Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The state Judicial Standards Commission on Tuesday recommended the state Supreme Court remove Rio Arriba County Magistrate Tommy Rodella for alleged misconduct in three cases

You can read my story HERE. You can read the entire petition for removal HERE.

And links to old stories about Rodella can be found on this post from last August.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

OPEN ROAD/Languid Pose

Photographer, screenwriter, educator and former manager of The Germs (!) Nicole Panter is showing a collection of photos at Counter Culture on Baca Street starting May 1.

The show is called OPEN ROAD/Languid Pose. Of the Languid Pose photos, Nicole writes:
"The 20” x 30” large prints are an exploration of technological translations. The original prints were Polaroid SX-70s taken in 1977. In 2008, using a digital photo scanner in a drugstore, I transferred the images to disc and then, via email, ordered the large prints from Costco. These images are printed in an edition limited to 20 each.

The flaws in the prints were accumulated during the different stages of translation from medium to medium and are part of the history of the evolution of the images.

As someone just recently turned on to the joys of the digital photo machines at Sam's Club, I'm intrigued with this process.

Of the smaller OPEN ROAD photos, Nicole says they were shot:

"in locations off the interstate on my regular trajectory between Santa Fe, NM and Twentynine Palms, CA. In an increasingly franchised American landscape, I am interested in preserving and archiving images of the handmade, the homemade, the Mom and Pop, the unusual, the sadly vanishing icon."
Nicole says she's one of 25 misfits who "spontaneously combusted into what would become known as the Los Angeles punk rock scene." She's appeared in a couple of my favorite videos of the 1980s, The Decline of Western Civilization (the documentary of the L.A. punk-rock scene in which she's interviewed about Darby Crash and The Germs) and The Pee Wee Herman Show, a stage show taped for HBO that served as the precursor to Pee Wee's Playhouse.

Nicole currently teaches screenwriting at the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) and The College of Santa Fe, splitting her time between Santa Fe and Twentynine Palms, California.

Go check out those photos!

Monday, April 28, 2008


This news release came out when I was at lunch:


Chicago, IL – Today, United States Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) endorsed Barack
Obama for president, citing his ability to rise above the issues that divide us
and end the war in Iraq, bring universal health care, and make America energy

Senator Bingaman said, “Today, I am announcing my support for Barack Obama for president and declaring my intention to vote for him at the Democratic convention.

“Our nation faces a daunting number of critical challenges: reasserting America’s leadership in the world, meeting our needs for energy independence, addressing global warming, making healthcare accessible and affordable, positioning our economy to effectively compete globally, and extricating ourselves from the war in Iraq, to name a few.

“To make progress, we must rise above the partisanship and the issues that divide us to find common ground. We must move the country in a dramatically new direction.

“I strongly believe Barack Obama is best positioned to lead the nation in that new direction.”

Senator Obama said, “I’m grateful today to have Senator Bingaman’s support. Senator Bingaman has been speaking out in the United States Senate on some of the most pressing issues of our time – saving our environment, fighting global warming, and making America energy independent. Senator Bingaman has been an important advocate in the energy debate, and has served the people of New Mexico for decades, giving voice to the issues that matter to families across the state. We are proud to have his support as we fight to bring about real change for families in New Mexico and across the country.”


U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, one of four remaining New Mexico superdelegates not to endorse a presidential candidate, is expected to endorse Sen. Barack Obama today.

That's all I can say right not. Awaiting official word. Watch this space!


I was very saddened this morning to learn of the death of former Santa Fe City Councilor Art Sanchez. See Doug Mattson's obituary HERE.

I first met Art back in 1984 when he first ran for council and I was working for the Santa Fe Reporter. On the surface he seemed like a fairly typical Santa Fe politican -- a retired bureaucrat with time on his hands. But after talking to Art for more than 30 seconds you realized he was a man with specific plans. The main plank of the Sanchez platform was that the city should buy the local water company from Public Service Company of New Mexico.

Shortly after his election, I got hired to cover City Hall for The Journal North, my first job in daily journalism. Sanchez was very helpful to me during the next few years. Not only was he friendly and helpful, always letting me know what really was going on, but the straight-talking Sanchez frequently provided colorful, off-the-cuff quotes. This made my job more fun and helped establish his image as a gruff-but loveable curmudgeon.

Once elected, Sanchez worked hard to keep that promise about buying the water company. He pushed a special election for buying the water company in 1985. But the referendum went down in flames, partly because of the unpopularity of the city administration at the time. That defeat didn't stop Sanchez. Nearly 10 years later, Sanchez led another charge to buy the utility and this time he was successful.

Sanchez got mad at me after the water election of '85. As the votes from the city's east-side were coming in, heavily against the referendum, Sanchez grumbled that the "fat cats" on the east side didn't care about people's water bills. I quoted him in the paper and Sanchez said I got him in trouble. But that never stopped him from talking openly with me.

During the mid-80s -- a time of intense development activity in Santa Fe and an era in which the real estate industry seemed to dominate the City Council -- Sanchez allied himself with his old friend Councilor Carlos Gallegos. Together, they did something many at the time considered radical and anti-business: They asked tough questions, they demanded real answers and if they weren't satisfied, they weren't afraid to vote "no." Most the time back then Sanchez and Gallegos were in the minority on these votes, earning them the nickname "The Gang of Two."

Shortly after Sanchez's election, the city, which used to elect all councilors at large, went to a district system. As it turned out, Sanchez and Gallegos, who both were up for re-election in 1988, lived in the west-side District 3. The two old friends and political allies had to run against each other.

It was an extremely civil election. (By this time I was working for The New Mexican.) I remember after one candidate forum going out for drinks with Sanchez, Gallegos (who drank coffee) and a third District 3 candidate Felipe Cabeza de Vaca. (Neither Art nor Carlos seemed to mind that Felipe had referred to them as "Artless" Sanchez and "Careless" Gallegos during the forum.)

Gallegos won that election. Sanchez sat out the next four years, but won another term in 1992 when Galelgos retired. During this next term, he achieved his goal of leading the city to purchase the water company. Sanchez served until 2000, when he was defeated by Miguel Chavez.

Rest in peace, Art. Your courage, your stubborness, your knowledge and your humor will be missed.


Sunday, April 27, 2008
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

email me during the show!

