Saturday, September 30, 2006


Friday, September 29, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Payday Blues by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Right or Wrong by Kelly Hogan
Gonna Be Flyin' Tonight by Wayne Hancock
Run to the Sea by Michael O'Neill with Nancy Apple

You Said Goodbye by the San Juan River
Sun Will Always Shine
My Boyfriend
Truck Driver's Woman (from High on the Hog CD)
Chariot Wheels
Cathead Biscuits & Gravy
Queen of Country Music

I'd Do It All Over Again by Susie Salley
The Old Account by Rob McNurlin
39 and Holding by Jerry Lee Lewis
Pay the Devil by Van Morrison
I Will Stay With You by Emily Kaitz with Ray Wylie Hubbard
Johnny Cash Train by Cordell Jackson
Rollin' and Tumblin' by Bob Dylan
The Good Ship Venus by Loudon Wainwright III

Dollar Bill the Cowboy by The Waco Brothers
Wine, Women and Loud Happy Songs by Ringo Starr
Pale Imperfect Diamond by Jack Clift & John Carter Cash
Knapsack by Amy Rigby
This Old Town by Chip Taylor
Weakness in a Man by Waylon Jennings
Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor by Irma Thomas
Time's a Looking Glass by Jim Lauderdale
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, September 29, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 29, 2006

Jeff Feuerzeig’s disturbing but strangely heartwarming documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston was finally made available on DVD last week. Even if you saw it when it played in Santa Fe in May, you have to check out the DVD version, if only for the filmed reunion of Johnston and his longtime muse/unrequited love Laurie Allen. I figured she probably had a dozen restraining orders against Johnston, but I guess I was wrong.

This film, in short, is one of the most moving musician documentaries I’ve ever seen (compared with this, the Townes Van Zandt bio-doc Be Here to Love Me is a virtual laugh riot). And even though Johnston is still too dang weird to ever become a “star,” the movie is bound to attract more interest in his music, and a lot of people will inevitably be led to the latest CD involving Johnston.

That would be The Electric Ghosts by Daniel Johnston and Jack Medicine. But, gentle readers, unless you’re already a Johnston fanatic, heed my words and don’t start here.

The CD cover art — a pretty cool cartoon of Daniel as a fat Batman and Medicine as Robin — isn’t an original Johnston drawing and lacks the strange monsters, frogs, or naked female torsos that grace nearly all of his other releases. (There is a Johnston rendition of Casper the Friendly Ghost on the back, though.)

Like other Johnston studio albums in recent years, this one is a radical departure from the lo-fi, hiss-addled cassette tapes of the 1980s that made us love Johnston in the first place.

To be fair, that has to be the hardest part of producing a Johnston album these days. His infamous “basement tapes,” which he used to dub himself and give away on the streets of Austin, are unlistenable to the average Joe. But when you try to make his music more audience-friendly, you take the chance of marring the very spirit that made those recordings such a raw joy to those with ears to hear. Most of the cuts on Electric Ghosts seem slicker and ultimately more colorless than his other albums from the last 10 years.

According to the liner notes, Mr. Medicine (real name Don Goede) was Johnston’s tour manager for three years. These notes, written by Goede, are so self-serving they put Bill Richardson’s press releases to shame.

“You see, Dan loved my music,” he writes in the second paragraph. Later, referring to The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Goede says, “I am proud to say I helped Jeff Feuerzeig the director out a lot with that movie preparing shots for him while Dan and I were touring.” He concludes by thanking Johnston for being “my biggest fan,” and correctly, for “letting me ride his coat tails.”

There you have it.

But don’t get the idea that there’s nothing worthwhile on The Electric Ghosts. The opening cut, “Sweetheart (Frito Lay),” a ’50s-ish melody with echoes of doo-wop, reminds me of the bizarre Mountain Dew jingle (heard in the documentary) that Johnston recorded in a mental hospital.

Johnston’s “cover” of David Bowie’s “Scary Monsters” is almost worth the price of the CD. Let’s just say he takes some liberties with the original, but, after watching The Devil and Daniel Johnston, the idea of the singer being tormented by monsters isn’t just metaphorical.

And, in fairness, one of my favorite songs here is “Blue Skies Will Haunt You From Now On,” which Johnston wrote, but Goede sings. It’s bluesy and spooky to the point of Satanism.

But as I said, new Johnston fans should start the proper way, with those old tapes (some are available on CD) on which Johnston’s cracking voice rises above the tape hiss and cheapo chord organ as he sings his guileless songs of pain and love that will never be. You can find most of them at (One good place to begin your journey might be Discovered Covered: The Late Great Daniel Johnston, a 2004 “tribute album” that has one disc of acts like Beck, Tom Waits, and The Flaming Lips covering classic Johnston songs and a second disc of the original Johnston versions.)


Echoes of the Past by Dead Moon. This garage/punk/psychedelic/trash-rock trio from Portland, Ore., is one of the great unsung bands of the last 15 years or so, though I’m a recent convert myself. Fans of The Cramps, Roky Erikson, The Fleshtones, and the Nuggets compilations will welcome this collection of singles dating to the late ’80s.

Even though Dead Moon goes back that far, its beginning is only about the halfway point of singer Fred Cole’s career. He’s been around as long as Roky and is not kidding when he sings, in “Poor Born”: “I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs since 1965.” He was a member of The Lollipop Shoppe, a ridiculously named band whose mid-’60s single “You Must Be a Witch” can be found in the first Nuggets box set.

Cole’s quasi-falsetto screaming graces most of the 49 songs on this two-disc set, though his wife, Toody Cole, the band’s bass player, steps out front for girl-punk vocals on songs like “Johnny’s Got a Gun” and sings Exene Cervenka/John Doe-style harmonies with the hubby on songs like “Jane.”

One of my favorite moments is Fred’s guitar intro in “Over the Edge,” which reminds me of Robbie Krieger in The Doors’ “The End.”

Dead Moon’s music, though simple, is dark and a little mysterious. Some of these songs could be from the soundtracks of movies about serial killers. Visions of dark alleys and lonesome graveyards will dance in your head.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


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

Watch out, kids, there’s a new MySpace member making no secret about wanting to attract young folk — the New Mexico Democratic Party.

Back in the 2004 campaign, the hot new Web realm for politicians was This year, the cyber baton seems to have passed to MySpace, a popular Internet hangout — especially with teenagers and young adults — that allows users to share photos, videos, music and personal journals.

“We are focused on creating a better future for the next generation and encouraging young people to engage in the political process,” state democratic chairman John Wertheim said in a news release last week. “Because it is on their turf (the Internet) we’re hopeful that our MySpace page will make the Democratic Party and civic activism more inviting to young people.”

“The Party plans on further utilizing the page to recruit volunteers and keep fellow ‘MySpacers’ aware of political news and events,” the news release said.

Under the personal information section, the party claims to be a 20-year-old female who lives in Albuquerque, (although the group shot featuring National Democratic Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Wertheim and other state Dem staffers makes it clear they aren’t really trying to pass as a 20-year-old woman.) According to other “personal” information, the party is married with children and was born under the sign of Sagittarius.

When you open the party’s profile page you get treated to a song and video of U2’s “Beautiful Day,” which was used as a campaign theme in 2004 by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. But that song didn’t make the page’s “Favorite Music” list, which includes only “Born in the USA,” “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”

As for movies, according to MySpace, the party likes All the President’s Men, The Candidate, Bullworth, The War Room and Primary Colors. The latter is a surprising choice, considering it’s a not-very-flattering comedic profile of a presidential candidate based on Bill Clinton.

For something that’s trying to appeal to the youth, the profile seems a little, well, stodgy when it lists its general interest as “Preserving the quality of life for New Mexicans by standing up for honest leadership and fair government, Real Security, Energy Independence, Economic Prosperity and Educational Excellence, A Health Care System that Works for Everyone and Retirement Security.”

I guess they couldn’t just say “skateboarding.”

But scroll down to the message section, and it gets a little more interesting. Someone sent in a Photoshopped picture of a baby urinating on President Bush.

On its news release, the party, probably wisely, stated: “The DPNM does not endorse the views or content of every person or organization associated with our MySpace network.”

You gotta have friends: One big feature of MySpace is the “Friends” list. As of Wednesday, the Democrats had 135 friends. Among these are Howard Dean, former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

There’s also a 58-year old man simply named “Bill,” who lists his hometown as Santa Fe and his occupation as governor of New Mexico.

Yes, Gov. Bill Richardson is on MySpace, though a spokesman for his office said Wednesday that he wasn’t aware of his boss’ MySpace profile. My bet is that it’s a product of the America For Bill Richardson blog, founded by a New Yorker named Ken Bulko who is pushing — in an unofficial capacity — Richardson for president. That site, and not the official re-election site, is the first link in the MySpace profile.

