Friday, February 29, 2008


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 29, 2008

Yes, they’re “retro.” Yes, they’ve been plowing a lot of the same ground since they first took the stage at CBGB in New York’s Bowery more than 30 years ago. And no, I’m not the first in criticdom to compare “First Date (Are You Coming On to Me?)” with the music of the Dave Clark Five.

But The Fleshtones, on their new album, Take a Good Look, attack their music with such strength, confidence, energy, and rock ’n’ roll joy that such reservations seem uptight and prissy.

Besides, I love the Dave Clark Five, so if “First Date” evokes fond memories of the DC5 version of “I Like It Like That,” it’s nothing but a plus. It makes me glad all over.

If you can’t name any hits by The Fleshtones, that’s because they never had any. Though mainstream success has eluded the members of this New York band for decades, their history is impressive.

Starting out in Queens in the mid-1970s, singer, harmonica blower, and keyboard man Peter Zaremba and guitarist Keith Streng took Nuggets-era fuzz tone and the Farfisa organ — which by that point in history had been missing in action for years and presumed dead — played it with punk-snot intensity, and created a signature sound they called “Super Rock.”

The Fleshtones lineup has stayed fairly steady all these years. Drummer Bill Milhizer has been with the group since 1980, while bassist Ken Fox joined in 1990. Though they’ve never been on the Billboard charts, The Fleshtones are the subject of a recent book, Sweat: The Story of The Fleshtones, America’s Garage Band.

Take a Good Look is full of songs that will fit naturally into The Fleshtones’ Super Rock repertoire. “Shiney Hiney” is raw defiance. “Ruby’s Old Time” is hot fun in the summertime. “Never Grew Up” is a pounding ode to extended adolescence.

Perhaps taking a cue from The Hives, “Jet Set Fleshtones” is a self-referential jewel. Built on an easy soul groove with a rumbling, fuzzy bass line, the song is an anthem for a traveling band.

“Going Back to School,” a nice plug for continuing education, reminds me a little of James Brown’s “Don’t Be a Drop Out.” However, The Fleshtones have the weird ability to take a socially responsible stance and make it sound menacing:

“When I go back to school/All the students gonna look at me /They’re
gonna wonder what I’m doing there/I got a lot to learn, so I don’t

Somehow you get the feeling that if these guys really went back to school, they’d still be juvenile delinquents.

Likewise, “Love Yourself” might sound like pop-psych pablum in the hands of lesser mortals. But this band makes self-respect sound tough and bitchin’.

One track shows a slight detour from the basic Fleshtones sound. “This Time Josephine” features a prominent acoustic guitar with Zaremba’s Farfisa-supplied Texy-Mexy fills (think The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer”). The song has an early-’70s Kinks feel to it.

But the most impressive tune is the title song, which ends the album. It’s an organ-dominated “talking song” that sounds like a mutant grandson of The Standells' Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White.” It’s a protest song against “a time when ugliness rules”; gentrification; “hipster overspill”; and some “tattoo-covered, goatee-, sock-hat-wearin’ ” jerk who’s trying to move in on the singer’s girlfriend. The song ends with Zaremba screaming as the band plays on.

This is a short album by modern standards — just over a half-hour. But it packs a super punch.

Also recommended:
* Two Headed Cow by Flat Duo Jets. A decade before the world heard of The White Stripes or The Black Keys, there was a loud, rowdy, blues-screamin’ duo from North Carolina called the Flat Duo Jets. With Dexter Romweber on guitar and vocals and Chris “Crow” Smith on drums, FDJ stripped rock ’n’ roll down to its basics.

The band broke up before the end of the last century, but just last year it was the subject of a documentary. This CD, released earlier this month, is a companion to that film. It’s a live show from 1986, but it sounds like it couln made in 1956 or last week.

“These are the damnedest people,” an unidentified announcer says in introducing the group. “You’ll have more sound coming off this stage than for any two people you’ll ever see in your life.”

Romweber and Smith immediately set out to prove him right. Kicking off the show with “Hoy Hoy,” a rockabilly workout originally done by The Collins Kids, the Jets set a dangerous energy level. (I have to say, however, I like the original much better. Take a look at the video below.)

Lots of songs here are familiar. The FDJ put a toughness into “Frog Went a Courtin’” that Burl Ives never imagined. And while Romweber is no match for Link Wray, this version of “Rawhide” is a spirited workout.

The group even pays tribute to the pride of Raton, The Fireballs, with a crazy, hopped-up rendition of the older group’s instrumental hit “Torquay.” The Jets prove they can do it slow and purdy too. “Burning Bridges” is a nice country ballad that finishes the set.

I didn’t pay much mind to this group when they were around. But this record makes me miss them.

Blog bonus:

Now dig those crazy Collins Kids!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Gov. Bill Richardson, as a presidential candidate, had a joke I heard him tell at least a couple of times in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Talking about international summits, Richardson would quip, something to the effect of that world leaders would always come out of sessions and say, "we have just had a very productive meeting." To which candidate Richardson would add, "By the way, I’ve been in those meetings. When diplomats say they had a productive meeting it, means it didn't go very well."

The line always got lots of laughs.

A few minutes ago I received this e-mail from the Governor's Office following his session with state Senate leaders:

“We had a productive meeting and agreed to wait until this summer to hold a special session,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “We also agreed to form bipartisan, executive-legislative working groups that will develop consensus on all of the key areas of a universal health coverage plan.

“We all want a productive special session that results in affordable access to health care,” Governor Richardson said.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 28, 2008

Gov. Bill Richardson remained coy Wednesday when asked at a news conference whether he’ll endorse a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Endorsements by politicians don’t make any difference, never have,” he told members of the Roundhouse press corps. “I may wake up and decide to endorse. I’m a retired national politician now. I’m the governor of New Mexico. I love my job.”

That “retired national politician” line refers to his dropping out of contention for the presidential nomination in January after humiliating showings in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

He then added he’ll probably decide by the end of the week whether he’ll make an endorsement, and if so, whom.

Asked when he had last been called by Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, Richardson replied, “Today. We talked today.”

So apparently some people think endorsements by other politicians are important. Of course, Clinton and Obama also might be courting Richardson’s support as a superdelegate to the Democratic national convention.

I agree with Richardson’s statement about endorsements by politicians not making much difference among voters. But Richardson has dragged this endorsement deal out for a long time. And the longer Richardson waits to endorse, the more that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Next Tuesday could be the day of reckoning for the candidates with the Texas and Ohio primaries. Many people, including former President Clinton, have said it will be a do-or-die day for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign. If she loses those primaries to Obama, it would be hard for her to hobble on.

On one hand, Richardson probably wishes this endorsement talk would go away. Richardson owes a big chunk of his much-touted résumé to Bill Clinton.

As a longtime New Mexico Democratic politician told me recently, “If Richardson endorses Obama, that would make him one of the most ungrateful SOBs in the world.” But he might be reluctant to endorse Sen. Clinton as long as the momentum seems to be going in Obama’s direction.

Fascination: On the other hand, Richardson must be loving all the attention.

On Wednesday he told the local media, “I don’t know why you’re so fascinated with this,” referring to the endorsement question.

Tuesday night, the retired national politician talked to a fascinated Wolf Blitzer on CNN about a possible endorsement and why he hasn’t made one yet. “I’m just not trying to be cute,” he said. “I just have felt that an endorsement by me, I don’t think it is that significant. But I still might do it.”

On Wednesday, columnist Al Kamen of The Washington Post wrote, “New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., may have dropped out of the race, but old habits die hard. So when he was spotted this week having coffee at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, he quickly accepted an invitation ... to wander over to a table of foreign affairs reporters who were interviewing a top European diplomat.

