Thursday, May 31, 2012


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
June 1, 2012

Joey Ramone is back! There’s no stoppin’ this cretin from hoppin’! Ten years after his previous solo album, 11 years after his death, and 16 years after the breakup of the Ramones, Joey’s still beating on the brat with his new smash record, ... Ya Know?

OK, so much for my audition as a late-night TV record hawker. But this isn’t just a K-tel parody. There really is a new posthumous Joey Ramone record, a follow-up of sorts to 2001’s Don’t Worry About Me. 

Like that album, ... Ya Know? has high spots, several throwaways, some songs that’ll make you laugh, some that’ll make you sad — though nothing on the new album will strike your emotional chords nearly as hard as Joey’s goofy but sincere cover of “What a Wonderful World,” which appeared on the previous record.

And no, nothing here matches the power and the glory that was the Ramones, who weaved together sonic threads from sources like The Trashmen, The Ronnettes, and The New York Dolls, spinning a fast, furious, and funny sound that changed the face of rock ’n’ roll — even though they never came close to the commercial success they deserved and desired.

Ramones flashback: I only got to see them once.

It was at the 1996 Lollapalooza in Phoenix. The show was held at a dusty, sun-parched snake pit called Compton Terrace. The Ramones took the stage and played a few of their tunes (for some reason, the one I most remember was the “Spiderman” theme).

In introducing the song “Pet Sematary,” Joey joked that Compton Terrace was built on an ancient pet cemetery. Shortly thereafter, dark clouds gathered and brutal winds began to blow. Stage lights and speakers suspended above the stage began to sway violently. I had frightening visions of Joey, Johnny, and the rest being crushed by giant speakers. But the band left the stage before that could happen. And they never came back, and after the Lollapalooza tour, the Ramones broke up for good.)

Back to the present: The driving force behind ... Ya Know? was Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh. He assembled a bunch of Joey’s demos and home recordings — some going back decades — in various states of evolution — some reportedly consisting of only vocals and drums. Leigh took the tapes to several producers and twisted the arms of some of Joey’s musician friends to overdub.

Among the musical contributors on the album are Joan Jett, Handsome Dick Manitoba and Andy Shernoff of The Dictators, Lenny Kaye, Steve Van Zandt, Genya Ravan, Plasmatics guitarist Richie Stotts, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, and Holly Vincent of Holly and the Italians, who does a soulful duet with Joey on the Phil Spector-soaked “Party Line.”

Considering the patchwork of material here, the sound on ... Ya Know? is remarkably consistent.

There are a few songs that I have no trouble imagining the Ramones performing. “21st Century” is just a dumb rocker — the Ramones were masters of dumb rockers — in which Joey repeatedly sings about how much he wants some young woman. “I want you in the evening when the moon is full/ I want you in the morning, baby, when you’re off at school.” Similarly, “Eyes of Green” is a song of unrequited lust. The best lines are, “She’s dark and twisted like me/A creature of intrigue/She’s  something that you don’t forget/An ax murderess I bet/And I want her, I want her.”

Talk about dumb Ramones fun, “I Couldn’t Sleep” is irresistible. It owes obvious debts to early-rock classics like Bobby Lewis’ “Tossin’ and Turnin’” and Little Richard’s “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” but somehow Joey makes it all his own.

Then there’s “Seven Days of Gloom,” featuring a Stooge-like guitar riff and a chorus in which Joey repeats, “I’ll never be happy.” But, like so many blues songs, the melody and the energy of the tune belie the lyrics. Joey’s professional frustrations surface in “There’s Got to Be More to Life,” another crunching rocker, in which he sings, “There’s got to be more than MTV and fighting with the record company.”

Another song you can imagine the Ramones doing is “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight).” Come to think of it, the Ramones did do that song, on their Brain Drain album in 1989. This version is radically different, however. It’s slowed down and has a 1950s feel. You can almost envision Joey dueting with Johnny Ace at the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven Christmas party, perhaps done as a medley with The Casinos’ “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.”

As I said earlier, there are some duds on ... Ya Know?. “Rock ’n’ Roll Is the Answer,” which, unfortunately, opens the album, sounds like warmed-over Bachman-Turner Overdrive. “New York City” could easily be turned into a jingle for a tourism commercial. On “What Did I Do to Deserve You” Joey sounds like a Tom Petty impersonator.

“Make Me Tremble” makes me cringe. With its acoustic guitar and its opening lines, “Sitting on a mushroom out in the woods/I say now baby, baby, you make me feel good,” this could be Joey’s ode to the back-to-nature singer-songwriter movement of the early ’70s.

Another acoustic number here is the closing song, “Life’s a Gas.” This pales in comparison to “What a Wonderful World” as a Joey Ramone life affirmation. Still, I’m not so hard-hearted that I’m untouched by it.

Some critics have complained that ... Ya Know? is nothing but misplaced nostalgia and is an affront to the punk-rock spirit that Joey Ramone helped create.

I’ve got mixed feelings about that. (Don’t forget that punk rock itself had a nostalgic aspect — wanting to wrest control of rock ’n’ roll from the “art” rockers and singer-songwriters and aging ’60s rock royalty to return the music to its crazy dangerous spirit.) While some of these songs could have remained in the shoe box, there’s enough good material on the album to make me happy it was released.

Long live Joey Ramone.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

R.I.P. Doc Watson

We've lost another great one. Just a couple of months after the passing of Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson died on Tuesday at the age of 89. Here's an obituary by David Menconi in the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

I was fortunate enough to see Doc play in person twice -- once in the early '70s at Popejoy Hall at the University of New Mexico, then again about 10 years later at the Line Camp in Pojoaque. I was freelancing for The Santa Fe Reporter and got to interview him that time.

The two main things I remember about that interview were:

 1) Doc was pissed off because his opening act was a country rock band. Playing just with hisi son Merle, Doc didn't like having to follow a dance band -- though nobody in the audience that night seemed to mind; and 2) He didn't want to do the interview in his dressing room, which was kind of noisy, so we went outside to his car. He gave me lots of time, telling his life story and his opinions on music and whatnot. Trouble is, it was completely dark out there -- Doc was blind, remember -- so my notes were worse gibberish than usual. I was lucky to salvage a few quotes.

