Friday, December 31, 2004
BigRock's advice for the day: Always take two aspirin and drink a whole glass of water before going to bed on new year's eve/morning. Trust me on this one.
Two celebratory ditties for ya before a much needed two day break.
Ok, one's a poem. Wait, come back, it's not by me or Sylvia Plath. It'll be ok, I promise. I've always been a bit of a John Updike-as-novelist fan. Never paid much attention to his poetry. But this little piece just strikes me as a perfect capsule of reflection, not just for the new year, but in light of all the recent events in the world. From the Rhino/WordBeat box set In Their Own Voices: A Century of Recorded Poetry.
John Updike: An Oddly Lovely Day Alone (mp3)
And, since Lighnin' already wished us a merry Christmas, why not let him wish us a happy New Year as well?
Lightnin' Hopkins: Happy New Year (mp3)
That'll do it for this year. See ya next one.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
pick a song
Say a prayer or mantra for R.L. Burnside. He apparently suffered two heart attacks and a stroke a couple of weeks ago, and is in a hospital in South Haven, Mississippi. One of the last of the greats.
Going all out today. Sorta.
Some questions before we begin the final countdown.
1. Does Spin actually listen to the music they cover, or do they just copy down the press bios from the labels that pay them the most advertising dollars?
2. In a related vein, why did someone lie to Chuck Klosterman and tell him that his dated-the-moment-he-writes-them columns and "books" were somehow relevant, much less well written? Hey, I'm no great writer myself, but I don't get paid for it, and I actually like music. Lester Bangs may have been a fuck up and a nutjob, but,christ, he seemed to actually like the music he ranted about. If we're still talking about the social impact of the Real World 25 years from now, and how it was Klosterman who exposed the deep themes and subtext behind it, then I'll gladly eat my shoes, Herzog-style.
3. Why the hell do I read Spin?
4. Should I start footnoting all my sentences ala David Foster Wallace?*
5. Should I sell out?
6. What does selling out mean?
7. What if I'd rather buy in?
8. Who fed me the grumpy pills these last few days? (please see number 3 on the list below)
*Usually if an author has to explain himself, or draw attention to how clever he is, he's probably not a very good author.
And, finally, on the eve of the eve, everyone slap their knees or thighs together in yr best apporximation of a drumroll, please. Ladies and gentlemen, the numberonebestalltimeatleastforthenextfewminutes Top 3 albums of the year, as compiled by noted music scholar and expert lecturer, BigRockCandyMountain:
3. Tom Waits: Real Gone
Well, if you've read this blog more than once over the past few months, you should have seen this one coming. Maybe Tom was too cranky for most this year. Maybe it was all that damn noise he was makin' that kept folks away. Maybe it's the love it or hate it voice that sent people running back to the safe confines of their modern rock stations. Those are all the things I loved about this album. Perhaps only Neil Young can lay the same claim as Waits: the older he gets, the louder he gets. This is hard music. This is not music about drinking in bars and riding Old 55's. This is music about the world falling apart, in flames or in rot. It's a rusty album, full of discomfort or terror. You can have yr techno-terrorist beat manufacturers and yr guitar thrashers, none of them make a sound so scary as what Tom does with his mouth. In a bathroom. With a tape recorder. You're not supposed to be comfortable. This is the sound of the end of the world, made by an aging balladeer on tin cans, piss, and a whole lot of vinegar.
Tom Waits: Make It Rain (mp3)
2. Various Artists: From Where I Stand (The Black Experience In Country Music)
Well. This came out about six years ago. But I bought it this year. The year that Ray Charles died. And make no mistake, his spirit haunts this 3-disc box set. Tracing Black "roots" music (whatever that is) from 20's string bands, through Ray Charles, to Charley Pride and beyond, this set will make you dance, fuck, drink, cry in yr drink, repent, and sin all over again. Ostensibly, it's attempt is to show country's influence on R&B. I'd argue it goes both ways, and both are fed by the blues and gospel, fed by jazz, fed by a very unique American experience (the good kind, not the one represented by SUV's and Dubya). In the same way Sister Rosetta Tharpe oozed more sex in one song than Britney has in her entire career, Country'n' Soul have produced more sin and salvation than the entire modernindiealternative universe could ever hope to approach. If you really wanna dance, put down the synthesizers and get sweaty to this. In a box set that includes Etta James, Staples Singers, Fats Domino, Al Green, Professor Longhair, Solomon Burke, Wynonnie Harris, Brother Ray Charles himself, and a ton more, it was hard to narrow down to one sample. So, here's a mega (for me) sampling from each of the three discs.
Mississippi Sheiks: Sittin' On Top of the World (mp3)
Big Al Dowling: Down on the Farm (mp3)
The Staple Singers: Will the Circle Be Unbroken(mp3)
Charley Pride: Snakes Crawl at Night (mp3)
Otis Williams and the Midnight Cowboys: How I Got to Memphis (mp3)
1. Loretta Lynn: Van Lear Rose
Some call it a comeback. I say she never left. Somehow, Jack White managed to get away from a photo shoot to play Steve Albini for a bit. What resulted could have been very bad. Instead, it was stunning. Not a wasted note. I'm gonna assume that Jack just turned on the machines, set up the mikes and let Loretta do all the directin', cuz really, what could Jack tell Ms. Lynn about makin' records? In a year when it seemed every band dreamed it was 1985 again, it took a little ole coal miner's daughter from Kentucky to drop the purest album of the year. And she did it her way. As usual. With class. I can't even begin to pay proper respect to this album. You've heard Portland Oregon by now, I assume. It's mighty, and no song suffers a letdown from that high. Really, the album is life, in all it's joy and sadness. The grandest statements are sometimes the smallest.
Loretta Lynn: Story of My Life (mp3)
Bonus old song
Loretta Lynn: Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (mp3)
Well, that does it. Opinions? Do all my choices sound the same? Am I completely out of touch with the youth vote? Stay tuned tomorrow for a special tribute to the New Year. Gonna take a few days off after that, regroup, and return with some of that old timey music we had here before all that Xmas and Top 10 nonsense. How does a little Hank Snow sound? He's on his way.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
a good time was had by all
It turns out that Deni from Last Girl on Earth has quite a musical resume. She kindly pointed me to her professional site, which contains a ton of audio samples. She's a violinist who has played with REM, Daniel Lanois, Robyn Hitchcock, Warren Zevon, Richard Thompson, and a ton of others. The biggest treat can be found when you click on the TV Show link on her site. There you can find a fantastic video of Deni performing "De Chirico Street" with Robyn Hitchcock.
Ok, on with the big show. Top 10 most favoritest albums of the year accordian to the 'Mountain, continued.
5. Entrance: Wandering Stranger
Did I mention I like Fat Possum? Entrance is Guy Blakeslee, a 23-year-old Baltimore native who plays his guitar upside down. Sounds like a gimmick, but it aint. Apparently that's how he learned to play. I have no idea what was in his baby formula, but it made him a little strange. His voice, only matched in its loneliness by his rather astonishing guitar playing, suggests what Jeff Buckley might've sounded like if he grew up in the mountains listening to Blind Lemon Jefferson with Will Oldham in a leaky outhouse. The music is that of a long journey, through swamp and desert. Definitely my Rookie of the Year. It was impossible to narrow down the album to a one song sample, so I closed my eyes and pointed.
