Friday, July 31, 2009


Friday, July 31, 2009
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
I'm Coming Home by Johnny Horton
Miss Froggie by Warren Smith
Hospital Escape/Time Flies by Scott H. Biram
Sleeping With the Enemy by Simon Stokes with Texas Terri
Calling in Twisted by The Rev. Horton Heat
Lift Your Leg by Joe Ely
High on a Mountain Top by Loretta Lynn
Crazy Pritty Baby by Heavy Trash
The Hucklebuck by The Riptones
I'm a Hobo by Danny Reeves

Don't Make Promises by Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women
Shakin' All Over by Eilen Jewel
Tennesse Jed by Levon Helm
Hittin' the Bottle Again by Waylon Jennings
Don't Sweep That Dirt on Me by Buddy Shaw
Good Gracious, Gracie by The Light Crust Doughboys

Pussy Pussy Pussy by Light Crust Doughboys
Big Black Cat by R.D. Hendon & The Western Jamboree Cowboys
The Great Car Dealer War by The Drive-By Truckers
She's a Little Randy by Patterson Hood
Country Love by The Gourds
Hey! Toughen Up! by Candye Kane
Wammo's Blues by The Asylum Street Spankers

Trail of Tears by Wayne Lavallee
White Freightliner Blues by Steve Earle
Working at Working by Wayne Hancock
The Problem by Beausoleil
Hemmingway's Whiskey by Guy Clark
The Deep End by Aimee Hoyt
What You Gonna Do Leroy by Buddy & Julie Miller with Robert Plant
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, July 30, 2009


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 31, 2009

How do you know if a band has been around too long? How do you know whether the latest rock ’n’ roll reunion is the true rebirth of magic or just another casino-circuit wonder? As this thing called rock lurches onward through its second half-century, these questions will arise more and more.
Two recently released albums by reconstituted rock groups might provide some insight into these issues. The latest efforts by Dinosaur Jr. and the newest incarnation of the New York Dolls show the pitfalls and the potential power of rock ’n’ roll longevity.

First the good news.

My initial thought upon hearing Dinosaur Jr.’s Farm was that these guys shouldn’t really still be sounding this great. But, it looks as if the reunion of J. Mascis and Lou Barlow a couple of years ago on their big comeback album Beyond was no fluke.

Truthfully, I should have known that was the case. When I saw the resurrected Dinosaur Jr. at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago last year, they were indeed mighty and — Mascis’ gray hair notwithstanding — they blew away most of the younger musicians. The band sounded far more vital than when I saw the 1993 version of Dinosaur Jr. — then at its commercial peak — at Lollapalooza.
DINOSAUR Jr. at Pitchfork 2008
A little background: Dinosaur Jr. started out in the mid-’80s when Mascis and Barlow were in high school in Amherst, Massachusetts. But by the end of the decade, the boyhood chums parted ways. Barlow went on to form Sebadoh, a highly respected indie band. Mascis carried on with Dinosaur, signing with a major label and, with his Neil-Young-Is-God guitar studsmanship, rode the crest of the grunge era.

While it lasted. Both Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh eventually flamed out. Mascis tried to carry on with a band called The Fog — a trio, centered around Mascis’ stormy guitar solos, which sounded pretty similar to Dino Jr. But hardly anyone paid attention.

Then in 2007, Mascis and Barlow apparently kissed and made up. With longtime Dino drummer Murph, they recorded Beyond, which was the best thing any of them had done in years. But if anything, Farm is even better than Beyond. Not only are they sounding strong as ever, Mascis and Barlow sound as if they actually are having a great time playing with each other.

Mascis remains the dominant frontman/songwriter, penning all but two of the tunes here and taking his trademark long, feedback-laden solos. But the sound is clearly a group effort. There’s frantic joy in all the songs here. My favorites are the upbeat opening cut “Pieces” and the epic “Said the People,” which starts out slow before building to epic Dinosaur Jr. fury by the end of the nearly eight-minute track.

But if the new/old Dinosaur Jr. is an example of the positive potential of the rock reunion, the new album by the New York Dolls — ’Cause I Sez So — helps make the argument that some iconic bands shouldn’t take the chance of messing with their reputations. About halfway through my first listen to this album, a terrible realization occurred. Most of this stuff would fit in just fine on any crappy classic rock station.

Please, God, no!

Back in the early ’70s the Dolls — like The Velvet Underground and The Stooges before them — were one of the primal influences on what would later be known as punk rock. They were loud and raunchy and proudly decadent — part Rolling Stones, part Shangri-Las.

Of course, they wouldn’t last long. The title of their second album summed it up: Too Much Too Soon. That was 1974. The band crumbled not long after that. The band wouldn’t release an album of new material (One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This) for another 32 years. By that time only two original members were still alive — singer David Johansen and guitarist Syl Sylvain.

(Note for Dolls fans: If you haven’t already seen the documentary New York Doll, which concerns the later years and death of original Dolls bassist Arthur “Killer” Kane, get thee to a video store — or at least try Netflix. It’s one of the most touching rock bios I’ve ever seen.)

This is actually the third album by the latest version of the Dolls. Last year, there was Live at the Fillmore East December 28 & 29, 2007, a concert album consisting of all ’70s-era Dolls tunes except for a couple of tunes from One Day It Will Please Us. While that one was hardly an essential work, it showed the band in great form, ripping through the old “hits” with spirit and aplomb.

Unfortunately very little of that energy is evident on ’Cause I Sez So. Maybe producer Todd Rundgren — who also produced the first Dolls album — is partly to blame for this. There are just too many slow tunes, Springsteenish folk-rocky anthems, and faux-teenage ballads here.

Fortunately, there’s a handful of tracks in which you’ll find the old Dolls spirit fully intact. The title track is pretty rocking. Even better is “This Is Ridiculous,” a swampy blues with a delightfully obnoxious guitar hook. And they saved their best for last with “Exorcism of Despair.” It’s tough and snarling, fully Dolls-worthy.

But if the New York Dolls are going to continue, they’d better have an exorcism of mediocrity.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This has been going on for over a month, but I just got hip to the Pere Ubu podcasts. The fourth one was unleashed today.

Go HERE for the downloads. Below is the press release:

Chicago, IL, June 9, 2009 ­ Beginning June 16th, and then every two weeks until September 22nd, 2009, a scene from the first half of the radio play featuring the band Pere Ubu titled, "Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi" (Version 2), will be podcast for free download at Pere Ubu¹s online-only record store,, is administered by Smog Veil Records.

