Train by The Delta Sisters
Money is King by Bayou Seco
Farm Fresh Onions by Robert Earle Keen
California Bloodlines by Dave Alvin
Truck Drivin' Man by James Luther Dickinson
Political Science by The Duhks

A Man Loves His Wife by Hellwood
Tiger Tiger by The Sadies by Kelly Hogan
Many Happy Hangovers to You by Karling Abbeygate
Day After the Day of the Dead by Jim Jones
Justify Your Ways of Being Eilene by The Lonesome Brothers
Railroad Bill by Crooked Still
One More Rocket by Andy Fairweather Lowe
Old Log Cabin For Sale by Porter Wagoner with Pam Gadd
Psycho by Jack Kittell

One More Lousy Picture Show by Chip Taylor
Jessico by Kentucky Headhunters
The Battle by George Jones
Worry B Gone by Guy Clark
The Fame of Lofty Deeds by Jon Langford
Louise by Ramblin' Jack Elliott with Tom Waits
Are You Sincere? by Bobby Bare
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, July 14, 2006


The New Mexico State Lottery has selected three Santa Fe bands (well, two SF groups and one former SF band) to do t.v. commercials to promote that special tax on people who aren't very good at math. (O.K., O.K., in truth I love the lottery scholarships ...)

Anywho, Sol Fire, Hollis Wake and Vanilla Pop will be doing commercials that "will be rolled out whenever the Powerball jackpot reaches $60 million and higher."

Congrats, guys! (Read more HERE)

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Las Cruces political blogger Heath Haussamen's weekly poll this week is showing some interesting results.

The question is "Will our state's leaders enact meaningful ethics reform next year?" At this writing the runaway winner is "They'll pass some new laws that accomplish nothing."

We all know the scientific value of online polls. But this goes along with what I was saying in my column a couple of weeks ago. Despite all the headlines about Robert Vigil, Eric Serna and now Manny Aragon, it seems that a good majority of legislators don't think they need a bunch of new laws cramping their style. And with the system set up the way it is favoring incumbents so strongly, why should they want to change it?

This isn't a partisan deal. Last year in the Senate we saw lawmakers reach across the aisle and join hands in a truly bi-partisan effort to rip out the heart of ethics reform and stomp on it.

Just a little cynicism to start your day.


My story on The private prison company Geo Group's contribution to Patricia Madrid's congressional campaign -- only days after the attorney general's office issued a legal opinion that cleared the way for GEO's Clayton prison project -- can be found HERE.

A slight mea culpa is in order here. In Tuesday's story about GEO's contributions to New Mexico politicians I said GEO had given Madrid $5,000. As you will see in today's story, I was only half right. The company on Dec. 2 last year gave her two $5,000 contributions, one for use in the primary, one for the general election. This apparently is due to federal election law, which has a $5,000 limit for each election.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 13, 2006

Be Afraid.

That’s in big red letters on a four-page mailer from the state Attorney General’s Office that many New Mexicans have found in their mailboxes in recent days.

The topic of the mailer is Internet sexual predators. But state Republicans are afraid the slick, full-color publication “appears to be campaign literature” — tax-funded campaign literature — for Attorney General Patricia Madrid, who is running for Congress against Republican incumbent Heather Wilson.

The complaint sounds similar to one that Democratic land-commissioner candidate Jim Baca has been voicing in recent weeks about the official Web site of the State Land Office, currently run by Republican Pat Lyons.

“I feel the land office Web site is nothing more than a campaign Web site for Lyons,” Baca wrote in a recent e-mail. “I object to taxpayer financed funding of his campaign.”

Aggressive action: When you look at Madrid’s mailer, the message spanning the top of the pages is: “Online predators are exploiting our children. ... Attorney General Patricia Madrid is taking action to keep New Mexico’s children safe.”

On the left page is a picture of three children gathered at a computer keyboard. There’s an excerpt from a January Albuquerque Tribune editorial saying, “State Attorney General Patricia Madrid has taken a much-needed, aggressive stance in targeting Internet sexual predators who target children.”

On the opposite page, following a statement that one in every five children has received unwanted sexual solicitations online, the mailer lists ways in which Madrid “is taking aggressive action to stop these predators from hurting our children.” It mentions the task force created to investigate Internet crimes against children, and the New Mexico Cyber Safety Line.

