Friday, July 30, 2010


Hutz Gets Down

Well actually Gogol Bordello started out in New York, so a lot of locals probably would say they conquered it a long time ago.

But they didn't fail to work the crowd into a frenzy and it didn't take 'em long.

They played some of old favorites -- "Not a Crime," "Wanderlust King" and, later in the set, "Start Wearing Purple." And they played a lot of their latest album Trans-Continental Hustle.

I realize that there are lots of people who are uninitiated into the pleasures of this band. So here's a quick primer:
Gogol Bordello 7-30-2010
Head Gogol Eugene Hutz, a native of the Ukraine, immigrated to New York City in the early '90s. There he fell in with like-minded musicians, many of them immigrants like himself from various parts of the world.

Together they crafted a high-charged rocking fusion of traditional gypsy music -- violin and accordion are important elements -- other traditional European sounds, reggae, South American sounds they modestly call "Gypsy punk." Recently Hutz moved to Brazil and traces of samba could be heard on the group's latest album
I wasn't immediately taken by the new Rick Rubin-produced Trans-Continental Hustle. But hearing it live Friday convinced me that the new songs stand proudly by the old.

My only disappointment was that they didn't play "American Wedding." But I didn't feel cheated.

I almost felt sorry for the headlining act of this show -- Primus. I'm a Primus fan. I love "My Name is Mud" and "Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver" and lots of their other songs. I was happy to hear that Les Claypool and the boys had reunited and I'd get to hear them.

But following Gogol Bordello would be a heavy task for anyone. (My buddy Chuck suggested that Shane McGowan in his prime might be able to pull that feat off. But not many others.)

So sadly, Primus was somewhat of a letdown after Gogol. Claypool does some interesting music, but after their opening act, it just didn't seem all that exciting.

Speaking of interesting -- the very first band to play Friday was a rocked-out jazz-fusiony/No Wavish trio called Dead Kenny Gs. They have a sax man (who doubles on keyboards) a bassist and a drummer who also plays vibes. They were lots of fun and left me wanting to hear more.
On the subway trip home when we transferred trains at the 14th Street station, Chuck noticed that Gogol's accordion player, Yuri Lemeshev was there, posing for pictures with fans. One of them was me.

Check my snapshots of Gogol Bordello HERE


Thursday, July 29, 2010


Brian Tristan, better known as Kid Congo Powers, has an impressive recording history having served time in The Cramps, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and The Gun Club. And his solo work, like last year's Dracula Boots, are full of under-recognized gems.

But you really haven't heard Kid Congo until you've heard him live.

I did just that at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Congo played there with his band The Pink Monkey Birds as part of a free show sponsored by Vice Records. Congo has a new split single with Hunx & His Punx, who opened the show, coming out in the near future.

Mr. Powers is a hero in the garage-punk sub genre, which doesn't place the highest value on instrumental virtuosity. Nevertheless, he's an amazing guitarist who does't need 15-minute solos to prove it. One of his encore tunes was an instrumental I didn't recognize that sounded like a wild cross between Duane Eddy and "Psychotic Reaction."
Opening his hour-long set with "I Found a Peanut," a Thee Midnighters cover and the funniest song from Dracula Boots, Congo let rip with tunes spanning his lengthy career. There were several others from Dracula Boots, including "La Llorona," (which I know would be a favorite in Santa Fe if he ever comes here), "Black Santa" and "LSDC." There were several songs from an upcoming singles compilation on In the Red Records (I believe he said the name of that's going to be "10 Greasy Pieces") and older tunes like "La Historia de un Amour."

And, yes, he did a Gun Club song, a tough version of "Sex Beat," and two Cramps tunes -- "I'm Cramped" and an extra-sinister "Goo Goo Muck."

I got a chance to yak a little wit the Kid before the show. He said he's excited because he's been asked to sing "Found a Peanut" with Thee Midnighters at the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans in September. I wish I could be there for that.

(No, I didn't take that photo at the top of this post. My camera was in my suitcase, which hadn't arrived before I left for the show, thank you very much, American Airlines!) So I stole that picture from my pal and fellow GaragePunk podcaster Michael Kaiser, who saw Kid Congo in California last year. Thanks, Michael.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


As those of you who have heard me ramble in my recent radio shows and on the latest Big Enchilada podcast know, I'm headed to New York for a bunch of concerts and fun.

The biggest event to which I'm going is the Detroit Breakdown, a free outdoor show Saturday sponsored by The Lincoln Center and the Ponderosa Stomp. Among the acts performing there are a couple of groups I've loved since junior hight, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels and ? & The Mysterians. Plus, the reunited Gories will be there as well as Death, a proto-punk band that also recently got back together. (Check this NPR report on them.)

Also I'll be going to see a Gogol Bordello/Primus show in Brooklyn Friday and, assuming my plane gets in on time, Kid Congo Powers at The Knitting Factory.

Watch this blog for reports, photos, etc.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Sunday, July 25, 2010
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
The Lowlife by Nick Curran & The Lowlifes
Sugar in My Hog by Fred Schneider with Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
Bitch Slap Attack by Lovestuck
Toilet Duck by Scared of Chaka
Treat Her Right by Los Straitjackets with Mark Lindsay
Repo Man by Iggy Pop
Baby Who Mutilated Everybody's Heart by Thee Mighty Caesars
I'm In With the Out Crowd by Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs
Juimonos (Let's Went) by Little Richard Elizondo Combo
All These Things by Art Neville

Jenny Take a Ride by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
Devil With the Blue Dress by Shorty Long
C.C. Rider by Bobby Powell
Smokes by ? & The Mysterians
Ghost Rider by The Gories
La Llorona by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkeybirds
Troubled Friends by Gogol Bordello

Rockin' My Boogie by Charlie Musselwhite
Annie Mae/Memphis by Alex Maryol
Friday Night Dance Party by Bunker Hill
Baby Doll by The Del Moroccos
Memphis Chiken by The Gibson Bros.
Dizzy Miss Lizzy by Larry Williams

Never Go West by Seasick Steve
Shortnin' Bread by The Cramps
Flying High by Country Joe & The Fish
Adeniji by The Budos Band
The World Ends by The Black Mirrors
A Mission in Life by Stan Ridgway
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Saturday, July 24, 2010



Hipsters, flipsters and finger-poppin' daddies ...

