Tuesday, February 28, 2017

New Big Enchilada Will Crawl Into Your Head and Touch Your Heart


 This month The Big Enchilada gets inside your head and refuses to leave. Featuring deep rocking tunes by The Angry Samoans, King Salami, Mark Sultan, Bloodshot Bill, The Count Five, Black Joe Lewis and more! Let the music shut your mouth and open your mind.


Here's the playlist:

(Background Music: Dance of the Dream Man by Angelo Badalamenti)
Sometimes the Devil Sneaks Into My Head by The Immortal Lee County Killers
She was a Mau Mau by King Salami & The Cumberland 3 
Freakin' Out by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
Who Shot the Druggies by Lynx Lynx
Peeling Face by The Routes
Bums by The Deen Ween Group

(Background Music: Moon Shot by The Akulas)
Inside My Brain by The Angry Samoans
They're Gonna Get You by The Count Five
Orgasm by The Sex Organs
Agitated by Mark Sultan
Honey Time by Bloodshot Bill & Shannon Shaw
Don't Lie to Me by The Mojo Brothers
Sinner Joe Crazy by Sloming Moops
Disciplinary Action by James Chance & The Contortions  

(Background Music: Mule Train Says by King Khan)
Dig Me Out by Sleater-Kinney
Lay it Down by Chicken Snake
The Panther Cries at Midnight by The Slow Poisoner
Not Enough Madness by Roy & The Devil's Motorcycle

Play it here:

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
There's No Business Like Show Business by Ethel Merman
Movies are a Mother to Me by Loudon Wainwright III
New Age by The Velvet Underground
Act Naturally by Ringo Starr with Buck Owens
Western Movies by The Olympics
Celluloid Heroes by The Kinks
Beloved Movie Star by Stan Ridgway

Run Through the Jungle by Link Wray
Bad America by The Gun Club
Double Kross by Grandpa Death Experience
Jumpers by Sleater-Kinney
Gawker Delay by The Hentchmen
Stutterin' Sue by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
Treat Her Right by Los Straitjackets starring Markm Lindsay

Can't Get Your Lovin' by The Count 5
Get Straight by Lynx Lynx
Everything's Gonna Be the Same by Weird Omen
Baby What's Wrong by The Cynics
The Torture Never Stops by Frank Zappa
Love Enchanted by Daniel Johnston
Maroon by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

Trying Hard Not to Know by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Pledging My Love by Swamp Dogg
Light My Fire by Jackie Wilson
The Comedians by Roy Orbison
The House Where Nobody Lives by King Ernest
Take it With Me by Tom Waits
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, February 24, 2017


Friday, Feb. 24 , 2017
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)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
A Hangover Ago by Dale Watson & Ray Benson
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere  by The Byrds
You Can Have the Crown by Sturgill Simpson
First and Last Blues by Big Sandy & The Flyright Boys
Lay You Down by Nikki Lane
I Ain't Givin' Up Notin' by Ben Hewitt
Tennessee Women's Prison by Wanda Jackson
Medication by The Saucer Men
Can't Hardly Stand it by Charlie Feathers
Crazy Blues by J.P. Richardson

The Nail by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
Detour by Cyndi Lauper with Emmylou Harris
Shakin' the Blues by Gail Davies & Robbie Fulks
I'm the Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised by Johnny Paycheck
Someone to Give My Love to by Big Al Anderson
Possum Ran Over My Grave by Jesse Dayton
My Gal by Jim Kweskin Jug Band
Tub Gut Stomp and Red-Eyed Soul by Shinyribs

I Don't Care by Webb Pierce
There Stands the Glass by Ted Hawkins
Heebie Jeebie Blues Number by Webb Pierce & Willie Nelson
Back Street Affair by Webb Pierce

Wouldya Wanna / 13 Roses by Beth Lee & The Breakups
Parachute by Chris Stapleton
Working on  Building by The Meat Purveyors
Mental Cruely by John Prine & Kacey Musgraves

(Out on the Street) Junk is Still King by Gary Heffern
Do They Dream of Hell in Heaven by Terry Allen
True Religion by Scott H. Biram
Let Your Light Shine by The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Old Man Souls by Possessed by Paul James
Waltz Across Texas by Leon Russell
She Was No Good for Me by Waylon Jennings
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Black Joe Lewis, King Salami & Sleater-Kinney

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Feb. 24, 2017

Black Joe Lewis is back with a funky vengeance. More than three years had passed since his previous album, the underrated Electric Slave, when the Austin-based rock ’n’ souler and his band the Honeybears this month released a groove-infused collection of tunes called Backlash.

