Thursday, December 30, 2010


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
December 31 , 2010

Here’s the 10 albums released in 2010 that I liked best.

* Reform School Girl by Nick Curran & The Lowlifes. Curran plays some of the roughest, rawest R & B/rockabilly being made today, with raspy voice, banging piano, wailing sax, and a guitar that sounds as if Chuck Berry used it in voodoo rituals. It should remind you of that era when crazed DJs unleashed their sinister communist plot of corrupting America’s youth by playing wild, primitive sounds oozing with sex and rebellion.

* Agri-dustrial by Legendary Shack Shakers. The title is a pretty apt description of the basic Shack Shakers sound. It’s rootsy but with a hard-rocking edge. Singer and frontman J.D. Wilkes plays a mean harmonica and occasional banjo and jew’s-harp, while co-conspirator Duane Denison, formerly of punk-noise patriarchs The Jesus Lizard, makes some crazy noise on his guitar. The rhythm section is grounded in metal as well as in cowpunk. This might be considered a concept album about the South. Or maybe it’s a collection of horror stories, with song titles like “Two Tickets to Hell,” “The Hills of Hell,” and “God Fearing People.”

* Grinderman 2 by Grinderman. The first album by Nick Cave’s Grinderman is an intense burst of bile, anxiety, rage, obscenity, and loud, sloppy rock ’n’ roll. This year’s follow-up, while slightly less ragged than the original, is almost as good. On “Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man, “ Cave howls like Howlin’ Wolf on “Smokestack Lightning.” You can hear echoes of Patti Smith’s “Gloria” and The Doors’ “When the Music’s Over,” as well as an intentional nod to blues belter Lucille Bogan’s “Shave ’Em Dry.” “Worm Tamer” — full of fun innuendo and double-entendre — rocks even harder, with a mutated Bo-Diddley-conquers-the-Martians beat. “Super Heathen Child” takes us right to a nightmare world. A girl is “sitting in the bathtub sucking her thumb,” though she’s fully armed as she waits for the Wolf Man.

* Wig! by Peter Case. Case is so good in his 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 for The Plimsouls and, before that, The Nerves. Now, 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. And it’s some of the toughest music he’s ever made.

* I’m New Here by Gil Scott-Heron. Produced by Richard Russell, this album, Scott-Heron’s first in 16 years, is harrowing. It’s mostly low-key and somber and almost like an encounter in a dark alley with a ghost. The album kicks off with a sweet memory of being raised by his grandmother. But at the end of the song, his granny dies “and I was scared and hurt and shocked,” Scott-Heron says. And then the music gets louder, the beat turns harsher, and suddenly the singer finds himself in an electronic mutation of one of Robert Johnson’s most frightening blues, “Me and the Devil.” Scott-Heron drifts from nightmare to revelry and back again. In “New York Is Killing Me,” he sings a blues melody over persistent hand claps and a clacking rhythm, punctuated by bass drum. A gospel choir comes in a couple of times but disappears like a dream figment. The album is less than 30 minutes long. But it’s one intense half hour.

* Self Decapitation by Delaney Davidson. Traces of Salvation Army marching bands and dark blues permeate this New Zealand native’s album. You can hear influences of American blues, early jazz, and Eastern European/Gypsy sounds. Davidson performs “In the Pines” as an industrial-edged blues tune with an acoustic guitar and altered vocals yielding to over-amped guitar and crazy-loud drums. But my favorite is the delightfully filthy “Dirty Dozen,” a foul-mouthed country-blues stomp that reminds me why I love music in the first place.

* A. Enlightenment, B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) by Ray Wylie Hubbard. As with other recent Hubbard efforts, this record features a minimalist bluesy sound. There are lots of slide guitar, fierce but simple drums, and lyrics concerning sin and salvation — but little else. Some songs have echoes of bluegrass, with mandolin, banjo, and fiddle occasionally emerging from the primordial blues bog.

* The Big To-Do by Drive-By Truckers. This is the DBT’s best album since 2004’s The Dirty South. It’s full of sex, crime, humor, strippers, circus acts, and girlfriends who say, “I’m too pretty to work and you’re uglying up my house.” All that and loud, loud guitars. Unfortunately, the only mediocre song on the album is one titled “Santa Fe.”

*A Poison Tree by Movie Star Junkies. Images of murder, torture, and betrayal color the lyrics of this album, which features dark but melodic tunes colored by with spaghetti-Western guitars over Farfisa organ and drums that evoke marching bands. The Junkies proudly cite The Birthday Party as an influence, and sure enough, you can hear echoes of early Nick Cave. The last song, a seven-minute epic called “All Winter Long,” ends in a dense instrumental with fuzzy guitar licks that bring back memories of The Electric Prunes.

* Descending Shadows by Pierced Arrows. Back with his previous band Dead Moon, singer Fred Cole bragged that he’s “been screaming at the top of my lungs since 1965.” That’s true — he was in a band called The Lollipop Shoppe that produced a garage-band classic “You Must Be a Witch.” The good news for Dead Moon fans is that Pierced Arrows sounds like a continuation of Moon’s basic guitar/bass/drums sound. Fred Cole and wife/bassist Toody Cole still sound wild and ferocious.

Honorable Mention:
* You Are Not Alone by Mavis Staples
* Wake Up the Snakes by Johnny Dowd
* $ by Mark Sultan
* The Wages by The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
* Phosphene Dream by The Black Angels

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Sunday, December 26, 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
Waves of Fear by Lou Reed
Monkey Mess by Thee Vicars
Rosalyn by The Pretty Things
On the Move by Pierced Arrows
Music is the Magic by Kim Fowley
Pimples and Braces by Ric Gary
Corruption by The Plasmatics
Don't Blow Your Mind by The Spiders
People Look Away by Death
Are You For Real, Girl? by Mystic Five
What Kind of Fool Am I?by Sammy Davis, Jr.

Coming Back Alive by The Stomachmouths 
Dope Fiend Boogie by The Cramps
Wig-Wag by Manby's Head
Battle Cry by Monkeyshines 
Muck Muck by Yochanan 
The Egyptian Thing by The Syndicate 
Part of Your Plan by The Oblivions 
Farmer John by Ross Johnston with Monsieur Jeffrey Evans

Quicksand Love by Macy Skipper
Honey Bop by Wanda Jackson
Boppin' Wigwam Willie by Ray Scott
Sugar Doll by Johnny Jay
Evil Hearted Me by Jody Reynolds 
Old Black Joe by Jerry Lee Lewis 
Betty Lou' s Got A New Tattoo by Creep  
Love Bug Crawl by Jimmy Edwards
Switch Blade Sam by Jeff Daniels
Loaded Gun by The Rev. Horton Heat
(Mama) You Got To Love Your Negro Man by Dewey Cox 
Shadow My Baby by Ray Condo & The Ricochets 

Lick My Decals Off Baby by Captain Beefheart
Mencerminkan Mahkota Kotor by Arrington de Dionyso 
Sports Car by Thinking Fellers Union Local 282
New York is Killing Me by Gil Scott-Heron
Withered and Died by Elvis Costello 
Cast No Shadows by The Mekons 
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis
Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE



"From the land of shotgun weddings and child brides ..." comes the last Big Enchilada podcast of 2010 featuring hillbilly, honky tonk, rockabilly and crazed country sounds. Among the artists represented here are  Hasil Adkins, Tav Falco, Hank III, Rev. Beat-Man, Angry Johnny & GTO, The Defibulators and, from the chic salons of Espanola, N.M., The Imperial Rooster! Plus there's an entire of segment of songs from the mysterious Twisted Tales from the Vinyl Wastelands series. You don't need champagne on New Year's Eve. Just drink a jug of this musical moonshine from Below Tobacco Road!

