Thursday, August 31, 2017

Now in Living Color, The Big Enchilada


The world is a carousel of color, wonderful, wonderful color ... and it's a rainbow of sound right here on The Big Enchilada. Sit back and absorb them all.


Here's the playlist:

(Background Music: Colors by Pharoah Sanders)
Ceased Colors by Yuppies Indeed
The Cat's Meow by The Darts
Why Do You Hate Me by Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons
Waiting for Alberto by The Monochrome Set 
Little Mama by Suicide Generation
Thank You, Mr. K by Ty Segall
(Background Music: Without Warning by Vinnie Santino)

Colors by The Minutemen
What a Man Can Do by Louie Louie
Incubus by The Howlin' Max Messer Show
The Ladder by Travel in Space
This Situation by Lucy & The Rats
Changing the Colors of Life by Los Chijuas
(Background Music: Colors for Susan by Country Joe & The Fish)

Colors of Night by Peter Case
The Curse by Chivalrous Amoekons
Where Were You by The Mekons
You in Color by The Black Angels
(Background Music: Colour My World by The Edvard Munch Junior High School Choir)

Play it below:

THROWBACK THURSDAY: 89 Years of Threepenny Opera

On this night in 1928, The Threepenny Opera by composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertolt Brecht opened in Berlin's Theater am Schiffbauerdamm.

According to a website dedicated to the work by the Kurt Weill Foundation,  the show "transformed saccharine, old-fashioned opera and operetta forms, incorporating a sharp political perspective and the sound of 1920s Berlin dance bands and cabaret. Weill's acid harmonies and Brecht's biting texts created a revolutionary new musical theater ..."

As Brecht said in  1956:

When The Threepenny Opera was originally staged in Germany in 1928 it had strong political and aesthetic impact. Among its successful results were: 1. The fact that young proletarians suddenly came to the theatre, in some cases for the first time, and then quite often came back. 2. The fact that the top stratum of the bourgeoisie was made to laugh at its own absurdity. Having once laughed at certain attitudes, it would never again be possible for these particular representatives of the bourgeoisie to adopt them. 

Another thing The Threepenny Opera had going for it: a bunch of great song that still resonate today.

Here are a few of those performed by some folks who weren't around for the original show.

Let's start with Nina Simone performing a song called "Pirate Jenny." It's about a cleaning lady who has some pretty intense revenge fanatasies.

Tom Waits' music has obviously been influenced by Brecht and Weill. He actually covered a Threepenny tune, "What Keeps Mankind Alive."

Of course the most popular song from the show is "Mack the Knife." It's been covered by many of the greats of American music. And also by Dee Snider. But seriously, I get a kick out this version. (And that's Lee Rocker of The Stray Cats on standup bass!)

Indeed, "Mack" is such a big one, it deserves a double shot. Here is The Doors doing it to introduce another  Brecht -Weill song, "Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)"

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Another Birthday for R. Crumb!

Once again it's birthday time for America's greatest cartoonist Robert Crumb. The old boy turns 74 today.

As most of you know, in addition to his talents as a visual artist, Crumb also is a musician. His main love is old 1920s-30s jazz and blues.

With his string band The Cheap Suit Serenaders, which first came together in San Francisco in the late '60s, Crumb captured the crazy energy of those old sounds -- which also informed his vision behind his best cartoons.

So happy birthday one more time, Mr. Crumb and many more.

Here are a bunch of his songs on YouTube.

This one is called "I Had But 50 Cents."

Regular readers know I love the following song, "I'll See You in My Dreams" (See HERE and HERE.) Crumb and the boys do it justice.


This is about a girl who lives down by the firehouse.

This is a crazy little instrumental called "The Cuckoo Waltz." Enjoy the visuals.

This one is relatively recent (2013). Instead of The Cheap Suit Serenaders, this is The East River String Band,

For more Crumb music check out my 2015 birthday salute and well as Songs That Crumb Taught Us from last year,

Sunday, August 27, 2017


Sunday, August 27, 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)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Saboteur Blues by Gogol Bordello
The Static God by Thee Oh Sees
The Ladder by Travel in Space
Dancing Fool by Butthole Surfers
The Future is Now (and it Stinks) by J.J. & The Real Jerks
Shiver by King Salami & The Cumberland 3
These Tears by The Howlin' Max Messer Show
Today I Learned to Drink by Dengue Fever

Freedom by Ty Segall
Little Mama by Suicide Generation
She Doesn't Laugh at My Jokes by Jonathan Richman
Eye by Audio Kings of the Third World
Lately by Left Lane Cruiser
Midnight Jungle by O Lendario Chucrobillyman
A Dirtier Job by The Blues Against Youth
Mon Nom by The Yawpers
Cranked Up Real High by The Grannies
Volare by The Drifting Mines
Triggs Beach by Molting Vultures

