Thursday, March 31, 2005
Anybody else having trouble with Blogger? My head now has a dent from the wall.
Final day of yousendits before we get all our bandwidth back. Hooray.
I've said it before, but it still seems the Mountain doesn't post enough of them there womenfolk types. So for the next week and a half, it's ladies only (barring the ocassional male backing band member).
We'll start with the tiki-toned westernbilly stylings of one Miss Mary Ann. Alongside the esteemed Ragtime Wranglers, and as a founding member of The Ranch Girls, Miss Mary Ann has been kicking the old timey swing and holler for nigh on 15 years now. Music from a so-called simpler time, when the trap kit thwacked like a dead fish, the bass stood up straight, and the slide was played with a beer bottle. Oh, and there's bongos involved, too.
From the album Mad Mama on Goofin Records.
Miss Mary Ann: Mama's Here (mp3)
Miss Mary Ann: Rockin' in a Wooden Shack (mp3)
(YouSendIt files...click on target and download from site)
Return of the big rigs tomorrow...
Please support yr local Barndance, Rekkid Store, and Tiki Shack
Monday, March 28, 2005
Happy post Easter hangover.
As ever, be the first to guess the new quote above and I'll send you a specially made mix cd. Only the finest quality from the Mountain.
Religion's a bit like a vice, aint it? Folks get all worked up in a lather, drunk of the wine of Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, whoever. The Spirit moves within them, and if that's not overtly sexual, I'm not sure what is.
Not a religious man, myself. But I've got a weird kinda fixation with Easter. Years ago, my mother died on Easter weekend. The actual date of her death has been transplanted, replaced, by a day in which people of a certain faith celebrate a form of rebirth. Yippee skippee for me.
Anyway, this is not a eulogy.
Despite my general malaise towards religion, I'm a big fan of gospel music. Good old fashioned gospel. The idea of the transportation of the soul through music, the swaying rhythmic beat as pulse of blood, the ecstasy of the unknown, the salvation of tone. Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Carter Family, Robert Johnson, Al Green, Cat Stevens, The Staple Singers, G.G. Allin. All god's children got something they wanna preach. And they'll take you there, said the lady. Oh yes.
If all art is the search for (little g) god, as some have suggested, it should be no surprise that the greatest of bluesrockrapjazzcountrysouletc artists have managed at some point to namedrop the deity of their choice. Sometimes it works: Sam Cooke. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong: Bob Dylan. Sometimes...awww, who am I kidding. It's all about getting laid.
The struggle of the sacred and the secular seems particularly strong in Southern music. The Saturday night jukejoint battling the the Sunday morning church service. The sin of escape leading to the salvation of escape. Alan Lomax may have had a sense of all this. And Rounder Records was kind enough to us to release Lomax's series Southern Journey . The following tunes are from Vol. 6: Sheep, Sheep Don'tcha Know the Road.
Bessie Jones and the Sea Island Singers: Sheep, Sheep Don'tcha Know the Road (mp3)
Fred Mcdowell and Denise Mattie Gardner: I Wished I Was In Heaven Sitting Down (mp3)
(YouSendIt files...Sorry. Regular downloading service to resume on April 1st)
Please consider worshipping at r local independent retailer. God wants you to. He told me so.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Goodbye yellow brick bandwidth.
S'true. We have completely busted through my bandwidth allowance for the month. Gnashing of teeth to follow. Working on upgrading my package (heh) for next month, so fear not. More bandwidth, more muzak. Regular downloading service to resume on April 1st.
Til then? Well, since I doubt most come here to read the ramblings of a slightly crotchety crank, please join me in welcoming back, for a one week engagement only, our good friend YouSendIt. Yup. The world's favorite form of anarchy. The Sultan of Street, the Lonesome Cowboy, whatever.
Tomorrow's a very special day for the Mountain.
Today, though, I realize I haven't acknowledged the advent of Spring. Perhaps it's because, living in Chicago, we have yet to see any concrete evidence that the season actually exists. But Spring it is, nevertheless. Spring, a time when a young man's thoughts turn to things more...carnal. We're putting the Candy in the Mountain today (sorry, that was terrible).
I'm going to assume that visitors here like music. And if you like music, you already know who Bessie Smith is. If not, read more about her here and here. Or just google.
Roosevelt Sykes has been covered extensively elsewhere, particularly by Mr. Staggolee himself, Honey Where You Been So Long. A fantastic boogie-woogie pianist and bluesman.