Entrance: Train is Leaving (mp3)
4. Richard Buckner: Dents and Shells
I wasn't real thrilled with the last couple of Buckner releases. They seemed kind of directionless and pointlessly messy. Here, he returns to the type of album that made Devotion + Doubt and Bloomed such treasures. Pedal steel and piano have moved to the front of the mix, and Buckner's high loneseme voice still strings the kind of inscrutable phrases together that leave you scratching yr head, but knowing yr hearing something sad. It's all leaving and loss, the burning of deserts, the sound of never and the taste of love.
Richard Buckner: Invitation (mp3)
Here's my top single of the year, released over 50 years ago. What can I say?
Hobart Smith: Fly Around My Blue-Eyed Girl (mp3)
get thee behind me satan
Here's more of the much talked about and highly anticipated BigRockCandyMountain Top 10 albums of the year. BigRockCandyMountain: The brand you trust for all yr happenin' sounds in modern hi fi. Ask for it by name.
8. Lambchop: Aw Cmon/No You Cmon
Seems as if these two albums got a bit lost in the shuffle. Or people just didn't enjoy them as much as myself. Whichever, they were never too far from my stereo. Lambchop has been making great, understated albums for a decade now, getting quieter as they've added more and more members. With Aw Cmon, in particular, they've made the kind of album(s) Wilco were aiming for with A Ghost is Born. Orchestral in the finest Nashville tradition, without ever going over the top, the songs demand close attention. Mainman Kurt Wagner is the finest observer of the small, good (and not so good) things we have today. Perfect albums for winter nights and spring dusks.
Lambchop: Nothing But a Blur From a Bullet Train (mp3)
7. Various: Good Girls Gone Bad
I'm not really cheating on this one, cuz it was released this year (2004). Ace Records has been issuing astounding packages for years, from rockabilly and old weird country to soul, blues, jazz, classical, and all points round and inbetween. This particular collection collects, and I quote, "Weird, wild and wonderful women in a wigged-out collection of stone rockers and the occasional walk on the strange side." Most of the tracks were cut during the late 50's heydey of rockabilly, and you can see Wanda Jackson's influence. Neko Case was definitely paying attention to these recordings. It's underproduced and gloriously raunchy, all the things we beg for in rock'n'roll.
Billy Jo Spears: Get Behind Me Satan and Push (mp3)
6. American Music Club: Love Songs For Patriots
I never thought they'd get back together. American Music Club were one of my favorite bands growing up. I think Mark Eitzel was my Morrissey. When they broke up, I kinda ignored the rest of the bands' projects, opting to follow Eitzel,alone, through his rather curious solo path. When I heard they were indeed reforming, recording, and touring, I was skeptical. Didn't think it would work, just another sad attempt at a cash-in like the Pixies. Needless to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised. All the elements that made AMC great are here in abundance, honed, even, by their time apart. The pedal steel is sadder than ever, Mark's grumpier than ever, the whole feel is vintage AMC. Live, they clicked even more remarkably, even managing to rein in (slightly) Eitzel's notorious digressions and self-effacement. Welcome back, boys, ya mopey gits.
American Music Club: Another Morning (mp3)
(All files are YouSendIts...click on target, and download accordingly)
Monday, December 27, 2004
so it begins
Hope everyone had a good weekend.
Before I start on my top 10 list, found a few new excellent blogs you might want to take a look at.
Last Girl On Earth is, according to Deni, "the wacky musings of a girly New York musician who is attempting to prove that you don't have to be a 19 year old anorexic model babe to be successful." The site is a ton of fun to read. Hopefully, she'll put some of her music up for us to listen to (hint, hint).
Fire of Love is, well, his description at the top of the blog is this: "Rock - Pop - Punk - New Wave - Soul - Country - Fuzz - World Music - Reggea - Blues - No Depression - Jazz - Bluegrass - Cajun - Gospel - Garage." Pretty much covers it all too. Right now, he's got The Swingin' Neckbreakers, The Saints, Greg Oblivian, the Coal Porters, and many more of the kind of bands I can't get enough of.
Now for the moment both of you have been waiting for.
I gotta tell ya, I really don't much care for what's referred to as indie rock these days. A quick glance at top 10 lists around the web and in print seems to conjure up all that was tedious about the mid to late 80's. If irony is truly dead in music, it's because bands are attempting to be ironic about groups that weren't very good to begin with. We've got lots of albums littering the landscape that just scream one hit wonder. Maybe it's all about being grabbed by the balls. Andre Williams and The Replacements grabbed me. Husker Du grabbed me hard. The Nuggets box set and the Hank Williams box sets never let go.
Maybe it's technology, which has divided music into too many sub-categories, that's to blame ('Course, I'm working here(barely, some might note)in that thar modern technology myself). Is Enimen, whom I quite like, really the voice of a generation in the same way that Dylan, or the Stones, or the Beatles, or even the Velvet Underground were? Who is our James Brown? Our Sam Cooke, our Ramones, our Clash, our NWA? Are Public Enemy and Nirvana the last bands that most of us could agree on? Is it a bad thing that music has sprayed itself on so many different walls? Maybe not. I don't know, to be honest. I would be more than happy to be wrong about the current state of music. Really, if you've got an opinion, share it. Convince me. I'm an opinionated bastard, and love a good argument.
That said, over the next few days I'm gonna work through my High Fidelity obsession and post my Top 10 favorite albums of the year. Can't really say best albums. These are the albums I listened to most consistently over the year. It's a little skewed toward the end of the year, sorry. And there are a few that weren't even released this year. Oh well.
10. Hard Headed Woman: A Tribute to Wanda Jackson
I'm generally not real keen on tribute albums, but this one's a corker. Helps that I'm a big Wanda Jackson fan. Wanda was a pioneer, a woman working in a "man's medium", writing many of her own songs, and doing other's songs her way. She may just be the true missing link between country and rockabilly. Bloodshot Records, always a fine label, pulls out all the stops with this one. All yr fave rave altcountry types are here, but, naturally, it's the women who really step up and do ole Wanda justice.
Laura Cantrell: Wasted (mp3)
9. Thee Shams: Please Yourself
And yet another album from one of my favorite labels. I would shill for Fat Possum any day of the week. Thee Shams remind me of an earlier 'Possum band, The Neckbones. White boys, raised on punk'n'garage, then discovering that the blues is more punk than punk. Cue up the organ, distortion to 11, make like it's yr last fucking nite on earth.
Thee Shams: In the City (mp3)
Friday, December 24, 2004
i built my dreams around you
Final day of Xmas posts.
I said I'd post my favorite Christmas tune today, so here it is. Shouldn't be much of a shock to those who've been reading awhile.
I'm not a religious man. Religion and Atheism require a degree of faith. I'm not really given to great leaps of faith. I'm often shocked when my computer actually turns on in the morning, when a book is actually good, when a cd is worth more than two listens. People leave. For some, Christmas means an expression of their faith. For others, it's a time to get stuff. For still more, it's a time to gather with family. Others don't celebrate it at all. Some people kill themselves. In many ways, Christmas has become a very uniquely American holiday, something else we've stolen from other cultures. The crass consumerism, the blatant hypocrisy of proclaiming peace on earth, while engaging in mini-wars throughout the world, and exercising untold human rights violations. We have the gall to complain if we don't get the right IPod, while the missions are full of the poor and homeless. It's below zero degrees here in Chicago, and some have died because they have no home. But enjoy that goddamned mp3 player, cuz you've earned it, by god. This is 'Merica, and we like our stuff. Me too.