Go-Go Girls by Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs
Trippin' by The Ghost Wolves
Medicine by Black Angels
One Day I Will Kill You by Deadbolt
Puddin' Truck by NRBQ
Violence by Nots
Bitch Slap Attack by Lovestruck
No Cops by The Night Beats
Hooky Wooky by Lou Reed

Candlelight by Mystery Lights
Love Your Money by Lolita #18
Squatting in Heaven by Black Lips
Frankie Baby by Mojo JuJu
Fear and Beer by The Mekons
Motivation by Benjamin Booker
Love Train by The Holmes Brothers
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, August 25, 2017


Friday, August 25, 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)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Lucifer and the Fallen Angels by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Amos Moses by Jerry Reed
Her Hair is a Mess by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys
Genitalia of a Fool by Cornell Hurd featuring Justin Trevino
Write Your Own Songs by Dale Watson & Ray Benson
I Can Get Over You by Miss Leslie
Til the Well Runs Dry by Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones
George's Playhouse Boogie by Maddox Brothers & Rose
Blind Man's Penis by John Trubee (Ramsey Kearney vocals)

Florida by The War and Treaty
Smilin' Ed by The Imperial Rooster
Since She Started to Ride by Jonathan Richman
Highway Patrol by Junior Brown
So Many Curves by Jonny Barber & The Rhythm Razors
Johnny Law by Wayne Hancock
They Call Me Country by DM Bob & The Deficits
You're Gettin' a Good Girl by Caolina Cotton
Walkin' After Midnight by Cyndi Lauper

Henry, O My Henry by Hillstomp
Fun All Night by Banditos
Everyone is Guilty #2 by  Slim Cessna's Auto Club
Drunk on Jesus by Reverend Deadeye
Ghost of Th' Rails by The Goddamn Gallows
God's Mercy by The Yawpers
Botched Execution by Shovels and Ropes
St. Louis Blues by Pokey LaFarge

Drinkin; Thing by Gary Stewart
Take Me by Jesse Dayton & Brennan Leigh
Golden Days by Boris McCutcheon
Days of 49 by Steve Young
Beaten and Broken by Mini Mekons & Robbie Fulks
Desert by The Whiskey Charmers
Same God by The Calamity Cubes
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, August 24, 2017

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Do the Chairs in Your Parlor Seem Empty and Bare?

OK, I realize that just a week ago Throwback Thursday featured a bunch of my favorite Elvis Presley songs to mark the 40th anniversary of his death.

But this week we're taking a slightly deeper dive into another Elvis song, "Are You Lonesome Tonight."

Basically this is a song about a guy who misses his woman so much he's fantasizing that she's so miserable without him, she'll gladly take him back on the strength of a pretty melody.

And he may be projecting a little mental instability on her:

Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare? 
Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?

As I sometimes do with songs I love, a wrote another verse to "Are You Lonesome Tonight" for my own amusement, building on that theme of insanity:

Do the shadows in your hall seem to whisper my name?
Do you pound on the walls seeking someone to blame?

Fortunately for you, gentle readers, I've never recorded that, though I did perform an a Capella version last week at Whoo's Donuts.

Be that as it may, "Are You Lonesome Tonight," unlike many of Elvis' hits of that era, was already decades old when he recorded it.

It was written in 1926 (some sources say 1927) by the team of  Roy Turk (lyrics) & Lou Handman (melody).

Turk (1892-1934) also wrote the lyrics to "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," (recorded by Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and a jillion others) as well as the jazz standard "Mean to Me," (Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan) and Bing Crosby's "Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day."

By 1927 several artists of the day had recorded "Are You Lonesome Tonight." You'll notice in the early version, the song that we know, as sung by Elvis, is just the chorus of the song. The verses (the first one begins "Tonight I'm downheated / For though we have parted /I'll love you and I always will") have been forgotten through the years.

Here's the first recording of the song by crooner Charles Hart:

Here's a female singer, Vaughn De Leath, with another 1927 version.

I never realized until researching this that The Carter Family did a version in 1936 with a different melody.

Al Jolson recorded first version I could find to include the "world is a stage" spoken bridge. This is from 1950, just a decade before Elvis recorded it. (Despite the photo in the video, I don't believe Jolie did this one in blackface.)

Let's fast forward through a few decades. This is from the '90s but I bet Tiny Tim loved this song even before Elvis did. (Song doesn't start until after the 4 minute mark.)

Finally, here's Elvis.

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


John Trubee, God knows how many years ago.

This is as good of a Wacky Wednesday as any to celebrate the music of one of my offbeat heros, John Trubee.

