Sunday, June 29, 2008


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

101.1 FM
email me during the show!

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
First Date (Are You Coming On to Me?) by The Fleshtones
Wild Man by The Hollywood Sinners
Black-Hearted Woman by The Standells
Hear Ya Dance by Andre William & The New Orleans Hell Hounds
Common Man by The Blasters
Nervous Breakdown by Eddie Cochran
Holiday in Waikiki by The Kinks
Sputniks Thema by Die Sputniks
Wine Head by Johnny Wright

Master Race Rock by The Dictators
Puss 'n' Boots by The New York Dolls
Stolen Kisses by Scott Kempner
Sacramento and Polk by Lenny Kaye
You Are What You Is by Frank Zappa
I Think I Smell a Rat by The White Stripes
Black Rat by Big Mama Thornton
Mickey's Son and Daughter by Bonzo Dog Band

Day Time Girl by Sky Saxon
Goin' on Down to The BBQ by Stan Ridgway
Puzzlin' Evidence by The Talking Heads
Party Weekend by Joe "King" Carrasco & The Crowns
Jefe de Jefes by Los Tigres del Norte
She's About a Mover by The Sir Douglas Quintet
Took My Lady to Dinner by King Kahn & The Shrines
I'll Be Alright by Terrence Trent D'Arby

Old Black Mattie by R.L. Burnside
As the Crow Flies by Tony Joe White
Pretty Princess Day by The Dirtbombs
T.F. Madness by Carbon/Silicone
Cool 'n' Out by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, June 27, 2008


Friday, June 27, 2008
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show!

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Foot Stompin' Friday Night by The Stumbleweeds
Do What I Say by The Waco Brothers
Border Ska by Camper Van Beethoven
Chicano Town by Joe "King" Carrasco y Las Coronas
Ordinary Fool by The Hacienda Brothers
Write About Stars by Jim Stringer
Mirage by Gary Gorence
Tennesee by The Last Mile Ramblers
What's That Tastes Like Gravy? by King David's Jug Band

Fever Dream by Nels Andrews
The Ballad of Rusty Strange by Boris McCutcheon & The Saltlicks
Hog of the Forsaken by Michael Hurley
Sorry I Let You Down by The Wilders
The Demon Ether by The Deadly Gentlemen
Twelve Gates to the City by Bethleham & Eggs
Gamblin' Dan by Cliff Carlisle

Fourth of July by Dave Alvin
Swamp Water by Tony Joe White
Before You Go by Buck Owens
Brothers of a Bottle by George Jones
Rebel Domino by The Rowdy Prairie Dogs
Lisa's Birthday by The Drive-By Truckers
The Mountain by Levon Helm
Some of Shelly's Blues by The Boxmasters
Hand of the Allmighty by John R. Butler

Me and Gillian Welch by Brad Creel
In Tall Buildings by Gillian Welch
Beyond the Pale by Scott Kempner
OGM by Loudon Wainwright III
Comet's Return by Michael Eck
Try Me One More Time by David Bromberg
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 27, 2008

This probably sounds corny, but I didn’t really start to appreciate The Dictators’ compilation Every Day Is Saturday until I heard it in my car going 85 mph (oops, I mean whatever the speed limit is) on the Interstate with my windows open.
Corny, but true. It’s that kind of album.
The Dictators’ first album was released in 1975, sometime between the point that the New York Dolls were crashing and The Ramones were gestating.

The Dics, as their fans call them, were a little more polished than the Dolls, The Ramones, and the other punk groups they inspired. You can hear a definite Who influence (check the classic Townshend riffage on “Baby Let’s Twist”).

And a little more metallic. Guitarist Ross “The Boss” Funichello later joined Manowar, and one of their early bass players later enlisted with Twisted Sister. The Dics used Blue Öyster Cult producers Sandy Pearlman and Murray Krugman (though I don’t hear the cowbell).

The Dics had that good old American trash-rock spirit — singing songs of beer, pizza, girls, pro wrestling, and other things that make this country great. Frontman Handsome Dick Manitoba was obnoxious in the best possible way (he started out as a roadie with the band); Funichello and guitarist Scott “Top 10” Kempner were loud but seemingly conscious of every note of rock history; and bassist Andy Shernoff wrote some amazing tunes.

Every Day Is Saturday, released early this year on Norton Records, is a collection of demos and rarities — there are even a few radio ads. The album should appeal to longtime fans of the band as well as to youngsters who need to be introduced to the music. There are lots of stripped-down versions of The Dics’ “greatest hits” (as if this stuff ever received decent radio play) from albums like The Dictators Go Girl Crazy, Manifest Destiny, Bloodbrothers and other inspired Dictation.

It’s mainly original material here, though there are a few cover songs like The Rivieras’ classic “California Sun” (including one lyric alteration I won’t even try to get away with in a family newspaper), The Ramones’ “I Just Want to Have Something to Do” (available on download versions only), and, yes, fellow patriots, “America the Beautiful” (although for some reason they leave out the “God mend thine ev’ry flaw” refrain).

One of my favorite tunes is “Minnesota Strip” — an ode to teenage prostitution that features a great ’70s metal riff. Then there’s “Borneo Jimmy,” a basic Chuck Berry-informed rocker about a guy “Standing by the ringside/Cheering on the bad guys.”

“Master Race” has nothing to do with Nazis. Sample lyrics: “My favorite part of growing up/ Is when I’m sick and throwing up/It’s the dues you’ve got to pay/For eating burgers every day.”
The Dictator philosophy might best be summed up by “16 Forever” — a wish for eternal teenager bliss. There are two versions of the song on Every Day Is Saturday.

Unfortunately there are some clunkers here.

I’m on the fence about “I Stand Tall” — loving and hating it. I appreciate the faux jingoism (”You can circle the globe to find a better land/Lots of movie stars if you’re a movie star fan/Lots of pizza, ice cold Coke/Johnny Carson telling jokes/And lots and lots of American good good girls.”) But unfortunately the music, with its terse piano and staid guitar parts, anticipates cheesy ’80s AOR. Could this song be the secret origin of Night Ranger?

Even worse is “Sleepin’ With the TV On,” an actual pop ballad with jangly guitar and overly sincere crooning. I dunno, it might appeal to fans of Dan Hill’s “Sometimes When We Touch.”

But that’s why God created the skip button. Every Day Is Saturday is still a good album to take out on the highway.

Also recommended
* Saving Grace by Scott Kempner. “Top 10” didn’t stay 16 forever.
Scott Kempner at SXSW 2006
Even though he still looks like a rockin’ rebel, the guy grew up. This album, his first solo record in 16 years or so, ain’t kid stuff. Most of it’s pretty mellow, though not in a sappy way. Kempner, whoal roots-rock band in the ’80s, has a rugged, world-weary voice. One critic called him an East Coast Dave Alvin. His voice isn’t nearly as deep, but that’s not a half-bad comparison.

Maybe I’ve been listening to too much Dictators lately, but my favorite songs here are “Stolen Kisses” and “The Secret Everybody Knows,” which are about the only all-out rockers on the album.

But there are some quieter gems too. Kempner co-wrote “Heartbeat of Time” with one of his heroes — Dion, with whom Kempner has worked in a band called the Little Kings. (For the record, Fern Castle also shares in songwriting credits on the song). It’s got a 1950s Latin rhythm and has the feel of some forgotten Drifters hit. Dion lends some vocals at the end of the tune.

The only cover song on the album is an acoustic ballad called “I’ll Give You Needles,” written by alt-country rocker Tommy Womack. And it’s a dandy. It’s a terrible story of a junkie friend going downhill — though the singer offers hope that the junkie will get better so he can make her understand what she put everyone through.

* We Won’t Change Our Style by Hollywood Sinners. Good old American garage rock is alive and well in Spain. These sinners, who come not from Hollywood but Toledo (holy Toledo!) prove it. It’s a guitar-bass-drums trio that sounds like it wants to conquer the world.
Hollywood Sinners
Nothin’ fancy here. You can hear traces of “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” in the opening track “Wild Man” and on the last song “Tame Me” — and come to think of it, the same chord pattern is used on “Adictos al Ye-Ye” — but somehow the musicians still make it sound fresh.

They pay tribute to another Spanish band — Wau y los Arrrghs!!! — on a hopped-up cruncher called “Quiero Ser Como Wau y los Arrrghs!!!”