I'll play a set of Doc songs on The Santa Fe Opry Friday night (10 p.m. to midnight Mountain Time) on KSFR. In the meantime here's some videos of the man doing what he did best.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Terrell's Sound World Facebook BannerSunday, May 27, 2012 
KSFR, Santa Fe, N.M. 
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time 
Host: Steve Terrell guest co-host Scott Gullett
101.1 FM
email me during the show! terrell(at)

UPDATE: You can hear the first hour of this show HERE

 OPENING THEME: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Hulkster in the House by Hulk Hogan
Time Has Come Today by The Angry Samoans
Apartment Wrestling Rock 'n' Roll Girl by Lightning Beat-Man
Untamed Love by Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers
Not a Crime by Gogol Bordello
Another Brick in the Wall by Richard Cheese
Sex Type Thing (Swing-type version) by Stone Temple Pilots
The Ugly Side of the Face by Hang on the Box
Jim's Robot by The Plain

Rocket by Pinata Protest
Small Against Giants by French Inhales
Naked Cousins by P.J. Harvey
Timothy by The Buoys
My Body is a Battlefield by Bonapart
PsychoRelic Rap by Timothy Leary & Simon Stokes
Candy Man Blues by The Copper Gamins
The First Cuss by fIREHOSE

A Really Long Wait by The Melvins
Crack in Your Eye by The Oh Sees
Sasquatch Love by Horror Deluxe
Greyhound by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Make Me Smile by The Red Dogs
Diet Pill by L7
Battlecry by Monkeyshines

Kurwy Wędrowniczki by Kult
Feelings by Die Zorros
Rock Minuet by Lou Reed
Wicked Messenger by Patti Smith
Kindness of Strangers by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis
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Friday, May 25, 2012


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, May 25, 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
Pappy by Ugly Valley Boys
Beans and Make Believe by Mose McCormack
Skunk Ape by The Misery Jackals
Wrong Side of Love by Paul Burch & The Waco Brothers
Tennessee Rooster Fight by The Howington Brothers
Please Don't Water it Down by The Two-Man Gentleman Band
Because of LSD by Bud Freeman
It's All Downhill From Here by The Imperial Rooster
Gravity by T. Tex Edwards

Thunder Road/Sugarfoot Rag by Doc Watson
More Pretty Girls Than One by Doc Watson, Mac Wiseman & Del McCroury
Walking After Midnight by Doc Watson
Beedle Um Bum by Jim Kweskin Jug Band
How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Tall Tall Trees by O'Brien Party of Seven
Jack's Red Cheetah by Cathy Faber's Swingin' Country Band
Law and Order on the Border by Gary Pinon (at least Erik Ness told me that was his name)
Bath House Blues by Ashley's Melody Men

The Stars/Sadie Green by Great Recession Orchestra
He Calls That Religion by Maria Muldaur
I've Got Blood in My Eyes For You by The Mississippi Sheiks
Oh You Pretty Woman by Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies
Sheik That Thing  by Great Recession Orchestra
I'm an Old Cowhand by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Cow Cow Boogie by The Great Recession Orchestra
Sitting on Top of the World by Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys
Bootleggers Blues by The South Memphis String Band

Fading Moon by Hank 3 with Tom Waits
Wings of a Dove by Dolly, Loretta & Tammy
Summer Ranges by Michael Martin Murphey
The Pilgrim by Steve Earle
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: Something Good About the Recession

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
May 25, 2012

I first became aware of the Texas band called The Great Recession Orchestra about a year ago, when a CD called Have You Ever Even Heard of Milton Brown? arrived in my mailbox.

To answer the question, yes, I’ve heard of Milton Brown. He was a Texas bandleader in the 1930s who developed — first with W. Lee O’Daniel’s Light Crust Doughboys and then with his own Musical Brownies — a fusion of honky-tonk, pop, and jazz that would come to be known as Western swing.

Brown never achieved the acclaim that one of his former bandmates — a fiddler named Bob Wills — did. That might be because Brown died in 1936 from pneumonia after a being injured in a car wreck. But Brown created a sound that is immortal. In fact, The Great Recession Orchestra’s excellent album made me want to say, “Heck of a job, Brownie.”

Now, on its sophomore effort, Double Shot, the GRO is back with another impressive neo-Western swing album.

The group has members scattered all over the county, so, unfortunately, they don’t tour. But there are some fine musicians among them — a couple you should have heard of. Floyd Domino is a great Texas piano plinker and an original member of Asleep at the Wheel. Singer Maryann Price, who sings lead on four songs here, also was in the Wheel for a while, though she’s most famous for being a Lickette for Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks on Hicks’ greatest albums in the early 1970s. (She also sang with The Kinks on Preservation Act II.)

There’s a strong New Mexico connection in the GRO. It’s fronted by a singer named Damon Gray, who’s from Socorro, while the fiddler is Jimmy “J.D.” Smith, who grew up in Alamogordo. And producer Steve Satterwhite told me in an email earlier this year, “I spent many years in Farmington when I was a kid. I ate several bags of pinion nuts.”

Actually, Double Shot is two mini-albums on one disc. The first  is known collectively as "The Forties in Fort Worth" — a bunch of standards you would have heard on Texas radio back in that era. And this is mixed in with "Shaking the Sheiks," a road trip out of Texas honoring an influential Southern string band, The Mississippi Sheiks. I was serious when I said “mixed in.” Sheiks tunes are found between Forties in Fort Worth songs and vice versa.

:The Forties in Fort Worth" features some classics. There are at least a couple of Floyd Tillman songs — “They Took the Stars out of Heaven” and “Divorce Me C.O.D.” There’s “Cow Cow Boogie,” a Western pop tune originally sung by Ella Mae Morse and later by Ella Fitzgerald. The GRO version, sung by Price, sounds like it could be an outtake from one of those classic Hicks albums. Price also does a sultry take on “(I’d Like to Get You on a) Slow Boat to China,” a 1948 Kay Kaiser hit.

But my favorite songs on this album tend to be the Mississippi Sheiks songs. The Sheiks, who were popular in the late 1920s and much of the ’30s, included guitarist Walter Vinson, fiddler Lonnie Chatmon, and sometimes singers Bo Carter and Sam Chatmon. Their most famous song was “Sitting on Top of the World,” which has been covered by a zillion people — one of whom was Milton Brown. The GRO included its own version on its tribute album.

The Sheiks songs are bluesier and earthier than the other songs here. But the GRO transports them from the metaphorical Mississippi juke joint to the archetypal Texas honky-tonk by giving them the Western swing treatment. And it works. The material lends itself nicely to that. In fact, “Sweet Maggie” sounds like an earlier version of the blues song “Corrine Corinna,” which Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys made into a hit.

“Cat Fight” and “She Ain’t No Good” are among the highlights of the Shaking the Sheiks songs. And one surprise — I never realized before that the Sheiks were tax protesters, but they are just that in their song “Sales Tax,” which the GRO performs here.

Once again, Price provides one of the most satisfying songs on this record. “Sheik That Thing” (no, the Mississippi Sheiks didn’t spell it that way on the original song) is good, suggestive fun. I think my favorite is “Bootlegger Blues,” sung by Gray, though I prefer the version by Alvin Youngblood Hart with The South Memphis String Band from a few years ago.

Let’s hope the GRO continues its musical explorations into the roots of Western swing even after this recession is over.

Also recommended:

*  Lights of Santa Fe by Cathy Faber’s Swingin’ Country Band. Faber, a singer and upright bass player, is a veteran of Santa Fe music, having served time in Bill Hearne’s band and more recently with her own group, which includes some of New Mexico’s finest — steel guitarist Augé Hayes, guitarist George Langston, and drummer Britt Alexander. Jono Manson adds some harmony vocals, and he co-produced it with Faber.

Some of the finest cuts here, like “San Antonio Romeo” (written by former Taos resident Tish Hinojosa) and “Blues Keep Callin’ ” (composed by rockabilly goddess Janis Martin), are in the Western swing mode, while “Jack’s Red Cheetah,” my personal favorite, sounds like a close cousin.