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
No One's Goin' Nowhere by Simon Stokes
Not My World by Vicious Beatniks
Sunrise (Turn On) by The Chesterfield Kings
Transmissions from Venus by Man or Astroman?
Perverts in the Sun by Iggy Pop
Your Ass is Next in Line by The Mummies
Baby Stardust by Thee Michelle Gun Elephant
Girl Be Steadfast by Steadfasts
Fire in the Western World by The Dirtbombs
Phom Rak Khoon Tching Thing (I Really Do Love You) by The Viking Band

Current Events by Joe "King' Carrasco y Los Coronas
Don't Tease Me by ? & The Mysterians
El Microscopo Bikini (Dizzy Miss Lizzie) by Los Straitjackets with Cesar Rosas
Grasshopper by The Original Ben Vaughn Combo
Any Way the Wind Blows by The Mothers of Invention
Red Hot by Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs
Life of the Party by The Slickee Boys
I Saw a Ghost (Lean) by The Black Lips
Soul Kitchen by X
Andres by L7

Come to the Water by Possessed by Paul James
She Said by Hasil Adkins
Factory Dog by John Schooley
Drunk Stripper by Bob Log III
Wreck My Car by Scott H. Biram
Work Me Baby by Richard Johnston
The Gallows by Possessed by Paul James

Rules of Bobby by Bobby Brodsky
Ain't No Justice by The Temptations
Experiment in Terror by The Blue Hawaiians
Up in Flames by Julee Cruise
I Wake Up Crying by Andre Williams
I Know I've Got Religion by The Staple Singers
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Sunday, April 27, 2008



I'm late posting this, but my coverage on the Heather Wilson/Steve Pearce debate in Los Alamos Friday night is HERE.

While a lot of Democrats are getting depressed over the neverending Obama Clinton battle, at least in New Mexico Dems can take heart that in this state two major Republicans are happily ripping into each other.

But will this heated debate fester into an animosity that will hurt the GOP through the general election?

As Brian Sanderoff told me a couple of weeks ago, once the primary is over, so much national party money on both sides is going to pour into the state for the Senate race alone, it'll even things out somewhat.

Friday, April 25, 2008


In conjunction with with today's Terrell's Tune-uo column about Possessed by Paul James, here's a collection of YouTube videos of PBPJ and other one-man hillbilly/blues bands.

If you like this sort of thing, be sure to tune into Terrell's Sound World Sunday night. I'll do a whole set of these artists. The show starts at 10 p.m. nd I'll do this set shortly after the Eleventh Hour. That's on KSFR, 101. FM (Click that link if you want to hear it live on the Web.)

(And speaking of KSFR, I've got to cover a political debate tonight, so Tom Adler will substitute for me on The Santa Fe Opry.)

Here's some videos:


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 25, 2008

Here’s a backwoods, back-to-basic music treat. Working under the stage name of Possessed by Paul James, songwriter Konrad Wert is a one-man band, playing guitar, banjo, fiddle, and a foot-operated percussion instrument called a stomp box. But the most significant part of his music is his voice. As evidenced on his latest album, Cold and Blind, when he gets going, he sounds like (you had to have seen this coming) a man possessed.

Possessed by Paul James joins that loud, rowdy pantheon of blues-shouting, one-man bands like Richard Johnston, John Schooley, Scott H. Biram, and Bob Log III. But Wert is creakier and more country than these others, though just as wild. He’s like some lost Lomax field recording come to life.

Although Cold and Blind is on a European label (the irrepressible Voodoo Rhythm Records from Switzerland), Possessed by Paul James is American through and through. He was born and raised in an Amish-Mennonite family in Immokalee, Florida. According to some accounts, his dad was a preacher. “Paul James” is a combination of his father’s and grandfather’s names. Wert spent some time in Colorado; these days he lives in Kerrville, Texas, and has a day job as a special-education teacher.

The important thing is that Wert sounds as if he’s emerged from some primordial swamp where every shadow might be a demon. As he shouts and yelps, which he does on the title song and on “The Gallows,” you can imagine him as some sinner in the hands of an angry God.

“I didn’t see much flashiness as a kid in the family or within the church community,” Wert said in an interview in Whoopsy magazine. “We couldn’t dress for Halloween, no dancing, no secular radio, sacrifice for others so they can grow, etc., etc. So, you see, when you get a chance to sing, man, ...YOU FUCKING SING.”

And when Wert plays his fiddle at what seems like 1,000 miles an hour, as he does on “Sweet Mary Alice,” it’s hard not to think about Stephen Vincent Benét’s poem “The Mountain Whippoorwill (Or, How Hill-Billy Jim Won the Great Fiddlers’ Prize)” — and Charlie Daniels’ song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” — about the country boy working his bow like a maniac to save his soul in a contest with the devil.

Wert is explosive on crazed stompers like the ones mentioned above. There are some softer, slower songs here, like “Vodka and a Fight” and “Ferris Wheel” that aren’t as impressive. But I guess you have to catch your breath sometimes. Even when you’re possessed.

Also noted
Joe West with Bobby Brodsky
* The Ballad of Don Clavio by Bobby Brodsky. This is probably the greatest work of outsider music to ever come out of Santa Fe, at least since singer-songwriter Julien Aklei (best known for her album We Can Mate With Rabbits) left town. This record is produced by none other than the ever-prolific Joe West. By comparison, West’s Mike the Can Man EP is downright mainstream.

Brodsky is a singer and poet (and longtime potter in La Cienega) whose stream-of-consciousness lyrics and recorded telephone conversationse the album. He rambles on about all sorts of things: a friend’s suicide, his belief that someone had stolen his guitars, and old drug habits. The best tracks come off as actual songs featuring a band led by West. It’s a lo-fi affair to be sure, but much of it is charming in a weird way.

Perhaps my favorite tune is “Talk to the Animals,” with Brodsky’s childlike rhymes: “I love to talk to the animals/And my favorite is the seal/He swims and prances/And he gets on his back and he dances/He claps he smiles and he asks me for a minnow/And then I go to the zebras.”

Also cool is “Love Is in the Air,” which features a folk-rockish tune with a truly tacky organ lead interrupted every few seconds by Brodsky saying, “There’s love in the air,” sounding like his voice was recorded from a shortwave radio broadcast. And I’m not sure why a minute or so of some random movie or TV dialogue was tacked on.

"Then there’s a nasty little garage-rock groove called “Rules of Bobby” that’s a whole lot of fun.

The main problem with the album is there’s too much aimless chatter. Brodsky’s seven-minute meditation on his first name (“My Name Is Bobby”) gets tiresome. But West has to be commended for his innovative use of chirping birds, which frequently pop up in unexpected places.

SF ALL STARS' Susan, Joe, Sharon, not pictured, BEN
* Santa Fe All Stars. This is another recent project involving West. He sings and plays guitar with the aptly named All Stars, a group that includes mandolinist Sharon Gilchrist, upright bassist Susan Hyde Holmes, and guitarist Ben Wright. Their music is steeped in bluegrass.

This is a seven-song EP (26 minutes in all) featuring three West originals, a Gilchrist composition (a gorgeous lullaby called “Walker”), a Tom Waits cover (“Jockey Full of Bourbon,” sung by Holmes), and a couple of traditional folk-bluegrass standards (“Handsome Molly” and “Billy in the Lowground”).

The album is short but full of delight.

*The Cerrillos Islanders by the Overman Family Trio. I’ve been a fan of Dennis Overman’s music much longer than any of us would like to admit. I first heard him play when I was a freshman in college back in 1971 (please don’t do the math), when he was in a band called The Family Lotus with Jim Bowie, Jerry Faires, and other card-carrying hippies.

The trio, also known as the Cerrillos Islanders, consists of Dennis, his son Ian, and his daughter Gretchen. Dad learned ’em good in the ways of music.

This is a nice, laid-back acoustic album of good original songs with lots of banjo and Dobro.