It had been so long since the last one, I was beginning to wonder whether Lewis — who just a few years ago was driving a delivery truck for a seafood business — had gone back to the fish biz. Fortunately not.

The first difference between this record and his last one that Black Joe fans are bound to notice is that while Electric Slave leaned heavy on hard rock and blues, Backlash shows the band’s funkier side. His horn section, which always been present, is more prominent than ever. In fact, I’m not the first to notice certain similarities between the Honeybears and the Dap-Kings, the late Sharon Jones’ band. In fact, Lewis’ song “Sexual Tension” would have made for a wonderful duet between Jones and neo-soul giant Lee Fields. “Nature’s Natural” could almost pass as a Charles Bradley tune, while the slow-burning “Wasted” is a minor-key howl from the dark night of the soul. A flute that appears about halfway through the song adds a jazzy touch.

But don’t think that anyone’s trying to hide Lewis’ rock chops. There are plenty of guitar-centric rockers here, such as “Prison” (in which Lewis shouts, “I don’t mind being locked up!”). Likewise, “Shadow People” and the frantic “Freakin’ Out” show that Lewis and crew haven’t turned their backs on those punk influences that marked their early work.

And speaking of freaking out, Lewis flirts with psychedelia with the spacey six-minute album closer, “Maroon,” featuring a tasty trumpet solo and some fine guitar from Lewis. But the most impressive song here is the other six-minute song on the album, “Lips of a Loser.” In this one, the horns interweave with ’70s-style strings to dominate the first half of the track. But then, Lewis comes in with a fiery guitar solo that’s downright jaw-dropping.

It’s heartening to know that musicians like these are out there blurring lines between musical borders and making good-time music that thrills.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears are scheduled to play The Launchpad in Albuquerque on March 29.

Also recommended:

*  Goin’ Back to Wurstville by King Salami & The Cumberland 3. In terms of the wurst, these guys are the best. This hopped-up, high-energy London-based band has been around for more than a decade, but despite my overly optimistic prediction a few years ago when reviewing their previous album, they never really have made a huge splash in the good old U.S.A. That’s our loss, my fellow Americans. With Salami and the Cumberlands’ seamless bend of garage-rock, ’50s and ’60s R&B, and occasionally a little instrumental surf music, few bands match their sound in terms of pure fun.

Wurstville is only their third actual album in all these years — the previous ones being Cooking Up a Party in 2013 and Fourteen Blazin’ Bangers in 2010. But between albums, Salami and the boys are a singles-producing machine.

 And just like the days of yesteryear in rock ’n’ roll history, most of the songs from the singles end up on the albums. Some of the best songs on Wurstville are in that category, including “Tiger in My Tank” (a hard thumper that sounds like some missing Fleshtones song). “Camel Hop,” with its appropriately tacky faux Mideastern guitar riffs, is only slightly less politically incorrect than the tacky pseudo-Japanese guitar riff and gong in the instrumental “King Ghidorah.”

And speaking of politically incorrect, my favorite Wurstville song at the moment is “She Was a Mau Mau.” The title character sounds more related to the cartoonish cannibals of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “Feast of the Mau Mau” than the actual anti-colonialist Kenyan rebels from the 1950s. And despite the historical inaccuracies, this is a crazy little stomper complete with jungle noises and an irresistibly nasty guitar hook.

*  Live in Paris by Sleater-Kinney. One of the most successful and satisfying rock ’n’ roll comeback stories in recent years was the 2015 return of Sleater-Kinney. Their album, No Cities to Love was nothing short of a triumph, and their show in Albuquerque that year was even better. And, judging from this new album, their concert in Paris was dadgum good as well.

To be honest, I was hoping that the group’s follow-up to No Cities would have been a studio album of new material. These troubled times demand intelligent and exciting music. But I guess the comeback reunion wasn’t a permanent thing. Oh well, no complaints here. I guess this is the next best thing.

The song selection leans heavy on No Cities, kicking off with a fully charged version of “Price Tag” and equally strong versions of the bouncy but intense “A New Wave,” “Surface Envy,” and the title song. They perform several tracks from The Woods, the group’s last album before the decade-long hiatus, and there also are some classic S-K tunes like “Dig Me Out,” “Start Together,” and  “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone.”

But there is only  one tune, “Oh!,” from my favorite Sleater-Kinney album, 2002’s One Beat. I wish they would have  done “Step Aside,” the best song from that album, instead.

But that’s just the grousing of a picky critic. Those who are already fans will appreciate this live album. And newcomers will have a useful starting point.

Let's have some videos:

Here's "PTP" from Black Joe Lewis' new one.