But despite that and the band’s swingin’ name, most of the songs here aren’t swing. They’re just good country tunes — like Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” and Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have to Go” (with Hayes on lead vocals) — from the day when country sounded country.

Faber also dips into singer-songwriter territory with songs by Eliza Gilkyson (the title song), Lucinda Williams (“Big Red Sun Blues”), and Karla Bonoff’s “Home,” which I remember from some old Linda Ronstadt record.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Santa Fe Concert Watch

Here's some upcoming shows I personally recommend:

Wednesday May 23: (tomorrow): The Misery Jackals with The Imperial Rooster at The Underground

Monday, May 28: Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks at Santa Fe Sol
(Check out Dan and the band 40 (!) years ago on the Flip Wilson Show)

Saturday June 2: The Bodeans at Santa Fe Railyard Plaza

Thursday, June 7: Legendary Shack Shakers with The Dirt Daubers at Santa Fe Sol
(I love this Dirt Daubers video, below)

Tuesday, July 3: The Rev. Horton Heat with The Goddamn Gallows at Santa Fe Sol.

eMusic May

* Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town by Hank 3. This two-album, two-hour-plus set is part of the avalanche of music Hank unleashed last year following his emancipation from the evil Curb empire. (There also was Attention Deficit Domination, which showed his love for metal) and the bizarre Cattle Callin', a hillbilly answer to Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.)

So Ghost to Ghost is Hank 3's country set. There's fiddles and banjos. Drinkin', druggin', fuckin', shootin' guns -- good dirty outlaw fun. But make no mistake, it's country on his own terms. Lyricswise, he's ploughed much of this ground before. But more than ever, he's taking the music to strange corners.

The album starts off with fairly straightforward country sounds. But by the third track, "Ridin' the Wave" things take a turn for the little crazy. The drums are raw thunder, there's some kind of pump organ that sounds like a call from a past century and the fiddle and electric guitar create a wilds backwoods cacophony.

But don't think the boy can't do purdy. "The Devil's Movin' In" is just that. And so is "Time To Die,"   though the drums sound like they might have been lifted from a voodoo ceremony. There's some sweet gypsy tango featuring fiddle and accordion in the title song.

One of my favorite tracks here is "Ray Lawrence, Jr." It's actually two songs written and sung by an Arizona pal by that name, both recorded on Hank's bus. The first one, “When You Lose All You Have,” is a sweet country moaner that Lawrence wrote while living in a homeless shelter. The second, "Back in the Day," is more upbeat, with a chunka chunka Johnny Cash vibe. (Lawrence was interviewed last year by Saving Country Music. Read it HERE.)

Lawrence isn't the only guest vocalist here "Trooper's Holler" features Hank's dog. This might just be the most bitchen dog song I've heard since Grandpa Jones' "Old Rattler." And hell, I'd rather listen to Trooper than some worthless guest star like Kid Rock or Sting. But some pretty cool human guests lie ahead on the second album.

Son of a gun, Hank has some fun on the bayou on the second album in this set, Guttertown. This features Hank experimenting with Cajun music as well as atmospheric, ambient swamp soundscapes -- birds, bugs, beasts, wind, water and railroad tracks.

Then there's some spooky, exotic instrumental dirges like "Chaos Queen" and "Thunderpain" that sound like soundtracks for Buggery Night at the Temple of Doom.

All in all, the results of the Guttertown experiment are mixed -- and that might be too generous of a verdict.

But but there are some gems on Guttertown too. The spirited "Gutter Stomp" for instance borrows the melody of "Bosco Stomp" (which already had been borrowed for "Cajun Stripper).

And even better is the duet with Tom Waits (now there's a guest star!) on the song "Fadin' Moon." Whenever I here this song I get this image of Waits and Hank sharing a bottle somewhere deep in a swamp where neither belong but both feel right at home.

Likewise, the Les Claypool contribution is a goofy highlight. It's a fractured, almost Beefheartian faux sea chantey, which Hank and the Primus leader sing accompanied only by a bass drum for most of the seven-minute song. "We're going down with the ship/ deep down in the sea/ We're going down with the ship/ the pirate's life we lead," they sing.

 After being under Curb's corporate thumb for so many years, Hank 3 undoubtedly reveled in his freedom to create whatever weirdness tickled his mind. But with so many sound-effect and atmosphere tracks here -- some of them rather lengthy -- I sincerely believe that a wise, sympathetic producer not afraid to say, "Let's save this for the deluxe edition 20 years from now," could have benefited this work. It easily could have been whittled down to one decent album -- though that's the case with way too many double albums.

* Controversial Negro in Tucson by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Good thing  Spencer and crew recorded this in 1996. I'm pretty sure the Arizona state Legislature has in recent years passed a bill prohibiting controversial Negroes in the state.

But seriously, folks, this is The Blues Explosion doing what they did best romping, stomping, screaming and howling through their stripped down, blues-touched gutter rock.

Hey Spencer, I like Heavy Trash and all, but listening to this glorious mess, I'm convinced that the Blues Explosion should rise again.

* Locked Down by Dr. John. Here's the best album the good doctor has done in decades. The music recalls his early voodoo-drenched Night Tripper days, but it's got a sharp contemporary edge — for which we can thank producer Dan Auerbach, frontman of The Black Keys. But unlike some older artists produced by hip young bucks, Dr. John doesn't feel like a fish out of water here. The music is fresh, not forced.

Auerbach reportedly wanted to get Dr. John back into the thick, atmospheric, heady hoodoo excursions of his early albums — Remedies, Babylon, The Sun, Moon & Herbs, and especially his classic Gris-Gris. What’s so refreshing about this record is that it has most of those elements that made Dr. John so irresistible. Yett it doesn’t sound like a paint-by-number re-creation of the old sound.

Sound familiar? Yes, this was the subject of Terrell's Tune-up not long ago.

* "Weedeye" and "Rickshaw Rattletrap" by Churchwood. These are the two songs I didn't have from Churchwood's Just the Two of Us "single." (The other two, "A Message from Firmin Desloge" and "Metanoia" are on the latest Saustex sampler Sample This.)

