Thursday, June 30, 2011

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: It's Mighty Savage

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
July 1, 2011

Peter Greenberg with Barrence Whitfield
in Santa Fe last year

After a quarter decade, East Coast R & B and soul shouter Barrence Whitfield has reunited with the core of his original band, The Savages, and recorded a mighty new album. It’s called Savage Kings. It’s available in Europe and is scheduled for American release next week on Shake It Records, a Cincinnati label.

Although Whitfield is from Boston and the record was recorded in Cincinnati, there’s a strong New Mexico connection here. Original Savages guitarist Peter Greenberg moved to Taos a couple of years ago.

Greenberg, who once played with Boston garage warriors Lyres (and now plays with Taos band Manby’s Head), instigated the reunion with Whitfield and original bassist Phil Lenker. In fact, their first live gigs together in 25 years or so were last year in Taos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque.

This is the European cover
of Savage Kings
A history of the Savages, in a nutshell (as related to me in an interview with Whitfield last year): Whitfield was formerly a drummer in a funk band. While working in a record store and studying journalism at Boston University in the early ’80s, he hooked up with Greenberg, who was fresh out of Lyres and looking to start a more R & B oriented band. They recorded a couple of albums together before the original Savages, including Greenberg, began drifting away.

Whitfield pressed on, forming another Savages band and making more albums, including a couple of country-flavored efforts with Tom Russell in the mid-’90s. A confessed vinyl addict, he still works in a record store.

Savage Kings kicks off with “(Your Love Is Like a) Ramblin’ Rose.” No, it’s not the Nat King Cole song or the Grateful Dead’s “Ramble on Rose.” This is an MC5 classic. And Whitfield uses his best falsetto scream to deliver it. It’s followed by a punchy rocker called “Just Moved In” that features a honking sax solo by new Savage Tom Quartulli.

One of the coolest songs here was written by Greenberg and fellow Manby’s Header Mike Mooney. It’s called “Willie Meehan,” and it’s about an old boxer in the early part of the 20th century who actually beat Jack Dempsey a couple of times. Battling Willie, according to the song: “Never did no training / He ate his way to heavyweight.” The opening riffs remind me of The Sonics’ “Strychnine,” which Whitfield also covered a few years ago. Like Meehan himself, this tune is a chunky slugger.

“Shot Down” basically hits that murky borderline between R & B and ’60s garage music. Meanwhile, “Who’s Gonna Rock My Baby,” an obscure old rockabilly tune by Jerry Woodard, sounds as if it were written especially for Whitfield. “Well, I got my call from my draft board today,” the song begins. “Two years might not be that long, but I got to leave my baby at home.”

Whitfield and the band mix things up a bit. The minor-key “You Told a Lie” is basically contemporary blues. You can almost imagine Albert Collins or Robert Cray or maybe even Buddy Guy doing this one. “Bad Girl” is a good old-fashioned riveting soul meltdown; it starts out with a spoken-word introduction and ends with falsetto pleas for mercy.

Since I first listened to this album, my favorite song has been an old Lightnin’ Slim dirty blues classic called “It’s Mighty Crazy.” Captain Beefheart covered this also, at least in his live shows, although he called it “Keep on Rubbing.” (I’ve got it on a live bootleg Beefheart album called Crazy Little Things.) Whitfield’s version is closer to Lightnin’ Slim’s, except he’s got a sax instead of a harmonica.

Whitfield and the boys are touring Europe this fall. I hope the tour is a big success and inspires the Savages to record more.

Also recommended:
* Barrence Whitfield & The Savages. In anticipation of Savage Kings, Whitfield re-released his self-titled long out-of-print first CD, from the early ’80s, complete with a bunch of bonus tracks — outtakes, live recordings, etc. — from that era.

It starts out with “Bip Bop Bip,” a rocker written by soulman Don Covay. It’s got Whitfield’s original version of “Mama Get the Hammer” (the hammer is needed because there’s flies on the baby’s head.”). The song came from a ’50s R & B band, the Bobby Peterson Quintet. But it has become something of a signature tune for Whitfield.

Other must-hears are “Georgia Slop,” a Big Al Dowling tune (written by Jimmy McCracklin), which was later covered by Los Lobos, and “Whistle Bait,” which is a Collins Kids song, originally sung by the pre-teen Larry Collins. Whitfield sings it like an adult — a lust-crazed adult. Greenberg’s big moment here is the breakneck romper “Whiskey Wagon,” a fiery rockabilly slammer.

Among the bonus tracks is a nice slow soulful “Pain in My Heart,” a Naomi Neville tune that is best known for the version by Otis Redding. Whitfield fakes crying at the end of the song. Maybe some real tears were shed in that audience.

This CD has only been released in Great Britain by Ace Records. The good news is you can pick it up for a reasonable price at Amazon and other outlets. It’s worth having the CD because of the fine booklet with extensive liner notes by John Swenson and photos. It’s a savage treat.


Here's a Marvel Team-Up for you: Barrence meets King Salami! Live in Norway. (It takes about a minute and a half before the music starts.)

It'll Take More Than a Devastating Fire and Mass Evacuation to Stop Russ Gordon!

Russ Gordon, who has presented free concerts in Los Alamos every summer since before they invented the A-Bomb (ok, that's a slight exaggeration) just informed me that the show will go on.

Even though his city has been evacuated due to the fire near Los Alamos, Gordon says the Friday night show has been been moved to the Espanola Plaza.

This week's headliner is James Hyland the former lead singer for South Austin Jug Band. The music starts at 7 p.m.

I haven't heard Hyland, but it would be cool if a big crowd showed up in support. Like all Gordon shows, it's free. Check out his web site HERE

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


You might not have ever heard of Jerry Rosen. But he was a serious and respected musician.

He was a composer, a founding member of the Department of Music at UC Davis -- " the face of UC Davis Music for a half-century" -- and a member of the faculty of the University of California between his appointment in 1952 and his retirement in 1988.

And he was married to my my father's sister, Sylvia. Jerry always was one of the people I looked forward to talking to at Terrell family gatherings. A few years ago he sent me a CD of an opera he wrote about The Emperor Norton.

Here's a little bit about his music from his obit in The Davis Enterprise.

As a composer, Rosen left some 60 works of solo and chamber music, often including clarinet or saxophone, as well as works for voice and those of symphonic and operatic scope. His large-scale works for saxophone, including a Concerto of 1957 and a Quintet for Saxophone and Strings, 1974, attracted considerable attention, especially in Europe. His two operas, “Calisto and Melibea,” to a libretto by Edwin Honig (1979), and “Emperor Norton of the USA,” to a libretto by James Schevill (1999), were produced in the Main Theatre at UC Davis.