He was born in Rapid City, South Dakota about 60 years ago. Raised in New Jersey, Trubee has lived for at least a couple of decades in California. He's a one-of a kind musician / songwriter / prankster.

Usually backed by a revolving-door group called The Ugly Janitors of America, Trubee plays wild funk, skewed pop, crazy noise  -- and sometimes even pretty acoustic music.

As writer Charlie Swanson wrote in a 2015 feature in

If Trubee had become a filmmaker, he might draw a comparison to horror director and American Movie documentary subject Mark Borchardt. Had he taken the author's route, he might be another Charles Bukowski. As it is, Trubee is a music man, and his dark, profane and subversively hilarious songs have offended the conservative and mystified even the most progressive listeners for 30 years.

Trubee described his approach to his music in the notes for Forgotten Afternoon, a 2015 acoustic album he recorded with singer Laurie Amat:

Once I record my songs, I no longer hear them in my head, and new songs supersede them to continue to drive me crazy. I strongly regret not possessing the time and resources to more frequently record my multitude of song ideas. This is the terrible struggle of my life--somehow getting all this music out of my head before I am dead while I am continually enervated and depleted from my full-time workaday job routine

Chances are you've never heard of Trubee. He's not the kind of guy who naturally cozies up with the music industry. I don't think he'd compromise his artistic principles if you stuck a gun to his head.

But enough of my blather. Let's get to the assortment of Trubee tunes I've assembled below. If you like what you hear check out Trubee's Bandcamp page and buy some of his work.

Let's start out with a funky one, "Cram The Plastic Down My Throat" in which Trubee reveals that "The CIA invented LSD to blow out the brains of idiots like you ... Goddam the Trilateral Commission, goddamn the Russians, goddamn the CIA ... They want to kill us .."

Here's a live performance of a song called "You Idiot I Don't Believe You"

On this one, Trubee observes that "Many Whores Copulate for Money"

Here's a tender little ditty called "Field of Corpses."

Besides music, Trubee also does surreal phone pranks

Finally, here's one you've heard many times on The Santa Fe Opry. I'm pretty sure there is a federal statute requiring anything published about John Trubee has to include "Blind Man's Penis." This is not quite a hit, but definitely his best known song. It's a song poem. which means Trubee wrote the lyrics and paid some fee for a company to write the melody and record it. The singer is Ramsey Kearney, a monster of song poem vocals.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Sunday, August 20, 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)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Do the Clam by The Cramps
My Baby left Me by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Reconsider Baby by Elvis Presley
Leave My Kitten Alone by Detroit Cobras
Ice Cream for Crow by Captain Beefheart
The Point is Overflowing by Left Lane Cruiser
Incubus by The Howlin' Max Messer Show
Hey There Stranger by The Compressions
Gun Slinger by Bo Diddley

Lost All Day by Dinosaur Jr
All the Goods Gone by The Ghost Wolves
Whole Hearts Desire by Bloodshot Bill
Undertaker by Thinking Fellers Union Local 282
Eh by Dot Wiggin Band
Sputnik by Roky Erikson & The Aliens
Turn My Head by The Molting Vultures
Johnny Hit and Run Paulene by X

Waiting for Alberto by The Monochrome Set
Mr. Pitiful by Otis Redding
96 Tears by Aretha Frankin
Girl You Captivate Me by Question Mark & The Mysterians
Shortnin' Bread Rock by Etta James
Rat City by Jack Oblivian
Robot Blues by The Oblivians
My Confession by The Gears
We Know by Black Lips
I'm Insane by T-Model Ford

Dog Breath in the Year of the Plague by The Mothers of Invention
1848 Now! by The Mekons
Masterpiece by Jon Langford & Four Lost Souls
All My Lovin' by The Beatles
Old Swan by Mark Lanegan
Lord I've Been Changed by Tom Waits
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, August 18, 2017


Friday, August 18, 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)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
The Crawdad Song by The Meat Purveyors
I'll Fix Your Flat Tire, Merle by Pure Prairie League
This Old Man by Tommy Miles & The Milestones
Fuzzy Little Hippie Girl by Great American Taxi
There Stands the Glass by Webb Pierce
No One Likes Me / Demons in Your Head by The Imperial Rooster
Drinkin' Ain't Hard to Do by Hank III
Thrown from a Train by Gay Sportscasters with Evan Johns

God Looked Around by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Red Brick Wall by The Waco Brothers
TJ by Hickoids
Straight and Narrow by The Whiskey Charmers
Burn the Place to the Ground by Dinosaur Truckers
Money is the Meat int the Coconut by David Rawlings
I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven by Tex Ritter

