Saturday, October 31, 2009


Wanna scare the wits out of the kiddies when they come to your door tonight? Wanna make any Halloween party more swingin'? The check out any or all of these podcasts.

* From scary old England comes Mr. A. the Barber with his You've Got Good Taste Halloween episode. And if you like that, check out the previous YGGT episode called House of Horrors.
Halloween Spooks 2009
* Over in The Netherlands check out the latest episode (#116) of Dirty Rides on a Rock 'n' Roll Rampage. It's Zanne's Halloween show.

* Meanwhile, back at Spahn Ranch, there's lots of Halloween fun at Radio Free Bakersfield. On Episode 154 Whore Hay is joined by Baron Shivers & Necrobella of The Ghastly Ones for an extra spooky episode.

* And the lovely Angel Baby has not one but two Halloween shows: "Monsters Have Problems Too" (on her Between the Sheets program) and "Boogie Woogie Machine" (from her Lost in Paradise podcast.)

* Over at, it's always Halloween at Uncle Yah-Yah's Haunted Shack Theater. But he's got a brand new Halloween episode that'll make you want to X-ray your candy.

* The new Mystery Action show is sprinkled it with Halloween-ish songs host Charles Gaskins says.

* And Mal Thursday has updated and expanded his Halloween podcast from a couple of years ago. You'll find that HERE.
Halloween Spooks 2009
And don't forget my own tacky Spooktaculars!

My latest is RIGHT HERE

And my previous Halloween podcast is HERE

Friday, October 30, 2009


Friday, October 30, 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
(It Was a) Monster's Holiday by Buck Owens
Ghost of a Texas Ladies' Man by Concrete Blonde
Ghost Riders in the Sky by Ronnie Dawson
Haunted Honky Tonk by John Lilly
Transylvania Terror Train by Capt. Clegg & The Night Creatures
Take Me by Jesse Dayton & Brennen Leigh
Making Believe by Wanda Jackson
Lovesick Blues by Arty Hill & The Long Gone Daddies
Smitty by T. Tex Edwards & Out on Parole

Silver Threads and Golden Needles by Skeeter Davis
Johnny Reb by Johnny Horton
Boy Next Door by The Frantic Flattops
My Pretty Quadroon by Jerry Lee Lewis
The Check's in the Mail by Johnny Dilks
My Screamin' Screamin' Mimi by Ray Campi
Miller, Jack, and Mad Dog by Wayne Hancock
Cash on the Barrelhead by Ethyl & The Regulars
Sally's Got a Wooden Leg by Sons of the West
Kitten by Quarter Mile Combo
The Eggplant That Ate Chicago by Dr. West's Medicine Show & Junk Band

Honky Tonk Girl by Hank Thompson
Ah Poor Little Baby by Billy "Crash" Craddock
Walk on By by Charlie Pride
Onion Eatin' Mama by Cliff Carlisle
I Love Onions by Susan Christie
Drag Racing the Devil by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
Ghost of Stephen Foster by Squirell Nut Zippers
Don't Touch Me by Eleni Mandell

Night of the Wolves by Gary Heffern
Can I Stay by Stephanie Hatfield & Hot Mess
Tomorrow Night by Elvis Presley
Love Don't Live Here Anymore by Kris Kristofferson
The Most Dangerous Woman in America by Tom Russell
One Road More by Butch Hancock & Jimmie Dale Gilmore
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, October 29, 2009


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
October 30, 2009

Painting by James Clark

(Art by James Clark. Used with permission.)

An impressionable 12-year-old rode to the top of an Arizona hill one afternoon with an old Cowboy friend to check a windmill. A big storm was building and they needed to lock the blades down before the wind hit. When finished, they paused to watch the clouds darken and spread across the sky. As lightning flashed, the Cowboy told the boy to watch closely and he would see the devil’s herd, their eyes red and hooves flashing, stampede ahead of phantom horsemen. The Cowboy warned the youth that if he didn’t watch himself, he would someday be up there with them, chasing steers for all eternity.

Sixty years ago this frightening vision, now found on the Western Music Association Web site, was etched into the consciousness of America. “Ghost Riders in the Sky” is a perfect Halloween song for the West. It’s the only cowboy song in which “yippie-yi-yay” becomes a demonic taunt. The boy who heard the tall tale from the old cowpoke would grow up to be forest ranger/songwriter Stan Jones.

“Ghost Riders” became a huge hit in 1949, a year after Jones wrote it. Pop-folkie Burl Ives was the first to record it that year. Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Peggy Lee chased the devil’s herd, too, and before the end of the year, avant jokester Spike Jones merrily mutated the saga of the demon cows and fire-snortin’ horses. But the biggest hit at that time came from pop crooner Vaughn Monroe, also in 1949.

Of course, it didn’t stop there. It’s been covered by everyone from Concrete Blonde to Dean Martin. Frankie Laine, another popster with an ear for cowboy songs (think “High Noon” and “Rawhide”) also covered “Ghost Riders.”

Artists like Bob Wills, The Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry, and Marty Robbins brought “Ghost Riders” back West. Dick Dale went surfing with it. Ronnie Dawson made it a rockabilly romp. The Southern-rock group called The Outlaws introduced it to the dazed and confused generation in 1980. Johnny Cash sang it with the Muppets. Tom Jones took it to Vegas, and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy took it to Mars.

The fact that “Ghost Riders” has a cinematic feel to it is no accident. Jones did a lot of soundtrack work for John Ford Westerns, including writing music for The Searchers (in which John Wayne spoke a catch phrase that inspired a Buddy Holly hit, “That’ll Be the Day”) and Rio Grande.

When Jones wrote “Ghost Riders,” he was working for the National Park Service in Death Valley.

According to the Western Music Association Web site, “The Park Service made Stan its representative to Hollywood film crews when they came to Death Valley. After a long, hot day of filming, cast and crew members often sat around and listened to Stan’s songs and stories. They encouraged him to get a publisher in L.A.” Shortly after, “Yippee-yi-yay, yippee-yi-yo,” was being heard across the land.

My two favorite versions of “Ghost Riders” are no longer in print. The one that raised goose bumps on me as a kid was on a 1964 LP called Welcome to the Ponderosa by Lorne Greene — yes, a tacky TV tie-in from Bonanza’s Ben Cartwright. This version has a full-blown orchestra, a chorus, and Greene’s distinct gravely voice. (Greene’s hit “Ringo” was also on this album.)