Shane MacGowan is, with apologies to Mr. Heaney, Ireland's last great poet. Well, maybe not. I'm sure many of our Irish friends will disagree. Who knows? What I know is that he's become an easy target for mockery. Some of it he's earned. Shane enjoys a drink now and again. What I find interesting, as I've read the several bios of him, is that everybody wants to discuss Shane drinking, but the question never asked is "Why does Shane drink?" Of course, it's none of our business. I've seen Shane, shirt covered in vomit, barely able to stand, gripping the mic like it was the Virgin Mary, full cups of beer (no bottles at Shane shows) being tossed at him. And he still found the time and/or strength to bend down and sign anything offered up to him for his autograph. In those moments, the fan was more important than his cigarette, the song, the drink. Beat that, Bono. It's popular to place bets on when Shane's gonna die. Ignorant. I don't know the man, never spoke with him, don't what he thinks, what his favorite food is, where he stands on the great Jay Z vs. R. Kelley debate. I know that his songs, even the so-called minor recent work, contain all the passion, confusion, hypocrisy, joy, anger, sadness and life that make up humanity. Yeah, we make fun of the man. Shane's got his very publicly displayed problems. Shane's not a hero. He's not, by any stretch of the imagination, a god. But he might be a saint.
In Fairytale of New York, an immigrant couple, separated from their homeland, broke, drunk and disillusioned, spend Christmas Eve in a drunk tank. They sing, they love and they fight. That's about it. Like a Raymond Carver short story, we start in the middle and end before the end. I'm of Irish descent (who isn't?), but I cannot speak to the mindset of the thousands of immigrants passing through Ellis Island on their way to New York City, the land of dreams. Other Christmas songs are often cast in blacks or whites. Christmas is great, yay Jesus, Christmas sucks, etc. Fairytale takes all the sentiment, mixes it, and creates the most uniquely human of all Christmas songs. It's coarse and beautiful. All the dreams, the Sinatra songs, the dashed hopes, the glimmer of redemption. You know this couple; There's a little bit of all of us in them.
"I could have been someone.
So could anyone.
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you.
I kept them with me, babe
I put them with my own.
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you."
The Pogues: Fairytale of New York (mp3)
(YouSendIt file...click on target...download from site)
Reposts by request
The Rimshots: Santa Stole My Whiskey (mp3)
The Dalheart Imperials: Old Man Spivey's Egg Nog (mp3)
The Pogues: Fairytale of New York (live in London) (mp3)
(Yousendit files...click on target...download from site)
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Figgered I'd finish off the Xmas posts over the next two days with my two favorite musical gentleman. Tommorrow will feature my favorite Xmas song of all time. Can't wait, can you?
Today, we've got Tom Waits. Sentimental Tom and Preachin' Tom with The Blind Boys of Alabama. On the first tune, note the background singers. What producer talked him into that?
Anyway, even if you dont' like Tom, The Blind Boys of Alabama are more than worth your attention. The song is pure, perfect soul, with Tom bringing a little coal from down the mountain.
Tom Waits: Silent Night (mp3)
Tom Waits and The Blind Boys of Alabama: Go Tell It On the Mountain (mp3)
(yousendit files...click target...download from site)
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
So, she who is most beloved cheated last nite. She looked in her xmas stocking. Shame. When people start snooping in their xmas presents early, the terrorists have won.
Sympathy For the Record Industry has been doing it long before Spin (whom I have some opinions about that I plan on sharing at the start of my upcoming top 10 list)dropped their industry-approved band of the month to give the White Stripes ("hey, they're telegenic!") a cursory listen. Like Norton, In the Red, Bomp!, and countless other small labels, SFTRI never forgot that rock (what some easily categorize as garage) was all about a snarl and a killer,loud guitar riff. They never forgot that country and blues were as much a part of the musical landscape as plastic lighters and devil signs. If you think U2 or a bunch of well dressed folks rehashing 80's dance beats are what rock is all about, this aint for you. The devil does have all the good tunes (Well, except for old gospel. And soul. And Mozart. and...oh nevermind).
From Sympathy's double lp, Happy Birthday Baby Jesus.
Rocket From The Crypt: Cancel Christmas (mp3)
El Vez: Feliz Navi Dada (mp3)
Supersuckers: Call It Christmastime (mp3)
(yousendit files...click on target...download from there)
This picture has nothing to do with the music
Super quickie today.
Both the following are taken from the Stax/Volt album "It's Christmas Time Again", which you should be able to find easily at yr local record shop. One's a classic. One should be. Both are sad sad songs. With soul.
Read about the legendary Stax/Volt here.
Little Johnny Taylor: Please Come Home For Christmas (mp3)
The Emotions: What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas (mp3)
(yousendits....click target...download from site).
Longer posts over the next few days as we work up to my favorite xmas song of all time. Yep. Feel me tremble.
Monday, December 20, 2004
It's the final week, and I'm having to chop off a bunch of songs from my list. More for next year, I guess, assuming I'll still be around.
Don't forget to check yr local listings for the 24-hour "A Chritsmas Story" marathon.
Red Red Meat is one of those bands I referred to earlier as "burnt desert music." Seems odd, since they're based in Chicago. But not at all. It's a frame of mind, a tuning of the guitar, a slide of the beer bottle. Or something. Red Red Meat sorta "broke up" a while ago, but morphed into Loftus for an album, and can now be found as the awe-inspiring Califone. You can read all about the bands, the morphing, the albums, the lyrics and free (FREE!!!!) mp3's at their website here.
I know I posted one of the following tunes before as part of a bootleg medley by the original artist. But Neko Case is just about the finest artist around. I love Neko. You love Neko. The voice that makes grown men quake in their boots (cowboy and doc martens alike). And what could be better than Neko? Neko covering Tom Waits. Oh my.
Red Red Meat: There's a Star Above the Manger Tonight (mp3)
Neko Case: Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis (mp3)
(yousendit files...click target...download from site)
Saturday, December 18, 2004
it's jack and meg
My heartiest kudos to those who manage daily posts on their blogs. It's tough.
We're in the home stretch.
I have to admit to not being the biggest White Stripes fan these days. I thought their first couple of albums were really quite good, but their last one, in particular, left me kinda bored. I guess it's a matter of taste. I will give a preview,though, and say that Mr. White will make an appearance on my upcoming Top 10 list. If you've been following this here blog for awhile, you can probably make a guess as to what album.
I'm surprised the following tunes haven't made the rounds yet this year. They're a bit off, but perversely enjoyable. Listen for Meg's rendition of Silent Night, and her comments to Jack on the last tune.
Peppermint Patty's Gift to Marcie on Christmas
The White Stripes: Candy Cane Children (mp3)
The White Stripes: Story of the Magi/Silent Night (mp3)
(YouSendIt links...click on target...download from site)
Friday, December 17, 2004
Yep. That's a tractor.
It's getting harder to keep up with all the other blogs hosting xmas tunes. I apologise if'n I post something that's already been covered elsewhere. The upside, of course, is that we're all flush with new tunes to get us through the elevator music usually associated with the season.
More blues today. I'm not a big indie rock guy anymore, which will be noted on my upcoming top ten list. Muddy is the new clean.
Lightnin' Hopkins. Well, what can I say? One of my favorites, up there with Mississippi John Hurt and Howlin' Wolf, despite an REM song named after him.
I know Pete Mayes is from Texas. That's about all I know. Not a whole lot on the web. If anyone has more info, lemme know, I'll post it.
Santa was in the house when the house burned down
Lightnin' Hopkins: Merry Christmas (mp3)
Texas Pete Mayes and His Houserocker Blues Band: Christmas Holidays (mp3)
(YouseSendit files...click on target...download from site)
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Gene Autry, America's Favorite Singing Cowboy.