* "Forbidden Fruit" by The Band. This is a cool tune from The Band's 1975 Northern Lights/Southern Cross album. I already had most of the songs I like from that record from various compilations, but somehow "Forbidden Fruit," sung by the late great Levon Helm, never made it into any best-of retrospectives. I had to have it for my recent Santa Fe Opry tribute to Helm, who died of cancer last month.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Terrell's Sound World Facebook BannerSunday, May 20, 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
People Who Died by The Jim Carrol Band
Perverts in the Sun by Iggy Pop
Hot by Big Ugly Guys
Hey You by Simon Stokes & The Heathen Angels
Something Came Over Me by Wild Flag
Patches Rides the Rail by Deadbolt
The Freak Was Clean by The Oh Sees

Willow by Manby's Head
Train Crash by The Molting Vultures
Cynical Ride by The Pulsebeats
Show Me by The Dirty Novels
Alleys of Your Mind by The Dirtbombs
Beaver Patrol by The Wild Knights
I Wanna Go by Uzis
Paint It Black by Die Zorros
Vampire Sugar by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
Wasted Time by The Grannies
Who Doesn't Love by Sinn Sisamouth

Cuckoo by Big Brother & The Holding Company
Dynamite Love by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Dance Commander by The Electric Six
Crankcase Blues by Mudhoney
I Drink Alone by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Bucket O' Blood by Big Boy Groves
Advanced Romance by Frank Zappa & The Mothers with Captain Beefheart

Walking the Cow by Firehose
Dono by Afrosippi
Ellegua by Dr. John
Spirit in the Dark by Aretha Franklin
Let's Forget About the Past by The Detroit Cobras
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, May 18, 2012


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, May 18, 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

Cowboy Logic by Michael Martin Murphey (for Erik Ness, R.I.P.)
House Rent Jump by Peter Case
Devil Came Knockin' by Liquor Box
I Washed My hands in Muddy Water by George Thorogood
No Place For Children by The Misery Jackals
Do You Know Thee Enemy by Slim Cessna's Auto Club
Rock Me by Little Jimmy Dickens
I Told Her Lies by Robbie Fulks

Wake Up and Smell the Whiskey by Dean Miller
Too Drunk To Truck by The Sixtyniners
Tumblin' Tumbleweeds by The Tumbleweeds
Baby He's A Wolf by Werly Fairburn
Dire Wolf by Halden Wofford & The Hi-Beams
49 Women by Jerry Irby & His Texas Ranchers
How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away by Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
Villa of the Nude by Julie Young
Blood on the Saddle by T. Tex Edwards
How Do You Tell A Child That Someone Has Died The Black Lips

Poor Me by Big Al Anderson
Righteous Ragged Songs by Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
Sun Bonnet Sue by The Fort Worth Doughboys
He'll Have to Go by Cathy Faber's Swingin' Country Band featuring Auge Hayes
Pass the Bottle by The Goddamn Gallows
The Same God by The Calamity Cubes
Coochy Coochy by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Prescription Drugs by Two-Man Gentleman Band
Feed the Family by Possessed by Paul James

Yuppie Scum by Emily Kaitz
Romping Through the Swamp by Holy Modal Rounders
Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes by Retta & The Smart Fellas
Prayer by Slackeye Slim
Undiscovered Country by Giant Giant Sand
Running On Pure Fear Martin Zellar & The Hardways
I've Got a Tender Heart by Eleni Mandell
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

TERRELL'S TUNEUP: Misery Never Sounded This Good

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 18, 2012

The Misery Jackals, a band from Akron (home of Devo), Ohio, is part of a new crop of acoustic “underground” country bands with one foot in bluegrass and another foot, and possibly additional body parts, in punk rock. Other such outfits sprouting up include The Calamity Cubes, The Dirt Daubers, Honky Tonk Hustlas, Black Jake & the Carnies, and Liquor Box.

But of all these, the Jackals may be the only band with built-in legal representation. Banjo picker and Jackal mastermind Bill Corgan (no, not the guy from The Smashing Pumpkins) is a practicing lawyer. That might come in handy for a band on the road. And on the road the group is. The Misery Jackals pull into Santa Fe on Wednesday, May 23, for a show at The Underground at Evangelo’s with Española’s revered Imperial Rooster.

And there, hopefully, the Jackals will be hawking their devilishly delightful new album, No Place for Children, which they recorded earlier this year. This album is a follow-up to the band’s first effort, EP, which made me a fan a couple of years ago.

Packed into EP’s modest seven-song package are a lighthearted ode to roller derby; a tribute to/parody of top Midwestern underground-country hero Slackeye Slim (“He eventually acquired a taste for hot dogs and human flesh”); a gut-wrenching tale of a crack addict who’s just spent his baby-formula money on drugs; a theme song explaining the name of the band (“I’m a misery jackal, and on yer pain I feed/Cause I’m a misery jackal, I love to watch you bleed”), and more.

Happily, the new album is even better. Corgan’s twisted humor is evident on most of the tracks.

My immediate favorites include “Liquor and Whores” (a hillbilly sleazoid version of “My Favorite Things”); “Mudflap Girl,” a truck driver’s homage to the silver naked lady seen on the back of 18-wheelers throughout the country; a minor-key cautionary tale of a legendary creature — perhaps Ohio’s answer to the jackalope — called “Skunk Ape”; and “The Mortuary Bop,” which describes the secret pleasures of a woman who works in a funeral home.

But not all the songs are full of yucks. Like “Crack & Similac” from EP, “Patrick” is a sympathetic song about a drug addict who died at the age of 21. The Jackals are far less sympathetic to “Sick Rick,” a junkie creep.

Musically, the band seems to be getting tighter. It’s certainly not the first band to add drums to bluegrass (heresy for the bluegrass purist, though we don’t care much about purists at “Terrell’s Tune-Up”), but the MJs do it right.

They've got the bluegrass thing down, and the list of those who’ve influenced them seems to be expanding. I never understood why they mention Gogol Bordello as an influence until I heard “My Family,” the opening track of No Place for Children, as well as the album’s “Josephine” and the accordion solo on “Pirates of the Northcoast’ — all of which show a kinship with Gogol’s “gypsy punk” sound.

The Jackals also show an appreciation of Mexican music with “La Muerte por el Perrero,” which Corgan sings in Spanish. And are those mariachi horns I hear at the end of “Patrick”?

The Misery Jackals with The Imperial Rooster are playing at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, at The Underground at Evangelo’s, 200 W. San Francisco St. Cover is a mere $5.

And if you’re in Albuquerque the night before, the Jackals are playing at Blackbird Buvette, 509 Central Blvd. N.W. beginning at 9 p.m.

Also recommended:

*  There Is a Bomb in Gilead by Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. I have to admit, the first thing that attracted me to this album was the title — an irreverent play on the title of an old gospel hymn, recorded by Mahalia Jackson and countless others.

This first album by this Alabama band amounts to a new argument that Southern rock is not anywhere close to dying. True, Bains and company don’t have the powerful songwriting chops of that other Alabama group, The Drive-By Truckers, but they’re drawing on some of the same sources: Mussel Shoals soul, smoldering blues, sweet country songs and, of course, that first generation of wild-eyed Southern bands — the Allmans, Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, Wet Willie, and the rest — who sounded the rebel yell back in the ’70s.

Gilead starts out with a smoky slow burner called “Ain’t No Stranger.” It’s an intriguing little tune that sounds like a long-lost lilting Howard Tate song on the verses that builds up to loud guitars and intense drums on the choruses.

But I prefer the next song, “Centreville,” which thunders from start to finish. Bains starts off with some healthy class warfare: “If you hear any bleedin’ it’s me and the boys/We’re overeducated and we’re underemployed.” The rage never stops. Other sturdy rockers include “The Red, Red Dirt of Home” and the South’s-gonna-rise-again blast of “Magic City Stomp.”

One standout on this album is “Everything You Took.” It’s a bitter little breakup song in which Bains tells a former girlfriend, “Go on keep my T-shirts/Well you can go on keep my books.” But I’m not quite sure I believe the second half of the refrain: “Each small hope that you give me/Makes up for everything you took.”