This series of eight podcasts covers the first three acts of the six act radio play that was inspired by the songs on Pere Ubu's forthcoming Hearpen Records CD titled,
Long Live Père Ubu!, (digital release via is available September 14, 2009). The idea to record a "radio play" was conceived as a way of managing the "silence" between songs in the concert set for the album so that the spoken word is manipulated and mixed with electronic ambience and transformed into a unique musical style of its own.

The script for the radio play, adapted by David Thomas from Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi (King Ubu), is also Version 2 of a theatrical production, featuring Pere Ubu, also called "Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi" that premiered in its original version at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, April 25 and 26 2008.

Embedded in the podcasts are songs from the Long Live Père Ubu! album, as well as dialog and electronic ambience. Sarah Jane Morris (ex-Communards, Happy End) performs the role of Mère Ubu, partnering Thomas who performs as the character Père Ubu. Members of the band supply the voices of other characters in the play.

Jarry's proto-Absurdist stage play (which premiered in Paris in 1896) gave the band its name, and supplied the inspiration for the songs on Long Live Père Ubu! In its day the play provoked riots in the theatre and a national scandal. A vicious and satiric re-telling of Shakespeare's Macbeth, Jarry's work lambastes do-gooder monsters and the survival of the Unfit.

Pere Ubu is David Thomas on vocals, Keith Moliné on guitar, Robert Wheeler on EML synthesizer and theremin, Michele Temple on bass and Steve Mehlman on drums.

The eight scenes to be released episodically in the form of podcasts are:
1. Act 1 Scene 1 (5:04) Release date: June 16.
2. Act 1 Scene 2 (1:16) Release date: June 30.
3. Act 1 Scene 3 (6:07) Release date: July 14.
4. Act 2 Scene 1 (4:12) Release date: July 28 5. Act 2 Scene 2a (8:13) Release date: August 11.
6. Act 2 Scene 2b (3:20) Release date: August 25.
7. Act 2 Scene 3 (4:10) Release date: Sept 8.
8. Act 3 (4:07) Release date: Sept 22.

Monday, July 27, 2009


This made me laugh harder than any other time I saw Andy on TV.

The show is Fridays, a Saturday Night Live rip-off in the early '80s. Several months before this appearance Kaufman created a stir by breaking character and refusing to do his lines in a skit. This led to a brawl with cast and crew members. Supposedly it was all a joke.

In this appearance, a cleaned-up Andy talks about changes in his life and introduces his "fiance," Kathie Sullivan a gospel singer who was a regular on the Lawrence Welk Show.

Yes, just like his "feud" with Jerry "The King" Lawler, it was a hoax. But here Andy proves he can stay in character. (Warning: The weirdness doesn't really start until about 5 minutes into this Youtube.)

(By the way, what's a "Monolouge"?)


From a recent interview with eMusic:

"... it isn't fun if it's going along with fashion. It's got to have vim and vigour, and things that are sanctioned don't, because they are being sanctioned to nurtur… No, to n… — what is it when you cut a thing's balls off? Neuter? That's what sanctioning is. To take the life out of it, emasculate it. That chap who died last week, Michael Jackson, yeah, he was like the emasculated James Brown. And that's meant to be some kind of victory!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Sunday, July 26, 2009
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
Blinding Sun by Mudhoney
Barricuda by The Standells
Boys are Boys and Girls are Choice by The Monks
Astral Plane by The Rockin' Guys
Rats' Revenge Part II by The Rats
Mr. Eliminator by Dick Dale
Tubby by Los Straitjackets
(Can't Stop) The Hands of Tyme by Marshmallow Overcoat
Mommy's Little Baby by Wizzard Sleeve
Put de Pot on Mary by Poontang Perkins

Yesterday's Sorrows by Chesterfield Kings
Wild Wild Lover by The Monsters
Know Your Rights by The Clash
House at Pooneil Corners by The Jefferson Airplane
Mad Mad Daddy by The Cramps
Go Man Go by The Olympics

Alright by Jesse Dee
Can't Have Enough by The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker
Love Attack by James Carr
Get Yo' Shit by Black Joe Louis & The Honeybears
If Ya Got Soul by Willie Magee
Killer Diller by King Khan & The Shrines
My Mumblin' Baby by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Gloria by The Cadillacs

Theme from Burnt Weenie Sandwich by The Mothers of Invention
Grown So Ugly by Captain Beefheart
Please Don't Drop the Bomb by Nathaniel Mayer
Sail On by T-Model Ford
This Is Ridiculous by The New York Dolls
Lap Dance by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion with Andre Williams
I Started a Joke by The Dirtbombs
Massachusetts by Die Zorros
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis


The Big Enchilada is back with The Monkey-Wrestling Polka!

This episode is divided into four segments. There's a set of songs from bands I've discovered through The GaragePunk Hideout. There's a barrel of monkey songs, inspired by a recent You've Got Good Taste podcast. There's a bone-crunching, loser-leave-town cage match of wrestling tunes and finally, a crazy polka party. Truly this is a milestone in Freeform Weirdo Podcasting!

CLICK HERE to download the podcast. (To save it, right click on the link and select "Save Target As.")

Or better yet, stop messing around and CLICK HERE to subscribe to my podcasts and HERE to directly subscribe on iTunes.

You can play it on the little feedplayer below:

My cool BIG feed player is HERE.

Here's the play list:

(Background: Red Rose Tea by The Marquis Chimps)
Bearded and Bored by Quan & The Chinese Takeouts
Jack Rabbit by The Strawmen
Gulls Rock by The Molting Vultures
Yumma 2 by The Fuzzy Set
(We're the) Knights of Fuzz by The Marshmallow Overcoat
Goin' Ape by The Tex Reys

(Background: Monkey Island by The Derangers)
Rockabilly Monkey Face Girl by Ross Johnson
The Monkey Song (You Made a Monkey Out of Me) by The Big Bopper
You're Bound to Look Like a Monkey by Hank Penny
Monkey's Uncle by The A-Bones
Koko Joe by Don & Dewy

(Background: Hulkster's In the House by Hulk Hogan & The Wrestling Boot Band)
Viva del Santo by Southern Culture on the Skids
Hammerlock by The Shrunken Heads
The Crusher by The Novas
Apartment Wrestling Rock 'n' Roll Girl by Lightning Beat-Man
Gorgeous George by Ronny Elliott

(Background: No Sabemos Polka by Santa Rosa Band)
The Happy Wanderer by Brave Combo
Beer, Broads and Brats by The Polkaholics
Who Stole the Kiska by Frankie Yankovic
Weiner Dog Polka by Polkacide
(Background: Ranch Hand by Desert Suns)