While stumbling around the Internet for information on the Detroit Breakdown, which I'm going to in New York City a week from today, I learned that Santa Fe's finest Lord Buckley channeler Rod Harrison is playing at the same venue the next day.

Unfortunately, I'll be flying back to New Mexico when Rod takes the stage.

He's playing at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors series. On the same bill is David Johansen, Sandra Bernhard and Steve Cuiffo, who does with Lenny Bruce what Rod does with Lord Buckley.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Friday, July 23, 2010
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
Dirty Dog by Jimmie Revard & His Oklahoma Playboys
Yearning Burning Heart by The Farmer Boys
Cherokee Boogie by Hank Williams
Mexican Bands by Merle Haggard
Escondido by Joe "King" Carrasco
Tornado by Dale Hawkins
Nervous Breakdown by Bobby Fuller
Your Atom Bomb Heart by Hank King & Bud Williams & His Smiling Buddies
I'm Fed Up Drinking Here by The Starline Rhythm Boys
I Want to be a Hobo by The McQueens

Heroes by Xoe Fitzgerald
Cash on the Barrelhead by The Louvin Brothers
You Finally Said Something Good (When You Said Goodbye) by Charlie Louvin
Bring then Noise by The Unholy Trio
Gin & Juice by The Gourds
Poor People's Store by Shinyribs
Lost John Boogie by Wayne Raney

Honky Tonk Girl by Eilen Jewell
Back Street Affair by Webb Pierce
Loreena the Slave by The Delmore Brothers
There Ain't No Saguro in Texas by The Rev. Horton Heat
Cheap Living by Eric Hisaw
Mother-in-Law Boogie by Earl Songer
Gone But Not Forgotten by Hank III
8 Weeks in a Barroom by Ramblin' Red Bailey

12 Gates to the City by Tao Seeger
The Lord is Coming by Rev. Beat-man
Freight Train by Taj Mahal
Play Dead by The Sixtyniners
The Blues My Naughty Baby Gave to Me by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Hold That Critter Down by The Sons of the Pioneers
Down the Bar From Me by Kell Robertson
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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



Welcome, my friends to the latest Big Enchilada podcast. If you've got a touch of the criminal insanity, this episode should be nice and soothing for you.

I'm releasing this episode a little early this time because I'm going to New York at the end of the month. In anticipation of that trip I'm including songs from the stars of the Detroit Breakdown -- The Gories, ? Mark & The Mysterians, and Death, plus a Mitch Ryder hit recorded before it met Mitch Ryder -- and a tune from Kid Congo Powers, who I'm hoping to see at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn next week.

Also in this show are The Kill Spectors and Xoe Fitgerald (my favorite Time Traveling Transvestite) from right here in Santa Fe; The A-Bones, The Devil Dogs and The Malarians; and some bands I met on the GaragePunk Hideout like Weirdonia and Thee Ludds.

So crank up the volume and get in the mood.


Here's The play list:
Background Music: Peter Fun by The Dive Tones
Live Like a Dog by The Kill Spectors
Good Time Kids by Xoe Fitzgerald
Good Times by The Malarians
Girl Like You by Urban Junior
I'm a Moron by Thee Ludds
1960s Antique Clock by Weirdonia
(Background Music: Hi Neighbor by Spike Jones & His City Slickers)

Freakin' Out by Death
Let Your Daddy Ride by The Gories
I Hear Sirens by The Dirtbombs
Look for the Question Mark by The Fuzztones
Are You For Real by ? & The Mysterians
Hitchhiking by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds
Devil With the Blue Dress by Shorty Long
(Background Music: I'm in the Mood for Love by Man-Chau-Po Orchestra)

House Rent Jump by Peter Case
Lust Lil Lucy by Nick Curran & The Lowlifes
Monkey Mess by Thee Vicars
A Little Love by The A-Bones
Laugh at Me by The Devil Dogs
(Outro Music: Travelin' Mood by Wee Willie Wayne)

Listen to this podcast 7 p.m. Mountain Time Tuesday July 27 on Real Punk Radio


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 23, 2010

Synchronicity is a funny thing.

Early this month, I received a review copy of Xoë Fitzgerald: Time-Traveling Transvestite, a new album from Frogville Records that starts off with a spoken introduction by Fitzgerald, whose voice spookily resembles that of songwriter Joe West:

In the summer of 1975, a bright light was seen falling into the hills south of Santa Fe, NM. Some claim it was a meteor. Others say that later they found a strange unearthly substance that appeared to be the remains of a flying vehicle. Shortly thereafter, a child was born to a young hippie girl who made her home in the old mining town.

Indeed the album — which is unleashed publicly Friday, July 23, at Tiny’s — is what some might call a “rock opera,” telling the story of a mysterious, time-traveling, cross-dressing union organizer.

Then, less than a week later, an editor forwarded me an email containing a link to a blog with this startling information about more time-travel activity in Santa Fe:

According to (Andrew) Basiago, the U.S. government already had a fully operational teleportation capability in 1967-1968, and by 1969-1970, was actively training a cadre of gifted and talented American schoolchildren, including himself, to become America’s first generation of “chrononauts” or time-space explorers.

He confirms that the United States has been teleporting individuals to Mars for decades and recounts the awe-inspiring and terrifying trips that he took to Mars in 1981. He describes how he and his father (an engineer working on time/space research projects for the U.S. defense department) would teleport from Woodridge, NJ, to Santa Fe, NM, and return via a teleportation device at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque.

On my political blog I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post quoting that Information Farm blog article about “Project Pegasus.”

By the next day, Basiago himself responded, telling me that “Santa Fe was the Kitty Hawk of teleportation” and claiming that Gov. Bill Richardson was involved. “Mr. Richardson was a young staffer on Project Pegasus who took roll when we first began teleporting to the New Mexico state capitol in group training exercises held in Summer 1970. That’s right, Bill Richardson’s first job in government was as a staffer on a secret time travel project!”

(As a political reporter, during the past eight years I’ve frequently asked Richardson questions that made both of us uncomfortable. But I haven’t worked up the courage to ask him about this.)

So, soon after Basiago and his pint-size “chrononaut” pals were zapped from New Jersey to Santa Fe, there was that bright light seen falling south of Santa Fe and the birth of the “boy with paisley eyes.”

