Wednesday, February 29, 2012

R.I. P. Louisiana Red

Louisiana Red, left, playing the Thirsty Ear Festival in 2006.
Also on stage is Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards, who died last year.
Ivorson Minter, better known as Louisiana Red, died over the weekend. He was 79.

Though a native of Alabama, Red moved to Germany in the 1980s. He died in a German hospital Saturday after slipping into a coma brought on by a thyroid imbalance, the Los Angeles Times reported.

From the Times obit:

Red's mother died within a week of his birth, and his father was lynched by members of the Ku Klux Klan when he was 5, prompting an aunt to place him in an orphanage. He later lived with his grandmother and an uncle in Pittsburgh.

He landed a deal with Chicago's influential Chess Records after playing a song over the phone for label co-owner Phil Chess, who sent him a bus ticket for Chicago. The man who picked Red up at the station to drive him to meet Chess was Muddy Waters, who was to become one of the label's biggest stars.

Waters and some of his band mates, including harmonica player Little Walter and guitarist Jimmy Rogers, played on some of Red's recordings, and he appeared on records by other blues artists including Waters and John Lee Hooker.
I was lucky enough to see him play back in 2006 at the Thirsty Ear Festival in Santa Fe -- on the same bill as Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards. During Honeyboy's set, Red joined him on stage for several songs.

Red's just the latest blues great to die in the last year or so. He joins Honeyboy, Etta James, Johnny Otis, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Pinetop Perkins and Big Jack Johnson in that great juke joint in the sky.

Enjoy this video from 2007:


Sunday, February 26, 2012


Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012 
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
In Hollywood (Everybody is a Star) by The Village People
Celluloid Heroes by The Kinks
Beloved Movie Star by Stan Ridgway
New Age by The Velvet Underground
It'll Chew You Up and Spit You Out by Concrete Blonde
Shaky City by The Plimsouls

Mess Around by The Manxx
Sizes by The Cleopatras
Sunday You Need Love by The Oblivians
Rock 'n' Roll Can Rescue the World by Electric Eel Shock
Baby Don't Tear My Clothes by The Raunch Hands
Brain Dead by Sons of Hercules
Officer Touchy by The Scrams
Love Your Money by Daisy Chainsaw
Pretty Thing by The Pretty Things
No Body by The Tombstones
Rock 'n' Roll Grrrl by Ditch Bank Okies

Andre Williams Set
Hoods & Shades by Andre Williams
Babbling Brook by Andre Williams & The Goldstars
Nasty Women by Andre Williams
Tricks by Andre Williams
Hallelujah by Andre Williams & Green Hornet
Swamp Dogg's Hot Spot

That Ain't My Wife by Swamp Dogg
Just a Little Bit by Bobby King & Terry Evans
Chocolate River by The Seeds
House on Highland Ave. by The Gun Club
The Gravedigger's Song by Mark Lanegan Band
Sherry by Johnny Dowd
Wayfarers All by Dead Meadow
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, February 24, 2012


Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 
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
Cheap Motels by Southern Culture on the Skids
Honky Tonk Queen by Big Sandy & The Fly-Rite Boys
Jason Fleming by The Sadies with Neko Case
Chevy Beretta by Johnny Corndawg
Cold Neon Stare by Jason Arnold & The Stepsiders
Evil Hearted Me by Jody Reynolds
Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Loud, Loud Music by Joe Maphis & Rose Lee
I've Got $5 and it's Saturday Night by George Jones & Gene Pitney
String's Mountain Dew by Stringbean
Let's Duet by Dewy Cox & Darlene

Old Home Place / Ball by Whiskey Shivers
Drunkard's Hiccups by J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers
Shout Little Lulie by Ralph Stanley
Nothin' Better to Do by Blonde Boy Grunt & The Groans
The Story of My Life by Big Al Dowling
Burnt Toast Mornin' by Jason Eklund
Kiss Of Death by Split Lip Rayfield

Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down by Uncle Tupelo
Hand of the Almighty by John R. Butler
In the Pines by The Louvin Brothers
Southern Family Anthem by Shooter Jennings
Oak Tree Hangin' by Gary Gorence
I'm Comin' Home by Elvis Presley
You're Drifting Away by Johnny Cash
My Brand of Blues by Bloodshot Bill
Rose Marie by Halden Wofford & The Hi-Beams
Show Them to Me by Rodney Carrington

River of Crystal by Roy Acuff
More Pretty Girls Than One by Doc & Merle Watson
Leavin' Home by Jimmie Dale Gilmore & The Wronglers
Summer Wages by David Bromberg
When The Gypsies Camped on Prairie Creek by Tom Irwin
Who Takes Care Of The Caretaker’s Daughter? by Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards
No Cane on the Brazos by The Band
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: Andre's Still a Giant

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Feb. 24 2012

The last time I wrote about Andre Williams, I reported that he seemed to be slowing down. That’s an understandable thing for a guy who is 75 years old.

That assessment came from the fact that his latest album at the time, That’s All I Need, didn’t seem to have the fire of his previous efforts. But I think I probably spoke too soon.

Williams is releasing an impressive new album this week, Hoods and Shades. And that’s only a few weeks after a jumping little five-song EP, Nightclub, with a Chicago band called The Goldstars, came out.

Although he’s been in the music biz since the 1950s and wrote an actual hit — “Shake a Tail Feather,” covered by Ike & Tina Turner and James & Bobby Purify — Williams has never been a household name.