Realize this isn't the coolest of Chirstmas posts, but I think Autry's a genius. I grew up listening to the Gene Autry christmas album. Sitting in front of my parent's old record player.
Autry was first billed a "Oklahoma's Yodeling Cowboy" before making his mark in films. One can argue the value and "truth" of the westerns he made, but he's an icon, as much a part of the the weird old American landscape as Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Howlin' Wolf, Charlie Parker and Sonic Youth. Plus, the songs are fun.
Rootin' and Tootin' on Christmas eve
Gene Autry: Here Comes Santa Claus (mp3)
Gene Autry: Santa, Santa, Santa (mp3)
(Y'allsendit files....click on target...open package from site)
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
might get in trouble for this one
Anybody got any ideas how to to hide a large christmas present in a small apartment?
There's a segment of 60's garage rockers who's main influence was not the blues or British rock. For some of these scroungy trailblazers, Bob Dylan was king. The scene is riddled with bad Dylan impersonations. The Wailers (not the Reggae gentlemen), though, took the Dylan fetish to great heights. Enjoy their hot sounds of Dylan Christmas love.
Detroit Junior plays some funky ass greasy blues 'n' r&b. The following tune has a nasty sax that would comfortable on any Las Vegas Grind collection.
Felice Nasal David
The Wailers: Christmas Spirit (mp3)
Detroit Junior: Christmas Day (mp3)
(yousenditfiles...click on target...download from site)
anyone figger out my favorite drink yet?
Good lord, it's a record. Christmas shopping done.
Got an email from a genleman directing me to his new blog. You really must stop what you're doing here and git on over to Yule Shoot Your Eye Out. Not only does it reference one of the top 3 films ever made, but the songs are brilliant, too. Excellent leftfield Christmas stuff, and I'm interested in seeing where he goes after the holidays (for god's sake, though, don't change the name).
For those interested: Xmas tunes will end on December 24th. From then til New Year's Eve, I'm going to throw my Top 10 albums of the year into the ring(yeah, I know...everybody's doing it...what can i say? We're all list makers.). After a special New Year's post, it's back to the old timey, greasy, and slightly off exploration of the more rustic side of America.
It's occurred to me, as things often do, that I've been a bit lax on posting any Irish tunes, outside of dear ole Shane.
The Chieftans have done amazing work in spreading traditional Irish music to the masses. Unfortunately, some of what they've done has been a bit harmful, I think. Bringing in Sting (Stink) and Mick Jagger, among other "rockers", to sing along sometimes leaves a bad taste of Lord of the Dance in my mouth. But The Bells Of Dublin , from which the following tune is taken, is a fantastic album. All the singers are perfectly chosen, and the music contains all the joy and sadness we've come to expect from great Irish music. That's the inimitable Burgess Meredith narrating and Kevin Conneff singing on the tune.
The Clancy Brothers have been the voice of the American Irish yearning for home for almost 50 years. From songs of drinking and blackguarding, to new compositions, to Danny Boy, The Clancy Brothers have carved themselves on the Mount Rushmore of Irish traditionalists. Below is their take on Jingle Bells. As only the Irish can.
Nollaig Shona Duit
The Chieftans: Don Oiche Ud I mBeithil (mp3)
The Clancy Brothers: Buala Bas (mp3)
(Yousendit files...click on song...download from there)
Sunday, December 12, 2004
So, inbetween paying an obscene amount of money today for a gin-u-wine vintage aluminum xmas tree (she who is most beloved has excellent taste in all things retro), and watching the Pittsburgh Steelers clinch a playoff berth(pleasepleaseplease), I'm gonna give you some more tunes.
Note, I've have reposted some expired songs at the end of the post.
Longer post tomorrow, with a calendar of events. Whooppppeee.
Today we've got two of my favorite mopers and sad boys.
Read more about the Appalachian-loving Palace boy Will Oldham here.
Read more about Mean Mark Eitzel here.
Moping around the Christmas Tree
Mark Eitzel: Xmas Lites Spin (mp3)
Palace Songs: Christmastime In the Mountains (mp3)
Dalheart Imperials: Old Man Spivey's Egg Nog (mp3)
Jimmy Smith: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (mp3)
(All songs are YouSendIt files...click on track, and download from site)
Saturday, December 11, 2004
As promised, I return ready and refreshed.
I hate working on Saturdays. Happy Holidays. Christmas brings out the worst in people, at least from a shopping standpoint.
Some great new blogs out there. Check out Mangos and Mandolins. Says Jesse, the proprietor..."The main focus will be on Americana and tangentially related music, Brazilian music, and plenty of assorted interesting pop and
traditional music from around the world." True to form, its got Tom Ze and The Wayfaring Strangers up at the moment. Great stuff. Bookmark it.
Got a slight theme running through these holiday posts. Anybody got a guess?
Rockabilly's a strange hybrid. Little bit country, little bit r'n'r. You knew that though.
There's a great vintage store in my neighborhood. They carry lots of great, odd little rockabilly, bop and garage records. I plan on spending too much money there. The following tunes are courtesy of purchases made at Chicago's own Vintage Deluxe.
One of the bands, The Dalheart Imperials, hails from the great city of Denver, Colorado. Denver's got a thriving country music scene, led by the Imperials and my favorite band of all time, Halden Wofford and the Hi Beams.
Read more about Denver's (real) country music scene at The Denver Barn Dance.
On with the show
The Rimshots: Santa Stole My Whiskey (mp3)
Dalheart Imperials: Old Man Spivey's Egg Nog (mp3)
(YouSendIt files...click on song...download from there.)
Friday, December 10, 2004
Sorry. Not tunes today. It was a very long night last nite, followed by Copy, Right? scooping me on a Sympathy For the Record Industry post. Will regroup and get some holiday rockabilly up for y'all tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, check out the links to yr left for good music and good reading. I'll have some new links shortly.
I hadn't checked my email in a couple of weeks, and got some very nice comments and offers. Y'all will be responded to in short time. Thank you, one and all.
My head is about to explode, I think. See you tomorrow.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
And now, for something completely different.
I used to be a huge fan of the 4AD label. Anything they'd put out, I'd obsessively collect, from the Throwing Muses and Pixies, to This Mortal Coil and today's guest. Quite a bit of that music has worn thin on me over the years, particularly as I've searched out the more...errr...rustic side of music. Elizabeth Fraser has that kind of voice. Like Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Mary Margaret O'Hara, little Mikey Stipe, and Tom Waits, her voice becomes an instrument, sometimes to the point where she would not write lyrics for a song, she'd just sing made up words. It worked. Still does. I still pull out the Cocteau Twins now and again. It's still some of the most beautiful, ethereal stuff I've heard. For your enjoyment.
Cocteau Twins: Frosty the Snowman (mp3)
Cocteau Twins: Winter Wonderland (mp3)
(YouSendItFiles...click on song...download from there)
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Man, I dropped the ball yesterday. Posting in the wee hours of the morning can do this, I think. So...everybody join me in raising a toast and wishing a happy belated birthday to Mr. Tom Waits, who turned 55 (Ol' 55?) yesterday.
Got my first repost request the other day. So in the spirit of giving, you'll find a repost of Roland Kirk and Jimmy Smith following the new tunes from today.
Regular readers will remember that I had been putting up mainly old country, blues, 'n' garage before this holiday bum rush. So a slight return today.