According to the profile, his interests including baseball, boxing, horseback riding, politics and cigars. (Well, that’s more interesting than “Preserving the quality of life for New Mexicans ... etc., etc.”)

His heroes are Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright. His favorite movie is Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (which was shot at least partly in New Mexico).

His body type is described as “More to love!”

And of course, “Bill” has friends, 110 so far. The first one shown on the main profile page is a 26-year-old student and auto-racing fan in North Carolina called “Johnny Upchuck.”

Despite Richardson’s well-known connections, I didn’t see any big-name politicos here — unless you count Jim Faris, a 22-year-old bluegrass musician and candidate for state Legislature in Kansas, or “Bill McKay,” who was the main character, portrayed by Robert Redford, in the 1972 film The Candidate.

Selling the state: The state GOP isn’t using MySpace, at least in an official capacity, spokesman Jonah Cohen said. He said his party is having too much fun with its blog, “New Mexico For Sale,” which catalogs scandals, assorted allegations of misdeeds and basically any bad press related to the majority party.

The circus billboardlike logo has photos of Richardson, Attorney General Patricia Madrid, Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez, former Sen. Manny Aragón, former Treasurers Robert Vigil and Michael Montoya and former Insurance Superintendent Eric Serna.

But no Johnny Upchuck.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Memphis country singer Nancy Apple will be appearing live on the Santa Fe Opry this Friday night.

Nancy's been on the show a few times before and it's always a lot of fun.

In addition to her career as a singer and songwriter, she has her own radio show, Car Tunes, on WEVL FM 89.9 in Memphis.

The Santa Fe Opry starts at 10 p.m. Friday on KSFR, 90.7 FM. If you're not in town, listen to the Webcast.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Sunday, September 24, 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
Whiskey in a Jar by Metallica
Romero Had Juliet by Lou Reed
The Olde Trip to Jerusalem by The Mekons
Middle Class Revolt, Simon, Dave & John by The Fall
Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee by Captain Beefheart
Elevator Music by Beck
The Ballad of Dwight Fry by Alice Cooper

Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind by Yo La Tengo
You Must Be a Witch By Dead Moon
I'm Ready by The Twilight Singers
Too Smart Polka by The Polkaholics
Pretty Dancing Girl by Brave Combo
Rock Bottom Tears by Pima Express

The 400 by The Sadies
Let Loose The Kracken by The Bald Guys
Mermaid Love by Man or Astroman
Hangman Hang Ten by The Ghastly Ones
Impaler by The Derangers
Tailspin by Los Straightjackets
Huskie Team by The Saints
Fish Taco by Surficide
Cha Wow Wow by The Hillbilly Soul Surfers
The Theme From The Godfather by Satan's Pilgrims

On The Road by Tom Waits & Primus
Robbers & Bandits & Bastards & Thieves by Drywall
Lost Fox Train (For Joe) by Hazmat Modine
Hold On by Los Lobos
Thadfus Star by Carl Hancock Rux
Into Oblivion by Lisa Germano
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Friday, September 22, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Rich Man's War by Hundred Year Flood
Thunder on the Mountain by Bob Dylan
Tulsa by Wayne Hancock
Have You Had Enough by Ricki Lee Jones
The Way of the Fallen by Ray Wylie Hubbard
The Heart Bionic by Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminal Starvation League
From Attic to Basement by Richard Buckner & Jon Langford
My Rifle, Pony & Me by Dean Martin & Ricky Nelson

I Wish by Marlee MacLeod
Don't Ya Tell Henry by The Band
I Wish I Didn't Want You So Bad by Jim Lauderdale
May I Be Your June by Mary Alice Wood
A Legend in My Time by Johnny Cash
Don't Blame Me by The Everly Brothers
Deep River Blues by Janet Bean
Sad Songs and Waltzes by Willie Nelson

All songs by Don Walser

Please Help Me I'm Falling (with Larry Gatlin)
Divorce Me C.O.D.
Are You Teasing Me? (with Mandy Barnett)
I Ain't Got Nobody (with Asleep at the Wheel)
Texas Top Hand
A Fool Such As I
Rose Marie (with Kronos Quartet)

A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow by Mitch & Mickey
A Better Word For Love by NRBQ
Mary (Won't You Come Along?) by Jon Nolan
Whipoorwill by Greg Brown
Good Old Boys Like Me by Don Williams
Tiny Island by Leo Kottke
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, September 22, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 22, 2006

They’ve been cranking out the tunes — frenzied guitar journeys, dreamy meditations, an occasional quirky cover, and stage stabs at shiny pop — for more than 20 years now. And the latest album by Yo La Tengo, sweetly titled I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, shows the trio still on top of its game, whatever that game is.

Tengo is the musical baby of guitarist Ira Kaplan and his wife, drummer Georgia Hubley. Bassist James McNew has been part of the Yo La family for most of its career. Sometimes Tengo sounds like Sonic Youth, sometimes closer to Fleetwood Mac. Actually the group reminds me of a lo-fi version of NRBQ. Both bands have covered Sun Ra, and YLT has covered at least one Q song (“Magnet”). Tengo doesn’t have NRBQ’s instrumental proficiency, and the group is rooted more in punk rock than R & B, but its catholic approach to music is similar.

On the new album, Yo La happily is all over the place, strolling down some strange avenues of pop sounds.

For example, “Mr. Tough” is a soul workout, horn section and all, with Kaplan singing in a funny, Prince-ly falsetto. The beauty of it is that he’s so unabashed about it. If it sticks out like a sore thumb, what the heck. There are sore thumbs all over the place.

The group gets even stranger in “Sometimes I Don’t Get You.” I had to stop and think of why this wistful, poppy little tune seemed so familiar. Then I realized, this is the kind of music they used to use in late-’60s romantic-comedy movies, when the young hero and the young heroine were first falling in love. It’s the kind of song that plays during the montage scene where the couple is seen walking down a bustling city street, feeding pigeons, and then running through a park hand in hand, then riding in a horse-drawn carriage.

The next track, a nine-minute slo-mo, astral-plane instrumental called “Daphnia,” could be used for the drug sequence in the same movie. A piano is the main instrument here, playing off reverberating guitar noise.

The spacey “Black Flowers” sounds like a Flaming Lips demo with horns and strings added for depth.

Don’t think Yo La has forgotten how to rock. “Watch Out for Me Ronnie” is breakneck garage rock, complete with a “Heart Full of Soul” fuzz-buzz guitar solo.

But the Yo La Tengo I love best is evident in songs like the opening cut “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind,” the 12-minute closer “The Story of Yo La Tengo,” and the middle-of-the-album “The Room Got Heavy.”

On “Hatchet” and “Story,” the band takes its time to build up to full-fledged guitar fury. “Hatchet” has a crazy guitar hook that repeats throughout and a bouncy beat that almost suggests The Beatles’ “Taxman.”

Wild bongos and a screeching, Farfisa-like organ propel “Room.” Just listening to this song makes you want to sweat.

When you’re finished reading this, get thee to the computer and read a much better review of it by comedian David Cross on eMusic:

“Forged in hubris and leather, this New Jersey (and Brooklyn!?) trio consisting of the fat guy and two Jews are quite capable of taking us on one wild and wacky ride through the debauched underworld of the ‘Indiers.’ I have not listened to the CD, nor will I, but I nonetheless review it based on the track titles alone.”

More fun with Yo La Tengo: Every band should have its own political cause. On Yo La’s Web site, you can sign its petition.

“Appalled by the increasing ubiquity of soy sauce, Branston Pickle, sriracha, chutney and the scourge of undocumented salsas on our tables, we believe enough is enough and ask you to join us in our petition to the United States Congress demanding legislation that would once and for all make ketchup our national condiment. Our leaders must say no [to] the Mayonnazis and Mustardistas who would make our country weaker by dividing us. Let us speak together as one ... for America.”
Also recommended:

* Chainsaw of Life
by Hellwood. On the heels of Johnny Dowd’s latest album, Cruel Words, the Dutch company Munich Records has released this little gem, a collaboration between Dowd and bizarro swamp songwriter Jim White. Dowd’s drummer Willie B (real name Brian Wilson) is the third full-fledged Hellwooder. Frequent Dowd vocal partner Kim Sherwood-Caso sings on several cuts.

Hellwood will be a welcome treat for fans of the movie Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, in which White was prominently featured and Dowd performed.

Even though Dowd and White collaborated on writing several of the tunes, most of the songs sound like either Dowd songs or White songs. (Well, except for “Fireworks Factory,” which was written by White and sung — or, rather recited — by Dowd, but it sounds amazingly like Stan Ridgway.)