At the bottom of the page is a message encouraging parents to order or download a copy of a publication — “N.M. Attorney General Patricia Madrid’s Internet Safety Guide for Parents and Teens” — by visiting or calling (505) 222-9000. "

On the back is a color photo of Madrid, who asks parents to join her in the fight against online predators.

Sam Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, denied the mailer had anything to do with Madrid’s congressional race. The main reason for the mailer was to let people know about the Internet Safety Guide, she said.

She said the mailer — which cost $111,000 to print and mail — was paid for out of a settlement fund from a class-action suit with Microsoft. It was sent to New Mexico homes statewide — not just in congressional District One — Thompson noted. The mailing list was purchased from a commercial source, she said.

More than 70,000 copies of the Internet Safety Guide have been distributed around the state, Thompson said.

Modern times: The Land Office Web site that evoked Baca’s ire, , consists almost entirely of glowing “news” stories about Lyons.

“Land Commissioner Pat Lyons Spent $5 Million to Expand Land Management Programs/Staff” is the top-page headline. Others include “Land Commissioner Brings Biggest Solar Energy Plant in the World to New Mexico” and “Commissioner Lyons and BLM Join Forces to Open 15,000 Acres of Public Land.”

Lyon’s photo is on the top of the page. He also is shown receiving “a warm welcome” from a Bureau of Land Management official and showing reporters the location of a proposed wind farm.

“That’s ridiculous,” State Land Office spokeswoman Kristen Haase said about the suggestion the Web site looked like campaign literature.

“When Jim Baca was land commissioner, the Internet didn’t exist,” Haase said. “But now it’s modern times, and as with every other elected official, Commissioner Lyons has a Web site to highlight his accomplishments and his agenda.”

Earlier this year, Baca called attention to several television spots that featured Lyons talking about various State Land Office programs. The office paid to produce the ads and to buy time for them on New Mexico television stations.

Bet early and often: I don’t know whether the Internet Safety Guide covers online-gambling sites. But it’s been about a year since Roundhouse Round-up checked to see how our governor’s presidential chances are doing in the world of computer sports book sites.

As of Tuesday night, according to the Canada-based, Gov. Bill Richardson and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner are in a tie for second place behind New York Sen. Hillary Clinton on the Democrat side. Clinton’s odds to get the Democratic nomination are 1.72 to one, according to the Web site. Richardson’s and Warner’s are 5 to 1. Former North Carolina senator and vice presidential nominee John Edwards is right behind the governors with 6 to 1 odds.

On the Republican side, Arizona Sen. John McCain is a 3-to-1 favorite for getting the GOP nomination. Next is Virginia Sen. George Allen (4-to-1) followed by former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani (5 to 1).

But when the question is "Who will be the next president?," Clinton is the favorite with 2.2 to 1 odds. Next is McCain (5 to 1), followed by Guiliani and Allen (both 7 to 1), and tied for fifth, Richardson and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. (both 15 to 1).

UPDATE: This story ran an incorrect phone number for the AG's internet safety hotline. It has been corrected here. My apology.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


My story in today's New Mexican on The GEO Group and its campaign contributions to Gov. Bill Richardson and other New Mexico politicians can be found HERE.

A good place to look up political contributions is The Institute of Money on State Politics' site Here is a recent study about contributions from the corrections industry to politicians in several states. Unfortunately, New Mexico isn't one of the states they look at closely, even though the report shows we're in the Top 10 states for prison industry contributions.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Sunday, July 9, 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
Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer) by Roky Erikson
Papa Satan Sang Louie by The Cramps
This Day is Mine by Heavy Trash
I Don't Care by Rev. Beat-Man & His Church of Herpes
Drive You Faster by John Schooley
Boogie Till You Puke by Root Boy Slim & His Sex Change Band
Fly Trap Lair by P.W. Long
Beat on the Brat by The Ramones
Buttons & Bows by Ronnie Ong

The Nocturnal House by Pretty Girls Make Graves
Amazons & Coyotes by Simon Stokes
Sometimes the Devil Sneaks Inside My Head by The Immortal Lee County Killers
Boob Scotch by Bob Log III
Kung Foo Cowboy by Alan Vega
Pray For Pills by The Dirtbombs
Tobacco Road by The Blues Magoos
I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones

House of Pain
Worried Mind
Thanksgiving Day
Poverty House
Monkey Run
Sky Above, Mud Below
Garden of Delight