His major song cycle to a volume by the UC Davis poet Karl Shapiro, “White-Haired Lover,” was premiered in 1979; additionally he set poetry of Celeste Turner Wright, including “Campus Doorways,” composed for the inauguration of what is now the Pavilion of the Activities & Recreation Center (ARC), 1978; this was played again for the dedication of Celeste Turner Wright Hall in 1997. For the 75th anniversary of the campus in 1984, Rosen composed the University Fanfare that continues to be heard at the start of each commencement ceremony.

Rest in peace, Uncle Jerry.

Conchas Fire Takes KSFR Tower

I'll probably be doing Internet only versions of The Santa Fe Opry and Terrell's Sound World this week -- and probably for some weeks to come.

The raging Conchas fire near Los Alamos, which reportedly has grown to 60,000 acres, has stopped the power of KSFR's transmission tower on Pajarito Mountain.

"KSFR's tower was in the path of the fire last night and may have been lost," says the web site of Santa Fe Public Radio. It's not clear how much damage was done.

KSFR still is streaming. You can hear it HERE. Jerry Becker's jazz show is coming in loud and clear on my computer speakers.

The New Mexican has it's fire coverage on a handy single page now. This includes the live blog.

Happy Update: Right around noon KSFR went back on the air. None of the station honchos know exactly why, but that obviously means the tower and transmitter didn't burn up. The Conchas fire is still uncontained, so of course there's the danger it'll go off again. But as they say in the radio biz, stay tuned!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Sunday, June 26, 2011
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell (at)

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Who Do You Love? by Bo Diddley
Stay Away by Mondo Topless
Eat For Me by The Juke Joint Pimps
Shakey Shake #7 by Shouting Thomas & The Torments
I'm a Wicked One by The Hives
On the Move by Pierced Arrows
I Heard Her Call My Name by Velvet Underground
Rockabilly Monkey-Faced Girl by Ross Johnson
Hard Water by The Laundronauts

The World's Greatest Sinner by The A-Bones
Squid Lord by The Fall
Wine-O Baby by by Big Joe Turner
Who's Gonna Rock My Baby by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Miss Sue by Don And Dewey
I Hear Sirens by The Dirtbombs
Nunca la Quise by Wau y Los Arrrghs!!
Muchos Burritos by The Come n Go

Whizz Kid by The Hickoids
Space in Your Face by The Mekons
Raspberry Beret by Hindu Love Gods
Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White by The Standells
Dumpster Dive by Black Lips
Courtroom Blues by Johnny Otis
Anala by King Khan & BBQ Show
Mountain Oysters by Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis w/The Bill Doggett Trio

Lovers Never Say Goodbye by The Flamigos
Since I Met You Baby by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
The Wild West is Where I Want to Be by Tom Lehrer
Rickity Tickity Tin by Barbara Manning
Sweetheart (Waitress In A Donut Shop) by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Don't Blame Me by Dex Romweber Duo
Book of Love by The Monotones
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Summer's Here and The Time is Right For Voodoo in the Streets on The Big Enchilada!


Summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the streets. Not to mention sun, surf, hotdogs, BBQ and, best of all Voodoo orgies! Join me for some magical musical moments to keep your summer hot.


Here's the playlist:

(Background Music: Ghost Surfer by The Surf Lords)
Voodoo Love by The Monsters
It's Mighty Crazy by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Mad Dog by The Black Lips
It's Friday Night and I Wanna Get Laid by The Experiments
Just Because of You by Chuck Violence & His One-Man Band
Davy, You Upset My Home by Joe Tex
Filme de Terror by Horror Deluxe

(Background Music: Voodoo Theme by The Infoiatis)
Johnny Voodoo by Empress of Fur
Roll the Cotton Down by The Zipps
Goodnight by The Conjugal Visits
Cave Girl by The Tex-Reys
I Got the Creeps by Big John Bates
State and 32nd by Kenneth Rexroth

(Background Music: Voodoo Doll by Dr. Lonnie Smith)
It's Your Voodoo Working by Charles Sheffield
Swamp Water by Mama Rosin with Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers
Free Wi-Fi by Crappy Dracula
Potluck by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Summertime by Die Zorros

Play it Here:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Night Off the Opry

Laurell Reynolds will be subbing for me tonight on the Santa Fe Opry at 10 pm Mountain. You can still listen online HERE or at 101.1 FM if you're near Santa Fe and northern New Mexico.

I'm heading downtown where The Hickoids, Blood-Drained Cows and Manby's Head have a little rock 'n' roll entertainment planned. If you're out and about check out the show at The Underground.

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: Hey! You! Get Onto My Cloud!

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 24, 2011

I felt like Cinderella being invited to the royal ball.

Last week, buried in my email among my music press releases, pleas for money from politicians, notices of car dealers and Albuquerque restaurants I’ve never heard of following me on Twitter, and fabulous business opportunities from widows of high-ranked Nigerian officials was my invitation!

It was from Google Music Beta. It had been weeks and weeks since I’d sent my request for an invitation. (To be honest, having to request an invitation made me feel cheap and tawdry. But I like that feeling.)

(If you haven't already, you can request your information HERE.)

For those of you still trying to figure out this internet fad, Google Music is the latest major entry into the realm of “cloud” storage for music. It joins Amazon Cloud Player, which launched earlier this year. And before the end of the year it will be joined by Apple’s iCloud.

The “cloud” has been a big internet buzz for the past couple of years among music fans. Those of us who listen to music over our computers do so using a player, such as iTunes or Windows Media Player (I understand there are still people who use that) to play MP3s or other music files stored on our computer or external hard drive.

But with the cloud, you upload your music files to big ol’ computers somewhere far away — probably located in nightmarish sweatshops in hideous countries where child labor is forced to work 16-hour shifts to keep dangerous machinery running just so you can listen to your lousy Coldplay MP3s whenever you want. (Just kidding, just kidding. Nobody sue me, please.)

I set up my Amazon Cloud Player when that first came out. And now with Google Music Beta, I could upload even more of my collection to a home up in the clouds. My collection is nearly 227 gigabytes (GB) — well more than 42,000 “items” (mostly individual songs, with several podcasts, radio-show soundchecks, etc.).