This album is one of the newest products from Dirty Water Records, a nifty little British label associated with a nightclub by the same name. It’s the home of Los Peyotes (an Argentine garage group) Thee Exciters, The Priscillas, and other groups.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"I AM HERE ...."

Seems like only yesterday -- actually it was today -- when I was quoting Gov. Bill Richardson saying, “Well listen, I am here and I am here to continue our agenda in New Mexico to make us strong, proud, vibrant, no matter how long it takes.”
I guess that depends on your definition of "here." This press release just came today:

Governor Bill Richardson will be honored tonight by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (in Washington, D.C..) for his work as Governor and his distinguished public service throughout his career.

Governor Richardson will accept the Edward R. Roybal Award for Outstanding Public Service at the annual NALEO Conference. The event is the largest Latino political convention in the country.

Governor Richardson is also be meeting in Washington D.C. today with federal transportation officials about highway and Railrunner funding before heading to New York on Friday to meet with bond rating companies to make the case for increasing New Mexico’s bond rating. ...

On Sunday the Governor will attend the Democratic Leadership Council National Convention and give the keynote speech to the Rainbow Push Coalition in Chicago before heading to the Western Governor’s Association Annual Meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 26, 2008

The story about two Muslim women who weren’t allowed to sit behind Barack Obama at a Detroit rally last week reminded me of an incident in Santa Fe during the 2004 presidential campaign.

The Detroit incident involved some overzealous Obama handlers who didn’t want the world to see television footage of the women, who were wearing the Islamic head scarf known as a hijab.

The campaign aides apparently were concerned about those stupid Internet rumors that Obama is a secret Muslim. The removal of the women caused outrage in the U.S. Muslim community, including a rebuke from U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress. Obama called both women last week to apologize.
Hide this from the voters!
Back in September 2004, John Edwards, who was Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s running mate, came to Santa Fe for a speech at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. He spoke near an 18-foot bronze statue of an Apache mountain spirit dancer that had been sculpted by San Carlos Apache Craig Dan Goseyun.

But the impressive statue wasn’t visible in any television footage of the event. Rally organizers were careful to obscure it with huge, oblong “Kerry-Edwards” signs.

A local volunteer I know who helped set up the area for the Edwards stop told me some campaign honcho had ordered the statue be hidden behind the signs. People from other parts of the country, the campaign guy told my friend, might think the hulking bronze figure was a “war dancer,” and the tablita and bullroarer the dancer holds in his hands could be interpreted as weapons — which they aren’t, according to museum officials.

The state spokesman for the Kerry campaign denied this, claiming the signs were placed in front of the statue because “it’s just good sign placement.”


I’m betting they were afraid of rumors Edwards is a secret Apache.

The rise of the czars: New Mexico already is full of Russian olive trees; now we’re starting to accumulate czars.

A spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson said this week that the guv might soon be appointing a “corrections-reform czar” to oversee recommended changes in the state prison system.
Richardson has had success with his czars
Gilbert Gallegos says the administration has had success with its other czars.

“The czars coordinate the many varied, and sometimes redundant, services, programs and funding sources that deal with these important issues,” according to a page on the governor’s Web site. “One person in each area manages, coordinates and, most importantly, is accountable for making these efforts effective.”

For the record, there’s Behavioral Health Czar Linda Roebuck, Domestic Violence Czar Sharon Pino and the state’s longest-serving czar, DWI Czar Rachel O’Connor.

And this doesn’t even count Jay Czar, executive director of the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.

Previously, New Mexico had a drug czar, Herman Silva. But he was transferred a couple of years ago to head the Department of Public Safety’s Special Investigations Division. The drug czar’s position has been vacant since.

So why name these program coordinators after Russian royalty? Why not “domestic-violence mandarin” or “behavioral-health sultan” or “drug duke” or “DWI kaiser”? Heck, this is New Mexico. Why not “corrections-reform jefe”?

It probably started back in the Nixon administration when William Simon was appointed “energy czar” during the 1973 Arab oil embargo. His actual title was director of the Federal Energy Administration (a precursor of the U.S. Department of Energy).

In most places, the word czar is an unofficial or informal term. For instance, John P. Walters is commonly called the national “drug czar” although his real title is director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

But here in New Mexico, under Richardson, czar is the official title. It’s even on the czars’ business cards.

Which isn’t a bad thing. Why bother with some fancy $50 title when you can use a simple one-syllable word? It saves precious ink.

Anyway, Richardson apparently is fond of the title. Back in 1999 when he was secretary of energy, he appointed a security czar (though the official title was director of the Office of Security and Emergency Operations).

And last year when he was running for president, Richardson said if elected, he’d appoint a national cancer czar.

Gearing up for ’14: You’ve got to hand it to Richardson. While most local political junkies assume the big fish wants to get out of this small pond as fast as humanly possible, he made eyeballs pop this week when he suggested in a fund-raising letter he might be interested in a third term as governor.

“I still have a lot of work to do here in New Mexico before I leave office in 2010 due to term limits, including fighting to extend health care to every New Mexican,” Richardson wrote. “And I remain actively involved with national politics because we need to change America, and every one of us has to contribute something. But who knows? Maybe I’ll even decide to run for governor again in 2014 — if something else doesn’t pop up in the meantime!”

I can’t help but wonder what Lt. Gov. Diane Denish thinks about this. If Denish has her way, she’ll be running for re-election as governor in 2014.

Richardson hinted at a long New Mexico residency at the Democratic Unity dinner this week. My Capitol bureau partner, Kate Nash, recorded his speech in which he needled state Democratic chairman Brian Colón.

“By the way, thanks Brian for trying to get rid of me. All of you ... you tell me, ‘Geez, you’d be a great so and so,’ ” Richardson said. “Well listen, I am here and I am here to continue our agenda in New Mexico to make us strong, proud, vibrant, no matter how long it takes.”

Could it be Richardson really does think governor of New Mexico is the best job in the world?

Coincidence? Just a week after the unexpected death of Meet the Press host Tim Russert, KOAT-TV, Channel 7, announced it’s moving This Week With George Stephanopoulos from its current late afternoon Sunday slot to 9 a.m. Sunday — the same time as Meet the Press.

The station’s press release doesn’t explain why This Week has been airing at 4 p.m. in the first place. Might Russert have had something to do with it?

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Sunday, June 22, 2008
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show!

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
America the Beautiful by The Dictators
The Kingdom of My Mind by The Blood-Drained Cows
Bumble Bee Zombie by Roky Erikson
Bumble Bee by The Casual Dots
Sonic Reducer by The Dead Boys
Libertines in My Scene by The Dirty Novels
Summertime by Ricky Nelson
Death Wears an Overcoat by Bichos
Jolie's Nightmare by Chuck E. Weiss
Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody by Al Jolson

You Are My Sunshine by Spider & The Crabs
On the Outside Lookin' In by The Upside Dawne
Shake & Fingerpop by Tide
Crawfish Song by The Astronauts
Love Man by Otis Redding
Quiero Ser Como Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! by The Hollywood Sinners
Rey Los Tablistas by Wau y Los Arrrghs!!!
I'm Happy Too by Hubb Capp & The Wheels

Rock 'n' Soul Music by Country Joe & The Fish
Land of the Freak by King Khan & The Shrines
If You Leave Me by Andre Williams & The New Orleans Hellhounds
Everlovin' Man by The Dirtbombs
Cream by Prince
Premadawnut by Fishbone
Am I the One by The King Khan & BBQ Show

Whittier Boulevard by Los Straitjackets
Mega Bottle Ride by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
Yo Frankie (She's Allright With Me) by Dion
Heartbeat of Time by Scott Kempner
Who Will Lead Us by The Gutter Twins
Jesus of the Moon by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Ramona by NRBQ
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis


REP. TOM UDALL My story in today's New Mexican on the differing views on energy policy of Senate candidates Tom Udall and Steve Pearce can be found HERE. The sidebar on key energy votes can be found HERE.

This morning the Pearce camp "demanded" a debate on energy policy with Udall.

"Pearce called for the two camps to begin immediate talks to determine the location and format for the debate," the news release said.

I can't imagine Udall not agreeing to debate with Pearce before the gerneral election, but at the moment when polls show him up by 25 percentage points, I'm betting he's not in a rush.