Kamen said an “impromptu mini-press conference” commenced when Richardson arrived at the table. Richardson “said he had not decided between Obama and Clinton, but ‘I might soon.’ ”

Richardson, Kamen said, “declined to say whether his endorsement would come before Tuesday, or later, when it would be meaningless. ‘I’m a Renaissance man now. I don’t have to answer this anymore.’ ”

Let me be your Teddy bear: Richardson also was featured this weekend in a rather gushing story in The New York Times by reporter Mark Liebovich, who called the governor a “generally beloved teddy bear among party insiders, if not by the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire. ”

The writer might have added “or by members of the New Mexico state Senate.”

Richardson laughed but refused to answer a question by a reporter (not me) wanting to know if he considered himself a beloved teddy bear.

The Richardson quote that fascinated me the most in the Times story was the obligatory vice president question. “Yes, he admits thinking about being someone’s running mate, or maybe secretary of state,” Liebovich wrote. “I can’t preclude it,” the 60-year-old governor said. “But I’m not pining for it, and if it doesn’t happen, I’ve had a great life. I’m at peace with myself.”

I’ve had a great life? That has a weird ring of finality.

Freudian slip: On Wednesday, when answering a question about what kind of health care bill he’d support in a special session of the state Legislature, Richardson said he wants the bill he outlined in his “State of the Union Address.”

The “State of the Union,” of course, is the president’s annual address to a joint session of Congress. Out here in New Mexico, the governor gives the Legislature a “State of the State Address.”

Monday, February 25, 2008


Yes, I finally joined. See my page HERE.

Not sure what I think -- basically so far it seems like a slightly more adult MySpace.

There's still a lot of goofy stuff. I added some music and a photo album of weird jpgs that happened to be on my computer. And I had a couple of Bevis-and-Butthead moments with the "Poke" feature. (As Julio and Willie would sing, "To all the girls I've poked before ...")

Just what I need -- another Internet time-waster. But if you're on Facebook, look me up. Be my friend.


My pal George Adelo is the only pal I have who was in a movie that won the Academy Award for best picture.

No Country for Old Men was shot in New Mexico.

George was shot in the shower.

Check out this KOAT report.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Sunday, February 24, 2008
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
Celluloid Heroes by The Kinks
Tinseltown Rebellion by Frank Zappa
New Age by The Velvet Underground
Act Naturally by Buck Owens & Ringo Starr
Burn, Hollywood, Burn by Public Enemy
My Beloved Movie Star by Stan Ridgway
No Business Like Show Business by Ethel Merman

Tijuana Affair by Manic Hispanic
Baby Please Don't Go by The Amboy Dukes
Elevator Ride by The Chesterfield Kings
Shiney Hiney by The Fleshtones
Frog Went a Courtin' by The Flat Duo Jets
Talk Talk by The Music Machine
Black September by Dead Moon
If You Can Want by The Dirtbombs
Empty Heart by Thee Midnighters

Detroit by Paul Humphreys & His Cool Aid Chemists
Scoobe by U.S. Navy Port Authority Soul Band
Dap Walk by Ernie & The Top Notes Inc.
Problems by Lee Fields
Night Fishin' by Bobby Rush
The Kick by The Rhythm Machine
Fish Head by Slim & The Soulful Saints
The Funky Buzzard by James Bell & The Turner Brothers

Who Will Lead Us by The Gutter Twins
Thela Hun Ginjeet by Les Claypool's Frog Brigade
Roq by Cankisou
Tiger Phone Card by Dengue Fever
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Friday, February 22, 2008
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

Now Simulcasting 90.7 FM, and our new, stronger signal, 101.1 FM
e-mail me during the show!

Pre-show warm-up: Pink Burrito by R. Crumb & His Cheap Suite Serenaders

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
No Depression by Uncle Tupelo
How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live by Tim O'Brien
The Death of Country Music by The Waco Brothers
Keep Your Hands to Yourself by The Georgia Satellites
Rockin' Country Cat by Ronnie Dawson
Sunset on the Rio Grande by The Border Blasters with Ponty Bone
The Governor by James McMurtry
Hell or High Water by Hundred Year Flood

No School Bus in Heaven by The Stanley Brothers
Little Pink Mac by Kay Adams
Jake Head Boogie by Lightnin' Hopkins
Four on the Floor (and a Fifth Under the Seat) by Trooper Jim Foster
Hippie From Mississippi by Chesley Carroll
I've Got a Tangled Mind by Hank Snow
I'm Tired of You, Satan by Pat & Keith Wayne
Vampira by Bobby Bare
Sitar Pickin' Man by Bobby Zhem
I'm Only Seventeen by Red Sovine

(Music I reviewed and people I've written about in No Depression.)
Wild Geese by Bill & Bonnie Hearne
Back to the Wild Side by Neil Mooney
Mutant Daddy by Flathead
High Noon in Killville by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
Billy's First Ex Wife by Ronny Elliott
It's No Secret by Mose McCormack
I Hate CDs by The Legendary Stardust Cowboy

Terminally Trendy by Emily Kaitz
Texas Eyes by Cornell Hurd
How Lew Sin Ate by Dr. West's Medicine Show & Junk Band
Ain't No Top 40 Song by Terry Allen
Old Friend by Loudon Wainwright III

No Depression in Heaven by The Carter Family
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 22, 2008


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 22, 2008

It’s been nearly a year since I surveyed my favorite audio blogs in this column. So let’s look at some sites where you can find all sorts of amazing, rare, mostly obscure sounds for free.

* Licorice Pizza: This is a fun blog with a wide variety of stuff maintained by a guy called “aikin” from Miami. It’s a little more mainstream than some of the bizarre musical corners I’m drawn to, but there are some great MP3s here.
Amy, what you wanna do?
Among my finds is a series of live Amy Winehouse tracks (not the ones posted after her Grammy wins. These are from a December post featuring songs from Amy’s July appearance at the iTunes Festival in London.) There are some cool Lightning Hopkins songs, a live version of Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and demos from The Who’s Who Are You sessions and The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street sessions (I downloaded a poor-quality demo of “Sweet Virginia.”).

But the MP3 from this site I’m fondest of lately is an acoustic mariachi version of “Conquest” by The White Stripes.

* Music for Maniacs: “The Web’s longest-running strange-music blog! Dedicated to extremes in music and utterly unique sounds.” This creation of North Hollywood blogger “Mr. Fab” lives up to its hype.

Recently MFM has featured a section of “car tunes.” No, not songs about cars. This is music made by people using various auto parts. A musician named Wendy Chambers invented a car-horn organ (“25 car horns operated by a homemade keyboard and powered by a car battery charger”) on which she plays “The Star Spangled Banner” and “New York, New York.” And there are bands like The Car Music Project and The La Drivers Union Por Por Group, a group of Ghanaian cab drivers who play instruments made from squeeze-bulb horns and other parts of their vehicles.
It's raining men.
This blog seems perversely fond of crimes against music by “Golden Throat” Republican politicians. You can find John Ashcroft’s classic “Let the Eagle Soar” (the sound quality is as awful as the song), some patriotic grandiosity by Sen. Orrin Hatch, and even a disco exercise song by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Talking over “It’s Raining Men,” an old tune by The Weather Girls, the governor of California leads a series of workouts. (“Now remember, this is one of my favorite exercises that made me blast my biceps up to 22 inches.”)

There’s a tribute to early electronic-music meister Mort Garson, who died last month. His soundtrack work for the 1972 film Son of Blob (also known as Beware! The Blob) is a triumph of the human spirit.

And there’s a tacky-tune tribute to the late Evel Knievel. In a song that only could be described as garage-disco, the singer Eddie Carr asks, “Is he a man like you and I?/Does he have wings/How can he fly?”

* Flea Market Funk: In my previous column on music blogs, I praised a great funk/soul site called Funky 16 Corners. Flea Market Funk, created by DJ Prestige aka Jamison Harvey, isn’t quite as good, but it’s a great source for obscure funk MP3s.
Paul Humphrey
Some of my favorite recent posts include songs by the United States Navy Port Authority Soul Band (not bad for government work), the easy groovin’ “Detroit” by drummer Paul Humphrey & His Cool Aid Chemists (Humphrey played on Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”), and the “fuzzed, out wah-wah funk” of an unjustly unknown band The Sound Experience. Check their song “Don’t Fight the Feeling.”