Synchronicity overload. And there’s more mystery. The liner notes of Xoë Fitzgerald: Time-Traveling Transvestite say that the album “was conceived by Joe West in the year 2007 at Club Alegria. ...”

But let’s travel back in time a bit to late 2005, when I interviewed West for an article in New Mexico Magazine. (CLICK HERE, scroll way down)

There he told me about “his contraption called The Intergalactic Honky Tonk Machine, which West says is a ‘time traveling music device,’ which includes a drum machine, electronic tape loops, and a smoke machine. And he’s talking about doing a concept album about an ‘androgynous time-traveler space character’ who claims to be the love child of a glam-rock star, conceived in New Mexico during the filming of The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

Indeed David Bowie made that film shortly after the Project Pegasus experiments. Part of it was shot in Madrid just down N.M. 14 from the Cerrillos Cultural Center amphitheater, where according to the Information Farm article, Project Pegasus members sat and listened to speakers such as Donald Rumsfeld.

It’s probably worth noting that the interview with West took place at the Cowgirl BBQ, which is just a half mile or so from the state Capitol, where Basiago and the other children of the Pegasus Project were teleported in the early ’70s.

And come to think of it, in April 2008, I saw West play with the Santa Fe All-Stars at an event at the Capitol Rotunda — an event attended by none other than Bill Richardson! I have no solid evidence, but you have to wonder whether the governor used this occasion to pass on information from Project Pegasus to West to use in Xoë Fitzgerald.

The “coincidences” keep piling up!

Is there a record review in here somewhere? Joe West has made some of the finest country-rock albums ever to come out of New Mexico. If you’re a country-rock purist, the music on Xoë will jar you. Fortunately, I doubt that West’s following includes too many rabid purists.

The record rocks with a refreshing sound. The band, which includes Josh Martin, Margaret Burke, Arne Bey, and John Courage (who has since teleported out of Santa Fe), Xoë leans heavily on the glam rock of the 1970s — Bowie, Mott the Hoople, Lou Reed’s Rock ’n’ Roll Animal period, a little T-Rex.

There’s a song called “I Wanna Party (Like It’s 1985),” but this party sounds a lot more like 1974. And “The Good-Time Kids” sounds more like 1965, with a Question Mark & The Mysterians sound. That and “Xoe’s Favorite Honky-Tonk” are currently my favorite West rockers on the album.
JOE WEST prepares his infant daughter for a teleportation experiment
West has rarely, if ever, recorded a cover song (I’m still pushing for him to put Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy,” which he frequently performs live, on an album), but he and his band do quite an impressive version of Bowie’s anthem “Heroes.” I won’t give away the plot, but this song comes at a very appropriate emotional moment in the saga.

The album ends with a sweet acoustic coda, “Butterfly.” It’s a low-fi recording that sounds like Xoe’s transmitting from a far-away dimension.

CD release party: Xoe Fitzgerald and his honky-tonk glam co-conspirators play at 8:30 p.m. tonight Friday, July 23, at Tiny’s, 1005 St. Francis Drive, Suite 117. Admission costs nothing, and the first 50 who show up get a Xoe bumper sticker.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


David Barsanti, aka Spinifex of KSFR's The Twisted Groove just informed me of an upcoming show that's bound to be one of the finest Santa Fe shows of the year.

The Budos Band is coming to Corazon on Thursday August 19th.

Budos is a 13-piece group from New York that plays right along the border of American soul and African pop. They're on Daptone Records, so that right there tells you they're going to be good.

Spinifiex his bad self will be DJing before and after The Budos Band that night.

You can buy the tickets HERE ($10. Cheap)

And speaking of soul, start preparing your mind for the great Barrence Whitfield, who's coming to the Santa Fe Brewing Company Pub & Grill on Friday, Sept. 17. You'll hear more rants from me about that one in the weeks to come.

Here's a little Budos for ya...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I had a fascinating phone conversation this afternoon with Rick Stone, a friendly guy from El Paso who in the mid '60s was the road manager for The Bobby Fuller 4.

Rick had contacted Kyla Fairchild of No Depression, where I'd cross-posted my recent column on the new Norton Records Bobby Fuller reissue El Paso Rock, Early Recordings Volume 3. I wanted to find out what those might be and clear them up.

First a little background on Rick.

In July 1966 he'd just finished what sounds like a hellish tour with the Bobby Fuller 4. They toured in a hot and crowded truck and, as might be expected, tempers were short and tensions were high.

Bobby and his brother Randy, the band's bassist had gotten into a fistfight at a San Francisco Club called the Chinese Dragon. (Stone stressed it wasn't a serious fight, but something typical for young brothers.)

Bobby had decided to break up the band, Stone said. Guitarist Jim Reese had just received his draft notice. Drummer Dalton Powell was missing his wife and new baby back in El Paso. Bobby was happy about his decision, Stone said. Now he was hoping to get out from under the thumb of Bob Keene and Del-Fi Records, Stone said. "He really wanted to get away from Bob Keene."

As he's told other journalists, Stone was one of the first of Fuller's friends to arrive on the scene after Fuller's mother found Bobby's body in her car. In fact, he's told Spin magazine and others that he had crashed the night before on the couch of Bobby's apartment, just a couple of blocks from Grauman's Chinese Theatre where Bobby's mother Lorraine also was staying.

Stone said when he woke up the morning of July 18, 1966, Lorraine Fuller told him saying that Bobby hadn't come that night. At this point Stone wasn't worried. "Bobby liked women," he said.

In the Spin article, Stone said he'd thought he'd heard Fuller leaving the apartment about 2:30 a.m.

Stone told me went down to the parking lot and didn't see the silver blue Oldsmobile Bobby had been driving.

Stone said he later attended a scheduled meeting at Del-Fi Records. Other members of the band showed up, but not Bobby. On his way back to the Fuller apartment, Stone said he had a horrible feeling. Soon police cars started to pass him. Stone said deep down he knew that something terrible had happened.

The Oldsmobile was there in a lot next to Fuller's apartment building -- not on the street, as I had written.

Bobby was inside, his head in the seat facing the back, Stone said. His face was swollen and distorted from the heat and the gasoline fumes that permeated the car. "About half of his face was black and blue," Stone recalled. The rest was reddish purple.