What is the advantage of having music on the cloud? You can access both Amazon Cloud and Google Music from any web browser on any computer. For those of us with huge digital music collections, that means we don’t have to lug around our external hard drives everywhere we go to enjoy thousands of songs. Your computer blows a gasket, your hard drive freezes up, your house burns down, and your music, or at least a good chunk of it, still will be available for you online.

Cloud wars: I've found both cloud systems easy to operate from my laptop. And I’m no audiophile, but to these ravaged ears, the playback sounds as good as it does from iTunes.

Most of the comparisons I’ve read — written by people who know a lot more about this tech stuff than I ever will — have tended to give the edge to Google over Amazon. Google Music uploads your music faster, critics insist (both take a long time to upload your tunes), and Google lets you upload more music for free.

Amazon currently allows you to upload five gigabytes of music for free to their Cloud Player. But if you purchase any MP3 album from Amazon, you get 15 more GB for free for a year. (I took advantage of that, buying the North Mississippi Allstars’ latest album, Keys to the Kingdom, when it was on sale for $5.)

What happens at the end of the year isn’t clear. Can you renew by buying a new album? Will you have to cough up $20? Will the company zap 15 gigs from your library if you don’t? Time will tell. There are various plans for additional storage at Amazon Cloud. They all work out to $1 a year for each GB, up to $1,000 for 1,000 GB.
Are these clouds or chemtrails?

One cool thing about Amazon. When you buy MP3s from the site now, they automatically go to your Cloud Player stash. And these songs don’t count against your limit. One uncool thing, though — you have to manually upload MP3s you bought from Amazon before the launch of the Cloud Player — and these will count against your limit. So far I’ve used nearly all of my Amazon allotment. That’s more than 4,000 songs.

But over at Google Music Beta, you can upload 20,000 songs for free. You don’t even have to buy an album. In fact, you can’t buy an album there, for reasons best known to the captains of the music-industrial complex. As of now, I’ve only uploaded nearly 9,000 songs. (Note my personal figures are updated than the ones published today in Pasatiempo.)

But will this free storage at Google Music last forever? An article at speculated last month, “Chances are you’ll have to pony up in order to keep things there once the beta label is yanked.”
One factor in Amazon’s favor is that you can download your music from the cloud. This is a huge advantage if your computer or hard-drive crashes — though I’d hate to guess how much time it would take to download 20 GBs from Amazon. Google doesn’t have this feature.

There is free music available from Google Music when you first set up your cloud player. You get to select from several genres. I didn’t want to clutter up my online library too much, so I just chose blues and alternative rock, The free blues selections were good, with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Elmore James among them. The “alternative rock” selections were fairly useless (though there was some good Social Distortion tracks). But heck, they were free, and deleting duds is easy.

Both the Amazon and Google services can be accessed on Android phones. Neither is supposed to be accessible from an iPhone (there are no iPhone apps for them), but there’s a backdoor way in through the Safari browser.

Just log into your Amazon account and go from there — simply ignore the warning that the service isn’t compatible. Once you’re in, just add it to your home screen for easier access in the future. That’s good news, at least if you want to listen when you’re someplace where your connection is steady. I played it in my car, and it worked for several songs in a row, but several times the streaming music got choppy. This won’t replace my regular iPod.

Speaking of i-things, Apple’s iCloud is bound to shake up the fledgling music cloud biz. The only free storage Apple is going to give you is for the stuff you buy on iTunes. But for $25 a year, you get unlimited storage. For those with big collections, that’s a bargain.

Whichever service becomes the most successful, I believe a lot more music junkies are going to have their heads in the clouds.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Mekons Return

Those lovable Mekons are releasing a new album, Ancient & Modern in late September on their reconstituted label Sin Records.

Their friendly publicist said it's cool to share this Mp3, "Space in Your Face" from the album. CLICK HERE to play (right-click to download).

Here's the press release:

On Ancient & Modern, Mekons bring you an “album” just like albums used to be; cardboard things filled with cheeky, chunky 78rpm shellac. Just take a look at the cover of Ancient & Modern and you’ll know what we’re talking about! Let the band take you for a walk down memory lane, to the world as it was just before the First World War ... to the Edwardian Era, to the Naughty Naughties a hundred years ago, a cozy nostalgic world: cricket on the village green, punting down the river in a striped blazer and boater, off with the hounds, picnic hampers, community singing, mistresses and wives, mysticism, secret societies, dangerous poetry, radical modern art, Freud, national strikes, revolution, anarchists, bombers, British concentration camps ... oops, is that really a hundred years ago?!? Mekons travel back/forward to a world unaware that it’s waiting for the pistol to CRACK CRACK CRACK in Sarajevo, plotting their singular course through the digital tsunami of contemporary sounds that blare tinnily from your mobile phone or spin at 78rpm in His Master’s Voice from the horn of your exquisite Gramophone.

Despite the talk of 78 shellac, I'm assuming it will be on CD as well.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Sunday, June, 2011
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell (at)

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Susquehanna Hat Company by Too Much Joy
Red Cobra #9 by The Mummies
Raw Meat by Black Lips
Midnight To Six Man by The Pretty Things
Hell Ain't What it Used to Be by Nashville Pussy
Sweet Talk by The Naughty Ones
Dog Food by Iggy Pop
Washing in the Blood (of Rock and Roll) by The Professor and His One Man Dirty Rhythm and Blues Explosion
Rollin' and Tumblin' by Canned Heat
Cause I Sez So by New York Dolls
Give Him A Great Big Kiss by The Shangri-Las

The Flame that Killed John Wayne by The Mekons
Run Away From Me by Movie Star Junkies
Born With a Tale by The Supersuckers
Cosmic Belly Dance by The Monsters
Shaggy Dog by Lightnin' Hopkins
My Baby Got Drunk by Paul "Wine" Jones
Nobdy Gets Me Down by T-Model Ford
Racoon City Limits by Black Smokers
Neat Neat Neat by The Hickoids

Merry Go Round/My Name Is Larry by Wild Man Fischer
Don't Shake Me Lucifer by Roky Erikson
I'm Weak by New Bomb Turks
Question My Sanity by L7
Motorhead with Me by Nobunny
Sinister Kid by Black Keys
Schrodinger's Puss by Crappy Dracula
Shave Your Beard by Ros Sereysothea

Standing on the Verge of Getting It On by Funkadelic
Stepchild by Solomon Burke
All You Can Eat and You Can Eat it All Night Long by Candye Kane
Land of Hope and Dreams by Bruce Springsteen
The Way We Were Wild Man Fischer with Mark Mothersbaugh
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

R.I.P Larry "Wild Man" Fischer

Wild Man Fischer is dead. He was 66. His name was Larry.