Celebrate Spring with two filthynaughty little ditties, then.
Roosevelt Sykes: She Showed It All (mp3)
Bessie Smith: Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl (mp3)
(YouSendIt files (til April 1st). Click on target, download from site)
Help your community. Support your local, independent sex workers.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Thanks for stopping by on a Monday morning. Or evening. Or maybe it's Tuesday.
New week, anyway. Which means new quote up above. Which means a new mix cd in the works to be sent out to the first correct guesser. And to those who have won, and haven't gotten their cd's yet, I aplolgise for my tardiness. All cd's are now sent, and the Mountain's caught up. For the next hour anyway.
The winner from Thursday's intoxicated cd offer is none other than Miss Gina Scott. Gina, I always knew you were a winner, now the whole blogosphere knows too.
In all honesty, it was a trick question. Sorta. Regular readers could probably identify numbers one and two: Mr. Tom Waits and Mr. Shane MacGowan. Number three all time favorite BigRock artist? Well, there'd be about 30-40 of 'em. Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, Mark Eitzel, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, Merle Haggard, Billy Childish, The Fall, Yo La Tengo, Dean Martin, Junior Kimbrough, The Oblivians, The Gories, Captain Beefheart. Aw, Christ, the list goes on and on and on. The Mountain is nothing if not wishy washy.
And, of course, how could I leave Andre Williams off the list? Mr Rhythm himself. The dirtiest old man in the business. Filthy. And greasy. I use the word greasy quite a bit. But Andre's dripping in it, organ or no organ. Andre's organ is another matter altogether. Free association at the Mountain today.
From the earliest stages of his career in the 50's as an r&b singer, writer and producer, all the way up to his recent reinvention/rejuvenation as Detroit garage lord extraordinaire, Andre's been slinging his brand of lusty bacon fat to the jukejoint masses far and wide. Especially to the ladies.
So, first, a saucy little tale of caution from his early days:
Andre Williams: Jail Bait (mp3)
And, from Silky, featuring the fellas from The Gories, a little tale about moonshine and The Man:
Andre Williams: Car With the Star (mp3)
As ever, the Mountain is proud to support his local independent retailers.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Happy St. Patrick's Day.
The Mountain doesn't work on St. Pat's.
We do, however, have a busy schedule.
So, quick, who are the Mountain's top three favorite musicians/bands? Free Irish mix cd to the first person to guess correctly (man, I'm just giving these things away). Aw, hell, I'll make it easy. Guess two, and I'm giving you one of them right below. This should be a walk in the park.
Blah blah blah to all the press, both negative and positive. I've already ranted once back a few months ago. Noone wants to hear it again. Just remember, it's his writing. The populist, the revisionist historian, the punk, the sentimentalist, the man mad in love and sadness. Worship at whatever altar you want, it's the music that matters. Yeah.
Pogues: Wild Rover (mp3)
Shane MacGowan and the Popes: Danny Boy (mp3)
Big Rock Candy Mountain in no way endorses having a few drinks early in the morning before posting one's blog. We do, however, endorse independent retailers, thinkers, and fiddle players.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Congratulations to Doug who correctly guessed the quote above. I was thinking I'd have to give a clue or two. But no. The quote comes from J.P. Donleavy's masterwork novel, The Ginger Man. A tragically comic novel everyone should read.
Stereotype week continues at the Mountain.
Oddly enough, as Terry Eagleton points out in his book The Truth About the Irish, Ireland has one of the strongest temperance movements in the world. The myth that the entire country is full of besotted drunks is more than a little unfair. Perhaps it's the fact that Ireland's responsible for the best drinking songs that gives it it's reputation. And we love drinking songs of all kinds here at the Rock.
What we don't like is Riverdance. Ugh.
The Dubliners are legends, of course. You know them. Some of their "guest star" albums get a bit tedious, but they've sort of earned the right to do whatever the hell they want. It's the standards that I like the best, just the band and their instruments. "Traditional" Dubliners today, then.
The Dubliners: Whiskey In the Jar (mp3)
The Dubliners: The Pub With No Beer (mp3)
Gee, wonder who I'm gonna post tomorrow?
Big Rock Candy Mountain knows, from personal experience, folks don't have the dough to buy every damn album they want. But if you can spare a dime, try shopping locally. Help save the record store nerds of the world.
Monday, March 14, 2005
I'm pretty sure I was at Chicago's South Side Irish Parade yesterday. If anyone saw me, or has pictures to prove it, please let me know. I've got some space in my day yesterday that I need to account for.