Friday, July 24, 2009


Friday, July 24, 2009
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
John Peel by Paul Burch
You Used to Live It Up by Tom Armstrong
Hot Rod King by Kris Hollis Key
Goin' Down the Road by Pine Valley Cosmonauts
Shooting Over the Head by Ray Mason
Living on the Road Again by Artie Hill & The Long Gone Daddies
I'm Just a Honky by The Ex Husbands
Juke Joint Jumping by Wayne Hancock & Hank Williams III
Can't Help It Blues by Hasil Adkins

Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue by Scott H. Biram
The Ones You Say You Love by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys
Shake a Leg by Kim Lenz & Her Jaguars
If the Back Door Could Talk by Randy Kohrs
Downey Girl byt Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women
Beer's on the Way by Mike Neal
Window Up Above by The Blasters
Don't You See That Train by The Delmore Brothers

Wishful Thinking by Aimee Hoyt
Pretty Girl by Miss Leslie
The Willow Tree by Exene Cervenka
Quiet Desperation by John Doe
The End of Ol' Johnny by The Electric Rag Band
In New Orleans by C.W. Stone King
George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues by The Drive-By Truckers
You Stole My Motorcycle by Mama Rosin

The Guitar by Guy Clark
Gasoline and Matches by Buddy & Julie Miller
Marie by Steve Earle
Weakness in a Man by Waylon Jennings
Many Happy Hangovers to You by Leona Williams
I'll Sign My Heart Away by Merle Haggard
When I Was a Cowboy by Odetta
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
July 24, 2009

The “Dirty Old One Man Band” is back.

On his latest album, Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever, Scott H. Biram of Austin, Texas, shouldn’t disappoint his fans who expect crazed, boozy blues romps.

The album starts out with a desperate voice mail to a friend from the singer, who claims he’s being held as a prisoner at some hospital. The first actual song, “Hospital Escape,” starts out with strains of a slow church organ before Biram comes in with his trademark distorted vocals on a simmering blues with the paradoxical refrain, “Time flies when you’re going down slow.”

Overall, Biram continues to live up to the promise of the title of perhaps his greatest early tune, “Blood, Sweat, and Murder.”

On the new album, Biram goes nuts with the over-amped five-minute blues cruncher “Hard Times” (aided by John Wesley Meyers with terse organ accompaniment). On the hard-driving “The Wishing Well,” you can’t tell what he’s singing, but when you hear the police sirens come in toward the last of the song, you know some kind of trouble is afoot. And “Feel So Good,” a Big Bill Broonzy song sounds like Hound Dog Taylor on a gas-huffing high.

But there are several songs here that could almost be described as (gulp) “pretty.” That’s certainly the case with “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue,” a sweet honky-tonker that George Jones could absolutely kill. “Draggin’ Down the Line,” featuring Biram on acoustic guitar, is a “life on the road” tune that finds the singer in a reflective mood. And though “Wildside” features a delightfully obnoxious grungy electric guitar, it can’t hide a very soulful melody.

Biram gets philosophical in the harmonica gospel tune called “Ain’t It a Shame.” Written by 1940s gospel star Elder Roma Wilson, it’s a simple call for peace, racial harmony, and getting right with God. Biram sounds sweet and sincere.

But Biram sounds more natural in the following song, “Judgment Day.” It’s a blues apocalypse with lyrical references to Jesus, Buddha, Hitler, Frankenstein, the Ku Klux Klan, and the boogie man.

This is American music at its crazy finest.

Also recommended:

* The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets. Following their excellent Rock En Espanol, Vol. 1 — which featured the masked men from Nashville backing Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, Little Willie G. of Thee Midnighters, and Big Sandy of the Fly-Right Boys on Chicano rock classics — Los Straitjackets return to their bread and butter with an impressive set of guitar instrumentals. Lead guitarist Eddie Angel and the boys carry on the tradition of Link Wray, Dick Dale, and The Ventures.

My favorite on this collection is “Teen Beast,” in which the jungle drums of Jason Smay nearly overshadow the guitars. Also steaming with bitchenicity is “Tubby,” featuring sax by “Kaiser” George Miller and some downright hairy fuzz guitar. And they get nice and garage-y in “Blow Out,” with guest fuzz-bassist Jake Guralnick.

“Catalina,” in which Angel shows his mastery of the whammy bar, might be the prettiest song Los Straitjackets have recorded since they covered “My Heart Will Go On” (yes, Céline Dion’s love theme from Titantic) a decade ago. Another suave slow dance is “Mercury,” which might remind you of ancient surfy theme songs from The Endless Summer or A Summer Place.

Cajuntopia: Old Cajuns, young Cajuns, real Cajuns, fake Cajuns. In recent months three new albums of good stompin’, screechy fiddled, accordion zingin’ Cajun music have crossed my path. Here’s a glance at those:

BEAUSOLEIL at Thirsty Ear 07 * Alligator Purse by BeauSoleil. Michael Doucet and band have been recording for nearly 35 years, but they still manage to sound fresh. That’s no surprise to anyone who has seen BeauSoleil’s live shows.

There’s not a weak spot on this album. BeauSoleil performs some classic bayou tunes such as “Bosco Stomp” (which Doug Kershaw fans will recognize as the melody of “Cajun Stripper”).

The group does a Cajun version of R & B on “Marie” and “I Spent All My Money Loving You” (feat the instantly recognizable Garth Hudson of The Band on organ). And even though Natalie Merchant usually sounds like an art-school waif, when she sings with Doucet on “Little Darlin’ ” she sounds outright hillbilly. (And that’s John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful on harmonica on that track.

* Homage Au Passé by The Pine Leaf Boys. Here’s evidence that Doucet and other middle-aged purveyors of Cajun music have been successful in their mission to keep the flame of this sound alive.

The Pine Leaf Boys are a youthful quintet from rural southwest Louisiana led by Wilson Savoy and Cedric Watson. They play good old Cajun dance music, sung in Cajun French. While traditional, the Pine Leafers know how to rock.

Their best songs are the up-tempo romps like “Country Playboy Special” and the zydeco-sounding — actually it almost sounds like Cajun rockabilly — “J’suis Gone Pour Me Saouler,” although the waltzes like “Newport Waltz” and the acoustic “T’es Pas la Même” sound mighty nice too.

* Brule Lentement by Mama Rosin. The cover of this CD will catch the eye of Velvet Underground fans. It looks like a red version of Warhol’s banana, which graced the cover of the Velvet’s first album. But on second glance, it’s a cayenne pepper.

This is Swiss punk Cajun from the irascible Voodoo Rhythm Records. But the punk element shouldn’t imply that the members of Mama Rosin are disrespectful to Cajun and zydeco traditions. The love they have for this music is obvious at every turn. They just play it a little faster most of the time.

Actually, I think BeauSoleil would sound pretty good playing “You Stole My Motorcycle” and it’s not even a stretch to imagine The Pine Leaf Boys doing “When the Police Came.”