The site’s “Eye Candy” section features YouTube clips of some the artists featured here, plus a selection of podcasts by DJ Prestige.

* WFMU Beware of the Blog: The official blog of this influential independent New York radio station offers a healthy collection of MP3s that are fun and even educational.

Some of my favorite recent offerings have been the themed posts.
A sensitive portrayal of mental illness
There’s a selection of “Loony Tunes for Kooky Times,” 21 MP3s of songs about going insane. Some of my favorites are here: Napoleon XIV’s “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Haaa!,” Porter Wagoner’s “The Rubber Room,” “Insane Asylum” by Willie Dixon & Koko Taylor, and Lenny Bruce’s “Psychopathia Sexualis.” I downloaded “Spasm” by Little Willie John, “I’ve Got a Tangled Mind” by Hank Snow, and the original “Twisted” by Annie Ross. (I like Annie’s better than the Joni Mitchell cover version, though I do miss Cheech & Chong’s cameo on Joni’s.)

There’s also a post of auto-fatality tunes including “No School Bus in Heaven” by The Stanley Brothers, “I’m Only Seventeen” (a maudlin talking song by the king of maudlin talking songs Red Sovine), and several DWI morality tales by Trooper Jim Foster, who was a Florida highway patrol officer.

One of the most original themes I’ve found here is the “Country Fuzz Spectacular” posted last September. While most people think of fuzz-tone guitar in terms of 1960s garage-band rock (“Psychotic Reaction” or anything by Davey Allan & The Arrows) apparently lots of Nashville cats loved the sound in the 1960s. There’s “The Fuzz” by Grady Martin, who accidentally discovered the fuzztone due to some equipment failure during a 1960 Marty Robbins recording session. Also check out “Mississippi Hippie,” an “Okie From Muskogee” parody (reportedly written by Trooper Jim!) but performed by Chesley Carroll, “I’m Tired of You Satan,” some hillbilly gospel fuzz by Pat & Keith Wayne, and “Little Pink Mack,” a truck-driving classic by Kay Adams.

Sometimes it pays to read the comments section. One reader of the “Country Fuzz” post posted a link to an MP3 of a strange little novelty tune called “Sitar Pickin’ Man” by Bobby Zehm.

* Other favorite music blogs: My original column on music blogs — complete with live links— can be found HERE.

He’s a jolly good Fela: My fellow KSFR jock DJ Spinifex is hosting a Fela Kuti-inspired dance party at the Second Street Brewery, 1814 Second St. (982-3030), at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. He’ll be spinning a bunch of Fela Kuti and other related grooves. There will be video projection and live drummers. No cover.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Granted, the state Democratic Party, in the wake of the NM Caucus fiasco, has bigger problems to worry about.

But here's another one.

Apparently on Tuesday afternoon the party sent a news release about Laura Sanchez stepping down as executive director.

The news was posted on a couple of blogs. But the release was not sent to The New Mexican, nor to the Associated Press. I can't speak for The Albuquerque Journal, but seeing that they didn't have the story until today, I'm assuming they didn't get the release on Tuesday either.

I probably spend too much time reading blogs at work, but because I was working on two stories Tuesday afternoon, I neglected my Internet patrol.

I spoke to new interim executive director Josh Geise yesterday. He wasn't sure what the problem was but assured me we'll be on the list for future news releases.

That's a start.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 21, 2008

During the recently concluded legislative session, I reported how legislators’ social calendars remain filled with big parties and expensive meals on the lobbyists’ dime, despite a law aimed at restricting gifts to lawmakers.

Required reports filed by lobbyists showed some spent more than $20,000 of their clients’ money on huge receptions. (In fairness, the $20,000 affairs tend to be thrown by business organizations such as auto dealers or mining company executives. So much of the expense is for food and drink consumed by members of the associations, not just the invited politicians.)

There is, of course, nothing illegal about throwing parties or hosting dinners for elected officials. And nobody claims any votes were bought or sold in exchange for a fancy meal at a downtown restaurant or cocktails at some reception. Sometimes the lobbyist paying the tab won’t even have any bills pending before the committee whose dinner he buys.

Both lobbyists and lawmakers will tell you these gatherings are just to “build relationships,” opportunities for the lobbyists, and sometimes their clients, to get to know legislators in a relaxed environment.

Some say it even creates a feeling of “family” at the Capitol. Longtime lobbyists hold a special place of honor in the Roundhouse family. They are considered the wise elders who have seen it all before and know what can and can’t be done. Indeed, as one lawmaker pointed out, lobbyists tend to stick around longer than legislators. And many are former legislators, making the big step from eating free meals to buying the meals.

“There are some lobbyists I go to for advice on how to get things done, not because of who they represent or what bills they’re backing, but just because they were around in 1978 and have seen other young-Turk legislators try to make changes,” one senator told me during the past session. “They know which walls you can’t tear down.”

Of course, sometimes it might be in a lobbyist’s interest not to tear down certain walls.

Final lobbyist reports: Under state law, lobbyists are required to report expenses of more than $500 within 48 hours after the event. Last year’s Gift Act restricts gifts — including food and drink — to no more than $250 per legislator.

It’s the lobbyists — not the lawmakers — who have to file reports.

Here’s what was in what should be the last batch of the “48-hour” reports for the regular session:

* The 100th Bill Party, held Feb. 8 at La Fonda, featured the music of Darren Cordova. The event has become one of the biggest annual soirees for legislators. The party is sponsored by whoever introduced the 100th bill of the session in the House and the Senate. This year, the “winners” were House Majority Leader Ken Martinez, D-Grants, and Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque. But the lawmakers don’t pay for the party — at least not all of it. According to lobbyist reports, Natasha Ning, a lobbyist for the city of Albuquerque and several other clients, spent $5,000 on the party while Vanessa Alarid, a lobbyist for Sun Cal Management, pitched in $1,500 and Reese Edwards, a lobbyist for Butch Maki & Associates and clients including Forest City Covington and Westland Devco, kicked in $1,000.

* Bob Gallagher, president of the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, spent $3,013 on a dinner for the House Education Committee at Eldorado Hotel’s Old House restaurant Feb. 11.

* Roman Maes, on behalf of his clients Microsoft and Partners in Learning, spent $2,044 for a legislative reception on Feb. 5 at the Rio Chama Steakhouse.

* Mark Duran is a lobbyist who represented 15 clients, including the city of Santa Fe; Deloitte Consulting of Austin, Texas; Inx Inc. of Albuquerque; New Mexico Manufactured Housing Association; Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., Trex Enterprises Corp. of San Diego and Uranium Resources Inc. He spent $1,448 for dinner for unnamed senators and staff on Feb. 13, the last night of the Legislature.

* Qwest paid $1,070 to take the Senate Judiciary Committee out to dinner at the Bull Ring on Feb. 6. Attending were Sens. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, and a guest; Richard Martinez, D-Española, and a guest; Bill Payne, R-Albuquerque; Rod Adair, R-Roswell, and a guest; Kent Cravens, R-Albuquerque; Clint Harden, R-Clovis; Lidio Rainaldi, D-Gallup; and Feldman.

* Paul Gutierrez of the New Mexico Association of Counties spent $866 treating the Health and Government Affairs Committee to a meal at the Cowgirl BBQ and Western Grill on Feb. 8. Guiterrez said Wednesday that mainly staff members attended.

* Ning also spent $225 for dinner for unnamed House members and staff at Tomasita’s on Feb. 13.

Bang for bucks: It’s not just parties and meals that end up in lobbyist reports. Advertising and other expense reports have to be reported as well.

Steve Allen, executive director of Common Cause, reported spending $7,091 for patching calls directly to legislators from constituents supporting House Bill 564 — which would have expanded the state’s public financing of campaigns.