The mentally ill street musician "discovered" by Frank Zappa died of a heart attack in Los Angeles on Thursday.

His New York Times obituary is HERE.

The Los Angeles Times remembers him HERE.

Like other  musicians who have struggled with mental illness -- Roky Erikson, Daniel Johnston, Wesley Willis, Brian Wilson, Sid Barrett -- watching or listening to Wild Man Fischer made you uncomfortable. Are we laughing with him or at at him? Are we exploiting the poor guy? Are we feeding his demons when we laugh and cheer him on?

And yet who could be unaffected when, hearing him sing "My Name is Larry," by his recreation of conversations with his family, most of whom he portrayed as patronizing him, trying to ignore him, fearing him? And how can you not feel the raw spirit in his manic performance?

Below are a couple of videos by which to remember this troubled soul, as well as a trailer for the documentary dErailRoaDed.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Friday, June 17, 2011
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell (at)

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Stop the Train by Mother Earth
You Only Kiss Me When You Say Goodbye by Cornell Hurd
Ruby Jane by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys
Let's Do Wrong Tonight by Simon Stokes & The Heathen Angels
Hootin'-Nanny Papa by The Buchanan Brothers & The Georgia Cats
The Gal Who Invented Kissin' by Hank Snow
Rocky Top by Rose Maddox
Yankee Taste by Jayke Orvis
Viva Sequin / Do Re Mi by Ry Cooder

The Ballad of Maria and Fred/ The New Jesse Davy by Guy Standard
Road Movie by Zeno Tornado & The Boney Google Brothers
Yes, Sir by The Great Recession Orchestra
Prince Nez by The Squirrel Nut Zippers
Me and Me Girl by The Pussywarmers
Pink Burrito by R. Crumb & His Cheap Suit Serenaders
Pussy by Harry Roy & His Bat Club Boys
Glad It's Dark by Jimbo Mathus
Beatin' On The Bars by T.Tex Edwards & Out On Parole

London Zydeco by Mama Rosin & Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers
Still Believe by Sean K. Preston
Last Call at the Old Ponderosa by Paul Rhae McDonald
Kohrn Sirrup Sundae by The Imperial Rooster
Another Wreck on the Highway by Angry Johnny
I'm Gonna Take You Home And Make You Like Me by Robbie & Donna Fulks
Sittin' on Top of the World by Gal Holiday
Old Black Joe by Jerry Lee Lewis

Cat from the Rain by Gary Heffern with Carla Togerson
Bad News by Whitey Morgan
Facebook Page by John Egenes
Here We Are Again by Wanda Jackson
Time Out for the Blues by Levon Helm featuring Teresa Williams
Don't Forget Me, Love by Toni Brown
Big Black Dog by Emmylou Harris
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: Zydockabilly, Exotica Obscura

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 17, 2011

Remember those stupid Reese’s Peanut Butters Cup commercials in which one dorky kid eating a jar of peanut butter while walking down the street bumps into another? “You got your peanut butter in my chocolate,” the first kid says. “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter,” the other responds.

Instead of being mauled by a pack of rabid dogs like they deserve, the two discover a great new taste sensation.

I don’t bring this up to indicate an association with or sponsorship by Reese’s — nor do I intended to disparage the company’s fine products. But when I first saw the new album Louisiana Sun by Mama Rosin and Hipbone Slim & the Knee Tremblers, I thought about that ad.

“Hey! You got your Swiss zydeco in my British neo-rockabilly.”

Indeed, Mama Rosin, named for a classic Cajun tune best known for the version by Zachary Richard, is a three-man group from Geneva that plays a hopped-up, rocked out version of Cajun and zydeco music.

Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers
Hipbone Slim, also known as “Sir Bald Diddley,” is a London rockabilly boy. What the two bands have in common, besides their history of appropriating their respective styles of American roots music to their own weird ends, is their affiliation with Voodoo Rhythm Records, which is always keen on subverting roots music just for kicks or thrills.

For the most part, it works. This album was recorded partly in England, partly in Italy, but its heart is in the American South.

There are several tracks that sound more “zydeco” (“Citi Two-Step,” “London Zydeco”) or more “rockabilly” (“Quel Espoir?,” “The Cat Never Sleeps”). My favorite ones are those in which both elements combine into something new and threatening.

Such is the case with the first song, “Voodoo Walking,” described on the album cover as “a classic Charles Sheffield number in a new dress.” Though it’s sung in French by Mama Rosin’s Cyril “Jeter” Yeterian, you can hear the influence of Louisiana R & B shouter Sheffield’s early ’60s regional hit “It’s Your Voodoo Working” as well as the main hook from Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning.” It’s noirishly swampy, with a spooky melodeon solo by Yeterian.

“Swamp Water” lives up to its name. Hipbone Slim handles the vocals here. There’s strong drumming by Rosin’s Xavier Bray on this percussion-heavy song, while Yeterian’s Cajun licks on the melodeon keeps it right in the bayou.

 “Killing Two Birds With One Stone” and “Gettin’ High” have a basic John Lee Hooker stomp-boogie sound, but with zydeco overtones. “Princess Havana” takes a Caribbean detour, while “Trouble Ain’t So Never Far Away,” sung by Hipbone, sounds like a tribute to New Orleans piano-dominated soul ballads.

And then there’s the title song, a re-working of The Rivieras’ “California Sun” (later covered by The Ramones), now a zydeco-drenched, banjo embellished pan-national anthem of summer fun.

I don’t want to get too corny here and babble about how music is the international language or some such hogwash. The main thing on this album is that it sounds like both bands had a lot of fun making it.

Also recommended:

* The Chronicles of the Pussywarmers. Last week, reviewing Jimbo Mathus’ new album, Confederate Buddha, I lamented the fact that there’s nothing on the album that sounds anything like the music of Jimbo’s best-known band, the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Just a couple of days after I wrote that, I received this new album by the Pussywarmers, a band led by singer-guitarist Fabio “Pozzo” Pozzorini, from the Italian speaking part of Switzerland.

The label touts the group as an “exotica obscura freak show varietease sea cruise orchestra” that plays Weimar Republic-era jazz (the musicians’ lives must be a cabaret, old chum). And it’s true, this band has a distinct Euro vibe.