My personal favorites are “Where’s My Check?” the ballad of a motel maid or janitor with an attitude sung partly in Spanish; Ian’s marimba in “What’ll It Be (A Soldier’s Song)”; and the lonely lament “Just Because,” which sounds nice and spooky.

UPDATE: In case you got here by permalink, be sure to check out my collection of one-man hillbilly/blues-band videos featuring Possessed by Paul James and other favorites HERE.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 24, 2008

Get ready, New Mexico. This state, according to people who keep track of all these things, is destined once again to be a major battleground in the presidential contest.

It don’t mean a thing, if you ain’t in a swing state.

Last week, Washington Post political blogger Chris Cillizza listed New Mexico as the third most likely state that went for Bush in 2004 to go Democratic in 2008.

“No state has more competitive contests at the federal level than the Land of Enchantment,” Cillizza wrote. “Four of the five federal offices (Senate as well as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd congressional districts) are open this November — a level of fluidity that means that millions of dollars are going to pour into the state.

"McCain gives Republicans a fighting chance in the state due to his neighbor appeal, but the state has been trending Democratic of late and either Clinton or Obama will be favored in the fall.”

Also, a New Jersey-based pollster who has conducted automated telephone surveys in this state told me he fully expects a November nail-biter in New Mexico.

“It will be fought to the very end,” said Jay Leve, president of SurveyUSA in a telephone interview. “Your state will be one of two, three, four of the closest states in the country. New Mexico has a track record of producing cliffhangers.”

He’s right there. Republican Bush won in 2004 by less than 1 percentage point. And in 2000, Democrat Al Gore won the state by less than 300 votes.

In its most recent New Mexico poll, SurveyUSA showed Republican John McCain edging out either Barack Obama (50 percent to 44 percent) or Hillary Clinton (49 percent to 46 percent.)

But Leve said these numbers are bound to fluctuate in the months to come. “Nothing in our polling suggests that a consensus has been formed (in New Mexico),” he said. “I expect a razor-thin margin.”

Indeed, SurveyUSA’s past months’ presidential matchup results in New Mexico (CLICK HERE and HERE) shows a wild array of results in which each of the three candidates has been on top at various times.

Why does this state produce such close elections? Leve said perhaps it’s due to the mixture of cultures here. He also said in New Mexico, like many Western states, there is less loyalty to political parties based on family traditions.

“It may turn out that your five (electoral) votes could turn out to be the most important,” Leve said. “It’s my hunch that New Mexico and Colorado and a couple of other Western states could be pivotal, especially if Obama is the Democratic nominee.”

Do they still call it “soft money”?: Our neighbor to the West, McCain, hasn’t forgotten about New Mexico. Not only did he launch his first general election television ad in this state, he’s also included this enchanted land as one of a handful states in a fundraising plan.

According to the Wall Street Journal on Monday, McCain is asking wealthy donors to give more than $70,000 each to special fundraising accounts.

Yes, this is the same John McCain who co-sponsored the McCain/Feingold Act, which limits individual contributions to campaigns to $2,300 for primaries and $2,300 for general elections.

According to the WSJ, most of the money won’t go directly to the McCain campaign. Most of it would go to the Republican National Committee while some of it would be divided among the state Republican parties of New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The paper said the McCain campaign also plans other accounts to route money to California, Ohio and Florida.

The last lonely superdelegate: The state Democratic Party’s Central Committee will meet in Albuquerque on Saturday to choose its “at-large unpledged” delegate — in other words, New Mexico’s last superdelegate — to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in late August.

In past years, when the party’s nominee had long been settled, this position held little interest outside a small circle of party activists.

But with the Obama/Clinton contest going into extra innings, Saturday’s vote will be a test of strength between the two camps. Who knows? The way things are going, the whole nomination could boil down to New Mexico’s final “unpledged” delegate.

So far, six of the state’s superdelegates have endorsed Clinton, while two have endorsed Obama. One of those is Gov. Bill Richardson, who still has a lot of clout in the party.

Three are still undecided. These are U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, Sen. Jeff Bingaman and state party chairman Brian Colón.

Colón, under party rules, nominates the at-large superdelegate. Josh Geise, acting executive director of the party, said Wednesday that Colón has yet to decide who to nominate.

None of the undecideds will tip their hands Saturday on who they’re supporting.
Spokeswomen for Udall and Bingaman said neither will be attending the meeting. Colón normally just presides at the meetings and doesn’t vote, Geise said.

Free BBQ: Congressional candidate Don Wiviott is hosting a free Earth Day celebration and barbecue Friday at Monica Lucero Park on Bellamah Drive.

According to a news release, the party starts at 5:30 p.m., and Wiviott will address the crowd on environmental issues at 6 p.m.

Wiviott’s news release stresses that the local developer, who prefers the description “green builder,” is a “dedicated environmentalist who has been on the forefront of providing a green energy future for New Mexico.”

Wiviott obviously still is interested in capturing a chunk of the environmental vote, despite recent endorsements for his opponent, Ben Ray Luján, by the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I just got a nice e-mail from Jerry Lawson, formerly of The Persuasions, and his wife Julie alerting me to a new Lawson song you can hear streaming on the Web.

The new one is called "Down on My Knees," featuring Jerry backed by a band (cool slide guitar and reggae beat.)

And from that page you can find two songs of Jerry with Talk of the Town, an a-capella group from Phoenix. The songs aren't named, but I recognize the last one as Randy Newman's "He Gives Us All His Love." (The other is good too. It's called "I Hope.")

Check them out by clicking the icon below: (It'll take you to "Down on My Knees" You'll find links to the other two on the right side of the page.)

Down On My Knees_Jerry Lawson - Share on Ovi

But here's some bad news. According to Norton Records:

"... we received word yesterday that Nathaniel Mayer suffered a stroke this past week. Our prayers are with Nay Dog for a full recovery. LOVE YOU NATHANIEL!!!!

Ditto from Santa Fe, Nathaniel.


Sunday, April 20, 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
Greasebox by TAD
7 and 7 Is by Love
A Small Demand by International Noise Conspiracy
Buckethead by Carbon/Silicone
Elevator Ride by The Chesterfield Kings
Leopardman at C&A by The Dirtbombs

Martin Scorcese by King Missile
Live With Me by The Rolling Stones
Champagne and Reefer by Muddy Waters
Skinny Minnie by The Mummies
Birthday by The Sugarcubes
Searchin' For Love by The Come n' Go
God Jazz Time by Thee Michelle Gun Elephant
1970 by Mission of Burma

I Wanna Dance With You by Nathaniel Mayer
Night Train by James Brown
You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here on Earth by The Temptations
What Have You Done For Me Lately Part 1 by Sharon Jones
Deuce and a Quarter by The Bo-Keys
Hard Hustling by Andre Williams
Give Me a Chance Part 1 by Lee Fields
Rocket 69 by Todd Rhodes & Orchestra featuring Connie Allen
Tiger Rag by Brand New Orleans Country Brass Band
Pachuko Hop by Chuck Higgens