Here's a video I shot myself in 2011

Have a slice of Salami

And here's Sleater-Kinney in Paris

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Twenty six years ago tomorrow, (Feb. 24), country singer Webb Pierce left this life at the age of 69. But his songs still haunt us today.

Born in West Monroe, Louisiana, he became one of the greatest honky-tonk singers of the 1950s.

He also knew the value of building his image. As his bio at the Country Music Hall of Fame says, "he is perhaps as well remembered today for his silver-dollar studded autos and guitar-shaped swimming pools as for his great music."

But let's not forget Webb's music -- his high-pitched voice that that just radiated heartarche.

We'll start with one of his classics, or as Webb would say, one of the songs "that the people request most."

This one is another unforgettable love song by Webb.

Here's an early '70s performance by Webb with his daughter Debbie, (who died in 2012)

This one's one of my favorites.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Come Back Richard Simmons!

One of the stranger celebrity sagas of  recent years is the "disappearance" or sudden recluse status status of the flamboyant exercise mogul, talk-show stalwart Richard Simmons. In his star-spangled gym shorts, he used to seem to be everywhere, hawking his Deal-a-Meal cards, his Sweatin' to the Oldies videos, his over-the-top personality. 

He was a punchline for countless comics. And a saint to the thousands he helped lose weight and get into shape.

Then suddenly, in early 2014, Richard seemed to drop off the face of the Earth. He stopped showing up to his exercise classes at his Slimmons Studio in Beverly Hills. His TV and radio appearances completely dried up. There were grim speculations that Richard had become some sort of slave to his own housekeeper. That he was transitioning into a woman.

In March 2016 he broke his public silence in a phone interview with Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show saying, "No one is holding me in my house as a hostage. You know, I do what I want to do as I've always done so people should sort of just believe what I have to say because like I'm Richard Simmons!"

Eight months later, he closed Slimmons, which had been open for 40 years. "Truly, you don’t need me to tell you what to do anymore," he wrote in a rambling, emotional Facebook post. "You know. It’s within you. It’s in your heart and it’s been there all along. So get up and get moving!"

Filmmaker and former Daily Show producer Dan Taberski, a friend of Richard's -- who frequently took his classes at Slimmons -- recently began a podcast called Missing Richard Simmons. The first episode is already up. And like Richard himself, it's weird and touching. (Update: Looks like Episode Two also was posted today.)

Though he's never been known as a musician, Richard frequently had a song in his heart. Here are a few he's left us. I hope we hear him singing, and sweating and dealing some meals and being his sweet obnoxious self again sometime soon.

First there's this:

Here is one of Richard's classic Letterman appearances

And finally, here's this inspirational ballad.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Shout Bamalama by Benjamin Booker
It'll Chew You Up and Spit You Out by Concrete Blonde
They're Gonna Get You by Count Five
Love My Lover by The Fleshtones
She Was a Mau Mau by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
It's Lame by Figures of Light
All These Times by Lynx Lynx
Mammer-Jammer by Don & Dewy
What Now My Love by Stan Ridgway

Room 213 by Dead Moon
One Kind Favor by Canned Heat
Weedeye by Churchwood
Sexual Tension by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
Rock the Casbah by Richard Cheese
Surface Envy by Sleater-Kinney
Wang Dang Doodle by PJ Harvey
Sit With the Guru by The Strawberry Alarm Clock

Something Weird by Stomachmouths
Stranger by Weird Omens
Smoke 2 Much by Grandpa Death Experience
Certain Appeal by London Souls
Building Models by Skull Control
Drove Up From Pedro by Mike Watt
Silly Putty by Primus

Rag Doll by The Four Seasons
To The Other Woman, I'm the Other Woman by Sandra Phillips
A Man Needs a Woman (A Woman Needs a Man) by ZZ Hill
Walking on a Tightrope by William Bell
Don't Fuck Around With Love by Bernadette Seacrest and Kris Dale
I Can't Stop Loving You by Laura St. Jude
Mysteries of Love by Julee Cruise
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, February 17, 2017


Friday, Feb. 17, 2017
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)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Big Mouth by Nikki Lane
Drunk Dialer by Miss Leslie
Quit Feelin' Sorry for You by Bill Kirchen
Hurtin' on the Bottle by Margot Price
I Want to Be Loved by Sleepy LaBeef
The Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World by John Schooley
Righteous Ways by Scott H. Biram
Flora by Peter, Paul & Mary