Play it here:


Here's the playlist:

(Background Music: Buster's Crawdad Song by The Tune Wranglers)
Tobacco Road by Tav Falco
Pig Fork by The Imperial Rooster
Corn Money by The Defibulators
49 Women by Jerry Irby & His Texas Ranchers
Blue Moon of Kentucky by Rev. Beat-Man
Punchy Wunchy Wickey Wacky Woo by Hasil Adkins

(Background Music: The Magnificent Seven by Jon Rauhouse)

Burn Your Bra, Baby by Bennie Johnson
Dark Angel by Benny Joy
Arson Carson by Willie Swanson
Swamp Gas by The Space Walkers
Auctioneer Lover by Wendy Powers
The Guy Who Looks Like Me by Big Shorty
Marijuana, the Devil Flower by Johnny Price
Lover Man Minus Sex Appeal by Cousin Zeke

(Background Music: Steel Guitar Stomp by Hank Penny)
Feelin' Right Tonight by Marti Brom
Okie's in the Pokie by Jimmy Patton
In the Nuthouse Now by Angry Johnny & GTO
Long Hauls, Close Calls by Hank III
Good Morning Judge by Louis Innis & His Stringdusters
(Background Music: Tobacco Road by Southern Culture on the Skids)

You like this hillbilly stuff? If so, then you'll probably like some of my previous episodes like:

Episode 26: Hillbilly Pigout
Episode 22: Honky in a Cheap Motel
Episode 16: Hillbilly Heaven
Episode 10: More Santa Fe Opry Favorites
Episode 8: Santa Fe Opry Favorites Vol. 2
Episode 2: Santa Fe Opry Favorites

Listen to this podcast 7 p.m. Mountain Time Tuesday December 28 on Real Punk Radio

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Sunday, December 19, 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!

Ain't No Santa Claus on the Midnight Stage by Captain Beefheart
Santa Can't Stay by Dwight Yoakam
Jingle Bell Rock by The Fall
I Believe in Father Christmas by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Christmas Lights by Wild Billy Childish & The Musicians Of The British Empire
Eggnog by The Rockin' Guys
Real Live Doll by The Trashmen 
Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto by James Brown 
Put The X Back In Xmas by Candye Kane & Country Dick Montana
I Know What You Want For Christmas by Kay Martin & Her Body Guards

The Rocking Disco Santa Claus by The Sisterhood
I'm Givin' You the Blues (For Christmas) by Thee Fine Lines
Sleigh Bells, Reindeer & Snow by Rita Faye Wilson
Shake Hands With Santa Claus by Louis Prima
Santa Claus is Surfin' To Town by Soupy Sales 
Santa Claus by The Sonics 
Santa Claus by Thee Headcoatees 
Dinosaur Christmas by Wee Hairy Beasties
North Pole Boogie by Billy Briggs 
A Christmas Carol by Tom Lehrer 
White Christmas by Otis Redding 

God Rest Yee Merry Gentlemen by Legendary Shack Shakers
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge 
Christmas Night in Harlem by Louis Armstrong 
It's Christmas Time by The Qualities
Hey Santa Claus by The Chesterfield Kings 
B.C Clark's Anniversary Sale by (anonymous jingle singers)
Sleigh Ride by Alvin & The Chipmunks 
Monster's Holiday by Lon Chaney Jr.
Christmas at K-Mart by Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band 
The Jesus Song by The Persuasions 
Lucy's Tiger Den by Terry Allen
Sausage and Sauerkraut for Christmas by The Polkaholics

Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen
Christmas Everyday (Maybe It'll Help) by Giant Sand
Christmas is a Special Day by Fats Domino
A Change at Christmas by The Flaming Lips
Christmas Lullaby by Shane MacGowan & The Popes
Oh Holy Night by Brian Wilson

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Friday, December 17, 2010


Friday, December, 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
Bang Bang Baby, Bang Bang Merry Christmas by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
11 Months, 29 Days by Johnny Paycheck
Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait by Little Jimmy Dickens
Oh! You Pretty Woman Asleep At The Wheel with Willie Nelson
Sweet Baby of Mine by Marti Brom
Friends by Cracker
Bad Road, Good People by Boris McCutcheon & The Saltlicks
All I Want For Christmas is My Upper Plate by Homer & Jethro 
Can Man Christmas by Joe West with Mike the Can Man

Law and Order on the Border by Gary Pinon 
Touch of Evil by Tom Russell with Eliza Gilkyson
Hot Tamale Pete by Bob Skyles & His Skyrockets 
Queen of Skid Row by Luke Gibbons 
If The River Was Whiskey by Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers 
Santa's Birthday Feast by Cootie Leroux & Nat King Kong 
Pick a Bale of Cotton by Flathead

That Christmas Moon by Leon Redbone 
Pots and Pans by Ray Wylie Hubbard 
Half a Boy, Half a Man by Queen Ida 
Must Be Santa by Brave Combo
The Polkaholics Are Comin' to Town by The Polkaholics 
Sugar Creek by Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band 
Stealing Hubcaps by Billy Ledbetter 
Dump Road Yodel by Legendary Shack Shakers 
Wine, Women and Loud Happy Songs by Ringo Starr 
Kiss Me Quick and Go by The Maddox Brothers and Rose
Someone Stole My Santa Suit by The Christmas Jug Band with Dan Hicks

Something Funny in Santa's Lap by The Moaners
The Wig He Made Her Wear by Drive-By Truckers 
Your Hearty Laugh by The Defibulators
Blue Christmas Lights by Chris Hillman & Herb Pederson
Snowin' on Raton by Doug Jeffords 
Old Toy Trains by Roger Miller
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE
Steve Terrell is proud to report to the monthly Freeform American Roots Radio list

O Captain, My Captain!

Captain Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, whose indescribable music melded Delta blues, avant garde jazz and Lord knows what else, is dead. He was 69.

According to the Associated Press, the reclusive Beefheart died from complications stemming from multiple sclerosis.

Although he hadn't released any new music for 25 years or so, Beefheart's influence can be heard in Tom Waits' stranger tunes to the crazier edges of punk rock and "alternative" music -- (I'm thinking of The Butthole Surfers, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Old Time Relijun, etc.)to the fucked-up crazy blues of Jon Spencer and Voodoo Rhythm bands like Stinky Lou & Goon Mat, Thee Butchers Orchestra and Juke Joint Pimps.