His is one of those terrible R & B years-in-the-darkness stories — obscurity, drugs, homelessness — that’s way too common. (Rest in peace, Howard Tate.) In the late ’90s Williams began his current incarnation as an underground indie rock elder statesman. He recorded for some of my favorite labels including Bloodshot, Norton, In the Red, and Pravda.

Williams’ albums are always fun, and Hoods and Shades is no exception. What’s exceptional about it is that it’s interesting on so many levels. The first thing you notice about Hoods is its cover, which resembles some blaxploitation movie poster. Williams is there, with his arms around a couple of gun-wielding babes against a backdrop of fiery explosions, skyscrapers, a police helicopter, hooded thugs, and some mean-looking guy in a fedora playing what appears to be a combination guitar/machine gun.

I’m not certain, but I’m thinking the latter is supposed to be guitarslinger Dennis Coffey. Coffey is best known as one of the Funk Brothers, that Detroit collective of studio cats who gave us the Motown sound.

He played on such Motown hits as “Runaway Child,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Cloud Nine” for The Temptations; “War” by Edwin Starr; and “What Does It Take to Win Your Love” by Junior Walker & The All Stars. He also played on non-Motown records including Funkadelic’s first album, Freda Payne’s song “Band of Gold,” and — best of all, in my book — “Who’s Making Love” by Johnny Taylor. In other words, he is one serious picker.

Indeed, it’s Coffey who most contributes to the unique sound of Hoods and Shades. But the rest of the musicians here aren’t exactly lightweights. Among them are Detroit producer and former Dirtbombs member Jim Diamond playing electric bass and Don Was on upright bass.

According to the publicity material for this project, Williams has referred to Hoods and Shades as his “folk album.” That’s probably because Coffey’s acoustic guitar-playing is prominent on many cuts. But the term folk is pretty misleading. This isn’t “Michael Row the Boat Ashore.”

Coffey and crew create a swampy sound to complement Williams’ vocals. This musical backdrop is a perfect fit for this collection of songs.

The opening song, an upbeat blues number called “Dirt,” is a new take on the basic dust-to-dust theme of Memphis Slim’s “Mother Earth.” Williams, taking the voice of a streetwise sage, chuckles before he starts singing, “It don’t matter how high we go/It don’t matter if it’s high or low/It don’t matter if we help or hurt/When it all boils down, we just dirt.”

There are a couple of lengthy story songs here that I suspect will be the main things most fans will remember about this album. There’s the atmospheric title song, in which Williams relates a number of terrifying descriptions of violence and poverty in a landscape haunted by young thugs hiding hardened faces behind hoods and sunglasses. The background music is a low-key acoustic blues shuffle with Coffey’s electric guitar providing a distant, desperate sounding response.

Then there’s a funny shaggy “Dogg” story called “Swamp Dogg’s Hot Spot.” Yes, the hero of this tale is none other than soul singer Jerry Williams, aka Swamp Dogg. Somehow I don’t think this story is really true. I’m not sure whether Swamp and Williams really met in “the county jail” like the song says, but I’m pretty sure that Andre Williams never got popped for “selling bootleg CDs.” (In real life, Swamp produced a 1990 Williams album, Directly From the Streets.)

My personal favorite on Hoods is a dandy new version of an old song Williams co-wrote, “Mojo Hannah.” This has been recorded by Esther Phillips, Aaron Neville, Marvin Gaye, and an underrated New Orleans singer named Tami Lynn. Williams doesn’t have the voice of any of those, but his knowing rasp does the song justice.

Nightclub is more typical of what Williams fans have come to expect in recent years. The Goldstars is a fine band playing at the intersection of garage rock and soul music. The group even did a high-energy cover of Williams’ song “Agile, Mobile, and Hostile” a few years ago. And recently The Goldstars has been Williams’ touring band.

Williams has been paired with many bands on recordings in recent years. But with The Goldstars, there’s a real chemistry that’s not always apparent with other backup bands.

My favorites here are “Hot Coffee,” a tight rocker in which Williams sounds like an unholy combination of sex maniac and caffeine fiend, and “Babblin’ Brook,” about a female companion who won’t shut up.

My only complaint about the E.P. is that it’s an E.P. and not a full-length album. I hope that’s something on Williams’ to-do list.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Obama Sings the Blues

After three years of a terrible economy, I think even the most hardcore Republican would have to admit that President Obama knows something about the blues.

On Tuesday he joined an all-star blues band -- B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger -- at the White House for a verse of "Sweet Home Chicago."

It was a Black History Month concert honoring the Blues. Read about it HERE or HERE and check out the video below.


Sunday, February 19, 2012


Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012 
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
Little Mouth by Sleater-Kinney
Pepper Spray Boogie by The Compulsive Gamblers
Weekend by New Bomb Turks
Barely Homosapien by The Hives
Birth Day by Rocket from the Tombs
Freezer Burn by Edison Rocket Train
Repulse Me Baby by Mark Sultan
Love Me by The Phantom
Albuquerque Annie by The 99ers
It Gets a Little Red by '68 Comeback
Animal Husbandry by The Hickoids
Bucket O Blood by Big Boy Groves

Mojo Hannah by Andre Williams
Nightclub by Andre Williams & The Goldstars
Pink Champagne by Don & Dewy
Little Esther's Blues by Esther Phillips with The Johnny Otis Show
Freaking Out by Mondo Topless
Five Months, Two Weeks, Two Days by Louis Prima & The Witnesses
Hard-Hearted Hannah by Ukulele Ike

Oldest Story in the World by The Plimsouls
The Price of Love by The Everly Brothers
Thunderbird ESQ by The Gories
When It Comes to You I've No More Dreams to Lose by The Lazy Cowgirls
Angry Hands by Manby's Head
Get Happy by Simon Stokes
White Rabbit by The Frontier Circus
Candy by Johnny Dowd
I'll Take Care of You by Gil Scott-Heron

Amos Moses by Primus
Don't Let Me Down by The Pornostuntman
Run Through the Jungle by The Gun Club
Tripped Out by Pierced Arrows
I Told a Secret by Delaney Davidson
Bleeding Muddy Water by Mark Lannegan
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis
Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Calling All Freaks! This Big Enchilada Episode is for YOU!