Merle Haggard has always been eclipsed a bit by some of his contemporaries, most notably Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. They got their starts at roughly the same time, came to be known as brilliant songwriters, forged the outlaw image in country and western, had very regrettable 70's and 80's, and recently experienced career rebirths. There's no argument from me about Johnny Cash's place in American music...he was a god. But I'd like to think that ole Hag belongs right there next to him. The craggy, unmistakable voice, the duality of god and the devil, the ability to take the common and transcend, jail time. Actually, legend has it that Hag first heard Cash while serving his own stint in the pokey. One could spend hours debating the merits and intention of Okie From Muskogee, but the truth is, it's a damn fun song to sing along with, and is, frankly, one of his lesser songs. The man has written classics, and has helped keep the legends of Bob Wills and Townes van Zandt alive. Songs:Illinois did a great post on Merle a week or so ago, with some of his more contemporary songs. Like most country and western artists, he was even known to do a christmas tune or so. Enjoy.
Merle Haggard: I Wish I Was Santa Claus (mp3)
Merle Haggard: Christmas in Cabo San Lucas (mp3)
Roland Kirk: We Free Kings (mp3)
Jimmy Smith: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (mp3)
(All files are YouSendIts...click on tune...go to site to download.)
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
One of my favorite commercials of all time is the one from last March where it shows these three very adult brothers waking each other up early in the morning. They're all excited, and wearing green pajamas. They run down the stairs in slow motion, just like it was Christmas morning. Lo and behold...a green tree, green lights, and Guinness in abundant quantities wrapped with bows under the tree. Happy St. Patrick's day indeed.
Not sure what that has to do with anything.
Here's Shane. Very much alive, thank you very much
Shane MacGowan and the Popes: Christmas Lullabye (mp3)
The Pogues: Fairytale of New York (live in London) (mp3)
(yousendit files...click on song...download from site)
Monday, December 06, 2004
Well, the holiday is in full swing....and my Christmas shopping is now officially half over. Phew.
Tons of blogs are joining the holiday spirit, as it were. Favorites include: Falalalala.com, with daily recommended levels of cheese (the very very very good kind, retro kids), the increasingly brilliant Keep the Coffee Coming, with lots of soul/doowop/r&b, and Spoilt Victorian Child, who y'all probably know about already.
As promised, Beatnik Christmas Jazz today. Taken from the Rhino Records box set, The Beat Generation, Beatnik's Wish is a more than slightly suggestive hipsters paen to the ultimate cat, Santa.
And continuing in the errr...bad santa thoughts vein, legend Rufus Thomas has a present he'd like to give you.
Santa baby love
Patsy Raye: Beatnik's Wish (mp3)
Rufus Thomas: I'll Be Your Santa Baby (mp3)
(YouSendIt Files...click on song, download from there)
Sunday, December 05, 2004
ho ho howdy
Couple of quick items before we get to the tunes.
1. The Porn Orchard tune from the Tom Waits post is actually titled "This Holiday Season", not "Christmas Sucks". Thanks to Tim from Retail Blog for pointing that out.
2. I have a friend who is having trouble downloading the tunes from YouSendIt. Anyone else having problems? Also, the songs expire after about 7 days. If anyone missed earlier posts, let me know...we can work something out.
Thanks for sticking with me. Taking another turn of sorts today.
There's this type of music I like to call burnt desert music. It's usually expansive, and sort of...well...burnt sounding. Usually involving singers on the gravelly edge of things, lots of lonesome instruments, and a feeling of being a little lost. Bands I think of as burnt desert music include, not exclusively, Calexico, Giant Sand, Richard Buckner, Centro-matic, and the two bands I'm giving you today.
I've posted this song by Willard Grant Conspiracy before. But it's one of my favorite tunes. To quote myself loosely, Robert Fisher has the voice of a prophet, ragged and dusty, chanting repent from 40 days in the wilderness.
Okkervil River is kind of a mystery to me. About half their catlog strikes me as some of the best music being written today. The other half...eh, maybe needs an editor. But, my god...the tune below...pure bliss. And the chorus, which you'll recognize, brings back one of the most sublime moments of the past 50 years. Indeed.
Willard Grant Conspiracy: Christmas in Nevada (mp3)
Okkervil River: Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas (mp3)
(YouSendIt Files...click on link...hoho from the site)
Coming up this week: A visit with a man named Shane, some Beatnik jazz, an old 80's favorite, and the return of blues and honky tonk. Hang on to your party hats.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
aint we got fun
Ever notice how early morning seems to be?
John Prine today. If you don't know who John Prine is, run out immediately and purchase Great Days: the John Prine Anthology. No record collection is complete without it. Really. While you're there, also pick up In Spite of Ourselves, his collection of duets with Iris DeMent, Emmylou Harris, and Patty Loveless, among others.
Prine was once billed, like Springsteen and Forbert and Mellencamp, as "The new Bob Dylan." (This seemed to be a trend with music critics for awhile. lazy gits).
While Prine did sing and play guitar, just like Dylan, the comparison really ends there. His songs tend to be more straightforward, and often injected with a homespun wink. Once the holidays are over (and I'm not constantly running late for work), I'm gonna do a bigger post on the man. He's a little bit country, a little bit folk, a little bit himself.
For now, here's two Christmas tunes that serve as a counterpoint of sorts to the Mike Ireland tune from a few days ago. Taken from the ep A John Prine Christmas.
Prining for you at the holidays
John Prine: Silent Night All Day Long (mp3)
John Prine: Christmas in Prison (mp3)
(YouSendItFile...click on target, download from there)
Friday, December 03, 2004
I generally try to avoid anything that reeks of cheese, but I think the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon is one of the greatest things ever made. When he picks out the little tree nobobdy wants, i turn into a big ball of blubber. Every damn time.
As promised, we've got a Tom Waits xmas post today...partly to celebrate the bootlegs of his most recent European tour having leaked, and partly because...well, he's Tom.
The Tom song is taken from an older boot, and is a medley of sorts...you'll figure it out.
The second tune has been credited as a duet between Tom and Peter Murphy, of all folks. A quick check on google confirms the rumour is still alive and well. In actuality it's a band called Porn Orchard. Apparently the attempt was to take the piss on poor Tom and Peter. It worked. Pretty good imitations, though the Tom guy sounds more like Buster Poindexter at times. Enjoy. Tell yr friends.
Santa waits for no man
Tom Waits: Silent Night/Christmas Card (mp3)
TomPornPeter: Christmas Sucks (mp3)
(YouSendIt files...click on target...download from site...easy)
Thursday, December 02, 2004
good morning santa
Oooops. Missed a day. I suck. I'll blame it on Blogspot difficulties.
Couple of sad ones today. I worked in retail for years, far away from what remained of my family and loved ones. Anyone who's worked retail knows the rather nazil-like approach businesses take when it comes to vacation time over the holidays. I was lucky enough, though, to have friends in similar situations themselves, so xmas came to mean drunken revelry with like-minded expatriates. But there was always an undercurrent of loneliness to the small celebrations.
I've never understood why Mike Ireland isn't more popular with the alt and non-alt country types alike. His voice is pure Bakersfield by way of Owen Bradley.
The Everly Brothers have always had a vein of country running through them, and pedal steel is the saddest instrument known to man.
Sad Santas, they mean so much
Mike Ireland and Holler: Christmas Past (mp3)
The Everly Brothers:Christmas Eve Can Kill You (mp3)
(YouSendIt files...click on song...download from site)
Tomorrow: Tom Waits Part 1
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
it's a soulful world
Thanks to those who have left comments. S'good to know there's folk out there.
Stax/Volt put out some of the best soul tunes in the 60's to the early 70's, featuring the Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Booker T and the MG's, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, and tons more. Read about the label here.