There are some good pretty numbers too. “Reba” is a country love song, and “Opelika” is a sweet soul tune that hints at country — the kind of song for which Dan Penn is known. “Roebuck Parkway” is a minor-key folkie-sounding tune in which Bains is accompanied only by acoustic guitar.

The album ends with the title song, which, not surprisingly, has a lot of gospel in it. With a piano as the main instrument, Bains sings most of it in a soulful falsetto. Try to listen to the chorus of this tune without thinking of The Faces.

On Bains & The Glory Fires’ next album, I’d like to hear a few more “Centrevilles” and a little less “Roebuck Parkways.” But I do want to hear more from Lee Bains.

BLOG BONUS: Enjoy some Jackals

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Terrell's Sound World Facebook BannerSunday, May 13, 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
Death Don't Have No Mercy by Rev. Gary Davis
What's Good by Lou Reed
Robot Lover by The Last Killers
Hellhole by fIREHOSE
Cosmos 7 by The Fall
Black Sabbath by Die Zorros
Johnny B. Goode by Horror Deluxe
Shady Grove by Quicksilver Messenger Service
The Annoying Song by The Butthole Surfers

I Drink Alone by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
That's The Way That We Dance by The 99ers
Move Mr. Man by The Del-Gators
Wear Black by The Molting Vultures
Do the Clam by The Cramps
Cleo's Gone by The Gay Sportscasters
When The Drugs Kick in by The Del Lords
Heart Eaters by The Grannies
Ready Willing And Able by Rudy Ray Moore

A Really Long Wait by The Melvins
Transcendental Road Blues by Chief Fuzzer
Bad Vibrations by The Black Angels
Greasy Heart by Jefferson Airplane
Mind Eraser by The Black Keys
Robber Barons by The Oh Sees

God's Sure Good by Dr. John
The Work Song by The Animals
(Hot Pastrami with) Mashed Potatoes by Joey Dee & The Starliters
Voodoo Woman by Johnny Otis
Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive/Things are Getting Better by NRBQ
Everything I Do is Wrong by The Reigning Sound
There is a Bomb in Gilead by Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis
Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Friday, May 11, 2012


Santa Fe Opry Facebook BannerFriday, May 11, 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
I Tried to Be Fair by Ronnie Dawson
One Woman Man by Hindu Love Gods
Shadow My My by Ray Condo & The Richochets
Come Back When You're Younger by Old Dogs
Peggy Sue by Eddie "Chief" Clearwater with Los Straitjackets
Wine Stained Heart by Tom Armstrong
Honky Tonk Song by Webb Pierce
Honky Tonk Moon by Cathy Faber's Swingin' Country Band
I Know You Are There by The Handsome Family
Pork Chops by The Two Man Gentleman Band

Roadrunner Ramble by The Tumbleweeds
Footstompin' Friday Night by The Stumbleweeds
Ain't It Strange by Joe Goldmark with Keta Bill
Roly Poly by The Last Mile Ramblers
Baby Keeps Stealin' by Great Recession Orchestra
Cut Across Shorty by The 99ers
Move It by T. Tex Edwards
Year Of Jubilo by Holy Modal Rounders
Old Dog Blue by David Johanson & The Harry Smiths

Salvation by The Calamity Cubes
Family Man by Zeno Tornado & The Boney Google Brothers
My Window Faces the South by Paula Rhae McDonald
Give That Love to Me by Ray Campi
Heavy Rescue by Broomdust Caravan
Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets by Johnny Paycheck
Give In by The Waco Brothers with Paul Burch
I Wanna Kill Your Man by Harmonica Lewinsky
Can't Go to Heaven by The Dirt Daubers

One Sided Love Affair by Hylo Brown
Diggin' in the Dirt by Tom Irwin
Mortuary Bop by The Misery Jackals
Louie by Mose McCormack
Pray I Won't Wake Up by Honky Tonk Hustlas
The River Knows Your Name by John Hiatt
Ashes to Ashes by Rachel Brooke
Heaven by Joe West

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


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
May 11, 2012

The Minutemen rightfully hold a high position in the indie-rock pantheon. Their story has been told in song and legend — as well as in the dandy 2005 documentary We Jam Econo. The trio from San Pedro, California, mixed a weird modern jazz sensibility with their punk rock soul and created a refreshing, if sometimes perplexing sound. The band also provided a good argument against the stereotype of punk rockers not being able to play their instruments.

Like their songs, which, for the most part, lasted for less than a minute each, the Minutemen’s career was also abbreviated. Just five years after their first record on the SST label (the EP Paranoid Time), singer/lead guitarist D. Boon was killed in a car crash.

However the band formed by surviving Minutemen, bassist Mike Watt (these days playing with Iggy and the reconstituted Stooges) and drummer George Hurley isn’t nearly as revered. In fact, fIREHOSE is often viewed in the collective rock consciousness as a kind of a footnote to the Minutemen saga. fIREHOSE, which featured a young Minutemen zealot named Ed Crawford (billed as “Ed fROMOHIO”) on guitar and vocals, wasn’t as innovative as the original Boon-fronted group. But, as the new two-disc collection lowFLOWS: The Columbia Anthology (’91-’93) shows, fIREHOSE was nothing to sneeze at.

This collection includes both of the full-length albums that  fIREHOSE recorded for Columbia Records in the early ’90s, Flyin’ the Flannel and Mr. Machinery Operator, as well as a concert EP, Live Totem Pole and various other goodies. These records were from the era in which the major labels began snatching up the cream of the indies. Warner Brothers grabbed R.E.M., The Replacements, and Hüsker Dü. Elektra nabbed The Pixies, and Geffen got Nirvana, the Butthole Surfers landed on Capitol, and Columbia lured fIREHOSE.

OK, so Firehouse wasn’t the Minutemen. But Flyin’ the Flannel had some stout-hearted rockers, starting off with “Down With the Bass,” which shows off Watts’ instrumental prowess. “Losers, Boozers, and Heroes” is a weird dirge with Celtic overtones that owes a debt to Fairport Convention. It’s also more than five minutes long, which undoubtedly caused some consternation among Minutemen purists. “O’er the Town of Pedro” has a crazed Hüsker Dü energy.

But perhaps my favorite fIREHOSE song of all time is “Walking the Cow.” It’s a cover of a song by mad Austin genius Daniel Johnston. Sung understatedly by the gruff-voiced Watt, it’s breezy and jazzy. The lyrics — like most of Johnston’s best — are strange, (what does he mean he’s walking a cow?) and drenched with sadness and doubt.

Mr. Machinery Operator was recorded during the final days of fIREHOSE, released just a few months before the musicians finally called it quits as a band. Several tracks here — the slow-moving “The Cliffs Thrown Down, for instance, or the sludgy “Quicksand” — sound like a band winding down.

But with Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis producing, it’s no surprise that it’s nice and noisy with flashes of brilliance. I had to check the credits to be convinced that Crawford’s song “Blaze” wasn’t a Dino Jr. cover. Mascis’ background harmonies on this track remind me of Dinosaur’s quasi “hit” of the same era, “I Don’t Think So.”