Six Forty Five by Firewater
Musica Aggressia by Gogol Bordello
Meine Kleine Russian by Reverend Beat-Man
Hey Amigo by Havana 3 AM
Samisen Boogiewoogie by Umekichi
If I Have to Go by Tom Waits
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Friday, April 18, 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
Arise! by The Legendary Stardust Cowboy
The Taker by Waylon Jennings
On a Monday by The Detroit Cobras
The Tough Sell by The Drive-By Truckers
Hurricane Party by James McMurtry
Trip to Roswell, NM by The Santa Fe All-Stars
Love Problems by Johnny Paycheck
Split Personality by Clyde Leopard's Snearly Ranch Boys
Truck Drivin' Son of a Gun by Dave Dudley

I Don't Want to Love Anyone This Much Again by Cornell Hurd
Smoke & Wine by Hank Williams III
Night Train to Memphis by Roy Acuff
Bouncing Beer Cans Off the Jukebox by Dallas Wayne
Put Me in Jail by Joe "King" Carrasco
Sweet Mary Alice by Possessed by Paul James
Hard Travelin' by Simon Stokes
Always Late with Your Kisses by Lefty Frizzell
Twisted World by Doug Sahm


Midnight Dream by The Hacienda Brothers
The Gardens by The Texas Tornados
Zero Hour by Chris Gaffney
Six Nights a Week by Dave Alvin
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights/Volver Volver by Billy Bacon & The Forbidden Pigs with Chris Gaffney
Life's Little Ups and Downs by The Hacienda Brothers

Polly's Last Ride by Cedar Hill Refugees
Laredo by Snakefarm
Chante Moi by Christine Albert
What'll It Be (A Soldier's Song) by The Cerrillos Islanders
The Sky Above, The Mud Below by Tom Russell
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

For info on a webcast of a Hacienda Brothers concert 2 pm Mountain Time Saturday, check out this video. And dig Android Girl! Supposedly the show will be HERE
But there's also some Hacienda Bros. interviews with Big Kev HERE.

Tribute to Chris Gaffney of the Hacienda Brothers - Watch more free videos

Friday, April 18, 2008


Chris Gaffney of The Hacienda Brothers and Dave Alvin's Guilty Men died Thursday, losing a bout with liver cancer. He was 57.

That's him playing accordion here with Alvin at the 2006 Thirsty Ear Festival.

There's a decent obit in the L.A. Times:

Gaffney sang in a tuneful yet conversational voice that was both
sandpapery and sweet. He had no pretentiousness about his music. In a 1992
Times interview, he described taking part in a songwriters panel at a folk festival: "The kids were asking, 'How do you write songs?' I said, 'I'm sitting in front of the TV, having a beer, and something comes to my mind, and I go 'what the hell' and write it down."

As I blogged earlier, Alvin and Gaffney's family set up a Web site to help with Gaffney's medical expenses. Though Chris is gone, I'm sure the medical bills live on, so if you can contribute, please click the banner below.

I'll do a little tribute for Gaffney tonight on the Santa Fe Opry. (KSFR, 101.1 FM, 10 to midnight. Webcasting from KSFR's site.)


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 18, 2008

Nothing like a little apocalyptic paranoia to make a body want to rock. And you’ll find plenty of that on We Have You Surrounded, the new album by The Dirtbombs.

On nearly every song, singer/guitarist Mick Collins seems to be looking over his shoulder and not liking what he sees. Civilization is decaying, burning. The future’s so dim Collins can’t wear his shades. The end is near, and everyone’s out to wreck his flow.

There’s even a twist with the album title. We Have You Surrounded sounds triumphant. But there’s no song by that name on the album. Instead, there’s one called “They Have Us Surrounded” — a change of perspective or perhaps a fatal turnabout.

The Dirtbombs are one of the many Detroit bands of the 1990s that didn’t become famous when The White Stripes rose. (But don’t call his group a “garage band,” or Collins will twist your head off and eat your children.) With a lineup that includes two bassists and two drummers, Collins pays vocal tribute to the soul greats of his hometown’s past.

The album starts out with a searing little tune called “It’s Not Fun Until They See You Cry,” in which Collins seems to adapt a British accent and sounds almost like a tougher version of The Fall’s Mark E. Smith as he spits the menacing refrain, “Ah, you got what you wanted-uh. ...”

Although “Ever Lovin’ Man” is basically a love song (or at least a plea-for-sex song), it’s one of the most urgent-sounding and desperate tunes on an album steeped in urgency and desperation. It’s there from the first line: “Time is running out, and I can’t wait/I have to say this before it’s too late.” A cool little fuzz-tone guitar hook sounds as if it’s been shoplifted from a spy-movie soundtrack.

There’s a crunching rocker called “I Hear the Sirens” and a masterful cover of Dead Moon’s “Fire in the Western World” (“The red sky’s moaning, and the wind is blowing hard/Better take warning, ’cause this time it’s gone too far”).

In “They Have Us Surrounded,” the music fades in, as if thon for some time. It’s a plodding but intense cacophony that goes on for a few moments before you can detect faint vocals. Someone’s still alive in there! Collins sings in a scared falsetto. It’s hard to understand exactly what he’s saying — except the refrain “They have us surrounded, and there’s no way out.”

One of the most masterful selections here is “Wreck My Flow,” with scatter-bomb lyrics (“Holy roller/despot/car bomb in the parking lot/kid blow/new show/prime-time lead slot”) that might remind you of Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion” or R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” But despite the sociopolitical nature of the words, Collins, ever the put-out hipster, is mostly concerned that “everybody’s tryin’ to wreck my flow.”

But the coolest and craziest song here is “Leopardman at C&A,” which features lyrics by artist Alan Moore, who did a graphic novel of the same name. Ature-shock techno tribalism: “We’ll hunt down television sets and kill them for their skins/We’ll squeeze the juice from cellphones, and we’ll smear it on our faces/While zebra cars and trucks drink from a gasoline oasis/With our necklaces of radio teeth and bar-code based tattoos/We’ll build a tribal fire of sound bites/Cut from central network news.”

The album ends with a song called — what else? — “La Fin du Monde” (The End of the World). Sung in French, it’s ironically the happiest, poppiest tune on the record.

The major misstep on We Have You Surrounded is “Race to the Bottom,” an eight-minute-plus electro-noise collage that mainly seems to serve as filler. But it’s a forgivable sin. All in all, this record is a real joy — in a paranoid, apocalyptic kind of way.

Also Recommended:
Come n' Go
* Something’s Got to Give
by The Come n’ Go. Forget the old stereotype about young Europeans only loving bleak, neutered electroSwitzerland between the French-speaking and German-speaking parts, comes this crazy little band that was apparently raised on gunpowder, old Yardbirds 45s, and Oblivians CDs.

The Come n’ Go play nothing but good, back-to-basic guitar stomp, colored occasionally by a wild harmonica. They went all the way to Memphis to make this record. You can almost smell the barbecue.

* Psychedelic Sunrise by The Chesterfield Kings. It would be impossible to count the number of bands that wished they could be The Rolling Stones. In fact, it would be a lot easier to count the ones that didn’t. But Stones envy seems to be extremely apparent in The Chesterfield Kings, a band from upstate New York that has been recording since the late ’70s. Their latest album, released last fall, even has liner notes by ex-Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham.