That bill never even made it to a House floor vote. Maybe next year supporters should consider spending $7,000 on a nice dinner somewhere.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


In Wednesday's New Mexican I had a story about Carol Miller making an independent run for Congress in Congressional District 3. (The headline incorrectly says it's her second run. But if you read the story itself you'll realize it's her third race. Remember, gentle readers, reporters don't write the headlines.)

You'll find that HERE.

I also did a story about two of the state's Democratic "superdelegates" getting campaign contributions from presidential candidates, whose fate they might decide this summer. Spoiler alert: Gov. Bill Richardson got $5,000 from Hillary Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton got $4,200 from Barack Obama. That story is HERE.

I also had a couple of pieces in Tuesday's paper.

One is about Secretary of State Mary Herrera saying she won't personally appear in public service announcements -- a practice that has brought criticism for her predecessor Rebecca Vigil-Giron and others. (Click HERE).

The other is about state Dem Chairman Brian Colon saying he'll investigate why the voter rolls used in the recent state Democratic Caucus had so many omissions and errors. That one is HERE.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


This is really sad. I just received word that No Depression magazine will cease to publish after its May-June issue.

No Depression started out as an "alternative country" publication back in the mid-90s, but evolved into a magazine that covers lots of great American music -- traditional country, rock, blues, soul, gospel -- even a couple of stabs at commerical country, which was unsurprisingly controversial among its readership.

Although I hadn't contributed anything to ND in the past few years, for a period of three or four years I had something in almost every issue. I've always been proud of my association with No Depression.

(The image on the left -- featuring Brian Henneman of the Bottle Rockets and Rhett Miller of the Old 97s -- is the cover of the May/June 1997 issue, the first one that carried my work -- a review of a Bill & Bonnie Hearne album.)

Here's the official press release:

No Depression, the bimonthly magazine covering a broad range of American roots music since 1995, will bring to an end its print publication with its 75th issue in May-June 2008.

Plans to expand the publication’s website ( with additional content will move forward, though it will in no way replace the print edition.

The magazine’s March-April issue, currently en route to subscribers and stores, includes the following note from publishers Grant Alden, Peter Blackstock and Kyla Fairchild as its Page 2 “Hello Stranger” column:

Barring the intercession of unknown angels, you hold in your hands the next-to-the-last edition of No Depression we will publish. It is difficult even to type those words, so please know that we have not come lightly to this decision.

In the thirteen years since we began plotting and publishing No Depression, we have taken pride not only in the quality of the work we were able to offer our readers, but in the way we insisted upon doing business. We have never inflated our numbers; we have always paid our bills (and, especially, our freelancers) on time. And we have always tried our best to tell the truth.

First things, then: If you have a subscription to ND, please know that we will do our very best to take care of you. We will be negotiating with a handful of magazines who may be interested in fulfulling your subscription. That is the best we can do under the circumstances.

Those circumstances are both complicated and painfully simple. The simple answer is that advertising revenue in this issue is 64% of what it was for our March- April issue just two years ago. We expect that number to continue to decline.

The longer answer involves not simply the well-documented and industrywide reduction in print advertising, but the precipitous fall of the music industry. As a niche publication, ND is well insulated from reductions in, say, GM’s print advertising budget; our size meant they weren’t going to buy space in our pages, regardless.

On the other hand, because we’re a niche title we are dependent upon advertisers who have a specific reason to reach our audience. That is: record labels. We, like many of our friends and competitors, are dependent upon advertising from the community we serve.

That community is, as they say, in transition. In this evolving downloadable world, what a record label is and does is all up to question. What is irrefutable is that their advertising budgets are drastically reduced, for reasons we well understand. It seems clear at this point that whatever businesses evolve to replace (or transform) record labels will have much less need to advertise in print.

The decline of brick and mortar music retail means we have fewer newsstands on which to sell our magazine, and small labels have fewer venues that might embrace and hand-sell their music. Ditto for independent bookstores. Paper manufacturers have consolidated and begun closing mills to cut production; we’ve been told to expect three price increases in 2008. Last year there was a shift in postal regulations, written by and for big publishers, which shifted costs down to smaller publishers whose economies of scale are unable to take advantage of advanced sorting techniques.

Then there’s the economy…

The cumulative toll of those forces makes it increasingly difficult for all small magazines to survive. Whatever the potentials of the web, it cannot be good for our democracy to see independent voices further marginalized. But that’s what’s happening. The big money on the web is being made, not surprisingly, primarily by big businesses.

ND has never been a big business. It was started with a $2,000 loan from Peter’s savings account (the only monetary investment ever provided, or sought by, the magazine). We have five more or less full-time employees, including we three who own the magazine. We have always worked from spare bedrooms and drawn what seemed modest salaries.

What makes this especially painful and particularly frustrating is that our readership has not significantly declined, our newsstand sell-through remains among the best in our portion of the industry, and our passion for and pleasure in the music has in no way diminished. We still have shelves full of first-rate music we’d love to tell you about.

And we have taken great pride in being one of the last bastions of the long-form article, despite the received wisdom throughout publishing that shorter is better. We were particularly gratified to be nominated for our third Utne award last year.

Our cards are now on the table.

Though we will do this at greater length next issue, we should like particularly to thank the advertisers who have stuck with us these many years; the writers, illustrators, and photographers who have worked for far less than they’re worth; and our readers: You.

Thank you all. It has been our great joy to serve you.

No Depression published its first issue in September 1995 (with Son Volt on the cover) and continued quarterly for its first year, switching to bimonthly in September 1996. ND received an Utne Magazine Award for Arts & Literature Coverage in 2001 and has been nominated for the award several times (including in 2007). The Chicago Tribune ranked No Depression #20 in its 2004 list of the nation’s Top 50 magazines of any kind.

Artists who have appeared on the cover of No Depression over the years include Johnny Cash (2002), Wilco (1996), Willie Nelson (2004), Ryan Adams’ seminal band Whiskeytown (1997), the Drive-By Truckers (2003), Ralph Stanley (1998), Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint (2006), Gillian Welch (2001), Lyle Lovett (2003), Porter Wagoner (2007), and Alejandro Escovedo (1998, as Artist of the Decade).

Monday, February 18, 2008


Gov. Bill Richardson, talking to reporters in a Capitol hallway earlier this evening, said he thinks he'll have an announcement about a special session by the end of the week.

He gave no indication as to what that decision might be.

Heath's weekly poll this week is whether there SHOULD be a special session. As of a few minutes ago, it was running 3-1 against.


Thanks to Walt for pointing out to me that Dolly Parton has cancelled her South by Southwest appearance next month -- as well as the rest of her North American tour.

According to Reuters:

Parton, 62, said on Monday she would postpone her upcoming North American tour after doctors told her to take it easy for six to eight weeks to rest her sore back.
"Hey, you try wagging these puppies around a while and see if you don't have back problems," the folksy singer-songwriter said in a statement.

My original SXSW '08 post is HERE.


Sunday, February 17, 2008
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
Leave the Capitol by The Fall
No Confidence by Simon Stokes
Memphis, Egypt by The Sadies with Jon Langford
Jet Set Fleshtones by The Fleshtones
D'accord Tony D'accord by Tony Truant with The Fleshtones
Golden Strings by Flat Duo Jets
El Kabong by The A-Bones
Oceans of Venus by Dengue Fever
Treat Me Like a Dog by The King Khan & BBQ Show

16 Candles by The Crests
Only 16 by Sam Cooke
You're 16 (You're Beautiful and You're Mine) by Ringo Starr
I'm 16 by Ros Sereysothea
Livin' on the 16 Shadows by The Gimmes
Fifteen by Big Daddy Meatstraw
Foolkiller by Johnny Rivers
Spasms by Little Willie John

Young Man Blues by The Who
Exploder by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Texas by Boss Hog
Dirty Action by Texas Terri Bomb
Astral Plane by The Rockin' Guys
Mojo Man from Mars by The Cramps
I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night by The Electric Prunes
Incense & Peppermints by The Strawberry Alarm Clock
Journey to the Center of the Mind by The Amboy Dukes