White’s best moment, and perhaps the most powerful track on the album, is “A Man Loves His Wife,” a slow, acoustic, “scenes from a marriage” ballad that deals with a guy who “loves his kids but he scares them to death/When he comes home from work everyone holds their breath.”

My favorite Dowd song here is “Thomas Dorsey,” an ode to the great gospel songwriter. It’s a slow, plodding dirge, with marimbas and flanger-y guitar. “His songs give comfort, they give inspiration to lost souls across this great nation,” Dowd drawls menacingly. Later he confesses, “I wish Satan would let me go/Devil music is all that I know/I sing songs of lust and depravity/That’s the only kind of songs that come out of me.”

Well, that’s about right. But Dowd’s devil music is inspiring in its own wonderful way.

FREE WILLIE !!!!! (and assorted music notes)

By now everyone's heard that Willie Nelson was busted for illegal and dangerous marijuana in Louisiana this week.

OK, Willie and crew only got misdemeanor tickets for holding a pound and a half of pot (and some mushrooms). Thank God for the sake of the children that Willie, his 75-year-old sister and two others have to face criminal charges.

Willie of course has been beating the drug-reform drum for a long time. Here is one of his public service announcements he made a few years ago for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. In fact, here's a who;e page of Willie's NORML PSAs.

I'll play a couple of those on The Santa Fe Opry tonight. (Chris Goldstein used to play one all the time on his old show "The Last Hours of Night.")


And speaking of the Opry, I'll do a decent set to honor the late great Don Walser on the show tonight. Walser was such a giant, his passing was noted even in the Axis of Evil.

(The Opry streams live on KSFR. And hey, if you haven't donated to the latest fund drive, DO IT!)


There's a new slick magazine dedicated to New Mexico music. Check out OpenMic New Mexico, edited by Rick Huff. I picked up my copy at Natural Sound in Albuquerque this week. There's also a Web site.


Finally, here's a shoutout to a soon-to-be-former "competitor" Jonanna Widner, who wrote her final column for The Santa Fe Reporter. That's Joanana to the left, with her soon to be former boss Julia Goldberg, in this photo I took at Frogfest last month.

Jonanna did well more than her share of keeping the musical conversation going in this town. I read her every week and suspect most of those reading this did also.

One time a couple of years ago she wrote a less than enthusiastic review of some album (was it Brian Wilson's Smile?) At the end of the piece she actually invited readers to check out another view of the album, referring them to my glowing review the week before. I thought that was pretty classy. I probably forgot to thank her, so thanks Jonanna, and good luck in Dallas.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


My story on last night's Land Commissioner debate can be found HERE

For more on this increasingly heated race:

A site called, run by Democrat political consultant company Political Technologies, Inc., can be found HERE.

Lyon's radio ad attacking Baca can be found HERE


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

Just as the 2006 gubernatorial race approached the obligatory debate-over-the-debates phase, Gov. Bill Richardson agreed to one -- but only one -- debate with Republican opponent John Dendahl.

But Amanda Cooper, the governor's re-election campaign manager, said Wednesday that the campaign hasn't decided where and when Richardson will debate.

Not one but two Albuquerque television stations have invited both candidates to hold live televised debates in October. Both stations sent their invitations in July.

News directors of KOB-TV and KOAT-TV say Dendahl has agreed to participate, but Richardson hasn't gotten back to them.

It's not clear whether the single debate to which Richardson has agreed would take advantage of one of these invitations.

KOB's proposed debate would take place Oct. 17 at the Kimo Theatre in Albuquerque, news director Rhonda Aubrey said Tuesday. Each side would be provided tickets for more than 100 supporters.

Questions would come from a panel of reporters and the audience. The candidates also could ask questions of each other. Candidates wouldn't be allowed to bring notes or clipboards with them, though each would be given a blank pad and pens for taking notes.

The proposed KOAT debate, which would be held in conjunction with The Albuquerque Journal, would be held at KOAT's studios.

Some questions would be taken from readers and viewers. (These wouldn't be made available to the candidates in advance.) A panel of political reporters would ask other questions.

Asked Wednesday why he's only debating Dendahl once, Richardson shrugged. ``I agreed to one,'' he said. ``That's enough.''

300-pound chicken: Dendahl charged Tuesday -- before Richardson had agreed to do the one debate -- that the incumbent purposely was dodging him.

``He's stonewalling every attempt at any actual debate,'' Dendahl said. ``He wants the only information that people have to be those nicely scripted infomercials he's paying for so nobody can challenge anything he says.''

Added Dendahl, ``Bill Richardson's gone from being the 800-pound gorilla to the 300-pound chicken.''

The view from 2008: Dendahl, who has been trailing in the polls and in fund-raising, said not appearing in a debate with a challenger could make Richardson look bad if he decides to run for president in 2008.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said in an e-mail: ``Richardson can almost certainly get away with not debating this year if he wants,'' even though it would be ``bad form'' not to. ``Candidates, even incumbents, are expected to debate at least their major-party opponent.''

As for the next presidential election, Sabato said: ``In 2008, I can already see there will be a record number of primary debates, followed by three or four general election debates. So Gov. Richardson ought to do it just for the practice, if nothing else.''

In Focus: While it's not a face-to-face debate, KNME-TV's interview show, In Focus, next week will feature taped 15-minute interviews with both Richardson and Dendahl, producer Kevin McDonald said.

The show will air at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 and 7 a.m. Oct. 1 on Channel 5.

Speaking of polls: If he's a 300-pound chicken, Richardson is bound to be clucking over the latest independent poll on New Mexico political races.

The latest Rasmussen Report shows both Richardson and incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., with lopsided leads.

Richardson, the poll says, leads Dendahl 61 to 26 percent. The organization questioned 500 likely voters in New Mexico on Sept. 7.

In a statement likely to evoke sarcastic outbursts of ``Duh!'' across this state, the Rasmussen Report said on its Web site on Sept. 18: ``A strong showing by Richardson in November likely may bolster his standing as a viable challenger for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.''

This is one poll that shows Richardson above 60 percent, the ``magic'' number that some pundits claim he needs to run a viable presidential race.

A poll conducted for the Albuquerque Journal early this month showed Richardson with 57 percent to Dendahl's 28 percent.

Richardson's favorability rating is 67 percent, according to Rasmussen, compared with Dendahl's 38 percent.

The poll contains evidence that a lot of people simply don't know who Dendahl is. Asked about the Republican's political ideology, the largest number of respondents, 33 percent, said they weren't sure. (I've heard rumors somewhere that he's a conservative.)

In contrast, 49 percent identified Richardson as a ``moderate.''

In the Senate race, Rasmussen has Democrat Bingaman ahead of his GOP opponent Allen McCulloch 56 percent to 32 percent.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Earlier today I stumbled across this video of the first two and a half minutes of Charlie Cullin's documentary The Silence of Cricket Coogler. (For more on this political murder CLICK HERE)

Apparently it's originally from the film production company, Cine Vision Productions.

I'd forgotten how Twin Peaks-y the music is in this documentary.

So come on Charlie, let's get this on DVD.


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

The Indestructible Beat Of Soweto Back in the mid '80s, a low period in American popular music, it started to make sense that acts such as The Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel and most notably Paul Simon began delving into sounds from Africa and other faraway places. Graceland was great, but lots of us wanted to hear the source material. And thus the World Beat floodgates were opened. This compilation was one of the most and most influential from those days. Hearing this again reminds me why I wore out my old cassette tape so many years ago. The alien guitars, the sweet vocal harmonies, the pounding beat. The fiddles and acordions ... Ladysmith Black Manmbazo is here, but the real revelation is the gruff-voiced Mahlathini.

Jack Keruoac Reads On The Road . Just like with The BusBoys last month, I lucked out with this one. I downloaded it early in the month and when I checked back a couple of days later, it had dsappeared from eMusic altogether. Most of the album is exactly what it says -- spoken-word readings from the reluctant Beatnik King. However, there are some truly strange music with Kerouac singing wird improvisional takes on standards like "Ain't We Got Fun." But the real musical treat is a song ("On the Road") by Tom Waits & Primus.

Sir Dark Invader vs The Fanglord by Jon Langford & Richard Buckner
Goldbrick by Jon Langford
I used eMusic this month to catch up on the ever-prolific Langford. (He's at the far left in the picture to the left, which I shot at the Yard Dog Gallery in Austin last March for his autpgraph party for his book Nashville Radio.)

I was wary of the Buckner collaboration. While I'm a fan of both singers, I wondered how compatible they would be on record. Surprise, surprise, this damn thing works, and this album rocks.
My favorite cut is "The Inca Princess," a story of a tall, dark stranger in a Bakersfield bar that tips its hat to Roger Miller's "Chug-a-Lug."