In My Little Thatched Hut by The Fiery Furnaces
Moonlight in Glory by David Byrne & Brian Eno
There's Been an Accident by The Twilight Singers
The Mute Speaks by Mission of Burma
Hookie Wookie by Lou Reed
Moonlight by Jerry J. Nixon
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Friday, July 7, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Jason Fleming by The Sadies with Neko Case
Not My Friend by The Ginn Sisters
Ain't No God in Mexico by Waylon Jennings
Heartaches and Grease by Ray Wylie Hubbard
This Old Town by Chip Taylor
We'll Burn Together by Robbie Fulks
New Boots by Bill & Bonnie Hearne
Desert Rose by Chris Hillman
The Highwayman by Zeno Tornado
The Storry of Woody and Bush by The Dead Brothers

Joy by Harry Nilsson
Cowboy Peyton Place by Doug Sahm
Weather Woman by The Gourds
Peach Blossom by Hundred Year Flood
Road Hawg by Joe Ely
Man About Town by Tony Gilkyson
A Girl I Used to Know by George Jones
Bonapart's Retreat by Glenn Campbell

Jackie's Dive by Jono Manson
Dog Sleep by Frank Black
If Daddy Don't Sing Danny Boy by The Hacienda Brothers
Out of Blue by James Luther Dickinson
I Shook His Hand by Gary Heffern
Cowboys and Rodeos by The Buckerettes
My Oklahoma by Tommy Hancock & The Supernatural Family Band
What Makes Bob Holler by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
Big River by Rosie Flores

Dale Evans by Lynn Anderson
Gringo Honeymoon by Robert Earl Keen
Sonora's Death Row by Dave Alvin
KC Violin by Tom Russell
Tornado Time in Texas by Guy Clark
Somewhere Else to Be by The Handsome Family
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, July 07, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 7, 2006

Johnny Dowd is an acquired taste to be sure, but once you’ve acquired it, it’s impossible to get rid of.

What can you say about an album that starts off with Dowd’s laconic Okie drawl rapping — an unsettling tale of a guy who purposely shoots himself in the genitals — over a sparse bluesy rock backdrop? “Give the drummer some!” Dowd shouts before the instrumental.

Damaged people, doomed love. Crushing struggles, down-home apocalyptic obsessions, and insanity as a defense mechanism. Grim imagery of mechanical cockroaches chasing albino rats.

All this fills Cruel Words, Dowd’s sixth album (not counting obscure live records and outtake collections). After you digest that first song, “House of Pain,” the rest of the album goes down relatively easy.

This album is an improvement over his last one, Cemetery Shoes, just by virtue of the fact that Dowd’s favorite backup singer, Kim Sherwood-Caso, is back, at least for several cuts. In the song “Unwed Mother,” she actually sings the “cruel words” to which the title refers: “You’re not the father of the child that I carry/You’re not the man who I want to marry.”

Welcome back, Kim. It just wasn’t the same without you!

Dowd, of course, can be cruel himself.

“Love can be so beautiful like Jesus on a cross/You don’t know what you’ve got till you see what you have lost,” he snarls on “Poverty House.” The narrator’s memories grow darker. “I recall your body, I recall your kiss/I recall your bitterness/That’s something I don’t miss/I met you in a churchyard in 1968/We walked down the thin line between love and hate.”

There’s also guest appearances by Mekons’ Jon Langford and Sally Timms on “Drunk,” a song about a reformed alcoholic fighting hard not to unreform. Timms and Langford join Sherwood-Caso on the refrain (“Oh what I’d give for a drink”) and mutter some inscrutable dialogue during the instrumental portion.

But the wrenching part of the song is where Dowd sings “I stare at the window repeating my name, Johnny Dowd, Johnny Dowd, Johnny Dowd, Johnny Dowd.” A listener has to laugh, but it’s inevitably a nervous laugh.

I can’t say enough good things about Dowd’s sidemen, drummer Brian Wilson (no, not that Brian Wilson) and keyboardist Michael Stark, who can sound like Jimmy Smith on some tunes, Greg Allman on others.

The band gets faux-metallic on “Poverty House” and Who-like and prog-rocky on “Corner Laundromat.”

Dowd gives the band an instrumental track here — “Wilder Than the Wind ’66” — which sounds like some mutated, forgotten theme by Davey Allen and The Arrows.