Friday, June 20, 2008


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

101.1 FM
email me during the show!

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Bears in Them Woods by Nancy Apple
It'd Be Sad If It Wasn't So Funny by Lonesome Bob
Poor Little John by Roger Miller
Deisel Smoke, Dangerous Curves by Doye O'Dell
Roll Truck Roll by Laura Cantrell
Rolling Stone by Neko Case
Poisonville by Ronny Elliot
Creole Stomp (Happytown) by Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys
Dancing Shoes by Mama Rosin

The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll by Carl Perkins
How's My Ex Treating You by Jerry Lee Lewis
Walk on Out of My Mind by Waylon Jennings
Rebel Rouser by Jim Stringer
My Eyes by Tony Gilyson
Billy 1 by Los Lobos
Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) by Willie Nelson & Calexico

Lawrence Jones by Kathy Matea
Are They Going to Make Us Outlaws Again by Hazel Dickens
Waiting For The Demons to Die by Boris & Saltlicks
The Girl on the Side by The Boxmasters
Wildwood Flower by Cedar Hill Refugees
Checkout Time in Vegas by The Drive-By Truckers
The Seeds of My Destruction by Cornell Hurd

I'll Give You Needles by Scott Kempner
Whatever Happened to Cheetah Chrome by Tommy Womack
Lonely Town by Julien Aklei
Gun Blue by Goshen
Tower of Song by Martha Wainwright
Invitation by Richard Buckner
A Whorehouse is Any House by Bonnie Prince Billy
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, June 19, 2008


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 20, 2008

Back in 1968, Country Joe & The Fish envisioned the concept of “rock ’n’ soul” music with an exhilarating, if tongue-in-cheek song by that name.

“Now this ain’t soul music, mind you, this is rock music. But it’s got soul to it, if you can dig that. And now the band would like to play a new riff they just learned, we call a sockin’-it-to-you.”
Forty years later that sockin’-it-to-you spirit is embodied by a Canadian guitar picker of East Indian heritage who lives in Germany — ladies and gentlemen, the mighty King Khan. As Country Joe might say, his love is like a rainbow.

Since the turn of the century, Khan has been ripping up European audiences. He released a couple of CDs with buddy Mark Sultan as The King Khan & BBQ Show, a hard-charging blues/garage duo distinguished by its love of doo-wop harmonies.

But even more impressive is Khan’s work with The Shrines, a nine-, 10-, or 11-piece (depending on which account you read) full-fledged psychedelic soul band, complete with horn section. At one point, the group included a Japanese go-go dancer named Bamboorella who, according to an early press release, “traded a life of crime, sex, and drugs for a life of rock ’n’ roll, sex, and drugs. With her salacious dances she enthuses both men and women alike.”

Khan’s is an amazing sound. But even more amazing is that until June 17, the young king hadn’t been available on any American record label.

Vice Records, the same independent label that’s home to The Black Lips, just released The Supreme Genius of King Khan & The Shrines, a best-of compilation complete with a Bollywood-style album cover and liner notes from The Black Lips’ Jared Swilley. The album features tracks from the band’s three albums — Three Hairs and You’re Mine, Mr. Supernatural, and What Is?! — plus various singles and EPs.

While you can often detect punk and garage rock influences in Khan’s grooves, and the pace of some tunes like “Land of the Freak” is closer to speed metal than to soul, Khan and the band clearly respect the traditions of soul. This is no silly parody. It’s a legitimate update of the genre.
Among my favorite tracks is “Took My Lady to Dinner,” a tune that might owe its hooks to the Beatles’ “Drive My Car.” The narrator in the song sits in horror as his girlfriend orders “15 pounds of ribs, deep fried with some burgers on the side” not to mention the ice cream for dessert. In the refrain, Khan sings, “She’s fat, she’s ugly, I really really love her.”

“Welfare Bread” has a sweet, Southern melody, though the arrangement reminds me a little of Springsteen’s “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out.” There’s even a little “Born to Run”-style glockenspiel. It’s a poor man’s love song. “You don’t have to pay your bills anymore, now/You just have to eat my welfare bread.”

Whoever compiled this album had no way of knowing that Bo Diddley would die just a few weeks before the release. So I guess it’s just righteous synchronicity that Diddley’s “Crackin’ Up” is the only cover song on Supreme Genius. Khan does it justice with his tremolo guitar and ragged vocals.

The real showstopper, though, is “Shivers Down My Spine,” a dark, bluesy, minor-key song in which Khan sounds like he’s at the end of his rope and in some kind of vampiristic relationship (”She bites me square on my neck/I say, ‘Baby, what the heck?’”) The tune features a cool, spooky organ solo by Freddy “Mr. Ovitch” Rococo (aka Fredovitch).

I’m hoping this is just the first shot fired in the King Khan & The Shrines invasion of America and that Vice releases an album of new material in the near future. Because, like Country Joe might say, “Everywhere I go, you know that it’s always understood/Rock and soul music is doggone good.”

More super sounds of soul
* Daptone 7-Inch Singles Collection, Vol. 2
by various artists. I’ve been yakking about the latest great soul revival for a couple of years now. The one record company most responsible for this delightful phenomenon is Daptone, a New York label that has been cranking out the soul for several years.

The collection features several tunes by Daptone’s two greatest stars — Sharon Jones, the corrections-officer-turned-songbird who is fast becoming the 21st-century Aretha Franklin; and Lee Fields, who’s loud and proud about his musical debt to James Brown but is a dynamic performer in his own right.

There are other acts here too, like shouter Charles Bradley, The Mighty Imperials, the Dap-Kings (who regularly back Jones and also recorded with Amy Winehouse), and Antibalas, here under its original name, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. The band’s appearance almost makes up for the absence of The Budos Band, one my favorite Daptone groups, which, like Antibalas, explores the relationship between African music and American funk.

Fields shines here with the slow Stax/Volt-sounding “Could Have Been.” Shouting over a gutbucket guitar, sweet organ, and sax-led horn section, Fields sounds like Howard Tate in his prime.

The song that really stands out on this collection is Jones’ version of “I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” Yes, that weird psychedelic pop gem that served to introduce the world to Kenny Rogers (with The First Edition), circa 1967.

The lyrics (by a young and apparently stoned Mickey Newbury) are gibberish (“I woke up this morning with the sundown pouring in/I found my mind in a brown paper bag within,” and so forth) But Jones sings it with gospel-fired intensity, and those Dap horns respond in kind.

Sorry, CD lovers, this album is only available as a download. You can find it on iTunes, Amazon or eMusic.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


A Washington, D.C.-based institute dedicated to "fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue" by holding seminars and forums for Congress members in various parts of the world has paid more than $100,000 since the turn of the century for travel expenses for U.S. Rep. Tom Udall and his wife.
In trips paid for by The Aspen Institute, Udall has gone to conferences on "the global environment" in Lausanne, Switzerland, Barcelona, Spain, and Rome; a confab in Florence, Italy, on "the convergence of U.S. national security and the global environment"; conferences on "political Islam" in Helsinki, Finland, and Istanbul, Turkey; meetings between Chinese and American scholars in various cities in China; an education-reform conference in Canún, Mexico; and two conferences on Latin American policy in the beach resort city of Punta Mita, Mexico.

And don't forget a "congressional planning" meeting in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. — a popular location for congressional retreats — back in 2001.

The total cost of Udall's Aspen trips was $105,066.66.

The Legistorm Web site, which compiles a database of congressional trips, makes a notation — a dollar sign symbol — on the Punta Mita trips to indicate hotel charges were "unusually expensive." The hotel charges for Udall and his wife, Jill Cooper, were $3,175 for the January 2006 trip and $2,950 in January 2005. But that's probably just a case of Punta Mita being a pricey little town. Nearly all of the Aspen Institute's 61 trips for senators and representatives to Punta Mita listed at Legistorm have the "unusually expensive" icon.

Udall's trip to China last year, which cost more than $29,000, was the fourth most expensive trip a member of Congress has reported since 2000, according to Legistorm. The most expensive one was a $31,000 trip to London in 2000 by Rep. Thomas Billey, R-Va., and his wife, which was paid for by the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co.

In response to questions Wednesday about Udall's Aspen trips, spokeswoman Marissa Padilla said in a written statement: "The world is a dangerous place and there are complex global issues facing New Mexico and the nation today. Tom Udall has proven he'll do what's right for New Mexico and the nation by constantly working to expand his knowledge and maintain a strong grasp of the serious issues impacting us today. ... These high level policy conferences give Congressman Udall the opportunity to focus on the key issues affecting New Mexico and the nation. The Aspen educational programs have never cost the taxpayers a dime, and the Congressman has never missed a vote by attending them. ... Every week Congress is in session, the Aspen Institute also holds policy briefings and sessions with distinguished scholars and international experts that the Congressman attends."