The Langford solo album was the last thing I downloaded, so I haven't spent proper time with it. On first couple of listens though, I don't like it nearly as well as his previous solo outing All the Fame of Lofty Deeds. (There's a cover of Procal Harem's "Salty Dog," but I never really was a fan of that tune.) So far my favorite is the epic "Lost in America," which starts out with Columbus and quickly veers into Abu Ghraib and modern times.

In the Maybe World by Lisa Germano. While Lisa's new one isn't quite up to the level of her classic albums Geek the Girl and Happiness, it's still got just about everything I love about her -- sad, spacey songs about loss, pain and doubt.

This definitely is not party music. In fact, it's more like music you'd want to listen to after getting home from a party that you despised.

Lisa's not afraid to get downright weird. "In the Land of Fairies" is a putdown song aimed at supernatural beings. Yikes!

I Hear a New World by Joe Meek & The Blue Men. This late British producer was the man behind "Telstar," that proud bit of instrumental cheese from the early '60s. Apparently Joe was a true believer in UFOs, the occult and other assorted weirdness. This album of instrumentals was his vision of life on other planets. It's a great companion album for the compilation It's Hard To Believe It: The Amazing World Of Joe Meek

I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass by Yo La Tengo . You'll have to wait until this Friday's Terrell's Tuneup to get my full take on the new one by Yola. Suffice it to say right now that I really like it.

"Minnie the Moocher" by Cab Calloway . Once again, I had one download left so I spent it on Calloway. I picked up this early version of Cab's signature song, which is different -- I'm assuming earlier -- than others I have. But I found a flaw here, an electronic distortion right at the line "Minnie had a heart that was big as a whale. I hope eMusic fixes this.

UPDATE: Oooops. In the original version of this post I forgot to include one of my favorite new albums ....
Gulag Orkestar by Beirut. In a nutshell, this band, lead by a former Albuquerque kid named Zach Condon and including Jeremy Barnes, the former drummer of The Neutral Milk Hotel, sounds like Rufus Wainwright paying tribute to the 3 Mustaphas 3.

Some cools news: Beirut is scheduled to play New Mexico. Oct. 25 at the College of Santa Fe and Oct. 26 at the Launchpad in Albuquerque.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I was wondering where I'd have to go and how much I'd have to pay to get my hands on an unauthorized bootleg video of the Heather Wilson/Patsy Madrid debate last night.

Here's a the good news: Blogger Mario Burgos is giving it away for FREE.

Now if I can find one of the Lou Reed concert at the Santa Fe Opera Saturday ...


Sunday, September 17, 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
The Sky is a Dangerous Garden by Concrete Blonde
Ask the Angels by Patti Smith
The Room Got Heavy by Yo la Tengo
Bloody Hammer by Roky Erikson
Lost Planet by The Thunderbolts
Dribcot Space Boat by Joe Meek & The Blue Men
Can Blue Men Sing the Whites by Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

Strange Fruit by The Twilight Singers
Poor Born by Dead Moon
Fix These Blues by Heavy Trash
The Criminal Inside Me by R.L. Burnside & The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Idiot Joy Showland by The Fall
Do You Swing by The Fleshtones
Chickenshack by Hellwood
Ain't We Got Fun by Jack Kerouac

with special guest referee SHANE MacGOWAN

Drunken Lullabies by FM
Captain Kelly's Kitchen by DK
Another Bag of Bricks by FM
The Walking Dead by DK
The Rising of the Moon by Shane MacGowan
The Likes of You Again by FM
The Green Fields of France by DK
Within a Mile of Home by FM
Wild Rover DK with Shane

She's a Mystery to Me by Roy Orbison
It Calls Me by Hazmat Modine with Huun-Huur-Tu
Carrying a Torch by Van Morrison
Into the Night by Julee Cruise
Singin' in the Rain by Petty Booka
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Friday, September 15, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Homo Erectus by Ray Benson & Reckless Kelly
American Trash by Betty Dylan
Tear-Stained Letter by Jo-El Sonier
Jason Fleming by The Sadies with Neko Case
Honky Tonk Mood Again by Jim Lauderdale
Truck Drivin' Son of a Gun by Dave Dudley
Rainmaker by Pima Express
Borrow Your Cape by Bobby Bare Jr's Young Criminals Starvation League
The Great Speckled Bird by Rob McNurlin
Colour of a Carnival by Kasey Chambers

Rabbit by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Never Gonna Be Your Bride by Carrie Rodriguez
That Lovin' You Feeling Again by Roy Orbison & Emmylou Harris
The Glory of True Love by John Prine
Cripple Creek by Steve Rosen
What's Wrong With Right by Hacienda Brothers
Wanderin' Star by Shane MacGowan with Charlie McLennan

Hank Williams Memorial Set
Lovesick Blues by Hank Williams
Are You Sure hank Done it This Way by Waylon Jennings
Mrs. Hank Williams by Fred Eaglesmith
Has Anybody Here Seen Hank? by The Waterboys
Please Don't Let Me Love You by Hank Williams
The Great Hank by Robert Earl Keen
Family Tradition by Cracker
The Night Hank Williams Came to Town by Johnny Cash

Honey Do You Love Me, Huh? by Hank Williams with Curley Williams
Hank Williams You Wrote My Life by Moe Bandy
I Think Hank Would Have Done it This Way by The Blue Chieftains
The Car Hank Died In by The Austin Lounge Lizards
Long White Cadillac by Dave Alvin
Nashville Radio by Jon Langford
Hank Williams' Ghost by Darrell Scott
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, September 15, 2006


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 15, 2006

Hank Williams, whose 83rd birthday is Sunday, left behind country music’s greatest catalog of songs. But not only did he create mountains of great songs, he also inspired a bona fide subgenre of country music — songs about Hank Williams.

Hank’s body was barely cold before the tribute songs started pouring out of Nashville, Tenn., which virtually banished him during his lifetime. There were “The Death of Hank Williams” by Jack Cardwell, “Hank Williams Will Live Forever” by Johnnie & Jack, “The Life of Hank Williams” by Hawkshaw Hawkins, “The Death of Hank Williams” by Jimmie Logsdon, and many more.

And in the early ’80s, there was even some local yokel here in Santa Fe who did a song called “Hank Williams Conquers the Martians.”

The tradition continues today, though in recent times Hank appears more of an icon, Faust in a cowboy hat, a symbol of raw talent doomed by human frailties, a personification of the double-edged nature of fame, a lonesome-voiced indictment of the dark side of show business.

Two recent tunes by contemporary songwriters are prime examples of Hank songs. Canadian alternative-country singer Fred Eaglesmith, on his latest album, Milly’s Cafe, brings us “Mrs. Hank Williams,” a sad story of a woman traveling with some drifting cowboy band. Though Eaglesmith is sympathetic, the woman seems half Miss Audrey, half Yoko Ono. “When we got to Cincinnati/I had to put her on a plane/She was fighting with the band/And it was her or it was them ... She doesn’t watch the show/She just stays in the car/And watches the young girls/Outside the stage door.”

Even more poignant is “Hank Williams’ Ghost,” which can be found on Darrell Scott’s recent album The Invisible Man. This is a song of self-loathing, “rage and angst,” and “hillbilly sins,” a self-inventory of a man whose “coulda woulda beens” have been colliding mercilessly with his “shoulda knowns.” Though his name is in the title, Hank doesn’t appear until the final refrain. “Fare thee well and adios/We hurt the ones we love the most/And we blame it on Hank Williams’ ghost.”

I’ve got a feeling Hank’s ghost will continue to haunt songwriters for years to come.

Here are my all-time top 10 Hank Songs:

1. “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” by Waylon Jennings. Back in the mid-’70s, just about the time that outlaw bit was getting out of hand, Waymore unleashed this tune, one of his few self-written hits, which was an indictment of the Nashville machine (“Rhinestone suits and new shiny cars/It’s been the same way for years/We need to change.”) and a fearful look at the direction of his life and career (“Ten years down the road, making one night stands/Speeding my young life away ... Did ol’ Hank really do it this way?”)

2. “Nashville Radio” by Jon Langford. Hank inspired several songs as well as paintings by Mekon/Waco Brother Langford. The two pieces on this blog post are Langford's. His gorgeous art book Nashville Radio contains examples of visual art and music, with several tunes based on the Hank myth on the accompanying CD, including one “Oh No, Hank!” in which Joe Stalin plots to murder the singer. Also there is Langford’s finest Hank song, “Nashville Radio.” The perspective switches from Hank in his final days (“I can shake my hips, but I walk like a cripple and my body is getting too thin”) to the singer’s lonesome ghost (“I gave my life to country music, I took my pills and lost/Now they don’t play my songs on the radio, it’s like I never was”). Langford’s done a few versions of this, including one on his album All the Fame of Lofty Deeds. But worth seeking out is the limited-edition Gravestone EP, where the song is done as a medley with “The Death of Country Music.”