On past albums, Dowd has done his deconstructed/reconstructed cover songs — “Jambalaya” and “Jingle Bells,” for instance. Here he does a barely recognizable “Johnny B. Goode,” which he combines with the famous riff from Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.”

This isn’t Dowd’s best effort. Newcomers probably should start with Pictures from Life’s Other Side (my own favorite). But it’s a good one, and it’s good to know that Dowd’s still out there shouting his name in the darkness.

Also recommended:

There’s no obvious musical connection between Johnny Dowd and the following two albums, which are both from Switzerland’s Voodoo Rhythm label. (Except maybe the fact that Dowd is probably better appreciated in Europe. Cruel Words, like his past several CDs, was released on a European label, the Netherlands’ Munich Records, months before it was released here.)

Yet, I somehow feel there’s a spiritual connection. Fans of Dowd should check out Voodoo Rhythm Records, and vice versa.

* Your Favorite Position Is on Your Knees by Rev. Beat-Man & The Church of Herpes. Beat-Man is the founder, brains, and inspirational icon of Voodoo Rhythm. Here he teams up with a Swiss industrial group; Voodoo Rhythm describes the result as “Kraut-influenced gospel from Hell mixed up with analog electro-trash.”

That about sums it up.

Truly this is hellish music. You can imagine it as the soundtrack of some slasher movie yet to be made, a portrait of a rockabilly werewolf l killer. Beat-Man has the voice of an evil robot disguised as a freak-show barker.

My favorite tracks here are “Bad Treatment” (Beat-Man as a wounded lover — you can almost feel the revenge fantasies playing out in his head); “Prophecy” (the melody is almost like a sea chantey); and “Faith, Hope, Love” (what cult is the woman’s voice sampled from?).

Don’t listen to this if you’re feeling halfway paranoid. But if you’re in the mood for some wicked, Dark Side chuckles, it’s hard to beat.

* Wunderkammer by The Dead Brothers. This is a sonic treat by a Geneva band with a Gypsy heart.

You hear the influence of Tom Waits on songs like the opening “Trust in Me,” a slow-motion tango featuring a lap steel, a trumpet, and clunky percussion — and on “Old Pine Box,” a blues tune with a sinister banjo.

Elsewhere there are echoes of 3 Mustaphas 3 (on the Mideastern-colored “Mustapha”) and the Squirrel Nut Zippers (on the Djangoed-out “Greek Swing”).

And they can do Woody Guthrie. “The Story of Woody and Bush” is a musical conversation between the Dust Bowl balladeer and the leader of the free world. “Woody” sings of a lonesome day and tells his kids, “Come children dry your father’s eyes.” He’s answered by “Bush,” who sings, “I don’t really care about people in despair.” When Woody sings, “My children need new shoes for their feet,” you can hear Bush in the background saying, “Yeah, sure.”

Dowd-o-rama: Johnny Dowd is underplayed and underheard in this country. But not in Santa Fe on Sunday night. I'll play a half-hour Dowd set starting about the 11th hour (Mountain Time) on Terrell's Sound World, 90.7 FM on KSFR (for you out-of-towner, you can hear it stream HERE at that time. Earlier on Sunday I'll play Rev. Beat Man, Dead Brothers and some other Voodoo Rhythm artists that you won't hear on any of those polite stations.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 6, 2006

To steal from an old Bill Richardson ad, “That Richardson! His suits don’t fit, but he sure made GQ this month.”

No, that’s comic Will Ferrell, not Richardson, in the bathing suit with the bikini girls on the July cover.

But back on page 100, the governor of the great state of New Mexico is profiled along with several other probable 2008 presidential contenders.

Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, to nobody’s surprise, is named Democratic “front-runner.” Below her are Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, Richardson, Sen. John Kerry and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

According to the analysis, “Of all the candidates on this list, (Richardson)’s the most likely to end up somewhere on the ticket. ... Richardson’s a natural running mate for a senator who wants to embrace the reform message — especially his old friend Hillary.”

Richardson’s “natural allies,” according to GQ, are “Democrats who want to win. ... He has insider chops but can still campaign as an outsider.”

Keep in mind that GQ is not considered to be as authoritative on politics as it is on men’s casual wear. But at this point, when Richardson’s national numbers are still in the single-digits, his camp probably is happy to see a national magazine taking him this seriously.

Not that everything in the profile is complimentary.