Don't freak out. It's Happy Hour down at the corner Freak Bar. The beer is cold and the jukebox is blasting the freakishly superb sounds of Barrence Whitfield & The Savages, King Khan, The Reigning Sound, Ty Segall, The Manxx, Stomping Nick, The Hex Dispensers, The Lot Lizards and more. You don't have to be a pinhead to appreciate this episode. But it helps.


Here's the playlist:
(Background music: The (New) Call of the Freaks by Luis Russell & His Orchestra)
Circus Freak by The Electric Prunes
Knock Me off My Feet by The King Khan Experience *
Hard Lessons by The Manxx
The More I Dream, The Sicker I Get by The Lot Lizards
Babblin' Brook by Andre Williams & The Goldstars
Wolf Bait by Henry Throne

(Background Music: Psychobilly Freakout by Rev. Horton Heat)
Freaking Out by Question Mark (Nigeria)
Anna by Rocket From the Tombs
My Ass is Shaking by Stomping Nick & His Blues Grenade
Ramblin' Rose by Barrence Whitfied & The Savages *
Party Crasher by Mark Sultan
Taxidermy Porno by The Hex Dispensers
Watching My Baby by The Reigning Sound *

(Background Music: Freakish Man Blues by George Hannah & Meade "Lux" Lewis)
Freakin' Out by Death
Cents by Ty Segall *
Black Leather Swamp Nazi by Peter Stampfel
At the Ruin of Others by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds
World of Freaks by Harry Perry

* Follow these links to find free album or live set downloads from the artist

Play it here:

Friday, February 17, 2012


Friday, Feb., 2012 
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
Done Gone Crazy by Ray Condo & The Ricochets
Heavy Breathin' by Cornell Hurd
Worries on My Mind by The Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show
Humpty Dumpty World by Ry Cooder
Ain't No Diesel Trucks In Heaven by Bob Wayne
Jesse James by Whitey & Hogan
You're Humbuggin' Me by Ronnie Dawson
Harm's Way by The Waco Brothers
Ubangi Stomp by Carl Mann
Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyeballs by Homer & Jethro

Cowboy Dan by The Ditchbank Okies
Barstool Mountain by The Frontier Circus
I'll Tell You What to Do by Ronny Elliot & The Nationals
Dolores by T. Tex Edwards & Out on Parole
Crazy Love by Trailer Bride
My Pretty Quadroon by Jerry Lee Lewis
Hippie in My House by Halden Wofford & The Hi-Beams
Working on a Building by The Bad Livers
You Better Not Do That by Tommy Collins

Put Your Cat Clothes on by Carl Perkins
Ship of Broken Dreams by Hank Penny
Restless Man Blues by The .357 String Band
Harry Glen Ludlum by Tom Irwin
On a Givin' Day by Jason Eklund
Julie's Neon Shoes by Blonde Boy Grunt & The Groans
The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band by Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys
Always Late (With Your Kisses) by Merle Haggard
Married Life Blues by Byron Parker & His Mountaineers
Too Much Sex (Too Little Jesus) by Drive-By Truckers

Pastures of Plenty of Cedar Hill Refugees
Colors of Night by Peter Case
Hangman by Marty Stuart
This Town Called Fate by Stan Ridgway
Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar by The Louvin Brothers
Green Green Grass Of Home by Ted Hawkins
Gone by Ferlin Husky
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

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: Timeless Plimsouls

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Feb. 17, 2012

Two years after their last live album, the mighty Plimsouls are back with an even more powerful concert CD. Not bad for a group that broke up almost 30 years ago.

Even if you didn’t know anything about The Plimsouls, you would have a hard time believing that Beach Town Confidential was recorded just a couple of months ago, not in 1983.

Now what should you know about The Plimsouls?

They rose from the fires of the frenzied L.A. punk/New Wave scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Led by Peter Case, who had been in a punk group called The Nerves, and fortified by Eddie Muñoz on guitar, Dave Pahoa on bass, and drummer Louie Ramirez, they forged a sound that featured the guitar frenzy of their punk peers but sweetened it with irresistible melodic hooks. You could hear echoes of rock’s founding fathers, mid-’60s folk-rock, and sweaty soul.

The Plimsouls only released a couple of studio albums in their heyday, including their major-label debut, the over-produced but — hey, it was the ’80s — still worthy Everywhere at Once, which yielded the closest thing the band had to a hit, “A Million Miles Away.” They broke up in the mid-’80s when Case decided to pursue a solo career as an acoustic troubadour, which was a return to his roots as a street busker in San Francisco’s North Beach area.

But about every 10 years or so he reunites with the other Plimsouls for a few shows, most recently in 2006. (In 1996, they actually did a fresh studio album, the undeservedly out-of-print Kool Trash, which every true Plimsouls fan should demand to have re-released.)

There are a lot of similarities between Beach Town Confidential and Live! Beg, Borrow, Steal, the Plimsouls’ live record recorded in 1981 and released in 2010. Many of the songs are the same — “Zero Hour,” “Shaky City,” and, of course, “A Million Miles Away.”