One of my favorite groups of all time is the Staple Singers...a perfect blend of the gospel and secular.
Isaac Hayes is one bad....xmas fan.
Both of the following are taken from the outstanding Stax/Volt release It's Christmas Time Again.
Santa Claus wants some lovin'
Staple Singers: Who Took the Merry out of Christmas (mp3)
Isaac Hayes: The Mistletoe and Me (mp3)
(yousendit files...click on link and download (much faster) from there)
Monday, November 29, 2004
blue christmas without you
And on and on....
Feeling blue today. And since it's my day off, i'm enjoying an adult beverage or 6. So what better way to celebrate than with two drunk Santa tunes. Figgers I already threw up a few intoxicated St. Nick photos (there's a really humorous pun in there, i 'spect). Hey, the one consistent thing y'all can expect here is inconsistency.
If you like calendars, i can tell you that tomorrow will feature a soulful xmas post by one of my faveorite groups of all time. And the day after that, we're gonna get a little sad. Future looks bright for Tom Waits and Shane Macgowan, too...but not the tunes yr expecting. God bless bootlegs.
Don't know anything about the following individuals, except that they can be found on the most excellent compilation, Bummed Out Christmas on Rhino Records.
Raise a toast to Santy Claus
Clyde Lasley and the Cadillac Baby Specials: Santa Came Home Drunk (mp3)
Sherwin Linton: Santa Got a DWI (mp3)
(YouSendIt files...click song...download from site)
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Day four, and it's time to take the tree out of the garage. Or...take the garge out of the tree. Sumthin'.
Running the in-law to the airport, so it's the last of the shorties today.
How 'bout a snotty diatribe from 60's snotpunk legends the Sonics? Check.
How 'bout a pschedelic workout on "Deck the Halls" from garage maestros Saturdays Children? You betcha.
Santa in the Garage.
The Sonics: Don't Believe in Christmas (mp3)
Saturday's Children: Deck 5 (mp3)
(YOUSENDIT files...click on link and merrily download from there)
Saturday, November 27, 2004
a little jazz
Day three. In a row. Stop the presses.
Not every day is gonna be country over the next month. So what better way to break away than with two of my favorite jazz guys. Both of these men are/were probably just a few dates short of a fruitcake. Makes perfect sense they'd make some holiday cheer.
Jimmy Smith is greasy.
Roland Kirk is bananas.
Roland Kirk: We Free Kings (mp3)
Jimmy Smith: God Rest You Merry Gentlemen (mp3)
(YouSendIt files...click and go to site)
Friday, November 26, 2004
Day two. So far so good. Right?
Not sure why I put two drunk santa's in a row. Maybe something about how i read somewhere that Thanksgiving is the second biggest alcohol consumption day of the year in the USA. Which makes sense. Families make most of us want to drink heavily.
If yr looking for Bing Crosby doing "White Christmas", this aint the place.
Two more for ya today. One from a legend and one from an "unknown" (i.e. I can't find and info about him).
Read more about the genius that is Pee Wee King here.
Pee Wee King: Rootin' Tootin' Santa Claus (MP3)
Billy Briggs: North Pole Boogie (MP3)
(YouSendIt files...Should download muuuuuccccchhhh faster. Just click on link, download from site)
Thursday, November 25, 2004
here we go
As promised, we've got Xmas songs.
The mother-in-law is visiting for the weekend, so for the next few days the posts aint gonna be too wordy, but the tunes are here.
Gonna start you off, shockingly, with a couple of country and western tunes (both kinds).
Read about Tex Ritter here.
Read about Hank Snow here.
Hank Snow: Reindeer Boogie (mp3)
Tex Ritter: Christmas Carols By the Old Corral (mp3)
(Click on Song...Download from Briefcase...improvements coming soon)
Monday, November 22, 2004
This post written under the influence of Will Johnson's Vultures Await.
Thanksgiving (or "rape of the indigenous peoples day", as i like to call it) is coming, and that means daily Xmas posts from the Mountain. Hold your breath.
And in the spirit of thanking, thanks to Keep the Coffee Coming for the nice words. Visit her site, she's got some great tunes up, and it's one of the best-named mp3 blogs i've run across.
I was trying to decide today between a Hank and a Merle, flipped a coin and come up Hank.
Hank Penny is one of those great forgotten musicians and bandleaders. I have to admit to having very little knowledge of him until Bloodshot put out Crazy Rhythm. Now, I'm hooked on his brand of Western Swing/Be Bop. Western Bop. Sumthin'.
Here's what the mighty Bloodshot has to say about him:
"Hank Penny should be a household name. But the reason he isn't is the same reason that this release cooks: attitude. Seems Hank wouldn't take shit from anybody. As a result, he burned a lot of bridges and missed more than a few opportunites to further his career.
He started his first band, the Radio Cowboys in 1935 and later became a regular on the Boone County Jamboree out of Cincinatti. He acted in a couple of Westerns, yukked it up on Spade Cooley's TV show in the 40's, DJ'd here and there across California and Kansas, and tore the place up in clubs across the country from the 30's to the 70's.
Crazy Rhythm brings together 30 songs (we can't even list them all here) recorded for the Standard Transcription Service in 1951 and never released comercially until now. You get Hank's signature tune "Little Red Wagon," along with a grab bag of dancehall Western Swing, proto-rockabilly and a few ballads and novelty tunes thrown in for good measure. A quick scan of the song titles alone reveals that we are dealing with one unique talent.
Although he never achieved the fame he deserved, Hank's music remains as a dazzling example of one of country music's unheralded greats. Try the OTHER Hank on for size!!!!"
Couldn't have said it better myself. Enjoy.
Flamin' Mamie (mp3)
White Shotgun (mp3)
I Like the Wide Open Spaces (mp3)
Won't You Ride in my Little Red Wagon (mp3)
(Click on Song...go to Briefcase...Download the joy from there)
Thursday, November 18, 2004
She done stole all my money
Just a quickie this Thursday morn.
Played some poker the other nite with "the boys". Now, I stink at poker, but somehow managed to win 60 bucks. Much rejoicing. The next morning, while half asleep, she who is most beloved managed to convince me that it would be a great idea to hand over all my dough to her. All that hard work drinking too many beers and behaving quite rudely...all for naught. Sheesh. No pistols were involved, but it was sorta like a robbery.
In honor of empty pockets I present you with a little Western Swing. Taken from the Doughboys, Playboys and Cowboys box set, here's a swell little tune from Al Dexter and his Troopers.
Al Dexter and His Troopers: Pistol Packin' Mama (mp3)
(Click on Song...Go to Briefcase...Fire Away)
More on Al Dexter here.
Monday, November 15, 2004
You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd
I like American Music.
Do you like American Music?
So, Let's see....John Peel, Yassar Arafat, and Ol' Dirty Bastard, all dead. What can they possibly have in common?
Lots of great new blogs out there. My favorite new one has to be Locust St., who beat me to a Bob Wills post. It's a fantastic site with the kind of old timey sounds I can't get enough of. Makes a great companion piece to the well-established and essential Honey, Where You Been So Long. Bookmark 'em both right now and visit daily.
Well, since I've put the Western Swing post on hold, I'm gonna send some Roger Miller towards yr ears. Not the Mission of Burma guy, but the country and western fella.