Then there’s the country-rock version from New Mexico’s own Last Mile Ramblers, from their 1974 album While They Last. The artist currently known as Junior Brown is playing guitar, and the vocals are by Spook James. This was always a highlight of the Ramblers’ shows at The Golden Inn and Bourbon & Blues. You can hear the song on my latest podcast at

I’m not sure how many cowboys changed their ways because of the warning in the song. But next time you see lightning in the sky, look for those red-eyed cows and gaunt-faced cowboys.

Also recommended for Halloween:

* Rob Zombie Presents Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures. On his previous music project, Texas singer Jesse Dayton, whose résumé includes stints as a guitarist for Waylon Jennings and Ray Price, teamed up with bluegrass singer Brennen Leigh to create an album of sweet country duets with songs like “Brand New Heartache,” “Take Me,” and “Back-Street Affair.”

Since that time, Dayton was apparently kidnapped by the evil Rob Zombie and transformed into a fiend named Captain Clegg (a name lifted from a 1962 film starring Peter Cushing) to sing hillbilly horror songs like “Headless, Hip-shakin’ Honey,” “Two-Headed Teenage Transplant,” “Transylvania Terror Trail,” and “Macon County Morgue.” These and seven other tunes appear on what is easily the Halloween album of the year.

Fans of Zombie’s most recent movie, Halloween II, might recognize Clegg and band from a music/dance scene in the flick. But this isn’t the first Zombie/Dayton collaboration. In 2003, Zombie enlisted Dayton to write and record tunes — such as “I’m at Home Getting Hammered (While She’s Out Getting Nailed)” and “Lord, Don’t Let Me Die in a Cheap Motel” — for a fictional hillbilly duo called Banjo and Sullivan in conjunction with Zombie’s 2005 slasher flick, The Devil’s Rejects.

Although Dayton’s background is in country and rockabilly, there are all sorts of influences here. Take the opening track, “Zombie a Go Go.” It sounds like a Farfisa-fueled garage rocker — at least until the steel guitar solo. “Dr. Demon and the Robot Girl” is a tribute to late-’60s “country fuzz” production, an era in which fuzztone guitars, electric sitars and folk-rock elements crept into some country music.

None of these tunes is destined to become a classic like, say, “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” They’re all pretty dumb, but then again, they’re all good fun for “spooky people gettin’ Dixie fried,” as Clegg sings on “Honky Tonk Halloween.”


Here's a couple of "Ghost Riders" videos:

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Sunday, October 25, 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!

For more gruesome sounds, check out my latest Big Enchilada podcast episode

Halloween Spooks 2009 Halloween Hootenanny by Zacherle
Murder in the Graveyard by Screamin' Lord Sutch
Rock Around the Tombstone by The Monsters
Halloween by The Misfits
Halloween Dance by Rev. Horton Heat
Hearse With a Curse by Mr. Gasser & The Weirdos
Gravedigger Rock by The Polecats
Voodoo Voodoo by Lavern Baker
Transylvania Terror Train by Capt. Clegg & The Night Creatures
Goblin Girl by Frank Zappa
Graveyard by Butthole Surfers
Graveyard by Trailer Bride

Witches by Bichos
I'm Your Witchdoctor by The Chants R&B
Satanic Rite by Los Peyotes
Born in a Haunted Barn by The Dirtbombs
You Must Be a Witch by The Lollipop Shoppe
Voodoo Priestess by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
La Llorna by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds

(Background Music: Voodoo Doll by Dr. Lonnie Smith)

I'm a Mummy by Bob McFadden & Dor
The Mummy by Marshmallow Overcoat
Mummy Shakes by The Molting Vultures
Devil Dance by The A-Bones
The Ghost of Smokey Joe by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Human Fly by The Cramps
Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) by Concrete Blonde
The Addams Family Theme by Vic Mizzy
Witchcraft by Elvis Presley

(Background Music: Wolfman by The Bobby Fuller Four)

Don't Shake Me Lucifer by Roky Erikson
Haitian Voodoo Baby by The X-Rays
Zombified by Electricoolade
Howlin' at the Moon by Nekromantix
Gris Gris Gumbo ya Ya by Dr. John
She Walks With the Dead by Deadbolt
Heebie-Jeebies by Little Richard

Halloween Spooks 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Due to the special session of the state Legislature going into the evening hours, I had to run my "emergency" Santa Fe Opry show on KSFR Friday night. Hope you enjoyed it anyway and those of you who emailed, sorry I didn't get back to you right away.

There's no special session Sunday night though, so I'll be doing Terrell's Sound World live -- and it's the 2009 radio SPOOKTACULAR. So tune in 10 pm Sunday (Mountain Time) at 101.1 FM in the Northern New Mexico area or on the Web. And for more Halloween fun, check out my latest Big Enchilada podcast.

Friday, October 23, 2009


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
October 24, 2009

I wouldn't call Squirrel Nut Zippers' new album, Lost at Sea, the comeback of the year. But the CD, released next week, is a fun little reminder of a fun little band that came along during a strange period of rock 'n' roll.

In 1997, when SNZ released their biggest album, Hot, grunge was long dead. Lollapalooza, in its original incarnation as a traveling festival, had run its course. Rock 'n' roll was looking for something new by looking at its roots. Alt country was at its peak. Fat Possum was finding booze-soaked blues codgers in the Mississippi hills.

And then there was the "neo-swing" movement, propelled partly by the 1996 movie Swingers. The Zippers got lumped in with this style, which seemed like a weird fad from day one. I'm not knocking the neo-swingers. I actually liked a lot of that music. As I've mentioned here before, I had fun seeing Big Bad Voodoo Daddy a few months ago, and I enjoy the group's latest album, How Big Can You Get?, a Cab Calloway tribute.

But Squirrel Nut Zippers, fronted by Katherine Whalen and Jimbo Mathus, weren't truly part of the martini-sippin', jitterbuggin', zoot-suit set. True, they were retro; and true, they had horns. But while the neo-swingers emulated Louis Jordan, Louis Prima, and the jump blues bands of the '40s (with obvious nods to Rat Pack cool), the Zippers harked back to an earlier era — vaudeville and hot jazz, with a little Gypsy jazz mixed in. Give Dan Hicks a couple of horns and a speed-freak drummer, and The Hot Licks would sound a lot like the Squirrel Nuts.

SNZ are best remembered for "Hell," basically an original calypso song about the afterlife, and "Put a Lid on It", which was more typical of their sound (and ended up in an Intel commercial). Both are from the Hot album.

The Zippers barely made it to this century. Their last studio album, Bedlam Ballroom, was released in the fall of 2000 but was promptly forgotten. (In fact, I'd forgotten I'd reviewed the dang thing — unfavorably— until I was recently looking through The New Mexican archives.)