The Stations by The Gutter Twins
Me and Mr. Jones by Amy Winehouse
Me and Mrs. Jones by Billy Paul
I'm Not Satisfied by Ruben & The Jets
Steal Away by Carla Bozulich
Baby by Os Mutantes
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Friday, February 15, 2008
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Red Brick Wall by The Waco Brothers
Tore Up Junction by Arty Hill & The Long Gone Daddies
Endless Sleep by Tav Falco
Kung Fu Cowboy by Alan Vega
Devil Girl by Jody Reynolds
Just Us Kids by James McMurtry
Let's Waste Another Evening by Josh Lederman & Los Diablos
Help Me Make It Through the Night by Jon Langford & Chip Taylor
The Real Thing by Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez

Cool and Dark Inside by Kell Robertson
Live in the Studio: Kell Robertson & Blonde Boy Grunt
Mad Love/She Knows the Words to the Song by BBG
It Hurts Me Too/Drinkin' Wine Spodee Odee by KR
Roll My Blues Away by BBG
'Cause I'm Crazy by Kell
(end live set)

Hoboin'/You Rock by Blonde Boy Grunt & The Groans
Big Daddy by Dewey Cox
You've Got To Take Care of Yourself by The Cornell Hurd Band
You Comb Her Hair by George Jones
Let's Run Away by Jesse Dayton & Brennen Leigh
Cajun Joe (The Bully of the Bayou) by Doug & Rusty Kershaw
Conquest by The White Stripes
Walker by The Santa Fe All Stars
Truly by Hundred Year Flood

Touching Home by Jerry Lee Lewis
Down to My Last Dime by Johnny Paycheck
Homewrecker by Grey DeLisle
Gamblin' House by Malcom Holcolmbe
Lean on Me by Michael Hurley
Out in the Parking Lot by Guy Clark
Monument Valley by Drive-By Truckers
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 15, 2008


For those of you interested in hearing my own tacky tunes, I've installed these nifty Soundclick players on My MySpace page.

There's my own stuff plus those wild Covelle Brothers from Moscow, Idaho, THE WINKING TIKIS. I won their contract in a poker game with a group of dogs, so I guess I'm their manager.

I'll stick the players here just for giggles.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 15, 2008

Cornell Hurd, one of Austin’s premier purveyors of fine honky-tonk sounds, is so prolific it’s hard to keep up with all The Cornell Hurd Band albums he releases. But with his most recent, Beyond the Purple Hills, Hurd shows it’s worth the effort to try.
Like most of his records, Purple Hills is an impressive collection of two-steppers, carrying on the musical traditions of Ernest Tubb and Ray Price and infused with Hurd’s twisted sense of humor.

Hurd’s got a great country band; most of the musicians play regularly with him at his weekly gig at Jovita’s restaurant in Austin. (They rarely play outside the Austin area.) Among the members are Paul Skelton on lead guitar, Howard Kalish on fiddle, Lisa Pankrantz on drums, and Blackie White — sometimes called “the Sexsational Blackie White,” and also known as graphic artist Guy Juke — on rhythm guitar. And, as always, this album has an impressive array of cronies and guest performers, including singers Johnny Bush, Justin Trevino (both of whom are semiregulars), and Maryann Price, a former Lickette with Dan Hicks.

Among this CD’s highlights are “I Can’t Help Being Cool,” in which Hurd starts off singing, “I’ll wear petroleum products in my hair if I want/When I get involved I remain nonchalant”; and the bluesy “You’ve Got to Take Care of Yourself,” featuring baritone vocals by tenor saxman Del Puschert and White. Then there’s “Mom’s Tattoo,” on which Hurd swaps lines with Bush.

The title song is an instrumental that sounds like a theme to some epic Western like The Magnificent Seven. The liner notes, however, say it originally was titled “Come in Krypton” and came from “a vivid dream I had about a musical being rehearsed in Peggy Ashton’s garage.”
Cornell Hurd
Well, there you go.

Hurd writes nearly all the songs, but he always includes some good covers. Here he does “Never Going Back (to Nashville),” a Lovin’ Spoonful tune written by the late John Stewart, and a jazzy little Moon Mullican song called “Moon’s Rock.”

You might say the last song, “Del’s Metal Moment,” transcends the honky-tonk. With Hurd’s sons Vance and Casey Hurd on guitars and Puschert on sax, it’s supposed to be a “heavy-metal” piece, but it actually sounds closer to drag-strip grind.

That’s Cornell for you. He dependably delivers fine country music but loves to throw a curveball every now and then.

Other country albums I’ve been enjoying in recent weeks:

* Holdin’ Our Own and Other Country Gold Duets by Jesse Dayton & Brennen Leigh. This has the feel of a tribute album — celebrating George & Tammy, Conway & Loretta, Johnny & June, Porter & Dolly, Gram & Emmylou, Dewey & Darlene, and other great male-female combos. However, the majority of the 12 songs are written by Dayton — they’re not classic country songs; they just sound that way.

Dayton is not well known. He’s young-looking, though his résumé is pretty impressive, having played with the likes of Ray Price and Waylon Jennings. He has a twisted side, too. He played with thersuckers on their country album Must’ve Been High. And he was commissioned by Rob Zombie to write and record tunes — like “I’m at Home Getting Hammered (While She’s Out Getting Nailed)” — for the faux band Banjo and Sullivan in conjunction with the filmmaker’s slasher extravaganza The Devil’s Rejects.

Leigh, on the other hand, comes from the world of bluegrass. She sounds especially at home on “Somethin’ Somebody Said,” a high-speed, banjo-driven rouser.

The opening song, “Let’s Run Away,” is an up-tempo country-rocker that would have been at home on Southern Culture on the Skids’ recent Countrypolitan Favorites album. “We Hung the Moon” sounds like a Roy Orbison tune. Meanwhile, Cornell Hurd probably wishes he had written “Two-Step Program.”

To be sure, there are several “country gold” songs here: “Brand New Heartache,” “Somethin’ to Brag About,” “Take Me,” “Long-Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man,” and “Back-Street Affair.” That one’s best known as a Webb Pierce weeper, but Jesse and Brennan apparently are following the Conway and Loretta version that graced their classic duet album, Lead Me On.

On that song, as well as the other covers, Dayton and Leigh treat the material with respect but don’t stoop to blatant imitation. All these songs sound familiar yet fresh.

* Live From the Ruhr Triennale by Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez. Speaking of fine country duets, Taylor and Rodriguez have been making some wonderful music together for several years, releasing three studio albums since 2002. Here the two play a 2005 festival in Germany with a band that includes guitarist Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz on steel guitar and Buddy Miller making a guest guitar appearance.

Taylor is best known for writing two huge hits of yesteryear — The Troggs’ sludge-rock classic “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” which was made famous by folk popster Merrilee Rush in the ’60s and later by urban cowgirl Juice Newton. “Angel” was extremely controversial when first released. It’s about premarital sex nobody dies or gets pregnant!

But even though those songs are old enough to run for president, Taylor, in recent years, has written some fine, not very well-known tunes. Some of those, like the aching “Must Be the Whiskey,” the mournful “Let’s Leave This Town,” and the rocking “Laredo,” are included here.
Unfortunately Taylor and Rodriguez spend too much time on way-too-familiar cover songs — Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene,” Merle Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again,” and Johnny Cash’s “Big River” and “The Long Black Veil.” Their versions are listenable but offer little in the way of new revelation.

I’m happy that the duo has included Taylor’s golden oldie hits — especially “Angel.” I’ll take Rodriguez’s slightly hoarse but undeniably sexy drawl over Rush’s or Newton’s voice any day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 14, 2008

Gov. Bill Richardson said something at a news conference this week that made the ears of every reporter in the room perk up:

“I invite anybody to test whether Bill Richardson is a lame duck. I’ve got possibly three more years here. Everybody who wants to test if I’m a lame duck, please proceed. I’d be very interested in facing that challenge.”

He might not be a lame duck. But he sure sounded like a thin-skinned duck.