Here's a video of Elder Roma Wilson singing "Ain't It a Shame" and other gospel clips.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Sunday, July 19, 2009
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
I Feel So Good by Scott H. Biram
Monkey Man by Jim Dickinson
Agent Secreto by The Plugz
Daisies Up Your Butterfly by The Cramps
You Can't Sit Down by Wolfman Jack & The Wolfpack
REV. BEAT-MAN in SANTA FERide Danny Ride by Nekromantix
Going Away Baby by Paul "Wine" Jones
Tiger Man by Rufus Thomas
Wolfman Romp by The Juke Joint Pimps
They Ring the Bells for Me by Rev. Beat-Man & The Unbelievers

Excorcism of Despair by The New York York Dolls
Get Lost by Quan & The Chinese Takeouts
Psychedelic Swamp by The Fleshtones
Black Grease by The Black Angels
Mexican Caravan by The Butthole Surfers
Smashing by Shrunken Heads
It's Lame by Figures of Light
Weird by Bob Vidone & The Rhythmrockers
Twisted by Annie Ross

Burn it Down by The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker
Girl Gunslinger by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Land of the Freak by King Khan & The Shrines
Let's Get a Groove On by Lee Fields
Please Part 2 by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
Come Together by Dr. Lonnie Smith
Damn it's Hot, Part 2 by Sharon Jones
My Wig Fell Off by Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band

Armstrong, Aldrin & Collins by The Byrds
Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll by Robert Gordon with Link Wray
I Dig Them Little Green Men by The Uglies & JD with 1/5
Wayfaring Stranger/Fly Me To the Moon by Giant Sand
Over It by Dinsosaur Jr.
Stay Where You Are by Sleater-Kinney
Instant Karma by John Lennon
Speedo is Back by The Cadillacs
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, July 17, 2009


Friday, July 17, 2009
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
I Saw it On TV by John Fogerty (for Walter Cronkite)
1968 by Alejandro Escovedo
Blue Moon of Kentucky by Wanda Jackson
Ain't it a Shame by Scott H. Birham
My Baby Cried All Night Long by John Schooley
Buddy I Ain't Buyin' by Big Sandy & The Flyright Boys
Boss of the Blues by Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women

George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues by The Drive-By Truckers
Keeping Up With The Joneses by The Austin Lounge Lizards
Choices by George Jones
Screwtopia by Patterson Hood
Kiss Me Big by Marti Brom
Knot Hole by Robbie Fulks
Big City Goodtime Gal by Wayne Hancock
Corrine Corina by Merle Haggard
Be Careful (If You Can't Be Good) by Ray Condo & His Richochets

Drugstore Truckdrivin' Man by Jason & The Scorchers
Little Ramona (Gone Hillbilly Nuts) by BR5-49
Party Mad by Rev. Horton Heat
Is Anybody Going to San Antone by Charlie Pride
Bongo Ride by Jon Rauhouse
High Priced Chick by Yuichi & The Hilltone Boys
Sal's Got a Sugar Lip by Johnny Horton
Flamin' Maimie by Hank Penny
Half Ton Mama by Joe, Ron & George
Three Times Seven by Doc & Merle Watson

Don't Let the Devil Ride by Clarence Fountain & Sam Butler
Trouble in My Way by Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens
No Strange Fruit by Wildsang
Bring Back Storyville by Guy Davis
Rock Island Line by Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band
The Rue of Ruby Whores by Michael Hurley
Pie in the Sky by Utah Phillips & Ani DiFranco
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009


This week's column was a quick and easy "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" effort. It was quick and easy, because I wrote most of it on this very blog.

So rather than reprinting it here, I'll just link to the posts I drew upon.

* The Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks show at The Santa Fe Brewing Co.

* Hootenanny 2009 in Irvine, Calif.

and just a dab from ...

* Rev. Beat Man & His Blues Trash Trio at Corazon. (Rob DeWalt wrote a full review for Pasatiempo, but, sadly, I don't think it's online.)

If you really want to see the column itself, try The New Mexican Web Site version.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009



What a way to end my summer vacation!

Rev. Beat-Man & his Blues Trash Trio brought their sleazy salvation show all the way from Bern, Switzerland to Santa Fe's Corazon last night and delivered rage and glory, mutilated gospel and Voodoo Rhythm to New Mexico. It was a hell of a show.
The gospel of trash
Beat-Man and band (Robert "Brother Panti-Christ" Butler on lap steel and percussion, Delaney Davidson on guitar and harmonica and Jeff Ross on Drums) worked the crowd into a good frenzy.

They performed most of my favorite songs from the Surreal Folk Blues Gospel Trash albums -- "Jesus Christ Twist," "The Clown of the Town," "I've Got the Devil Inside," "Jesus," (which Beat-Man described as "a love song to a man") culminating with the Rev's signature sermon, "The Beat-Man Way," a crazy mish-mash of the sacred and profane which in the end is Beat-Man's answer to Sammy Davis Jr.'s "I've Got to Be Me."
For the last few years I've felt like a lone nut ranting and raving about Beat-Man and his Voodoo Rhythm Records stable mates. You know Santa Fe. It's easier to get people to believe in chemtrails than to get them excited about some obscure source of crazy rock 'n' roll.

So last night it was a real pleasure to rock out with so many other folks -- it was a nice sized crowd especially for fickle Santa Fe on a Monday night -- hip to the Beat-Man Way.

Beat-Man and the boys were happy about the show. Hopefully they'll be back and they'll leave a hobo mark on the gate to let other Voodoo Rhythm bands -- Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers, Stinky Lou & The Goon Mat, The Watzloves, King Automatic, Thee Butchers Orchestra -- know that Santa Fe is hospitable.