But my perennial favorite is the underrated Perennial Favorites from 1998. On some songs there, SNZ seem to be looking at the music industry — which would soon be forsaking them — with horror and bile. There are still fun moments, but that album has a raw and restless undertow. (It is ironic that "Suits Are Picking Up the Bill" ended up on a Heinz ketchup commercial. Guess the suits picked up a few of the Zippers' bills for a while after that.)

A bunch of the original members of the Zippers are back. Besides Whalen and Mathus (who has since worked with Buddy Guy), there are drummer Chris Phillips (who's been playing with the likes of The Dickies and Dex Romweber), trumpet man Je Widenhouse, and bass player Stuart Cole.

The Zippers wisely included several Perennial Favorites tunes — "Suits," "Fat Cats Keep Getting Fatter," and "The Ghost of Stephen Foster" on the new live album, as well as the obvious crowd-pleasers "Hell" and "Put a Lid on It." Other highlights here include "You Are My Radio," which never appeared on any Zippers album before. It features just Mathus on guitar, with a vocal duet by him and Whalen. That's followed by a dreamy "Blue Angel" (no, not the Hundred Year Flood song).

Lost at Sea is a stopgap album. The Zippers are working on a new studio album for release next year. This record proves they've got their instrumental and vocal chops down. Let's hope their songwriting still has some of the bite of Perennial Favorites.

Also recommended:

Wally! by The Polkaholics. At first listen, it's tempting to call The Polkaholics "irreverent." After all, here's this crazed trio playing polka on electric instruments — no accordion, no sax, but a screaming guitar with bass and drums cranking up the basic polka beat. The band calls its sound "Oom pah pow!" One of the group's early songs declares The Polkaholics "Polka Enemy Number One." Another tune is called "The Pimps of Polka."

But nothing could be further from the truth than to say they're irreverent. When they sing of "Beer, Broads, and Brats," they're not poking fun at the polka lifestyle. They're embracing it and slobbering all over it.

Just look at their relationship to Wally Jagiello, better known as Li'l Wally, who is the subject of The Polkaholics' polka rock opera, Wally! Jagiello was a polka giant who died in 2006 at the age of 76. Don Hedeker, the high potentate of The Polkaholics, calls him "the Muddy Waters of polka." Born in Chicago, Jagiello was the son of Polish immigrants. He's credited with playing a slower and more accessible polka style. That's slower compared to the Slovenian-style polka played by Frankie Yankovic in Cleveland. (Would that make Frankie the Howlin' Wolf of polka?)

Wally! contains several musical references to the first-generation rock operas Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar. (Check out the song "Polka Superstar," with the lyrics "Li'l Wally, superstar/You are just who you say you are.") The songs tell stories from various phases of Wally's life — his childhood; playing polka in the bars back in the glory days (my favorite song here is "Division Street" — the Chicago street was full of polka dance bars and was known as the "Polish Broadway" in the 1950s); moving to Miami; coming back to Chicago in the early part of this century for a Division Street concert with a new generation of polka nuts (namely The Polkaholics); and his death in 2006 ("Oh how we cried and cried, the day the polka died.").

Li'l Wally wasn't only the king of polka. The Polkaholics declare him "the King of Happiness. Like all Polkaholics albums, this one's fun and zany — and it rocks like crazy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Two Voodoo Rhythm Bands on WFMU Free Music Archive

I just found not one but two new additions to the WFMU Free Archives that happen to be Voodoo Rhythm Records vets: Wau y Los Arrghs!! from Spain and Movie Star Junkies from Italy.

You can download any or all of the songs free and legal at the above links. Or you can listen right on this site on the players below.

Both are from a show called Three-Chord Monte, which looks very worthwhile. It airs noon to 3 pm on Tuesdays (10 am-1 pm Mountain Time)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

R.I.P. Vic Mizzy

I'm old enough to remember when TV themes were really cool. Even the dumbest sitcoms had memorable themes. I can more of the lyrics to the "My Mother the Car" theme than any of the dialog from that stupid show.

One of the greats in the TV theme genre died Saturday -- Vic Mizzy. He was 93. His obit in the Los Angeles Times is HERE.

You might not recognize his name, but you'll know the songs from the videos below. The first one is appropriate for this Halloween season.

(Thanks Robert Nott for alerting me.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Sunday, October 18, 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
Parchment Farm by Blue Cheer
Flat-Foot Flewzy by NRBQ
13 Ghosts by Marshmallow Overcoat
Deborah by T Rex
Bobo Boogy by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds
Rootie Tootie Baby by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Long Green by Barrence Whitfield

1,2,3 Party by Mission of Burma
Trash by The New York Dolls
Zomby Woof by Frank Zappa
Ratfink by Ron Haydock & The Boppers
Hey Ratfink by Mr. Gasser & The Weirdos
Judgement Day by The Pretty Things
The Crusher by The Cramps
Bow Down and Die by The Almighty Defenders
(Background Music: Chinatown by Youngblood Brass Band)

Theme From Beat Girl by Satan's Pilgrims
Land of the 1 Percenters by The Bomboras
Popcorn Crabula by Man or Astroman?
Teen Beast by Los Straitjackets
The Spy Who Couldn't Get Any Action by The Ray Corvair Trio
Cha Wow Wow by The Hillbilly Soul Surfers
Panic Button by The Fireballs
Fish Taco by Surficide
Los Campions del Justico by The Ghastly Ones
Apache 95 by Satan's Cheerleaders

Periodically Triple or Double by Yo La Tengo
Just Like John Lennon Said by Sky Sunlight Saxon
You Never Had it Better by The Electric Prunes
Song of the Grocery Police by Pere Ubu
Tarzan of Harlem by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend by Marilyn Monroe vs. The Swing Cats
Cast No Shadows by The Mekons
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, October 17, 2009





Halloween's a comin' and the pumpkin's gettin' fat. Welcome to the 15th episode of The Big Enchilada, the 2009 Steve Terrell Podcast Spooktacular featuring some ghoulish and horrifying sounds from The Cramps, The Fleshtones, Dead Moon, The Spiders, The Things and, of course, The Monsters ... not to mention classic Rat Fink rumblings from Mr. Gasser & The Weirdos.

Not only is it a Halloween party, it's the first anniversary of this podcast. That's right Episode 1 was a whole year ago. And it was another Halloween show-- actually lifted from a recording of my 2006 Spooktacular broadcast on Terrell's Sound World on KSFR in Santa Fe. If you haven't already, you can find that HERE.

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:

The official Big Enchilada Web Site with my podcast jukebox and all the shows is HERE.