It Ain't Necessarily So by Asylum Street Spankers
When That Helicopter Comes by The Handsome Family
What's Your Mama's Name, Child by Tanya Tucker
Working Man's Tools by Lara Hope & The Ark Tones
Love is a Dangerous Thing by Blonde Boy Grunt & The Groans
Wheels by Flying Burrito Brothers
Kangaroo Blues by Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers
Honky Tonk Queen by Moe Bandy & Joe Stampley

Turtles All the Way Down by Sturgill Simpson
The New Lee Highway Blues by David Bromberg
Zoysia by Bottle Rockets
There Will Be Nights When I'm Lonely by Possessed by Paul James
Sadly Beautiful by Glen Campbell
Katy Kay by Robbie Fulks
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, August 17, 2017


Elvis Presley died 40 years ago yesterday.

40 goddamn years!

What more is left to be said about Elvis? I'm just going to post a bunch of my favorite songs, ones you don't hear every day, from various stages of his career.

Enjoy and keep a little Elvis in your heart.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: We Missed Hulk Hogan's Birthday ...

... but it's never too late to celebrate the former wrestling champ's undisputed contributions to the world of song.

Hogan, born Terry Bollea, turned 64 on Friday Aug. 11.

Happy birthday, Hulkster.

Here are some of the top tunes from his cherished and influential 1995 album Hulk Rules, I like the first review on the Amazon page by critic Crazy Mofo.:

Let's face it. Hulk Hogan has created this generation's Dark Side of the Moon! This amazing album takes you on a roller coaster ride both musically and emotionally. But, just like most great albums, it leaves you wanting more.

Other reviews say:

From Johnny Cash to Liberace, from Elvis Pressley to Chopin, it is clear that Hulk Hogan belongs in the upper echelon of the music industry. 


Listening to this album may lead to 26" Pythons and extreme awesomeness. I popped it in before my workout one day and when I blacked back in, a month later, I found my shirt had me in a strangle hold. Luckily the fabric was no match for my now massive triceps and I shredded it to pieces in seconds. 

I dedicate these songs to my Hulkamaniac cronies Chuck and Scott who love Hulk Rules nearly as much as I do. Keep training, taking your vitamins and saying your prayers, boys!

Let's start with this anthem.

This next one, "I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac," shows Hogan's mad skills as a rapper.

If you can listen to this one all the way through without weeping openly, you're a tougher Hulkamaniac than me.

Finally, as a bonus, here's Hogan's official entrance song, "Real American."

If you like this, you might enjoy these other wrestling music posts:

* A Musical Battle Royal

* A Musical Birthday Card to Classy Freddie Blassie

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Sunday, August 13, 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)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
This Land is Your Land by Sharon Jones
All You Fascists by Billy Bragg & Wilco
Nazi Punks Fuck Off by Dead Kennedys
New Blue Mercedes by Drywall
Statue of Liberty by New Bomb Turks
America the Beautiful by The Dictators

Mighty Man by James Leg
Strange Days by The Darts
See That Girl by Lynx Lynx

Dream Dream Dream / Remember by The Mekons
The Curse by Chivalrous Amoekons
Get Happy by Simon Stokes
He's Frank (Slight Return) by The Monochrome Set
Lucid Nightmare by The Black Lips
High Maintenance by Left Lane Cruiser
This is Hi-Fi by Mission of Burma

I'm A No-Count by Ty Wagner
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark by The Sonics
Never Enough Girls by The Sloths
Riot on Sunset Strip by The Standells
Life on the Dole by The Molting Vultures
Muscle Man by Ty Segall
What Happens When You Turn the Devil Down by The Mystery Lights
He Did It by Detroit Cobras
Jammed Entrance by Thee Oh Sees
Reasonable World by The Blind Shake
When You're Smiling / Sheik of Araby Medley Louis Prima

Can't Seem to Make You Mine by The Seeds
Copernicus by Afghan Whigs
More Rooms by William Bell
Swamp Woman by Johnny Dowd
No Stars by Rebekah Del Rio
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, August 11, 2017


Friday, August 11, 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)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Lead Me Astray by Jayke Orvis
Bad Example by Pistol Annies
Tunafish Every Day by Southern Culture on the Skids
Dangerous Times by The Imperial Rooster
Freddy Lopez by Joe West
Poor Old Heartsick Me by The Knitters
Them Stems by Chris Stapleton
Rainbow Stew by Jason Ringenberg
This Will Bring You Back by Carolina Peanut Boys

Mamas Don't Let Your Cowboys Grow Up to Be Babies by Dale Watson
I Wish You Knew by Dale Watson & Ray Benson
That Truck by Texas Rubies
Busy City by Rhonda Vincent
Church Fire by Eagle Rock Gospel Singers
You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter) by Ashley Monroe & Blake Shelton
Big Zombie by The Mekons
The Sad Milkman by Sally Timms
Elevator by Whiskey Charmers