But I hear a lot of the Zippers’ neo-vaudeville/Dixieland craziness in there, too. In fact the first song, “Me and Me Girl” a jazzy calypso romp, could almost be the sequel to the Zippers’ “Hell.” Further into the album “La nen la Bambele,” with its muted trumpet and bluesy melody sounds like some long-lost Cab Calloway song, kidnapped by Europeans.

Virtually every song here is a mysterious musical adventure. “Chanson d’amour (Ce n’est pas pour moi),” sung in French, reminds me of the music of the band’s Voodoo Rhythm labelmates The Dead Brothers, especially when the song changes into a waltz with a musical saw providing a ghostly response to the guitar and piano solos.

“La marcia dell’amor negato” could almost be a polka. And the near-five-minute “Broken Mirror,” featuring drumming straight out of Burnt Weeny Sandwich/Weasels Ripped My Flesh-era Frank Zappa, reminds me of psychedelic version of Brecht and Weill’s Three Penny Opera.

Two of the three photos used here were stolen from Brother Panti-Christ's Myspace page.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Sunday, June 12, 2011
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell (at)

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
It Should Be Me by Billy Childish & Musicians of The British Empire
Just Moved In by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Wine, Wine, Wine by The Classics 5
Throw That Girl Away by The Dwarves
It's Great by Wau & Los Arrrgs!!!
Modern Art by The Black Lips
FM Receiver by The Brimstones
Berlin by Dickey B. Hardy
Endsville Eddie by The Weird-ohs
Night of the Sadist by Larry & The Blue Notes
Davy, You Upset My Home by Joe Tex
The Ugly Side of the Face by Hang in the Box

Periodically Double or Triple by Yo la Tengo
Swamp Water by Mama Rosin & Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers
My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama by Frank Zappa
I Need Somebody by ? & The Mysterians
Your Love by The Reigning Sound
Pokin' Around by Mudhoney
Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee by Jerry Lee Lewis
Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill by The Bostweeds

American Triology by Unknown Elvis Impersonator
Sky Language by Prolly
Call the Doctor by Sleater-Kinney
I'm Alright by The Hipshakes
Mini-Skirt Blues by Simon Stokes & The Heathen Angels
Why Don't You Give It to Me? by Nathaniel Mayer
Stumblin' Man by TAD
Priscilla foi pra Toquio by Horror Deluxe

Buke E Kripe Ne Vater Tone/Kalaxhojne by by Three Mustaphas 3
Future Kings by Gogol Bordello
La Marcia Del Amor Negato by The Pussywarmers
Weiner Dog Polka by Polkacide
Please Warm My Weiner by Bo Carter
Bad Attitude by Lisa Germano
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, June 10, 2011


Friday, June 10, 2011 
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell (at)

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Ophelia by Levon Helm
Shadow My Baby by Ray Condo and the Ricochets
Brain Cloudy Blues by Gal Holiday
Go-Go Truck by The Defibulators
Voodoo Walking by Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers with Mama Rosin
Lonesome Side Of Town by Johnny Dilks And His Visitacion Valley Boys
Okie's in the Pokie by Jimmy Patton
Jimmie the Kid by Hank Snow
Crazy as a Junebug by Paula Rhae McDonald
Bad Blood by Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue by Scott H. Biram

I Like the Way by The Imperial Rooster
Some Happy Days by The Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band
Oh Honey Baby Doll by Bloodshot Bill
I'm Lonesome Without You by Hazeldine
I'm A Hobo by Danny Reeves
I Wanna Hot Dog For My Roll by Butterbeans & Susie

Leash My Pony by Jimbo Mathus
Loco by DM Bob & The Deficits
Meet Me in the Alleyway by Steve Earle
I Got Me a Woman by Andy Anderson
Laundrymats and C-Saws by Black-Eyed Vermillion
Streamlined Mama by Buddy Jones
It Won't Hurt When I Fall From This Barstool by The Sweetback Sisters
Lil Liza Jane by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
Dancing Days by Bad Livers

Crazy Sons of Bitches by John Egenes
Across the Wire by Calexico
Joy by Joe Ely
I Found A Million Dollar Baby by The Boswell Sisters
Must Be Somethin' in the Water by Rachel Brooke
It Takes An Old Hen To Deliver The Goods by Cliff Carlisle
Tennessee Waltz by Sally Timms
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: Southern Storytellers Jimbo & Levon

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 10, 2011

Jimbo Mathus covers a lot of Southern-music ground in his new solo album Confederate Buddha. With his band, The Tri-State Coalition, Mathus romps through blues, honky-tonk, and Allmanesque boogie. The influence of gospel music is apparent on some tracks, and there are even some Southwestern sounds in the Mexican-influenced ballad “Aces & Eights.”

There is just about everything but the neo-Dixieland/ vaudeville sounds of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, the band that launched Mathus’ career in the ’90s. As a SNZ fan, I would have liked some of that, but hey, it’s his album.

Most of my favorites here are the simple country and blues songs. “Leash My Pony” is a hearty blues, starting off with an acoustic guitar lick. The band is nice and loose.

“Town With No Shame,” a honky-tonk lament with a mournful steel guitar, sounds like something Ry Cooder would have pitched to The Rolling Stones. “Glad It’s Dark” shows the influence of Doug Sahm. It’s a country weeper, but instead of fiddles and steel, it features an electric organ.

Where Mathus excels is in the great tradition of Southern storytelling. “Jimmy the Kid” (not to be confused with the Jimmie Rodgers song of similar title) is an old-fashioned outlaw ballad — rock ’n’ roll style. Perhaps it’s an “autobiography” of ol’ Jimbo in a fanciful kind of way. “He went back East and he came out West/A .45 pistol strapped to his chest./Down in Texas he robbed the Alamo/The poor boy was stranded in a herd of buffalo.”

“Aces & Eights” is about the killing of Wild Bill Hickok by the coward Jack McCall, who inspires the wisdom, “There’s nothing worse than a desperate man who holds a grudge.” The title of the tune refers to the cards Hickok was holding when McCall shot and killed him — according to legend, a pair of aces and eights — which became known as the “dead man’s hand.”

One little puzzle:the Mexican music is historically inaccurate, as Hickok was killed in Dakota Territory (as Deadwood fans all know.) Maybe the mariachi touches were to give the song a Marty Robbins feel. Whatever the case, it works.

