Thursday, April 27, 2006

Set 'em Up Joe

I'm the Decider.

I assume most of all y'all visit the Good and Right Rev. Frost on a regular basis. But just in case you haven't stopped by in a bit, he had a rather big announcement in regards to a very special event. Rev. Frost has released his first record! Indeed. So before you read any further, go visit Spread the Good Word and read all about it. Then hop over to Closed For Private Party Records to order your very own copy of Spread the Good Word Vol. 1: South of Hell, France. I got my copy a couple of days ago, and it hasn't left my cd player yet. The man's a genius. Supplies are limited, so hurry. You owe it to yourself. To whet your appetite, here's a previously unreleased re-recording of a tune that debuted here at the Mountain. It's Rev. Frost's take on our theme song, newly minted and awaiting inclusion on Vol. 2. Makes me want to dance around without my pants on.

Rev. Frost: Big Rock Candy Mountain(mp3)


Vern Gosdin is another one of them fellas with a great country name who should be on the list of anyone who's a fan of classic honky tonk. Cut from the same vocal and stylistic cloth as Lefty and Merle, Gosdin's knee deep in the jukebox tradition. Beginning his musical career in the early 60's, along with his brother Rex, playing bluegrass, Gosdin did a brief stint with The Hillmen (with Chris Hillman), before going off on their own to form The Gosdin Brothers. Throughout the 60's and 70's (despite a brief retirement from the business), Gosdin racked up a moderate amount of bona fide hits, but managed a body of work more impressive as a whole than taken on the singles charts.

Oddly enough, it wasn't 'til the 80's (when the rest of Nashville was embracing the bland) that Gosdin began to see widespread success. Like Moe Bandy, Gosdin never abandoned his pure honky tonk roots, and perhaps it was this unwillingness to compromise his classic country raisin' that caused folks already weary of Nashville's dumbing down to embrace him. Not given to the country-rock stylings popular during the decade of greed (and reviving today), Gosdin's body is pure barroom tonk, from tears in beers to drunken revelry to callin' on the spirit of Ernest Tubb. And, most importantly, the man rocks a 'stache like no one's business.

And yeah, the following are drinkin' and cheatin' songs. Sue me.

Vern Gosdin: Set 'Em Up Joe (mp3)

Vern Gosdin: Dim Lights, Thick Smoke(and Loud, Loud Music)(mp3)

Vern Gosdin: Weekends Were Made For Cheatin'(mp3

Vern Gosdin: A Month of Sundays (mp3)

Support your local, independent businesses.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Peanuts and Crackerjacks

Yes. And here it is, America's dwindling pastime (whatever that is). I love me some of that baseball.

If I've learned anything in life (and that's always under debate), it's that you root for your neighborhood team, wherever your travels take you. But you never forget them what raised you. Willie "Pops" Stargell was my favorite baseball player growing up. I wanted to be him, through my Pee Wee and Little League years, waiting with impatience for the several nights during the summer when my father would load up the car with me and my friends and haul us up the road to Three Rivers Stadium for an evening with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Then I discovered history, Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski, Honus Wagner and Ralph Kiner. For reasons stretching far beyond steroids, I will never forgive Barry Bonds. But I forgave Dave Parker in a heartbeat. Loyalty is a funny thing.

The Pittsburgh Pirates played the Chicago Cubs this past weekend. And, as happens several times each season, I had my loyalties tested and questioned. It's really not a contest. I live 8 blocks from Wrigley Field, one of the grandest dilapidated structures in these here United States. The Cubs are off to a hot(ish) start (with the inevitable mid to late season breakdown forthcoming), and feature stud superstars on the corners. Home games are sold out long before the season starts. America loves the Cubbies. I do too. The Pirates are woeful, enduring 13 straight losing seasons (each one a "rebuilding" year), and this year looks to be more of the same. Outside of Jason Bay, the casual fan probably couldn't name a single player on the roster. The Pirates have one of the nicest new ballparks in the majors, and most nights it's only 1/3 full (or 2/3 empty for us pessimists). Like I said, it's no contest. When the Cubs and Pirates play, I'm rooting for the Pirates.

What's this got to do with music? Who knows? We like some them there modern bands quite a bit, contrary to the sour grapes about the current state of music that often emits from this here spot. But they get plenty of coverage elsewhere, and feature prominently in lots of folks' "fantasy" teams. So here at the Mountain we're gonna continue to root for the Hanks and Leftys and Merles. Dancin' with them what brung ya.