Here's the play list:

(Background Music: Strollin' Spooks by Ken Nordine)
Big Black Witchcraft Rock by The Cramps
Ghoul Au Go-Go by The Tex Reys
Rock Around The Tombstone by The Monsters
Monster Party by The Powerknobs
Dance With The Ghoulman by The Fleshtones
Ghost Riders in The Sky by The Last Mile Ramblers

(Background Music: Halloween Spooks by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross)
Rockin' Dead Man by Dexter Romweber
Demon Stomp by The Things
Voodoo by The Combinations
Hearse With a Curse by Mr. Gasser & The Weirdos
Bo Meets the Monster by Bo Diddley
The Ghost and Honest Joe by Pee Wee King
La Lorona by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds

(Background Music: Playa de Los Muertos by Los Bomboras)
Honky Tonk Halloween by Captain Clegg And The Night Creatures
I'm a Mummy by The Fall
The Witch by Los Peyotes
You Must Be a Witch by Dead Moon
Look Out There's a Monster Coming by The Bonzo Dog Band
Vampire Radio Spot by T. Valentine
Witchcraft by The Spiders
(Background Music: Season of the Witch by Key)

For last year's Spooktacular CLICK HERE
Catch the radio version of the Steve Terrell Spooktacular tune into KSFR, 10 p.m. Mountain Time Sunday Oct. 25. For those in and around Northern New Mexico it's 101.1 FM on your radio dial. Everywhere else, it'll stream live on the Web at

Friday, October 16, 2009


Friday, October 16, 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
Macon County Morgue by Captain Clegg & The Night Creatures
Pretending is a Game by Sleepy Jeffers & The Davis Twins
Big Ball in Cowtown by Waylon Jennings
Unharmonious by Dexter Romweber
Jimblyleg Man by The Legendary Shack Shakers
Bring Out the Bible (We Ain't Got a Prayer) by The Texas Sapphires
Devil by Splitlip Rayfield
My Drinkin' Problem by Hank Williams III
Out Behind the Barn by Little Jimmy Dickens
Irma Jackson by Barrence Whitfield

Fergie's Prayer/Captain Lou by NRBQ
Hoy Hoy by The Collins Kids
Lovesick Blues by Artie Hill & The Long Gone Daddies
I'm Walking the Dog by Webb Pierce
Getting Wild (The Drinking Song) by Quarter Mile Combo
Huntsville by Merle Haggard
A Girl in the Night by Ray Price
Pass Me By by Johnny Rodriguez

Suffer by Stephanie Hatfield & Hot Mess
The Magic Touch by The Bobby Fuller Four
The Blues Come Around by Sleepy LaBeef
Travelin' Mood by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues by Charlie Poole
Didn't He Ramble by Loudon Wainwright III
Little June by Tommy Collins
The Ghost of Stephen Foster by Squirrel Nut Zippers

Summer Wages by David Bromberg
Cathedrals by The Handsome Family
Paint by Numbers by Amanda Pearcy
Criminolgy by Tom Russell
Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread by Odetta & The Holmes Brothers
Two Wings by Rev. Utah Smith
My Arms Stay Open Late by Tammy Wynette
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
October 16, 2009

Now here's a musician with a pretty impressive résumé. Brian Tristan, the El Monte, California, native better known as Kid Congo Powers, has been a member of The Cramps as well as of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and The Gun Club.

Dracula Boots, his new record with his band The Pink Monkey Birds, doesn't sound much like any of those previous groups. But it's addictive from the very first track, "LSDC," in which, over a repeated fuzz-guitar lick and "Funky Drummer" drums, Powers, in his gravely voice, tells an incomprehensible story that starts off with "It was a rocket, the room was chilly." Occasionally, he repeats the line, "Como se llama, mama." That's the MO in a lot of the tracks here — insane riffage with Powers reciting (rather than singing) strange tales in the background.

This first track is followed by "Found a Peanut," a cover of a tune by East L.A. '60s rockers Thee Midnighters. And yes, this song is based on a children's song you probably haven't heard since the playground.

There are lots of instrumentals, like "Funky Fly" and the slow-moving "Bobo Boogie," with Powers laying down cool basic psychedelic guitar as Kiki Solis' bass rumbles, Ron Miller's drums send coded messages from the jungle, and electronic effects sizzle in the background. Sometimes there's New Wave-y keyboards adding some science-fiction zing to the mix.

Powers often sounds sinister in songs like "La Llorona," in which he sets the legendary wailing-woman ghost in Juárez ("Lost her husband, drowned her children/Filled with shame, poor La Llorona took her life/Now she cries, weeps and wails by the Río Grande.").

But that's not quite as spooky as "Late Night Scurry," which reminds me of some of Angelo Badalamenti's creepy experimental tracks like "The Black Dog Runs at Night" on the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me soundtrack album.

Hey, Christmas is a-comin' and there are a couple of titles here suggesting Yuletide. However, neither "Black Santa," an instrumental in which Powers' guitar sounds like a lawnmower, nor "Kris Kringle Juju" sound much like "Jingle Bells." This record was released several months ago, so I'm not sure why there's this Santa Claus undercurrent.

The truth is, Dracula Boots would sound great during any season.

Also recommended:

* Raw, Raw Rough! by Barrence Whitfield. Barrence still is a savage!

Raw, which was released earlier this year, is Whitfield's first solo album since 1995's Ritual of the Savages. But he's still got that early rock 'n' roll/crazed R & B spirit that was so refreshing when he burst out of Boston with his band The Savages in the mid-'80s.

Whitfield, whose real name is Barry White (for reals!) is best known as a frenzied shouter. He probably gets sick of Little Richard comparisons, but in many ways such talk is well deserved. His song "Mama Get the Hammer" (the hammer is needed because "there's flies on the baby's head") was a crazy masterpiece, (originally done by a group called The Bobby Peterson Quintet).

Here Whitfield plays with a basic stripped-down band — guitar, bass, drums, and sax. They wail and stomp as Barrence sings with such abandon that he makes Screamin' Jay Hawkins look shy.

Some of my favorites include "Kissing Tree," "Early Times," and the opener, "Geronimo Stomp." And let's not forget the one with the unwieldy title: "I Need Love and Affection, Not the House of Correction."

Also worthy are Whitfield's tributes to not one but two classic Pacific Northwest garage bands. He covers "Strychnine" by The Sonics (loyal readers will recall I mentioned a version of that by The Fuzztones in a recent column — it has also been covered by The Cramps, The Fall, and Thee Headcoatees) and a near-forgotten classic by The Kingsmen, "Long Green" (which was also a minor hit for New Mexico's Jimmy Gilmer & Fireballs back in the late '60s).

Though the rowdy shakers are his main strength, Whitfield shows that he can handle some "slow dances." "One More Time" and "I Don't Want to Be in Your Shoes" are actually pretty — in an Otis Redding kind of pretty.