Both have covers of Thee Midnighters’ “Jump, Jive, and Harmonize,” and both have desperately horny versions of their own classic “Now” (“Right now! I need your love tonight! I can’t wait any longer!”). Both contain a Bo Diddley song (a splendid “You Can’t Judge a Book” on Beach Town). And both have guest appearances by The Fleshtones’ Keith Streng. (On Beg, Borrow, Steal, all the Fleshtones joined The Plimsouls for a couple of songs. On Beach Town, Streng plays guitar on “Jumpin’ in the Night,” a Flamin’ Groovies tune.)

But the more recent album includes a lot of songs we haven’t heard before on live Plimsoul albums.

“Jumpin’” is just one of the rarities here. Another is “Who’s Gonna Break the Ice,” which — like the best Plimsouls songs — is as catchy as it is urgent. There is even a little-known Everly Brothers song called “The Price of Love.” Like the Everly Brothers, the Plimsouls play this as a bluesy stomp with prominent harmonica. Case pals Andrew and David Williams sing lead on this one, their brotherly harmonies evoking the Everlys.

Beach Town Confidential has the only live recordings of Plimsouls tunes “Magic Touch” and “Oldest Story in The World” — hearty rockers both — and “Hobo,” an instrumental Case dedicates to “all the surfers in the house.” (The show was at Huntington Beach. There probably were quite a few there.)

I think my favorite Plimsouls surprise here, though, is a punchy version of a Moby Grape song, “Fall on You.” All I can say is “Grape job!”

Case is about to embark on a tour with former Nerves bandmate Paul Collins. (They’re playing in Arizona and Texas, but seem to have forgotten about that state in the middle.) I’m hoping the response to Beach Town Confidential will be so great that he will do another Plimsouls reunion — and record a new Plimsouls album — in the near future.

Also recommended:
*  Everybody’s Rocking by The 99ers. This record has been out since early last year, but I just recently sunk my teeth into it. It’s the third record by a group that bills itself as a Minnesota punk/rockabilly/surf band.

Minnesota? Why not? One of their songs here, “Minnesota Sun,” is a rewrite of The Rivieras’ “California Sun.” (Come to think of it, last year, the title song of the collaboration between Mama Rosin and Hipbone Slim was “Louisiana Sun,” a Cajunized “California Sun.”

Since this album was released, the term “99ers” has taken on new political connotations. But don’t worry. You won’t hear any weird “human mike” chants or political polemics here. The band named itself after its favorite ice-cream dessert.

This album, on the Spinout label owned by Los Straitjackets’ Eddie Angel, is nothing but good, basic, happy rock ’n’ roll, grounded in Chuck Berry, colored by The Beach Boys, and pumped up by The Ramones. (One song here is called “Ramones Forever.” It’s a cover of a Shonen Knife tune immortalizing our beloved cretins from Queens.)

My two favorites are sung by Molly Holley — the frantic “Six Steps to Your Heart” (I can almost imagine The Plimsouls playing this one) and a sultry cover of a Brenda Lee rockabilly-tinged “Sweet Nothin’s.”

There’s a song here called “Albuquerque Annie,” about a woman who sings in a rockabilly band. It mentions Central Boulevard as well as the Tramway. But it’s not the first time The 99ers set a song in the Land of Enchantment. Their 2008 album, Stand Up and Surf, has a song called (I’m not kidding) “The Surf at Santa Fe.” (“So to my compadres in Minneapolis/Get yourself to N.M. if you’re in need of bliss,” British Steve Shannon sings.)  According to one source close to the band, Shannon is a frequent visitor to this state.

Update: 2-27-12 The previous version of  The 99ers section here had a couple of errors, including the identity of the New Mexico visitor and Eddie Angel's relationship with the album. The text has been corrected.


Enjoy some related videos:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

eMusic February

Here's my latest batch of downloads from eMusic:


* The Johnny Otis Show Live at Monterey. The death of Etta James on Jan. 20 provoked an outpouring of tributes to the seminal R&B singer -- and rightfully so.

But the passing of Johnny Otis just three days before went comparatively unnoticed. Maybe if President Obama had played "Willie and the Hand Jive" instead of "At Last" at his inaugural ball ...

Many Etta fans might not even realize that Otis was instrumental in launching her career. He "discovered" her when she was just 14, producing her first hit "The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry),"  an "answer" song to Hank Ballard's "Work with Me, Annie." Ballard also was part of Otis' stable for awhile.

Besides "Hand Jive," Otis didn't have many major hit records under his own name. He was a producer and  an A&R man for King Records. He worked with Wynonie Harris and Charles Brown, Little Willie John and Jackie Wilson. He played vibes on Johnny Ace's haunting "Pledging My Love" and played drums on Big Mama Thornton's original recording of "Hound Dog."

And Otis was a bandleader who toured with an incredible R&B revue The Johnny Otis Show (originally the California Rhythm and Blues Caravan), which at various points included the likes of Etta, Big Mama and Little Esther, who grew up to be Esther Phillips.

This album is a live recording of the Otis' revue at the 1970 Monterrey Jazz Festival. Some of the giants of west-coast R&B are here -- Big Joe Turner, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Pee Wee Crayton, Roy Milton,  Roy Brown, Ivory Joe Hunter, Otis' then teenage son Shuggie Otis and, best of all, Esther Phillips.

Some of these codgers' careers dated back to the 1940s. But at this show they still were full of that crazy R&B energy that popped the eyes and twisted the heads of an entire generation all those years before.