And you can hear ’60s-era Stones in nearly all of the songs on Psychedelic Sunrise. If “Spanish Sun” got much closer to “Paint It Black” itd prompt a cease-and-desist letter from the Stones’ lawyers. Cool sitar part though.
There are other influences, too: The New York Dolls, The Flamin’ Groovies. My favorite number here is “Elevator Ride,” which borrows from The Who’s “I Can See for Miles” as well as Alice Cooper’s “Black Juju” (check that nasty little organ fill). And the end of “Streaks and Flashes” sounds like The Beatles’ “Rain.”

The Chesterfield Kings are probably doomed to be forever known for emulating earlier bands. But somehow they pull it off, putting it all together in a way that almost always sounds fresh.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Here's some exciting musical news: The Drive-By Truckers and James McMurtry are scheduled to play the Santa Fe Brewing Company on Tuesday June 17. No details on tickets yet, so stay tuned.

The Truckers played here last year as part of their their quasi- acoustic "Dirt Underneath" tour. But this year they're a full-fledged electric band, which is how I like them best.

June looks like a great month for the Brewing Co.

On Friday June 6, X is playing there with the Detroit Cobras as an opening act.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 16, 2008

Third Congressional District candidate Benny Shendo Jr. is getting a lot of support — and campaign contributions — from Indian pueblos and American Indian officials. That’s not surprising. Shendo was born and raised in Jemez Pueblo and until late last year served as Gov. Bill Richardson’s secretary of Indian affairs. If elected, he’d be New Mexico’s first Indian congressman.
Benny Shendo, Jr. Dem
But he’s not the only candidate in that crowded Democratic primary who’s getting financial support from American Indians. Ben Ray Luján collected some Indian money also, according to federal campaign finance reports filed this week.
Shendo, who reported $113,626 in contributions during the three-month quarter ending March 31, got money from tribal governments, including $6,900 each from Jemez and Isleta pueblos; $2,300 from Acoma Pueblo and $250 from Tesuque Pueblo. He’s also received money from a couple of out-of-state tribes: the Ute Mountain Utes in Colorado and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California, each of which gave $2,300.

And there are individuals who work with Indian governments, agencies and other institutions. Eddie Gomez, executive director of Isleta Pueblo, gave $4,600, and his wife, Theresa Gomez, who is deputy secretary of the state Indian Affairs Department, gave another $2,300; Richard Williams of Broomfield, Colo., executive director of the American Indian College Fund, gave Shendo two contributions totaling $2,685; Kai Gachupin, president of The Hemi Group, which provides jobs to American Indians living on and near Jemez Pueblo, gave $2,300; Joel Matthew Frank, an ambassador with the Seminole Tribe in Florida, gave $500; Herman Agoyo, realty officer for Ohkay Owingeh, gave a total of $500; and Sarah J. Yepa of Albuquerque, a manager with the federal Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, contributed $250.

And some guy named Benny Shendo, who is running for Congress, pitched in $10,000 to the campaign.

Luján, collected a total of $328,740 during the last quarter.

He didn’t get as much from American Indians as Shendo did, and what he did get represented a smaller percentage of his total than was Shendo’s. But it wasn’t chump change either.

Ohkay Owingeh gave Luján $2,300 as did the Jicarilla Apache Nation, while Zia Pueblo gave $1,000. Among individual contributors, Gov. Robert Benevidez of Isleta Pueblo gave $2,300; Dwayne Virgint, chief operating officer of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, contributed $1,000; and Richard Jaramillo, principal of Santa Fe Indian School, donated $1,000.
Ben Ray Lujan, Dem
Hitting up the lawmakers: Luján scored well in getting contributions from people who say the phrase “Yes sir, Mr. Speaker” far more than the average person. I’m talking, of course about Democratic lawmakers in the state House of Representatives, who answer to Luján’s dad, House Speaker Ben Luján of Nambé.

Among the representatives contributing to the younger Luján’s campaign were Joni Gutierrez of Mesilla and George Hanosh of Gallup (each $1,000); Al Park, Dan Silva and Henry Kiki Saavedra of Albuquerque (each $500); Jim Trujillo of Santa Fe ($500); and Ed Sandoval of Albuquerque ($200).

Also, Brian Egolf Jr., who faces no primary or general election opponent in his campaign to become the next representative for Santa Fe’s House District 47, contributed a total of $2,300 to Luján’s campaign. The speaker kicked in $1,000 to his son’s campaign.

The younger Luján did even better among those who lobby in the state Legislature. Ed Mahr, Robert Rivera, Ricardo Barros, Bob Barberous, Dan Weaks ($2,300 each); Tom Horan ($1,300); former House Speaker Raymond Sanchez, former Senate President Pro Tem Richard Romero and Maurice Bonal ($1,000 each ); Carroll Cagle, Natasha Ning and Fred O’Cheskey ($500 each).

The “Bitter Battle”: U.S. Rep. Tom Udall has a free ride through the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in New Mexico. But the national Republicans on Wednesday launched an attack against him — and six other Democratic Senate candidates — and are taking a shot at presidential hopeful Barack Obama in the process.

No, it’s not a TV attack ad. Those things cost money. We’ll be seeing plenty of those by general election season.

It’s what the National Republican Senatorial Committee calls a “video press release,” an e-mail that links to near identical ads on YouTube.

The ad shows Obama talking while playing the now infamous comment that people in small towns “get bitter; they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” which Obama made at a private fundraiser in (gasp!) San Francisco. The video portion isn’t quite in synch with the audio, like those old Japanese monster movies overdubbed in English.

Then Udall’s face appears in an upper corner, identifying him not as a congressman but as a “Democratic Superdelegate.”

“Will he cast his vote for Barack Obama?” a superimposed text asks as pensive piano music begins to swell, “a man who calls small-town America bitter?” You can see the video HERE.

Udall, who indeed is a superdelegate, has been uncommitted. His campaign had no immediate response.

Closing in on cloture: A couple of readers, who apparently remember their civics classes better than I do, pointed out a mistake in my story about the U.S. Senate race Wednesday. I mistakenly said national Democrats want to elect Udall to move “closer to the veto-proof number of 60 Democratic senators.”

That’s wrong. Overriding a veto takes a two-thirds majority, which would be 67 senators. Sixty is the magic number to invoke cloture, which is used to break the filibusters that block legislation from reaching a vote in the Senate.

I’m sure I had a good excuse for missing class the day I was supposed to have learned that.


Here's that Republican video aimed Udall. And to catch the Defenders of Wildlife video aimed at Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce, CLICK HERE:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The latest batch of campaign finacne reports, covering the quarter that began Jan. 1 and ended March 31, were due yesterday.

In the New Mexico U.S. Senate race, Democrat Tom Udall ended up with more than the two GOP contenders together. Udall has $2.6 millioon in the bank and chances are by the end of the primary, Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce will have close to nothing. But does that really matter in the long run. Read my story HERE.