What is the Aspen Institute? According to Aspen's Web site, the institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization created in Aspen, Colo., by Chicago businessman Walter Paepcke. Now headquartered in Washington, D.C., the institute has campuses in Aspen, Colo., and near the shores of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

The institute's board of trustees includes former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Disney chief executive officer Michael Eisner; David Gergen, who has been an aide to several U.S. presidents, most recently Bill Clinton; and former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell.

Former Secretary of State (and Bill Richardson employer) Henry Kissinger; former Defense Secretary and World Bank President Robert McNamara; and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker are listed as "lifetime trustees."

According to a written statement by former U.S. Sen. Dick Clark, D-Iowa, director of Aspen's Congressional Program, in 2006, funding for the program was provided solely by Carnegie Corp. of New York, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, The Packard Foundation, the Charles S. Mott Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Asia Foundation.

Though corporate contributions aren't accepted for the congressional program, Aspen's most recent annual report lists dozens of corporate sponsors — assumedly for other institute activities. According to the most recent tax form available, Aspen took in nearly $55 million in contributions in 2005.

According to Legistorm, which has compiled congressional trips going back to 2000, Aspen has spent more money on congressional travel than any other group — more than $4.9 million on 894 trips.

Its closest competitor is the American Israeli Education Foundation, which has spent $2.5 million on trips since 2000.

According to Legistorm's breakdown, Aspen has spent more than $3.4 million on travel for Democratic members of Congress, compared with $1.5 for Republicans.

Other Aspen Institute trips: Udall isn't the only member of the New Mexico delegation to travel on Aspen's dime. Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman and his wife traveled to London in August 2002 for a conference on U.S.-Russia relations; to Helsinki alone in 2003 for the same conference on political Islam that Udall attended; and alone to Moscow in 2003 for another conference on U.S.-Russia relations.

Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., along with her husband and two children, went to the same conference in White Sulphur Springs that Udall went to, courtesy of the Aspen Institute in 2001.

Grubesic won't leave early. When state Sen. John Grubesic, D-Santa Fe, defeated incumbent Roman Maes in the 2004 Democratic primary, Maes, a senator since 1985, resigned to give Grubesic a little head start and a little extra seniority.

But Grubesic, who didn't seek re-election this year, said this week he won't do the same for state Rep. Peter Wirth, who won the Democratic primary unopposed and faces no general election opposition.

"I was elected to a four-year term and I intend to serve it," Grubesic said. Another factor in keeping his seat, he said, is the prospect of the long-threatened special session — currently rumored to be in the works for August or September, though anyone who really knows anything about it is keeping mum.

Wirth said this week that he doesn't mind waiting until January to take the District 25 Senate seat. In fact, he said, if there is a special session, he'd probably be more comfortable in his current House seat than as a newcomer to the Senate.

He said he's met with Grubesic recently, "just to talk about what I've gotten myself into."


You can read my story about the personal finance statements of New Mexico's two candidates for U.S. Senate, Tom Udall and Steve Pearce HERE. These are requried to be filed once a year by members of Congress.

As you can see, neither of these millionaires is going to have to be eating Snack Ramen anytime soon.

Udall's report is HERE.

Pearce's is HERE

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Sunday, June 15, 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
Hell or High Water by Hundred Year Flood
Son of a Gun by Goshen
Albert Goes West by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Selling the Wind by Pretty Girls Make Graves
The Wicked Messenger by The Black Keys
Sookie Sookie by Steppenwolf
Kill You Tonight by The Sinister Six

El Perversio by Deadbolt
Get Happy by Simon Stokes
Mumble and Bumble by The Seeds
These Boots Were Made For Walking by Johnny Thunders & Wayne Kramer
It's Not Bad by The Shakers
Marylou by The Astronauts
Big Boy Pete by Paul Revere & The Raiders
Draygo's Guilt by The Fall
Cha Wow Wow by The Hillbilly Soul Surfers
Mi Saxophone by Al Hurricane

Torture by King Khan & The Shrines
Can't Stop Thinking About You by Charles Bradley
Dirty Old Woman by Denise LaSalle
Cosmic Slop by The P-Funk All-Stars
Slow Bus Movin' (Howard Beach party) by Fishbone
Sherilyn Fenn by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Can You Deal With It by Andre Williams & The New Orleans Hellhounds

Global a Go Go by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
Shanghai by Hang on the Box
Soba Song by 3 Mustaphas 3
Sober Driver by Dengue Fever
Dyplomata by Kult
I'm Going to Leave You Satisfied by Divorced
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis



I was saddened this morning to hear about the death of Larry Wilson, the man whose giant spray-foam dinosaurs have amazed travelers south of Santa Fe for more than 20 years. You can read Anne Constable's obit HERE.

I interviewed Larry about nine years ago for my "Roadside Attactions" series I did for The New Mexican about weird and wonderful things along New Mexico's highways. I found him to be a very nice guy and way too modest about his art. Here's my section about Larry's creations from the May 30, 1999 issue of The New Mexican.

...the place that some locals refer to as "The Dinosaur Ranch." Actually, it's an otherwise mundane business called Thermal Coatings & Insulation, which specializes in insulating roofs and walls with polyurethane foam.

The company had been doing business at the site for several years. But in the mid 1980s, owner Larry Wilson turned it into a roadside spectacle when he built a couple of giant, realistic prehistoric critters out of rebar, wire and polyurethane. Wilson said he's been interested in dinosaurs since his childhood. He built the first one for his granddaughters who were studying dinosaurs in school.

"They came and said `Grandpa can you make a dinosaur,' so I said I'd try," Wilson said last week. "Of course, I don't think they were expecting anything that big."

Wilson said he had a large piece of rebar that suggested a brontosaurus. "I kept adding onto it and it took on a life of its own," he said.

Wilson sold that bronto and three other of his first dinosaurs to the city of Clayton's Chamber of Commerce. "They'd found some dinosaur tracks in an arroyo so they thought this would be a good way to promote that as a tourist attraction," Wilson said.

Other polyurethane dinos would soon replace the originals.

For the past several years the dinosaur display has featured characters that look like they belong in the 1969 cowboys `n' dinosaurs sci-fi flick
Valley of the Gwangi -- a polyurethane cowpoke aside a polyurethane horse, roping a tyrannosaurus rex.

In a nearby coral there are more monsters -- a mamma and baby brontosaurus, a stegosaurus, and an honorary dinosaur a giant horny toad. Wooden owls are mounted on the four corner posts, in a futile attempt to keep birds away from the creations, birds presumedly fearing owls worse than they do dinosaurs.

Then, over at the company building there's another tyrannosaurus looking as if he's bursting through the wall. "He was originally outside," Wilson said. "But he fell over and broke his legs."
Although school classes and church groups often arrange for tours, Wilson said he has to keep his beasts behind a closed fence due to potential liability problems, as well as a spate of vandalism that plagued his dinosaurs about a year ago.

Though his dinosaurs have proven popular, Wilson has resisted temptation to cash in on his creations. He no longer sells his dinosaurs. "That would make it a job and then it wouldn't be fun anymore," he said.

"Besides, I'm not a good artist. Sometimes I'll have one eye bigger than the other or one leg longer. If I was doing them on commission, I couldn't do that. But when I do them for fun and make a mistake I'll just say this species hasn't been discovered yet."


Friday night on The Santa Fe Opry I played a song called "Chevy Headed West" by Jim Stringer & The AM Band, off their new album Triskaidekaphilia . It's a moving, bittersweet song about a couple of young guys on a road trip to California in 1968, worrying about Vietnam and learning about the assassination of Bobby Kennedy on their car radio.

In an early verse, Stringer sings the praises of KOMA, that renown 50,000-watt AM radio station in my hometown of Oklahoma City that blasted across the Great Plains every night (from Texas to Chicago, Stringer sings, but it also was heard out here in New Mexico.)

As I kid I mainly used to listen to WKY in OKC. But I'd frequently switch over to KOMA. They played the same basic music as WKY, but they'd always be advertising teen dance parties at VFW halls all over the Midwest -- Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota. There were several bands these ads would talk about, but the one name I remembered was Spider & The Crabs. What a bitchen band name! How could a Spider gig be anything less than totally cool? As a grade school kid I'd fantasize about going to these places. To hell with California dreaming. I wanted to go see Spider & The Crabs in Pierre, S.D.!