The final song, “Days of High Cotton,” reminds me of The Band’s “King Harvest (Has Surely Come).” It’s a sad tale of economic ruin coming to the South told by a narrator who has seen much better times.

The only trouble with this record is that sometimes the music drifts into a generic late-’70s Southern rock sound like you might hear on an old Dickey Betts solo album — a little overproduced, a little uninspired. I’m thinking of tracks like “Wheel Upon Wheel” and “Walks Beside.” These songs aren’t bad; they’re just not as ear-opening as the others.

Also recommended:

* Ramble at the Ryman by Levon Helm. Levon Helm is basically all we have left of The Band. Rick Danko is dead. Richard Manuel is long dead. Robbie Robertson hasn’t made music that sounds like The Band — or is nearly as good as The Band — in decades. I don’t know what Garth Hudson is doing.

So Helm is it, and dang if he still doesn’t make you smile when he opens his throat and sings songs like “Ophelia” and “Rag Mama Rag.” These songs and other Band classics are ancient and I’ve heard them a million times, but Helm and his current group showed at this 2008 show in Nashville that they still live and breathe.

No, Helm’s voice isn’t what it was way back when. He’s had struggles with throat cancer, and there were a few years when he couldn’t sing a note. So he’s helped out by a small army of guest stars including Buddy Miller, John Hiatt (who trades verses with Helm on “The Weight”), and Sheryl Crow, who sings the Emmylou Harris part on “Evangeline.”

Actually though, my favorite guest vocalists are the lesser-known ones. A guy called Little Sammy Davis sings a couple of songs, the best being a blues tune called “Fannie Mae.” Then there’s Teresa Williams, one of Helm’s background singers, who rages during her solo number “Time out for the Blues.”

Undoubtedly the prettiest song here is “Anna Lee,” a song from Helm’s 2007 album Dirt Farmer. Helm sings accompanied only by Larry Campbell on fiddle and his daughter Amy Helm and Williams singing harmonies.

My only complaint here is that Dylan’s “Blind Willie McTell” isn’t included in this show. Helm and crew have been known to do the song in recent years, as evidenced by a handful of substandard audience videos on YouTube. (Pardon me. I already ranted about my love for this song a couple of weeks ago in this column.)

A film of Ramble at the Ryman was broadcast on PBS and has been released as a DVD.

Enjoy some videos, kids:

Upcoming Santa Fe Music Gigs Worth Your While

Lotsa cool music coming up in Santa Fe this month.

This weekend is the 12th Annual Thirsty Ear Festival, now relocated to various spots around now, but mostly at the venue formerly known as the Santa Fe Brewing Company, now called Santa Fe Sol. I'm especially looking forward to Calexico Saturday night at Sol. It'll also be cool to see Cederic Burnside's band. I haven't seen him since the last time he was through town drumming with his late grandpappy, R.L. Burnside.

Also worth noting is a cool punk/garage show coming to The Underground (The basement of Evangelos') on Friday June 24 featuring The Hickoids, The Blood-Drained Cows and Manby's Head. Hometown boy Tom Trusnovic will be drumming for The Hickoids, whose latest album I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. (He's also drummer for BDCs).

In the meantime, here's a couple of videos from The Imperial Rooster, who are playing right before Calexico Saturday at  Thirsty Ear. These are songs doing songs from their new album Decent People. They did these for the prestigious Couch by Couchwest , which Rooster drummer Dusty Vinyl said was "was a Twitter joke about bands who couldn't make it to SXSW ..." It was recorded on the porch at International Imperial Rooster Corporation Headquarters, which apparently is near a very busy highway.

Sunday, June 05, 2011


Sunday, June 5, 2011
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M.
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM

email me during the show! terrell(at)

OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Ready for Action by Mexican Moustache
Pictures of Lily by The Hickoids
Chimp Necropsy by The Scrams
Something Else by The Nobles
The Ballad Of Beebo Bull by The Screamin Yeehaws
Foggy Notion by Rocket from the Tombs
Graveyard in your Memory by Nekromantix
Love Your Money by Lolita #19
Have a Ball by The Montesas
Fat Mama by Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Beautiful Zelda by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

Alcohol by Gogol Bordello
Family Business by Dengue Fever
Taxidermy Porno by The Hex Dispensers
Greyhound Part 2 by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (Killa Priest Remix)
Roll The Cotton Down by The Zipps
Seven Days of Cryin' by The Cavaliers
Crazy Dreams by Ding Dongs
Heart Attack and Vine by Screamin' Jay Hawkins

I Wanna See You Bellydance by The Red Elvises
Istanbul (Not Constantinople) by They Might Be Giants
Turkish Song Of The Damned by The Pogues
Mustafa Sandal by Kalmadi
Telephone Call From Istanbul by Tom Waits

Ouh Poo Pah Doo by Ike & Tina Turner
The Boogie Man by The Curlee Wurlee!
Pontiac Flannagan by Churchwood

Land of 1,000 Dances by The Thyme
Like A Rolling Stone by Johnny Thunders & Wayne Kramer
Dig It by The Beatles
Liar Liar by The Castaways
Sporting Life Blues by Champion Jack Dupree
Treme Second Line by Kermit Ruffins
I'll Take Care Of You by Gil Scott-Heron
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis
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eMusic June

* Revelator by Coco Robicheaux.  Longtime and loyal fans of my Sunday night radio show, Terrell's Sound World might recall that 10 or 12 years ago, back when KSFR was having trouble with the administration of Santa Fe Community College, I did a "radio voodoo ceremony" to cast away the evil spirits that seemed to be haunting the station. It wasn't a real serious thing. I just played 30 minutes of Dr. John and songs like The Talking Heads' "Papa Legba," Junior Wells' "Hoodoo Man" and some novelty songs about Voodoo.

Whatever, it worked. It took a couple of years, but those evil spirits vanished.

I might have burned a voodoo candle that night, which in itself probably broke station rules. But I promise, I didn't sacrifice a live chicken in the studio that night.

Which leads us to Coco Robicheaux.  I learned of this guy through the HBO show Treme. He's the singer  who slit the throat of a live chicken during a performance at a troubled public radio station. I felt a certain kinship with the guy as well as the DJ  Davis McAlary, Steve Zahn's character, who got fired over the incident.

 Robicheaux doesn't actually sing much. He recites the lyrics in his deep raspy drawl over smokey jazz or blues riffs. Comparisons with Dr. John, from his Night Tripper days are inevitable. (And like the good doctor, Coco has done commercials for Popeye's Chicken.)  But I hear more Nighthawks at the Diner era TomWaits.