Most of y'all know Miller's more famous tunes, King of the Road and Dang Me. And certainly, they're two of his greatest songs. But the man put together a career full of brilliant songs. Ranging from the humorous, to the wistful, to the downright sad, Miller stands as one of our greatest lyricists on par with Cole Porter and Hank Williams (perhaps a mix of the two). And while replacing Harry McClintock as the King of the Hobos, he even found time to write a Broadway musical that doesn't suck, Big River, "based on the life" of Huckleberry Finn. He's one of the greats, baby. And he deserves a place in the pantheon of great songwriters, whose nicotine-stained voice sang America. Visit his website for a complete history and discography. The following tunes are taken from the box set King of the Road: The Genius of Roger Miller. Buy it. You deserve it.
The Moon is High (And So Am I) (mp3)
Poor Little John (mp3)
Engine Engine #9 (mp3)
One Dyin' and A-Buryin' (mp3)
Walkin' in the Sunshine (mp3)
(Click on Song...Go to Briefcase...Download from there)
Monday, November 08, 2004
rocking horse boogie
Listening to Love Songs for Patriots by the estimable American Music Club, preparing for the upcoming AMC weekend. Drinking a piss-poor martini to celebrate my day off work. Leaves are falling off the trees as I type. The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the way to the Super Bowl. Ahh, Autumn.
Am I allowed to be an AMC fan and a football fan?
Please visit all the sites and blogs i've linked on the left. They deserve your attention. You deserve the joy they bring.
Sometimes you just gotta dance. I mean, hell, we're hurtling toward..well,sumthin'...not sure what. But it probably aint good. Maybe dance to the end of love. Maybe dance dance dance to the rock'n'roll station. Maybe dancin' in the streets or the sheets or on the ceiling.
Going all old timey on yr asses today, and for the foreseeable future. I'm pretty well bored by most of what's "new" right now. If bands are going to be in recycle mode, may as well listen to the originals. Richard Nixon may got Soul, but modern rock sure don't. If you disagree, convince me. I'd like to be wrong.
Hillbilly Boogie. What the hell is it? Well, it took it's cue from the "boogie woogie" sounds of jazz and barrellhouse blues predominant in pre-World War II. Moon Mullican, a legend, worked extensively with both black musicians and country and western white musicians, and is credited with helping bridge the racial divide, introducing boogie woogie to Western Swing stars, most notably Bob Wills. From there "the country boogie phenomenon really took off after the war, and was incorporated into the Western Swing derivative, Honkytonk...Emphasizing electric guitar, steel and fiddle."
essentially, it's twangjazz. It's sole desire is to make you dance.
Practitioners include Spade Cooley, The Delmore Brothers, Chet Atkins, Bill Haley (yes, that Bill Haley), Hank Snow, my beloved Johnny Bond, and the Maddox Brothers. Countless others came forth with one hit, or regional, numbers, only to disappear into the annals of long gone history. A great starting point is the 4-cd box set aptly named Hillbilly Boogie. The following tracks are taken from said set, and focus on some obscure artists that, frankly, very little or no information is available.
Dixie Blue Boys: Hadacol Boogie(mp3)
Mustard and Gravy: Be Bop Boogie(mp3)
Billy Briggs: Pretty Baby Boogie(mp3)
Lonnie Glosson: Pan American Boogie(mp3)
(Click on Song, go to Briefcase, Download from there)
Next up: Western Swing.
Keep an eye out for the extra special daily BigRockCandyMountain Christmas Special, starting Thanksgiving day. Really.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Well, Here we go
Just wanted to say that, despite my grumpiness, I think that Craig from Songs:Illinois has done a fantastic job with his Music Bloggers for Democracy project. I didn't participate for a variety of reasons, most having to do with my own shortcomings (re:slacker). He's gotten a fair amount of criticism to go with the kudos. I think that criticism is a little unfair. Anytime someone works their ass off to make a change, no matter how small it may seem, you have to give them respect. That's how all good things begin. Props to all those who participated. Course, now the real work's beginning. Keep it up gentle men and women.
Kind of a shitty day for alot of folks out there. I'm gonna abandon the old timey thing for moment and post what I think is an apropos little tune from my favorite Shane Macgowan tribute band, Flogging Molly.
Flogging Molly: It's Been the Worst Day Since Yesterday (mp3)
(Clicky Click on song...go to Briefcase...Lament from there)
Coming soon: More drinking songs, more Trucking songs, and a little bit of Western Swing.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Monday, November 01, 2004
If it's Monday, it must be a new music post comin' down from the Mountain.
Remember how in High School or Junior High, kids would wear Led Zeppelin or Doors or some "classic rock" type t-shirt? I always wodered what people who actually grew up with that music thought about it. The other day a 15 year old kid walked into my place of business wearing a brand spankin' new Pixies t-shirt. I don't believe (and i'd have to check my math) that he had been born yet when I purchased the debut ep by this interesting new band called the Pixies, merely because they were on 4AD rekkids. What followed, of course, was years of obsessive worship, waiting expectantly for the each new album, then crying in my beer when they broke up, only to buy up each new Frank Black record. We fight age, and we fight the inevitable march towards personal obscurity. And then comes that "moment of clarity", as it were, when we realize how irrelevant and "uncool" we've become. Yep, I'm now my parents.
Speaking of irrelevant, apparently there's some kind of important event occurring tomorrow. I'll be participating, of course. Hell, it's one of the few rights we have left. I'm just not real enthused, to be honest. All of my shouting about 3rd party candidates seems hollow. It's my vote, and I'm going to use it the way I see fit, but it doesn't matter. Whoever we vote for, the bad guys still get in. America's a fucked up mess, and I thinks it's astoundingly naive to think Kerry's going to make it any better. He supports the Patriot Act, suggesting only a few "minor changes." He's against gay marriage. He has no idea what it's like to be poor. Bush, of course, is Satan. We are so fucked. I'm not sure we can still call ourselves the United States of America. Sorry to be so cynical. For those voting for the first time, or who are genuinely enthused about this election, i say good on ya. Keep it up, we need people like you. Maybe change'll come, and you'll be the ones to bring it about. I hope so.
And so. I was going to post some political songs, maybe some Woody Guthrie or Chambers Brothers, get all fired up. But, really, this election makes me want to drink. Heavily. So, in honor of Bush, Kerry, the Pixies, and Shane Macgowan, I give you a 5-pack of drinkin' songs. It would have been a six pack, but I drank one already.
Dean Martin: Little Ole Wine Drinker Me (mp3) - I've been a touch obsessed with Dino lately. This may very well be my favorite song of all time. It's Dean, cool as shit, drinking away his days in Chicago. Sounds familiar.
Hobart Smith: Drunken Hiccups (mp3) - I've posted about Hobart before. This tune has a great drunken fiddle part, weaving and staggering all around a voice born of the Appalachians.
Arlo Guthrie: Lightnin' Bar Blues (mp3) - Well, I managed to get one Guthrie on the list. I think Arlo gets a bad rap because of Alice's Restraunt, and he is a bit of a tool these days. But early on, he put out some great records. This is from one of his first albums, Hobo's Lullaby. It's all jug band blues and harmonica goodness. The song was orignally written and performed by the mighty Hoyt Axton.
American Music Club: Gary's Song (mp3) - One of my favorite AMC songs. Contains the greatest drunk in the middle of the afternoon lines ever: "If we sit here, and drink enough beer, we'll be two inflatable doll's in a hooker's bad dream."
Laura Cantrell: The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter (mp3) - From one of (RIP)John Peel's fave raves, comes my tribute to John Kerry. Hope it works. Read more about the fantastic Laura Cantrell here.
(Click on song...go to Briefcase...The club is open, so drink up from there)
Now that the playoffs are over, look for BigRockCandyMountain posts more often. Probably.