In Fuller's right hand was a hose, which Stone said looked as if someone had placed it there. Nearby was a gas can.

Stone denied the statement in Del-Fi Records press release I quoted that the gas can "was removed by a policeman (who apparently didn’t consider it vital to the investigation) and thrown into a nearby dumpster." He also said the gas can was on the front floor board, not in the back of the car.

Stone told me something I hadn't heard before. He said the officer there put the can in the car's trunk. But later Fuller's family and friends found not one but two gas cans in the trunk, he said. Neither were empty.

Contrary to what was said in the Del-Fi press release, Stone said he doesn't remember any dried blood on Fuller's face, which he said was too discolored to immediately tell if there was any blood.

But, Stone said, the shoes Fuller was wearing -- which were his mother's house slippers -- had marks as if someone had dragged his body.

As I said in my initial column, all these details are tantalizing, but if Bobby Fuller really was murdered as his friends and family believe, it's unlikely the killer ever will be caught.

So let's remember Bobby Fuller for his music.


I forgot to mention that Rick pointed out to me that Bobby Fuller's body was found about 250 feet away from the apartment where Janis Joplin would die four years later.

Fuller was found in a then vacant lot next to his apartment at 1776 N Sycamore Ave. in Hollywood. Joplin's apartment was at 7047 Franklin Ave.

The two singers didn't know each other, Stone said. But he pointed out that they were born about four months apart in southeast Texas and both left Texas the same year to move to California the same year.

There's a part on the corner of Franklin and Sycamore. Stone says there's no marker indicating that two famous rockers died in the area. Seems there ought to be.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Sunday, July 18, 2010
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
CIA Man by The Fugs
Video Violence by Lou Reed
Live Like A Dog by The Kill Spectors
The Molasses by The Scrams
Haitian Voodoo Baby by The X-Rays
Licking the Frog by Manby's Head
What's Wrong With You? by The Lyres
Girl Gunslinger by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages

Garbage Head by Roscoe's Gang
You Got the Love by The Cynics
What A Way To Die by Nikki Corvette & The Hell On Heels
Almost a God by Movie Star Junkies
Nervous by Willie Dixon And Memphis Slim
Sock it to Me by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
Don't Tease Me by ? & The Mysterians
There But For The Grace of God Go I by The Gories
Hot Aftershave Bop by The Fall
Bang Your Thing at the Ball by Bob Log III

Good Time Kids by Xoe Fitzgerald
Demon Stomp by The Things
The Spy Who Couldn't Get Any Action by The Ray Corvair Trio
Big Blond Baby by King Salami & the Cumberland 3
Kill the Messenger by The Bellrays
They Call Me Big Mama by Big Mama Thornton
Jolie's Nightmare by Chuck E. Weiss
My Mammy by Al Jolson

Ride In My 322 by Spyder Turner
The Bitch Done Quit Me by King Ivory
Toug Frog to Swallow by Little Freddie King
Roll That Woman by Paul "Wine" Jones
Lennox Avenue Boogie by Poison Gardner & His All-Stars
Ruby's Arms by Tom Waits
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, July 16, 2010


Friday, July 16, 2010
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
Billy the Kid by Ry Cooder
Billy the Kid by John Hartford
Ice Water by Glenn Barber
'Cause I'm Crazy by Kell Robertson


Naked Girls by Stephen W. Terrell
Maria Elena by Kell Robertson
Kell Live
My Baby Ate Every Taco in Town
I'll Walk Around Heaven With You
Mary Lou (Good Time Gal)

Uh-Huh-Honey by Autry Inman
You Don't Have To Do It by Reverend Beat-Man & The Un-Believers
It Ain't Nobody's Biz'ness What I Do by The Hoosier Hot Shots
Hog-Tied Over You by Tennessee Ernie Ford & Ella May Morse
Little Dog Blues by Mel Price
Oil Tanker Train by Merle Haggard
Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand by Waylon Jennings
Oak Tree Hangin' by Gary Gorence

Lackie's Men by Delaney Davidson
John Hardy by The Sixtyniners
Xoe's Favorite Honkey Tonk by Xoe Fitzgerald
Moonshiner's Life by Hank III
Bring 'em Home by Tao Seeger
Weary Blues From Waitin' by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys
Red Velvet by The Kirby Sisters
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Hurricane Warning for Santa Fe

Al Hurricane that is.

The Godfather of New Mexico music and his son Al Hurricane, Jr., will perform 7:30 pm, Saturday, August 7 Santa Fe Community Convention Center at a benefit dance for the Santa Fe Fiesta Council.

Al the Elder released his first album in 1967. Hurricane has released 29 more albums with his latest in 2007.

CLICK HERE and scroll down to find my 1998 profile of Al, Sr.

Tickets are $15 per person or $25 per couple and can be purchased at the Lensic Peforming Arts Box Offfice, by phone at (505) 988-1234 or online.


The lovely Xoe Fitzgerald, Santa Fe's Favorite time-traveling transvestite is having his/her CD release party Friday at Tiny's.

In case you haven't heard this legend, Xoe is allegedly the offspring of David Bowie's Man Who fell to Earth and some hippie girl from Madrid, N.M.

This glam-rock, honky-tonk spectacular starts at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free and the first 50 who show up get a Xoe bumpersticker.

Joe West is allegedly involved with this. He's has been working on this concept for a few years. By some weird coincidence, Thursday is Joe's birthday. But I doubt that he shows. He's never has been seen at the same time and place with Xoe.



Once again, Reverend Beat-Man and his pal Delaney Davidson amazed and delighted in Santa Fe rocking a hopped-up crowd at Little Wing.

Instead of doing an opening-act/star-time arrangement, Beat-Man and Davidson played together both doubling on guitar and drums and trading off on lead vocals.

Like last year's show at Corazon, the set leaned heavy on Beat-Man's Surreal Folk Blues Gospel Trash (Volumes 1 and 2) and Get On Your Knees. as well as Davidson's Self-Decapitation. A lion's share of the songs deal with God, the Devil, Hell and salvation

DELANEY DAVIDSON While not as charismatic as the reverend, Davidson is a remarkable performer. The New Zealand native uses tape loops to subtly and almost seamlessly create a multi-layered sound. He'll be singing a part then all of a sudden you hear harmonies and wonder for a few seconds "how's he doing that?" And even though I'd thought that Nirvana had taken the song "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" to its ultimate level, Davidson's interpretation of "In the Pines" (a very close cousin of "Sleep") shows the song still has strange corridors to explore.