 When I interviewed Mark E. Smith of The Fall at Evangelos' in the early '80s one thing we talked about was our shared love for Captain Beefheart.

He was a high school chum of Frank Zappa. I always thought a great sitcom would be about Zappa and Beefheart in some 1950s high school, where everyone else seemed right out of Archie Comics.

This photo was taken in 1970 by my friend George Bullfrog. Follow this link to a bunch more of George's Beefheart shots. (If you are interested in purchasing a print of any or all of these pictures then please contact him at for details.)

Here's a good way to remember Beefheart. He directed this video himself.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
December 17, 2010

Ten years ago this week, I wrote in this column a list of my Top 10 favorite Christmas songs, which may have been based on a previous version that was published about a decade before that.

Everyone’s tastes change a little through the years, but looking over that list, I’ll stand by those selections. I still play those songs at home and on my radio shows every year.

But there is lots of great Christmas music out there. So here’s a new list of my favorite Christmas songs that I cherish almost as much as the ones on the old list.

1. “Santa Doesn’t Cop Out on Dope” by Sonic Youth. The band made up of Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, and Steve Shelley has never been known for its humor. So it’s not going out on much of a limb to declare that this is hands down the funniest song they ever recorded. It’s a Martin Mull tune, originally recorded by the singer-comic in the mid-’70s as a parody of smug moralists trying to use “hep lingo” to rap to the youth about drugs and such. Sonic Youth adds a few layers of absurdism, not to mention crazy noise.

2. “All For Gloria” by Elastica. This is a rock ’n’ roll reimagining of “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” by a predominantly female band that burned out way too quickly in the ’90s. The recording is from a John Peel BBC Christmas show, which ended up on an album called Elastica: The Radio One Sessions. But I bet most American fans first heard it on Just Say Noël (on which it was called “Gloria”) — the same 1996 Geffen Christmas collection that featured the Sonic Youth song mentioned above. On Radio One, Elastica also does a pretty cool version of “We Three Kings” called “I Wanna Be a King of Orient Aah.”

3. “Must Be Santa” by Brave Combo. Bob Dylan took Combo’s crazy pumped-up polka arrangement of this old kiddie song for his Christmas album last year (and made a hilarious video that was an internet sensation). I like the original better.

4. “White Christmas” by Otis Redding. Nobody should have even attempted to sing this Christmas chestnut after Redding worked it over. Like he did with practically everything he ever recorded, the man just sang his guts out.

5. “Eggnog” by The Rockin’ Guys. The Guys are a punk band from Conway, Arkansas, which I never would have discovered except for the goodwill of a former colleague who’s an Arkie expat. The song is a tender reminiscence of the singer’s “poor old peg-leg pappy” and how the family would get together at Christmas and “decorate his stump.”

6. “Blue Christmas Lights” by Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen. Buck Owens co-wrote and recorded this sad Yuletide honky-tonker. But Hillman & Pedersen, who covered it in the ’90s, make it haunting with their harmonies.

7. “Christmas in the Trenches” by John McCutcheon. This is a touching ballad about the famous 1914 Christmas truce during World War I. British and German troops spontaneously laid down their arms to sings carols and celebrate the holiday before getting back to the serious work of killing one another the next day.

8. “Can Man Christmas” by Joe West with Mike “The Can Man” Burney. Burney — who collects aluminum cans around the Lone Butte area for recycling — narrates a couple of anecdotes involving his Santa Claus suit as West and his band play a slow, sad melody.

9. “Star of Wonder” by The Roches. Unaccompanied, sisters Maggie, Suzzy, and Terre sing otherwordly harmonies on this tune written by Terre.
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10. “Christmas Boogie” by Canned Heat with Alvin & The Chipmunks. Yes, a melding of two great bands. Guitarist Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine is amazing, even in a weird novelty like this. And Bobby “The Bear” Hite learns not to call chipmunks “mice.”

In the spirit of Christmas recycling, here’s my December 2000 Christmas Top 10.

1. “Little Drummer Boy” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Jett wasn’t the first rocker to do this song. Remember David Bowie’s duet with Bing Crosby? I don’t think Der Bingle would have attempted this version.

2. “Merry Christmas From the Family” by Robert Earl Keen. A lovable if somewhat dysfunctional family — with all its addictions, prejudices, and stepchildren — sits down for a hilarious Yuletide feast.

3. “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl. A saga of a love gone wrong: a boozy Irish immigrant lands in the drunk tank, haunted by the curses of his fed-up wife (“Merry Christmas, my ass. I pray God its our last!”) and the carols of a police choir.

4. “We Three Kings of Orient Are” by The Beach Boys. The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album, recorded in the early 1960s, contains some raw dreck, but the boys’ trademark harmonies on this tune are near-mystical.

5. “Old Toy Trains” by Roger Miller. This song, written for his son Dean, who was a toddler at the time, is a rare public glimpse of Miller’s sweet side.

6. “2,000 Miles” by The Pretenders. The grand finale to Learning to Crawl, the group’s last great album, “2,000 Miles” is a sad but beautiful winter song.

7. “Father Christmas” by The Kinks. Santa, bring me some class warfare!

8. “Santa Can’t Stay” by Dwight Yoakam. On one level this tune is hilarious: a drunken father dons a Santa suit and barges in on Mama and her new beau as the mystified children look on. But any divorced guy who can remember his first Christmas after the split-up can’t help but feel pangs of horror listening to this.

9. “Merry Christmas Baby” by Elvis Presley. “Blue Christmas” is much better known, but this is Elvis at his bluesy best.

10. “The Chipmunk Song” by David Seville and The Chipmunks. Dang, I can actually remember when this first came out one Christmas season in the late 1950s. It was the very first single by Alvin and his brothers, and it has a certain youthful innocence lacking in the group’s later work. After all, this was when The Chipmunks were young and hungry — before they sold out.

* The Steve Terrell Christmas Special: Hear a bunch of these songs and so much more at 10 p.m. to midnight Sunday, Dec. 19, on KSFR-FM, 101.1 FM.

* Enchiladas roasting on an open fire: More music to ruin any Christmas party! Hear my podcast Xmas special HERE

Blog Bonus: Here's three short reviews of recent Christmas music I reviewed for Pasatiempo which have been published, or will be published this month.

Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
Bang Bang Baby Bang Bang Merry Christmas (Pete’s Pig Parts)

From the darkest backwoods of Massachusetts comes Angry Johnny with a sleighfull of songs about all those things that make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year — Santa Claus, drinking, snow, depression, shopping, gunplay, jingle bells and homicide.

In other words, all the elements of a good Angry Johnny album — plus all the Christmas wrappings.
Killbilly cultists have known for a long time that the Angry one had a soft spot for the holidays. Several years ago he released a free MP3 on his Web site of a song called “Six Bullets For Christmas.” That classic is included on this album.