3. “Long White Cadillac” by The Blasters. If you went to the recent Thirsty Ear Festival you got to hear this song’s author, Dave Alvin, do a thunderous version of the song. The original version was by Alvin’s old band The Blasters. It’s a chilling tale of Hank’s death with frightening imagery: “Night wolves moan/the winter hills are black/I’m all alone/sitting in the back/of a long white Cadillac.”

4. “The Car Hank Died In” by The Austin Lounge Lizards. That long white Cadillac also appears in this humorous tune on the album Creatures From the Black Saloon. But this is mainly a stab at Nashville hawking pain and passion as a tourist attraction.

5. “Has Anybody Here Seen Hank” by The Waterboys. A honky-tonk is nothing but an Irish pub in this tribute song from The Waterboys’ best album Fisherman’s Blues. “I don’t care what he did with his women/I don’t care what he did when he drank/I want to hear just one note/from his lonesome old throat/Has anybody here seen Hank?”

6. “The Great Hank” by Robert Earl Keen. Hank is a benevolent ghost in this surreal tune from Keen’s 2005 album What I Really Mean. The song starts out, “I saw the great Hank Williams singing on the stage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and he was all dressed up in drag.”

7. “Hank Williams You Wrote My Life” by Moe Bandy. This was a hit for Bandy in the early ’80s, and is best-known for the line, “You wrote ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ about a gal like my first ex-wife.”

8. “The Night Hank Williams Came to Town” by Johnny Cash. This was a hit for Cash in 1986. But it was rewritten from a song by T.C. Roberts (real name, Tabby Crabb), called “The Night Porter Wagoner Came to Town.” “Porter” was an early country video hit on the Country Music Television network in 1985.

9. “I Think Hank Woulda Done It This Way” by The Blue Chieftains. This irreverent answer to the famous Waylon song presents Hank as a proto-rock ’n’ roll wild man. It’s one of two Hank songs (the other being “Do It for Hank” by The World Famous Blue Jays) on the influential Rig Rock Jukebox compilation.

10. “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams Jr. Back in his heyday Bocephus seemed to spend half of his time complaining how hard it was being Hank Williams’ son and the other half proudly proclaiming he was Hank Williams’ son.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


The world would be such a nicer place if all our international crises were like this one:

US President George Bush is to host White House talks on British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.

Cohen, 35, creator of Ali G, has infuriated the Kazakhstan government with his portrayal of Borat, a bumbling Kazakh TV presenter.

And now a movie of Borat's adventures in the US has caused a diplomatic incident.

The opening scene, which shows Borat lustily kissing his sister goodbye and setting off for America in a car pulled by a horse, had audiences in stitches when it was first shown last week.

But the film, which has just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, has prompted a swift reaction from the Kazakhstan government, which is launching a PR blitz in the States.

Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev is to fly to the US to meet President Bush in the coming weeks and on the agenda will be his country's image.
I hope our president can explain that not every American behaves like the Three Stooges.

The Borat response


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 14, 2006

I have to admit I kind of like Gov. Bill Richardson’s latest commercial, the cowboy movie spoof where the governor plays an Old West sheriff.

No, it’s not great drama, and it’s certainly not in the league of Western comedies like Blazing Saddles.

But compared with the 30-second character assassinations that pass for most political advertising in this great nation of ours, Richardson’s horse-opera fantasy is a breath of fresh air.

And those are just the negative ads. Most “positive” political spots are even worse — sickly sweet sentimentality, inane happy-talk, flag-waving drivel ...

And then there was Richardson’s meth-lab ad a few weeks ago that shows apparent ne’er-do-wells cooking what we assume to be drugs in their kitchen while an innocent child plays on the floor with a Tonka toy. Later, we see Richardson marching with a group of uniformed officers.

Then later a bunch of heavily armed cops breaking down a door. In that one, you almost expect the narrator to declare, “Bill Richardson: He cut taxes and brought martial law ... for the children.”

Naw, give me the cowboy movie. In fact, I hope Richardson was serious when at the end of this ad he said: “Next time, let’s make a space movie.” He’d make a great Buzz Lightyear-type character. And how about a faux detective flick with a sultry saxophone soundtrack and the governor in Guy Noir/Nick Danger guise? Maybe a Tarzan parody?

Better yet, a zombie movie in which Richardson has to battle former state auditor candidate Jeff Armijo, who keeps coming back from the dead. (And considering Wednesday’s development in the real-life Armijo saga, this could feature House Speaker Ben Luján as a guest exorcist.)

At this point in the campaign, when Richardson has a wide lead in the polls and an impossible lead in campaign contributions, he can afford to have some fun with his ads. If Republican opponent John Dendahl starts looking like a threat, we can expect that Old West dust to turn to modern-day mud.

Gimme a milk. Probably the funniest gag in the Western commercial is when “Sheriff” Richardson walks into a saloon and, in his best tough-guy voice, orders a milk.

This probably is pure coincidence, but for the record, according to the latest figures from the Institute of Money in State Politics, Richardson has received 14 contributions totaling $27,625 this election cycle from the dairy industry.

In contrast, he’s only picked up $24,125 from beer, wine and liquor interests. These figures are based on campaign finance reports as of the end of May.

Garrey silent on guv race. Former Gov. Garrey Carruthers, a Republican, is not publicly backing this year’s GOP gubernatorial candidate, John Dendahl. But Carruthers isn’t publicly opposing Dendahl, either.

On Tuesday, immediately after Carruthers spoke at a news conference with Richardson in the governor’s Cabinet Room, I asked the former chief executive whom he was backing for governor this year.

He declined to answer, saying his ballot is secret.

It’s no secret Carruthers gets along well with the current occupant of the Governor’s Mansion, despite their party differences.

Richardson named him as co-chairman of the blue-ribbon task force that’s studying ethics and campaign reforms. The two taught a class together last year at New Mexico State University, where Carruthers is dean of the business school. Carruthers was in Santa Fe on Tuesday for Richardson’s announcement of a new program in which the top business students at NMSU and The University of New Mexico will manage the investment of $10 million in state money.

While Carruthers made it clear he wanted to keep his opinion of this year’s governor’s race to himself, he added: “I will say, though, I’ve never voted a straight party ticket in my life.”

For my "Ad Watch" analysis piece on the Richardson "Western" spot, CLICK HERE

For my "Ad Watch" analysis piece on the meth lab commercial, mentioned above (plus anoter Richardson ad) , CLICK HERE

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The Corsair's take on Gov. Richardson's recent rescue mission in Sudan is pretty hilarious.


Monday, September 11, 2006


Las Cruces blogger Heath Haussamen just posted a new special report Judging Our Judges that examines the state Judicial Standards Commission and the rash of cases judicial misconduct in the past couple of years. He starts out with a rundown of Dona Ana County judges who have found theselves in hot water in recent years. (More than a third of petitions Judicial Standards has received in the past two years deal with judges from his county.)

There will be a new article posted every day between now and Thursday, so check it out.

(For my own sardonic stab a few months ago at "Judges Gone Wild" CLICK HERE.)


Sunday, September 10, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell
Guest Co-host Stan Rosen


OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Plenty Tuff, Union Made by The Waco Brothers
The Union Fights the Battle of Freedom/The Memorial Day Massacre by Bucky Halker
There Is Power in The Union by The Solidarity Singers
The Death of Mother Jones by Gene Autry
Red Neck, Blue Collar by James Luther Dickinson

De Colores/We Were There by Brooklyn Women's Chorus
Sweetheart on the Barricades by Richard Thompson & Danny Thompson
Big Boss Man by Jimmy Reed
Weave Room Blues/Babies in the Mill by Dorsey Dixon
Links in the Chain by Phil Ochs

Armies of the Working Class Poor by Mike Stout
Ballad for Americans/Joe Hill by Paul Robeson
Red Wine by Woody Guthrie
Pie in the Sky by Utah Phillips & Ani DiFranco
Waist Deep in the Big Muddy by Pete Seeger

Ballad of the Triangle Fire by The Jewish Labor Bund
Ludlow Massacre by Howard Zinn
Talking Union Blues/Study War No More by Pete Seeger
Working Man's Blues by Merle Haggard
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Friday, September 8, 2006
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Ashgrove by Dave Alvin
American Music by The Blasters
Life's Little Ups and Downs by The Hacienda Brothers
The Inca Princess by Richard Buckner & Jon Langford
Big Kiss by Carrie Rodriguez
Will You Let Me Stay With You by Chipper Thompson