Sunday, July 12, 2009


Sunday, July 12, 2009
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
You're Telling Me Lies by Question Mark & The Mysterians
I Want What You Got by The Plimsouls
Bloodletting by Concrete Blonde
Surfin' Crow by The Jades
Who You Driving Now by Mudhoney
Burn the Flames by Roky Erikson
Boneyard (Dick Tracy) by The Blasters
My Shark by King Automatic
Get Out of the Car by Richard Berry

Jack Rabbit by The Strawmen
Bearded and Bored by Quan & The Chinese Takeouts
Conjuration by The Tex-Rays
Yumma 2 by The Fuzzy Set
Hate You Baby by Marshmellow Overcoat
Punk Slime by Black Lips
Ham and Oil by The Hentchmen
Crime in the Streets by Shrunken Heads
Wolfman Boogie (Part 1) by Wolfman Jack

Beat-Man Set
Clown of the Town by Rev. Beat-Man
Radio Interview/Moonlight by Jerry J. Nixon
Down the Road by The Monsters
Blue Moon of Kentucky by Rev. Beat-Man
Apartment Wrestling Rock 'n' Roll by Lightning Beat-Man
San Francisco by Die Zorros
Bad Treatment by Rev. Beat-Man & The Church of Herpes
The Beat-Man Way by Rev. Beat-Man

(Rev. Beat-Man & His Blues Trash Trio are at Corazon 9 pm Monday. Tickets a mere $5)

Rollin' Machine by The Seeds
I Started a Joke by The Dirtbombs
Motorpsycho by Nekromantix
Mama Talk to Your Daughter by Johnny Winter
Teen Beast by Los Straightjackets
Callin' in Twisted by Rev. Horton Heat
Mechanical Flattery by Lydia Lunch
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, July 10, 2009


Friday, July 10, 2009
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
Lonesome, Onery and Mean by Waylon Jennings
Too Sweet to Die by The Waco Brothers
Precious Memories (The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised) by The Blasters
Honky Tonk Girl by The Rev. Horton Heat
Volver Volver by Los Lobos
Estrellita del Norte by Steve Jordan
Spanish Two Step by Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys
Golden Triangle by The Austin Lounge Lizards

Lonesome and Sad by Rev. Beat-Man
(We're Gonna) Wang Dang Doodle by Jerry J. Nixon
Time Flies by Scott Birham
Rockin' Daddy by Sonny Fisher & The Rockin' Boys
Pick a Bale of Cotton by Flathead
Bottle of Wine by The Fireballs
Hot Rodding in San Jose by The Legendary Stardust Cowboy
Hard-Headed Me by Roger Miller
I Love Onions by Susan Christy

Whiskey Flats by E. Christina Herr & Wild Frontier
It Was Either Whiskey or the Wife by Cornell Hurd
Drinkin' Blues by Wayne Hancock
Good BBQ by The Riptones
One Foot in the Grave by Johnny Dilks
The Cold Hard Facts of Life by T. Tex Edwards & Out on Parole
Black Cat by Tommy Collins
You're Bound to Look Like a Monkey by Hank Penny
Hold That Critter Down by Sons of the Pioneers

Freight Train Boogie by Doc Watson
Whole Lotta Things by Southern Culture on the Skids
Guitar Pickin' Man by Jimmie Dee
Drinkin' Wine by Gene Simmons
Night Train to Memphis by Roy Acuff
Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer by Johnny Russell
(You've Been Quite a Doll) Raggedy Anne by Little Jimmy Dickens
Heavy on the Lonesome by Miss Leslie & The Juke Jointers
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, July 09, 2009


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 10, 2009

Of all the bars, nightclubs, and music venues that influenced my career as a journalist, none compared with the Line Camp in Pojoaque.

If you’ve moved to the area in the last 23 years or so, you might not be familiar with the fabled watering hole. The Line Camp, located less than 20 miles north of the city on U.S. 84/285, was a major center of music in Northern New Mexico between 1979 and 1986. (And in its previous incarnation, between 1938 and 1976, the building was called the Pojoaque Tavern.)

Not only did I hear a shipload of great music at the Line Camp and get to meet and interview a lot of fine musicians — John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Doc Watson, Flaco Jimenez, Peter Rowan, Jerry Jeff Walker, Richie Havens, Charlie Musselwhite, Maria Muldaur, and New Riders of the Purple Sage among them — but I learned lessons in journalism there that guide me today.

The main lesson is that it’s not a great idea to get drunk before conducting interviews.

The occasion was an early 1980 Line Camp show by Taj Mahal. I was in my late 20s then and freelancing for the Santa Fe Reporter.

It was my second interview ever. The first had been a couple of weeks before with folk singer Dave Van Ronk. At that show I’d gone backstage at the Armory for the Arts and made contact with Van Ronk, who almost immediately suggested that we go to a bar to do the interview. We did. I got loaded, though not as much as Van Ronk did. He was gracious, loquacious, and quotable. I had a great time, turned out a decent article, and thought, "The journalism scam is for me."

But the Taj interview didn’t turn out as well. Just like the night with Van Ronk, I had a few drinks. But this time I was drinking while Taj played — before the interview.
Me getting drunk with Van Ronk, 1980
My then-wife and I got into a fight. She got angry and left me stranded at the Line Camp. By the time I went back to the dressing room for the interview, I was in no shape to be talking to anyone. Taj was nice enough to talk with me, but I don’t really remember much he said.

After hitchhiking home that night, the next morning I found my notes were illegible gibberish (even worse than usual) and my cheap tape recorder had malfunctioned. Taj’s voice was a barely audible and unintelligible rumble. My story turned out to be a salvage-job review of what I remembered of the show and some background information on the singer and his band. It had virtually no quotes from Taj.

I was surprised when the Reporter decided to pay me for it anyway.

Fortunately, I have many happier (and clearer) memories of the Line Camp. One of my biggest thrills was when honky-tonk titan Hank Thompson played there and the guy who introduced me to him was none other than Roger Miller, who was living in Tesuque at the time.

And about a year after my disastrous Taj interview, Taj came back to the Line Camp and his opening act was me. Nobody argued that the wrong singer was headlining, but nobody booed me off the stage either. And I remembered it all the next morning.

The Line Camp Reunion, featuring Lawyers, Guns & Money, and Gary Eckard, begins at 7 p.m. (doors open at 5:30) Friday, July 10, at the Catamount Bar & Grille, 125 E. Water St. 988-7222. Tickets are $5.

For more reliable Line Camp memories, check out Emily Drabanski's story in Sunday's New Mexican. CLICK HERE

* Voodoo Rhythm Comes to Santa Fe. You’ve heard me play his music on the radio. You’ve seen me rant about him in this column and on my blog. And now, straight out of Switzerland, the right Rev. Beat-Man is coming to town.

The first dealings I ever had with Beat Zeller, aka Rev. Beat-Man, was when I caught him in a lie. It was back in 2004.

On a visit to Cheapo Discs in Austin, Texas, I picked up a curious little CD called Gentleman of Rock ’n’ Roll (The Q Recordings, New Mexico ’58-’64) by a greasy-haired rockabilly named Jerry J. Nixon. It was on a Swiss label called Voodoo Rhythm.

I was intrigued. And even more intriguing was the story inside — how Nixon, born in England, illegally came to the States as a bank robber on the run, ended up in Santa Fe, where he worked at a cardboard factory, joined the Communist Party, and rocked local nightspots like the Atahualpa Bar & BBQ.

Like the journalist nerd I am, I spent a couple of hours at the library looking though old city directories and phone books searching in vain for Jerry J. Nixon landmarks like the Atahualpa, Q Recording Studio (it was supposed to be on Galisteo Street), and, of course, the cardboard factory.