The basic theme of “Six Bullets” — killing a loved on Christmas Day as payment for infidelity — is revisited here on the title song. But this time there’s a twist, a happy ending of sorts, at least for most of the characters involved.

Of course, Christmas is for the children. Therefore it’s appropriate that the opening tune, “Shootin’ Snowmen” is about innocent, if dangerous youthful Yuletide tradition. “Christmas carol from both barrels and the snowman is history ...”

With songs like “Slaughter in a Winter Wonderland” and “Santa Gets His,” this album is not for the squeamish. But for those who get tired of holiday fluff, this is more fun than swatting a sugarplum fairy.

The Polkaholics
Jingle Bells, Schmingle Bells (Self released)

It’s Christmas time in Crazytown and who better to provide the soundtrack than that polka-powerpunk trio,The Polkaholics. No, this isn’t your grandfathers polka band. No accordions, no tubas. Dandy Don Hedeker, Jolly James Wallace and Stylin’ Steve Glover play frenzied guitar rock with a hopped-up oom-pah-pah beat.

With this 7-song EP, the boys infuse some holiday classics with polka culture, adding references to beer, kishka, Old Spice, sauerkraut, kielbasa and more beer. Thus we have “Yakov the Polka Reindeer” (guess why his nose is so shiny), “White Christmas” redone as “Polka Christmas” and, instead of “Jingle Bells,” The Polkaholics sing “Sausage Balls.”

And if the genre-blending isn’t enough with the polka, punk and Christmas music, “The Polkaholics Are Comin’ to Town” starts off as a surf rocker. There are other musical non sequiturs, such as the guitar riff from “Day Tripper” opening the song “Drinkin’ With Santa.” And “In Excelsis Polka” is a wild polkafied mash-up of Bach, Van Morrison, Patti Smith and — for reasons I’m still trying to understand, “Sympathy for The Devil.”

The entire EP is only 20 minutes long. But dancing to it provides quite an aerobic work-off — the better to work off all that beer and sausage.

Good news! You can download all seven songs for free until Dec. 31 RIGHT HERE!.

Crazy For Christmas (Surfdog)

Old smoothie Dan Hicks has been Christmas music for decades. He’s part of the San Francisco-based Christmas Jug, whose song “Somebody Stole My Santa Suit” appeared on Rhino Records’ wonderful Bummed Out Christmas compilation CD back in 1989. He re-recorded that one, a reimagining of “Somebody Stole My Gal” for this album, though jug fans probably will prefer the original.

Longtime Hicks fans will have a flash of familiarity when they hear the first song, “Christmas Mornin’” on this album. It doesn’t become obvious until he starts singing, but it’s a funny re-write of an already funny Hicks standard, “Where’s the Money?”

There’s plenty of Christmasizing old songs here. Louis Jordan’s hit “Choo Choo Ch’ Boogie” becomes “Santa Got a Choo Choo,” while the jugband chestnut “Beedle Um Bum” — a song Hicks performs in concert — magically transforms into “Santa Workshop,” a story of an elf named McGerkin.

And there’s some covers of Christmas classics here — “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “I Saw Mommy Kissin’ Santa Claus,” Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolf” — done in the acoustic swinging Hot Licks style. My favorites of these are is “Carol of the Bells” sung scat style by Hicks and his Lickettes (The kazoos sound pretty snazzy here too) and “Cool Yule,” a song written by Steve Allen and made famous by Louis Armstrong.

Hicks make Yule sound cooler than ever. 

Here's a Hicks video featuring singing squirrels and aliens

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tom Russell's Border Report

He wrote it more than a year ago, but I just stumbled across singer/songwriter Tom Russell's haunting essay, "Where God and the Devil Wheel Like Vultures: Report from El Paso." It's a bittersweet, harsh funny in a dark way and weirdly poetic examination of the sad state of affairs in Cuidad Juarez as well as El Paso, where Russell has lived for the past 13 years.

It's a lament for the city now known as The Murder Capitol of The World. Strangely, it's also a celebtation.
I used to think of Orson Welles’ noir classic: “Touch of Evil,” when I walked down the bridge into Ciudad Juarez. That sinister feeling which draws the gringo-rube into web of rat-ass bars and neon caves; the nerve tingling possibility of cheap drink, violence, and sex; sex steeped in sham clichés about dark-eyed senoritas and donkey shows. It’s that heady, raw – anything goes, all is permitted, death is to be scorned- routine which informed and carved out the rank borderline personalities of John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, Pancho Villa, and hundreds of Mexican drug lords. Western myth now grim reality. You craved the real west, didn’t you?

I wasn't around in the days when Sinatra played Juarez, as Russell sings about on his album Borderland. But Russell's words evoke memories of those distorted strains of Canned Heat's "One Kind Favor" and The Doors' "Riders on the Storm" coming out of jukebox of El Submarino bar off Juarez Avenue, hitting my brainwaves in perfect synch with the first jolt of tequila back in 1972.

Of cab drivers, hookers, cheesy strip-joint MCs -- "Señor, you can kiss the monkey ..." -- of cheap ham sandwiches at Fred's Rainbow Bar, 35-cent margaritas, those weird guys who use to go from club t club clicking together little metal bars (hooked up to a battery) and offering drunken gringos the chance to get the hell shocked out of them for 75 cents.

Ah the sweet daze of sleazy innocence ...

Toward the end of the piece, Russell writes:

These are the far regions and outer limits of America. La Frontera. We’ve twisted and exploited and mined the old West for those clichéd, watered-down versions of violent cowboy and Indian stories, where John Wayne kicks ass and rides away in a white hat. Now it’s the drug soldiers and assassins in baseball caps who hold court with submachine guns, which we sold ‘em. They’re the ones kicking ass. You can write it from any political angle and subtext. You can walk around leaning on the moral, self righteous crutch of whatever religion and political party or news magazines you subscribe to. The palaver don’t cut much on the backstreets of Juarez. There’s a story here, but it exists in illogical fragments, chaotic subtexts, and poverty economics cured in the meth-soaked algebra of need, greed and corruption. And eventually it all plays out in song. Folk songs, cowboy ballads and Narco-corridos. What you can’t see with your eyes you can feel in your heart. Hand me down my old guitar.
Read the entire "Where God and the Devil Wheel Like Vultures: Report from El Paso" HERE

Bringing the Gift of Music to Juarez

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Sunday, December 12, 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
Ain't Comin' Back by Intruders Five
No Confidence by Simon Stokes
(We're a) Bad Trip by Mondo Topless
Happy Now by Lyres
Buy a Gun, Get a Free Guitar by  Deadbolt
Lies by Johnny Dowd
Always Wanting More by Jay Reatard
Gloria by Elastica

My Kind Of Trouble by Peter Case
He's Waitin' by The Sonics
Somebody Knockin'  by  T-Model Ford
Baron of Love Part II by Alex Chilton with Ross Johnson
Corinne Died On the Battlefield by The Preservation Hall Jazz Band & Tom Waits
Wowsville by Bob Taylor
Baby You Crazy by Nick Curran and the Lowlifes
We Wish You'd Bury the Missus by The Crypt Keeper
Jingle Bells by Richard Cheese