The album kicks off with an ominous reading of the old Chambers Brothers hit "Time Has Come Today." This is one of several here, incluidng "Fortune Teller," "Crossroads" and a beatnik  bluegrass take on "I Am a Pilgrim" featuring Coco on banjo.

But my favorite is "Memo From Turner," an old Mick Jagger song (yes, it originally was released as a Jagger solo single) from the 1970 movie Performance. Jagger's version has more punch, but Coco adds a new level of sinister to it.

I mentioned this last week, but it's worth mentioning again: Coco Robicheaux is playing the Plaza for free, August 9 as part of the Santa Fe Bandstand program.

* Dengue Fever Presents Electric Cambodia. Had Mick, Keith, and the boys ever released a compilation called “The Rolling Stones Presents Chicago Blues Favorites,” it would have been to them what this collection is to Dengue Fever. The music here represents the basic DNA of the band.

Electric Cambodia, released last year, contains 14 Cambodian rockers from the late ’60s and early ’70s. The sound is lo-fi, because the original recordings — as well as the original artists — were destroyed by the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime that ruled that country in the mid-to-late ’70s. The only surviving recordings were on old cassette tapes kept and hidden by fans.

I recently reviewed this collection in Terrell's Tune-Up, along with Cannibal Courtship, thee fine new album by Dengue Fever themselves. CLICK HERE.


BW & Peter Greenberg in Santa Fe last year
"Built Like A Rock" and "I Love Her So" by Barrence Whitfield & The Monkey Hips. Barrence has been very prolific lately.

 Late last year he saw the re-release of his first album with The Savages in a deluxe edition including a bunch of great bonus tracks (It's an import from the Ace label but available on Amazon and I assume elsewhere at a reasonable price).

And even more bitchen he recorded a new album with original Savages Peter Greenberg and Phil Lenker. Savage Kings already has been released in Europe and it's coming out in these United States this month on Shake It Records. Watch my Terrell's Tuneup column for more on that.

Meanwhile, these tunes I downloaded were recorded with The Monkey Hips, a band he's played with in recent years. They might not be the original Savages, but they're a rocking little outfit that fits with BW's sound. My favorite moment here is near the end of  "Built Like a Rock" when Barrence shouts, "It's Clobberin' Time!" Indeed it is.

Here's a video of BW and this band doing a Screamin' Jay classic.

* 10 tracks from Nothin' But Trash . I rented the DVD of the same title from Netflix a few weeks ago. It features videos and live footage of acts like Wau y Los Arrrghs, Gun Club, Link Wray, The Monsters, The Tall Boys, the Mighty Lightning Beat-Man and a whole mess of Billy Childish-related acts -- Milkshakes, Headcoats, plus Thee Headcoatees and Sexton Ming.

Most of the bands are ones I hadn't heard of before -- The Tikitiki Bamboos, Saturn V, Squares, Bad KArma Beckons, Empress of Fur (featuring a sexy Bettye Page impersonator) and more.

Mainly they're European groups, though there's live clips of Link Wray as well as The Gun Club.  Mostly of the live videos were shot in London at various clubs and at the Wild Weekend festival in Spain .

I was very excited to find the soundtrack of the darn thing on eMusic. I nabbed 10 of the 32 tracks and I'll probably go back for more.

* The 14 tracks I didn't get last month from  The Day The Earth Met The Rocket From the Tombs In case you forgot, these are lo-fi live recordings by the Cleveland band that included David Thomas of Pere Ubu and Cheetah Chrome of The Dead Boys not to mention the late punk wild man Peter Laughner.

This has future Ubu standards like "30 Seconds Over Tokyo," "Life Stinks" and "Final Solution."

But one of the best here is an upbeat Velvet Underground rocker, "Foggy Notion."

I'm no audiophile. I can appreciate this music in spite of the poor sound quality.(Sometimes I think these tracks were from cassettes that survived the Cambodian genocide.)  But I can't help but think how powerful this band would have sounded in a decent studio.

Friday, June 03, 2011


Friday, June 3, 2011
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Fridays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell

101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrel(at)

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos
Wild Wild Friday Night by Hasil Adkins
See Willy Fly by by The Waco Brothers
Froggy by Danny Dell & The Trends
May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose by Little Jimmy Dickens
Sam's Place by Buck Owens
There Stands the Glass by Gal Holiday
I Couldn't Believe It Was True by The Maddox Brothers and Rose
The Seeds of My Destruction by Cornell Hurd
I'm Going To Bring A Watermelon To My Girl Tonight by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Peter Case in Los Alamos 2010

(Give Me) One More Mile by Peter Case
Old Part of Town by James McMurtry
New Old Blue Car by Peter Case
Steel Strings by Peter Case
Horse and Crow by Ronnie Elliot
Monday Morning Blues by Dave Alvin & Peter Case
Coulda Would Shoulda by Peter Case

Lonesome On'ry and Mean by Waylon Jennings
Town With No Shame by Jimbo Mathus
Screamin' Mimi Jeannie by Mickey Hawks
Green River Blues by Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band
Don't Let Me Rock You Daddy-O by Cranes Skiffle Group
Lost John by Van Morrison, Lonnie Donegan & Chris Barber
Freight Train by Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group with Nancy Whiskey
I Don't Worry by Rachel Brooke
Suzie Anna Riverstone by The Imperial Rooster
Because of LSD by Bud Freeman

Time Has Come Today by Coco Robicheaux
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again by North Mississippi Allstars
Hitch Hooker by Terry Diers
Ophelia by Levon Helm
The Burial Of Wild Bill by Norman Blake
That'll Never Happen No More by Howard Armstrong
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

Tennessee Criminalizes "Password Sharing"

Even though there are far more pressing issues facing our brave nation (like maybe human/animal hybrids), the Tennessee state Legislature has passed and  the governor has signed -- a bill that would clamp down on people sharing passwords to music download sites.

from the Associated Press:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State lawmakers in country music's capital have passed a groundbreaking measure that would make it a crime to use a friend's login — even with permission — to listen to songs or watch movies from services such as Netflix or Rhapsody.The bill, which has been signed by the governor, was pushed by recording industry officials to try to stop the loss of billions of dollars to illegal music sharing. They hope other states will follow.The legislation was aimed at hackers and thieves who sell passwords in bulk, but its sponsors acknowledge it could be employed against people who use a friend's or relative's subscription.While those who share their subscriptions with a spouse or other family members under the same roof almost certainly have nothing to fear, blatant offenders — say, college students who give their logins to everyone on their dormitory floor — could get in trouble.

