Monday, January 31, 2005

Converting to the Preached

I'm rather keen on singers with what you'd call unconventional voices. Awright, to be fair, voices of folks who really can't sing in the way pop radio has made us accustomed. Usual suspects like Tom Waits (Captain Beefheart, Howlin'Wolf), Leonard Cohen, and Shane MacGowan along with the likes of Richard Buckner, Mark Eitzel, Johnny Dowd, Joel RL Phelps, Billy Childish...well, you get the idea. The usual suspects here at the Mountain. It's not that they can't sing, per se, but the buckets they carry their tunes in have a different kind of water in them. Yep.

Tom House is one such feller. Discovered him via his Checkered Past release, "This White Man's Burden". At first listen, you'd swear he wandered out of some run-down shanty hidden in the West Virginia hills. Turns out he's currently a Nashvillian, and a much-published author. But, still, and perhaps because of his status as a writer before a musician, his closest contemporary I can spot is Breece D'J Pancake. Both share a sense of place and person usually unrecorded. A sense of the forgotten, a land of barren dreams and the unrequited love of a god never seen.

House's voice yips and yelps, the instruments (banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar) shamble after, keeping up and falling by the wayside. It'll break yr heart and save yr life. He shoulda been born in Appalachia. Then Harry Smith could have discovered him years before he was born. Which seems to be where he lives.

Tom House: Slipping and Drinking (mp3)

Tom House: I Only Know (You're What I'm Needing) (mp3)

(yousendit files (for the time being) on from site)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Lookin' At The World Through A Windshield

Truckin' Thursday at BigRockCandyMountain. It's not just a brand name, it's a way of life. Or something.

Lost my shirt last nite. No, really. I can't find my shirt. While I wish that was as debauched as it sounds, it isn't remotely. But a long nite, nevertheless, and so we have a proportionately short post. Didn't want to leave my legions of fans without their weekly all true thrilling truckin' tales fix. Awkward sentences, as ever, are free.

Double dose today. An old classic from Del Reeves, and an updated version of the song by Son Volt. Yes, that's Son Volt doing a truckin' song. Rejoice, ye No Depressioners. Jay Farrar sounds downright happy on this 'un.

For optimal visibility, replace wipers after year's use

Del Reeves: Looking At the World Through a Windshield (mp3)

Son Volt: Looking At the World Through a Windshield (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

If you feel compelled to purchase music by Del Reeves or Son Volt, please consider buying locally from an independent, if they haven't been run out of town by a chain. Or buy directly from the artist(s) themselves.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Bottle Up And Go

Twenty-four seven. We listen to the the worst to bring you the best.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that I'm gonna rant about the genius that is Fat Possum. Until they start puttin' out manufactured crap, which is highly unlikely, I will continue to bow, grovel and slobber at their feet. In an age where bland, by-the-numbers guitar slingers are foisted upon us by music execs in Beverly Hills, Fat Possum remains a breath of fresh air as old as the mud along the banks of the Mississippi. Whatever that is. I don't care how well someone can mimic note-for-note (mr. lang? hello?), Blues was never really about that, was it? I'm no Robert Palmer (the writer, not the singer), but I know what blues I like. And I like it Possum-style.

In a roster that's overful of (now) legends (R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Black Keys, T-Model Ford, Bob Log, etc.), it's easy to lose sight of some of the more minor artists on the label. Paul "Wine" Jones, Robert Belfour, Cedell Davis, Elmo Williams. And Robert Cage. Oh my, yes. Like Elmo Williams and Scott Dunbar, whom he originally styled himself after, Cage is a "grunter" (his words). Imagine Lightnin' Hopkins and Howlin' Wolf smashed together, given a shitty amp which bends and distorts every note when turned up to 11, and told to hump that geetar into overdrive...right to the cliff and keep going. That'd be a start. And his voice is just haunted. Haunted by sex and menace, that is. Cage was a diesel mechanic. Make of that what you will.

Rawk. On yr back porch.

Robert Cage: Get Outta Here (mp3)

Robert Cage: Bundle Up and Go (mp3)

(yousendit on target. download from site.)

I refuse to link to certain large, oppressive online retailers. I also refuse to acknowledge the slightly elitist idea that music is only for the wealthy. If you have some spare cash after you've paid yr rent, mortgage, bills, student loans, bar tab, etc., and like the music of Robert Cage, you can purchase his music direct from Fat Possum's shop or support yr local independent record store. Some directories can be found here (unfortunately sponsored by Sony)and here.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Down Alabama

Good Monday from th' Mountain, where we take ourselves real serious-like.