I'm Gonna Keep Singin' by Ray Charles
You Make Your Own Heaven Right Here on Earth by The Temptations
I'm So Proud by The Impressions
Promise of a Brand New Day by Diplomats of Solid Sound
The Hold Up by Andre Williams with Diplomats of Solid Sound
Whatcha Gonna Do by Rudy Ray Moore
Soul Survivor by Wilson Pickett
Me and The Devil by Gil Scott-Heron

Pammie's On A Bummer by Sonny Bono
Bad Trip by Lee Fields
Laugh at me by The Devil Dogs
World of Tomorrow by Death
Another Lost Heartache by Gregg Turner & The Mistaken
Symbol of Heaven by Little Julian Herrera
Drinkin' With Santa by The Polkaholics
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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BIG ENCHILADA 30: 2010 Christmas Special


Ho Ho Ho podlubbers! Here's the third annual Big Enchilada Christmas Special. Enjoy holiday cheer from Hank Ballard, Billy Childish, Sonny Boy Williamson, Mojo Nixon, The Polkaholics, New Bomb Turks, The Supersuckers, King Coleman, The Trashmen, Angry Johnny & The Killbillies and so many more.

Thank you for making The Big Enchilada part of your Yuletide tradition.

Play it here:


Here's the playlist:

(Background Music: Santa Claus is Coming by True Light Beavers)
Poundland Christmas by Wild Billy Childish & The Musicians of The British Empire
Real Live Doll by The Trashmen
Boogaloo Santa by J.D. McDonald
North Pole Boogie by Billy Briggs
Sausage & Sauerkraut for Santa by The Polkaholics
Big Ol' Hole This Christmas by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
Christmas in Las Vegas by Richard Cheese

(Background Music: Jingle Bells by Gene Krupa with Charlie Ventura)
Christmas Baby (Please Come Home) by New Bomb Turks
It's Christmas Time by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters
Is Santa Claus a Hippy? by Linda Cassady
Sonny Boy's Christmas Blues by Sonny Boy Williamson with Elmore James
Christmas is a Comin' (God Bless You) by The Shitbirds
Santa's Doing the Horizontal Twist by Kay Martin & Her Body Guards
(Background Music: carol of the Bells by Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks)

Even Squeaky Fromme Loves Christmas by Rev. Glenn Armstrong
Blue Grey Christmas by King Coleman
Don't Believe in Christmas by Tallboy
Call It Christmas by The Supersuckers
Christmas in Vietnam by Johnny & Jon
Go Tell It on the Mountain by Mojo Nixon & The Toadliquors
Jingle Bells by Johnny Dowd

Ghosts of Christmas Podcasts Past

Spend all your Christmas money at The Big Enchilada Podcast Zazzle Store.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Mysterious Case of Jim Sullivan

Thanks to Tom Adler for telling me about this strange little story about a musician who was last seen 35 years ago in Santa Rosa, N.M.

The story of Jim Sullivan aired on NPR Thursday. He was a singer-songwriter (whose music, honestly, isn't the type of stuff I like). He had a bit part in Easy Rider, (the commune scene, according to his sister.) By early 1975 he'd decided to leave Los Angeles to try his luck in the Nashville music game.

Sullivan recorded an album called UFO  for a small label on which some top-notch L.A. studio cats -- members of The Wrecking Crew -- played. The title song of the album has caused some of his more mystical fans to speculate that perhaps his disappearance is connected to beings from beyond.

Matt Sullivan, no relation to Jim, is owner of the Light in the Attic record company, which last month re-released UFO. In the Aquarium Drunkard blog he wrote a lengthy piece about the singer after traveling to California and to Santa Rosa seeking clues about Jim Sullivan.
La Mesa Motel, Santa Rosa NM
Jim left Los Angeles in his Volkswagen Bug sometime between noon and 1 p.m. on March 4. In the early morning hours of March 5, he was pulled over outside Santa Rosa for swerving. He was taken to the local police station for a sobriety test, which he passed. He was swerving from fatigue caused by the taxing 15-hour drive. Jim checked into the La Mesa Motel, but police reports later indicated that the bed in his room was not slept in, and the key was found locked inside the room.
Jim Sullivan's VW was found on ranch property 26 miles southeast of Santa Rosa.

Jim Sullivan has never been seen again.

Matt Sullivan writes:
We know that after he checked into the La Mesa, Jim stopped by the liquor store, bought some vodka, and drove around town. Somehow he ended up at this ranch. ... When the police found Jim’s car it was locked and the engine was dead. A number of things were found in the car, including Jim’s wallet, guitar, clothes, reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, silver appointment book, and a box of LP’s of Jim’s 1972 self-titled album on the Playboy label.
Matt Sullivan met with Guadalupe County Communicator publisher M.E. Sprengelmeyer and veteran Santa Rosa reporter Davy Delgado.

(Weird little bit of synchronicity: I don't know Sprengelmeyer personally, but he and I have mutual friends, and one of them is named Sullivan -- my former New Mexican colleague T.J. Sullivan. I don't think he's related to Jim or Matt Sullivan.)

Matt Sullivan writes:
For more than two years, search parties were regularly convened by a number of agencies – the New Mexico State Police, Santa Rosa police, and a number of volunteer groups.

What happened to Jim Sullivan probably never will be known. Just another bizarre unsolved case from New Mexico.

Photo of La Mesa motel by John Hartnup on FLICKR, Creative Commons license.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Friday, December 10, 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
The Party's Over by Willie Nelson (for Dandy Don)
What Go Around Come Around by Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band
Tupelo County Jail by Webb Pierce
Birmingham Jail by Johnny Bond
Dirty Dog by Jimmie Revard & His Oklahoma Playboys
Your Friends Think I'm The Devil by The Imperial Rooster
Humpty Dumpty Heart by  Hank Thompson
A Fool Such As I by Marti Brom
I've Gotta Lotta Livin' To Do by Cornell Hurd

Ian Tyson Tribute Set
Wild Geese by Bill & Bonnie Hearne
Four Strong Winds by Neil Young with Nicolette Larson
Navajo Rug by Tom Russell
Summer Wages by David Bromberg

Is Santa Claus A Hippy  by Linda Cassady
Slaughter in a Winter Wonderland by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
Feliz Navidad by  Billy Joe Shaver & Flaco Jimenez


Beatin' on the Bars by The Travelin' Texans
The Voo-Doo Man by  Johnny Perry
Marijuana, The Devil Flower by Johnny Price
The Hep Old Frog  by  Jimmy Stayton 
Out In The Smokehouse Takin' A Bath by Leroy Pullins 
Excorcism by Tommy Scott & Scotty Lee
Jesus is My Pusher by Margie Singleton
Mother Trucker by Lloyd Hugo
The Girl on Death Row by Lee Hazelwood
Nudist Colony by Kirk Hansard

Wide Stance by Buddy
I'm Playin' It Cool by Neal Jones
Troubles by Tara Nivens & Moontree Sinqua
Xmas Ornament by The Defibulators
The Virginian by Neko Case
On A Christmas Day by C.W. Stoneking
One Endless Night by Jimmie Dale Gilmore
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


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 

December 10, 2010

So you thought Ray Charles died in 2004? To that I say, “But wait a minute!” — as Charles sometimes used to exclaim in the middle of a song. Here’s Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters, a brand-new collection of 10 Charles songs that sound like they could have been recorded this year.