Dr. Bartender by Lara Hope & The Ark Tones
Reckless by Eilen Jewell
I Feel So Good by Dave & Phil Alvin
All of My Dreams by Panama Red
You Got the Light by Bobby Bare
Walkin' in LA by Steve Earle with Johnny Bush
May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose by Little Jimmy Dickens
Weakness by Margo Price
Get Rhythm by Little Richard

Midnight Train by David Rawlings
You're Dreaming by The Cactus Blossoms
Fare You Well My Little Annie Darling by Bonnie Prince Billy & Nathan Salsburg
Single Girl by Sandy Posey
Strong Armed Robbery by Emi Sunshine
Dancing With the Women at the Bar by Whiskeytown
Rainbows and Ridges by Blaze Foley
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, August 10, 2017

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: I've Been to Mekonville and Back!

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Aug 11, 2017

When The Mekons first emerged as a young, brash, ragtag, loose-knit art-school punk-rock band in Leeds, U.K. in those golden late ’70s, I bet nobody who heard or saw them — or even the band members themselves — ever envisioned that in 2017, hundreds of people from many nations would answer the band’s call to “destroy your safe and happy lives before it is too late,” and gather in rural England to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary at a three-day music festival.

But that’s what just happened. And I was there.

Where were you?

The Mekonville festival took place from July 28 to July 30 in Suffolk, northeast of London. The bill featured The Mekons — both the current musicians (a lineup that has been relatively stable since the mid-1980s) and the original 1977 crew — as well as various bands involving Mekons members (Jon Langford’s Men of Gwent was a highlight), solo spots by Mekons Sally Timms and Rico Bell, as well as friends, family (4DGs, which is made up of Mekons singer Tom Greenhalgh’s young children), and assorted allies of the group.

About 90 percent of the people I know gave me blank stares when I told them I was going to England for a Mekons festival. That’s not surprising. The group has never had a really big hit. They haven’t even been on a major label in a quarter century or so. How many bands these days have eight members — including three or four lead singers — and feature fiddle, accordion, and oud?

The Mekons sprang out of the punk world, but they went on to incorporate elements of folk and country music, reggae, and other sounds. Whether they are playing an original rocker, some mutated sea shanty, or a Hank Williams song, The Mekons don’t sound much like anyone else.

Langford shines!
The 2017 Mekons played a set on each day of the festival. Their magical Friday night performance spotlighted the band’s (relatively) best-known songs like “I Have Been to Heaven and Back,” “Beaten and Broken,” “Millionaire” and, of course, their hard-driving battle cry, “Memphis, Egypt” (“The battles we fought were long and hard, just not to be consumed by rock ’n’ roll”), which they played during all three of their sets.

The band did a couple of newer songs the first night, including “Simone on the Beach,” sung by Timms, one of the more rocking songs from their latest album Existentialism (for my money, the best Mekons album of this century so far), along with their latest single, a slow, dreamy “How Many Stars Are Out Tonight,” which features Greenhalgh on lead vocals and his kids singing backup on the choruses.

This set could have been marred by the sound problems, as the amps for some of the instruments went off several times. But the band just made a joke of it and plowed through like pros.

Saturday afternoon’s performance, which took place on the festival’s smaller second stage, had been billed as an acoustic set, but wasn’t anything close to an “unplugged” show. As one band friend explained: “They just used smaller amps.”

With the exception of “Memphis, Egypt” there were no repeats from Friday’s set list. The best songs here included Timms’ signature “Ghosts of American Astronauts,” “The Olde Trip to Jerusalem” — one of the group’s most intense latter-day rockers — “Sometimes I Feel Like Fletcher Christian,” performed in a mariachi-influenced style, and the rowdy “Big Zombie,” in which Bell’s accordion drives the almost Cajun-sounding tune.

But the highest-energy number was a take-no-prisoners version of “Where Were You?” in which The Mekons were joined on stage by their road manager, emcee, and sometimes singer Mitch Flacko.

Chalkie wails!
Later that night on the main stage there was a punk set by the original 1977 Mekons. Langford (switching from guitar to drums) and Greenhalgh were joined by singers Andy Corrigan and Mark “Chalkie” White, guitarist Kevin Lycett, and bassist Ros Allen (who had her back turned away from the audience during virtually the whole show).

I knew this was going to be good, but I had no idea that these guys would be this good. They ripped through their early songs such as “32 Weeks,” “Never Been in a Riot,” and, once again, “Where Were You,” this time with lead vocals by Chalkie and Langford pounding his drums as if he were auditioning for a spot with The Surfaris.