I was making a mix cd for our good friends over at It Came From Memphis, and I went to put on a tune that ranks as one of my favorites, and realized I had never posted the song on this here piece of real estate. Two versions to follow, then.

The Pinetoppers were a minor soul group led by Johnny Jenkins, who toured the South extensively in the late 50's-early 60's. When the group traveled to Memphis to cut some sides for Stax, they propped up their driver/backup singer to sing a few tunes. The rest was history, as that driver, Otis Redding, went on to become a legend. Of the tunes, Shout Bamalama has to be one of the finest slices of fried southern r&b I've ever heard. Shake it.

The Pinetoppers: Shout Bamalama (mp3)

I was first introduced to the song, truth be told, via a cover version. The Detroit Cobras are, pardon me Jack and Meg, Detroit's finest export in years. Rachel Nagy's voice is so deeply soulful, channeling the finest r&b right through the garage and into yr groin. To quote Mr. Westerberg: "I'm in love...with that sound."

The Detroit Cobras: Shout Bama Lama (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

If you can afford it, purchase Otis Redding and the Detroit Cobras from yr local independent business.

(If anyone knows of a better site to locate local record stores, not sponsored by a corporation, please let me know.)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Truck Driver's Coffee Shop

If it's Thursday, it must must be time to haul out the big rigs for a little convoy.

This post goes out to "Kat" at Keep the Coffee Coming, one of my favorite sites in the whole world wide web. If you haven't visited yet, you really oughta. I'm not telling you what to do, of course. Just suggestin'.

What strikes me most about Keep the Coffee Coming is how untainted it seems. No pretense. Just really fantastic music that she seems to really like for the sake of the song, not for the sake of selling a product (or selling oneself). An increasingly novel idea. Richie Havens, Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Thats' just a small sampling. It seems to me that her site comes the closest to what this whole blogging thing is all about...that moment when you tell yr friends "You've got to hear this song."

So, coffee, coffee, coffee. Truck drivers and coffee. The legal way to drive.

"That waitress done brought me some coffee
I thanked her then called her back again
I said you know that song it sure does fit me
cause I'm a truck drivin' man

Pour me another cup of coffee
for it is the best in the land
I'll put another quarter in the jukebox
and play the Truck Drivin' Man"

Dick Reinhart and His Lone Star Boys: Truck Driver's Coffeeshop (mp3)

Claude Gray: I'll Have Another Cup of Coffee(Then I'll Go) (mp3)

Jimmy Martin: Truck Driving Man (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

Support local independent businesses, purchase truck driving music here.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Change Is Gonna Come

First off, head over to PCL LinkDump for a dose of the odd and the cool. Lots of great links to art/music sites just a tad out of the ordinary. A treasure trove.

Second, I was premature announcing the death of great music. Well, I didn't exactly pronounce it dead, just wondered where it was. Bars & Guitars introduced me to Two Gallants, and Songs:Illinois has some fantastic tracks by a feller named Old Man Luedecke. While you head over to check the tunes out, I'm gonna head to the record store. Thank you, gentlemen.

Well, It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day today. I would be remiss not to pay tribute to one of America's greatest men. Elsewhere, in print and television, his legacy will be discussed and dissected today. Shame, really, that the discussion seems to begin and end on one day only. Like all progenitors of change, his impact is still being felt daily. I 'spect his (and our) work is really just begun, in infancy. Case in point: The Bush Administration has asked the city of Washington DC to pay for the large part of its inauguration, approximately 11.9 million dollars (story here). According to the 2000 US Census, Washington DC's population is made up of 60% African Americans. Persons living in poverty in DC stands at 20%. When you remove the salaries of Senators, Representatives, Lobbyists, and other hangers-on, the per capita income drops sharply, to one of the lowest in the country. So. The administration, whose stance on Civil Rights is egregious at best, wants to celebrate 4 more years of bad Minority policies on the backs of those it is least likely to help. Nice one, Dubya. What would Martin do?

Hey, I'm no professional political analyst, so what do I know? Thanks for making it this far.

In honor of Mr. King, on his day, two tunes that helped define the Civil Rights Movement, and the struggle that continues.

The Staple Singers: Long Walk to DC (mp3)

Sam Cooke: A Change Is Gonna Come (mp3)

(yousendit from site)

Friday, January 14, 2005

For Medicinal Uses Only

Oh Boy. Sorry about that.

No, really.