Says GQ: “It’s unclear whether voters will be turned off by some of his personal issues, such as the insinuation by a federal judge that Richardson leaked the name of accused spy Wen Ho Lee to the media in 1999.” (Richardson has denied the accusation.) “It’s also unclear whether it will help or hurt that when the North Koreans wanted to negotiate in 2003, they asked for Richardson.”

And in a section called “How he’d lose,” the profile adds, “In addition to the leak, he has been accused of fabricating an item on his résumé (that he was drafted by a Major League Baseball team) and being a little, uh, ‘touchy’ with the ladies. Often the smartest person in the room, he’s not always the most charming.”

Poll numbers: Remember, before Richardson runs for president or vice president, he’s got to get re-elected governor first.

The first known poll in the 2006 New Mexico gubernatorial race was released last week, and, at least on first glance, the numbers look good for Richardson.

A poll published last Friday by Rasmussen Reports shows Richardson ahead of Republican John Dendahl by a margin of 56 percent to 32 percent. That would leave 12 percent undecided.

The poll was conducted by a telephone survey of 500 likely voters on June 27. The margin of sampling error for the survey is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

That’s a landslide by anyone’s estimation, though not the magic 60 percent that some say is needed to mount a convincing national campaign.

But at least one state GOP pundit says there’s some silver lining in the Rasmussen cloud. “My guess is that no one in the Richardson camp has found the Governor enjoying the support of only 56 percent of likely New Mexican voters a cause for celebration,” conservative Mario Burgos wrote Monday in his blog. “Richardson has spent millions over the last few years touting his record. Yet, 44 percent of New Mexicans remain unwilling to say they would vote for him.”

“As the incumbent, Governor Richardson is only likely to see his support decline from this point.” Burgos wrote. “John Dendahl hasn’t even had time to spend a penny putting his message out there, and the governor who would be president is already being held to 56 percent.”

Richardson began his television-ad campaign in early June. Dendahl, who didn’t become the GOP nominee until mid-June, has not begun advertising.

“This does not bode well for Bill Richardson’s national goals, and explains why the Richardson camp has been so quick to launch negative ads targeting John Dendahl,” Burgos wrote.

Still, Dendahl has a tough road ahead of him. Assuming those Rasmussen numbers are correct, Dendahl has to pry seven points from Richardson and convince all the undecideds to go with him.

And this number has to be troubling for the Republicans: According to Rasmussen, 30 percent of GOP voters back Richardson.

“The governor is viewed favorably by 66 percent of all likely voters, Dendahl by 37 percent,” the polling company said. “Forty-one percent view Dendahl unfavorably and 23 percent don’t know him well enough yet to give an opinion.”

In the U.S. Senate race, Rasmussen has incumbent Democrat Jeff Bingaman ahead of Republican candidate Allen McCulloch 59 percent to 33 percent.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Sunday, July 2, 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
4th of July by X
Flags of Freedom by Neil Young
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) by Bruce Springsteen
200 Years Old by Frank Zappa, Capt. Beefheart & The Mothers of Invention
Volunteers by The Jefferson Airplane
We're An American Band by Grand Funk Railroad
Fortunate Son by Uncle Tupelo
An American is a Very Lucky Man by Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians

No Agreement by Fela Kuti
Maggot Brain by Funkadelic

The Shiny Radio in the Blind Man's Wallet (from Radio Phnom Penh)
Samisen Boogiewoogie by Umekichi
For a Few Dollars More by Man Chau Po Orchestra
Sleepwalking Through the Mekong by Dengue Fever
Taxi Driver by The Rodeo Carburettor
Goodbye by Pietro Atilla & The Warlocks
A Beautiful World by The Amppez
Haisai Ojisan (Hey Man!) by Shoukichi Kina
Commie Funk? (from Radio Pyongyang)

Curse of Milhaven by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
My Cat's Name is Maceo by Jane's Addiction
Earlier Baghdad (The Bounce) by T-Bone Burnett
Gamblin' by Hundred Year Flood
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, July 02, 2006


(For more photos of this show CLICK HERE)

The Joe Ely/Hundred Year Flood/Jono Manson show at the Santa Fe Brewing Company was loads of fun. It actually seemed like two shows. Ely and Jono played acoustic sets on the outdoor patio stage, while Flood played later indoors. I like both settings.