Besides his own voice and guitar, Mascis brought in other musical guests. Nels Cline (of Wilco) plays guitar on “4.29.92,” a wild and primitive instrumental, and ex-Bangles Vickie Peterson sings background on “Witness.” But best of all is an unknown but powerful belter named Freda Rente, who sings lead on “Hell Hole,” which sounds like an update of early-’70s soul.

Actually my favorite part of this anthology is Live Totem Pole. There are some classic Watt tunes here (the ultra funky ”Makin’ the Freeway” and “What Gets Heard”). And there are some worthwhile covers, too — the best being Blue Öyster Cult’s “The Red and the Black,” an early Public Enemy song “Sophisticated Bitch” (yo, Ed fROMOHIO raps — and he sounds like a proto-Gluey Brother), and “Revolution (Part 2),” a Butthole Surfers tune best known for the closing chorus where the singer repeats the name of comedian Gary Shandling.

So maybe Firehouse will never get its own documentary, but these road dogs made some fine and usually interesting music during their day.

While it’s nice that Sony has re-released these records in an attractive package, if you’re a new fIREHOSE fan, you should realize that the group’s earlier work — the albums Ragin’Full On, If’n, and fROMOHIO, as well as the EP Sometimes all are on SST’s website.

Also recommended:

* Future by Die Zorros. This band is one of the most innovative projects involving the unstoppable Reverend. Beat-Man. The head honcho of Berne-based Voodoo Rhythm Records (I’ve heard he has a Swiss bank account) is the “only the drummer” for this band — which includes Olif M. Guz on electric organ and guitarist Patrick Abt. But evidence of Beat-Man’s crazy musical vision is scattered everywhere.

Die Zorros, which before now hadn’t released an album since 2002’s History of Rock Vol. 7, specializes in instrumentals, including some versions of well-known hits put through a Bizarro World/exotica/Muzak filter. Among the tunes you might recognize here are Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” (retitled “No, No No”), “Paint it Black,” “Nights in White Satin” (which starts out with a reggae beat), and the Beatles’ “Day Tripper” — though the group chants “tax man” through the verses, and it features a guitar riff from “She’s a Woman.” Die Zorros call the song “Walrus Eats Taxman.”

Along with the covers, there are some original tunes too, such as the exotic “Zorros in Afrika” and “Meek My Joe,” a tribute to the late British producer whose otherworldly touch colored “Telstar” and other early-’60s hits — and a major influence on the Zorros’ sound.

My favorite here though is an iggly squiggly version of the old schmaltz classic “Feelings,” on which Die Zorros sound like evil aliens who have conquered a retirement home cocktail lounge.


The Live Music Archive has several fIREHOSE shows!

Here's one from 1988.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Free Melvins EP (Melvins in SF Tonight)

As most of you know, The Melvins are playing tonight at Santa Fe Sol.

What you might not know is that their latest recording, a five song EP called The Bulls & The Bees is available for free downloading from the good folks at Scion.

Scion is the car company that also gave away free downloads for the most recent albums by King Khan and The Reigning Sound. (I wrote about those HERE.) They also produced a fun little music documentary called New Garage Explosion which contains some good live performances.

So go download The Bulls & The Bees and maybe I'll see you tonight at Sol.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Big Enchilada Goes Back to the Honky Tonk


Burn down the honky tonks with another fine Big Enchilada hillbilly episode featuring lots of new music by current bands like The Calamity Cubes, The Dirt Daubers, The Waco Brothers with Paul Burch, Lydia Lovelace, The Misery Jackals, Poor Boy's Soul plus not-too-long-ago sounds from Ronny Elliott, Harry Hayward, Asylum Street Spankers, DM Bob & The Deficits and more ... not to mention the late Kell Robertson live on The Santa Fe Opry and a rowdy tribute from his pals.

Here's the playlist:

(Background Music: Honky Tonk Tout le Temps by Mama Rosin)
Coricidin Bottle by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Do Right by Lydia Loveless
Help Me From My Brain by Legendary Shack Shakers
The Devil Gets His Due by The Dirt Daubers
Gutter Town by Hank 3
I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape by The Nugrape Twins

(Background Music: Intexicated Part 2 by T. Tex Edwards)
Tell the King the Killer's Here by Ronny Elliott
Transfusion by The Waco Brothers with Paul Burch
Liquor and Whores by The Misery Jackals
Beautiful Blue Eyes by Red Allen & The Kentuckians
TV Party by Asylum Street Spankers
Animal Hoedown by Harry Hayward

(Background Music: Guitar Boogie by Arthur Smith's Hot Quintet)
Wine Spodee Odee by Kell Robertson
Go on Home by Jason Eklund, Tom Irwin & Mike Good
Wild Bill Jones by Wade Mainer & The Sons of  The Mountaineers
Throwing Stones by Poor Boy's Soul
FBI Top 10 by DM Bob & The Deficits
Empty Bottle by The Calamity Cubes
(Background Music: Five by Eight by Benny Martin)

Play it here:

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

Episode 44: Moonshine Becomes You
Episode 39: Podunk Holler Hoedown
Episode 36: Sweathog of the Rodeo 
Episode 31: Below Tobacco Road
Episode 26: Hillbilly Pigout
Episode 22: Honky in a Cheap Motel
Episode 16: Hillbilly Heaven
Episode 10: More Santa Fe Opry Favorites
Episode 8: Santa Fe Opry Favorites Vol. 2
Episode 2: Santa Fe Opry Favorites

Sunday, May 06, 2012


Sunday, May 6, 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
Rock 'n' Roll is the Answer by Joey Ramone
A Message from Fermin Deslodge by Churchwood
Formal Introduction by fIREHOSE
Wind Up Blind by Scott H. Biram
Side Door Man by The Grannies
Boot Check by Gas Huffer
I'm a Pig by The Angry Samoans

I Can't Shake It/National Hamster/Creepy Smell by The Melvins
Doug The Thug by The 99ers
Bad She Gone Voodoo by Chief Fuzzer
(Everybody) Loves a Loser by The Molting Vultures
Wiener Dog Polka by Polkacide
Ruby Red by The Copper Gamins

I'm Insane by T-Model Ford
Goin' Down South by Kenny Brown
My Baby Got Drunk by Paul "Wine" Jones
A Good Day to Feel Bad by Andre Williams
Psychedelic Sex Machine by The North Mississippi All Stars
Kidney Stew Blues by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson
Mud by The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Call My Job by Detroit Junior

End of the World by El Pathos
Pepper Spray by Light Bulb Alley
Reindeer Are Wild by Thee Headcoats
Do You Know What  I Idi Amin by Chuck E. Weiss with Tom Waits
You Lie by Dr. John
Love Letters by Dex Romweber Duo
Get it While You Can by Janis Joplin
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE

Friday, May 04, 2012


Friday, May 4, 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
Precious Time by Broomdust Caravan
Bold Marauder by Richard & Mimi Farina
Adios Mexico by Joe "King" Carrasco & The Texas Tornadoes
No Yodeling on the Radio by Karen Collins
I'm Sending Daffydills by The Maddox Brothers & Rose
Sheik That Thang by The Great Recession Orchestra
Yesterday Morning by El Pathos