I Met Jesus in a Bar/Don't Blame the Wrong Guy by Jim Lauderdale
The Buzzard Was Their Friend by Dan Hicks & His Hotlicks
Three Legged Man by Steve Goodman
All of the Monkeys Ain't in the Zoo by Tommy Collins
Blue Bonnet Lane by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
I've Always Been Crazy by Waylon Jennings
Summer is Over by Fred Eaglesmith
Mike the Can Man by Joe West
Old Cat Died by The Carolina Chocolate Drops

Whiter Shade of Pale by Dan Reeder
Sticky Chemical by Bobby Bare Jr.
Tom Mix & Lucille Mulhall by Mary Minton
The Beast and The Burden by Hundred Year Flood
Redneck, Blue Collar by James Luther Dickinson
Like the 309 by Johnny Cash
Eternal Vacation by Buck Owens
Your Cheatin' Heart by Ray Charles

I Saw the Buildings by James Talley
No Way Sure by Loudon Wainwright III
Treat Each Other Right by Greg Brown
I Wish I Knew How it Will Feel to Be Free by Irma Thomas
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, September 08, 2006


It was the wettest Zozobra I remember -- at least in the past 10 years. It started right as we got to Ft. marcy Park and stopped, as if by magic right when the lights went out for the burn.

As usual, it was spectacular!

Viva la Fiestas!

See my Zozobra pictures HERE


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 8, 2006

One of the most glorious blasts of music from the 1980s was The Pogues. I’m talking, of course, of the Shane McGowan era. After the periodontal poster boy singer left, The Pogues were just another folk-rock band. But with McGowan full throttle with an Old Bushmills bottle, The Pogues were an unholy union of The Clash and The Clancy Brothers, ridden by voodoo gods and dancing obscene jigs at the very gates of hell.

Although the Pogues faded away — McGowan pursuing a half-ass solo career, releasing a few albums in the last dozen years or so —their wild, drunken spirit lives on in at least a couple of American bands.

There’s the Dropkick Murphys from Boston, a punk band with bagpipes and mandolin.
And then there’s the Murphys’ natural opponent in your ultimate imaginary Celt-rock battle of the bands, Flogging Molly, a Los Angeles-based band (with a Dublin-born singer) that has just released a DVD/CD set called Whiskey on a Sunday.

Both of these groups have the basic fire of The Pogues and have the basic crazy Irish punk-trad sound down. Neither, though, has quite captured McGowan’s possessed poetic aura.

But what amazes me is that while the Dropkicks have acknowledged, tacitly at least, their debt to The Pogues — they recorded the appropriately titled song “Wild Rover,” with McGowan a few years ago — Flogging Molly just did a feature-length documentary, the aforementioned DVD, without once mentioning The Pogues.

It’s especially ironic because of two songs included on the Whiskey CD. “The Wanderlust” has a melody similar to “The Sick Bed of Cuchulain,” while the Mideastern-sounding “Another Bag of Bricks” will remind Pogue fans of “Turkish Song of the Damned.”

So it rings pretty hollow when Flogging Molly frontman Dave King boldly declares at the end of the DVD, “As humble of a band as we are, in the sense of our heritage and where we come from … I would not be sitting here if I didn’t think we were the greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world.”

Even when The Rolling Stones really were the greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world, you rarely heard or read an interview with Mick Jagger or Keith Richards where they didn’t praise their forebears, like Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, etc.

But with this verbal flogging out of the way, there’s a lot to like about the music found on Whiskey on a Sunday, which I recently bought on impulse after hearing a few songs being played at a Denver record store. It’s basically my introduction to Flogging Molly.

The CD has 10 songs, some but not all featured in the documentary. There are some acoustic — but not necessarily mellow — versions of Flogging favorites like “Drunken Lullabies” and “Tomorrow Comes a Day Too Soon.”

And even better are the live tracks, “The Likes of You Again” and the anthemic “What’s Left of the Flag.”

As far as the DVD goes, this film by Jim Dziura is basically a promo piece that will best be enjoyed by established Flogging Molly fans.

All seven Floggers have their own little segments in which they tell their life stories and bandmates give kiss-up testimonials (“Dennis is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met in my life.”). Admirably democratic, I guess. Trouble is, most of them haven’t had lives that are all that interesting.

Like most rock-doc projects, my main criticism is that there should have been less yack and more music. The live sequences are, for the most part, thrilling. But then a perfectly good performance is interrupted by some band member whining about how tough touring life is or some inarticulate fan talking about how Flogging Molly rules. (Then again, there’s a pretty cool little scene where a band member is berating a fan for showing his genitals to a bandmate’s wife.)

Even if it isn’t the greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world, and even if it doesn’t pay proper tribute to St. Shane, Flogging Molly upholds and defends the marriage of punk rock and traditional Irish music. Till death do it part.

Also recommended:

* The Twenty-Seven Points by The Fall. Twenty-five years ago, when I interviewed a young British singer I’d never heard of from a young British band I’d never heard of over beers at Evangelo’s, I never figured that I’d still be writing about them six years into the 21st century.
The singer was Mark E. Smith, and the band was The Fall. The Gold Bar, the venue where the band played, is long gone. But Smith is still a Fall guy, cranking out riff-driven-guitar mutant garage rock overlaid with Smith’s hypnotic if not always decipherable half-spoken, half-sung lyrics that hint of a dark mythos that lies somewhere between William Blake and H.P. Lovecraft.

In recent years, Smith seems to be slowing down, releasing mainly archival stuff (though last October, The Fall had a fun little new album called Heads Roll, which, somehow in this era of terrorist beheadings, wasn’t a huge pop hit.)

The recently rereleased The Twenty-Seven Points is, believe it or not, a double live album (Holy Peter Frampton, Batman!) Well, mostly live. There are a couple of studio tracks here: “Cloud of Black,” with a percolating electronic-blip bleepy beat, and the lengthy, slow-burning “Noel’s Chemical Effluence.”

But most of it was recorded in various cities in 1995, spliced together like a collage with all of its varying audio qualities.

There are several tunes — “Lady Bird (“Green Grass”), “Middle Class Revolt” — from the mid-’90s. There are incomprehensible spoken-word segments, including some dumb jokes. There’s one of my favorite Fall tunes, “Big New Prinz,” in which Smith shouts repeatedly, “Check the record check the record ... He is nuts!”

He is. But I’d still buy him a beer at Evangelo’s.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


The only connection I have with Robert Christgau -- the dean of American rock critics, recently fired by the new kids running the Village Voice -- is the fact that about 15 years ago he invited me (and hundreds of other music writers across this great nation) to participate in the Voice's annual Pazz & Jop music poll. I've filed my ballot every year since and always appreciated the fact that he reached out to writers from smaller papers out here in flyover country to get a fuller representation of American criticdom.

Well, no more. I realize it's a symbolic gesture, but I won't participate in any poll for a paper that treats a senior writer this way. (They also previously canned music writer Chuck Eddy, which is an atrocity in itself.) And I'm urging other past P&J participants to do the same.

Grant Alden writes more eloquently about this on his blog on the No Depression site. (He credits me, but actually it was my KSFR colleague Sean Conlon who put the bug in my ear.)
Perhaps new management won't bother with this annual tradition, or
(more likely) they'll be delighted to see another middle aged critic leave the field of battle. But if enough of us decline to participate, perhaps it will mean something. At least to Mr. Christgau and Mr. Eddy.

Let's show some solidarity for the Dean.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 1, 2006

New Mexico politics is usually a little crazy, but this week, one state race turned downright surreal.

I’m talking, of course, about the state auditor’s race, which suddenly has turned into Tales of the Bizarro World.

Last week, the harsh spotlight of media attention was on Democratic auditor candidate Jeff Armijo after the news broke that two women — one in 2003, one in August — had reported to police that he had made unwanted sexual advances. In the most recent case, the complaint says he pinned the woman on the floor and took off some of her clothing.

One day after insisting he would not drop out of the race, he met with Gov. Bill Richardson, who persuaded him otherwise.

But on Tuesday, the deadline for withdrawing from the race, Armijo held a news conference in Albuquerque announcing he’d been “a victim of a horrible political scheme” (I’m often heard muttering similar things during the last week of a legislative session), and he wouldn’t be withdrawing after all.

“I have faith in our political and legal systems that will expose the individuals in this scheme,” Armijo said Tuesday. Who are the evil schemers? Richardson? Republican auditor candidate Lorenzo Garcia? Professor Plum? Miss Scarlet?

To add to the dreamlike quality of all this, the news conference apparently was held just a few minutes after the state Democratic Party e-mailed a “statement in reaction to Jeff Armijo’s press conference,” which lambasted the decision.