Don Wiviott, Dem
Meanwhile in the Democratic Third Congressional District, Ben Ray Lujan outraised everyone in the last quarter -- $328,000 -plus, compared with $113,00 for Benny Shendo, Jr. and $109,000 for Don Wiviott. However, when you count the $850,00 or so Wiviott has given himself, Lujan's total is still way behind the Santa Fe developer's. Be prepared for wall-to-wall t.v. commericals for this race coming soon. Read more about this race HERE

Monday, April 14, 2008


Sunday, April 13, 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
Yabba Ding Ding by Joe King Carrasco y Los Coronas
Big Zombie by The Mekons
Sea of Blasphemy by The Black Lips
Nothing Works by Rich Deluxe
Playing in the Dirt by Electric Koolade
Digging Up My Date by The Blood Drained Cows
Bad Man by The Oblivians
We Repel Each Other by The Reigning Sound
Our Girls by Reverend Beat-Man
Wreck My Flow by The Dirtbombs

Apocalypse Girl by Simon Stokes
Don't Slander Me by Roky Erikson
Party by Bayou City Beach Party
Some Kinda Nut by The Moon Men with Link Wray
Patches Rides the Rails by Deadbolt
Beers and Tears by The Come n' Go
Feels Good to Feel by The Fleshtones
The World's a Mess It's In My Kiss by X

Stagolee Set
Stack a Lee Blues by Mississippi John Hurt
Staggolee by Pacific Gas & Electric
Stack Shot Billy by The Black Keys
Wrong 'em Boyo by The Clash
Stack-O-Lee by Keb Mo'
Stack O Lee by Bassholes
Staggerlee by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Stack-O-Lee by Samuel L. Jackson

1959 by Patti Smith
Paradise by Firewater
No Friend Oh by Xiu Xiu
Sealed With a Kiss by Deerhoof
Hummingbird in a Cube of Ice by Thinking Fellers Union Local 282
Hard Times by Little Axe
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Friday, April 11, 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
Stranger in Town by Dave Alvin
Tongued Tied by Simon Stokes
Clown of the Town by Rev. Beat-Man
Take Off Your Mask by Possed by Paul James
Manana by Joe King Carasco y Los Coronas
I'm Sorry Huston by Drive-By Truckers
Skip to My Lou by The cast of Bonanza

Sittin' on a Jury (Prologue)/My Final Plea by The Wilders
Prisoner's Birthday by John Lilly
A Man Like Me by Roger Miller
Peroxide Blonde by Hank Penny
A Wreck of a Man by Artie Hill & The Long Gone Daddies
Gun Sale at the Church by The Beat Farmers
Up to My Old Tricks Again by Kim Lenz & Her Jaguars
Sting Ray by Jim Lauderdale
Tara's Song by Santa Fe All Stars

Ruination Day Set
April the 14th part 1 by Gillian Welch
The Titantic by Bessie Jones, Hobart Smith & The Georgia Sea Island Singers
Abraham Lincoln by Leadbelly
The Great Dust Storm by Woody Guthrie
Ruination Day by Gillian Welch
Legend of the U.S.S. Titantic by Jaime Brokett
Boothe Killed Lincoln (Fiddle Tune) by Bascom Lamar Lunsford

Mary's Bar by Kell Robertson
May You Never Be Alone by Hank Williams
Cynthia Margaret by Malcom Holcome
Statue of Jesus by The Gear Daddies
If You Don't Change Your Mind by The Waco Brothers
Miss Me by Eleni Mandell
Loving You by Elvis Presley
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Friday, April 11, 2008


I'm not the only one who had some fun with Gov. Bill Richardson's most recent plea for money to pay off his campaign debts.

And I'm not even the first one to refer to Nigerian e-mail scams when talking about Richardson's post-candidacy fund-raising.

Columnist Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times today published this must-read.

This was the most shameless request for money I'd ever gotten from someone not living in Nigeria. Richardson was asking me for money not so that my interests would be reflected during his presidency, but just because he's a good guy in a spot of bother. If this works, I might be getting e-mails for the rest of my life from Richardson. "It's Bill again. Bad run at the blackjack table, but I'm pretty sure I can get out of it :)"

What's really funny though is that Stein actually got Richardson on the phone. Although local journalists usually get to talk directly to Richardson only if they can catch him coming out of the Capitol tv studio after appearing on CNN or Fox News, those from national news organizations never seem to have trouble reaching him.


Rudy Martin, DemBen Ray Lujan, Dem

My story on last night's AFSCME forum for CD 3 candidates can be found HERE.

My photos of all the candidates are HERE.

In other news, Rep. Tom Udall released his latest quarter fundraising total for his U.S. Senate -- $1.3 million. I haven't heard from Republicans Heather Wilson or Steve Pearce yet.

Meanwhile, back to the Roundhouse, Kate has been blogging about the dreaded special session. HERE is is the latest.


UPDATED: 6-18-20 Many broken video links fixed

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 11, 2008

From The Story of Staggerlee by Timothy Lane
A bulldog barks. Dice are thrown. Two men argue. Something about a hat. One of them begs for his life. A shot is fired.

It’s a murder that has been taking place virtually every night for more than a hundred years in the foggy backwaters of American song and mythology: Stagolee and Billy DeLyons, two men who gambled late.

And the song, in radically different forms, has found its way into at least three movies in the past year or so.

The tale of Stagolee, aka Stack O Lee, Stagger Lee, and who knows what other variants, is the story of a gambler, a pimp, and a killer who became an archetype — celebrated, reviled, and marveled at again and again by musicians from James Brown to Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan to Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians. Some say Stagolee is the spirit at the root of all those great blaxploitation movies in the ’70s and the gangsta rap that later arose.

The real Stagolee. For years the identity of the man was shrouded in mystery. But in his 2003 book Stagolee Shot Billy, folklorist Cecil Brown cites 1895 newspaper accounts in St. Louis that tell of a Christmas-night killing in a bar in which Lee Shelton, aka Stack Lee, shot and killed William Lyons.

The saloon wasn’t the Bucket of Blood, as it’s identified in some of the Stag tunes. And there’s no evidence that any bullet went through Billy and broke the bartender’s glass, as many versions say. But the argument that preceded the shooting indeed involved Shelton damaging Lyons’ hat, followed by Lyons taking Shelton’s Stetson, a mistake that proved fatal.

Both Shelton and Lyons were pimps, Brown says. But there was more to them than that. Lyons was part of a family that was loyal to the Republican Party — as was the case for most blacks in St. Louis in 1895. But Shelton was a Democrat, part of a new generation that felt the GOP had sold out the black community. The fatal squabble, according to some witnesses, started as a political argument.

Shelton went to prison for Lyons’ murder. But despite what some songs say, he wasn’t executed for it. In fact, he was paroled in 1909, though two years later he was arrested again on charges of pistol-whipping and robbing another man. By this time Shelton was sick with tuberculosis. He died in a prison hospital in February 1912.

Stag, Stack, Stagger. The songs started popping up before Billy’s body was cold. In a chapter in The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, Brown suggests that the original Stagolee ballad was written by a street singer named Bill Dooley, who also composed the first song based on another St. Louis murder that took place four years after Shelton killed Lyons — “Frankie and Albert,” later known as “Frankie and Johnny.”