The grand finale Sunday afternoon started off with the current Mekons, but eventually they were joined on stage by the original Mekons and later by Bonnie Prince Billy, aka Will Oldham (a longtime devotee, who on Saturday night performed a solo set of songs written or inspired by the Mekons) for songs including “Curse” and “Beaten and Broken.”

Following a couple of country covers (“Help Me Make It Through the Night” and Hank Williams’ “Lost Highway”), Mekons past and present as well as other musicians who had performed at the festival took to the stage for one final rousing, messy, ridiculous “Where Were You?” with Mitch and Chalkie sharing lead vocals.

The Grand Finale
As a wise critic wrote just a couple of years ago, “It never fails to frustrate me that no matter how I’ve tried to spread the word about this wonderful musical collective of visionaries, rebels, and oddballs — and how writers far more talented and influential than I have tried to do the same — The Mekons’ audience never seems to rise beyond the level of small-but-rabid cult.”

Personally, I guzzled the spiked Kool-Aid served up by The Mekons years ago. And I took an even bigger gulp at the festival in Suffolk. I’m proud to be a member of this crazed congregation. And it was a true joy to be a citizen of Mekonville.

Mekonville Video

First here's Jon Langford's Men of Gwent

Here's the 1977 Mekons with "Where Were You?"

And what the heck, here's the entire final Sunday set with Mekons old and new, assorted friends and who knows who. (Thanks, Norbert Knape.)

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday Smithsonian!

Back in 1846 on this very day, President James J. Polk signed into law the Smithsonian Institution Act, which established this nation's national museum.

Congress chartered the Smithsonian Institution This came after James Smithson, a British chemist and mineralogist (and the bastard son of an English duke), donated $500,000 to the U.S. for this purpose.

According to Smithson's biography on the Smithsonian Arvhives website:

James Smithson wrote a draft of his Last Will and Testament in 1826 in London, only three years before he died. He died on June 27, 1829, in Genoa, Italy, [and] was buried in a British cemetery. The will left his estate to his nephew, Henry James Hungerford, and stated that if his nephew died without an heir, the money would go "to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge ...." After his nephew died without an heir [in 1835],  Smithson's estate did come to the United States and a debate began about what this new institution would be.

Strangely, Smithson had never set foot in the U.S.

Another Smithsonian page ponders the possible reasons for the unusual bequest.

Did he feel his gift would have more impact on a young nation with only a few major educational and research institutions?

Did he hope to immortalize himself in the United States in reaction to opportunities denied him in Britain by his illegitimacy? (Smithson once wrote, "On my father's side I am a Northumberland, on my mother's I am related to kings, but this avails me not.")

Was he inspired by the tenets of many scientific societies of his day that held that civilization could achieve perfection through increased knowledge and public education?

To honor the Smithsonian here is an array of music videos from the Smithsonian's own record label, Smithsonian Folkways. (The Folkways label was created in 1948 by Moses Asch, a Polish-born recording engineer and folk music enthusiast. The Smithsonian acquired the label in 1987)

Let's keep this music -- and the spirit of The Smithsonian -- going!

Here's a shout song  from McIntosh County Georgia.

Dave Van Ronk recorded several albums for Folkways.

Here's a little polka from Flaco Jimenez & Max Baca.

The Seldom Scene cover a John Fogerty song about Elvis.

And finally, Valerie June sings a Lead Belly classic.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: The Dick Nixons Are The Ones

On this day in 1974, President Richard M. Nixon left the White House in the face of near certain impeachment.

But by the late '80s, a merry band of rock 'n' rollers from Donaldsonville, Louisiana had begun a noble, if tongue-in-cheek, attempt to rehabilitate Nixon's image. Led by a firefighter named Kirk Paul Landry, aka "Kirk the Jerk Springstone," The Dick Nixons The Dick Nixons sang songs glorifying the 37th president.

The group in 1992 released an album called Paint the White House Black, which was produced by none other than Memphis titan Jim Dickinson. It was on Triple X Records (home of the Angry Samoans!)

Unfortunately The Dick Nixons failed to get their hero re-elected president in 1988 or 1992. But they had fun trying.

There is not much information about The Dick Nixons online and only a scattering of YouTube videos, some of which are below.

But Landry, who died in 2009 at the age of 51, was an interesting character. Besides his work in The Dick Nixons, he was a "founding moron" responsible for an event called The Shemp Festival in Donaldsonville in the 1980s, which, according to a local press account, "reaped national attention with the largest pie fight in the southern Unites States."

Sadly, Landry's career suffered a bizarre Nixonian twist. He rose to the rank as Donaldsonville's fire chief in 1992 and served in that position until 2004 when he was arrested for falsifying records. He was convicted in 2007, two years before his death.