Final day of vice, so I thought I'd dig back a bit. Again.

"Featuring twin brothers Cliff and Claude Trenier, the Treniers helped link swing music to rock & roll with their brand of hot jump blues in the late '40s and early '50s. To the latter-day listener, their early-'50s singles can sound closer to swing than rock; indeed, Cliff and Claude had once sung with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. The group did anticipate some crucial elements of rock & roll, though, with their solid, thumping beats, their squealing saxophone solos, and their song titles, such as "Rocking on Sunday Night," "Rockin' Is Our Business," and "It Rocks! It Rolls! It Swings!" The Treniers' brand of swing-cum-R&B was undoubtedly an influence on Bill Haley, who saw them when both acts were playing summer shows at Wildwood, NJ. Their best work was recorded for OKeh in the early '50s; by the middle of the decade, their sound was more R&B-oriented. Like many early R&B pioneers, they were unable to find success in the rock & roll era, though they appeared in a few of the first rock & roll films, such as Don't Knock the Rock, The Girl Can't Help It, and Calypso Heat Wave."

What the above quote, which can be found at this here link ,doesn't say is just how blue The Treniers could get. This was before whitey was paying much attention to so-called race records, and artists were freer to use insinuating and outright obvious language and expression that Pat Boone and his ilk couldn't/wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. An interesting discussion, of course, how censorship and lack thereof has created a unique vernacular in pre-rock'n'roll music. I'm sure many words have already been spilled on the subject. Won't waste yr time here.

Read more about The Treniers here.

I have no idea if they and Andre Williams ever met. If not, someone needs to introduce them.

Fatback, grease, and a little snake oil.

The Treniers: Poon-Tang! (mp3)

The Treniers: Sure Had a Wonderful Time Last Night (mp3)

The Treniers: Hadacol(That's All) (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

Have a swell weekend. Go dancing. Come back Monday for a little revival.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Good Lord Watching Over His Truckers

Happy Truckin' Thursday.

I've done a bit of cross-country driving in my time. Moving from Ohio to Oregon. Oregon back to Ohio. Ohio to Denver. And Denver to Chicago. It's the time, late at nite with the crackle of the radio and the white and yellow lines battling the stretches of shadows of nothing on either side. It's the greasy diners, the smell of gasoline, the press of destination.

The myth of the truck driver may never have existed. Glorified most particularly in the CB-crazy 60's and 70's. I owned a CB myself as a youngster, living in a southern Ohio town near the West Virginia border (that should at least begin a discussion of some of my peculiarities). Not only was there a set of train tracks running right through town, but trucks would rumble past my house on the minute. I'd sit on the front porch, pumping my fist in the air, chanting breaker breaker through my crappy little CB set. Sometimes they'd honk their air horns. Never did get a response from the CB...all I'd hear was the faint outlines of other truckers talking in some kind of alien code to one another. And static. Lots of static. Still love static to this day. There's a story in there somewhere. Maybe I'll tell it proper someday.

Course, the truckers were all hopped on the goofballs, at the time. So we're led to believe. And that's yr vice for Truckin' Thursday. From the King himself, Mr. Dave Dudley. The King. White line fevers next week, this week it's all for a bottle of smoke.

Dave Dudley: Two Six Packs Away (mp3)

Dave Dudley and Charlie Douglas: Where's the Truck (mp3)

And By Request (though I've misplaced the Red Simpson version)

Red Sovine: 18 Wheels Hummin'a Home Sweet Home (mp3)

Repost 1

Billy Jo Spears: Get Behind Me Satan and Push (mp3)

(yousendit on target, download from site)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bop City Girlfriend

Didja know that some religions consider dancin' a sin? And that it was once considered quite shameful for a woman to pick up a geetar and play the devil's music? Still is in some parts o'the world. And in the South. I was raised as a preacher's kid, and was warned daily 'bout the carnal evils of dancing, how it would get the body all stirred up to fornicatin'. The type of woman that would engage in such activities...well,a young man would do well to avoid the pleasures of that type, all flesh and lascivious desire. Well, shit, a boy can dream can't he? Thanks for the memories. Maybe that's why its call a Ho(e) Down. Desire as vice, indeed.