Although perhaps hundreds of versions of “Stagolee” exist, Greil Marcus, in his 1976 book Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ’n’ Roll Music, deals mainly with two — Mississippi John Hurt’s “Stack O’Lee Blues” from the late 1920s and Lloyd Price’s 1950s rock ’n’ roll hit “Stagger Lee.”

Hurt’s version takes a conservative view. He’s upset that police let the bad man run wild for so long and is happy when the killer is on the gallows. Price’s song, however, with its honking sax and giddy female chorus, seems to revel in the badness of the man in the Stetson. “Go Stagger Lee! Go Stagger Lee,” Price sings, at least in the version of the tune we all know and love.

According to Marcus, when Price appeared on American Bandstand, Dick Clark forced him to expunge all the references to gambling and murder. Price performed a bowdlerized version in which Stag and Billy argue over a girl but apologize to each other the next day. Price’s record company pulled the original and made Price record the Bandstand version (on which, Marcus argues, Price sounds even more impassioned). But the original, violent version is the one you still hear on oldies radio today.

Stag’s recent movie cameos: The song appeared late last year in Honeydripper in a version by contemporary blues singer Keb’ Mo’. I’ve never been a huge Keb’ Mo’ fan. I’ve always considered his music to be a little too touchy-feely — closer to Jackson Browne than Howlin’ Wolf. But nothing he ever did actually offended me until a few years ago. On a Johnny Cash tribute album, he altered the words to “Folsom Prison Blues,” changing “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” — one of the greatest lines in American music — to the bloodless, politically correct “They say I shot a man in Reno, but that was just a lie.”

No, Dick Clark didn’t get to Keb’. The singer explained at the time that he never could stomach the unrepentantly violent nature of the original lyrics. I say he should have been indicted on charges of desecrating a national monument.

Luckily Keb’, who plays a blind street singer named Possum in the movie, doesn’t sanitize his “Stack O Lee.” It’s an acoustic version with some nice slide guitar and harmonica.

More interesting, though, is the old soul-rock version by a forgotten band called Pacific Gas & Electric that was used in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof section of Grindhouse in 2007. In “Staggolee,” singer Charlie Allen has Stag die, go to hell, and conquer the devil. Beating the devil is a motif found in several old versions of the Stag saga. The idea can be traced back to Irish and British folk songs, such as “The Farmer’s Cursed Wife,” in which a nagging woman proves meaner than Satan.

A version by actor Samuel L. Jackson is the highlight of the soundtrack for 2007’s Black Snake Moan. Although he’s not a singer, Jackson provides the best of the recent Stag renditions.

His “Stack-O-Lee” is a first-person tale based on the late R.L. Burnside’s spoken-word version. Backed by Burnside’s longtime guitarist Kenny Brown and the bluesman’s grandson Cedrick Burnside on drums, Jackson brings the bad man back to life in full swagger and bile. As the spirit of Stagolee fully possesses Jackson in the performance, it’s clear Stag will never really die.

Check out: A Staggerific comic, The Story of Stagger Lee by Timothy Lane CLICK HERE.

And this week on Terrell’s Sound World, at 10 p.m. Sunday on KSFR-FM 101.1, don’t miss “Stagorama.” Hear the legend told by Nick Cave, The Clash, The Black Keys, and others.

UPDATE: A guy who commented on this column has a blog (She'll Grow Back) that posts a new version of Staggerlee every week. Check it out HERE

BONUS: Check out these cool Stagolee Videos:

Samuel L. Jackson

R.L. Burnside

Wilbert Harrison

Frank Hutchison

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Lloyd Price

For more deep dives into songs, check out The Stephen W. Terrell Web Log Songbook

Thursday, April 10, 2008


* Surreal Folk Blues Gospel Trash Vol. 1 by Rev. Beat-Man. Bitchen! Voodoo Rhythm Records, the greatest psychobilly, trash-rock label to ever come out of Switzerland (or just about anywhere else) is back on eMusic. About a year ago I stumbled across Voodoo Rhythm here and promptly downloaded King Khan & The Shrines' Three Hairs and You're Mine. But when I came back for more the next month, Voodoo Rhythm was gone. Let's hope they stick around around this time. (Unfortunately they haven't brought back King Khan & The Shrines, at least not yet.)

Beat-Man with his scratchy, sinister voice, is the founder and president-for-life of this company.

This record shows him all over the place, even trying his hand at what sounds like Russian folk music. And there's even a near-7-minute sermon, "The Beat-Man Way," in which Beat-Man shares his theological insights.

Beat-Man already has released a Surreal Folk Blues Gospel Trash Volume 2, which I hope eMusic snags soon. (Volume 3 apparently will be a DVD.)

For loads of fun, check out the Rev's podcast (with Gringo Starr) Sonic Nightmares on Click HERE for the podcast feedplayer.

* We Have You Surrounded by The Dirtbombs. Nothing like a little apocalyptic paranoia to make a body want to rock. And you’ll find plenty of that on this new album by The Dirtbombs.

On nearly every song singer/guitarist Mick Collins seems to be looking over his shoulder and not liking what he sees. Civilization is decaying, burning. The future’s so dim Collins can’t wear his shades. The end is near and everyone’s out to wreck his flow.

The Dirtbombs is one of the many Detroit bands of the 1990s that didn’t become famous when The White Stripes rose. (But don’t call his group a “garage band, or Collins will twist your head off and eat your children.) With a lineup that includes two bassists and two drummers, Collins pays vocal tribute to the soul greats of his hometown’s past.

I'll have more to say about this album in an upcoming Terrell's Tune-up. Stay tuned.

* Rib Tips and Pig Snoots by Andre Williams. After seeing Andre at SXSW, I couldn't wait for his upcoming release on Bloodshot Records. I needed some Andre now -- so I downloaded this collection of early material.

Just like I hoped for, these songs, recorded back in the '60s, are funky, raunchy and funny.

It was great seeing Andre at the Yard Dog last month, but damn, I wish I could have seen him back when these tunes were recorded.

Ike & Tina LIVE!
*Live, Raw & Funky by Ike & Tina Turner. Few bands matched the raw intensity of Ike & Tina at their peak. This set includes lots of their own hits ("Nutbush City Limits," "Ooh Poo Pah Doo," "Proud Mary," "River Deep, Mountain High") covers of hits of that era ("Respect," "Son of a Preacher Man," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine") and some good old blues like the near 10-minute "I Smell Trouble," showcasing Ike's guitar as well as Tina's voice.

One of my favorite moments is Tina's rap during the middle of "Respect": "I want to talk about soul music" she says."I wanna talk about it because you see, soul is what I call grease. Comes from the kitchen, that's where you cook it."

Some of the sound quality isn't great here. But it's good and greasy. the soul burns through.

* The Secret Strength of Depression by Bassholes. I stumbled across this album while researching a well-loved, oft-covered American song. (See tomorrow's Terrell's Tune-up.)