Stringer and I were e-mailing Saturday and I mentioned my KOMA memories. He told me that all those bands that advertised on KOMA were managed by a company called Mid-Continent Entertainment. Jim was in a couple of those bands, The Upside Dawne and Tide.

Furthermore there's a Web site that has MP3s of more than 20 of those groups including both of Stringer's early groups, The Red Dogs, the Bluethings ... and Spider & The Crabs!

It's a real treasure trove. CLICK HERE and enjoy!

Friday, June 13, 2008


Friday, June 13, 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
Daddy Was a Preacher, Mama Was a Go-Go Girl by Southern Culture on the Skids
Wild Old Nory by The Wilders
Jessico by The Kentucky Headhunters
Bow-Legged Charlie by Otis Taylor
Chevy Headed West by Jim Stringer & The AM Band
Uncle Sam's Jail by The Hacienda Brothers
I'm a Gonna Kill You by T. Tex Edwards & Out on Parole
Daddy Rhythm Guitar by Paul Burch
Animal Hoedown by Harry Hayward

Cool and Dark Inside by Kell Robertson
Rice and Beans by Utah Phillips
The Righteous Path by The Drive-By Truckers
Pigsville by The Waco Brothers
My Name is Jorge by The Gourds
Ruins of the Realm by James McMurtry

Rita's Breakdown by Mama Rosin
Brand New Mojo by Boozoo Chavis
Cajun Stripper by Doug Kershaw
Be My Chauffeur by Clifton Chenier
Alligator Man by Jimmy C. Newman
Down in the Bayou by The Watzloves
Give Him Cornbread by Beau Jocque & The Zydeco High Rollers
Sugarbee by Cleveland Crocket
So Long Baby by Jo-El Sonnier
Zydeco Around the World by Rockin' Dopsie

By the Sweat of My Brow by Hazel Dickens
I'd Rather Be Gone by Merle Haggard
Train of Life by Laura Cantrell
Lead Me On by Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn
I'm Watching the Game by The Boxmasters
The Salty Sea by I See Hawks in L.A.
Lorena by John Hartford
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 13, 2008

This is not your father’s Cajun music.

Tu as Perdu ton Chemin is the work of a Swiss band called Mama Rosìn.

Swiss Cajuns? There are no alligators in the Alps, but I guess they speak French in Switzerland as well as in Louisiana, though it’s a little different.

And, no, the band isn’t named after some nice old lady who speaks Yiddish and makes chicken soup. It’s a traditional Louisiana song best known from the version by Cajun stomper Zachary Richard and is covered on this album under the title “The Story of Mama Rosin.”

Befitting of the group’s label, Voodoo Rhythm, the sound is rougher and rawer than most of the authentic Cajun and zydeco music produced in recent years. No pop-hit covers, no reggae overtones or jam-band trappings here.

It’s rootsy bayou punk at its finest. The band sounds closer to Cajun than do The Watzloves, Voodoo Rhythm’s other group that dabbles in these sounds. (The German-based Watzloves, however, do have a member from Louisiana — DM Bob.)

These Geneva Mama's boys have all their traditional Cajun instruments down — accordion, banjo, and even a triangle. You can tell they love and respect Cajun and zydeco as they romp through traditional favorites such as “La Valse Criminelle” and “Pine Grove Blues.” They love the music and respect the tradition. But fortunately they don’t treat it too reverently.

There’s a hopped-up drummer who sounds as if he’s trying to beat an alligator to death with his sticks. And there are lots of weird little touches, such as the subtle electro-freakout surge that threatens to overwhelm the end of “Johnny Can’t Dance.”

The strangest and most wonderful song here is “Rita’s Breakdown,” which, in addition to the accordion and slide guitar, features almost industrial-style drums and some metal guitar. With the sirens in the background, it’s almost as if Public Enemy produced a BeauSoleil record.

You can’t help but love the simple touches too, such as the spirited if somewhat out-of-tune hollering by the singer on the waltz “Prairie Ronde.”

Also recommended:

* Someone’s Got to Pay
by The Wilders. I’ve covered a lot of murder trials for The New Mexican, but I’ve never served on a jury. But Phil Wade, who plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, and dobro for the Kansas City, Missouri, country-rock band The Wilders, did, back in 2005. He and his fellow jurors in Jackson County decided on a life sentence for “a young man, recently divorced, who shot his ex-wife outside her apartment complex,” Wade writes in the liner notes of this album.

“As I listened to the testimony unfold, I was unnerved by a nagging familiarity to the story. It was an old murder ballad come to life.”

The life-sentence decision was not something Wade took lightly. And apparently the experience has haunted him. He wrestles with it on Someone’s Got to Pay.

This isn’t really a concept album, though there are recurring interludes called “Sittin’ on a Jury,” which deals with various aspects of the trial — the defense, the prosecution, the verdict, etc. Some end with the plea, “Hey, Mr. Judge, let me off of this jury.”

The murder-trial aspect of the CD lured this old crime reporter into the album, co-produced by “Renaissance Mountain Man” Dirk Powell. Thus I discovered a band that makes a tired genre sound fresh. Songs like “Wild Old Nory” (a hard-rocking bluegrassy tune that could almost be an old ballad though it was written by Wilder singer Ike Shelton) and “My Final Plea,” (a fiddle-driven honky-tonker) deserve to be alt-country classics.

* Trains and Boats and Planes by Laura Cantrell. This is a nine-song EP by a New York country gal. Cantrell, born in Tennessee, hosted a show called Radio Thrift Shop for many years on New Jersey’s WFMU-FM. (Full disclosure: I’ve never met Cantrell, but both of us are part of the Freeform American Roots (FAR) radio group that produces a monthly chart. )

In recent years, she’s become best known for her own music. Her 2000 album Not the Tremblin’ Kind made her a favorite of the late British DJ John Peel and helped lead to an opening spot on an Elvis Costello tour.

Cantrell’s talent is only eclipsed by her great tastes. I knew I was going to love Trains and Boats and Planes — if only for her covers of two of my favorite obscure country songs from the early ’70s: Roger Miller’s “Train of Life” (covered by Merle Haggard on his landmark 1971 Someday We’ll Look Back album) and John Hartford’s “Howard Hughes’ Blues” from one of his greatest albums, Morning Bugle (1972).

Plus there are versions of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” New Order’s “Love Vigilantes,” a sad soldier song that sounds like it was written as a country tune, and a nice down-home version of the Burt Bacharach-penned title cut, which originally was a “British Invasion” tune by Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas.

I believe there was a federal law in the 1970s that stated that all country-rock bands had to cover Haggard’s “Silver Wings.” I’m not sure if it’s still on the books (it might have been amended to “Pretty Polly” sometime in the late ’90s), but Cantrell does such a fine cover of the Hag classic you almost forget you’ve heard it a zillion times.

Sorry technophobes, but this is a digital-only release, available from iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, and other digital retailers. As the Firesign Theatre might say, if you ask for it at a store, they’ll think you are crazy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 12, 2008

A colorful and controversial political consultant from Mississippi who caused some embarrassment for New Mexico Democratic Party leaders a few years ago is back in the news, this time for pleading guilty in federal court to not filing income tax returns.

Richard Buckman, 39, pleaded guilty in February to two misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file his federal income tax returns for 2002 and 2003, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office from the Southern District of Mississippi. He faces a year in prison and a fine of $25,000 for each count.

Buckman is almost an archetypal behind-the-scenes Southern political operative. Chicago political writer Stump Connolly wrote about a hotel bar encounter with Buckman, then working for John Edwards’ presidential campaign, while covering the 2004 Wisconsin primary. His description of Buckman — “a dark, brooding man in a dark suit and camel’s hair coat leaning into my shoulder” — seemed to indicate someone who enjoyed creating an air of mystery about himself. Besides his political consulting firm in Washington, D.C., he also is a partner in an entertainment business in Los Angeles.

Buckman made national news in 2004 for allegedly offering U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., an unusual deal. Pickering said Buckman told him Democrats were willing to end their opposition to the nomination of the congressman’s father, Charles Pickering Sr., to a federal appeals judgeship. All Rep. Pickering had to do was agree to a redistricting plan that would effectively eliminate his congressional seat. (Buckman denied the story.)