So in honor of week two of debauchery(and fear not, god's a comin' soon), I give you The Gals of the Big D Jamboree:

The Big "D" Jamboree was a live radio show that was broadcast from the Sportatorium (a wrestling venue) on the 50,000 watt KRLD in Dallas, TX. The show aired from 1948 into the 1960s, and could be thought of as a Dallas, TX version of the Grand Ol' Opry. There were some big differences between the two, though. The biggest being that the Big D Jamboree was much less conservative than similar shows that were popular in other parts of the country. Instead of focusing on down-home sensibilities, the Big D often was more rockin' and sexually charged. The show was often comprised of b-line artists, but the show also pulled in touring country and rockabilly artists such as Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Wanda Jackson.

These ladies kicked it harder than a riot grrrrrrrrrrrl, and got what they wanted, too. And if they didn't, they let you know. They dressed better than the girls in church, and they drank heavier than yr uncle. What's a poor misguided boy to do, but fall in love. Not much info exists on most of these ladies, but the Dallas Observer give a brief overview here.

It's all dancing and lust here at the Mountain today. Grab yr fella or gal, and have a hot time at the barn dance tonite. Hope yr doin' fine.

Helen Hall: Wasted Life (mp3)

Janis Martin: Cracker Jack (mp3)

Sherry Davis: Bop City (mp3)

Sherry Davis: Just a Little Bit (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

Tomorrow: Sinning from the cab of a diesel truck and the requested reposts (finally!). Thank you.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Whiskey, Gin, and Wailing

Ranting and raving. Been thinking about the recent Rolling Stone 500 list of greatest songs. Wondering how a list like that can really be accurate without the inclusion of Mudhoney's "Touch Me I'm Sick" and Bad Brain's "Pay To Cum". Personal taste and all, but I guess that's what you get when half the voters are A&R guys. Everyone knows those folks have no interest in the actual music. Blah blah blah. Someone should start a Bloggers top 500. That'd be pretty interesting.

Speaking of fellas left off the list, does anyone remember Johnnie Ray? I'd say he was the proper link between Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lee Lewis. Really. His most famous tune was "Cry", which sent future bobbysoxers mad with glee, apparently, and his slightly deranged live performances and pre-rock rock'n'roll lifestyle caused quite a stir amongst the not yet named Moral Majority (whatever that is). I'm gonna quote the liner notes from his compilation, conveniently titled Cry, to give some idea of his...ouevre, as it were:
"In essence his style drew inspiration from the black singers and white crooners, whilst the country influence that was the other contributing element towards rock'n'roll came in abundance from his rural childhood. In many ways Johnnie Ray was the prototype of the blue-eyed soul singers who appeared in the 60's, albeit his stage act was totally revolutionary and presaged the advent of rock'n'roll. He was the first white performer to rip the microphone from its stand, and use it as a performing prop. He caressed the mike, he attacked it, he gave a stage performance, the likes of which had never been seen before by white audiences. He laid the blueprints for Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard with his pyrotechnics whilst playing the piano. Nobody had seen a standing piano player before, let alone one who kicked it whilst playing. He was married in his 20's, by which time he had already been convicted of soliciting in the men's toilets. He had a torrid affair with a 16-year old girl, he was AC/DC before anyone had ever heard of the term. He wore a hearing aid from the age of 14 due to a boyhood accident, and his deafness played a major role in the evolving of his career."


So, continuing the sordid tales of vice chronicled last week, here's a couple of Johnnie Ray tunes to warm yr days with the fires of hell.

Johnnie Ray: Whiskey and Gin (mp3)

Johnnie Ray: Coffee and Cigarettes (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

Note to those requesting reposts: They're on their way! Stay tuned, and sorry for the delay.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Truck Driver's Vice

It's snowing like a muther here in Chicago.

Got kind of theme running this week.

I've discussed my love of trucking music in past blogs. Even went so far as to promise semi-regular truckin' songs. That was awhile ago, but since I seem to be a bit more regular these days (no jokes please), I believe I might be able to keep that promise. At least bi-weekly. Really.

I'm exhausted from trudging around the snow tonite, so my rant about the brilliance of truckin' music's gonna have to wait for the next rig rockin' post. I'll start you off with a rather obscure little album I was lucky enough to find whilst trolling the web a few months ago. The album's titled Big Bertha the Truck Driving Queen, and the feller singin' goes by the handle Bud Brewer. Couldn't find much info on the net, but the songs were written by Gary Stewart. Hmmm....

Anyhow, the usual suspects (Dave Dudley, Red Simpson, Del Reeves, etc.)will pop up in future posts, but for now enjoy these scratchy nuggets of white line fever. I'll do better tomorrow.