No, it wasn’t the “bring-it-on” belligerence of his “challenge” that stuck in the ears of reporters.

It was the “possibly three more years” part.

Even before Richardson announced his presidential campaign early last year, there was widespread speculation he actually was gunning for a slightly lower position in a new Democratic administration in Washington, D.C. Some assumed he was thinking of the vice presidency. Others assumed secretary of state or maybe some troubleshooting ambassador-at-large gig.

Richardson of course consistently brushed off such talk. Aw shucks, I’m flattered, was his basic attitude. When going through the denial ritual on television news shows, he’d always laugh, as if whoever was asking was foolish to even think such silly thoughts.

And — except for a couple of times when he was pressed and admitted, “I never say never” — Richardson inevitably would say if he didn’t win the White House, he’d come back to New Mexico where he’d go back to being governor — “the best job I’ve ever had.”

Sometimes it was “the greatest job in the world.”

But by early this week, the thought of serving out the rest of his elected term as governor was expressed only as a possibility.

This sparked immediate speculation that Richardson might already have something lined up with one of the candidates. The momentum and delegate mathematics at the moment seem to be with Barack Obama, who could use some help with Hispanic voters. Of course, Hillary Clinton can’t be counted out yet, and remember Richardson is her husband’s football-watching buddy.

Or maybe there’s nothing lined up yet. Aides to the governor say both camps constantly call, trying to win the Richardson endorsement. Richardson has more clout within the national Democratic establishment than he does with the general electorate, one staffer said this week.
The night before the New Hampshire primary
And apparently he has more clout with national party honchos than he does with his own Legislature.

By early this week, Richardson’s legislative agenda was in shambles.

Ethics bills are limping toward oblivion. His domestic-partnership legislation was stomped to death in Senate Judiciary.

He said he’d settle for a watered-down version of his health care reform bill — as long as the governor would have the power to appoint the executive director of the proposed new Health Coverage Authority. But the Senate might not be inclined to give him that. By Wednesday night, a fight was brewing over vetoed capital outlay projects.

Richardson threatened to call a special session if he doesn’t get it his way. But there’s no evidence a special session this year would be any less a disaster than the one he forced last year.

Richardson found himself at odds with a Democratic attorney general, who sided with the Legislature over who can accept bills sent to the governor. (The governor in the end, decided not to press that issue, though his staff still insists the governor was right.)

And he’s even in a public spat with an increasingly independent Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who for five years was dependably loyal to him.

Last year, when Richardson was out of state running for president for most of the year, Denish voluntarily gave up the extra pay she earned for serving as acting governor. She did this so the extra expense to the state wouldn’t become an issue that could be used against Richardson. Now Denish says she has been denied state police protection sometimes while serving as acting governor.

So even if Richardson doesn’t have a new job lined up, maybe leaving before his term is up seems like a pleasant possibility.

I’m getting the idea that being governor of New Mexico isn’t the greatest job in the world anymore.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Glancing over the recently posted band list for this year's South by Southwest, here's my initial thoughts:

Lots of old favorites -- Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo, Junior Brown, Petty Booka, Johnette Napolitano -- and of course the mayors of SXSW, those wascally Waco Brothers.

I'm most excited about Eleni Mandell, Half Japanese and Andre Williams, none of whom I've seen before.

Also, Houston mystery man Jandek, who in recent years has come out of hiding and started playing festivals.

I also hope to see Yo La Tengo and My Morning Jacket.

Carla Bozulich is playing with her band Evangelista. Now I don't feel so bad about missing her in Santa Fe that next Sunday.

Thurston Moore is playing, but not Sonic Youth.

Donita Sparks of L7 is playing with what I guess is her new band, The Stellar Moments. (But my heart belongs to Suzy!)

Blue Cheer! I bought Vincebus Eruptum when I was in junior high in the summer of '68.

Dolly Parton!

Although both Iggy Pop and Lou Reed are listed as speakers at the conference, I don't see either listed as performers. Perhaps that will change. I saw them both at SXSW in 1996.

No Panda Bear, but someone or some band named Panda, from Mexico.

There's some real '60s cheese pop: The Cowsills (I've seen Susan Cowsill at SXSW before and she's actually good) and Bob Lind, creator of the "Bright Elusive Butterfly of Love."

80s cheese: Daryl Hall (but no Oates).

Some '90s cheese too: HANSON!

Of personal interest: This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, a Florida band I saw the first (and only) time I ever went to CBGBs.

Also listed is "Abe Vigoda." Maybe there will be guest appearances by Hal Linden and Max Gail and they'll do some old Barny Miller routines.

Of course, there's lots of funny band names. Ringo Deathstarr, Yuppie Pricks (An Austin band I think I've seen listed before), A Place to Bury Strangers, Corn Mo and the .357 Lover, Faceless Werewolves, 17 Hippies, Soiled Mattress & The Springs, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (they're from Springfield, Mo.), Tokyo Sex Destruction (they're from Spain!).

There's the Fuck contingent: Holy Fuck, Fuck Buttons, Fucked Up.

There's some robot bands: Robots in Disguise Droid Attack, Afrobots.

This should be fun.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Sunday, February 10, 2008
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

Now Simulcasting 90.7 FM, and our new, stronger signal, 101.1 FM
email me during the show!

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Meat Man by Jerry Lee Lewis
Don't Slander Me by Roky Erikson
Youth Against Fascism by Sonic Youth
Jailhouse Blues by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
White Sand by Boss Hogg
Trash by New York Dolls
Sonic Reducer by The Dead Boys
I Love Petit Girl by Sinn Sisamouth
Mr. Orange by Dengue Fever
I'll Never Belong by The King Khan & BBQ Show
Live Fast, Die Strong by King Khan & The Crowns

Rapping With Lee by Lee Fields
Let the Music Take Your Mind by The Soul Providers
Jemima Surrender by Howard Tate
Egg Roll by The M & S Band
Mystery of Black by Shades of Black
Your Thing is a Drag by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
They Call it Love by Bettye LaVette

Heaven's Grocery Store by The Dixie Hummingbirds
Stand by Me by The Violinaires
Gospel Train by The Gospel Harmonettes
I'm Willing to Run by The Original Blind Boys of Mississippi
If I Could Hear My Mother Pray by The Staple Singers
Do Lord Send Me by Georgia Peach & Her Gospel Singers
Run All the Way by Mahalia Jackson

Sharkey's Night by Laurie Anderson
I Hear They Smoke the Barbecue by Pere Ubu
Baby, That's The Creeps by Carla Bozulich
A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors by The Hives
Adios, Hermanos by Paul Simon
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Friday, February 8, 2008
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

Now Simulcasting 90.7 FM, and our new, stronger signal, 101.1 FM
email me during the show!

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
I Wanna Be Sedated by Two Tons of Steel
Cajun Stripper by Doug Kershaw
Waco Express by The Waco Brothers
Jockey Full of Bourbon by The Santa Fe All-Stars
Drunk All Around This Town by Scott Miller & The Commonwealth
3 Dimes Down by Drive-By Truckers
Redneck Friend by Dave Alvin
Hot Rod by The Collins Kids

Beatin' Ya Down by Dave Insley
Whiskey and Women and Money to Burn by Joe Ely
Morning Goodness by Robert Earl Keen & Butch Hancock
Angels of the Wind by Terry Allen
Lou's Got the Flu by Roger Miller
Oxycontin Blues by Steve Earle
A Few Extra Kilos by The Gourds
A Prisoner Says His Piece by Donna Jean & The Tricksters
No Swallerin' Place by June Carter

Moonshiner by Uncle Tupelo
(Mama) You Got to Love Your Negro Man by Dewey Cox
Yellow Mama by Dale Watson
Great Train Robbery by Ronny Elliott
Jesse James by The Pogues
O.A. Cargill & The Bandit by Acie Cargill
Jack of Diamonds by P.W. Long
Carve That Possum by Tom, Brad & Alice

Love Me by Elvis Presley
More Than I Can Say by Rosie Ledet
Come a Little Closer by The Last Mile Ramblers
Try Me One More Time by David Bromberg
Wild Bill Donovan by Stan Ridgway
Old Five and Dimers Like Me by Waylon Jennings
Always Life Him Up and Never Knock Him Down by Dwight Diller and John Morris
My Ship Will Sail by Johnny Cash
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, February 08, 2008


* What's For Dinner by The King Khan & BBQ Show. Guitarist King Khan is a Canadian of East Indian descent who has recorded on the Voodoo Rhythm label with a hopped-up soul band called The Shrines. (I was lucky enough to nab the album Three Hairs and You're Mine right before Voodoo Rhythm pulled out of eMusic.) BBQ, aka Mark Sultan, is another Canadian who performs as a one-man garage band (think King Automatic, Bob Log III).