I've seen Ely backed with a full band, with The Flatlanders, duet gigs backed by the late Jesse Taylor and Dutch flamenco dude Teye. And there was the great SXSW session where he played with Doug Sahm, Ruben Ramos, Rosie Flores, Rick Trevino and others -- a gig that launched "Los Super 7."

But until last night, I'd never seen him play solo acoustic. He pulled it off flawlessly. Well, not exactly flawlessly -- he did blow the lyrics in one verse of Tom Russell's "Gallo de Cielo,." But it was still a powerful version, and it's still the coolest song ever written about cockfighting.

Ely mainly stuck to his better known songs -- "Me and Billy the Kid," "Lord of the Highway," a lot from Letter to Laredo, and of course tunes from the Butch Hancock songbook like "If You Were a Bluebird," "She Never Spoke Spanish to Me," and, as a special treat, the lesser-known sequel "She Finally Spoke Spanish To Me."

The set included a cool little novelty I don't think I've ever heard him do live -- "If I Could Teach My Chihuahua To Sing."
When I saw Terry Allen before Ely went on I asked if he was going to join Joe on stage. "I hope not," he said. He told me there's just one song they both do and they've both forgotten the lyrics.

But sure enough, Ely called him on stage for a duet on that song, Terry's "Gimme a Ride to Heaven Boy." And sure enough, they both did have a little trouble with the words. But it was obvious that the two of them were having a good time and their spirit was contageous. Like I've said before about The Flatlanders, those old Lubbock friends really seem to enjoy each others' company and playing music together.

Hundred Year Flood's set was electrifying. What can I say, I love them more every time I see them.

A lot of the Ely fans left after Joe's set. Their loss. (I joked that the Flood lost the 60-year-old Texans, though they kept this 52-year-old Okie.)

But even though the Brewing Company wasn't as packed as it was last time I saw them (a couple of months back at their CD release party), the band seemed to be even more on fire.

Toward the end of the night the Flood played a Mexican-tinged Tommy Hancock song, "Marfa Lights." During this song Felecia, whose distinctive voice is a wonder anyway, seemed to be channeling Lydia Mendoza. It was amazing. By the end of the tune, I think I was seeing the Marfa Lights!

Jono Manson opened the show. Unfortunately I got there a little late, so I didn't see his entire set. But it was good seeing him. It's been a few years. (Was the last time when we both played at Gregg Turner's wedding?) Jono's been spending a lot of time in Italy in recent years. Last night he did one of my favorite Jono songs -- "Jackie's Dive."

He told me he's got a new CD coming out pretty soon. Watch this blog!

A word for the venue: The Santa Fe Reporter's Joanna Widner this week proclaimed "The Brewing Company is the new Paramount." She's right in that the Brewing Company has become the most likely spot to catch good local and national talent.

But I'll go her one better and give it some historical perspective. The Santa Fe Brewing Company is the best music bar in the Santa Fe area since The Line Camp. Support this place, people!

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Friday, June 30, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Madonna Trilogy by The Meat Purveyors
This Gun Don't Care Who it Shoots by Cornell Hurd
Bad Cowboy by Lynn Anderson
Redneck Friend by Dave Alvin
Amarillo Highway by Robert Earl Keen
Baby's in Black by John Doe with Virgil Shaw
BBQ & Foam by Joe Ely

Champion Dog by Hundred Year Flood
Big Mamou by Doc Gonzales
You Can Buy My Heart With a Waltz by The Desperados
Where I'm From by The Bottle Rockets
Gather the Family 'Round by Ed Pettersen
Green Wish by Boris & The Saltlicks
Violin Bums by James Luther Dickinson
Tee Makhuea Pok (Your Cheatin' Heart) by Pairote

Snake Farm by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Cowboys to Girls by The Hacienda Brothers
Your Great Journey by The Handsome Family
I Tremble for You by Waylon Jennings
No Earthly Good by Johnny Cash
Ben Dewberry's Final Run by Steve Forbert
The Matchbook Song by Graham Lindsey
Mary of the Wild Moor by Porter Wagoner

Enchildada by Earl Gleason
Land of the Shalakho by Sid Hausman
Out in the Parking Lot by Guy Clark
The Real El Rey by Frank Black
Take These Chains From My Heart by Merle Haggard
THinkin' About Her by Fred Eaglesmith
Here Today and Gone Tomorrow by Hazel Dickens
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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


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