In his current tax case, according to a May 29 story in the Sun Herald, a southern Mississippi paper, Buckman’s guilty plea was part of a plea bargain in which the government agreed to drop two other counts of failure to file tax returns. Those were from the years 2000 and 2001.

“The plea agreement also calls for Buckman to pay $181,714.81 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for the years covered in the indictment,” the paper said.

During that four-year period, Buckman received gross income of almost $1 million, the U.S. attorney said.

Buckman’s sentencing, originally scheduled for last month, has been postponed until next month, the Sun Herald said.

“I have made some mistakes in my life and I am trying to make amends, do the right things, and get my life straight now,” Buckman told me in an e-mail Wednesday.

Buckman, The New Mexico years: Buckman first came to public attention in this state when several Democrats began to publicly question the $40,000 contract he had with the state party in 2004 and 2005. The contract was for “party building and fundraising.” But some party activists questioned the value of Buckman’s work and called the contract a “sweetheart deal” — literally — noting Buckman at the time was dating the party’s then executive director.

Then-state Democratic Party chairman John Wertheim defended Buckman in a 2005 interview, saying Buckman “did valuable work for the party in terms of fundraising” and had helped strengthen the state party’s relationship with the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Wertheim insisted Buckman’s relationship with the executive director had nothing to do with getting his contract. But the director resigned about a week after stories about Buckman and his contract appeared in The New Mexican. State Democrats said her departure had nothing to do with the stories.

But Wertheim on Wednesday no longer would defend Buckman. “As I learned more about Mr. Buckman, it has caused me to question whether it was wise to employ him as a consultant,” Wertheim said. “Hindsight is 20-20.”

There was another notorious New Mexico incident involving Buckman.

He was arrested in Albuquerque on a drunken-driving charge in October 2004. The two Albuquerque cops who pulled him over said Buckman showed the classic signs of intoxication — bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and the strong odor of alcohol — and he failed a field sobriety test.

However, a judge later ruled the sobriety test wasn’t valid because Buckman was too heavy. Police guidelines state that DWI suspects who are more than 50 pounds overweight shouldn’t be given certain physical tests involving balance. So Buckman’s DWI charge was dropped.

Bad blood in Texas: Buckman became involved with another state Democratic Party executive director, though not in a romantic way.

Mike Lavigne, a former executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, said Wednesday that he and a group of investors were “scammed” out of $35,000 by Buckman in a business deal involving the purchase of storage containers from the government. Lavigne created a Web site about Buckman, whom he calls a “con artist.”

Lavigne, who now has his own government and public relations firm in Austin, Texas, said Buckman promised to repay everyone involved when the deal fell through — but all the checks bounced.

When one of the investors confronted Buckman via e-mail, he replied, “The funds have been held up by the Feds is what happened. I am in meetings today with them as they want to have me roll on some people, mostly politicians and attorneys, in return for freeing my money, and making my charges go away. ...”

Asked about this Wednesday, Buckman replied: “There is no truth to what (Lavigne) says about me ‘scamming’ anyone. It was a business deal that didn’t work out. It’s his word against mine, no charges or lawsuits filed by him against me, so that just simply isn’t true. ... If Mike has an issue with his business with me he can file a civil lawsuit and a judge can decide, until then, that is what it is, nothing more.

“There was a conversation between he and I that was suppose to be confidential that there were people who wanted to discuss things with me. ... I am told that his repeating that and anyone who printed something of that nature could very well be committing Obstruction of Justice.”

Buckman’s sentencing is scheduled for July 25 in Gulfport, Miss.


My buddy Kell Robertson will headline a local tribute show next month for the late Utah Phillips. Also on the bill are Joe West, Georgie Angel, Kendall McCook, Mitch Rayes and Richard Malcolm.

Here's an excerpt from the official press release:

78-old New Mexico “beat” poet-songwriter Kell Robertson will make a rare public appearance to headline A Tribute to Utah Phillips concert at Santa Fe Brewing Company, Monday, July 14, 2008, starting at 7 pm. Joining Kell onstage to honor their mutual friend and inspiration, the late bard Utah Phillips, will be Joe West, Kendall McCook, Mitch Rayes, Richard Malcolm (of Burning Moonlight) and White Buffalo Music Presents Georgie Angel. Additional guests and friends of both Kell and Utah are expected to show up and sit in. Bill Nevins, contributing editor of Albuquerque ARTS monthly, will MC the evening. Admission is only $5 at the door, and fine food and beverages will be available.

This will be a rousing evening of music, stories, poetry and gentle rebellion, as befits the memory of the late Utah Phillips, the widely beloved songsmith, union advocate and raconteur who collaborated with Ani DiFranco on Grammy-nominated albums.

Kell Robertson, a long time friend and comrade-in-song of Utah Phillips, is himself an American treasure who has lived quietly in the Santa Fe area for the past ten years. He has performed his music and poetry from San Francisco to New York City .. For several years he tended bar and performed at the Thunderbird in Placitas, where he played and sang with the likes of Lightnin' Hopkins and hosted poetry and sang at Silva's Saloon in Bernalillo.

Kell lived in San Francisco for many years in the late 50s and early 60s, where he made his living singing at noted venues such as Vesuvio's and the Coffee Gallery, favorite hang outs for Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Diane di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and other Beat writers of the fabled North Beach scene. Kell’s songs, recorded on the albums
Cool & Dark Inside and When You Come Down Off the Mountain, are finely crafted and heartfelt music of the American West. Although mostly retired from performing, Kell composes poetry and still writes and plays his guitar every night on the secluded farm where he lives near Cerillos. A new collection of poetry is expected later this year from Pathwise Press

Monday, June 09, 2008


Apparently they'll be in Alamagordo, where they could do millions of dollars in improvements.

ALAMOGORDO -- Governor Bill Richardson today announced DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures and director Michael Bay will return to New Mexico to film major sequences for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The next installment of the box office hit Transformers is expected to hit theaters next summer.

“Transformers was a huge success and I am pleased that Dream Works, Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay have decided to return to New Mexico to film the second installment,” said Governor Richardson.

The first film, starring Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox and John Turturro, grossed more than $700 million worldwide.

The current production has been prepping in Alamogordo since April and expects to begin filming in the fall.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Sunday, June 8, 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
(All songs by Bo, except where noted)

Bo Diddley
Diddley Daddy by The Super Super Blues Band
Pretty Thing by The Pretty Things
Cookie-Headed Diddley
Before You Accuse Me
Story of Bo Diddley by The Animals
Pills by The New York Dolls

Sixteen Tons
Bo Diddley's a Gunslinger by Warren Zevon
Bo Diddley's a Headhunter by Roky Erikson
Signifying Blues (Bo Diddley with Jerome Green)

Crackin' Up by King Khan & The Shrines
Cadillac by Van Morrison & Linda Gail Lewis
Bo Diddley Put the Rock in Rock 'n' Roll
Who Do You Love by Ronnie Hawkins & The Band
You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover
For another cool Bo Diddley tribute check out the latest RadiOblivion podcast

Moonland by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Smooth Jazz by Evangelista
Say it Loud (I'm Black and Proud) by James Brown
I Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Condition Was In by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Waddlin' Around by The King Khan & BBQ Show
Surf Rider by The Lively Ones
Yumma by The Fuzzy Set
Midnight Blues by The Detroit Cobras
Sex and Dying in High Society by X
We Repel Each Other by The Reigning Sound

I Fought the Law by Bobby Fuller Four
Johnny Appleseed by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
O Leaozinho by Caetano Veloso
Nantes by Beirut
Seems so Long by Stevie Wonder
You Can Never Hold Back the Spring by Tom Waits
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis


Laurell subbed for me Friday so I could see X and The Detroit Cobras. Here's her playlist.