* Do the Wurst, Mojo Workout, and Shake It Wild by King Salami & The Cumberland Three. These download-only titles include an EP (Mojo Workout) and two "singles," totaling eight songs. The first two were released in August, while Shake It Wild came out last year.

This band, hailing from England, reminds me of another King, one by the name of Khan. Like King Khan's work with The Shrines, Salami melds high-charged soul with punk rock. But The Cumberland Three is a much smaller group than Khan's Shrines, so the sound is more stripped-down.

Though R & B is the group's bread and butter, Salami tries his hand at surf music on "Uprising." It sounds like "Apache" by The Shadows (complete with tacky faux Indian war cries). Meanwhile, "Birdog" is a ska-like takeoff of The Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird." But my favorite is "Mojo Workout," a cover of the tune by Bobby Long & His Satellites. It's a powerful R & B celebration.

Released on the British Dirty Water label, (except Shake it Wild, which was released on the German label Soundflat) these are available from Amazon, iTunes, or eMusic.

(the last paragraph was updated 5-18-10 with correct label information.)

Monday, October 12, 2009


It's been about five years since I've seen The Mekons live, so maybe this is the next best thing. I found this on the Live Music Archive.

It was recorded just last July in San Francisco. (I just noticed Tom Greenhalgh is missing! Still a good show though.)

There's a new song called "Space in Your Face," performed in public here for the first time.

Langford keeps breaking strings.


Here's the playlist:

Thee Olde Trip To Jerusalem
Wild And Blue
Give Us Wine Or Money
Abernant 1984/85
Corporal Chalkie
Fantastic Voyage
Chalkie, And Nobby
Beaten And Broken
Ghosts Of American Astronauts
Space In Your Face
Big Zombie
Last Dance
Hard To Be Human
Hole In The Ground
Memphis, Egypt

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Sunday, October 11, 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
Run and Hide by The Bomboras
Circus Freak by The Electric Prunes
Merkin Surfin'/Baby's Got Kinks by Purple Merkins
War All the Time by Dan Melchior and Das Menace
The Midnight Creep by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Fortunate Son by The Kilimanjaro Yak Attack
Peanut Butter by The Marathons
Sonic Reducer by The Dead Boys
Pachuco Boogie by Don Tosti's Pachuco Boogie Boys

Get it On by Grinderman
Mr. Orange by Dengue Fever
Passion by Fuzzy Control
Lice Cots and Rabies Shots by Troy Gregory with Bantam Rooster
Not to Touch the Earth by The Doors
Sleepwalkers by Modey Lemon
Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer) by Roky Erikson
Haunted House by Jumpin' Gene Simmons

The Ghost With the Most by The Allmighty Defenders
He Knocks Me Out by The Del Moroccos
The Lovers Curse by The A-Bones
Debbie Gibson is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child by Mojo Nixon
Rare as the Yeti by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds
Mojo Workout by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Bikini by The Bikinis
200 Years Old by Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart
Mother's Lamemt by Cream

Teacher by The Polkaholics
Zeroes and Ones by The Mekons
Big Sombrero (Love Theme) by Pere Ubu
All Beauty Taken From You by Chris Whitley
Monsters of the ID by Stan Ridgway
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It's true. Mojo Nixon, singer of "Elvis is Everywhere" and father of Debbie Gibson's two-headed love child is offering free downloads of all his albums, plus a few scattered "singles" on

Put a Louisiana Liplock on that!

Nixon explained in a press release I've seen on a couple of places on the Web:

"Can't wait for Washington to fix the economy. We must take bold action now. If I make the new album free and my entire catalog free it will stimulate the economy. It might even over-stimulate the economy. History has shown than when people listen to my music, money tends to flow to bartenders, race tracks, late night greasy spoons, bail bondsman, go kart tracks, tractor pulls, football games, peep shows and several black market vices. My music causes itches that it usually takes some money to scratch."

Among the weird treasures here are two Nixon songs recorded with The World Famous Bluejays for the Rig Rock Truckstop compilation -- a cover of Roger Miller's "Chug a Lug" and "UFOs, Big Rigs and BBQ."

Unfortunately, The Pleasure Barons album, Live in Las Vegas, which features Mojo, Dave Alvin and Country Dick Montana, isn't included in the freebies. But, what the heck. Download a bunch of free Mojo and buy the goddamn Pleasure Barons.

Hurry. Apparently this is only good for three weeks.

(Thanks to Chuck, my Washington correspondent, for alerting me to this.)

Friday, October 09, 2009


Friday, October 9, 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
Redneck Vixen From Outerspace by Captain Clegg And The Night Creatures
Mr. Spaceman by The Byrds
Hogtied Over You by Billy Bacon & The Forbidden Pigs with Candye Cane
Engine Engine Number 9 by Southern Culture on the Skids
Hard Headed Me by Roger Miller
Boogie Woogie Dance by Devil in a Woodpile
Qualudes Again by Bobby Bare
The Church of Saturday Night by Artie Hill & The Long Gone Daddies
Hangover Heart by Hank Thompson
Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other by Willie Nelson
Pardon Me I've Got Someone to Kill by Andre Williams & The Sadies

Mamma Possums by Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
Dixie Fried by Carl Perkins
It's Not Enough by The Waco Brothers
Who's Gonna Take Your Garbage Out by Rosie Flores & The Pine Valley Cosmonauts
Poor Me by Big Al Anderson
Shanghai Rooster Yodel by Cliff Carlisle
I've Taken All I'm Gonna Take From You by Spade Cooley
32.20 by The Flamin' Groovies
You're a Loser by Young Edward


High, Wide and Handsome by Loudon Wainwright III
If The River Was Whiskey by Charlie Poole
Hesitation Blues by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Deal By Loudon Wainwright III
My Wife Went Away and She Left Me by Charlie Poole
All Go Hungry Hash House by Norman Blake
I'm The Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World by Loudon Wainwright III

East of Woodstock, West of Viet Nam by Tom Russell
Ghost of Stephen Foster by Squirrel Nut Zipper
Cocktails by Robbie Fulks
In the Good Old Days When Times Were Bad by Dolly Parton
Won't it Be Wonderful There by The Delmore Brothers
Presently in the Past by Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
Crawdad Hole by Gus Cannon
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, October 08, 2009


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
October 9, 2009

Loudon Wainwright III’s High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project is not your typical tribute album.

In the liner notes, Wainwright says that this double-disc set is a “sonic bio-pic” about Charlie Poole, a man he has long fantasized about portraying in the movies — a hard-living, ramblin’, gamblin’, singing moonshiner who was a big influence on him as well as on countless country, folk, and bluegrass singers and probably on more rock ’n’ rollers than you might imagine.