Prosecutors said he altered fire reports to the insurance association to get a lower and better fire insurance rating for Donaldsonville. He "doubled his manpower on the fire reports he changed and added firetrucks that were not at the scene of the fires," prosecutors said. Landry’s lawyers argued that he "had no intent to defraud anybody" and that he only followed the advice of a Fire Department rating consultant hired by the city of to help get a lower and better fire rating.

He was sentenced to a year in prison but the judge suspended the sentence. Landry appealed the conviction, but a Louisiana appeals court affirmed the verdict and sentence about three months before Landry died,

Here are some songs by The Dick Nixons to commemorate this historical day.

This one's the very first Dick Nixons song I ever heard.

And here's the first part of a 1988 Dick Nixons television interview.

And here's a whole concert by the Dick Nixons on SoundCloud

If you like this, check out this Wacky Wednesday from two years ago featuring songs about Watergate.

(Hat tip to fellow Dick Nixons fan Ira Brooker and his A Talent for Idleness blog.)

Sunday, August 06, 2017


Sunday, August 6, 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)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Johnny Voodoo by Empress of Fur
Bad Man by Oblivians
Fire in the Western World by Dead Moon
Never Felt Like This by King Khan & BBQ Show
You Can't Judge a Book by The Plimsouls
Right on You by Benjamin Booker
Rebel Intution by The Black Lips
Psychotic Reaction by The Cramps
So Much by Count Five

The Rocky to Dublin by The Young Dubliners
Donegal Express by Shane MacGowan & The Popes
The Bride Wore Black by Flogging Molly
Kicked to the Curb by Dropkick Murphys
The Captain's Dead b y Paddy & The Rats
Forty Deuce by Black 47
Langford attempts to kick my kisser at Mekonville Friday
Jon Langford gets his kicks at Mekonville
Sweet Molly Malone by Brenton Wood

Mekonville Set
If I Was a Mekon by Too Much Joy
Simone on the Beach by The Mekons
Ballad of Soloman Jones by Jon Langford's Men of Gwent
Sugar Coated by Striplight
Compass by Esper Scout
I'm Gonna Do Well by Calva Louise
Metanoia by Churchwood
An Incident Off St. Kitts by Mini Mekons with Robbie Fulks
The Devil's Music by The Three Johns
Mystery by Jon Langford's Four Lost Souls
The Curse by Chivalrous Amoekons

Summer's Almost Gone by The Doors
Since I Don't Have You by The Skyliners
Tom Jones Levitation by C, Farley, P. Malone & The Chicken Cross Mail Vice Quire
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

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Friday, August 04, 2017


Friday, August 4, 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)

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Buckaroo by Buck Owens
Hard Travelin' by Simon Stokes
Big Zombie by Chivalrous Amoekons
Point of No Return by Lonesome Bob
Memphis, Egypt by The Larkins
Wild and Blue by The Mekons
One Hand Loose by Charlie Feathers
Dirty Little Blues by The Whiskey Charmers
Do You Call That a Buddy by Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons with Phil Wiggins
Dirty Mouth Flo by Robbie Fulks

The End / Demons in Your Head by The Imperial Rooster
Fast, Cheap or Well Done by Laura Hope & The Ark Tones
Eatin' Crow and Drinkin' Sand by Jesse Dayton
If Mama Coulda Seen Me by Steve Earle
Carve That Possum by Southern Culture on the Skids
Mountain Boys Have Fun with Mountain Girls by Spade Cooley

Ambulance by Shinyribs
Omaha by The Gourds
Foolish Heart by Nikki Lane
No More Crying the Blues by The Cactus Blossoms
Her Hair is a Mess by Big Sandy & The Fly-Rite Boys
Quit Hollerin' at Me by John Prine
High Sheriff of Calhoun Parrish by Tony Joe White
Elvis Presley Blues by Tom Jones
I Just Lost My Mind by Rex Hobart & The Misery Boys

Godzilla vs King Kong by Boris McCutcheon
The Terrible Operation by Jorma Kaukonen
Linda on My Mind by Conway Twitty
You've Never Been This Far Before by Freakwater
You Got the Light by Bobby Bare
First Girl I Loved by John Hartford
CLOSING THEME: Comin' Down by The Meat Puppets

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

TERRELL'S TUNE-UP: Kiss the Lips

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican 
Aug. 4, 2017

Young, dumb and snotty is nothing to be ashamed of in the punk rock racket. There’s a lot you can do with it. And The Black Lips play that card better than most – though they’ve been around long enough that the “young” part of that equation doesn’t quite fit as it used to.