Only a Dream by Beth Lee
Talking to the Dead by Stephanie Hatfield
Who's Gonna Take Your Garbage Out by John Prine with Iris DeMent
My Own Kind of Hat by Rosie Flores
Wild Girl by Katy Moffat
When My Baby Left Me by The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Trouble, Trouble by Shinyribs
You Don't Know My Mind by Roy Moss
You Don't Love Me by Hasil Adkins

The Ballad of Dale & Ray by Dale Watson & Ray Benson
Route 23 by Wayne Hancock
The Road Goes on Forever by Joe Ely
So Long Baby, Goodbye by The Blasters
Blood Red and Goin' Down by Tanya Tucker
Hog Tied Over You by Billy Bacon & The Forbidden Pigs with Candy Kane
I Ain't Gonna Hang Around by Southern Culture on the Skids
Wrong Honky Tonk by Phoebe Legere
Lonesome Hobo by Del McCoury
The Way it Goes by Gillian Welch

Why Me by Kris Kristofferson
It Is No Secret What God Can Do by Elvis Presley
Women of the Night by Ringo Starr
Barely Human by Robbie Fulks
When Two Worlds Collide by Roger Miller
Miracle of Five by Eleni Mandell
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

THROWBACK THURSDAY: I Killed a Man For Flora ...

It's no wonder I love murder ballads so much. Back when I was growing up in the early '60s, they were everywhere -- at least those wonderful folk songs faux folk songs that were sweeping the country and pop charts back then -- "Tom Dooley" by The Kingston Trio, "El Paso" by Marty Robins, "Miller's Cave" by Bobby Bare ...

But there was one brilliant murder ballad I discovered by myself without the help of Top 40 radio. It was on the 1963 Peter, Paul & Mary album, Moving, the track right before "Puff the Magic Dragon."


It was a fast-paced, minor-key tune about som hapless loser who catches his true love, the Lily of the West, with some funky dude. So the enraged cuckold pulls out a knife and kills this "man of low degree."

The confession:

I stepped up my rival, my dagger in my hand/ I seized him by the collar, and I ordered him to stand / All in my desperation, I stabbed him in his breast / I killed a man for Flora, the Lily of the West!

I was 10 years old when I came across this song. It was about the coolest thing I'd ever heard.

Take a listen yourself.

I didn't know it at the time, but "Flora," often called "Lily of the West had been kicking around the folk revival for a few years. Joan Baez did one of the first recorded versions two years earlier.

But it goes back at last more than a hundred years before that. According to The Traditional Ballad Index compiled by California State University at Fresno folklore program, Flora goes back to at least to 1839.

Sometimes the two-timing temptress was called Mary or Molly. Before the tragic protagonist came from Louisville, he came from England. Some believe the song is Irish in origin.

But other than the details, the basic story remains the same. The guy gets starry-eyed over a beautiful dame, finds her in the company of some other jerk, who he kills. He's tried for murder, goes to prison and yet he still loves the gorgeous Flora.

Here are some other notable versions, starting with a rag-tag take from the early '70s by Bob Dylan.

Fast forward to 1995 and The Chieftains, with Mark Knopfler on vocals, does a slowed down version of the song with a much different melody.

If that melody sounds familiar you might have heard it in another old folk song caleld "Lakes of Pontchartrain." Here's a version of that by Peter Case

Interestingly, a few years after The Chieftains recorded "Lily of the West" with Knopfler, they did a version with Roseanne Cash using the melody I first heard by Peter, Paul & Mary.

You can find that on the Spotify playlist below

For more deep dives into songs, check out The Stephen W. Terrell Web Log Songbook

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Ditties for Dahmer

Twenty five years ago today a jury in Milwaukee, Wisc. found Jeffrey Dahmer sane and guilty of murdering 15 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.

This led to a life sentence for each of those killings.

But Dahmer is infamous not only for murder and rape, but for his habit of  torturing, and dismembering his victims, having sex with their corpses and even eating their body parts.

From The Crime Museum website:

He began killing around one person each week by the summer of 1991. Dahmer was using the idea that he could turn his victims into “zombies” to have youthful submissive sexual partners. He used many different techniques, such as drilling holes into their skull and injecting hydrochloric acid or boiling water into their brains. Soon, residents of Oxford Apartments complex began noticing awful smells coming from Dahmer’s apartment, as well as loud noises from falling objects. Although most serial killers stick with one racial background, Dahmer killed a variety of people from different racial backgrounds.

... Further investigation of the home lead to a severed head in the refrigerator, three more severed heads in the apartment, multiple photographs of victims and human remains and more human remains in his refrigerator. It was later assumed that he practiced necrophilia and cannibalism. A total of seven skulls were found in his apartment as well as a human heart in the freezer. An altar was also constructed with candles and human skulls in his closet.