About this time, I called the Secretary of State’s Office to see whether Armijo had withdrawn. Hoyt Clifton, a consultant for the office and a 26-year director of the state Election Bureau said, “I think I’m being faxed his withdrawal statement in a few minutes.”

I rushed over to the office only to find what had been faxed was not from Armijo, but from the governor’s office. And it wasn’t anything official. Just the news release Armijo had issued last week when he was withdrawing.

And soon, the governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general were saying this news release was good enough.

Take note campaign flacks: Your news releases apparently have more legal power than you ever imagined.

In fairness, state election law is rather vague when it comes to candidates withdrawing from the general election. “No candidate shall withdraw from a general election unless he withdraws at least 63 days prior to that election,” is about all the law says on the matter. Nothing on procedures on how to withdraw. Nothing about news releases.

J.R. Damron, who in June withdrew as the Republican gubernatorial candidate, said Wednesday that when he dropped out, he sent the secretary of state a notarized, certified letter. He said he couldn’t remember whether the Secretary of State’s Office advised him to do it that way or party officials.

The state Democratic Central Committee is meeting Saturday to try to sort this out. But everyone’s saying the whole mess is bound to end up in court.

And if Armijo comes out on top in this skirmish, perhaps we can attribute to psychic powers the statement state Dem Chairman John Wertheim made a couple of weeks ago when rumors of Armijo’s troubles were starting to swirl:

“We affirm what we know to be true: That Jeff Armijo will be the next auditor of the state of New Mexico.”

What happened to all the ‘Ethical Politicians’?: A couple of weeks ago, this column featured a new Web site by conservative Republican blogger Mario Burgos on which candidates of any party could post — voluntarily — their campaign contributions and expenditures.

Burgos set up partly because under current law there are no campaign finance reports due between July and October.

The good news: The number of participating candidates grew 100 percent since I wrote about the site.

The bad news: The number grew from one to two.

State Rep. Brian Moore, R-Clayton, joined Rep. Kathy McCoy, R-Cedar Crest, on the site.

There was a nibble from a Democrat. Land Commission candidate Jim Baca said he’d post his reports on Burgos’ site if his opponent incumbent Pat Lyons posted his. Lyons didn’t respond and Baca never posted, prompting a blog chide from Burgos, who noted that McCoy posted her information despite the fact her opponent hasn’t participated.

“There is some concern in many of the tight races that leading by example could be used against them,” Burgos told me last week. “I believe in some of the statewide campaigns, they’re running as fast as they can, and taking on another task, albeit simple, is just more than they can contemplate.”

Burgos also said he’d heard from some Democrats that there’s concern that “a site run by a Republican couldn’t possible be nonpartisan.” He said he’s offered to “partner” with a Democrat, giving his counterpart full administrative rights to the site.

But so far, no takers.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Looks like some weirdness is coming down in the state auditor's race.

Apparently Jeff Armijo is jumping back into the race, one week after stepping down over allegations of sexual misconduct.

I haven't been able to reach Armijo, but the state Democratic Party just released this statement:

Albuquerque -- Today, Chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico John Wertheim issued the following statement in reaction to Jeff Armijo’s press conference:

"No matter what Jeff Armijo says or does today, he already officially withdrew his name from the General Election ballot for State
Auditor a week ago, on August 29, 2006. His actions on that day created a vacancy on the General Election ballot.

“Although I am personally disappointed that Jeff has gone back on his word, officially, he is welcome to go before our State Central Committee on September 9th just like the other candidates vying to fill this vacancy, and attempt to get his name back on the ballot.”
By the way, state Rep. Hector Balderas announced today he's going to try to get the nomination.

UPDATE: I told you it was getting nuts. I just talked to Hoyt Clifton of the state Bureau of Elections who says he understands that Armijo is faxing astatement of withdrawal. In other words, the above message might be a false alarm.

Meanwhile, the governor's office just issued this statement:

“The Governor is very disappointed that Mr. Armijo is attempting to
go back on his word and selfishly put himself before the Democratic Party,” said Gilbert Gallegos, a spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson.

“The governor agrees with the legal position of the Democratic Party Chairman, who is moving forward and asking the State Central Committee to select a replacement candidate who is responsible and committed to running a campaign based on the highest ethical standards.”
UPDATE TO UPDATE: Hoyt got a fax alright, but it wasn't from Armijo. It was from the governor's legal team. The "document" was Armijo's press release from last week announcing his withdrawal.

Looks like this one's going to the lawyers.

Stay tuned and watch tomorrow's New Mexican.

Monday, September 04, 2006


For my Thirsty Ear Photos CLICK HERE

I think I might have said this last year, but this has to have been the best Thirsty Ear Festival ever. A mighty time, as the fokies used to say.

I was filling out the survey yesterday and, while I had a zillion or so suggestions for acts to get for future festivals (The Waco Brothers, Irma Thomas, Los Tigres del Norte, Peter Case ....) I couldn't really think of anything to write under the category "What are we doing wrong?" Later I thought, "More trash cans around the festival grounds," but that's about it.

Like I said about the Saturday show, there seemed to be more people than ever this year. That trend continued Sunday and that's a good thing, though like I was telling Mike Koster (strongman and president for life of Thirsty Ear Festival), if this keeps up, soon people will be grumbling about the "good old days " at Thirsty Ear when the crowds weren't such a problem.

But until that day, here's my favorites from the Sunday line-up:

Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards: I don't know whether he really
was there the night Robert Johnson was murdered, but he was a lot closer to it than I was, so I won't argue that here. One thing for sure, he's probably the last of the old Mississippi blues masters performing today, maybe the last one standing who's played with Son House and Charlie Patton back in the old days, and he's still a joy to hear and behold.

Listening to Honeyboy sing and play (accompanied on harmonica by his manager Michael Frank) made me imagine what it must have been like to hear this music played at parties and back porches in rural Mississippi in the '30s. Honeyboy was joined late in his set by guitarist Louisiana Red (a relative youngster, in his '70s who'd performed at the festival on Saturday), jamming like a couple of old friends. Sometimes the songs meandered a bit, and I'm still not quite sure why he played "Catfish Blues" twice, but Hells bells, he's 91 years old!

Hazel Miller: Like T. Broussard & The Zydeco Steppers on Saturday night, this soul belter from Denver was one of the big surprises of the show. That's been one of the real joys of Thirsty Ear in recent years. Last year I discovered soul singer Earl Thomas as well as blues stomping' Tarbox Ramblers. It's the "big names" that draw people in I suppose, but it's these lesser-knowns who can deliver that make the festival a real treat.

Hazel, who has some association with Bighead Todd and the Monsters -- and said she used to have a band called Hazel Miller & The Caucasians -- plays a basic funky soul blues. There were some covers (Aretha's "Chain of Fools") and several I didn't recognize, which I'm assuming are original. But she branched out some, doing a Latin-tinged number followed with a jazzy version of the standard "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." And her between-song patter was hilarious, especially when she talked about BOB, her "Battery Operated Boyfriend." She had the audience in the palm of her hands from the first song.

Bone Orchard: Chipper (pictured left with mandolin) was the utility man of this festival. Besides his own electrifying set with his band The Feast Friday night, he did a second-stage set accompanied by Kim Treiber and one with bouzouki-man Roger Landis. And on Sunday night he played a high-charged set with a Taos band Bone Orchard, led by Dan Pretends Eagle (pictured here with banjo) who also plays with The Feast, and singer Carol Morgan-Eagle.

They romped through a fine folk-rock cover of X's "Burning House of Love," a version of "Pretty Polly" (Dan called this chestnut the "Johnny B. Goode of folk festivals") which featured Chipper on some pretty psychedelic guitar; and an incredible folk gospel of Michael Franti's version of "Wayfaring Stranger."

Dave Alvin & The Guilty Men: It just doesn't get much better than this folks. Alvin's performance has reduced me to pre-teen gibberish:



And in my own language: BITCHEN!

The Guiltys were joined by none their than Chris Gaffney of the Hacienda Brothers (pictured at left with accordion) who opened the set before Alvin emerged with a song about Albuquerque. My only complain about the whole set is that Alvin should have let Gaffney sing "Volver, Volver."

Alvin's songs relied heavily on tunes from his latest album West of the West -- "Redneck Friend," "Surfer Girl," "Between the Cracks," and Merle Haggard's "Kern River," (which Greg Brown also sang the day before. But some of my favorite songs he did Sunday were from his previous album Ashgrove -- "Out of Control," a classic Alvin tale from the American underbelly, and the title song, which not only is a tribute to the blues greats he used to see as a teen in L.A. , but is an affirmation of his purpose as a musician -- raising ghosts on the stage.