New quote up above. Just a reminder for new visitin' folks: First to guess (or google) the quote wins a free, all expenses paid vacation to the Big Rock, via a specially made mix cd. Made 'specially just for you. Last week's winners: yr cd's are shipping this afternoon.
Please consider hopping over to Honey Where You Been So Long to celebrate Stagolee week. Gonna be good, methinks.
There a way too many great Irish bands and songs to get to in one week, much less several years o'blogging. Nevertheless, this week I'm gonna put up a few of my favorites. A few. Not feeling real swift today, so's I'm keeping this short.
I posted about the Clancy Brothers back in December. Having emigrated to America from Ireland back in the 40's, the Brothers have since, in many ways, become the voice of the expatriate Irish-American community.
Clancy Brothers: Whiskey You're the Devil (mp3)
Clancy Brothers: The Real Ould Mountain Dew (mp3)
Please get yr pints at yr local Irish-owned pub of choice.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Super quickie today. It's Friday, and much preparation already underway for next week's holiday bandwidth blowout special.
So for yr weekend fun, here's America's 2nd greatest comic genius (after Mr. Twain) singing about everyone's favorite tattooed lady:
Groucho Marx: Lydia (wav)
(Warning: dreaded wav file...sorry, no time to convert to mp3)
As yr listening, visit the Marx Brothers Museum, where tons of zaniness will ensue.
See you Monday, with an exclusive interview with one Mr. Danny Boy.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Holy Cats. Put up a Gram Parsons quote and watch the emails pile in. Thanks to all who answered, and sorry if I haven't replied to you yet. We have co-winners, as they replied virtually simultaneously. Congrats Eli and Audrey&Dan. I'm gonna have to make next Monday's harder.
Before I get to today's music stars, I'd like to encourage you to head over to Locust Street and read his Monday post/disclaimer. I've been lax in putting up a disclaimer on this site, mostly because I couldn't get the language quite right. Like most mp3 bloggers, I spend money, not make money, to run this site. I've never solicited so much as a free cd. Nor do I intend to. And, like Locust Street and a host of other similar blogs, I'm not exactly attempting scoops or trying to post the latest hottest future cover star. Anyway, I think Locust Street really nails the philosophy/disclaimer angle perfectly. Check it out.
More nostalgia today. I attended college near Columbus, Ohio, and spent many a night on Columbus' infamous High Street. A mess of University students, punks, jocks, hippies, hipsters, Steve Albini wannabes, soul men, trustafarians, and whatnot. A little something for everyone. Apparently High Street's going through some changes, and some of my favorite spots are gone, closed down, or moved elsewhere. Fare thee well Staches and The Monkey's Retreat.
Columbus has unleashed some mighty bands/musicians in it's time. The New Bomb Turks, Gaunt, Tim Easton/Haynes Boys, Mark Eitzel, Ron House (of the mighty Great Plains and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments), and countless others. Used to be, and maybe still is, that you could walk into House's Used Kids record store and see him sitting behind the counter. Been a long time since I've been back, so who knows what it's like now.
One of my favorite Columbus bands is The Bassholes. Formed from the ashes of slop rock legends The Gibson Brothers, The Bassholes perfected the lo-fi two-man bluescountrypunk howl long before a certain (non)brother and (non)sister decided to get married, divorced, and confuse us all. Taking the guttiest of gutbucket production, Don Howland fucks his guitar like it was ghost of Howlin' Wolf, and filters his voice through the distorted pipes of Hank Williams.
Revenant Records (a great label founded by John Fahey...with free mp3's on their above linked site) reissued The Bassholes first "recording", Blue Roots back in 1997. It's a trashy masterpiece for fans of Bob Log's Doo Rag, White Hassle, and Hasil Adkins. Yup.
Bassholes: Cigarette Blues (mp3)
Bassholes: Nakema (mp3)
Be the coolest kid on yr block. Shop at yr local independent retailer. The other kids'll be jealous.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Later than usual post today. All apologies to the thousands of you eagerly awaiting. New quote up above (right under blog title). Same as usual. First to identify wins a brand spankin' new BigRockCandyMountain mix cd, made 'specially for you. Soon to be available on Ebay.