Who's beind this? You guessed it -- the Recording Industry Association of America.

The thing is, I bet that some of the lawmakers who voted for this are some of the same folks who go to Tea Party rallies and bellow about the loss of "liberty."


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
June 3, 2011

About a year ago, Peter Case released a hard-punching, minimalist, blues-soaked album called Wig!, considered by at least one major Peter Case fan (Steve Terrell) as the singer’s strongest effort in more than a decade. If Wig! had Case fans longing for more, his new album, The Case Files, will satisfy at least some of that hunger.

Subtitled "Demos, Outtakes, One Live Shot & Other Rarities," this compilation reaches all the way back to the 1980s, right after Case’s best-known band The Plimsouls broke up and he began his long haul as a solo singer-songwriter; it includes material from as recent as 2009. “These tracks are some favorites gathered together from tapes in closets, boxes, garages, attics, and suitcases as well as from more recent sessions,” the artist writes in his liner notes.

And if his filing system is a little chaotic, so are the best tracks on the album. As on Wig!, the most powerful songs here are those in which Case’s rock ’n’ roll tendencies overshadow his folk/troubadour sensibilities. Paradoxically, most of these are performed with Case backed by his acoustic guitar and not much else.

Such is the opening cut, a frantic little rocker called “(Give Me) One More Mile,” featuring a nasty guitar hook — that’s Case on 12-string — some desperate-sounding harmonica honking, and bass and drums. I knew it sounded familiar and indeed it was. Though it’s been remastered for Case Files, the same recording appeared on a self-released, limited-distribution 2001 album called Thank You, St. Jude, which consisted mainly of songs from Case’s early solo albums rerecorded with violinist David Perales. “One More Mile” deserves a good revival. It helps set the tone for the rest of the album.

The same rough-hewn blues approach is found on Case’s cover of Kokomo Arnold’s classic “Milk Cow Blues.” Case is playing electric guitar on this live 2005 number, backed only by bass and drums. Also rocking is “Round Trip Stranger Blues,” recorded in 1989 with the late Stephen Bruton playing some piercing electric slide.

Case in Los Alamos last year,
Baird Banner on drums
Case gets political on a few cuts. With his L.A. pal Stan Ridgway adding some subtle Wall of Voodoo touches, “Let’s Turn This Thing Around” is a good early-21st-century protest song about stolen elections, liberties lost, and economic injustice. Some of the lyrics reappear in “The Ballad of the Minimum Wage,” in which Case speaks rather than sings the lyrics behind an electronic beat while an organ and guitar create sinister disjointed fills.

Recorded at the same time in 2005 is another spoken piece, “Kokomo Prayer Vigil.” The refrain is “America comes in two great flavors of angry voices on the radio/This is Preacher Bob callin’ on election eve/For a prayer night vigil in Kokomo.” He paints a portrait of a country losing its spirit. Case recalls a Border Patrol stop near El Paso when, because of some misunderstanding, an officer aimed a gun at Case’s head. Another verse talks longingly about an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C., that Case attended as a youth. “I was 15 and the world seemed wide compared to what I see here now.”

There are some dandy cover tunes on Case Files. Case does a commendable job on Alejandro Escovedo’s “The End,” which sounds like a slightly shorter version than the one he did on the 2004 Escovedo tribute album Por Vida. Picking up his 12-string again and overdubbing some honky-tonk piano, he does a fine gutbucket take on a Rolling Stones obscurity, “Good Times, Bad Times,” a Wig! outtake. Even more fun is Bob Dylan’s “Black Crow Blues.” Case bangs the piano while his friend Ron Franklin responds on harmonica.

One of the best songs from Case’s first solo album is “Steel Strings.” A demo of that song appears here. I see the Case Files version as an indictment of the 1980s. After hearing the demo, with Case backed by T Bone Burnett on electric guitar and percussion, it’s hard to listen to the original, which was all gussied up with yucky ’80s synths and whatnot by producers Burnett and Mitchell Froom. Yes, back in the Reagan era even scruffy singer-songwriters got glossy overproduction. I’m glad Case made this soulful underproduced version available.

Also recommended:

Scott H. Biram
Biram in Santa Fe 2011
* No One Got Hurt: Bloodshot Records 15th Anniversary @ The Hideout, Chicago. The label that invented “insurgent country” quietly turned 15 years old in September 2009. Well, not really quietly. This album, recorded live at a Chicago club, is a rowdy blast, featuring acts from the current Bloodshot stable as well as some returning veterans.

Moonshine Willy, which was the first band to release a single-act album on Bloodshot, reunited for this show. But an even more impressive homecoming was that of Alejandro Escovedo, who does a scorching “Castanets” and a moving version of “I Was Drunk.”
Waco Brothers Kicking Rump

Newer Bloodshot acts like Deadstring Brothers and The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir do themselves proud (though the former wear their Stones influence a little too obviously and the latter remind me of The Decemberists, which gives me mixed feelings).

But these are no match for one-man wacko Scott H. Biram (especially on his hopped-up “Truckdriver”) or Bloodshot’s flagship band The Waco Brothers, who do rousing versions of “See Willy Fly By” and “Red Brick Wall.” The Wacos also back Mekons squeeze-box man and one-time Bloodshot artist Rico Bell.

It’s a limited-edition album, so hurry to Bloodshot to get yours.

And speaking of Bloodshot compilations, there's a new FREE one over at . It's called Bloodshot Records Spring Cleaning Sampler. It's full of old Bloodshot favorites like Robbie Fulks, Trailer Bride, The Meat Purveyors, former Santa Fe resident Rex Hobart, and of course The Waco Brothers.

Here's a promo video for The Case Files.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

New Potatoheads Widget and Music Page

I've added a separate page for my own tacky recordings, including one and only CD, Picnic Time For Potatoheads ( and Best-Loved Songs From Pandemonium Jukebox) 

It features my dandy new CD Baby widget for this highly-prized cult classic.

I've made dozens of dollars over the Internet on this album. This little gizmo should rake in even more!

And I've included my ReverbNation player so you can here complete versions of some of the Potatoheads/Panda-Juke songs. And just for laffs, my dynamic Soundclick player for a handful of rarities.

You can find it HERE and there's a link right up at the top of the right-hand column.

The CD Baby widget is posted below too. Check it out:


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