Bud Brewer: Big Bertha the Truck Driving Queen (mp3)

Bud Brewer: Caffeine, Nicotine, Benzedrine(And Wish Me Luck) (mp3)

(YouSendIt on target and download from site)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Cigareets and Whuskey and Wild Wild Women

Moment of silence for Will Eisner. The man created the graphic novel. Long before the phrase existed. A god, really. If you haven't read him, The Spirit (reissued in multiple volumes from DC Comics) is a good place to start, but A Contract With God is the one you need to get yr hands on. Maybe the most influential comic ever written. For adults. At a time when funny books were supposed to be for kids only. He'll be missed, but his influence can be felt every time you pick up yr favorite Vertigo or Fantagraphics book, among countless others.

On that sad note, though, I'd like to thank all 10,000 of you for helping me get to...well, 10,000. Small potatoes to some of the towering blogs out there, but in my humble corner of the music world, and with my obvious lack of technical proficiency, I 'spect I've entertained some of y'all. So give yrself a hug or a postive touch ( I read somewhere yr supposed to have 10 positive touches a day. Now don't you feel all nurtured and empowered? me neither). Or at least raise an Old Style to yrself.

To celebrate, I've got a post that has kind of a convoluted history. I won't go all deconstructionist and lengthy on yr tired eyes, but i'll try to explain. "Cigareets and Whusky and Wild Wild Women" has been my unofficial 2nd theme song guessed it, "Big Rock Candy Mountain." So I figgered I'd put up the version by Silver Screen legends, The Sons of the Pioneers.

Then I got to thinking about another version by Spike Jones croney, Red Ingle and His Natural Sevens . Well, why not put that version on too? And that version has a great spoken intro that was recycled by garage band one hitters and Nuggets staples, The Hombres. On a completely different, yet brilliant, song. What could I do? Give you all three.

For your consideraion, then, three pickin', grinnin', and fuzzboxin' songs.

"A preachment, dear friends, you are about to receive
on John Barleycorn, nicotine, and the temptations of Eve"

The Sons of the Pioneers: Cigareets and Whusky and Wild Wild Women (mp3)

Red Ingle and His Natural Sevens: Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild Wild Women (mp3)

The Hombres: Let It All Hang Out (mp3)

(YouSendIt on from site)

(If any files expire...let me know...I will joyously repost)

Next up: a little trip around the country in a big ole rig.

Monday, January 03, 2005

my flying saucer

Happy New Year, 'n all that. Not a big resolution type, but I am resolved to improve the design of this site a bit. I'd say stay tuned, but god knows how long it'll take me. I'm kinda ignant and shit.

This is becoming increasingly regular, but I'd like to draw yr attention to a couple of new sites. As mentioned in previous posts, I'm kinda burned out on all that new rock, as it were. Preferring, instead, and older, grainier crackle and hiss, it's nice to see a slew of sites popping up that focus on the edges.

Spread the Good Word blows my mind. Straight outta France (South of Hell, to be precise), Reverend Frost preaches the kind of Gospel I could repent to every nite. Currently featuring Hasil Adkins, Sam Cooke, Tarheel Slim, and Robert Mitchum(!), it's best taken with a bottle of the best jug of 'shine you can rummage up out of yr Uncle Vern's shack.

From there, I found a link to Wang Dang Dula. I'm gonna quote the intro to the site.."So what I've got to offer here is loads of unfuckingbelievable information on real 1950s/early 1960s rock'n'roll and rhythm'n'blues... and then what's that? Well, Jack, it's the music between the false starts and the loose ends. It's the music that may sometimes be out of tune, but always out of reach. This sure ain't no customary thing ... this is tightened punishment! Just keep holdin' on, kats and kitties - and don't forget to bop 'till ya flip, flop and drop! This site is NOT recommended for any jivers, crooners or Pat Boone-lovers!" The links page will keep me busy for at least a year. Trash culture lives.

Not sure if my own humble site can keep up, but I would like to return to a little Hank Snow, The Singing Ranger. A towering figure, if slightly forgotten these days, in the 40's and 50's country music scene, becoming a member of 8 different music and songwriting Hall of Fames. His smooth vocal delivery helped transition hillbilly swing into Nashville country. His song, "I'm Moving On", belongs towards the top of any list of greatest country and western tunes. Astoundingly, he was one of Elvis Presley's earliest supporters, giving him a slot opening for him. He also has a strange obsession with flying saucers and rocket ships.

Hank Snow: I'm Movin' On (mp3)

Hank Snow: The Golden Rocket (mp3)

Hank Snow: Rhumba Boogie (mp3)

(YouSendIt on from site)