Enjoy some baseball songs.

The Treniers:Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)(mp3)

Les Brown Orchestra: Joltin' Joe Dimaggio (mp3)

Mabel Scott: Baseball Boogie (mp3)

Sister Wynona Carr: The Ball Game (mp3)

John Fogerty: Centerfield (mp3)

Bandwidth should hold up, but I've got contingency plans, so download away. Buy your sports paraphenalia from your local independent bootlegg....errr...street vendor.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Trash Compactor

Yay, Baseball. How 'bout them Pirates? Cubs, then? I'll have some baseball tunes eventually. Gonna continue a roundabout theme for the rest of the week (with yr country fix hittin' the vein next week).

Now. What happens when one of the guys from the Oblivians (and the Compulsive Gamblers, and Jack O and the Tearjerkers and...well, yeah, it's that guy again) hooks up with the fellers from Big Foot Chester and '68 Comeback, then mixes in Eugene Chadbourne and a guy who's played with Buck Owens and Johnny Cash? Add copious amounts of cheap beer, a mind-bogglin' selection of covers, and a feller with one of them music recording devices and you get the aptly named South Filthy. A supergroup of terminally downplayed proportions.

Oddly enough , it's not quite the scunge-trash fest one might expect, being more akin to your favorite bar band playing a trailer park barbecue fest. And that's a compliment. Sure, it's a shambolic, booze-ridden mess of an album, sloppy and missing anything remotely suggesting production values, with obvious nods to Exile-era Stones, Faces (small and large), Allmans and Van Zandts(both kinds). It's a very Southern affair, sweatily drawled and scrawled from Memphis to Austin, underpinned with a sense of longing and regret, of all things. A little bit rawk, and a whole lotta country.

Msr Jeffrey Evans ('68 Comeback) and Walter Daniels (Big Foot Chester) are gonna get their own (well deserved) posts next week, but for now pop a top on your favorite beverage, settle into your lawn chair and enjoy the mad dog stylings of South Filthy.

From "Crackin' Up":

South Filthy: So You Think You Got Trouble (mp3)

South Filthy: Ran Out of Run (mp3)

Special bonus from their first album, You Can Name it Yo Mammy If You Wanna:

South Filthy: First Train Away From You (mp3)

Support your local independent record stores.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Shanty Chicken Scratch

Hi there.

I make certain assumptions about who's out there reading this miniscule little corner of the music obsessives' world. I may be wrong, I may be partially correct, I may have bats in my belfry. Probably the bats part. Regardless, I'm going to guess that most of y'all have at least a passing interest in Country and Blues, and the intersections where they meet. And maybe you like things that sound a bit off, underproduced (read: raw), and/or muddy and scratchy. Greasy, to continue to overuse a descriptive. Most have at least a passing knowledge of Fat Possum (remember: they used to release Blues or Blues influenced albums. Seems a long time ago, I know.). And you probably know all about Bob Log III.

But just in case you haven't dipped your toes, Log is a madman. A manic, slide-butchering, bass drum pounding, space/motorcycle helmet-wearing, rave and shouting one-man-band kind of madman. Where backwoods country and junk drawer blues team up to take on The Cramps and Screaming Jay Hawkins, each winding up a battered and bloody mutant goes by the name of Bob, with a loving nod to his eminence, Hasil Adkins. Did I mention slide guitar abuse? What Log does to the slide geetar is nothing short of criminal, making like a teenager just discovering his hard-on, straight to the gutter. With songs focusing on stripper poles, ass shaking, booze, tail sniffing, and...erm...tit clapping (a notorious percussive device used to great effect on rekkid and live), all shouted and filtered like a bullhorn two miles off, Log stakes his claim in the pantheon of trash. This could all be novelty if Log weren't so bloody damn good. And beneath the fuzz and racket, lies the heart of a good ole country boy in love with the blues. And the booze.

Before the unholy din of his Fat Possum solo albums, Log could be found, with one mysterious Mr. Thermos Malling, hollering under the moniker Doo Rag. More "traditional", only in choice of songs(mostly bullhorn stomps of old timey country blues tunes), Doo Rag released two shanty shaking albums and a handful of singles. Along with the Bassholes, Doo Rag set a standard for the two-man deconstruction that the current crop of contenders can only dream of matching.

Authentic? I dunno. But when it shitkicks this grandly, who gives a fuck.

Doo Rag: Train I Ride (mp3)

Doo Rag: Drop Down Baby (mp3)

Check out your local independent record stores. Before they're all gone.