I e-mailed Voodoo Rhythm for help. At first Beat-Man claimed his information came from interviews with Nixon’s family. But then, right in the middle of an e-mail, he confessed that he was Jerry J. Nixon (and now that I’ve seen photos of Zeller and heard his music, the resemblance is obvious).

I felt like an idiot, and he probably was amazed that anyone would take the Jerry J. Nixon story seriously.

I’ve been a Beat-Man/Voodoo Rhythm fan ever since.

Actually Jerry J. Nixon is just one of the Rev.’s many guises. He has also performed and recorded as the masked (lucha libre style!) Lightning Beat-Man and with bands including The Monsters (crazed Swiss garage-punk rock), Die Zorros (sounds like Joe Meek in the afterlife), and The Church of Herpes (electro/industrial Kraut-rock and a little gospel).

His latest project is called Surreal Folk Blues Gospel, a pretty apt description of the psycho-roots music that has resulted in two CDs and a DVD collection of videos.

Next week, Rev. Beat-Man comes to the land of Jerry J. Nixon, performing with his Blues Trash Trio at 9 p.m. Monday, July 13, at Corazón, 401 S. Guadalupe St., 983-4559. Admission is $5.

The show is presented by The Process, the same magical folks who have brought Michael Hurley, Carla Bozulich, and other musical innovators to Santa Fe. A new Sean Healen outfit called Goth Brüks opens the show. The group reportedly plans to play “a once in a lifetime set of songs you may not ever see him do again.”

This should be fun.


Here's a big blast from the not-too-distant past.

From 1997 to 2004 I frequently freelanced for No Depression, a magazine that specialized in alternative country, (whatever that was), and other American roots music. The magazine stopped publishing last year -- a victim of the troubled economies of the music and publishing industries -- though it lives on the Internet.

Mose McCormack. This photo appeared with my ND profile of himDuring my years as a ND contributor (which started waning as the demands of being a political reporter in New Mexico increased -- I'd just like to thank the governor), I wrote features on various musicians, including a lengthy profile on Terry Allen and an interview with Cornell Hurd. Among those I spotlighted were several New Mexico musicians including Kell Robertson, Mose McCormack, Bill & Bonnie Hearne and The Bubbadinos.

I reviewed some concerts, including Junior Brown's reunion with The Last Mile Ramblers at the Fiesta de Los Cerrillos in 1998 and the Red Nations Celebration and Native Roots & Rhythm shows in 1997.

I wrote obituaries for Dave Van Ronk (who I credit/blame for my career in journalism) and Howie Epstein who died in Santa Fe in 2003. In that piece I quoted my old friend Alex Magocsi, who would die a few years later.

I reviewed lots of CDs -- The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, Loudon Wainwright III, Judee Sill, Angry Johnny & The Killbillies, The Riptones, Dr. West's Medicine Show & Junk Band and Petty Booka -- among them.

Earlier this week, the good folks at No Depression launched the magazine's complete archives. You can read all the articles, reviews. columns, etc from issue #1 through #75.

And yes, that includes everything I wrote for them. (I haven't checked yet, but it looks like it's all there, even that weird hitchhiking memory that I originally wrote as a post on the old AOL No Depression music board.)

And you can even find Grant Alden's review of my CD, which was published in issue #8.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


*Let's Lose It by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages. I actually was hoping to find Barrence's new one, Raw! Raw! Rough! on eMusic. It's not there, at least not yet, so this old one, from 1990, will have to do until I pick that one up.

And I hope the new one is anywhere close this fine. Boston-based Whitfield is simply one of the wildest R&B shouters in the business today.

Though nothing here is as wild as "Bloody Mary" or "Mama Get the Hammer," this album has its own crazed energy, as evidenced by the opening track "Method to My Madness." And "Calling All Beasts" is an electrifying jungle wail.

* Farm by Dinosaur Jr. These guys really shouldn't still be sounding this great.

But by golly, it looks like the reunion of J. Mascis and Lou Barlow a couple of years ago on Beyond was no fluke. (I should have known that was the case when I saw the reconstituted Dinosaur Jr, at The Pitchfork Festival last year. They were mighty and Mascis' gray hair notwithstanding, they blew most of the younger bands away.)

If anything, Farm is even better than Beyond. Not only are they sounding strong, Mascis and Barlow sound as if they are having a great time playing with each other.

Mascis remains the dominate frontman/songwriter, penning all but two of the tunes here. But the sound is clearly a group effort (and let's not forget drummer Murph whose enthusiastic bashing is an important element of Dinsoaur Jr.)

There's frantic joy in all the songs here. My favorites are the upbeat opening cut "Pieces" and the epic "Said the People," which starts out slow before building to a epic Dinosaur Jr. fury by the end of the near-eight-minute track.

* The Many Sounds of Steve Jordan. An old friend recently sent me a link to a very sad story on NPR about Jordan, the maestro of the Tex-Mex accordion.

I had no idea that he was so sick. Hell, I had no idea that he was 70 years old. But it's true.

After listening to that, I had to get some of his tunes on my computer. Luckily eMusic has a decent selection. I didn't know where to start, so I figured Arhoolie wouldn't disappoint.

I was right.

The best tunes here are the corridos such as "El Castgador" and -- my very favorite -- "El Corrido de Johnny Pachuco," an upbeat heroic tale of a bad ass.

Less successful are the two country songs at the end of the collection -- Buck Owens' "Together Again" and "There's More Pretty Girls Than One," a song done best by Doc Watson. Actually, Jordan's version of the latter, which he plays as a slow waltz, has its own peculiar charm.

* Rise Up by Dr. Lonnie Smith One my bad calls musicially this year was to not go see Dr. Smith when he played at Evangelos' in downtown Santa Fe.

Dr. Smith, not to be confused with Lonnie Liston Smith, is a jazz organist well versed in cool funk and even a little Dr. John-style Nightripper gris-gris. With a basic combo including guitarist Peter Bernstein, Donald Harrison on sax, and Herlin Riley on drums, Smith creates a unique, atmospheric sound.

He mostly does original material. The opening song "A Matterapat" has a subtle Latin infuence, "As the World Weeps" is a blues-soaked lamet, and the mysterioso "Voodoo Doll" actually is worthy of its name. I think I hear echoes of Bitches Brew here.

But his covers of rock songs are amazing -- and shaped into new creatures barely recognizable. The Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams" is a smokey invocation. And The Beatles' "Come Together," featuring Smith's mumbled but menacing vocals, basically translating the lyrics into some Hoodoo Esperanta, is such a radical reworking I had to check online to make sure it was really the Lennon-McCartney song.