Goshen: Grant Hayunga and the Palmer Brothers Jim & Bill (the male half of Hundred Year Flood) are energetic enough to follow Dave Alvin and original enough to take you to another dimension. The group played an intense set which featured old songs and some from an upcoming album.

How can you describe Goshen? This is what people who condemn the blues hear right before they die and go to Hell. Grant plays slide guitar, Bill does keyboards (that sometimes crept merrily into Addams Family territory Sunday) and Jim drums. Last night he was pounding like a madman. What a great way to end the festival.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


For my Thirsty Ear Photos CLICK HERE

The big news: It didn't rain.

The winds kicked up a few times, and by early evening it started getting pretty cold for early September, but the Thirsty Ear Festival was spared of actual rain on Saturday and for that, everyone was grateful.

The other big news: The joint was packed!

I've attended every Thirsty Ear Festival and I've never seen as many people at the J.W. Eaves Ranch as I did yesterday. It looks as though all these years of persistence for Mike Koster -- including some heartbreakingly meager turnouts at some festivals past -- are starting to pay off.

And here's the good news for the future -- there were plenty of good, and some great performances Saturday to create enough positive word-of-mouth to ensure good turnouts in years to come.

Here's my favorite performances on Saturday:

T. Broussard & The Zydeco Steppers: When I first heard a radio ad about this year's festival, I thought I heard "Zydeco Strippers." So I was disappointed when a bunch of guys came out. But that feeling didn't last very long. These guys roared! Broussard (pictured above) is an accordion maniac and the band seemed to play nearly nonstop. People were dancing not only up by the stage, but even the vendors in front of their tents couldn't keep from shaking it. The Steppers played a number of zydeco standards -- "My Toot Toot," "Jambalaya," etc. and a lot of French-language tunes. But there also some surprising covers, including Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" and Wa's "Cisco Kid."

The Steppers made one major misstep: They didn't bring any CDs to hawk. They easily could have sold a couple of hundred. I bet a lot more festival-goers are looking for Boussard's web site right now than are reading this blog.

Greg Brown: Some folks were hoping that Brown was bringing his guitar buddy Bo Ramsey. But that wasn't to be. Greg played solo, but it was still a fine set. His deep laconic drawl (think Leonard Cohen as Uncle Remus) is irresistible. And his between-song patter is half the fun.

His set consisted of a lot of favorites ("Boom Town" is a natural Santa Fe hit), plus a good selection from his new album The Evening Call.

Eddie Turner: Guitar hotshot Turner was just what the festival needed when he started his afternoon set. At the risk of offending every sensitive female in Santa Fe, I'm not that huge of a Be Good Tanyas fan. Their music is pretty and I can take them one song at a time, but a whole set of their low-key Canadian folk, I was starting to feel a little drowsy.

But guitar stud Turner cranked it up immediately with his Hendrix/Jeff Beck drenched hard-rocking blues. (He did a sizzling cover of one of J. Beck's instrumentals Saturday.)

Turner was the guitarist for Otis Taylor until a couple of years ago. He's not nearly the songwriter that Taylor is. Then again, Taylor's sound has suffered since Turner's departure.

Turner's new album has a rather twisted title: The Turner Diaries. If only Tim McVeigh been into Eddie Turner than that other Turner Diaries!

Trilobite: This Albuquerque-based group has one of the most unique instrumental line-ups: Banjo, trombone, cello, stand-up bass -- and on Saturday they were joined by The Handsome Family's Brett Sparks on musical saw.

Mark Lewis, the banjo man, is an excellent songwriter, as he shows on the group's self-titled album. It was great to hear my favorite songs from that album -- "Caves of Burgundy" and "Man of God" live.

I spoke briefly with Rennie Sparks of The Handsome Family following Trilobite's set. She said she'd like the Handsomes to play Thirsty Ear. Maybe next year.

Josh Martin & The Santa Fe Supergroup: OK, I crapped out before the end of this late-night bluegrass set. But what I saw just reminded me of a lot of the things I love about the Santa Fe music scene. I like seeing relative new kids like Josh and Ben Wright playing beside oldtimers like stand-up bass queen Janice Mohr and Jerry Faires, who joined the group for a few songs

The Sunday chapter of the festival will begin in a few hours, Honeyboy Edwards, Dave Alvin, Goshen, etc.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Once again the annual Thirsty Ear Festival kicked off at Eaves Movie Ranch with a night of New Mexico music with an admission cost of $1 plus two cans of food.

I got there too late for the Vigil Family set, which I regret. I've said for years that the festival should incorporate more homegrown Hispanic music. (I'm still hoping for a big Al Hurricane set some year)

Unfortunately for Alex Maryol, the Rain Gods decided to do their thing during his set. Brought back not too distant memories of Frogfest . I wimped out and hid out in the KSFR tent. I know the rains have been a blessing this summer. The wildflowers are nice and it's great that the pinon trees aren't all dying. I was afraid that what's let of our forests were going to burn down this year and that the city would be regulating showers. But, Christ, it's been Hell for outdoor music in Santa Fe the past few weeks.

But the rains subsided for Chipper Thompson & The Feast. And that was extremely fortunate. Chip and gang were on fire. I've heard him with various musical backup through the years. (I'll never forget the magical/mystical rendition Chipper and Mason Brown did of "Oh Death" at one of the early Thirsty Ear Festivals. This was before O Brother Where Art Thou and thusbefore everyone and his duck was doing the song. It also was just shortly after Chipper's wife died.)

But Friday was the first time I'd seen Chipper with a full-blown electric rock 'n' roll band. Some of his regular cronys are in the group: Kim Treiber, playing bass and Don Richmond on fiddle and a bunch of other instruments. Plus he had another guitarist, a keyboard player (who also is a fne background vocalist) and drums.

The electric arrangements do real justice to Chipper's backwood stomps. They played the songs that first made me love Chipper's music -- "If I'm To Blame" and "Rainwater Bottle." Robin the keyboard player amazed and delighted with her background vocals on "Will You Let Me Stay With You?" And "Steel Vines" just plained rocked.

Chipper, rightfully, mainly does originals. But the few covers he did were inspired. There was a flawless "All Things Must Pass" (somewhere in the Universe, George Harrison was smiling) and a fun run through of Del Shannon's "Runaway." (Chipper's voice hit nearly all the high notes during the "wah wah wah wah wonder" refrain.)

But best of all was the Tex Mex version of the bluegrass classic "Rank Strangers." Chipper introduced the song talking about the plight of Mexican immigrants. The arrangement reminded me of The Mekons' Fear and Whiskey period. The Feast version of this song would make Jon Langford extremely jealous.

First full day of the festival is only hours away ...


Laurell Reynolds substituted for me on The SF Opry Tonight so I could go to the Thirsty Ear Festival.

She e-mailed me her playlist:

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
BJ Thomas-Raindrops Keep Fallin On My Head
Elvis Presley-Don't Cry Daddy
Jerry Reed-Guitar Man
Stephen Terrell-Solar Broken Home
Neil Young-Here We Are In the Years
-Lookin For a Leader
Jannette & Joe Carter-Through the Eyes Of an Eagle
John Denver-The Eagle and the Hawk

Merle Haggard-I'm Gonna Break Every Heart I Can
Roseanne Cash-Lovin Him Was Easier...
Hank Williams-Men With Broken Hearts
Tarnation-Yellow Birds
Eleni Mandell-Don't Touch Me
Hazard County Girls-Knoxville Boy
Neko Case-Set Out Runnin'

Johnny Cash-You Wild Colorado
John Prine-Some Humans Ain't Human
Billy Joe Shaver-Live Forever
Iron & Wine-Naked As We Came
Tom Rush-No Regrets
Linda Ronstadt-Go Away From My Window

Pete Seeger-Black Is the Color
Ian Campbell Folk Group-Liverpool Lullaby
Cordelia's Dad-Three Babes
Clarence 'Tom' Ashley-Coo Coo Bird
Fred Cockerham-Little Maggie
Dirk Powell-The Keys To the Kingdom
Lizzie Miles-I Hate A Man Like You
Sippie Wallace-I'm A Mighty Tight Woman
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Friday, September 01, 2006


Robert Christgau, the dean of American rock critics has been fired by the evil corporate Huns at The Village Voice. He had been at the paper for 30 some years.

Writes Christgau:

We both believed I had won myself some kind of niche as gray
eminence. So I was surprised Tuesday when I was among the eight Voice employees (five editorial, three art) who were instructed to bring their union reps to a meeting with upper management today. But I certainly wasn't shocked--my approach to music coverage has neverbeen much like that of the New Times papers.

Read more HERE and HERE.


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