Yep. All the prefect ingredients for a good pop song!

Dahmer, who was murdered in prison in 1994, inspired a few songs. Here are a few of them

First, as an appetizer, (sorry) here's this brief ditty from Dahmer's fellow Wisconsinites, The Violent Femmes:

Here is one from the mighty Dead Moon, immortalize the apartment where about half of Dahmer's killings occurred.

Most of Dahmer's "tribute" songs come from the genre of death metal. I'm not sure why.

Pearl Jam even took a whack at Dahmer. But for reasons I'm not quite sure of, they changed his first name to "Frank."

Dirty Frank Dahmer, he's a gourmet cook / Got a recipe for Anglo-Saxon soup ...I got a cupboard full of fleshy fresh ingredients / Very careful, at the same time quite expedient ...

Bon appetit

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Sunday, Feb. 12,  2017
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Valentine by Concrete Blonde
Geraldine by The A-Bones
Lost All Day by Dinosaur Jr.
That's Life by James Chance & The Distortions
Excercise Man by Dean Ween Group
I Want What You Got by The Plimsouls
Nosebleed Boogie by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
A Request for Closeness by by Gregg Turner

You Did Wrong by Reigning Sound
Call the Police by The Oblivians
Modern Girl by Sleater-Kinney
Outer Space by The Sex Organs
New Kind of Kick by The Cramps
I Am Not Sexy by Hang on the Box
Everybody is In Love With You by Lynx Lynx
The Savage Beat by The Dictators
Cupid by Sam Cooke

S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Land of The Freak by King Khan & The Shrines
Rock 'n' Soul Music by Country Joe & The Fish
Big Booty Woman by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
Like a River by St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Everybody Free by Alex Maiorano and The Black Tales
Wonderful Girl by Jack Mack & The Heart Attack

Flowers in My Hair Demons in My Head by The Mystery Lights
Big Black Mariah by John Hammond
Infected by Simon Stokes & The Heathen Angels
Star Dream Girl by David Lynch
Should Have Been Home WIth You by James Leg
Tomorrow Night by Lonnie Johnson
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, February 10, 2017


Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
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)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
3 Pecker Goat by Jesse Dayton
The Most Wanted Woman in Town by Dale Watson
Just Like Geronimo by Dashboard Saviors
Treat Her Right by The Riptones
I Can't Be Myself Without You by Merle Haggard
Someone to Give My Love To by Johnny Paycheck
Boney Fingers by Hoyt Axton
In the Pines by Dolly Parton
But You Like Country Music by Brennen Leigh &Sunny Sweeney

Baby, It's Alright by Beth Lee & The Breakups
Some of Shelly's Blues by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
You Don't Know Me by Susana Van Tassle
We Live in Two Different Worlds by Red Allen & The Kentuckians
Free to Go by Dwight Yoakam
Jackpot by Nikki Lane
Alone and Forsaken by Social Distortion
I Can't Tell the Boys From the Girls by Lester Flatt

We Deserve a Happy Ending by The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Red Wine by Scott H. Biram
Pickles by The Gourds
Is This My Happy Home by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Nobody Wins by Kris Kristofferson
Don't Let Her Know by Buck Owens
Kentucky / Bowling Green by The Everly Brothers

Roswell Town by Jack Clift & His Illuminati Assassination Orchestra
All Around You by Sturgill Simpson
Permanently Lonely by Willie Nelson
Storms Never Last by John Prine & Lee Ann Womack
A Couple More Years by Waylon Jennings
The Last Word in Lonesome is Me by Roger Miller
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

Like the Santa Fe Opry Facebook page
Subscribe to The Big Enchilada Podcast! CLICK HERE
Steve Terrell is proud to report to the monthly Freeform American Roots Radio list

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Dinosaur Jr, James Chance, Dean Ween

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Feb. 10, 2017

Even though it’s been four years or so since their previous album, despite any rumor to the contrary, Dinosaur Jr.  has not gone extinct.

In fact, more than 30 years after they first roared, they’re back with another doozy of an album, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, released late last year. Though they’re getting old enough to be called “Dinosaur Sr.”,  singer /guitarist/ songwriter J. Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow (who contributes two tunes here), and drummer Murph all are in prime form, sounding revitalized as they tear through 11 new songs.

Basically, if you’ve liked this band during any point in their career — the original Mascis/Barlow era (mid to late ’80s), the post-Barlow grunge era (early to mid-’90s), or the post-reunion era (2007 to the present) — you’re bound to like Glimpse too. Mascis’ screaming guitar — those mud-soaked solos that seem to hurl effortlessly into some cosmic storm — and shaky vocals are front and center on most of the songs.

