Monday, June 23, 2008

Callin' In Dead

Made it back, barely, from Lincoln, Nebraska. Gettin' through/around Iowa was a bit of a challenge (train back was canceled, had to rent a car eventually). But the inconvenience of going an extra 250 miles or so out of our way was minor considering all the folks who lost their homes and livelihoods. It's all about perspective.

So we survived the trip, The National Museum of Roller Skating, The 2008 Testicle Festival, and drunken karaoke with my brother-in-law. Good times.

The highlight of the trip, though, was the stack of vinyl rekkids we picked up at some of Lincoln's fine record stores, particularly the treasure trove that is Recycled Sounds. If you're ever in Lincoln, we highly recommend checking it out.

One of our best finds was a nifty little 45 on Rudyland Records by "Country Music's Original Outlaw", Mazey Gardens.

I've taken the liberty of extracting some of the more salient bits of his obituary from his website:

"Mazey Gardens, whose brash songs and rebellious hair styles defined the "outlaw" movement in country music, died yesterday after a long battle with booze...He was 68. Gardens' spokeswoman, Staci Peachtree, said Gardens died "pissed off" at his home in Big Mushroom, Virginia.

Gardens, a singer, songwriter and original member of radio station WKOZ's psychedelic traveling show "The Electric Hayride," recorded over 22 albums, none of which ever entered the charts, with the exception of his ballad, "Don’t Invite Me to Your Pity Party," which was covered in the early 80s by punk band Six and a Half Seconds resulting in a stint at number 100 for a split second... With childhood pal Samuel L. Justice, Woodsy Marbles and the Mexican drumming sensation "Porkchop," Gardens formed The Brick Hit House Band and sang red-neck inspired blue-collar anthems such as "Callin’ in Dead," "Business in the Front and Party in the Back" and "Look Ma, No Class."

Gardens seemed to be always ahead of his time, however, and it was contemporaries, like Waylon Jennings, who profited most from the new brand of outlaw music, and Willie Nelson, who instead became synonymous with silly hair styles.

Gardens' distinctive, authoritative voice was also utilized by the 1980s Easy-Oven Sausage corporation (now Turkey Bacon Bakers) to narrate a series of "breakfast meat" radio spots. "I aimed the narration at people who were hung over," he revealed in a 1987 interview, "and it worked."

Gardens and his fourth wife, Crystal Lake, married in 1980. They had one son, Jigger.

The song, "Callin' In Dead", is Country the way the good lord intended. A hand-clappin' hoedown, replete with trailer park girl backing vocals, and a celebration of inebriation, and the morning after. This record should be on every honky-tonk and truck stop jukebox across this great land.

Ripped from glorious snap, crackle, and poppy 7" vinyl (so, you know, you kind of have to let the sound quality just be what it is-we couldn't be bothered to mess with the integrity of the song by "cleaning it up"), please enjoy the fine Outlaw Country spirit of Mr. Mazey Gardens and The Brick Hit House Band.

Mazey Gardens: Callin' In Dead (mp3)

Mazey Gardens: Callin' In Dead (Instrumental) (mp3)

Ermmm...Whatever you're thinking about the above post, you're probably right.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Train I Ride

Well. Got a super keen mix for all y'all today.

We're off for a swell vacation this weekend, and through next week. You won't even notice we're gone, I 'spect. Off to the great city of Lincoln, Nebraska for valuable in-law time.

And we're takin' the train to get there. The venerable and vulnerable Amtrak, no less, due to Mrs. Mountain's aversion to modes of transportation more airborne. That's ok, though, cuz we think trains are real swell.

There's a romance to trains that is disappearing from the American landscape (in Europe, we're told, the train is still a viable and useful means of transportation). In many ways, the train is our last connection to the "go west young man" mentality, the covered wagon having gone the way of, well, the covered wagon. American folklore is filled with the mythology of the train, its conductors and engineers, the hobos, and the railyard bulls who chased them. When I think of trains I think of Charlie Chaplin in The Great Train Robbery. I think of Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North By Northwest. James T. West and Artemus Gordon in The Wild Wild West. Boxcar Willie and Harry McClintock. "Midnight Special" and "Mystery Train". The whistle and distant clack, approaching then fading.

The train song holds a special place in the Big Rock Candy Mountain pantheon (just under the Truckin' Song, naturally).

Please, then, enjoy the following train mix, made especially...for you. See ya in a week or so.

As always, mp3 of the mix follows the track listing.

Choo choo ch'boogie.

Big Rock Candy Railroad Depot

1. I've Got A Thing About Trains (Johnny Cash)
2. The Golden Rocket (Hank Snow)
3. Mystery Train (Junior Parker)
4. Mean Ol' Train (Papa Lightfoot)
5. Lonesome Train (Johnny Burnette)
6. Black Diamond Express Train To Hell Part 1 (John Schooley)
7. Railroad Lady (Lefty Frizzell)
8. Waitin' For A Train (Merle Haggard)
9. Calling Trains (Clothesline Revival)
10. Roll Roll Train (Hasil Adkins)
11. This Train (Elder Samuel Patterson)
12. Rock Island Line (Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee)
13. Big Freight Train Carry Me Home (Boxcar Willie)
14. Engine Engine Number Nine (Roger Miller)
15. Train Whistle Nightmare (Joe "Cannonball" Lewis)
16. Ride That Train (Oblivians with Mr. Quintron)
17. Train Song (Split Lip Rayfield)
18. Midnight Special (Leadbelly)
19. Night Train To Memphis (Bobby Hebb)
20. High-Ballin' Daddy (Ann Jones)
21. Railroad Tracks (Juke Boy Bonner)
22. Slow Train (Staple Singers)
23. Railroad Bum (Jim Reeves)
24. Hobo Blues (Doctor Ross)
25. Daddy Was A Hobo (Skinny McGhee)
26. Special Stream Line (Bukka White)
27. Smokestack Lightning (Howlin' Wolf)
28. Night Train (James Brown)
29. Railroad (Lee Hazlewood)
30. Slow Train Through Georgia (Norman Blake)
31. Morning Train (Rev. Charlie Jackson)
32. Hallelujah I'm A Bum (Harry McClintock)

Big Rock Candy Mountain Railroad Depot (mp3)

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