Wainwright, accompanied by his trusty musical family (including some of his offspring) plays lots of songs associated with Poole (who didn’t write his own music) and tunes about the man.

Poole, described by a bellowing drunk at his funeral in 1931 as a “banjo-playing son of a bitch,” was a traveling North Carolina songster who, despite his tragically short career (he died at the age of 39 after a 13-week drinking binge) helped build the foundation for what later became known as country music.

His love of the bottle, scrapes with the law, and funny, sometimes violent, interactions with his audience can be seen as early examples of rock-star excess. As Wainwright sings in “Charlie’s Last Song,” (co-written by Wainwright and Dick Connette), “Old Charlie would fight, once he hit a policeman/They throwed him in jail ’cause that’s wrong/And when he broke out, the cops took him on home/And Old Charlie he played them a song.”

Born in 1892 in Eden, North Carolina, Poole worked in a mill and as a bootlegger and a baseball player. But music was his passion — and his ticket out of hard labor and drudgery. He began playing a homemade banjo at 8. He eventually was able to afford a store-bought instrument with his illicit profits from bootlegging whiskey.

In the early 20s, Poole’s band, The North Carolina Ramblers, lived up to its name. The musicians rambled out west to Montana and as far north as Canada.

Poole and company traveled to New York to record with Columbia Records in 1925 — two years before the Bristol sessions, in which producer Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company introduced the world to the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers; many identify these sessions as marking the “birth” of country music.

From his New York session, Poole cut his first 78 rpm hit: “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down Blues,” backed with “Can I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister.”

Wainwright sings about this in “Way Up in NYC” and refers to Columbia A & R man Frank Walker. “In September, Frank released ‘The Deal’ and yes it was a hit/We never got another penny, just enough to make you wanna quit/If you’ve ever been bamboozled you know how I feel/From now on the new name of that song is ‘The Raw Deal.’ ”

It’s worth noting that Wainwright, early in his career in the 1970s, was under contract with Columbia. Poole wasn’t the last musician to feel bamboozled by the record industry.

There are other parallels between the careers and, to a certain extent, the personas of Poole and Wainwright. When Wainwright sings Poole’s “Goodbye Booze,” I hear echoes of his own songs like “Wine With Dinner,” “Drinking Song,” “Down Drinking at the Bar,” and “Heaven and Mud” (“We fell off the wagon, you should have heard the thud.”).

Another common Poole theme — mama — has been well covered by Wainwright. Listening to Wainwright sing Poole’s sentimental (some might say maudlin) tunes honoring his dear old gray-haired mother — “My Mother & My Sweetheart,” “Mother’s Last Farewell Kiss,” and “Where the Whippoorwill Is Whispering Goodnight” — I’m reminded of Wainwright’s 2001 album Last Man on Earth.

The thick booklet included in the Poole package includes an essay by first-generation rock critic Greil Marcus, who sums up the appropriateness of Wainwright “putting on the dead man’s clothes” to celebrate Poole.

“I didn’t know who was luckier,” Marcus writes. “Poole might have been waiting all these years for someone to talk back to him so completely in his own language; Wainwright might have been waiting since he first heard Charlie Poole to get up his nerve to do it.”

A back-road detour with Marcus: As much as I’ve loved his writing, especially the book Mystery Train, sometimes the mighty Greil tends to, well, overthink things.

Here he ponders Wainwright’s biggest hit, the classic novelty song “Dead Skunk.” Says Marcus, “The more you heard ‘Dead Skunk,’ the funnier it got, but out of the blood and guts on the back road where someone five minutes or five hours before you had hit the thing, you could feel an undertow, a self-loathing, a wish to disappear and never come back, to lose even your own name.”

Undertow? Self-loathing? Whaaaaa?

Back to the project: The songs I like the best here are the funny ones.

“Moving Day” tells about a guy who’s about to be evicted trying to pay his rent with chickens he just stole from the landlord. “If I Lose” is about Spanish-American War veterans (“The peas was so greasy, the meat was so fat/The boys were fighting the Spaniards, while I was fighting that.”).

“I’m the Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World” is downright cosmic in its kookiness (“Oh, she’s my daisy, she’s black-eyed and she’s crazy/The prettiest girl I thought I ever saw/Now her breath smells sweet, but I’d rather smell her feet.”).

Wainwright sums up Poole’s life — and much more, I believe — in the title song, which opens and closes the project:

“High, wide and handsome, you can’t take it with you/High, wide and handsome, that’s one way to go/Let’s live it up, might as well, we’re all dying/High, wide and handsome, let’s put on a show.”
Good show, Loudon.

Jump in the (Charlie) Poole: I’ll be doing a radio tribute to the North Carolina rambler tonight on The Santa Fe Opry — playing tracks from Wainwright’s tribute, tunes by the master himself, and covers of Poole songs by Norman Blake, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and others. The Opry, as always, starts at 10 p.m. on KSFR FM 101.1 and on the Web at

Monday, October 05, 2009


In celebration of Tom Trusnovic's impending 40th birthday there's a big bash tonight at Corazon. For the first time in 15 years 27 Devils Joking rears its ugly head. Plus other Trusnovic bands like Monkeyshines, The Floors and The Blood-Drained Cows (featuring ex-Angry Samoan Greg Turner) as well as Two Ton Strap and Lenny Hoffman.

And yes, if I can remember how to play guitar by 9 p.m., I'm going to sing a couple of songs myself.

That's 9 pm at Corazon, 401 S. Guadalupe St. $5 Cover

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Sunday, October 4, 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
Bing Bong There's a Party Goin' On by The A-Bones
Kissing Tree by Barrence Whitfield
I Want Your Body by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Skanky Puddin' by The Soldedad Brothers
Hallucination Generation by The Fuzztones
Monster Blues by Dexter Romweber
I Found a Peanut by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds
Love Special Delivery by Thee Midnighters
Muchos Burritos by The Come n' Go
Good Cabbage by Victoria Spivey

Spreading the Love Vibration by 27 Devils Joking
Get Your Kicks on Route 666 by Monkeyshines
The Kingdom of My Mind by The Mistaken
The Man in Your Bed by The Hormonauts
Little Tease by Goshen
Snuff Time by Willie Weems & The Outlaws
Talkin' Trash by The Marathons

March of Greed/Less Said the Better by Pere Ubu
It's a Gas by Alfred E. Neuman
Back in Hell by Rev. Beat-Man & The Un-Believers
Big Mouth Mickey by The Gulty Hearts
Red Wine by The Juke Joint Pimps
Your Woman by Andre Williams & The New Orleans Hellhounds
I'm Not Like Everyone Else by The Rockin' Guys
Do the Funky Walk by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Mad Dog On My Tail by Paul "Wine" Jones

Nudist Camp by Ross Johnson
Living For the City by The Dirtbombs
If I Ever Kiss It, He Can Kiss It Goodbye by Swamp Dogg
Messed Up World by Wiley & The Checkmates
Sapphire by Big Danny Oliver
El Pescador Nadador by Los Lobos
Precious Lord Hold My Hand by Sister Rosetta Tharpe
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis


* Introducing Wiley & The Checkmates I sought this one out after recently being turned on to Wiley's latest album, We Call it Soul, which I reviewed in my Tuneup column a few weeks ago. (This album also is available on eMusic.)