More on Dean Martin here.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Monday, October 25, 2004
play me a truck drivin' man
Music is at the bottom of the post.
Damn, I'm a slacker. I'm gonna blame it on the Baseball playoffs. From rooting for the downfall of the Evil Empire (mission accomplished) to trying to figger out whether I wanted the Astros (Texas=bad) or the Cardinals (Cubs arch-nemesis, beside themselves) to lose to the Sox in the Series, I've been spending way too much time in front of the television. No game today. Did anyone notice that when Curt Schilling was interviewed last nite after the game, he was wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers (my number one all time favorite team) hat? Since the hometown Patriots are playing the Steelers next Sunday, I'm wondering what kind of statement Mr. Schilling was making, and whether he's taken any kind of shit for it today.
Well, most of you aren't here for sports.
Found a fascinating website for these trying and, frankly, increasingly annoying election times. If you go here you'll get a complete rundown of all candidates running for president. It ranges from the Big Two Idiots to a whole slew of 3rd party candidates. The third party section is fascinating, running the gamut from the ridiculous and downright scary (look for Jack Grimes of the United Facist Union and Earl Dodge of the Prohibition Party, neither of which deserve a link) to individuals who are running merely to get their ideas across. I think my favorite find is that Leonard Peltier is running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. So many choices, so little time. Smirkers will be happy to know that, apparently, I may not be able to exercise my right to fill in a write-in candidate here in Illinois. If this is indeed an actuality, well....let's just say I'm gonna go vote, but I'm not voting for Bush or Kerry. Draw your own conclusions. (Feel free to express how stupid I am in the comments field. I can take it. Be warned though, you probably won't offer any new argument I haven't heard. Peace loving Kerry voters can get pretty violent when folks don't goosestep to their desires. There is no such thing as a "lesser evil." )
Today, since I'm a mothertrucker, I'm going to take John from TofuHut's advice/request and put a smidgen of my rather ridiculously large truck song collection up for your listening enjoyment.
I'm not sure what it is about trucking music that inspires me so. Perhaps "inspires" isn't quite the right word, as I have no desire to actully be a trucker. It's a strange world the poets of the 18 wheelers sing about, all coffee, white lines, cb's, diners, pills, and an occasional six pack to go. Dave Dudley, the King, never rode a truck professionally, nor did most of his compatriots. But there it is, the myth of the open road laid bare (Bobby?), the boom chicka boom and chug guitar, the voice of the last bandits of the 60's and 70's. There's a ton of compilations out there, but for those who like their alt-country a little more polished, I'd recommend Diesel Only's Rig Rock Deluxe collection, which features updated covers by the likes of Steve Earle, Son Volt, BR549, Jon Langford, Junior Brown, and a host of yr favorite modern twangers. If you like what you hear, there's fine albums to be found in Salvation Army's across this great land of ours. I've got a ton more of these, so this might be a weekly/biweekly thing if interest exists. Let me know. Please visit the links at the bottom of the page for more info.
Del Reeves: Lookin' at the World Through a Windshield (mp3)
Red Sovine: Truck Drivin' Son of a Gun (mp3)
Dave Dudley: I've Been Everywhere (mp3)
Dave Dudley: Girl on the Billboard (mp3)
CW McCall: Old Home Filler Up Keep On Truckin' Cafe (mp3)
(Click on song...Drive over to the Briefcase...Fill up from there)
Visit and learn more about Del Reeves
Visit and learn more about Red Simpson
Visit and learn more about Dave Dudley
Visit and learn more about the "mysterious" CW McCall
Visit The Virtual Truck Route
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Monday, October 18, 2004
bottle up and go
I just spent 2 hours on a post....and Blogspot lost it...Internal error, they said. Swell. I'm not remotely pissed off.
So, I'll keep this brief.
Two site of interest to all you Shane Macgowan fans (and who isn't, really?). Go HERE for a ton of Nips (Shane's first band) songs. And go HERE for a Shane and the Popes live bootleg. Bit rate's are low...sound's muddy...and all is good in the world.
I'm not sure how other bloggers manage to decide who or what they post when they approach the often daunting task of a new entry. Me, it's a bit of a struggle, perhaps because I can't seem to manage a daily post. I've been thinking of converting this site to an all "old-timey" format. But, then, I want to do a Flying Nun post (perfect Autumn music...The Clean, The Chills, The Verlaines, the Bats...something very good in the water there in New Zealand). And I want to talk about the mighty Joel RL Phelps, Billy Childish (and all things Thee), Howlin' Wolf, Merle Haggard, Robert Cage, the Holmes Brothers, drinkin' tunes, truckin' tunes, train tunes...well, you get the idea. It's a hard life i live, apparently. Note the tear in my beer.
So, Johnny Bond:
"Laconic, humorous, and self-deprecating, Johnny Bond was one of the true gentlemen of western music as well as an important songwriter and musician. Reared in south-central Oklahoma, Cyrus Whitfield Bond moved in 1937 to Oklahoma City, where he formed a trio with Jimmy Wakely and Scotty Harrell, known as the Bell Boys after their sponsor, the Bell Clothing Company. Regional success followed, and a move to Hollywood came in 1939, where they appeared in a Roy Rogers film, Saga of Death Valley. They landed a spot on Gene Autry’s CBS Melody Ranch radio show in 1940 and stayed together until Wakely’s solo career took off. Meanwhile, they pulled a clever musical scam: they recorded for Decca as the Jimmy Wakely Trio and for Columbia as Johnny Bond & the Cimarron Boys.
Although he composed hundreds of songs (“I Wonder Where You Are Tonight,” “Love Gone Cold,” “Your Old Love Letters,” “Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Those Gone and Left Me Blues,” and many others, mostly in the country idiom), Bond is best remembered for his western classic “Cimarron,” which he wrote in Oklahoma City as a theme song for the Bell Boys. As a recording artist, he enjoyed moderate success from his earliest recordings in 1941 through the 1950s, and even placed a few hits high on the charts during the late 1940s. In 1965, Bond’s recording career briefly revived with Starday and the novelty drinking song “10 Little Bottles,” which he had first recorded for Columbia in 1951.
Whereas Wakely’s career was meteoric, Bond’s was steadier: He remained a mainstay of the Melody Ranch cast until the show’s end in 1956, and his distinctive acoustic guitar runs became an Autry trademark on radio and record. He had small parts in many films, recorded frequently, began a music publishing business with Tex Ritter, spent nearly a decade as host and writer on the television show Town Hall Party, and in his later years became an author as well, writing a brief autobiography and a biography of Tex Ritter."
Me, I'm a big ole fan of Mr. Bond. Particularly his drinkin' songs...of which he has a ton. There aren't many of his albums currently available. Bloodshot has a great compilation, and the songs below are from "I Like My Chicken Fryin' Size" on Jasmine Records. As a matter of fact, to be a bit of a panhandler, but I'm looking for a bunch of his albums on vinyl. Particularly these (and even more particularly, the "drinkin' albums). So if, as yr rootin' through the record selection at yr local Salvation Army, you happen to run across any Bond albums, I'd be more than happy to reimburse, pay for shipping, and offer a generous finder's fee for said albums.
Without further ado (and for fear Blogspot's gonna lose my post again), I offer the hot western swing sounds, in hi-fi, of Mr. Johnny Bond:
Johnny Bond: I Like My Chicken Fryin' Size (mp3)
Johnny Bond: Set 'Em Up Joe (mp3)
Johnny Bond: Bartender's Blues (mp3)
(Click on song...go to Briefcase...download soberly from there)