Actually, some of the instrumental tracks on this album were recorded fairly recently. They’re built around vocal tracks discovered in the vaults of Charles’ recording studio.

Whenever I read about “lost” recordings uncovered “in the vaults,” I get this image of Indiana Jones making his way through some dank underground labyrinth protected by pygmy warriors and venomous reptiles beneath the streets of Beverly Hills.

Producer John Burk, who was at the helm for Charles’ last studio album, Genius Loves Company, probably wasn’t wearing a pith helmet or wielding a machete when he came across these forgotten tracks. But it had to be a rush for him.

The songs span the decades, going back to the 1970s. Some of them were basically finished and required no further work — such as the blues-drenched “It Hurts to Be in Love.” Some were just demos. Burk whipped them all into shape, calling in studio musicians to add final touches to some of the tunes.

By the end, he created a unified work that would have made Charles proud. Except maybe the song “I Don’t Want No One But You,” the sole clunker here, the album doesn’t sound overproduced, which can’t be said of all the records Charles made when he was alive.

I can’t imagine why “It Hurts to Be in Love” was never released. It sounds like a classic Charles tune, with a prominent bass and a big horn section that punctuates Charles’ vocals without overwhelming the song. There’s a lengthy fade-out as Charles plays with the tune, “crying” in falsetto, pleading, jiving, and generally having fun despite the “hurt” in the title.

Even more fun is the funky “I’m Gonna Keep on Singin’,” which also was a finished work. Charles begins with a simple command: “Y’all listen!” There’s some fine call and response with his lovely Raelettes and a spoken-word segment in which Charles talks to the creator of the universe:

“Friends, I told the Lord himself this morning, I said ‘Lord, you know I don’t mean a bit of harm in the world. ...’ ”

It reminds me of Charles’ old song “Understanding,” which also featured some spoken-word segments. There are some great instrumental solos here, too — vibes, sax, and trumpet.

Brother Ray also gets down and bluesy on the slow and soulful “There’ll Be Some Changes Made.” This is one that features overdubbing. Keb Mo’ plays guitar, but the standout is the organ work by Bobby Sparks.

Charles’ love for country music is well documented. It comes out on Rare Genius with “A Little Bitty Tear,” a Hank Cochran song that was a hit in the 1960s for Burl Ives. It’s sparsely produced, with Charles and his piano out front. “She’s Gone” sounds even more country: “The love affair is all over, but the heartaches just began.”

Charles does a duet with another biopic subject, Johnny Cash, on Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me Lord?” which was produced in Nashville by Billy Sherrill (this one’s from the Sony Music vaults, which is guarded by different pygmies). I suspect it was recorded for a Cash album because Charles mainly sings background and plays some tasty electric piano.

Something tells me there’s a lot more treasure from the genius in those vaults, so don’t be surprised to see volumes two and three in the future. But as a die-hard fan, what I would like to see would be a collection of the raw tapes without new overdubs. Maybe call it “Ray Charles in the Rough.”

Also recommended:

*   What Goes Around Comes Around by The Diplomats of Solid Sound. Once again, The Diplomats prove that there’s more than corn in Iowa. Here’s a new crop of funky soul from Iowa City.

The Diplomats started out as an instrumental band. A few years ago they served as Andre Williams’ backup band on Aphrodisiac. Then with their 2008 album, Diplomats of Solid Sound Featuring the Diplomettes, female vocals became part of the Diplomatic mix. Two of the three Diplomettes — Sarah Cram and Katharine Ruestow — are back for this album. And so are the Brothers Basinger — sax dude David and keyboard guy Nate.

One of my favorites here is “Back Off” — a protest song of sorts, though I don’t think telling the cops or the military to “back off” is necessarily effective. Then there’s “Gimme One More Chance,” which features some soul violin by guest Diplomat Hannah Drollinger, doing her best to sound like Don “Sugarcane” Harris.

The title song has a blaxploitation-movie-soundtrack feel, with punchy horn riffs, while “Can’t Wait for Your Love,” subtitled “Pistol Allen,” is apparently an ode, in spirit at least, to the late Motown drummer Richard “Pistol” Allen. It sounds almost like a lost Martha and the Vandellas tune, embellished with sweet, almost otherworldly chimes.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Jim Morrison Pardoned

Here in New Mexico we still don't know what Gov. Bill Richardson is going to do with Billy the Kid, but down in Florida outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist today pardoned Jim Morrison for his 1969 (settle down, Beavis) indecent-exposure conviction.

From the Associated Press:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This is the end for 40-year-old convictions that left Jim Morrison marked with what today would be considered sex-offender status. Florida's Clemency Board, egged on by departing Gov. Charlie Crist, pardoned The Doors' long-dead singer Thursday on indecent exposure and profanity charges stemming from a wild concert.

Some people who were at the Miami show March 1, 1969, insist even today that he exposed himself, though others in the audience and Morrison's bandmates contend he was just teasing the crowd and only pretended to do the deed. Crist, tuned in to the controversy by a Doors fan, said there was enough doubt about what happened at the Dinner Key Auditorium to justify a pardon.

The board, which consists of Crist and a three-member Cabinet, voted unanimously to pardon Morrison as they granted several other pardons Thursday. At the hearing, the governor called the convictions a "blot" on the record of an accomplished artist for "something he may or may not have done."

Jackie Gleason, who organized a "Rally for Decency" prompted by the Morrison arrest, couldn't be reached for comment. Like Morrison, he's dead.

So now that this issue is done with, how about a "Pardon Sid Vicious" movement?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

My Favorite Oklahoma Christmas Song

As a native Oklahoman, nothing says Christmas more than the commercial for B.C. Clark's, a jewelry store. The jingle for the ad has been stuck in my head for -- I'm not kidding -- 50 years or so. Maybe longer. The store has run various spots with the same jingle since 1956!

Here's one I found on YouTube:

And here's a version sung on the Jay Leno show by Megan Mullally, who played Karen, the slutty, pill-popping assistant on Will and Grace. She was raised in Oklahoma City (and this proves it.)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


I searched, but I couldn't find Sen. Everett Dirksen's "Gallant Men," but Sammy was a find!