Beat-Man and Davidson are playing in Denver tonight, then on to Austin, New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville next week.

Is Nashville ready for Rev. Beat-Man?


More snapshots from the Santa Fe show are HERE.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 16, 2010

With all due respect to Funky Donnie Fritts, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and all those other icons of guitars, grit, and dusty glory that Kris Kristofferson names in the introduction to “The Pilgrim: Chapter 33,” Santa Fe’s Kell Robertson should have been on that list, somewhere near the top.

He’s a poet. He’s a picker. He’s a prophet. You know the rest. Robertson, who is somewhere in the vicinity of 80 years old, just released his latest album, ’Cause I’m Crazy, his first in nearly seven years.

Like his previous CDs, Crazy is a lo-fi, warts-and-all effort, deftly underproduced by Robertson’s cohort Mike Good, a musician who records under the name Blonde Boy Grunt. Kell cusses and fusses and clears his throat. It’s clearly not ready for modern country radio or any other civilized medium (I’ve been playing it on my show and have no intention of stopping).

Living the life: I interviewed the singer for a short profile in No Depression magazine in 2004. (For that story I also went to one of his local gigs where he intimidated some patrons of a now-defunct hippie café by growling, “I’m gonna take all your organic sandwiches and throw ’em in the woods and make you eat bologna/Because I’m evil,” as the climax to a blues song he performed.)

Robertson was born in Kansas, and, according to him, his stepfather kicked him out of the house at age 13, launching his years of rambling. He has worked as an usher in a movie theater, a fruit picker, a dishwasher, a soldier during the Korean War, a DJ at country and jazz stations, a bartender, and — this is the only one I have trouble believing — an insurance salesman. Robertson said that he considered a career in law enforcement and even took some classes at a police academy in California.

But poetry and music are his passions. Seeing a Hank Williams show in Louisiana was a turning point in his life, he said. But Robertson is far better known in poetry circles than he is in the music world. He published a mimeograph poetry magazine called Desperado in the ’60s and has issued 17 books of poetry. The liner notes of his previous album, When You Come Down Off the Mountain, contained a quote from Lawrence Ferlinghetti: “I would say Kell Robertson is one fine cowboy-poet, worth a dozen New Yorker poetasters. Let them listen and hear the voice of the real America out there.”

Robertson landed in Santa Fe sometime around the turn of the century and has been here since.
’Cause he’s crazy: The new album starts out with some classic outlaw bravado. In the title track, Robertson sings about being compelled to go into a tavern, even though “every time I go in there, they throw me out.” (It’s ’cause he’s crazy, and he’s in love.)

The next song, “Guns, Guitars, and Women,” celebrates a long life of trouble: “First man I killed was down in Dallas/I was only 21.” Later in the album there’s “Down the Bar From Me,” which is about some of his fellow saloon denizens. “There’s one old lady showin’ her bullet scar,” he sings, a hint of lust in his voice.

“Migrant Farm Worker” sounds like a modern Woodie Guthrie song. It’s about the toil and trouble of field workers with their “overalls trimmed in manure.” The chorus speaks not only to a feeling of anonymity but also a fear of being trapped in some bad karmic Möbius strip: “Who will remember me when I am gone/Who will remember me then/When they bury me ’neath that cottonwood tree/Will I have to start over again?”

Robertson offers his take on religion on a few songs. “Singin’ for Jesus” is about a street preacher. “I’m screamin at them sinners to come back to Jesus ... but he’s gonna pay me back some day. ... I’m down on skid row selling salvation ... but you know, boys, salvation is free.”

In “Jesus Christ Is Dead,” Robertson sings: “They nailed him to a tree/And the only way he can live again is inside you and me.” “Great Big Donut,” a song he says was inspired while sitting on the can watching the spiders on the wall, is a shaggy-dog parable about God trying to save the world by sending us a mysterious rolling pastry.

With “Lookin’ For Somebody to Kill,” you know you’re in for trouble from the first line, “I lost my heart in a barroom in Juárez.” Indeed, he’s looking for someone to kill, but when you learn who his victim is in the last verse, you may be shocked.

Actually this song seems to be the third part of a trilogy of songs about drug addicts. “Maria Elena” is about a doomed woman: “The powder they gave you is mixed up with death/You’re finding it harder to catch up with your breath.” The next song, “Junkie Eyes,” is about an encounter with a strung-out prostitute: “Lord, lord, them junkie eyes/Everytime you see them something dies/Something may be crawlin’ around inside/what’s left are them ravin’ junkie eyes.”

There are a couple of new versions of songs from previous albums — “Madonna on the Billboard” and “Mary Lou” (the tale of a “good-time gal”). The new versions don’t add that much to the old takes, and I’m not quite sure why they’re here. But both are fine songs, and they do fit in with the others.

The official conclusion of ’Cause I’m Crazy is “As You Still Got a Song.” Robertson sings again about getting kicked out of bars, but like the refrain says, “As long as you’ve still got a song, everything is all right.”

I’m glad Kell’s still got these great songs.

Kell on the radio: Kell Robertson plays live on The Santa Fe Opry tonight. The show starts at 10 p.m on KSFR-FM 101.1

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Sunday, July 11, 2010
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
Love by Country Joe & The Fish
Big Mamou by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Mosquito Stomp by Gas Huffer
Pyscho by Nick Curran & The Lowlifes
I Need Your Lovin' by Wolfman Jack
Rock 'n' Roll Fever by Willie Egans
Keep on Rubbing by Capt. Beefheart
Soba Song by 3 Mustaphas 3
Shave My Soul by The Come N' Go
I Need Somebody by Manby's Head
Pencil Neck Geek by Fred Blassie

Come Back Lord by Rev. Beat-Man
Back in Hell by Delaney Davidson
Dram Shopper by The Scrams
Demolicion by Waugh y Los Arrrghs!!!
Bitch, I Love You by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
40 Birds by King Khan & The Shrines
Memphis Creep by The Oblivions
Skippy Is A Sissy by Roy Gaines
The Wakin' Blues (Walk Right In, Walk Right Out) by The Jessie Powell Orchestra with Fluffy Hunter