Mudflap Girl by The Misery Jackals
Blue Tick Hound by Split Lip Rayfield
Shotgun by Anthony Leon & The Chain
Hooked by Eilen Jewell
Her Love Rubbed Off by Ray Condo
Someone That You Know by The Waco Brothers with Paul Burch
Driftwood 40-23 by The Hickoids
Hand for the Hog by O'Brien Party of 7
Ol' Corn Likker by The Carolina Chocolate Drops

It's Gravity by T. Tex Edwards
LSD by Wendell Austin
Blood on the Saddle by Tex Ritter
Crazy Date by The Crazy Teens
Lee Harvey by Asylum Street Spankers
Dolores by Eddie Novak
The Rubber Room by Porter Wagoner
Psycho by Jack Kittel
Death of a Clown by T. Tex Edwards

Empty Bottle by The Calamity Cubes
Never Cold Again by The Imperial Rooster
Beatin' My Head by Jayke Orvis
Lonesome Turns Boresome by Rachel Brooke
Wind Blown Waltz by Giant Giant Sand
Be My Love by NRBQ
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

R.I.P. David Lescht

Terrible news.

David Lescht, the man who for years headed an organization that brought untold hours of free music -- local and national -- to the Plaza each summer in the popular Santa Fe Bandstand program, died early this morning. He was 64.

A mutual friend told me that it was a massive heart attack that killed David. I haven't officially confirmed that yet. David had just appeared on KBAC radio yesterday to talk about the 2012 Bandstand schedule. (Joe "King" Carrasco is the first headliner in July! Damn, David, you're going to miss it!)

David also was the founder and head honcho of the Outside In program, which brought music to jails, hospitals, rest homes and other institutions.

He also was a KUNM DJ. The man just loved music and loved bringing it to people.

The first time I interviewed David was in 1995 when he was doing one of the first Outside In shows at St. Elizabeth homeless shelter. This was years before the Bandstand program.


UPDATE 10:30 am. Friends of Lescht are planning to get together at 5:30 pm at the Cowgirl to toast his legacy.


As you'll see in the story below, David had big plans since day one. I'll admit I was skeptical at first, but David worked like a maniac to make this program a reality.

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
November 12, 1995

It was an outdoor gig on a cold night. A guitar string had broken in the middle of a song. The cops came and unceremoniously brought the show to a halt after a neighbor complained.

But to Nathan Moore and other members of ThaMuseMeant, a local acoustic band that performs mostly original tunes, the St. Elizabeth's homeless shelter show was successful beyond expectation.

The show was part of a program -- organized by music promoter David Lescht and called Outside In -- which brings quality music to the homeless, sick and incarcerated.

At St. Elizabeth's, people clapped, smiled and then grumbled when the officers apologized for having to shut the performance down.

``She sings just like Buffy St. Marie, '' a woman said when bassist Aimee Curl took a turn at the mike. ``I saw Buffy at Carnegie Hall back in the '60s.''

After the band had broken down all its equipment and shelter staff and residents had taken in the folding chairs, Moore was in a pensive mood.

``As we were playing for the homeless people, lyrics in some of our songs started taking on new meaning for me, '' Moore said. ``Our band -- myself, Dave (Tiller) and Aimee -- we started out in Virginia and went to Austin and now Santa Fe. We all spent a lot of time in which we were homeless. But because we had our music, we never felt like we were homeless.''

The song lyrics that most jumped out at Moore:

You won't find me beggin'/Straight up on the street/I've got nowhere to go/But I've got dancin' feet.

Such introspection after a concert is not uncommon, according to the bushy-bearded, 47-year-old Lescht. While he has no illusions that bringing music into an institution is going to solve the problems of audience members, he says it can be enriching -- can increase the chance for ``dancin' feet.''

Of course, ``dancin' feet'' is more of a state of mind than physical reality. On a recent Tuesday at La Residencia nursing home, many of cowboy singer Sid Hausman's audience sat in wheelchairs.

But the spirit was in the air.

La Residencia folks tapped their fingers and sang along as Hausman -- in his bright red shirt and tall cowboy hat -- sang and played banjo, ukelele and 12-string guitar. When he tried to leave, the crowd called him back for two encores.

Music can help people deal with boredom, isolation and despair, Lescht said.

``I just try to bring a little light from the outside into dark places, '' he said.

But the audiences are not the only beneficiaries.

``Musicians tell me this is therapy for themselves, '' Lescht said. ``The effect on the artist is amazing.''

ThaMuseMeant's Moore agreed. ``It really was a special feeling, '' he said a few days after the gig.

Hausman said he favors nursing home audiences to rowdy bar crowds.

``If you play music, you play for people, and if you can reach people, you've done your job, '' Hausman said. ``Unlike playing the bars, I can tell the people here were really listening.''

The concert by ThaMuseMeant was not the first time the St. Elizabeth's shelter had seen a show produced by Lescht. In late July, local bluesman Jono Manson and The Mighty Revelators played there.

Outside In also has performed at a local youth shelter. In June, Virginia singer/songwriter Vicki Pratt Keating entertained there. Although most teens are more into rap and hard rock than folk, Keating related well to her audience, Lescht said.

``She spent some time in a shelter for runaways herself when she was a kid, '' he said.

Later in June, Lescht organized a show by Cajun Connections, a band from Los Alamos, at a dance for developmentally disabled people at New Vistas in Santa Fe. The next month, Outside In brought a bluegrass band, Ain't Misbehavin, ' to Horizon nursing home, and Carlos Lomas and his flamenco troupe to La Residencia nursing home.

In August, Lescht brought a local rock group, The Withdrawals, to inmates at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas. And Jono Manson and his band performed at the women's prison in Grants in October, Lescht said.

So far, Lescht is paying musicians out of his own pocket.

``It's not a bad paying gig, '' Moore said. ``I've made more at parties, but I've made less at bars.''

But Lescht hopes to stop bankrolling the venture.

``I'm doing it myself now to get the ball rolling, but I'm actively seeking contributors, '' he said.

Outside In is affiliated with the Santa Fe Council for the Arts, so donations made through the SFCA are tax deductible, Lescht said. His first year projected budget is slightly more than $55,000.

Lescht said he was inspired by a similar program in California called ``Bread and Roses.'' Created by Mimi Farina, a folk singer who is a sister of famous folkie Joan Baez. Bread and Roses -- which organizes 30 events a month -- has been around for 20 years, Lescht said.

But long before he became acquainted with Bread and Roses, Lescht was experimenting with ways to mix music and social consciousness. He moved to Santa Fe in 1974 and lived in a commune, working at a now-defunct hostel on Manhattan Street.

Out of the commune, grew a rock group called The Brotherhood Band, which Lescht said contained elements of gospel music, The Grateful Dead and preachy ``peace and love'' sloganeering. He was the group's manager.

The band focused on playing in prisons, hospitals, youth shelters and other institutional settings in the West. The band did a tour of virtually all the prisons in Spain.