Sunday, December 05, 2010


Sunday, December 5, 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
There But for the Grace of God Go I by The Gories
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark by The Sonics
Bend Over, I'll Drive by The Cramps
Dog Food by Iggy Pop
Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love) by  The Swingin' Medallions
What Goes Around Comes Around by The Diplomats of Solid Sound
Thunder Thighs by Andre Williams with the Diplomats of Solid Sound
Soul Struttin' by The Fleshtones 
Sausage Balls by The Polkaholics

Preacher by Blue Cheer
Sifu Bruce Lee by Sexton Ming
Call Girl by M!ho Wada
Brown Trash by Tandoori Knights
Insane Asylum by Willie Dixon & Koko Taylor
Stumblin' Man by Tad
Red Rose Tea by The Marquis Chimps
Christmas in Las Vegas by Richard Cheese

Space Jeeps by The Scrams
Charlie Laine Ate My Brain by The Ruiners
Wild About You Baby by Hound Dog Taylor
Scratch My Back by The Flamin' Groovies
Cheap Shot by Monkeyshines 
Monkey Suit by The Plasmatics
Little Girl by The Hollywood Sinners
Christmas Boogie by Canned Heat with Alvin & The Chipmunks

Punk Rock Casualty by The Subway Surfers
Luck Be a Lady Tonight by Frank Sinatra
Why Hurt Flesh  by Kid Congo Powers
Good Morning Little School Girl by Chuck Berry
Stop Pulling And Pushing Me by Richie Havens
I'm Gonna Keep Singin' by Ray Charles
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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eMusic December

Last month eMusic made a deal with another of the major labels -- Universal. In doing so, they lost several independent labels, including Matador and Merge.

They also changed their pricing structure. It's in dollars and sense now instead of credits. The prices also slightly increased -- 49 cents for most tracks. Plus, eMusic no longer allows you to download for free tracks you've already paid for. (So be sure to back up your digital music collection!)

That's all bad news. But the good news is a lot of the cool labels -- Norton, Crypt, In the Red, Voodoo Rhythm, Bloodshot, etc are still there. And there's still lots of good deals on albums, especially on the older stuff. And it's till cheaper than either iTunes or Amazon.

Here's what I've downloaded from eMusic in the last month:

* The Wild Man by Hasil Adkins. This was the Haze's sophomore Hunch album in the late '80s. Back in 1986, Billy Miller and Miriam Linna  decided to launch a record company to unleash this West Virginia backwoods one-man-band's early recordings --  which go back to the 1950s. That compilation, Out to Hunch was the birth of  Norton Record.  For The Wild Man, they let him loose in a studio for a fresh bunch of recordings.

And happily, the result was pure Punchy Wunchy Wickey Wackey Woo. Most of the tracks are just Adkins singing, playing guitar and playing the bass drum with his foot -- though on a few cuts he's aided, minimally, by various members of the A-Bones. Nobody gets their head cut off here, but it's still a lot of fun.

In addition to his own crazed tunes -- "Chicken Flop," "Big Red Satellite" and "Wild, Wild Friday Night" are classic -- Adkins also performs several tunes by the likes of The Carter Family, Carl Perkins, Jimmie Rodgers and Merle Haggard (a slow and heartfelt "Turning Off a Memory"). But my favorite cover here is a hunchin' take on Jumpin' Gene Simmons' Halloween classic "Haunted House."

* Live In Hollywood '91 by Lavern Baker. The first time I heard the song "Bumble Bee," performed by the under-rated British Invasion group, The Searchers, I thought it was a real bitchen song.

The first time I heard it done by LaVerne Baker, I nearly covered my head for fear of getting stung.

Baker was one of the most powerful R&B performers of the 1950s and early '60s. She's best known for her hit "Jim Dandy" and the follow-up "Jim Dandy Got Married" (I forgive her for accidentally spawning Black Oak, Arkansas), but for my money Baker's best was the song about that bumble bee (an evil bumble bee!)

Baker was on the comeback trail by the time she recorded this live album in 1991, six years before her death. Past her prime for sure, and her band lacked that first-generation R&B urgency. And yes, there's too many easy-listening standards like "That's My Desire" and "What a Difference a Day Makes Here" (though LaVern injects a lot of soul into these chestnuts). But still, it's a good listen. "Tomorrow Night," which she recorded in the '50s, (I'm most familiar with Elvis' version) is full of irresistible emotion, as is is her 1959 hit  "I Cried a Tear."

But my favorite one here has to be the grand finale, the  Lieber & Stoller novelty classic, "Saved,"
 the Salvation Army spoof, which was a title cut of a Baker album in 1961. "I used to cuss, i used to fuss/I used to cuss and fuss and boogie all night long!" she sings. Elvis did this song on his '68 "comeback special," The Band covered it on Moondog Matinee and , yes, I used to do it in my cheesy nightclub act in the '70s and '80s. But nobody did it like LaVern.

Hey Hey, We're The Gories!
* Outta Here by The Gories. This 1992 album was the last album for this Detroit trio, whose stature and reputation continued to grow long after the group broke up. (They started doing reunion shows a couple of years ago. I saw them in New York last summer -- that's where I snapped the picture to the left.)

With Mick Collins (who later formed The Dirtbombs) and Dan Kroha on guitars and vocals and Peggy O'Neil bashing the drums, The Gories billed themselves as "punk blues. Along with their originals, they covered blues and R&B classics in their minimalist, primitive style.

One of my favorites here is "Great Big Idol With the Golden Head," which Leiber & Stoller wrote for The Coasters. They also do a tune called "Crawdad," which basically is a rewrite of Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley."

But best of all on this record is "There But For the Grace of God Go I," which came from a late '70s New York disco group called Machine. The song is a story of a couple of immigrants who try hard to protect their baby daughter. But by the time she's 16 she's running wild and ends up running away. The Gories cut it down to its basics and it sounds even more urgent the original.

You gotta give The Gories credit: They gave it their all to the very end. Though they were ready to break up by the time this was recorded, this definitely does not have the feel of some contractual obligation product or document.


* The seven songs I didn't already have from Evol. by Sonic Youth. This was Sonic Youth back in 1986, back before hardly anyone knew them. Back before hardly anyone else was trying to sound like them. No Wave had already crested and Grunge was waiting to be born.

But still there was Sonic Youth exploring those strange darkened corridors of sound.

Highlights of Evol include "Shadow of a Doubt," which might be Kim Gordon's sexiest vocal ever; "In the Kingdom #19," in which the lyrics, which tell of a car crash, are spoken by Lee Ranaldo, reminding me of The Velvet Underground's "The Gift"; and the 7-minute excursion "Expressway to Yr Skull," that sounds like folk-rock played by Neptunians.

*Seven tracks from  A Night on the Town With the Rat Pack by Frank, Dino & Sammy.

How can you not love these guys? This might not be rock 'n' roll, but the power, swagger and humor of these monsters shares a lot of common ground with the rock beast.

I'm not sure what the circumstances of this album are -- not even when it was recorded. (As for the where -- there's references to Chicago as well as St. Louis, so you have to assume these performances were taken from more than one night on the town.)
There's plenty of good old-fashioned fucking around here, ("What kind of fool am I," sings Sammy as he begins his famous hit. "You're a schmuck!" Sinatra answers.) But when they get ready to rare back and sing a song, their talent is unmatched. And the Count Basie band plays on at least several of these numbers.