But on their new album – their eighth! -- Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?, the Lips show that young, dumb and snotty is just a part of the band’s weird charm. Produced by Sean Ono Lennon, Satan’s Graffiti is a crazed pogo-stick hop through the cosmos. I’ve liked just about all Black Lips albums, but to these ears, this is their best since their 2007 live-in-Tijuana record, Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo.

The album starts on a deceptive note, a strange, disturbingly mellow little instrumental called “Overture: Sunday Mourning,” featuring a sweet, sleazy sax by new Lips member Zumi Rosow. But that quickly fades to make way for a galloping rocker called “Occidental Front.” When singer Cole Alexander come on with the first verse, the melody sounds vaguely familiar, Is it Dock Boggs’ rasty old “Country Blues”? or is it that mean-eyed murder ballad “Wild Bill Jones,” turbo-charged with electric guitars? Listen close and you’ll hear Yoko Ono her bad self screaming in the background.

Virtually every track is a new adventure.  “Can’t Hold On,” is a decent hard rocker, though the last minute or so slows down, becoming a New Orleans jazz funeral dirge. “Squatting in Heaven” begins with a bouncy rhythm and repeating guitar line – or is that Rosow’s sax? -- that could be the sonic equivalent of an insect sting before settling in as riff-heavy blues-rock rumble. “Rebel Intuition” is mutated rockabilly, “Lucid Nightmare” is tribal psychedelic punk while “In My Mind There Is a Dream” could be Portishead re-imagined as garage rock.

And there is even a cover of an early Beatles song, “It Won’t Be Long,” which evokes visions of The Black Lips performing at some Hamburg dive bar with toilet seats around their necks for drunken sailors and off-duty strippers.

By far, the most startling tune on Satan’s Graffiti is a pretty little love song called “Crystal Night.” There is no mention of Nazis or religious persecution, but it couldn’t be clearer that this is about Kristallnacht, 'the night of broken glass," (Nov. 9-10, 1938) in which storm troopers and German civilians attacked Jewish homes and businesses. The Lips sing, “Where do they take you? / Where have you gone? … We never said goodbye / Now you’re sent to die / On crystal night …”

Some reviewers have criticized The Black Lips for their everything-but-the-kitchen-sink craziness displayed on this album, the jarring shifts in styles and atmospheres from song to song. But I find it refreshing. In the end, -- Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? finds coherence in its incoherence, hitting all kinds of targets with its scattergun approach.

Santa Fe Traditional Music Festival Returns: First of all, I think some disclosure is in order. This
is journalism and they make us have ethics and stuff. So here is my personal connection to this festival:

Back in 1985 (or maybe it was 1986?), when this event was known as the Santa Fe Fiddle and Banjo Contest, some buddies and me decided to form a bluegrass band in the parking lot on the day of the festival. (I think it was just one day back then.)

Calling ourselves “Smilin’ Ted and The Bluegrass Bird Beings,” we rehearsed two songs – bluegrass versions of Johnny Horton’s “North to Alaska” and my own “Cook Yer Enchiladas.” 

And, much to my surprise – and to the chagrin of some serious bluegrass artistes who had entered – we won first prize in the Professional Bluegrass Band Division! Not including myself, there were some seriously talented instrumentalists in the Bird Being lineup. But I honestly think what won us the trophy was my daughter, who was four or five at the time, who danced as our “go-go girl.”

But that’s neither here nor there. The news is that the Santa Fe Traditional Music Festival is back in the Santa Fe area again, August 25, 26 and 27 at Camp Stoney, 7855 Old Santa Fe Trail.
Actually, it’s sort of complicated. Last year Southwest Pickers, the non-profit group that’s run the show for years moved the festival up to Red River, (where their Southwest Pickers Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival will take place Sept. 14-17).

The August festival at Camp Stoney is sponsored by a new group the Santa Fe Friends of Traditional Music and Outside In Productions – the same folks who bring us Santa Fe Bandstand every summer.

Whoever is in charge, the line-up looks fantastic. There will be a reunion of Elliott’s Ramblers, led by former New Mexican Elliott Rogers. Also appearing are some of the state’s finest old-timey, bluegrass and other traditional bands: Bayou Seco, Higher Ground, Lone Pinon, The Adobe Brothers, The Fast Peso String Band, Round Mountain, Mariachi Buenaventura and others.

Rumors of a Smilin’ Ted reunion however, are nothing but irresponsible speculation.

Tickets are $45 for all three days, though you also can buy tickets for single days. For the complete schedule and ticket information see check the website..

Here are some Black Lips videos:


Sunday, June 9, 2024 KSFR, Santa Fe, NM, 101.1 FM  Webcasting! 10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time Host: Steve Terrell Email...