Bassholes is a two-man blues/punk/garage band -- originally from Columbus, Ohio -- working the same side of the street as The Flat Duo Jets and early White Stripes.

Through much of their career they've been compared with The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion -- though they never got nearly as famous.

They play mainly originals, tough rock seeped in raw blues. One of my favorites on this album,(released in 2000 and recorded live at a radio broadcast) is the discordant "Bowling Ball." How could you not love a song that starts out, "There's a bowling ball in the back seat of the killer's car ..."?

* Bordertown & Viva San Antone by Joe "King" Carrasco y Los Coronas. At one point in the early-to-mid '80s, Joe "King" Carrasco & The Crowns practically were the house band at Club West in Santa Fe. They were playing here every time you turned around. And what a show Joe put on! He literally climbed the walls. His frantic Farfisa-fueled "Nuevo Wuevo" -- a hopped-up fusion of mid-'60s Chicano garage rock and Tex Mex cantina music was an irresistible invitation to hop around and sweat.

Carrasco was known as the personification of "Party Party Weekend" and his music embodied that notion. But by 1984, Joe was getting pretty pissed off at the Reagan administration's Latin American policies. His album Border Town, which makes up about of this collection had loads of rocking fun.

But there were songs that showed Carrasco had another side too. "Current events are making me tense," he says in the opening tune. But even stronger was "Who Buy the Guns" was about the murder of four American nuns in El Salvador by right-wing death squads. It was almost like an outtake from The Clash's Sandinista!, but it rocked more convincingly.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 10, 2008

The subject line of the e-mail from Dave Contarino promised it would be “One Last Request.”

Contarino was Gov. Bill Richardson’s campaign manager. That campaign, of course, folded in early January following twin disasters in Iowa and New Hampshire. But ever so often I — and I’m assuming hundreds if not thousands of others — still get these e-mails. The latest came this week.
“Dear Steve,” the latest missive began. You have to love that personal touch. Most of the e-mails I get from widows of Nigerian generals usually start out with something like “Hello dear,” which is more intimate, but I get the feeling they say that to all the boys.

But back to my Contarino message.

It took him a paragraph or so to get to the point. “Millions of people have turned out in record numbers during our Democratic presidential process,” Contarino wrote. “What it shows me is how energized our Party is and how strong our desire is to take back the White House after eight years of Bush administration arrogance, incompetence, and recklessness.”


“And while Gov. Richardson left the field some three months ago, the debts we incurred in working to get his message out have not.”

Here it comes.

“Thanks to our many supporters, we have begun to whittle that number down but there is much more to do — and I’m hoping you will help us finally retire it all with one last contribution.”

According to his most recent campaign finance report, filed last month, Richardson reported $420,848 in debts.

A major portion of that debt is the need to refund contributions that supporters made for a Richardson general election campaign that never happened. Under federal law, individual contributions to a candidate are limited to $2,300 for the primary election and $2,300 for the general. That allows well-heeled supporters to throw in $4,600, which beefs up the candidate’s financial reports.

Apparently there’s no mechanism to prevent candidates from spending their general election money on the primaries. But, under the law, those candidates who don’t make it to the general election have to refund that “general election” money.

According to his latest report, Richardson refunded $788,730 to those who contributed to his general election.

Apparently some people take these pleas to heart.

According to his latest report, Richardson raised some $57,000 in new contributions in February.

Changing the race: “We changed this race in important ways that will truly make a difference to our country,” Contarino says in the message.

“Now, both Democratic candidates are committed to ending the war in Iraq and getting all of our troops out.

“Now, both Democratic candidates are committed to charting a new energy future for America.

“And now, both Democratic candidates are committed to a foreign policy based on diplomacy and respect for international human rights.”

Of course, some might argue that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton might have espoused such positions even if Richardson never had been in the race.

Speaking of Obama, nowhere in the e-mail is Richardson’s endorsement of the Illinois senator mentioned. I wonder how much money will pour in from Clinton backers.

“The goal of all of us who worked so hard on the governor’s campaign now is to ensure a Democrat gets elected in the fall and to make sure that Democrats control our national agenda starting next year,” the e-mail said.

Before you go writing checks to any of those Democrats who might get elected in the fall, Contarino adds, “Please, as one last gesture to Bill Richardson’s extraordinary leadership in our democratic process, help us close our books and live up to our obligations by making one last contribution to retire his campaign debt.”

I’m just wondering whether this really be the “last request” from the Richardson campaign.
Dendahl still opining: Former State Republican chairman John Dendahl lost the 2006 gubernatorial race to Richardson. Then he moved from his hometown of Santa Fe to Colorado. But if you thought Dendahl was leaving politics or keeping his opinions to himself, think again.

The always-quotable “Gentle Jawn,” as Ernie Mills used to call him, writes an occasional article for a conservative Web site called Family Security Matters, which is associated with a Washington, D.C.-based think tank called Center for Security Policy founded by neo-conservative leader Frank J. Gaffney Jr.

Dendahl has written for the publication for several years now. His latest piece, published last month, is a blistering critique of Obama’s race speech.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


At some point in the not-so-distant future, there will be too many political ads to post here. But for now, here's the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund's ad aimed at Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson, which I wrote about in today's New Mexican.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


My story about the latest tv ad campaigns among CD 3 candidates can be found HERE.

Below are the first Ben Ray Lujan commercial and the latest Don Wiviott ad.


XIU XIU CSF 4-7-07

Xiu Xiu, whose album Women as Lovers I just reviewed in Terrell's Tune-Up, played a crazy intense set Monday night at the College of Santa Fe. (check some photos HERE.)

They were far more powerful in person than their album. Singer Jamie Stewart performs like a man possessed. Sometimes his eyes roll back as he submerges in song. It's like he's sobbing and shouting into the abyss -- and the abyss roars back.
I was most impressed with drummer Ches Smith, who pounds away like a madman.

Keyboardist Caralee McElroy is pretty amazing herself, nonchalantly moving around from instrument to instrument -- synths, harmonium, melodica, flute, a tiny glockenspiel, whistles. And occasionally she'll pound on the drums. I'm not sure how she remembers all her parts.

Rounding out the band is bassist Devin Hoff. He stays in the background, but his playing is solid.

At one point after a song, Stewart seemed to stumble. He said "Oh shit!" and sat down for a moment. Caralee brought him a glass of water. After a couple of sips he got back up and continued on without further problems.

One thing that's obvious, Xiu Xiu is a band that gives it their all.

Monday, April 07, 2008


SF ALL STARS' Susan, Joe, Sharon. (not pictured, Ben Wright) Frogfest 2006
Hundreds of people just crammed into the state Capitol Rotunda for the official launch of the New Mexico quarter.

I could barely hear the speeches, but, because I was standing right behind them, my favorite part was The Santa Fe All Stars, who provided music for the ceremony.

And my favorite song the All Stars did today was, immediately after the ceremony, a subversive little Joe West tune called "$2,000 Navajo Rug," a gentle jab at Santa Fe elitism. You can hear a version HERE by an earlier Joe West band, The Sinners.

Quick math: A $2,000 Navajo rug would cost 8,000 New Mexico quarters.


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