Nostalgic post today. It's been just a few days over a year that I left the safe confines of Denver, Colorado to move to the big ole city of Chicago. And I've been missing mightily most the grand country and western stylings of America's best-kept secret, Halden Wofford and the HiBeams. Gonna do a whole week shortly on Denver bands, and Halden figgers to figger prominently. Many was the drunken night at the glorious Skylark Lounge that the HiBeams would seranade with the finest of old time covers and originals. It was music that begged to be sung along to, and sing we did. Loudly and lustily. One of our favorites was Don Gibson's "Sea of Heartbreak".
Gibson's another one of them there country and western legends whose name you don't hear bandied about so much these days. An originator of the "Nashville Sound" of the 60's (not the crap you hear today), he's a member of both the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame and, of course, the Country Music Hall of Fame. You may be familiar with some of the songs he's written: "Sweet Dreams", "Oh, Lonesome Me", "I Can't Stop Loving You", "One Day at a Time", and "Give Myself a Party". I'd say he's the closest thing C&W's got to an existential poet, plumbing the depths of loneliness in a big ole world moving on without him.
I dare you not to sing along. Bom Bom Bom Bom.
Don Gibson: Sea of Heartbreak (mp3)
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me (mp3)
The 'Mountain is a big fan of buying locally and independently.
Trash rock coming on Wednesday. Come on back.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
My train's bigger than yr semi. T is Thursday. T is for Trains.
Trains have long held a place in modern mythology. Classic songs from "Midnight Special", "Wabash Cannonball", "Take the A Train", "Midnight Train to Georgia", and thousands of others (like Boxcar Willie!), have attempted to define a life through train imagery. Whether literally or metaphorically, the train as movement, as a way in or as a way out, a sign of freedom or a sign of slavery and/or hardship. The blues spread from the South into places like Chicago and Kansas City via trains. Hobo's lived their lives on the rail. Before automotives, the train was the fastest way to "see the world", as it were. The clackety clack of the tracks has been a bedrock in rock, jazz, and blues rhythms. It's the loneliest sound and the most thrilling.
Folks can argue 'til the cows get run over what the definitive train song is. For me, it's Junior Parker's "Mystery Train". It's a spooky, sad song, belied by it's chugging rhythm. Elvis covered it. Greil Marcus wrote a book. Jim Jarmusch made a classic film.
Known as the Father of Rhythm and Blues, Louis Jordan wrote a fair share of train songs, himself. My favorite follows.
Little Junior Parker: Mystery Train (mp3)
Louis Jordan: Choo Choo Ch'Boogie (mp3)
As always, the Mountain encourages you to consider purchasing yr favorite tunes locally, from yr favorite independent.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Welcome and thanks to the new folks who've been leaving comments and sending me emails. It's much appreciated.
I originally started this blog with the idea of posting strictly old time country and western and any new alt-countryish (whatever that is) stuff what struck my fancy. The best laid plans, I guess, cuz I've been slacking on the c&w. Perhaps it's a steadfast refusal to compartmentalize. I've never understood why one would choose to listen to only one type of music. A rich tapestry, to get all flowery about it.
I say this for a couple of reasons. 1) Got one of the kings of country today. 2) Some knob, goes by the name of Tim McGraw, stated before the Grammys, when inquired about the state of "country western", that they don't call it "western" anymore. It's just "country". Well, what does that mean, Mr. McGraw? Seems to me that that's exactly the kind of ignorance that has made Nashville such a cultural wasteland, a barren processing plant of hats and boots. Western is as integral to country as blues is to rock. The state of country is subject to much debate, and requires many more paragraphs and footnotes than I can provide. Guess I just know what I like, and I like a little western in my stew.
'Nuther feller who might take issue with Mr. McGraw is the legendary Roy Acuff. Thought by many to be the true "King of Country", Acuff's career was rooted in the hillbilly tradition, and he became a star on The Grand Ole Opry. His body of work is massive. And seminal. But perhaps his greatest achievement was the formation of Acuff-Rose, a partnership with Fred Rose, that laid the foundation for music publishing and writer's rights in country and western music. You've heard the Uncle Tupelo song, or seen the tagline on many of c&w's greatest songs.
Couple of tunes by Mr. Acuff for y'all today. The first is my reaction to McGraw, and all the hats in Nashville. The second, "written" by A.P. Carter, is the song most commonly associated with Acuff. Enjoy.
Roy Acuff: Stuck Up Blues (mp3)
Roy Acuff: Wabash Cannonball (mp3)
Attend yr local Barndance or Hayride. Buy locally and independently. Support local artists. Hug a puppy.