Friday, June 6, 2008
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Substitute Host: Laurell Reynolds

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
Solar Broken Home-Steve Terrell
Wasted Days & Wasted Nights-Freddy Fender
This Ol Cowboy-Marshall Tucker Band
Molasses In the Moonlight-Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
Michael Hurley-I'm Getting Ready To Go/Oh My Stars

Fishing Blues-The Holy Modal Rounders
Wake & Bake-The Assylum Street Spankers
The Protest Song-Neil Innes
Hippy Boy-The Flying Burrito Brothers
Okie From Muskogee-Merle Haggard

Fountain Of Love-Frank Zappa
El Paso-Marty Robbins
A Profound and Beautiful Sadness-Derrol Adams
Other Side to This Life-Fred Neil
Emmylou Harris-Everybody's Talkin At Me

Neil Young-Wayward Wind /Love In Mind (live at Massey Hall 1971)
Johhny Cash-You Wild Colorado
Gordon Lightfoot-Beautiful
Juanita-Rosalee Sorrells

Blue Canadian Rockies-The Byrds
Blue Eyes Cryin In the Rain-Willie Nelson
One Paper Kid-Emmylou Harris & Willie Nelson
Moment of Forever-Willie Nelson

Make You Feel My Love-Bob Dylan
Non Dirle Che Non E Cosi (If You See Her Say Hello)-Francesco de Gregori
Red River Valley-Don Edwards

Defying Gravity-Jesse Winchester
John Hartford-Tater Tate and Allen Mundy
Joe West-The Human Cannonball
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Saturday, June 07, 2008


* I've Got to Know by Utah Phillips. I downloaded this one just a couple of days after Phillips died in late May. I stumbled across this album on eMusic was searching for some good songs to play on my tribute to Phillips on The Santa Fe Opry.

This is a 1991 album, recorded during he first Gulf War when Korean war vet/pacifist Phillips was pretty pissed off at the U.S. government. As always, Utah tells the story best (from his Web site):

"During the Gulf War, I got plenty good and mad. I parked my car and wouldn't drive it because I said it wouldn't run on blood. Then, with the help of Dakota Sid Clifford, I went into a small but very fine studio here in Nevada City. I said to Bruce Wheelock, the engineer, `Set up two mikes and start the tape. I'll tell you when I'm done.' For the next seventy minutes I spouted, fulminated, and sang about war, peace, pacifism, and anarchy. I used songs, poems, and rants to make the point, and said, `Okay, turn off the machine.' Bruce said, `Don't you want me to edit it?' I said, `No! I'm mad! Leave it the way it is!'

King Khan & BBQ
The King Khan & BBQ Show I was so happy that an American label (Vice Records) was releasing a King Khan & The Shrines best-of The Supreme Genius of King Khan & The Shrines) that I decided to download the album from Khan''s other band that I didn't have. (The one I do have is What's For Dinner?, which I got from eMusic a few months ago.)

The two-man King Khan & BBQ Show is a minimalist project for Khan, as the Shrines is a 9-piece soul outfit with a horn section. However, it's a fuller sound for BBQ (aka Mark Sultan), who normally plays as a one-man band.

This band, however isn't your normal high-throttle blues-bomb duo like The Black Keys, The Bassholes, etc. Sure there's some of that , though these guys usually swerve more to a garage-band sound. You hear aural references to both "Psychotic Reaction" and The Syndicate of Sound's "Little Girl" in "Lil' Girl In The Woods." But what really sets them apart is their wonderful do-wop sensibility that permeates several tunes here. This magic is evident on the first track "Waddlin' Around." Plus, you can even hear a little Righteous Brothers call-and-response in "Bimbo's Theme."

* Recapturing the Banjo by Otis Taylor. Otis gets together with a small army of his fellow contemporary blues warriors -- Alvin Youngblood Hart, Corey Harris, Guy Davis, Keb Mo' -- and jazz banjo man Don Vappie for a banjo-driven feast of sound. These guys want to reclaim the banjo as an African, and African-American instrument. There's old songs, new songs, and fresh takes on some of Otis' greatest hits.

For my complete review in Terrell's Tune-Up, CLICK HERE.

Flammend' Herz by The Dead Brothers . This instrumental album is a soundtrack by Voodoo Rhythm Records' Swiss "funeral orchestra" for a documentary by Andrea Schuler and Olifr Rutz about Germany's oldest tattoo parlour. The cuts tend to be short (only one tune here being over three minutes), establishing an atmosphere for just a moment, then moving on to the next one. You'll hear traces of gypsy jazz, banjo, accordion, tuba and even some spooky slide whistle on "Geistzug." The Brothers rock out on the first half "Road Worker Blues" (before it turns into a piano meditation) and Sicilian folk music on "Mai Lo Cantado Il Blues." And there's a way-too-short take on one of my favorite Leon Redbone tunes "Lulu's Back in Town." Some interesting stuff, but don't get this before you hear The Dead Brothers' most recent record Wunderkammer, which I reviewed a couple of years ago and also is available on eMusic.

* 10 tracks from The Pretty Things by The Pretty Things. After hearing a snippet of the song "Pretty Thing" by The Pretty Things on the latest Sonic Nightmares podcast, I decided I needed to play that on my Bo Diddley tribute on Terrell's Sound World. So I spent my last 10 tracks of the month on 10 of the 17 tracks available on this 1965 album. Asumedly for some legal copyright reason the song "13 Chester Street" isn't available on eMusic. So I took my points from Pepsi bottle caps and got this stray download from Amazon. So imagine my disappointment when I found out the damned Amazon Mp3 is damaged. Makes weird popping nosies. I want my Pepsi back!



Yikes, what a show!

As faithful blog/Tune-up readers know, I just saw X three months ago at South by South West, and I considered that show one of the best of the festival. I normally don't go see bands that I've seen that recently, but, hell, X is X. Besides, I really wanted to see The Detroit Cobras.

And I'm glad I did.

I had a feeling it was going to be a fun night early in the afternoon when I went to the Brewing Company to buy my ticket (no kiddies, I don't get into concerts for free all the time. Paying for music is good for the economy, good for America and good for the soul.) Sitting at an outside table was none other than the members of X eating lunch. They were a friendly bunch. We talked a little about the Austin show, which they said was fun.

Between those two X shows, I have to say that the band sounded better in Austin, mainly because the vocals were mixed far better than in Santa Fe. Last night it was hard to hear the singing over the roar of the instruments.
Billy Zoom & Exene
But the Santa Fe show was more fun than the SXSW show, which was a live television performance (Direct TV). The local crowd last night was far rowdier and the band picked up on the energy. While in Austin their songs were clear, concise and tight, in Santa Fe they went a little crazy and stretched out at times, keeping those fires stoked.

It was a middle-aged mosh pit. It was the first one in several years for me, and, large as I am, I was being bounced around like a pinball. Yes, it was annoying at first (mainly because several potentially good photos were ruined when someone would come flying into me) , and yes, it did get old after a while. But in the middle, it was exhilarating.
As for the Detroit Cobras, they were good too.

The Cobras are a guitar-based self-described "covers band" that specializes in old R&B and soul tunes with a little rockabilly thrown in. Most of their material is obscure enough it might as well be their own. Singer Rachel Nagey has a husky sexy voice.

They got off to a rather slow start. It was still daylight, which Rachel said was strange for them. These flatlanders also complained about the altitude and lack of oxygen.
But once they got going and the audience warmed up, the magic started working. By the time they did "Shout Bama Lama" (an old Otis Redding tune) the place was on fire. I hope the altitude doesn't keep them away from Santa Fe in the future.

A couple of times during X's set, the Cobras took the stage as background singers/dancers. There seemed to be a good comradery between the two bands -- something you don't always see between headliners and opening acts.

Check out my photos of the concert. You can see X HERE and The Detroit Cobras HERE.

Friday, June 06, 2008


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 6, 2008

No question, Nick Cave is back. Again. Like Lazarus.

True, along with other voices in criticdom, I’ve been saying this about Cave for four years now, starting with the sprawling, double-disc glory of Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus, then again last year with his howling, stripped-down Grinderman.

And now with the new Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, Cave and his Bad Seeds sound as tough as ever.

True, he’s plowing a lot of the same themes he’s plowed since he and his band The Birthday Party lurched out of Australia 28 years ago: sex, God, violence, and depravity. It wouldn’t be a Nick Cave album without these elements. But he makes it sound as if he’s discovered buried treasure on just about every song.

And what a great batch of songs.

The title cut is the continuing story of what happened to the guy Jesus raised from the dead, whom he calls “Larry.” As the Bad Seeds play a modified “Louie Louie” riff, Cave tells the tale of Lazarus’ missing years:

“Larry grew increasingly neurotic and obscene/He never asked to be raised up from the tomb/No one ever actually asked him to forsake his dreams/... He ended up like so many of them do, back on the streets of New York City/In a soup queue, a dope fiend, a slave, then prison, then the madhouse, then the grave/Ah, poor Larry!”
“Today’s Lesson” is about some kind of illicit affair between a couple of characters named Janie and Mr. Sandman, who “likes to congregate around the intersection of Janie’s jeans.” Martyn Casey’s bouncing bass line carries the rhythm, while Warren Ellis’ screaming guitar battles with two crazy, almost Doors-like organs played by Cave and James Johnston.