In 1984, The Brotherhood Band played a Bread and Roses gig in California, where Lescht met Mimi Farina. At the time, the band was suffering from the usual type of personality and ego problems that doom some of the best groups. The Brotherhood Band sputtered to an end about 1988.

Lescht then moved to England, where he met his wife Sarah. He kept his hand in the music business by managing a rehearsal space for musicians.

One of his friends from The Brotherhood Band era who was living in Massachusetts sent him a copy of Farina's Bread and Roses Handbook . The two talked about, and eventually planned, moving to Santa Fe to start such a program here.

However, soon after the Leschts arrived here, his friend died in Massachusetts at age 49.

``That kind of gave me an extra push to go ahead and do this, '' he said.

Lescht worked for awhile at Seeds of Change, but quit earlier this year to pursue Outside In fulltime.

Whether he can get the financial backing to make it work remains a question. But one thing is for certain: He will always have audiences whose days could be made a little brighter by some music. And there undoubtedly are enough musicians around to do the shows.

``I'm not really sure who it means more for -- the performers or the audience, '' Moore of ThaMuseMeant said.

UPDATE: 11:08 am Earlier versions of this post said Lescht died "last night." I'm now being told it was early this morning. The text has been corrected. (Also cleaned up a little gibberish in the first paragraph.)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Terrell's TuneUp: Land of the Dinsosaur

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 4, 2012

One of my favorite record labels in recent years is an independent roots-soaked punk outfit from San Antonio, Texas, called Saustex Media.

With its big green dinosaur-in-a-cowboy-hat logo, Saustex is the love child of Jeff “Smitty” Smith, singer and head hick of The Hickoids, a San Antonio band that, to misquote Barbara Mandrell, was cow-punk back when cow-punk wasn’t cool. The Hickoids are still going strong after all these decades — in recent months with Santa Fe’s own Tom Trusnovic playing guitar. They’re Saustex’s flagship band.

There are lots of great acts that have released music on the label — Piñata Protest, Glambilly, Sons of Hercules, Stevie Tombstone, and singer-songwriter Eric Hisaw. I was lucky enough to catch some of these acts in Austin during South by Southwest in March at a couple of Saustex-sponsored events.

And even better, the label has recently released a ton of new music:

*  Intexicated by T. Tex Edwards. Dallas-born Thomas Edwards has been making a musical nuisance of himself for decades. He initially became known working with a punk band called The Nervebreakers — they opened for The Sex Pistols’ Dallas show in 1977 and these days sometimes still get together to play. Since then he’s fronted bands including The Saddle Tramps, Out on Parole, The Loafin’ Hyenas, Lithium X-mas, The Swingin’ Cornflake Killers, and recently Purple Stickpin.

This compilation includes recordings from Edwards’ post-Nervebreakers career spanning the early ’80s through to just a few years ago. There are lots of rockabilly influenced songs such as “Cravin’,” “It’s Gravity,” and “Thirteen Women.”

Best of all are “Move It,” a 1982 record with The Saddletramps, and the delightfully warped “Crazy Date,” recorded with Out on Parole featuring Edwards. This was an obscure 1959 regional hit by an Alabama group called The Crazy Teens. Tex, reciting the lyrics like a sinister Big Bopper, turns it into the diary of a terminal lech.

There’s also a good representation of Edwards’ trademark twisted takes on country songs. There are two tunes that grace Out on Parole’s 1989 psycho-country classic Pardon Me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill: Leon Payne’s “Psycho” (a 1984 rendition of the song featuring a sweet honky-tonk piano) and “LSD,” an obscure cautionary tale about acid originally recorded by singer Wendell Austin (“I started using LSD/ It gave me such a kick/ Better than booze and easy to use/ But it made me mentally sick”).
There’s also a nightmarish lo-fi cover of “Blood on the Saddle,” a tune associated with another Tex — Tex Ritter.

A real treat is a version of “Lee Harvey,” a song about the accused Kennedy assassin, recorded with The Hickoids in 1989 — several years before the Asylum Street Spankers released the version that I’m most familiar with. Written by Homer Henderson, the lyrics humanize the shadowy Oswald:

“Lee Harvey was a friend of mine/He used to take me fishing all the time/He used to throw the ball to me/ When I was just a kid/They say he shot the president/But I don’t think he did.”

One thing about T. Tex Edwards, he never sold out to the corporations. Oh, wait, he did! The last song here is a demo he did for Chili’s restaurant. I’m not sure if the chain actually used this 30-second punk-rock flash. But it did make me hungry for baby back ribs.

(On the Santa Fe Opry I'll be playing a special set of "Songs T. Tex Edwards taught us. The show starts at 10 p.m Mountain Time Friday on KSFR, 101.1 FM or streaming HERE )

* El Pathos. This Austin band has only been around for a few years, but it’s made up of several veterans of Texas punk-rock groups (The Dicks, Offenders, Cat Butt, and others). They play a basic garage/punk, Stooge/Dolls-influenced brand of raw rock ’n’ roll — and do a fine job. There’s not a dull moment on this, their self-titled second album.

The album kicks off with the slow-burning “Election Day,” which sounds like Sticky Fingers-era Rolling Stones. The next song, “Straight Into the Sun,” slips into a higher gear. Try to listen to this one without thinking of “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by the 13th Floor Elevators.

One thing that sets El Pathos apart from most bands with similar approaches is that it has an actual steel/slide guit — Mark Kenyon — as part of its permanent lineup. And the group isn’t afraid to use him. In fact, there are a couple of fine country rockers hiding in this album, in which Kenyon shines.

The rowdy “Gypsy Minor” is a potential punk-rock honky-tonk classic, while the last song here, the melancholy country rocker called “Yesterday Mourning,” is nice and purdy. This album makes me want to seek out El Pathos’ first effort, Hate and Love.

* The Copper Gamins. This five-song, self-titled EP is just a blast. The CGs are a two-man lo-fi punk-blues unit from San Miguel Totocuitlapilco, Mexico. The whole thing sounds like it was recorded in an abandoned gas station, but it’s got spirit.

My favorite song here is “Candy Man.” The CGs give songwriting credit to Mississippi John Hurt, but fans of the saint of Avalon, Mississippi, aren’t likely to recognize the song. Singer José Carmen howls like a castrato Smurf while drummer Claus Lafania sounds like a speed freak swatting mosquitoes with a baseball bat.

To hear songs by the above artists plus others on the label’s roster, check out this:

*  For Those About to Forget to Rock by The Grannies. This San Francisco group isn’t officially a Saustex band, but I saw The Grannies at Saustex’s recent official South by Southwest showcase with The Hickoids and Glambilly.

The Grannies are known for appearing in granny drag — bad wigs and even worse dresses. Many of their songs are sardonic looks at old age — “Walker on the Wild Side,” “Toothless,” and “Denture Breath.”

Now that I’m on the outskirts of middle age on a fast bus to Codgerville, maybe I should take offense at this. Instead, I’m taking a weird delight in it. Besides, The Grannies play fierce, aggressive, and tight, just like I love it.

So as Jan and Dean would say, “Go, Grannies, go!”


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