They kick off the album with a wild ride called “Goin Down,” which reminds me of another great high-energy Dinosaur Jr. opener, “The Wagon” from 1991’s Green Mind. “Goin Down” immediately draws you into the record. But the next song, “Tiny,” is even better. Though the music is strong and confident, the lyrics tell a different story: “Coming out I’m deep in doubt I’ll meet you/Calling out it’s always with a stare/I can’t give you less than what I mean to/I’ll pretend that I don’t see you.”

The song “Knocked Around” is a cool sucker punch. It starts off slow and mellow with Mascis singing in a gentle falsetto. But about two and a half minutes into it, Dinosaur erupts and pounds the holy hell out of the song, ending it with a classic Mascis guitar solo.

Barlow’s songs are powerful as well. “Love Is,” a minor-key rocker, would fit in well with Barlow’s ’90s band, Sebadoh. (Actually, Sebadoh still is around, but I digress.) And “Left/Right,” which closes the album, is a terse little snarler. Barlow’s voice sounds hauntingly similar to The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn’s in this song about love redeemed.

For those of us who have loved this band, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is like a visit from an old friend — an old friend who’ll blow out your eardrums and shake the plaster off your walls. Long may Dinosaur Jr. roam the Earth!

Also recommended

* The Flesh Is Weak by James Chance & The Contortions. Speaking of bands you thought might have gone extinct, no-wave champ and certified sax maniac James Chance also returned with an impressive album late last year.

Chance, playing in bands including James White and the Blacks, committed random acts of musical weirdness during the late ’70s and early ’80s, combining punk, funk, and avant-garde jazz. Along with bands like Lydia Lunch’s Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Arto Lindsay’s DNA, and Mars,

The Contortions contributed several songs to the influential No New York compilation of the wild experimental no-wave scene. Flesh shows Chance still has his unique discordant vision and his chops on both sax and vocals.

The first song, “Melt Yourself Down” (a song he’s been doing live for years), starts out with a jarring electric-organ blast before the band comes in with their lively James Brown-meets-Captain Beefheart funk groove. Chance screams and squeals. “We’re gonna take that night train to Auschwitz!” he sings at one point. That’s followed by the title song, which is just as funky in its own peculiar way.

Though most of the songs here are original, Chance gives us three worthy cover songs. One is an intense version of an intense tune called “I (Who Have Nothing),” which has been a hit for Ben E. King, Shirley (“Goldfinger”!) Bassey, and Tom Jones. There’s also “Home Is Where the Hatred Is,” a harrowing drug tale written by Gil Scott-Heron.

But the best cover here is Chance’s reimagining of Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life.” Fans of this song might not even recognize it on first listen with its probing bass line and wah-wah guitar straight out of Shaft and its Zappa-like time-signature change in the bridge, with Chance’s horn screaming for mercy. And yet in the last minute the song springs back into a more recognizable swing.

Not a note on this record sounds dated. I hope Chance continues to release his amazing sounds.

* The Deaner Album by Dean Ween Group. Ween was one of the strangest bands to ever get a video on MTV in the ’90s. They were a wickedly clever experimental duo who somehow captured the imagination of the (then) music channel with a quirky Bizarro World ditty called “Push th’ Little Daisies” that amazed and baffled the masses.

Ween hasn’t done a studio album in 10 years or so, but singer Dean Ween (Mickey Melchiondo Jr.) is back with a new band.

So how does this outside-the-box visionary start off his new record? With a bona fide Southern rock instrumental titled “Dickie Betts” and sounding a lot like the former Allman Brothers guitarist. Not what you’d expect, but in a strange way, it works. There’s also an instrumental, “Garry,” inspired by Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist Garry Shider.

But it’s the vocal tracks that carry this album. “Exercise Man” is a brutal and actually obscene tirade against some third-rate Jack. “Nightcrawler” is a nasty little nugget that could almost pass for classic rock if not for the distorted vocals and sci-fi guitar effects.

But my favorite at the moment is “Gum,” with heavy bass and what sounds like a toy piano tinkling away as the singer shouts lyrics about enjoying gum, ice cream, and McDonald’s. This could almost be an ode to … the band called Ween.

OK, let's see some videos!

First, let's roller derby with Dinosaur Jr.!

Here's James Chance & The Distortions playing "That's Life" live at Beerland in Austin last November.

We'll give Mr. Ween the last word ...

Thursday, February 09, 2017

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday Lonnie Johnson

Alfonzo "Lonnie" Johnson, one of the most respected singers, guitarists and stylists to ever come from the world of the blues, was born Feb. 8, 1899 in New Orleans.