The slow, minor-key groove of “Moonland” sounds as if it might be sung by Lazurus/Larry himself. “When I came up from out of the meat locker/The city was gone.” As he repeats phrases like “under the stars, under the snow” and “I’m not your favorite lover” it’s almost as if Cave is channeling a lost track from Astral Weeks, a song too dark and gritty for Van Morrison’s album but related to it in spirit.

One of the strangest cuts here is “We Call Upon the Author.” More pulsating bass, discordant guitar noises, and otherworldly organ (which apparently is Cave’s new favorite instrument). Cave speaks rather than sings most of the song.

The smoldering “Hold on to Yourself” is one of the prettiest songs on the album. The lyrics are erotic and insane:

“There’s madhouse longing in my baby’s eyes/She rubs the lamp
between her thighs/And hopes the genie comes out singing. ... Factories close and cars go cruising/In around the borders of her vision/She says ooh/As Jesus makes the flowers grow/All around the scene of her collision.”
The album ends with an eight-minute opus called “No News From Nowhere.” It’s a relatively mellow tune compared with most of the others on the album. It reminds me a bit of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks era. The lyrics tell of sexual encounters, a violent confrontation with a one-eyed giant, and ghosts of all the girls he’s loved before. He even runs into the heroine of one of his old songs here:

“I bumped bang crash/Into Deanna hanging pretty in the door
frame/All the horrors that have befallen me/Well, Deanna is to blame.” By the last verse Cave laments, “Don’t it make you feel sad/Don’t the blood rush to your feet/To think that everything you do today/Tomorrow is obsolete.”

That might be true, yet very little about this album seems obsolete at all.

Also recommended:

* Hello, Voyager by Evangelista. Evangelista is the name of the 2006 avant-rock solo album by Carla Bozulich, who is best known for her tenure with the alt — very alt — country band The Geraldine Fibbers. I called the dark and noisy Evangelista “bruised gospel.” The best songs there were like passionate spirituals from the inferno.

Bozulich is now calling her band Evangelista. And Hello, Voyager continues down the same path through the valley of the damned. “Winds of St. Anne,” for instance, picks up right where the previous album left off — slow plodding rhythm, ominous guitar drones, distorted, explosive vocals.

The first song to really knock me on the head from this album was “Lucky Lucky Luck,” a bouncy little tale of a reform-school girl: “When I was a baby I was sweet as could be/ I had a good heart but I had to kill it/Eleven years old my blood ran cold, by 13 I had to spill it.”

“The Blue Room” has a melody straight out of some old Disney film (as filtered through The Geraldine Fibbers). It features longtime Bozulich collaborator Nels Cline (now with Wilco) on 12-string guitar. “For the Li’l Dudes,” featuring cello, viola and violins, is chamber music for the criminally insane. The six-minute-plus “The Frozen Dress” is a noise experiment that might have fit in the Eraserhead soundtrack.

The 12-minute title track that ends the album starts out with clunky percussion before settling into a long organ-driven spook-house ride with Bozulich shouting about having no hope. She repeats “the word is love” several times before shouting a bloodcurdling “No!!!!” And it doesn’t get any sunnier from there.

Though much of the music is foreboding, it’s not without humor. For instance, Kenny G fans might be disappointed to learned that the song “Smooth Jazz” isn’t smooth jazz at all!

Bozulich has a real cool Web site, including several free mp3s from various stages of her career; visit

* On the radio: Steve Terrell remembers the late great Bo Diddley Sunday night on Terrell’s Sound World, 10 p.m. to midnight on KSFR-FM 101.1. It’s freeform weirdo radio at its finest.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 5, 2008

Could the fall of two longtime state senators from Albuquerque at the hands of self-proclaimed progressive reformers be the birth of a new Senate faction?

Eric Griego Self-proclaimed “Bull Moose” Democrat Shannon Robinson, who has been in the Senate for 20 years, lost by a huge margin to newcomer Tim Keller. Meanwhile, former Albuquerque City Councilor Eric Griego sang “Rockabye, sweet baby James” to Sen. James Taylor, who has served most of one term in the Senate but had nearly a decade in the House, where he rose to the rank of majority whip.

Although it wasn’t exactly a slate, the campaigns of both Keller and Griego were managed by Neri Holguin, a veteran of New Mexico politics since 2000. Both were endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters and Democracy for America/Democracy for New Mexico, a liberal activist group. And both campaigned in favor of ethics reform, not exactly a high priority with Robinson or Taylor.
Tim Keller
It’s easy to imagine the two newcomers banding together with fellow Albuquerque progressives like Cisco McSorley, Dede Feldman and Jerry Ortiz y Pino — plus perhaps Santa Fe’s Peter Wirth, who will be moving from the House to the Senate — and give new life to ethics reform, which for the past few sessions has withered and died in the catacombs of the Senate.

I’ll even go out on a limb and predict that conference committees — the Legislature’s “last bastion of secrecy” — will finally get opened. In 2007, a move failed by one vote to open the meetings where legislators hammer out differences in the same bills passed by the House and the Senate.

(And, as I’ve said before, if they do make this change, the Legislature should designate a meeting room as the “Bob Johnson Open Conference Committee Room” in honor of the late director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government who fought against closed meetings for years.)
“May a slanderer not be established in the earth; May evil hunt the violent man speedily.”
Of course, once they get to the Roundhouse, who knows what will happen. Sands shift and alliances rise and fall. There is always pressure to get along and go along. But the constituents who elected the new senators are bound to apply some pressure as well.

Best victory statement ever: State Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, who won a close re-election match Tuesday, had only one comment for blogger Heath Haussamen.

He referred to Psalm 140:11, which says:

“May a slanderer not be established in the earth; May evil hunt the violent man speedily.”

That’s pretty cool, especially when you imagine Samuel L. Jackson reciting it.

The blessings of St. Pete: Outgoing U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici is venerated by fellow Republicans, but apparently that doesn’t mean his endorsement is a magic bullet in a GOP primary. Domenici was 0-for-2 for the candidates he endorsed, Heather Wilson for U.S. Senate and Marco Gonzales for Congress in the 3rd District.

Granted, Domenici’s last-minute endorsement of Wilson might have helped her. She was six points behind Steve Pearce in the Albuquerque Journal poll taken right before the endorsement and ended up within two points of winner Pearce.

Gov. Bill Richardson has taken some blog flack for his endorsements of Robinson and Taylor, who both lost by landslides.

But in fairness, other Richardson-endorsed candidates did much better. In state Senate primaries, he endorsed Carlos Cisneros, Howie Morales, Linda Lovejoy, David Ulibarri, John Pinto and Feldman, all of whom won. In Congressional races, the Richardson-endorsed Ben Ray Luján in CD 3 and Harry Teague in CD 2 were victorious.

In the state House races, he endorsed six candidates, five of whom won. And he endorsed Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulousse-Oliver, wife of Richardson spokesman Allan Oliver, who won.

Mr. Lonely: Poor Dan East is about to learn what it’s like to be a Republican in the 3rd Congressional District. He beat Gonzales fair and square in the primary. But on Wednesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee issued a statement noting the victories of Darren White in CD 1 and Ed Tinsley in CD 2. But they didn’t even mention the heavily Democratic 3rd District, where East will face Luján and most likely independents Carol Miller and Ron Simmons in November.

Get a job: Some influential people are looking at New Mexico politicians for big national jobs.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday quoted U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., suggested a possible running mate for John McCain: Heather Wilson.

“Davis — who hasn’t been shy about criticizing his party and telling Republicans how they need to turn things around in a challenging campaign environment — said that choosing a woman might help ‘balance the ticket’ and broaden McCain’s appeal, particularly if Barack Obama doesn’t pick Hillary Clinton as a running mate.” The WSJ did note Wilson lost her primary Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Monroe Anderson of suggested a chief of staff for Barack Obama: Bill Richardson.

“During the double-digit number of debates among the candidates for Democratic Party nomination for president, the governor of New Mexico demonstrated time and time again that he is both level-headed and a peace-maker,” Anderson wrote.

“Richardson, who was one of the highest-ranking Hispanic appointees in President Clinton’s administration, brings the right blend of experience and respect to keep Obama’s White House in order.”


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