Highlights here include Vinson's "Cleanhead Blues," on which he sings and plays the sax that made him famous. (Here's some Cleanhead trivia: In the early '50s, his band included a young sax player named John Coltrane.And Eddie became "Cleanhead" after he lost his hair as a young man after using a lye-based hair straightener.)

Big Joe Turner proves he was still Boss of he Blues with Otis at Monterrey. He has two songs here, "Plastic Man" and "I Got a Gal."

But the real show-stopper is Little Esther. "Cry Me a River Blues" bears little resemblance to the torch blues standard "Cry Me a River." Phillips' song is an uptempo romp in which lyrics you'll recognize from who knows how many blues and R&B standards flow from her mouth. Maybe she was improvising. Maybe she was possessed. But you don't want it to end. Her other song, "Little Esther's Blues" slows down. It's a soulful simmer with Otis out front on the vibes.

If there's an R&B revue in Heaven, they just picked up a hell of a band leader.

* Scraps by NRBQ It was another recent rock 'n' roll death that inspired me to download this album. Longtime NRBQ drummer Tom Ardolino died on Jan. 6, ending all hopes of a reunion of the classic NRBQ lineup of Terry Adams, Joey Spampinato, Big Al Anderson and Ardolino.

This album, the second in NRBQ's long, long career, was recorded in 1972, a few years before Ardolino joined. (Tom Staley was still there.) In fact, Big Al had just recently hopped on at that point, replacing guitarist Steve Ferguson. In 1972, the "Q" stood for "Quintet," as the group had a vocalist named Frank Gadler.

Scraps had most if not all the ingredients that served the group so well for the next three decades. (The one thing missing is that Big Al had not yet emerged as a vocalist and songwriter for the band.) There was plenty of goofball humor ("Just Close Your Eyes and Be Mine, Ruby" is just one example) Adams' subtle Sun Ra influence popping up in strange corners, an inspired cover (an irresistible version of Johnny Mercer's "Accentuate the Positive") and straight-ahead roots rock.

Highlights here include the road-warrior anthem "Howard Johnson's Got His Ho-Jo Working," a kazoo-enhanced "Who Put the Garlic in the Glue," an instrumental called "Tragic Magic" (which reminds me a little of a subdued Frank Zappa) and the ultra-catchy "Magnet."

* Barfly by Rocket from the Tombs. Riddle me this, Batman -- how can a band that broke up in the mid 1970s record and release their first  album of new material just last year?

I guess the answer would be "Because they can."

This is the story of Rocket from the Tombs, that influential Cleveland band that included David Thomas of Pere Ubu and Cheetah Chrome of The Dead Boys and punk-rock forefather, the late Peter Laughner (also an early member of Pere Ubu.)

RFTT basically was a word-of-mouth band. There were scattered bootlegs, but they never recorded a proper album during their brief existence in the '70s. A couple of tunes, "Amphetamine" and  7-minute recording of their song "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" surfaced in a 1990s Ubu box set Datapanik in Year Zero. In 2002 came a compilation of lo-fi live recordings and demos called The Day The Earth Met The Rocket From the Tombs

Original members Thomas, Chrome and bassist Craig Bell got together with Television guitarist Richard Lloyd filling in for Laughner and and drummer Steve Mehlman for a Rocket reunion tour in 2004, resulting in an album called Rocket Redux consisting of RFTT  classics recorded in the studio.

And finally, last year they 21st Century version of Rocket from the Tombs brought the world a bunch of new songs.

I'll be writing more about Barfly in an upcoming Terrell's Tune-up. Watch this blog!

* Whenever I Want It by Mark Sultan . This is the second of two solo albums Sultan released last year. I downloaded the first one, Whatever I Want in last months's eMusic batch. And I reviewed them both in a recent Tuneup. 

Some of my favorites on Whenever include the rockabilly-fueled “Satisfied and Lazy," “Party Crasher,” which gets psychedelic with a droning organ, some “Paint It Black” guitar riffs, and distorted background vocals that may make you think of Dion & The Belmonts interpreting the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

I'm also fond of "Pancakes," which makes me think of  Sha Na Na making the greatest IHOP commercial in the history of the world.

Then there's The epic eight-minute jazz odyssey “For Those Who Don’t Exist,” whic starts out with Sultan strumming a guitar with the tremolo way up and whistling a weird little melody that could almost be a slower version of the Pixies’ “La La Love You.”

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 
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
Strychnine by Barrence Whitfield
Set Aside by ? & The Mysterians
You Better Hide by The Ding Dongs
Let Me Freeze by Mark Sultan
Goin' Back To L.A. by Johnny Otis & Delmar Evans
Oh Babe by Andre Williams
Bell Air Blues by Drywall
Heebie Jeebies by The Gun Club
The Doorway by Pierced Arrows
Pretty by Rocket from the Tombs

Fall on You by The Plimsouls
Changes by Moby Grape
Why Pick on Me by The Standells
When the Girls Are Rocking by The 99ers
Shake This Feelin' by The Liquid Vapours
Betty by Johnny Dowd
Clever Way to Crawl by Persian Claws
I Wish You Would by The Fleshtones
My Struggle by The Black Lips
Selling That Stuff by McKinney's Cotton Pickers

My Top 10 Favorite Covers set
Stairway to Heaven by Tiny Tim & Brave Combo
Goldfinger by Peter Stampfel
Sugar Sugar by Wilson Picket
Banana Splits (the Tra La La Song) by The Dickies
I'm the Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised by Eugene Chadbourne
Little Rug Bug by NRBQ
I Wanna Be Sedated by Two Tons of Steel
Stormy Weather by The Reigning Sound
Surf's Up by David Thomas & Two Pale Boys
One For My Baby by Iggy Pop