He started playing guitar and violin in his family's band, doing gigs at weddings and banquets. In 1917 he joined a traveling revue that toured England. When he returned home two years late he learned that his entire family, except his brother James Johnson, had died in a flu epidemic. He and his brother moved to St. Louis, where the two got music gigs on riverboats.

In 1925, Lonnie won a blues contest sponsored by Okeh Records. Part of his prize included a recording contract.

That turned into a good deal for everyone.

Johnson died in 1970. But he left us some glorious music.

Here is one of Johnson's early records, "Ball and Chain Blues," recorded in 1926.

"Racketeer Blues" from 1932 might be called "Gangsta Blues":  "When the gang is out to get you, it don't do no good to run," Lonnie sings. "It's true you can dodge the law, but you can't dodge them slugs out the machine gun"

Johnson recorded jazz as well as blues. He played in bands fronted by Duke Ellington and Louis Armstromng. Here is a 1929 record by Louis Armstrong & The Hot Five, featuring Johnson on guitar.

This is one of my favorites, a hit from 1948. Elvis Presley later recorded "Tomorrow Night" at Sun Studios.

Here's a 1963 performance from The American Folk Blues Festival, a package show featuring some of the greatest blues stars of the ea -- and previous eras. Sonny Boy Williamson introduces Lonnie, who is backed by Otis Spann on on piano, Willie Dixon on bass and Bill Stepney on drums

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: A Musical Birthday Card to Classy Freddie Blassie

If he were still alive, Classy Freddie Blassie would be celebrating his 99th birthday today.

Happy Birthday, King of Men!

Blassie was born Frederick Blassman in St. Louis, the only child of his German immigrant parents. He started his wrestling career working in carnivals.

In the 1950s became known as one of the toughest heels in the wrestling racket. And one of the greatest showmen in a business that thrives on showmanship.

Though he was well beyond his wrestling years in the mid '70s -- by this time, he was a "manager" whose clients included Hulk Hogan and future Minnesota Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura -- his oversize personality would make him a pop-culture star.

He and Andy Kaufman starred in My Breakfast with Blassie, a hilarious spoof on a popular "art" movie of the era, My Dinner with Andre.

But even before then, Blassie made records.

Dr. Demento made Blassie's single "Pencil Neck Geek" a novelty classic. Recorded in the mid '70s, Billy Zoom of X played guitar. Blassie released an EP Called King of Men in 1978. It featured "Pencil Neck Geek" and three other songs.

And in 1983, Rhino Records released a full Blassie album called I Bite The Songs.

Blassie died in 2003. But the joy and music he created live on.

Here's that song that made us all fall in love.

And here's another tune from both King of Men and I Bite the Songs.

Blassie also covered this song written by Jerry Reed and covered by Elvis, "U.S. Male"

And if you need more, here's the whole durn I Bite the Songs album (caution ... this apparently came straight off vinyl and it skips in some places.)

Sunday, February 05, 2017


Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrel(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Chem Farmer by Thee Oh Sees
Love Is... by Dinosaur Jr
Everybody is in Love with You by Lynx Lynx
Why Do You Hate Me by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
It's Not Easy by Question Mark & The Mysterians
Miniskirt Blues by Simon Stokes & The Heathen Angels
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah by Bob E. Soxx & The Blue Jeans
Tropical Hotdog Night by Captain Beefheart

Look in the Mirror by Gregg Turner
Evil Hoodoo by The Seeds
Pappa Satan Sang Louie by The Cramps
Straight Long and Hard by Meet Your Death
Talk About the Blues by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Burlesque Queen by The Dustaphonics
No Calypso Song by Coconut Kings

Will You Teach Me by Mark Sultan
Parts Unknown by Kid Congo Powers with Lydia Lunch
American Gangster Time by Elvis Costello & The Imposters
Chains of Love by The Dirtbombs
Drowning by The Sex Organs
Can't Keep My Cool by Durand Jones & The Indications
It's Not Over by Soul Scratch
It's All in the Game / Make It Real One More Time by Van Morrison

This Land is Your Land by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Czekając na wczoraj” (Yesterday is Here) by Kazik
Reach For Me by Bernadette Seacrest & Kris Dale
Too Far Gone by Dead Moon
Love Letters by Kitty Lester
Perfect Day by Lou Reed
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, February 03, 2017