Together these two make spirited, stripped-down lo-fi raunchadelic magic. There's raw Yardsbirds/Count Five rave-ups and primitive blues. But what makes this collaboration special is the sweet doo-wop sounds on several tunes. Sultan and Khan aren't afraid to let their inner Frankie Lymon shine.

* Problems by Lee Fields. Fields is one of the leading lights of the current soul revival. Though this proud follower of James Brown started out back in the '70s, about 10 years ago he was one of the major dudes at the influential Desco Records. More recently he's recorded with Sharon Jones.

This is a cool, funky album, not quite as electrifying as Let's Get a Groove On, the album that turned me on to Fields nearly 10 years ago. But there's some great tracks. "Rapping With Lee," with his advice for good relationships, reminds me of those old Joe Tex talking songs. And "Bad Trip" should have a movie scene written around it.

* The World's Rarest Funk 45s by Various Artists. I can't swear these are the "rarest" funk tunes, but I do know I hadn't heard of any of these artists or any of the songs until I stumbled upon Lenny Kaye's monthly column in e-Music.

These funksters -- bands like Tony Bowens & the Soul-Choppers, The PCs Ltd., and Shades of Black -- might not have achieved fame, but they got the sound down. If you like the cool, obscure soul and funk you find on the Funky 16 Corners blog, you'll like these funk 45s.

Unfortunately there's no liner notes available (one of eMusic's weaknesses), but I'm guessing most of these were recorded in the late '60s or early '70s. My favorites so far are "Funky Thing" by Larry Ellis & The Black Hammer (great chugging organ and swampy guitar) and "Eggroll by The M&S Band (hard-charging horns led by a baritone sax.)

* Feels by Animal Collective. I'm a newcomer to this cult. I recently was turned onto Panda Bear -- one of the animals in this collective -- and his solo CD Person Pitch, which was on loads of critic Top 10 lists last year. (It's also available on eMusic.)

This is AC's 2005 album. It's spacey and out-there, but very melodic and accessible. And it rocks without ever getting cheesy. Both Panda and Animal Collective are influenced greatly by Smile-era Brian Wilson. They also remind me of a techno-version of early Mercury Rev.

While I was writing this blurb, I came across a live version (from Lisbon) of Panda Bear's "Bros," a show-stopping 11-minute tune also on Person Pitch. I couldn't resist I just wish there were more live Panda tunes here.

* Evangelista by Carla Bozulich . I've been a Carla fan ever since the night back in the early '90s when I saw The Geraldine Fibbers open for Mike Watt at Club Alegria in Santa Fe. This album, released in 2006, isn't as accessible as The Fibbers or Carla's 2003 take on Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger. Aided by former Fibber and current (I think) Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, Carla on this album sounds much closer to her earlier band Ethyl Meatplow.

The album starts out with a 9-minute existential cry ("Evangelista I") that I can only described as "bruised gospel." It sounds like a tortured sermon from the very pits of Hell, harsh and naked. The next song, "Steal Away," is gentler, though still infused with despair. It sounds like a lost Bob Dylan gospel song. Then with "How to Survive Being Hit by Lighting" she's back in the fires -- though this one sounds like an electrical fire. There's never a moment that's not intense on this album. On "Baby, That's the Creeps," when Carla, backed by a spook-show organ, sings "I won't go now into your dark room ..." you get the feeling she's about to be ensnared by a serial killer.

Evangelista ain't easy listening by any stretch of the imagination. You have to be in the mood -- and that's a pretty strange mood -- but it's powerful stuff.

* Everything is Possible: The Best of Os Mutanates. (The eight tracks I didn't already have from Technicolor.) Imagine a mash-up of "The Girl from Ipanema" with Santana's "Evil Ways," mix in a goofy Beatle-y sense of humor and you've got a start on comprehending Os Mutantes, Brazil's best known "psychedelic" band from the late '60s and early '70s. They were playing their unique style back when it was dangerous to do so under the military regime of the era.

At first the softer edges of these Mutants put me off a little. But their melodies, pretty, Sergio Mendes side gets to be addictive. It hooks you in and before you know it, you're being sideswiped by some craziness.

* Mind of Fire by S.T. Mikael. I guess I've been in the mood for foreign psychedelia lately. Mikael is a Swede who's been cranking out strange and sometimes wonderful rock for years. Released last year, this is his first album in 11 years.

The first tracks are lengthy studio tracks, lots of fuzz-heavy guitar and Deep Purple organ sounds, recorded with other musicians. But the last 10 are bedroom recordings made during the last decade, which in the "Bonus CD Intro" track Mikael describes as a time of loneliness and feeling lost. There's lots of meandering LSD rock rock, but also some disturbing slow acoustic doom passages in which Mikael sounds like a Scandinavian Jandek.

DENGUE FEVER*Venus on Earth by Dengue Fever. Speaking of foreign psychedelia, if you're not familiar with Dengue Fever, change that now! They're a southern California band featuring the vocals of Cambodia-born Chhom Nimol. They specialize in surf/garage sounds colored by the type of American-influenced Asian rock that young Cambodia loved in the '60s and '70s until it was wiped out by those most evil Commie maniacs, the Khmer Rouge, who took over in the mid '70s, doing their best to wipe out all vestiges of "corrupt" Western cultural influences. Pol Pot is dead and discredited and Dengue Fever lives. Long live rock 'n' roll ! (See my full review of this album HERE)


* "Rockin' Chair Daddy" and "Rock a Little, Baby" by Harmonica Frank Floyd. This is the original version. After downloading the latter-day Harmonica Frank album last month, I had to get some of his original stuff. The first one is from a Sun Records compilation, the latter from an obscure compilation, Memphis Rockabillies, Hillbillies & Honky Tonkers, Vol 2 from a just as obscure label, Stomper Time. Unfortunately, in each case it's the only Harmonica Frank cut included.

* "Cheney's Toy" by James McMurtry. This single from McMurtry's upcoming Just us Kids was a free track from eMusic, so I snatched it, even though I have the advance CD. It's a diatribe against the current chief executive, which I don't mind, though I have trouble with the truism that forms the premise of the title. McMurtry's written far better protest songs. This comes nowhere near "Can't Make It Here" or even "God Bless America" (the McMurtry song, not Kate Smith's), which is on Just Us Kids.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 8, 2008

I didn’t realize until a few weeks ago when I downloaded a rarities compilation called Jukebox Explosion: Rockin’ Mid-90s Punkers! by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion just how much I’ve missed Jon Spencer in all his get-down gonzo glory.

It’s not that Spencer hasn’t been around. In recent years, he’s done a couple of albums under the guise of Heavy Trash, a quasi-rockabilly duo with Matt Verta-Ray. True, Heavy Trash is kind of fun — I really enjoyed their guest appearance on The Sadies’ In Concert, Volume One album a couple of years ago.

But Heavy Trash is just a light snack compared with the all-you-can-eat, Hound Dog Taylor-on-angel-dust banquet that was the Blues Explosion, which hasn’t released an album of new material in four years.

The JSBE seemed to be everywhere back in the last decade. The band once opened for The Breeders at a Sweeney Center show here in Santa Fe. You could say Spencer and the boys tore up the place years before the city did.