Wine, Wine Wine/2,000 Pound Bee by Bobby Fuller
Bye Bye by The Friends
R.L. Got Soul by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Snakedrive by R.L. Burnside
Wolf Call by The Dots
Shout Bama Lama by Otis Redding & The Pinetoppers

Jeepster by T. Rex
Bikini by The Bikinis
You Got Good Taste by The Cramps
With the Idiots by Urban Junior
Poison Tree by Movie Star Junkies
Velvet Touch by Figures of Light
Low Down Dog by Joe Turner & Pete Johnson
It's Only Make Believe by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Friday, July 09, 2010


Friday, July 9, 2010
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
Blue Moon of Kentucky by Rev. Beat-Man
Drinkin' Wine Spo Dee o Dee by Malcom Yelvin
Busy Body Boogie by The Carlisles
Callin' in Twisted by Rev. Horton Heat
Too Many Rivers by Webb Wilder
Loco by D.M. Bob & The Deficits
A Girl in the Night by Ray Price
How Cold Hearted Can You Get by Hank Thompson
Tennessee Rooster Fight by The Howington Brothers
Magpie Song by Delaney Davidson

New Orleans/Little Bitty Pretty One by Bobby Fuller
I Fought the Law by Sonny Curtis
Muswell Hillbillies by Southern Culture on the Skids
Dixieland Boogie by Hardrock Gunter
Nails In My Coffin by Jerry Irby & His Texas Ranchers
Hot Rod Lincoln by Johnny Bond
Always Late with Your Kisses by Lefty Frizzell
Nobody Here But Me, Lord by Kell Robertson

Xoe Fitzgerald by Joe West
Wild West Huapango by Tara Linda
Strut My Stuff by Slim Redman, Donnie Bowshier & The Junior Melody Boys
Devilsong by Shinyribs
Meadowlark Boogie by Buck Griffin
Mental Cruelty by Buck Owens & Rose Maddox
Too Drunk to Truck by The Sixtyniners
Who Walks In When I Walk Out by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
Too Much Month at the End of The Money by Marty Stuart

You Want to Give Me a Lift by Eilen Jewell
I'd Come Back To Me by Johnny Paycheck
Shelley's Winter Love by Bill Kirchen With Paul Carrack & Nick Lowe
Better Than Bein Alone by Joe Swank And The Zen Pirates
Into the Big Fire by Kris Hollis Key
You've Never Been This Far Before Conway Twitty
Treasures Untold by Doc & Merle Watson
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Please see an update on this column HERE.

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 9, 2010

Bobby Fuller, the greatest rocker ever to emerge from El Paso, is best known for two things: his huge 1966 hit “I Fought the Law” and his mysterious death, which the police ruled a suicide though many, including Fuller’s brother and former bandmate Randy Fuller, believe it was a murder.

For several years, Norton Records has been doing its best to prove that, while Fuller might technically be a “one-hit wonder,” there was a lot more to his music than his one hit, and Fuller deserves to be known more for his music than his bizarre and shadowy death. Norton’s latest contribution to this cause is El Paso Rock, Early Recordings Volume 3. This is the first installment in that series since the mid-1990s.

Crime scene: As an old cop reporter, there’s no way I’d be writing a column about Bobby Fuller without spending a little time on his death, so let’s get that out of the way. Fuller was found dead on July 18, 1966, inside his mother’s Oldsmobile parked in front of his apartment in Hollywood. He was 23. He died of gasoline inhalation, the police said.

A 1996 press release from his old record company, Del-Fi — which at the time was shopping the idea of a movie but only got an episode of Unsolved Mysteries out of it — described the crime scene:

“The car had mysteriously appeared after hours of searching the local area had not turned up any clues to his whereabouts. The doors were unlocked, the windows were closed tight, and no keys to the vehicle were found inside. When the first Hollywood-division police officers arrived and opened the driver’s side door, they noticed there was a book of matches on the seat beside Fuller on the front seat. An eyewitness to the gruesome discovery remembers that Fuller had traces of dried blood around his chin and mouth, and that his face and chest were bruised as if he had been beaten. Fuller’s hair and clothing were also soaked with gasoline, and his right hand still clenched a rubber siphoning-tube.

“An empty gas can, found in the back seat, was removed by a policeman (who apparently didn’t consider it vital to the investigation) and thrown into a nearby dumpster. The Olds was not dusted for fingerprints, nor was it ever impounded and searched for further clues. Members of the radio and television press at the scene were told that it looked to be a clear case of ‘suicide,’ despite much visual evidence to the contrary.”

Fuller’s family and friends have made a credible case that he was killed. I attended a panel discussion featuring Fuller’s brother Randy, singer Marshall Crenshaw, and Norton Records’ Miriam Linna at the 1998 South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin.

Fuller reportedly was depressed before he died and was planning to break up his band. A new fan of psychedelic music, he’d started taking LSD. He was hanging out with a prostitute named “Melody” (or “Melanie,” by some accounts). Some of his music-biz associates might have had ties with organized crime.

All tantalizing details, but it’s not likely that the truth about his death will ever be told.

Back to the music: There’s no question that Bobby Fuller worshipped Buddy Holly. He arranged a recording session at Buddy’s old stamping grounds, Norman Petty Studios in Clovis, in 1962 — an experience that, according to Linna’s liner notes, inspired Fuller to build a home studio. (Most of this collection comes from the Clovis session, save a few cuts recorded live at Skylanes Bowling Alley’s Little Dipper Lounge.)

“I Fought the Law” — Fuller’s version, not The Clash’s — sounded like what Buddy Holly would have sounded like in the 1960s. It’s not surprising, considering that the tune was written by Holly pal and sometimes Cricket Sonny Curtis (whose second-best-known song is “Love Is All Around” — the Mary Tyler Moore show theme). It originally appeared on a post-Holly Crickets album in 1960.

A rare early Fuller recording of “I Fought the Law” kicks off this collection. It’s nine seconds longer than the “official” version and doesn’t quite have the punch. But it’s interesting to see how Fuller played with the tune. One notable difference between the two takes: Here, the singer robs people with a shotgun, not the “six gun” we later came to know and love.