* Kicksville: Raw Rockabilly Acetates Vol. 2
Raw is right with this collection -- even rawer than usual for a Norton compilation.

The album is full of lo-fi recordings by very obscure rockabillies. The only name I even recogozed here was Hasil Adkins, who does a tune called "Can't Help It Blues" with a band whose name was lost to time.

The sound quality is so wretched that only the most rabid fans would appreciate this record. The recording equipment used for The Jokers' "I Found My Baby" couldn't have cost more than $10!

But there's lots of spirit here. For instance, "Red Headed" Woman by Morty Shann & The Morticians is a blast of energy.

That's the case also with Tears Of Happiness by Jimmy Sysum & The Rockin' Three. Lots of bands these days strive for the primitive thud that seems to come so natural to The Rockin' Three's rhythm section. And lots of contemporary surf bands would give their left testicle to sound half as bitchen as the sax-driven "Fender Rock" by The Dynatones.

* The tracks from Cool Cats. (that I didn't get last month.) I actually like this collection of rockabilly obscurities more than Kicksville. (For one thing, he audio quality is far superior) The collection was compiled by a disc jockey from Belgium called Dr. Boogie. He's responsibile for another cool compilation I downloaded from eMusic a few months back, Rarities From The Bob Hite Vaults. My favorite so far out of the batch I nabbed this month is the frantic "Big Dog, Little Dog" by Harvey Hunt. Like Kicksville Vol. 2, Cool Cats ends with a strong instrumental. Here, it's "Sledgehammer" (Not the Peter Gabriel song) by The Trashers.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
* Five Tracks from How Big Can You Get?: The Music of Cab Calloway by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. I enjoyed Voodoo Daddy's set so much at the Hootenanny Festival I knew I'd like their versions of these songs. They should have done "Reefer Man" at Hootenanny, though perhaps tehy figured that was too obvious.

* "El Capitan" and "Washington Post March" by John Phillip Sousa. I nabbed these for background music on my latest Big Enchilada podcast, An American is a Very Lucky Man. These two tracks are from an album called The March King - John Philip Sousa Conducts His Own Marches And Other Favorites - An Historical Recording. That's right, it's the Stars and Stripes Forever man himself on the baton here.


I get so many music press releases in my e-mail these days it's ridiculous. And nearly all of them aren't worth the bytes used to create them.

But leave it to songwriter Tom Russell -- or at least his publicist -- to come up with the most interesting press release from a musician I've seen in a long time:

Rugged El Paso songwriter Tom Russell has finally revealed a long-held secret: he holds a Masters degree in Criminology. With "Criminology" and "East of Woodstock, West of Viet Nam," two of the highlights from Blood and Candle Smoke (Shout! Factory), Russell reveals his secret and also chronicles the times he's been faced with a gun pointed at him.

* First, in Ibadan, Nigeria in 1969, he was arrested for taking photos in a war zone on his first day, arriving in the middle of a vicious tribal war. In the months that followed, he read Graham Greene and drank palm wine in the bars.

* In Canada, 1971, while Russell was in Prince Rupert playing with a band, a clerk at a fleabag hotel stuck a gun in his face and slurred, "How you like it now, white boy? How's your blue-eyed boy now, Mr. Death?" Russell realized later that it was an ee cummings quote.

"I was amused and interested in these little violent, character-building vignettes, because I had been educated as a Criminologist. Got my Masters degree, but never told anyone in the music biz. But in those honkytonks and skid row hotels I was
experiencing the real subject matter - up close and very personal," writes Russell on his blog at

If the music biz gets too hard for Russell, I guess he could end up as a consultant for the El Paso Police Department.

I opened for Russell at a Los Alamos gig about 12 years ago. At the time, I was a crime reporter. Wish I knew then that he was a criminologist.

I haven't heard the album yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

I used a couple of Russell selections for my latest Big Enchilada podcast. "The Outcast," with vocals by the late Dave Van Ronk (from Tom's album The Man From God Knows Where) and a spoken segment that ends the podcast by Little Jack Horton, recorded for the Hotwalker album.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I knew I was forgetting something. I should have posted this on Friday. What the heck, I'm on vacation!

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 3, 2009

On his new album Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs, Otis Taylor, the blues bard of Boulder, does what he does best — blues-based musical meditations that often tell grim stories. But at the same time, he's taking his music to strange new levels.

Like most of his recent work, the new album is almost all acoustic, though guitarist Gary Moore goes electric on a few tunes. Cornet player Ron Miles is back, and there are African drums on some songs, giving several numbers a spooky jazz feel.

Taylor uses the phrase "trance blues," but I don't really like that label. True, Taylor's music sometimes gets spacey and repetitive. But trance blues doesn't even begin to describe some of Taylor's bolder sonic experiments here.

Take the song "Talking About It Blues." There are some moments toward the end of the song that have distinct echoes of Miles Davis' On the Corner. And that's even more true with the eight-minute epic "Walk on Water." To his credit, Taylor lets his sidemen stretch out.

As he's done on previous albums, Otis steps back on several songs and lets his daughter Cassie Taylor sing lead. Cassie, who also plays bass on some tracks, is really starting to come into her own. That's apparent on the sad, yearning "Sunday Morning."

There's a new version here of "Mama's Got a Friend" — the story of a kid coping with the fact that his mom has taken a lesbian lover — which first appeared on his Below the Fold album. (Mama's always up to something in the Otis Taylor universe. On another album, Double V, there was the song "Mama's Selling Heroin.") Called "Mama's Best Friend" on the new CD, the song is sung by Cassie.

At first it seems that Cassie's voice and the arrangement are so ethereal that the song loses a little bit of its original punch. But this track has its own weird charms. With Jason Moran's piano, Miles' cornet and percussion by Nasheet Waits on trap set and Fara Tolno on djembe drums, the song evolves into a jazzy voodoo workout.

And it's a great lead-in for the next song, "Maybe Yeah," also sung by Cassie. Here, Waits drums like he's in a marching band.

Taylor's previous album, Recapturing the Banjo, centered around that instrument. There's less of it on Pentatonic Wars, but the song "Country Girl Boy" is a banjo-driven stomper.

The bloooooziest song here is "Young Girl Down the Street." Over a slow funky blues-thud beat, some nasty organ licks by Brian Juan, and stinging electric guitar by Jonn Richardson, Taylor taunts a former lover by bragging about his latest conquest.

As on previous Taylor outings, the singer deals with issues of race. In the past, he has sung about slave ships and lynchings. But here, in the song "I'm Not Mysterious," the racism is far more subtle. It's about an 8-year-old black kid deeply in love with a white girl his age. His mom tells him that he's too young to be in love, but he suspects that might not be the real reason she's trying to discourage the relationship. It's heartbreaking when he sings, "I've got a little red wagon. You can use it anytime."

Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs is Taylor's 10th album in about 12 years. "I'm 60. I don't have a long time," Taylor said in a recent interview with his hometown paper, the Colorado Daily. Referring to his first career, as a rock 'n' roller in the '60s and '70s, he explained, "I stopped music for a lot of years, so I have to do a lot of records in a short period of time."

The sound of his catching up has been rewarding.

Also recommended:
GUY DAVIS at 2007 Thirsty Ear Festival, Santa Fe
Sweetheart Like You by Guy Davis. Davis is another baby-boomer bluesman. The frog-voiced guitar picker's latest album has covers of songs by Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Son House, Big Joe Williams, and Bob Dylan, plus a couple of tunes based on Leadbelly songs.

He does justice to most of these. I especially like his slow-grooving take on Williams' "Baby, Please Don't Go" (well, slow compared to the rocked-out versions I love by Them and by The Amboy Dukes) and his banjo-and-bass version of Muddy's "Can't Be Satisfied."

But far better than the covers' original songs. There's the wistful "Sweet Hannah," which is about an affair with a married woman, while "Steamboat Captain" sounds like a long-lost song from some movie about the deep South.

"Bring Back Storyville" is a funny little romp about a guy nostalgic for New Orleans' fabled whorehouse district. "I had me a woman used to hold my jug/Kept it in a trap door under the rug/I'd come there, lay back and drink my fill/Bring back, bring back Storyville."

Davis claims he wrote "Going Back to Silver Spring" — which has a Blind Willie McTell feel to it —about a girl who promised to send him naked photos of herself if he wrote her a song. "Hey! Where are those pictures at?" he writes in the liner notes.

Speaking of funny liner notes, Davis credits the idea of "Slow Motion Daddy" to a story about a celebrated hobo named Slow Motion Shorty as told by Utah Phillips and a naughty story involving Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and Sammy Davis Jr.

Most of the album is basic acoustic blues. But Davis subtly incorporates a little technology in "Words to My Mama's Song," which features "vocal percussion" (you've heard this on recent Tom Waits works) and a mid-song rap by his son Martial, who is in his late teens or early 20s.

The one misstep on this album is Dylan's "Sweetheart Like You." Not that's it's a bad version, and I'm not saying it doesn't belong on the album. It's just that it's so slow that it's a questionable way to kick off the album. "Storyville" or "Slow Motion Daddy" would have worked better in the lead spot.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


UPDATE: For more of my photos of the Hootenanny Festival, CLICK HERE

Phil Alvin & Rev. Horton Heat with Los Lobos

IRVINE, CA. -- It was a true patriotic moment: Hearing The Blasters sing "American Music" on the Fourth of July! Of course I was in a Porta-potty when they started. But I wasn't there for long.

It was the 15th annual Hootenanny Festival outside of Irvine. I don't know why they call it that. When I first heard of "The Hootenanny Festival" my first image was a bunch of folkies in a coffee shop singing "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

But that's not what this festival is all about. This is a hootenanny for rockabilly, pyschobilly, roots rock, a little neo-swing and a touch of hillbilly music. Plus there's a car show.

Here's some of the people I saw.
Hail the Mighty Cesar
* Los Lobos: Following The Rev. Horton Heat -- not to mention all the other high-octane bands on the bill -- it only made sense that Los Lobos would emphasize their raw R&B side, rather than their artsier tendencies. Which is great, because that's the side that first made me love Los Lobos back in the early 80s. So sure enough, they led off with an explosive "Don't Worry Baby" and never once let the energy wane.

Toward the end of the set they called Phil Alvin of The Blasters and Rev. Heat to the stage to top off the festival with some R&B and blues standards (my favorite was "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz," originally a hit for The Hollywood Flames)

When Alvin began singing the Blasters' classic "Marie, Marie," it reminded me that one of the last times I'd seen Los Lobos, at a South by Southwest in Austin a few years ago, Phil's brother Dave Alvin joined the band on stage and sang that same song. Earlier in the Lobos' set, Cesar Rosas recalled how The Blasters had given his band their first break. The early 80s indeed was a great time for roots music in Southern California with bands like Los Lobos and The Blasters mixing it up with X and future country star Dwight Yokam. It was good to get a little taste of that on Saturday.

REV. HEAT & JIMBO * The Rev. Horton Heat: The Rev. is a Hootenanny veteran and a crowd favorite. And it was easy to see why. He ripped it to shreds during his set. From the very beginning, the crowd was screaming for the song "Psychobilly Freakout." He delivered it with zeal.

One thing that strikes me about Heat's performance is that even though his music is frantic and crazy, his demeanor is calm. No jumping around, very few rock-star poses. It's as if he just allows a wild energy to pass through him and he just lets it flow with a bemused expression.

* Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: With its five-man horn section, Big Bad Voodoo added some good variety to the bill. They followed the cacophony of Nekromantix, a loud blaring psychobilly trio that sounds much better on record than they did at the festival.

For the record, I'm one of the few critics in Criticdom who wasn't completely down on the neo-swing fad of the late '90s. While I wasn't real impressed with the zoot-suit costume-party aspect of the movement, I actually enjoyed the sounds of several bands including The Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Royal Crown Revue and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. "Neo Swing" was a misnomer anyway. These bands basically revived the jump blues sound.

Voodoo Daddy's most recent album, How Big Can You Get, is a tribute to Cab Calloway. (They covered "Minnie the Moocher on one of their early albums.) They did "Minnie" and "Calloway Boogie" on Saturday. Cab's originals are still the best, but BBVD does them justice.

* Lee Rocker: He's the bass player of The Stray Cats, who were early MTV stars and the most successful of the early '80s rockabilly revivalists.

Lee was cool. He might look like your high-school science teacher, but, as the song says, "He's got cat class and he's got cat style."

The Phil Zone
* The Blasters: Dave Alvin, an original Blaster, has gone on to more critical acclaim as a solo artist (and he's coming to Santa Fe Brewing Company next month), but Brother Phil remains the voice of The Blasters.

And what a voice. The guy just exudes soul. As the music pours out he grins as he must have done the first time he heard rock 'n' roll as a kid.

The most memorable songs were early Blasters faves ("American Music," of course, ""Long White Cadillac," "No Other Girl," "Dark Night," and "Marie Marie," which Phil now sings in Spanish.)

They also did some dynamite covers by the likes of Johnny Paycheck and James Brown.

My only complaint was that the set was only 30 minutes (which was the case with everyone except Los Lobos and Rev. Horton Heath.) I could have listened to The Blasters for another hour.


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