Spencer started the Blues Explosion following the breakup of his ’80s band, Pussy Galore, a delightfully raunchy and anarchic group that received even less mainstream notice than the Blues Explosion. (Some of the group’s album titles I can’t even print in a “family” newspaper, and I probably shouldn’t admit how much I like ’em.)

For the Blues Explosion, Spencer recruited fellow guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins for a stripped-down (not even a bass!) sound. Aghast blues purists never fail to note that this band did not produce sounds normally associated with the blues.

However, as one wise critic noted in a review of one of the group’s early albums, they did play blues and soul riffs, but it was blues filtered through The Stooges and New York Dolls. It’s a sweaty, joyful sound. Spencer and crew were roots conscious but not shackled to tradition. When they teamed up with Mississippi blues shouter R.L. Burnside on the 1996 album A Asspocket of Whiskey, Spencer, Bauer, and Simins fit right in, adding spirit and energy what must have been some wild recording sessions.

Jukebox Explosion is a collection of mostly old singles that had been available only on 7-inch vinyl, which means only serious collectors had ever heard this stuff before now. (And some tracks have been previously unreleased.) Most of the songs were recorded from the band’s mid-’90s glory days, although some are later.

“Ghetto Mom,” for instance, is an outtake from Plastic Fang, the Explosion’s 2002 album. Unserious collectors who love Spencer won’t be disappointed. All 18 tracks are high-charged, high-decibel offerings to the voodoo blues gods with Spencer howling like a soulman trapped in the rubble of a subway wreck.

The album is released on a label called In the Red — which might describe the company’s finances, though more likely it’s a reference to where the sound-level needle was when these songs were recorded.

There’s an ode to a serial killer, “Son of Sam,” which features a jittery guitar intro and a guest saxophone player who makes the horn scream in sympathy with the killer’s victims. And there’s a tribute to an exotic dancer, a chaotic little rocker called “Show Girl,” featuring background vocals by Spencer’s wife, Cristina Martinez (formerly of Pussy Galore, now with the band Boss Hog).

The Explosion actually slows down for “Jailhouse Blues,” an ominous spoken-word dirge featuring Spencer on theremin. In the minute-and-a-half “Get With It,” there’s a desperate harmonica and a crazy piano. I thought the latter probably was the ivory tickler from Reefer Madness, but in reality it’s none other than Dr. John.

All in all, this is beautiful trash, and I’m happy to see it unleashed to the masses.

Also recommended

*The Black and White Album by The Hives. Despite what The Hives may tell you, The Hives is not my favorite band.

I do enjoy these Swedish meatheads quite a lot, however, and few current bands have made a dent in the mainstream rock as relentlessly as The Hives.

On The Black and White Album, the first Hives album in about three years, the band, fronted by singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, continues down its path of straight-ahead, punk-metal-edged guitar rock.

The band saved its best for the first. “Tick Tick Boom” is the hardest rocker on the record and an instant classic Hives tune. The group sounds like it’s been listening to Green Day on the bouncy “You Dress Up for Armageddon.” But The Hives go for the throat on other rockers like “You Got it All ... Wrong,” “Square One Here I Come” (check out the Alice Cooper influence here), and the album closer “Bigger Hole to Fill.”

The Hives frequently display an off-kilter sense of humor and their special way with self-referential titles and shameless self-promotion. For instance one song is called “T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.” (”We rule the world/ This is our world,” goes the robotic chorus.)

There’s also an instrumental tune called “A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors,” a break from the romp ’n’ roll, that features a creepy Casio organ. This one, as well as the piano-led singalong “Puppet on a String” (no, not the Elvis Presley song) are in the tradition of other inspired sore-thumb tracks that stick out on Hives albums — the weirdo soul of “Diabolic Scheme” on Tyrannosaurus Hives and the quirky Impressions cover “Find Another Girl” on Veni Vidi Vicious.

The Hives long ago wore out their “next-big-thing” status, but its great they’re still having this much fun on record.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 7, 2008

Twenty-one states that held presidential primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday dutifully counted the votes cast and reported their results like the conformists they are.

But New Mexico, where the state Democratic Party held a caucus, dared to be different.

We’re mavericks here in this Enchanted Land. We’re rebels, freethinkers. We’ll count our votes when and how we feel like it. We won’t cater to CNN or MSNBC. Or the people of New Mexico.

We might know who won New Mexico by the end of the week.

Or we might not.

What’s it to you?

I attended last month’s Iowa caucuses. Just like in New Mexico, everyone in Iowa seemed amazed at this year’s heavy turnout. Some said the number of people who showed up at Democratic voting sites was double the number who participated in 2004. Of course, Iowa allows independents to take part in the Democratic caucus, and citizens can even change their voter registration right there at the polling place. A real invitation to chaos.

So what did they do with this opportunity? Iowans counted up the votes and reported statewide results within an hour or so. Ho hum. No late nights for the good citizens of Iowa. I guess all the farmers had to get up the next morning and slop the chickens and milk the hogs or whatever they do up there.

But here in New Mexico, we’re not afraid to stay up past midnight or into the wee hours, or even to take a few days to get the vote.

In most states, you just go to your polling place, vote, go home, eat dinner and find out who won by watching TV.

But in New Mexico’s Democratic caucus, voting is a gamble. An adventure.

Maybe you’ll get a ballot. Maybe not.

Maybe you can vote on a scrap of paper. And maybe that vote will actually count.

Maybe you’ll be told to drive across town to another polling place.

Maybe the guy in line behind you will start screaming.

Maybe your ballot will be stored overnight at somebody’s house in Rio Arriba County.

So many chances for fun and surprises.

In other states, they have polling places scattered all over the place. But in a New Mexico caucus, we get by with as few as possible. Rio Rancho, one of the most populous cities in the state, had just one polling place.

Some complained that having all those precincts jammed into one place led to long lines out into the cold and waits of two to three hours if you were determined to help pick a candidate for president.

That’s the negative way to look at it. But look at the bright side: It brought everyone together.

And what about these reports of people getting angry and frustrated about standing in line, then walking out? Who needs these sunshine patriots anyway? Our founding fathers fought and died for your right to stand in line for hours and wait days for results. So I don’t want to hear any sniveling from ingrates.

We should listen to Democratic Party leaders in the state. Sure there were some problems, they readily admit. But isn’t it great we had such a big turnout? Really, who cares what the result was? Details, details.

So let the national television pundits make snide little remarks about New Mexico’s way of voting. We do it our way. We dare to be different.

They’re just jealous.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Sunday, February 3, 2008
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
Dropkick Me, Jesus by Bobby Bare
Raw Power by Iggy Pop
Faster Pussycat by The Cramps
Naked by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Kicked Out by Pussy Galore
Bible, Candle and Skull by Th' Legendary Shack Shakers
Are You For Real by Question Mark & The Mysterians
It's Me by Dinosaur Jr.
My Wife's Best Friend by Kevin Coyne

Wild About You Baby by Hound Dog Taylor
Mixed Bizness by Beck
The Snake by Johnny Rivers
Sweet Little Pussycat by Andre Williams
Kukumunga Boogaloo by King Khan & His Shrines
The Girl Can't Dance by Bunker Hill
Love Train by The Yahoos
My Man is a Mean Man by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Dengue Fever in Santa FeSeeing Hands by Dengue Fever
I'm All Skinny by Sinn Sisamouth
Rather Die Under the Woman's Sword by Yol Aularong
Rebel Guitars with Strange Dialects (from Radio Phom Penh)
Sober Driver by Dengue Fever
Oops ... He's Mute by Pan Ron
Dance Soul Soul by Liev Tuk & Rom Sue Sue
Oceans of Venus by Dengue Fever

Black Sheep by Dewey Cox
Anay Yo (Otebi) by Cankisou
Let's Get Killed by David Holmes
Field Commander Cohen by Leonard Cohen
Fare Thee Well Sweet Malley by Robin Williamson
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

WACKY WEDNESDAY: AI Songs to Destroy Art & Civilization

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