The second song on this collection, “You Made Me Cry,” sounds even more like the sainted Holly.

While Fuller’s love for Holly cannot be denied, he was apparently also a fan of rockabilly giant Eddie Cochran. On Volume 3 we find an enthusiastic cover of “Nervous Breakdown” (there are two versions included) and a live-at-the-bowling-alley medley of Cochran’s best-known songs “Summertime Blues” and “Somethin’ Else” — which I can’t listen to without thinking of Sid Vicious and his take on the song. Fuller sounds even wilder here than Sid later would.

Another live medley teams up a couple of R & B hits, Gary U.S. Bonds’ “New Orleans” (which Fuller mistakenly introduces as “Mississippi Queen”) and “Little Bitty Pretty One,” which I first came to know through Clyde McPhatter.

Probably my favorite here is “Wine, Wine, Wine,” a favorite of garage bands everywhere at the time that probably evolved from Sticks McGhee’s “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee.” The wildest guitar work on the whole album is found here. Fuller sounds like he’s a school kid caught by a teacher while telling a dirty joke as he sings: “I know a girl, she drives a rod/She ain’t good lookin’ but she’s got a good bod.” The last word is muffled (which isn’t the case with the “Wine Wine Wine” on the previous volume of El Paso Rock).

The album ends with “California Sun,” which — considering what awaited Fuller in July 1966 — comes off as sad: “I’m going out West where I belong ...” The song fades before he can even finish the last chorus. It sounds like a premature ending ... oh, I won’t say it.

Fuller Bio Coming: There's a Bobby Fuller bio in the works by none other than Miriam Linna and Randy Fuller. Read more about that HERE

Enjoy a Fuller video:

Wednesday, July 07, 2010



How long's it been since you've seem Felix y Los Gatos?

Well, that's too long.

Felix and the boys are having a release party for their new CD, Green Chili Gumbo this Saturday night at the Cowgirl BBQ, 319 South Guadalupe St. here in Santa Fe. Many special guests are promised.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the new album/ I've played their first one on both of my radio shows as well as one song on a Big Enchilada podcast.

There's a whole bunch of promising live shows coming up next week.

On Thursday, straight out of Switzerland, Rev. Beat-Man and Delaney Davidson play at Little Wing at the Candyman Center on St. Michael's Drive.

Then Friday, down in The Underground (Evangelos' basement) one of New Mexico's finest garage band, The Scrams are on a bill with The Kill Spectors and Angola Farms.

And start planning ahead: Coming up in August there's Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks coming back to Santa Fe Brewing Company and Nick Curran & The Lowlifes will be doing a free show up in Los Alamos. I just hipped myself to Curran (Thanks, Russ Gordon!) and he's crazy great.

And in September prepare yourself for the great Barrence Whitfield! More on that later.

Monday, July 05, 2010

eMusic July

* Pissing Out The Poison: Singles and Other Swill by New Bomb Turks. I'm a relative newcomer to the NBTs. I decided to download this in anticipation of NBT frontman Eric Davidson's new book We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001. a history of below-the-radar proudly uncommercial, untrendy bands like The Dwarves, The Cynics, The Mummies, Thee Headcoats, Dead Moon, The Devil Dogs, The Gories, and, yes, New Bomb Turks among others. (The book arrived and I'm reading and enjoying it now. You should too.)

This album is a compilation of singles, rarities, even a Christmas song. It's all high-charged, furious, crazy guitar rock -- what Davidson calls "Gunk Punk."

There's a handful of covers, including The New York Dolls' "Bad Girl" and a Rolling Stones obscurity called "Summer Romance." And there's strong alternative versions of Turk classics like "Crying in the Beer of a Drunk Man," "Let's Dress Up the Naked Truth," "Sucker Punch" and "Taller Crush."

* I Know You Be Houserockin' by The Gories. Before he started The Dirtbombs, Detroit's Mick Collins was in another amazing band -- The Gories.

This was a trio featuring two guitars (Collins and Dan Kroha) and drums (Peggy O'Neill). No bass, no frills, just raw punk blues.

This compilations contains the Alex Chilton produced I Know You Fine But How You Doin' plus almost all of The Gories' first album, Houserockin' (missing only "Let Me Ear the Choir Sin.")

Hey, while fooling around on YouTube, I found an actual live video of The Gories doing one of my favorite songs from this album, "Thunderbird ESQ." Peggy looks pretty sexy chewing her gum. Check it out:

*Party Favorites by Ray Condo and his Hardrock Goners. This Canuckabilly was perhaps the finest rockabilly revivalists of the 90s and early 00s. The only one who comes close was Big Sandy, but the late Condo, who died in 2004, had a crazier edge. The title of his 1997 album Door to Door Maniac (which was an alternate title for a very obscure 1961 Johnny Cash movie)

I first came to know Condo's music when he was living in Vancouver and playing with his band The Ricochets. This album is from his days in Montreal, when he was playing with The Hardrock Goners (named in honor of hillbilly boogie monster Sidney "Hardrock" Gunter) This outfit, which had a fine fiddle player (not sure of the name) and perhaps was a bit more country sounding than The Ricochets.

There's a cool "St. James Infirmary" here as well as a version of "Her Love Rubbed Off," one of Carl Perkins' more crazed compositions, also covered by The Cramps.

But my favorite tune here is "Barroom Crazy," which contains the verse, "I broke both of my arms/I fell down on the floor/I started to dance but I lost my pants/So they tossed me out the door."

I hate when that happens.


* Seven songs from The Very Best Of by Hoosier Hot Shots. True story. When I was a little kid and my grandmother was taking me somewhere, she'd say, "Are you ready, Hezzie?" She'd just laugh when I'd ask who the hell was Hezzie. A few years ago when I discovered The Hoosier Hot Shots it all became clear to me. Maybe I got my habit of making obscure cultural references from my grandmother.

When I did discover the Hotshots it made me appreciate how hip Nana actually was. (After all, she took me when I saw Cab Calloway as a kid.) These guys basically were a country string band (well they had a clarinet too) with the soul of Spike Jones.

I only had enough to get seven tracks this month, but I'll pick up the rest when my account refreshes. (This is a good one for eMusic bargain hunters. 40 track for the price of 12!)