The Rocky Road to Dublin by The Young Dubliners
Beer, Broads, and Brats by The Polkaholics
Love Miner by O Lendario Chucrobillyman
Rockin' Bones by Flat Duo Jets
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis
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Friday, February 10, 2012


Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 
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
Big Balls in Cowtown by Waylon Jennings
Honky Tonk Merry Go Round by The Stumbleweeds
Down Down Down Down Down by Dale Watson & The Texas Two
Tennessee Rooster Fight by The Howington Brothers
Beautiful Blue Eyes by Red Allen & The Kentuckians
Pass the Peacepipe by Peter Stampfel
Chinese Honeymoon by The Great Recession Orchestra
Dirty Dog Blues by The Modern Mountaineers
Oklahoma Hills by Jack Guthrie & His Oklahomans
High by Zeno Tornado & The Boney Google Brothers
String's Mountain Dew by Stringbean
I Like Drinking by The Gourds

Live Set (Pickers Remember Kell Robertson)
When You Come Off of the Mountain by Mike Good
Mr. Guitar by Kevin Hayes
Great Big Donut by Tom Irwin
Madonna on the Billboard by Bob Hill
I'll Probably Live by Jason Eklund

Julie's Neon Shoes by Mike Good
Prison Walls by Kevin Hayes
Me and You and The Wind by Jason Eklund
Writing it Down in the Rain by Mike Good
Junkie Eyes by Bob Hill
(CD break) As Long As You've Still Got a Song by Kell Robertson
Tell 'em What I Was by the whole crew
Dust off Them Old Songs by Jason Eklund, Mike Good & Tom Irwin (recorded)

When a House is Not a Home by Roger Miller
Old Rattler by Grandpa Jones
Santa Cruz by The Imperial Rooster
Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms by Buster Carter & Preston Young
A Woman's Intuition by Johnny Paycheck
What Do I Care by Eddie Spaghetti
Road to Hattiesburg by Robert Earl Reed
One Has My Name, One Has My Heart by Jimmy Wakely
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

Music Guests Tonight on Santa Fe Opry

Blonde Boy Grunt on the Santa Fe OpryBlonde Boy Grunt (Mike Good) and a whole gaggle of his musical cronies will be joining me tonight on The Santa Fe Opry.

The show starts at 10 p.m. tonight on KSFR, 101.1 FM -- or listen to the live stream HERE.

They're all in town for the Kell Robertson tribute Saturday night at the Mine Shaft in Madrid. That show starts at 7 p.m.


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Feb. 10 2012

Almost all bands and singers on the face of this Earth do cover songs. Some are interesting at best, but more frequently they are mediocre. (Sometimes they’re horrifying, but I think I’ll save those for a future column.)

But every so often, a cover version will be better than the original — because of a stronger vocal performance like, say, Prince’s version of Joan Osborne’s “One of Us”; or a more soulful performance like Gram Parsons’ cover of Roy Orbison’s “Love Hurts” (and being more soulful than Orbison isn’t easy); or having higher energy, like about half the covers that The Cramps ever recorded. Sometimes a cover will barely resemble the original — good examples being the Elvis songs that The Residents recorded on their 1989 tribute album, The King & Eye.

What makes a cover memorable? For starters, it has to add some new dimension or have a different angle from the original. It could be a new context or maybe done in a different genre. Humor usually helps, and in my book, bizarre is a bonus.

Here are my top 10 favorite cover songs of all time until the end of history (until maybe I think of some others).

1. “Goldfinger” by Peter Stampfel from the album You Must Remember This. The 70-something founding member of The Holy Modal Rounders recorded his daffy version of the classic James Bond movie theme just a few years ago. It features Stampfel on the banjo and his signature cartoonlike vocals, backed by what sounds like a tuba, a sax in the closing moments, and is that steel drums I hear in there?

2. “Stairway to Heaven” by Tiny Tim & Brave Combo from the album Girl. When I reviewed this album in the ’90s, I noted that if Van Morrison heard this, he’d be jealous that he didn’t cover “Stairway” with an arrangement like this.
Dr. Chadbourne in Albuquerque2007

3. “I’m the Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised” by Eugene Chadbourne from the album There’ll Be No Tears Tonight. Chadbourne is known for his wild improvisational acoustic-guitar playing and taking familiar songs into unfamiliar territory. At the beginning of this track, he announces that Johnny Paycheck is one of his favorite country singers. I believe him, and I believe the man loves country music. But unless you’re already a Chadbourne fan, you’ve probably never heard Paycheck done like this before. He sings the lyrics like he means them and plays guitar like a space alien on trucker’s crank. This album is full of covers of honky-tonk classics done in Chadbourne’s own peculiar way, including Paycheck’s hit “Take This Job and Shove It.”

4. “Stormy Weather” by Reigning Sound from the album Time Bomb High School. I don’t think Judy Garland did it this way, but Greg Cartwright’s exuberant take on this chestnut is irresistible This isn’t the first time this song appeared in the world of rock ’n’ roll. A vocal group called The Five Sharps did a doo-wop version in the 1950s.

5. “Surf’s Up” by David Thomas and Two Pale Boys from the album Surf’s Up. I believe in my heart that this song is Brian Wilson’s greatest moment. It’s so dark and full of lyrical enigmas that if the current nostalgia-act version of the Beach Boys attempted to play the song in concert, half of their audience would bolt in fear and revulsion. And if they heard Thomas warbling this meandering eight-minute version, there would be blood. This avant-garde deconstructed dirge is a commendable attempt to plumb the depths of Wilson’s melancholic masterpiece. But in the end, despite the inspired weirdness of this version, Wilson’s original still remains more mysterious and powerful.