Friday, Feb. 3, 2017
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)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Super Freak by Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby
Jimmie Rodgers' Last Blue Yodel by Jason & The Scorcers
If You Want to Be My Woman by Dale Watson
Cautious by Jim Lauderdale
Do You Think About Me by The Waco Brothers
Jungle Swing by C.W. Stoneking
Rainmaker by Eliza Gilkyson
Who Knows Right From Wrong by Porter Wagoner
The Night Porter Wagoner Came to Town by Tabby Crabb

One More Thing by Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
Blue Moon of Kentucky by Reverend Beat-Man
Baddest of the Bad by Reverend Horton Heat
Everything It Takes by Loretta Lynn with Elvis Costello
You Win Again by Van Morrison & Linda Gail
Love You Always by Wayne Hancock
Tennessee Song by Margot Price
The Piquot Dance Hall by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies
I've Just Destroyed the World by Willie Nelson

Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Loud, Loud Music by John Prine & Amanda Shires
Mighty Lonesome Man by James Hand
What Did the Deep Sea Say by Dave Alvin
Wake Up America by Sylvia Boshers
Evenin' Breeze by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
I Like to Keep Myself in Pain by Kelly Hogan
This is Your Night by The Flat Five
You Left Me a Long Time Ago by Miss Leslie
Love Letters in the Sand by Mac Wiseman

I Tremble for You by Waylon Jennings
Commandment 1 by Slim Cessna;s Auto Club
Walking to the End of the World by Amy Allison
First Girl I Loved by John Hartford
Dancing With the Women at the Bar by Whiskeytown
Mr. Blue by David Bromberg
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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

Thursday, February 02, 2017

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday Alan Lomax!

Wednesday would have been Alan Lomax's 102nd birthday.

Had he not been born, American music would have suffered beyond description. He died in 2002, but his legacy is immortal.

Lomax, following in the footsteps of his father, John Lomax, was a musicologist who, beginning in the 1930s, traveled through the South -- to plantations, prisons, backwood churches, Louisana fai do-dos -- recording thousands of wild, raw songs and stories of the people that you didn't hear on the radio. John and Alan Lomax helped establish the Library of Congress’ Archive of American Folk Song.

Through the years Alan Lomax would cross paths with some of the most revered names in folk, blues, jazz and hillbilly music. He recorded McKinley Morganfield -- later to become known as Muddy Waters -- recording him playing acoustic blues while he was still living on Stovall Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was the first to record Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie. He also did sessions with Jelly Roll Morton, Reverend Gary Davis,  Big Bill Broonzy and Missisippi Fred McDowell.

He recorded the folk music of Europe and the Caribbean. Still, it's the music he collected along the backroads of the American South that I cherish the most.

Some of Lomax's greatest recordings are by those who never achieved popularity very far outside of their home towns.

Today I celebrate such singers along with Lomax.

One was Alabama-born Vera Hall, whose haunting "Another Man Done Gone" is a masterpiece in the rough.

This celebration of the Titanic disaster by Georgia singer Bessie Jones in my book is Lomax's  greatest single recording.

Lomax helped bring the strange and powerful music known as Sacred Harp to those of us who never would have hear it otherwise.

Lomax went to Louisiana's infamous Parchman Farm prison in the late 1940s to record songs of the inmates. The movie O Brother Where Art Thou used one of his Parchman work-gang songs, "Po' Lazarus."   Here's another one called "Rosie."

But not all the great music that Lomax found was in the fields or the prisons or the churches of the South. Apparently he also heard some incredible music in his own New York apartment. Here's a film clip of one of his picking parties featuring Clarence Ashley and Doc Watson performing the classic murder ballad, "The Banks of the Ohio."

This handful of videos only scratch the surface of Alan Lomax's musical world.

Check out hours of music and interviews at The Alan Lomax Archive YouTube channel .
And visit his Association for Cultural Equity online archives.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: More Random Acts of Wackiness

Here's a Wacky Wednesday in search of a theme.

I did this once before nearly a year ago, but I sure didn't use up the supply of weird music videos on Youtube. Here are some more.

Let's start out with a New Wave synth-pop nightmare, "Elektronik Supersonik" by Zlad!

I think this one is a joke. Or maybe, the joke is ON YOU!

It's then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man came singing songs of love ...

Ever wonder what the Bonanza theme sounded like in German? Well I don't care, I'm posting it anyway.

Ya like porkchops? Apparently so did Vincent Price. (Like the German "Bonanza," I found this among April Winchell's incomparable MP3 collection. April says it's created "using clips from Vincent Price cooking records.")

And to finish up, here's 20 minutes of a very drunk Hank Williams, "Recorded sometime in the late '90s, apparently, possibly in Kansas City," the poster says. To be honest, I haven't listened to the whole thing. Maybe you're braver than me.


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