And, by the way, Hezzie was Paul "Hezzie" Triesch, who played washboard, bells and whistles.

* "Cucaracha Taco" by Joe "King" Carrasco. I got this for my latest podcast of The Big Enchilada. I already had most of the other songs from this collection, called Yabba Ding Ding. But it looks like a great introduction to the master of Nuevo Wavo.

* "Bandy the Rodeo Clown" by Moe Bandy. I just love this song. Bandy is one of the few stars of the early '80s Urban Cowboy era of country music I can stand. I got this tune especially for my recent Rodeo de Santa Fe set on The Santa Fe Opry

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Sunday, July 4, 2010
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
Opening Montage to Big Enchilada 11
An American is a Very Lucky Man by Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians
The Outcast by Tom Russell featuring Dave Van Ronk
Fourth of July by X
American Music by The Blasters
This Land is Your Land by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
U.S. Blues by The Harshed Mellows
The Body of an American by The Pogues
The Star Spangled Banner by Tiny Tim

Your Fat Friend by The Raunch Hands
Slut by New Bomb Turks
Hey Amigo by Havana 3 a.m.
Do the Climb by King Salami & the Cumberland 3
Clap Your Hands by The Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band
House Rent Jump by Peter Case

The Clown Of The Town by Reverend Beat-Man
I Slept Late by Delaney Davidson

Transcontinental Hustle by Gogol Bordello
Patches Rides the Rail by Deadbolt
Coconut Heart Thee Butchers' Orchestra
Mexico Wax Solvent by The Fall
Skinny Ginny by Dossie (Thunderbird) Terry

Pink Berets by Tin Huey
Twilight's Last Gleamings by William S. Burroughs
Two Left Feet by Mark Sultan
Tight Sweater by The Marathons
Big American Problem by Drywall
America The Beautiful by Ray Charles
Coda by Little Jack Horton
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Thursday, July 01, 2010


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 2, 2010

Peter Case, who is playing a free show in Los Alamos Friday, sounds like he’s having more fun on a record than he’s had in years with his new album, Wig!

For more than 20 years, Case has built a respected (if not overly lucrative) career as a singer-songwriter/neo-folkie, whatever you want to call it. He’s done some wonderful albums in this vein, the best being The Man With the Blue Post Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar (1989) and Torn Again (1995). I could also mention 2000’s Flying Saucer Blues, but Case’s old record company actually paid me to write some propaganda to send out to potential reviewers and radio stations for that record, so my opinion of that one is compromised.

Case is so good in the acoustic troubadour role that many of his listeners might not even realize that he’s also an accomplished rocker. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, he was the frontman in The Plimsouls and, before that, The Nerves.

Case recently reimmersed himself in the music of his early bands. While recovering from cardiac surgery, he assisted in remastering a Nerves reissue (One Way Ticket) and concert album (Live at Pirate’s Cove) as well as a live Plimsouls album (Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal, which I reviewed here earlier this year). Remastering these old live recordings woke up the rocker inside.

Aided by guitarist Ron Franklin and D.J. Bonebrake, the drummer for X, Case recorded a bunch of blues-soaked, swampy rockers for this album, which was released just days ago. In short, it’s some of the toughest music he’s ever made.

The seeds of Wig! were first sown a quarter-century ago. The song “‘New’ Old Blue Car,” which starts out with some fine caveman drumming from Bonebrake, is a slightly rewritten version of “Old Blue Car” from Case’s first solo album (Peter Case, 1986), a tune written with his then-wife Victoria Williams. While the original, produced by T-Bone Burnett and Mitchell Froom, has slight hints of that 1980s studio sheen, it was bursting with the blues-raunch abandon that guides the new album.

Wig! starts out with a Case story-song called “Banks of the River.” It’s about a couple of brothers, Frank and Tony, who run away from home and eventually get in trouble with the law. The story could have come from one of Case’s ’90s albums, but the pounding piano, grating harmonica, and smoldering guitar are harbingers of what awaits you on this album.

The jittery “I Dig What You’re Puttin’ Down” sounds like an inspired melding of Blonde on Blonde with Canned Heat. There’s a slight digression into Heat’s “Catfish Blues,” but even cooler is when Case apes Elvis — ”I want you, I need you I-iiiiiii love you!” What’s impressive is how seamlessly he pulls it off.

This is just one example in which Case has fun throwing in some obvious references to rock ’n’ roll standards. “Ain’t Got No Dough” starts out with the pounding piano riff from Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want),” a song covered by the Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others. “The Words in Red” features a jangle-guitar riff straight out of The Byrds’ “So You Want to Be a Rock ’n’ Roll Star.”

The title of the rocking “House Rent Jump” recalls John Lee Hooker’s “House Rent Boogie,” as does the basic theme of the song (the singer doesn’t have enough cash to pay the rent). But Case and the band sound more like Hound Dog Taylor here.

On “Thirty Days in the Workhouse,” a Leadbelly song, Case plays an acoustic 12-string guitar, and Bonebrake keeps it stompin’. Things slow down for a while in “My Kind of Trouble,” a piano-driven blues on which Case wails like he’s leading an after-hours jam in some dangerous skid-row dive. “She got an hourglass figure and a glass eyeball,” Case sings. “Somebody Told the Truth” sounds like it came right out of the swamp with its tremolo guitar and conga drum. It’s easy to imagine Tom Waits doing this song.

After “Colors of Night,” another rough blues romp, Case goes back to worrying about the rent in “House Rent Party,” the album closer. Surprisingly, this sounds like less of a party than anything else on the album. The singer rages against his poverty, pins his hopes on the lottery, and vows to start a brand new band: “We’ll play anywhere but here.” It’s another 12-string acoustic song; in fact it’s just Case without the band.

Perhaps it’s a signal that Case isn’t turning his back on this side of his music. He’s still a dang fine acoustic troubadour. But it’s the wild and rowdy tunes that carry this record. I hope Case keeps rocking.

* See for yourself: Peter Case is playing at 7 p.m. Friday, July 2 at the Pajarito Ski Area in Los Alamos. The show, part of Russ Gordon’s Los Alamos County Summer Concert series, is free. Tiho Dimitrov opens.


  Sunday, July 14, 2024 KSFR, Santa Fe, NM, 101.1 FM  Webcasting! 10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time Host: Steve Terrell Em...