I spent the last of my month's allotment on songs from this album. I'll pick up the remaining 31 tracks when my account refreshes.

Friday, December 03, 2010


Friday, December 3, 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
Wild Wild Friday Night by Hasil Adkins
Corn Money by The Defibulators
Love Me by The Phantom
A Pinhead Will Survive by Rev. Billy C. Wirtz
Little Dog Blues by Mel Price
Eatin' Fish and Drinkin' Sterno by The Imperial Rooster
I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself  by  Buddy Knox
Burn Burn Burn by Ronny Elliott
Christmas Mornin' by Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks

In the Nuthouse Now by Angry Johnny & GTO
That Mink On Her Back by  Hank Penny
Crack and Similac by Misery Jackals
Sally's Got a Wooden Leg by  Sons Of  The West
 Hang Man by Halden Wofford & The Hi Beams
Sneaky Pete by  Sonny Fisher
Man in the Bottom of the Well by Bill Kirchen with Elvis Costello
I'm Gonna Love the Glenn Beck Out of You by Jim Terr
Shootin' Snowmen by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies

Hot Dog by Rosie Flores
Diddy Boppin' And Motor Mouthin' by Clara Dean
Blues Keep Calling by Marti Brom
The Devil, My Conscience & I by Billy Barton
Deep in the Heart of Texas by Andy Anderson
Suffer to Sing the Blues by David Bromberg
Welcome Touch Of Death by Billy Hunt
Lookin' For Somebody to Kill by Kell Robertson
Stop, Look and Listen by Patsy Cline
Yakov the Polka Reindeer by The Polkaholics

Lucille by The Beat Farmers
I Pity the Poor Immigrant by Richie Havens
Must Be the Whiskey by Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez
Just Call Me Me Steven I'm Leavin' by Cornell Hurd
Samson by Greg Brown
The Lost Cause by Legendary Shack Shakers

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

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: A Special Birthday Wish

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
December 3, 2010

From the days of Motown, through the proto-punk era of the MC5, going into the garage-rock ’90s with The Gories and The Detroit Cobras, and culminating commercially with The White Stripes, the city of Detroit has been a dependable breeding ground for rock ’n’ roll.

A band called The Ruiners does nothing to ruin the reputation of the Motor City. In fact, the group’s new album, Happy Birthday Bitch, fits into the city’s proud tradition.

Fronted by Rick Ruiner, aka Rick Lappin (a recent feature in the Detroit Press referred to him as the group’s “singer/stuntman”) and Russian-born singer Nina Friday (that’s her on the cover), the band has a reputation for “setting things on fire, stripping down onstage, and occasionally winding up behind bars” (That’s from Chicago music critic Jim DeRogatis.)

This record just explodes with powerful rockers. “Fix That Broken Halo,” which starts off with a roaring “yeee haw!” from Friday, features crazy locomotive drumming over some wild slide guitar. “Charlie Laine Ate My Brain” is an ode to a real-live porn star. (Reportedly, there have been talks about the actress doing a video for the song.)

“Sugar Buzz” is a sweet crunching ode to a young lady enjoying treats at Dairy Queen, while “Suburban Cop” is a high-charged, hopped-up insult to law enforcement (“Hey, cop, congratulations, you just found my crotch!”).

If The Ruiners were better known, politicians across the country would be calling for their heads.

And while it’s a fine little rock ’n’ roll tune, do yourself a favor, guys, and don’t play the title song for your wife or sweetheart on her birthday.

Also recommended:

* The Scrams. One day last year, I was listening to a show by a fellow GaragePunk podcaster (RadiOblivion’s Michael Kaiser, who lives in Tennessee), and he announced a fun, rocking, heavy-on-the-Farfisa band called The Scrams from “Steve Terrell’s backyard in New Mexico.”

I went out and checked — they weren’t there. He was lying.

But later I found out that The Scrams were only some 60 miles away, in Albuquerque. Just recently The Scrams released a full-length, self titled album that fulfills the promise of the songs on the first 7-inch EP they released last year.

They’ve only been around for less than two years, and they call their sound “warehouse rock.” Started by guitarist Juan Carlos Rodriguez and drummer Nate Daly, other Scrams include singer Joseph Cardillo, Farfisa-nut Daniel Eiland, and bassist Matthew Vanek.

All tracks, from the opening shout of “1,2,3,4,” on “Exiles” to the weird sonic blast that follows “Cry, Cry Cry (In the U.S.A.)” — it sounds like backward masking — is raw garage joy. The first tune that grabbed me was “La Llorona,” a song about a local girl. She murdered her children and is now doomed to eternally wandering the arroyos as a wailing ghost. The Scrams pay her spooky justice.

There’s a song called “Chimp Necropsy,” which may or may not be about those poor medical-experiment chimps in Alamogordo. I can’t make out the lyrics here to save my life. I’m not sure what “Goat Throat” is about, either. Maybe The Scrams are trying to warn the world about some sort of human-animal hybrid.

Whatever, it’s an irresistible little tune with just a hint of ’60s-style soul. “Space Jeeps” is a science-fiction adventure, while “Cry, Cry Cry” almost sounds like The Fleshtones mangling Dion & The Belmonts’ “Teenager in Love.”

I’d be proud to have The Scrams in my backyard. If you want a hard copy of the CD, you’ll have to buy it from The Scrams. You can download the MP3 version for free at

* Curry Up: It’s The Tandoori Knights by The Tandoori Knights Canadian rockabilly Bloodshot Bill might be the logical person to step in and heal the rift between King Khan and BBQ (Mark Sultan), who split up earlier this year after a disastrous Asian/Australian tour.

After all, just this year Bloodshot Bill has released records with both — recording as The Ding-Dongs with Sultan and as The Tandoori Knights with Khan. Maybe he can instigate the melding of the two — a trio to be known as “The Tandoori Dongs.”

If I had to choose between the two, Tandoori Knights would get my nod. It’s got the same spirit of lo-fi rockabilly zaniness as The Ding-Dongs, but there’s also a flavor of East Indian exotica. (Both Knights are Indian. Arish Khan is of East Indian heritage, while Bloodshot Bill is Native American. And both were born in an exotic foreign country called Canada.)

“Pretty Please,” which opens the album, kicks off with a slow, slinky slide guitar. It sounds like a crude ditty beginning for what could, but never quite does, blossom into a huge Bollywood ballad. Other diamonds here include the rocking “Dress On,” a takeoff on Mitch Ryder’s “Devil in a Blue Dress” and “Big Belly Giant,” which features a dangerous sax and a chicken-lickin’ guitar while the Tandooris sing “eeny meenie miney moe.”

But my favorite is the sour-grapes dismissal of America’s oldest teenager on the song “Bandstand.” The boys protest in the refrain, “They won’t let Tandooris play on the Bandstand!” Come on, Dick, let ’em on the show! I don’t care if American Band did go off the air more than 20 years ago.

Consumer warning! I notice that a new copy of this CD is available for $23 and change from Amazon. But you can get it for $10 on the Norton Records site.


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