The band is fronted by Herbert Wiley is a veteran journeyman soul singer whose career goes back to the 1960s — although he also had a day job for a few decades, operating a cobbler shop in Oxford, Miss. (My favorite biographical tidbit was Wiley says that, as a child, he used to work on William Faulkner's shoes.)

While I prefer We Call It Soul, (9 times out of 10, I'm going to prefer any album that includes a cover of "Ode to Billy Joe"), Introducing is a fine effort full of good funky Southern soul that recalls the good old Stax/Volt era without sounding precious or retro. I love the horn duel in "Dog Tired" and the Blaxploitation strings, congas and screaming guitar in "Messed Up World." And when Wiley sings that he's in "deep shit" in the song of that title (over a bass-heavy musical backdrop that might remind you of psychedelic-era Temptations), he sounds like he knows what he's talking about.

In addition to this album, I also downloaded a Wiley & The Checkmates single, "Milk Chicken". It's good, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed to find out it's an instrumental and not a continuation of Wiley's chicken phobia he sang about on "I Don't Want No Funky Chicken" on We Call It Soul.

* Dracula Boots by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds. Now here's a musician with a pedigree. Brian Tristan, better known as Kid Congo Powers has been a member of The Cramps as well as Nick Cave's Bad Seeds and The Gun Club.

This record, however doesn't sound much like any of those. It's pretty darn impressive though. There's lots of instrumentals with Kid Congo laying down cool basic psychedelic guitar riffs as the bass rumbles, the drums send coded messages from the jungle and electronic effects sizzle in the background. Sometimes there's New Wavey keyboards adding some science-fiction zing to the mix.

Where there are vocals, they are mostly spoken by Powers. He can sound sinister in songs like "La Llorona" (yes, that's my favorite tune here) or goofy, like "Found a Peanut," a cover of a Thee Midnighters tune.

* Raw, Raw Rough by Barrence Whitfield. Barrence still is a savage!

Released earlier this year, Raw is his first solo album in years. But he's still got that early rock 'n' roll/crazed R&B spirit that was so refreshing when he burst out of Boston with his band The Savages in the mid-80s.

Here he plays with a basic stripped down band -- guitar, bass, drums a sax. I'm not sure who the group is, but they stomp and wail. And Barrence shouts with such abandon he makes Screamin' Jay Hawkins look downright shy.

There's lots of original -- or at least obscure enough to be original -- tunes here including shouters like "Early Times," "Kissing Tree" and the opener "Geronimo." Also, Whitfield pays tribute to not one but two classic Pacific Northwest garage bands, covering "Strychnine" by The Sonics and a near-forgotten classic by The Kingsmen, "Long Green." (This also was a minor hit for New Mexico's Fireballs back in the '60s.)

Though the shouters are his main strength, Whitfield also shows he can handle some "slow dances." "I Wouldn't Want to Be in Your Shoes" and "One More Time" are nice and purdy in an Otis Redding kind of way.

* Talkin' Trash by The Marathons and Friends. They call it trash, but I treasure this stuff. This is a collection of 26 R&B obscurities from the '50s by seven vocal groups.

The Marathons, The Olympics, The Danliers , The Lions, The Lexingtons, The Boulevards and The Robins.

I have to confess, the latter group is the only one of these with which I was even halfway familiar. They're best known for Leiber & Stoller tunes "Riot in Cell Block #9" and "Smokey Joe's Cafe." (neither of which are here) and for spawning The Coasters, which became known as the funniest R&B group in the '50s.

But even though they weren't nearly as well known, The Marathons, who have 11 songs on this collection, could give The Coasters a run for their money. They did novelty tunes like "Peanut Butter" and "Tight Sweater" (written by Sonny Bono!), and funny story tunes like "Chicken Spaceman" (did this insoire the Don Knotts movie The Reluctant Astronaut?) and "C. Mercy Percy of Scotland Yard."

But the craziest -- and most addictive -- song on this album is the title song by The Marathons. It features a girl who responds to the singer's advances with the craziest laugh ever recorded.


* 11 Tracks from Live at the Double Door 1/16/2004 by Robbie Fulks. I downloaded most of this album years ago when I first joined eMusic. At the time I just downloaded songs that I didn't have on other Fulks album. (A lot of those would later appear on Fulks' album Georgia Hard.) Thanks to eMusic's new policy of offering complete albums for the cost of 12 tracks, I was able to pick these up for just a couple of track credits. And I'm glad I did. Among the ones I just downloaded are fine versions of Fulks standbys "Dirty Mouth Flo," "I Push Right Over" (though I still prefer Rosie Flores' cover), "She Took a Lot of Pills (And Died)," "Parallel Bars" (with the under-rated Donna Fulks singing Kelly Willis' part) and "Knot Hole."

Taking advantage of the eMusic album-price policy, I also picked up six tracks I skipped from another live album I downloaded years ago, The Handsome Family Live at Schuba's, a December 2000 show. True, all these tracks were between-song patter and most were only a few seconds long. But what the heck, they were free.

* 8 tracks from A Country Legacy 1930-1939: CD B by Cliff Carlisle. Cliff was born in Kentucky in 1904. My grandfather's name was "Clift" and he was born in Kentucky in 1903.


Carlisle, who began recording in the '30s, might be described as Jimmie Rodgers with a dirty mind. Lots of his songs. He had the Singing Brakeman's yodel, but he had Blowfly in his soul. His tunes were full of hell-raising, barnyard humor and sex. I believe he was the only white guy included on the Dirty Blues Licks compilation, which I downloaded last month. (He also did some occasional powerful religious material, perhaps to atone for his rough and raunchy ways.)

My favorites from this batch I downloaded include "That Nasty Swing" -- yes, it's about what you think -- which 60-some years later was covered by Blue Mountain, as well as "Shanghai Rooster Yodel," a precursor to Howlin' Wolf's "Little Red Rooster."