The Dickies look pretty much like this too
6. “Banana Splits (the Tra La La Song)” by The Dickies from the album The Incredible Shrinking Dickies (though I first heard it on their live album We Aren’t the World). I was too old to really get into The Banana Splits Adventure Hour when that Saturday morning show started twisting young minds in the late ’60s. But something tells me Dickies frontman Leonard Grave Phillips watched it every week. The show starred four people in funny animal costumes — a dog, a gorilla, a lion, and an elephant, kind of like a live-action cartoon or human-scale puppet show. I think they were supposed to be some kind of rock band. I believe the same thing is true of The Dickies. In fact, they’re one of the longest-lasting Los Angeles punk bands ever to crawl out of the gutter. Phillips and his pals took the Banana Splits theme song up to warp speed.

7. “I Wanna Be Sedated” by Two Tons of Steel from the album King of a One Horse Town. I don’t know much about this turn-of-the-century country rock band, but for years this has been my favorite Ramones cover. I’ve always thought that The Ramones should have done a cover of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places.”

8. “Little Rug Bug” by NRBQ from the album Dummy. This one’s for the late NRBQ drummer Tom Ardolino, who died early this year. Andolino was a connoisseur of song poems — songs with lyrics written by some wanna-be songwriter who responded to one of those “Put Your Poems to Music” ads and had his work recorded (at a price) by an overworked crew of studio musicians and singers.

9. “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” by Iggy Pop, from the album Party (2000 CD reissue ). This version of the smoky Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen classic barroom ballad is good, but my favorite is still the one I got in the early ’90s on a bootleg called We Are Not Talking About Commercial Shit, on which Mr. Pop berates and curses an unruly crowd for several minutes until he finally croons the slow, slinky song in his bruised baritone.

10. “Sugar Sugar” by Wilson Pickett from the album Right On. Nobody covered The Archies like the wicked Pickett.

Blog Bonus: Here are some of those songs


And here's the original "Little Rug Bug"

Sunday, February 05, 2012


Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 
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
Dropkick Me Jesus by Bobby Bare
We Gettin' Naked for the Super Bowl by The Swank Brothers
The Great Jie Bib by Terry Allen
You Are Not Your Job by Gas Huffer
Hot Smoke and Sassafras by Bubble Puppy
High on the Hog by TAD
You Broke My Mood Ring by Root Boy Slim & His Sex Change Band
Log Bomb by Bob Log III
Laugh at Me by The Devil Dogs

Everything I Do Is Wrong by The Reigning Sound
Hard Way by Andre Williams & The Goldstars
Treat Her Right by Roy Head
I Got Love by The King Khan Experience
Tobacco Road by The Blues Magoos
Do You Swing by The Fleshtones
Bobo Boogey by Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkeybirds
Man on Mars by Harry Perry
Rocket Man Blues by Edison Rocket Train

Remembering Lux Interior
All songs by The Cramps!
Goo Goo Muck
Bend Over I'll Drive
Psychotic Reaction
Heartbreak Hotel
Mad Daddy
Get Off the Road
Bikini Girls with Machine Guns
Rockin' Bones

Where'd You Go by J. Mascis & The Fog
Windy City by Delaney Davidson
Jumper Hangin' on the Line by R.L. Burnside
Big Boss Man by Jimmy Reed
St. James Infirmary by Bobby "Blue" Bland
Nudist Camp by Ross Jonson
Requiem for the Masses by The Association
I Saw Her First by Bruce & Jerry
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis
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Friday, February 03, 2012


Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 
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
Oklahoma Hills by Jack Guthrie & The Oklahomans
Defibulator by The Defibulators
Why Baby Why by George Jones with Ricky Skaggs
Shout Sister Shout by Ray Condo & His Ricochets
Crazy Things by Jason Arnold
Boney Fingers by Hoyt Axton
Elbow Grease, Spackle and Pine Sol by Dale Watson & The Texas Two
Truck Driver's Woman by Nancy Apple
Temptation (Tim-Tayshun) by Red Ingle & The Natural Seven
I've Got A Bimbo Down On Bamboo Isle by The Hoosier Hot Shots

Soldier Boy Johnny by The Imperial Rooster
Don't Let Your Deal Go Down by Chris Darrow
Sadie Green (The Vamp of New Orleans) by Roy Newman & His Boys
That's What I Like About the South by Hank Thompson
Rhonda Rose by Jason Eklund
Get Out of My Car by Hasil Adkins
The Little Girl And The Dreadful Snake by Red Allen & Frank Wakefield
The School House Fire by The Dixon Brothers

Buddy Holly
Buddy, Bopper & Richie 
Midnight Shift by Buddy Holly
Begger to a King by The Big Bopper
Rockin' All Night by Richie Valens
When Sin Stops by Waylon Jennings with Buddy Holly
Crying, Waiting Hoping by Steve Earle & Marty Stuart
White Lightning by The Waco Brothers
Come on Let's Go by Los Lobos
That'll Be the Day by The Flamin' Groovies
Changing All Those Changes by Buddy Holly
La Bamba by Richie Valens

Halden is (Hell-Raisin' Town) by Rick Broussard & Two Hoots and a Holler
Little Glass of Wine by Paul Burch
I'll Be Glad When You're Dead by The Great Recession Orchestra
Lonesome Side Of Town by Johnny Dilks & His Visitacion Valley Boys
The Way You're Treating Me by Jim Gatlin
Dark Hollow by Benny Martin
Would You Die For Love by Stevie Tombstone
I'll Walk Around Heaven with You by Blonde Boy Grunt & The Groans
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: Some Texas Honky Tonk Sounds

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Feb. 3, 2012

Texas country singer Dale Watson’s latest album, The Sun Sessions, has a funny backstory. Watson had been booked at a bar in Memphis, Tennessee. Or at least he thought he had a gig there. Somewhere between Austin and Memphis he learned there was a misunderstanding. “No, we have a DJ on Tuesdays, and we don’t have you booked,” someone at the club told him.