I downloaded the first disc from this collection years ago. I can't wait to download the rest of Disc B when my account refreshes this week.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Friday, October 2, 2009
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show!

505-428-1393 Toll-free 1-800-907-5737

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Get Up and Go by David Bromberg
Penny Instead by Charlie Pickett
Feel Good Again by Charlie Feathers
Don's Bop by Artie Hill & The Long Gone Daddies
Girl Called Trouble by The Watzloves
The Taker by Waylon Jennings
Fools Fall in Love by Katy Moffatt
Swing Troubador by Christine Albert

Took My Gal Out Walkin' by Loudon Wainwright III with Martha Wainwright
Ramblin' Blues by Charlie Poole
Chatanooga Sugar Babe by Norman Blake
That Nasty Swing by Cliff Carlisle
Three Times Seven by Doc & Merle Watson
See That Coon in a Hickory Tree by The Delmore Borthers
I'm a Rattlesnakin' Daddy by Blind Boy Fuller
The Sad Milkman by The Handsome Family

See Willie Fly By by The Waco Brothers
Power of the 45 by Big Sandy & The Fly-Rite Boys
Got Me a Woman by Andy Anderson
Fruit of the Vine by Nancy Apple
Honky Tonk Heroes by Billy Joe Shaver
Man in Black by Johnny Cash
Dolores by T. Tex Edwards & Out on Parole
Drinkin' and Smokin' Cigarettes by Rev. Horton Heat
I Got Your Bath Water On by Butterbeans & Susie

The Gypsy by Cornell Hurd
Wild Bill Jones by Jim Dickinson
Everybody's Clown by Skeeter Davis & NRBQ
Opportunity to Cry by Wilie Nelson
The Highwayman by Zeno Tornado
Tumblin' Tumbleweeds by Sally Timms
Surface of the Sun by Exene Cervenka
Potter's Field by Dave Alvin & The Guilt Women featuring Christy McWilson
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, October 01, 2009


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
October 2, 2009

I’ve loved Pere Ubu — the avant-weirdo band originally from Cleveland — for years, but I was ready to be put off by the group’s latest album, Long Live Père Ubu!, because of some of the statements in the project’s press material.

The album is a musical adaptation of Ubu Roi, an 1896 play by Alfred Jarry, whose work influenced the Surrealist and Dada movements and later the Theater of the Absurd. The band took its name from the play’s protagonist.

Long Live Père Ubu! is not background music. It’s not ‘fun’ music,” the press release says. “It’s an intellectual and conceptual challenge and as viciously satirical as Jarry’s original.”

Then it quotes David Thomas, the band’s frontman: “If you’re not going to listen to this with the same effort you’d devote to a literary novel, you’re wasting your time. ... It’s long past time for rock music to grow up and move past the simpering platitudes or Tom Joad cant that passes for serious thought. All hail the survival of the Unfit!”

Thomas also claims that Long Live Père Ubu! is “the only punk record that’s been made in the last 30 years.”

First of all, as an Okie, I resent that disparaging remark about the hero of The Grapes of Wrath. But even more troubling is all the highfalutin art talk. What is this, Emerson, Lake & Palmer? It sounds like the condescending gibberish spouted by ivory-tower culture critics who bestow artistic legitimacy upon Sgt. Pepper and haughtily dismiss Beatles ’65.

But then again, Thomas probably delights in provoking the primitivists. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s mocking the high-art culture vultures.

Flashback to 1896: When Ubu Roi had its premiere in Paris, riots broke out from the very first word of the play — merdre, a variation on the French word for "shit." (Didn’t the French also riot at the opening of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring? What is it with them?)

Set in Poland, Ubu Roi is the tale of the hideous Père Ubu and his shrewish wife who urges him to seize power by murdering the king. After the crime is committed, Ubu becomes a cruel tyrant and is eventually overthrown himself. On one level, the play is a parody of Macbeth, but it also satirizes the politics of the nation-states of Europe that culminated in World War I.

Ubu is not just a terrible dictator. He is repulsive beyond belief — cruel, loutish, petty, venal, gluttonous, coarse, and pompous; Jabba the Hutt and Idi Amin have nothing on him. He was also the protagonist of two sequels, Ubu Cocu (Ubu Cuckolded) and Ubu Enchaîné (Ubu Enchained), neither of which was performed during the playwright’s lifetime.

Ubu does Ubu: While Thomas took Pere Ubu as the name of his band in the 1970s, he had never attempted to perform Jarry’s work until last year’s adaptation in London of Ubu Roi, called Bring Me the Head of Ubu Roi. Thomas starred as the title character, with singer Sarah Jane Morris, from a band called The Communards, as his wife. The bickering couple portrayed by Thomas and Morris were two parts Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth and one part Jiggs and Maggie. The first half of a radio adaptation of this is available as a series of free podcasts.

The album starts off with the word that sparked the 1896 riot, growled by Thomas. When I first heard it, I thought he was saying “murderer.” Considering that the King of Poland doesn’t have long to live, “murderer” isn’t an inappropriate word to set the mood.

With the additions of Morris and electronic whiz Gagarin, the ever-changing Ubu band here is the same group that played on the previous Ubu album, 2006’s excellent and underrated Why I Hate Women.

Like any Pere Ubu album, this record is filled with electronic bells, whistles, squeaks, and squawks that hark back to Plan 9 From Outer Space and Thomas’ yelps, warbles, and tasty guitar licks (the one on “Watching the Pigeons” is right out of the Jesus Christ Superstar overture).

There is also some belching. The song “Less Said the Better” is almost as funny as a it is disgusting. It’s the best use of burping in a rock song since Alfred E. Neuman’s “It’s a Gas.”

Because it is a dramatic presentation, there is a lot of spoken-word dialogue (as well as some that’s sung), most of which is fascinating. My favorite is the conversation between Mère and Père Ubu on “The Story So Far.” He’s in a hallucinatory daze while she tries to convince him that she’s a supernatural natural spirit — an angel, to be exact. But even in his delirious stupor, Père Ubu knows she’s no angel.

“Long Live Père Ubu!” is a compelling and dark album, if not an all-out rocker. The press material is right — it’s not background music. It certainly isn’t easy listening. But if you’re twisted enough, it’s a lot of fun, no matter what the press release says.

Blog bonus: Check this animated Brothers Quay video of “Song of the Grocery Police” below

And there's another one HERE, but embedding has been disabled. Probably for some highfalutin artistic reason.


  Sunday, May 26, 2024 KSFR, Santa Fe, NM, 101.1 FM  Webcasting! 10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time Host: Steve Terre...