“After feeling awful that a music town with such a history would rather have a dance DJ than live music, I thought, ‘What the hell. I got lemons. Let’s make lemonade,’” Watson writes in the CD liner notes.

Dale Watson at Broken Spoke 3-23-11
Dale Watson last year at the Broken Spoke
So he called Sun Studio — the funky little magic factory in Memphis that gave birth to rockabilly and launched the careers of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash — and asked to book some time. He was in luck. And so were fans of Watson’s music.

Watson almost always plays country music in a basic, understated way — steel, fiddle, guitar, bass, drums, and not much else.

But for this album, he strips it down even more. In honor of Cash’s Tennessee Two, Watson calls the backup band on this record The Texas Two. They are stand-up bassist Chris Crepps and a drummer, Mike Bernal, who just hits the snare. Watson only plays his acoustic guitar. Together they celebrate the signature sound of Sun.

To Watson’s credit, even though this is something of a “tribute” album, he didn’t play the hits of the ascended masters that we’ve all heard a zillion times before. He wrote all these tunes — six of them on the bus to Memphis after he booked his session time at Sun. Watson’s baritone sounds more like Cash’s voice than the voices of the other Sun titans, so this album might be viewed as more of an alternative-reality tribute to the Man in Black.

The album starts out with a jittery little tune called “Down Down Down Down Down.” With Crepps’ urgent bass doing most of the work, Watson spins a tale of a man about to sink. “Well I had my first taste of whiskey/I had my first taste of love/Both got me high and twisted up inside/Only one way to go after up.”

No, this isn’t the beginning of some gigantic bummer. It has fun and good times, too.

For instance, “My Baby Makes Me Gravy” is a happy song of good country cookin’ and sex. “Drive Drive Drive” sounds a lot like Cash’s “Cry Cry Cry,” and “Gothenburg Train” has the feel of a classic train song.

Big Daddy
Big Daddy
Watson also does several character sketches. “George O’Dwyer” is the story of a hell-raising buddy of Watson’s who owned a recording studio in Austin. “Jonny at the Door” is a salute to a barroom bouncer, and “Big Daddy” is about a shoeshine man in Austin. (I got my shoes shined by Big Daddy when I was at the Broken Spoke for a Watson show last year.)

My favorite song on The Sun Sessions is “Elbow Grease, Spackle and Pine Sol.” The narrator is served his divorce papers, and he’s in his empty house, apologizing to his ex about holes in the wall and stains on the carpet.

At first a listener might think he’s regretting being a sloppy and possibly violent husband. But — in one of those wonderful twists you find in country-music classics like Leon Ashley’s “Laura (What’s He Got That I Ain’t Got)” and Willie Nelson’s “I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye” — you realize the narrator is holding a gun, and he’s apologizing for the mess he’s about to leave his former Mrs. to clean up.

One amazing thing about this album is that none of the 14 songs here reaches the three-minute mark. Nearly half of them are under two minutes. Watson knows that brevity sometimes packs a harder punch.

Also recommended:
RB & Two Hoots at Threadgill's last year
*  Come and Take It by Rick Broussard’s Two Hoots and a Holler. I know Matt Brooks, the guitar player for this band, through an online music-discussion board that I used to belong to starting back in the 1990s. I had never met him face to face, but for years he had been trying to get me to see his band when I went to Austin.

Somehow I never was able to arrange that — until last August, when I was at the Live Music Capital of the World and Matt’s band was playing a gig at Threadgill’s World Headquarters.

I was impressed. Broussard is a fine singer and songwriter, and the Hoots are a mighty tight country-rock band. They ought to be by now. Broussard started the group back in 1984. Members have changed and shuffled through the years, but Broussard has been at it long enough to know what he wants from his players. (And, showing what a small world it is, I learned that the fiddle player, Sean Orr, used to play with Joe West’s band when the pride of Lone Butte lived in Austin.)

Many of the songs they played the night I saw them are on this album. Among them are the Mexican-flavored opening cut, “I Cried and Cried the Day Doug Sahm Died.” It’s Broussard’s heartfelt tribute to a fellow San Antonio native.

There are some excellent honky-tonkers here, such as “Me Not Calling” and “Every Bit as Proud.” Maybe you haven’t heard of them, but Rick and the boys are big in Norway — at least the town of Halden, to which they pay a rocking tribute in “Halden (Is a Hell Raisin’ Town).” In an obscure historical reference to a Swedish monarch who was killed in battle there in 1718, Broussard sings, “Those people never go to bed/They shot King Karl in the head.”

With the help of fiddler Amy Farris, Broussard delivers a bluegrass sound on “Over My Head in Blue.” It’s a shift from the song that precedes it, “Love Me Truly,” a honky-tonk tune with echoes of British Invasion-era rock. But it works.

This group also plays one of the best Bob Dylan covers recorded in recent years. I didn’t think there was much else anyone could do with the song “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” but Broussard and the band rip through it with abandon, like a fun cross between The Pogues and Jason & The Scorchers.

I’m hoping Two Hoots and a Holler are playing next time I’m in Austin.


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