Sunday, November 30, 2008

Xmas Present Blues

A little Holiday Blues today. Gonna mix the genres up a bit more in future posts, but we figgered we'd kick off our first three posts with the general template of what you're gonna find 'round these here parts.

The following tracks are not exactly outright naughty, but are suggestive enough to give you an idea what these two fellers really want for Christmas. Something about coming down your chimney and giving you a present. Mmmm hmmm.

King of innuendo Bo Carter has and appetite that only Santa can help him out with. Not sure if he's assuming the voice of someone else, or if there's something more interesting going on here.

Jimmy Reed brings his swampy electric Blues funk to the house for what seems to be a very private Yuletide party.

Santa Claus got stuck in the chimney!

Bo Carter: Santa Claus (mp3)

Jimmy Reed: Xmas Present Blues (mp3)

Please support your local, independent chimney sweeps this festive time of year.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Santa Claus Shufflin' Stagecoach

My, My, hey, hey, ho, ho, Xmas rock will never die.

Erm...well, it's day two of our daily Holiday extravaganza. Now 'til Xmas, kids. All the fave rave yuletide tunes you never knew you loved, 'Til now.

And lest you think we don't know what side our fruitcake is buttered, we've got a couple of hillbilly honky-tonkers for all y'all today. Tomorrow? Who knows what the hell we'll do?

Stay tuned for a special offer on Monday. We're all about the giving here at the Mountain.

Now it's time for that old-timey, scratchy, hillbilly holiday you love so well.

The stagecoach was the original 18-wheeler, dontcha know, and Buck Owens is taking Santa on a special ride.

Honky Tonk legend Tommy Scott, on the other hand, just wants to dance with ol' Santa. Kick out yr boots on the hardwood floor to this'un.

Sweet Sufferin' Santa!

Buck Owens: Santa's Gonna Come In A Stagecoach (mp3)

Tommy Scott: Santa Claus Shuffle (mp3)

Please support your local, independent Honky Tonk Holiday Hoe-Down!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Drinking Up Christmas

Ok. Here we go. Daily Holidays posts from now 'til Xmas Eve. Is it a gimmick? A labor of love? An atonement? Who knows?

What we do know is that we promise to provide you with only the finest in Old-Timey Country, Blues and Garagey Xmas songs. No Silent Nights. No Little Drummer Boys. This is our 5th year with this little project, and we haven't repeated ourselves yet. Let's see if we can continue to hold the line.

Gonna kick off the Holiday joy with a 2-fer, a little nasty trash'n'roll. Get us going with a buzz, as it were.

Nihilist trash merchants,The Dwarves , hit it first with a lovely little tune about the proper way to spend the Holidays.

Then, venerable garage rockers, The Fleshtones, who dropped a brand new record this year, "Stocking Stuffer", weigh in with a nifty little tune which, in keeping with the, ahem, spirit of things, follows up the Dwarves tune with a more sophisticated form of Holiday cheer. Or not at all. They also provide us with "Super Rock Santa", a gloriously fuzzed-out,shouty ode to Santa.

Rock over the North Pole. Rock over Bethlehem.

Dwarves: Drinking Up Christmas (mp3)

The Fleshtones: Champagne of Christmas (mp3)

The Fleshtones: Super Rock Santa (mp3)

Please support your local, independent Ho. Ho Ho.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spread A Joyful Noise

Okey, doke. Business in front, party in the back. You know what we mean.

Despite our best intentions, this will be our last post before Thanksgiving. Regular visitors will know what comes next, but for those who've dropped by recently, here's the deal: Starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and continuing until the eve of Shane MacGowan's birthday (Christmas Eve for the more religiously inclined), we will be going daily (DAILY!) with our world-famous Xmas postings. We're your number one source for all for all things Honky Tonk, Garage and Blues Xmas joy. This is our 5th year, and no songs repeated. How 'bout them apples? We've got lots of yummy goodies lined up for next Xmas party, so hold on to yer stockings!

But first, let's rock and roll a bit.

They say you tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps. When you can count, as bandmates and friends, Don Howland (Bassholes), Jack Oblivian (The Oblivians and so much more), Walter Daniels (Big Foot Chester and so much more), and Ross Johnson (ummm...Ross Johnson), you're doing pretty good in life.

And, so, we have the mighty God of contemporary rock'n'scuzzin salvation'roll, the one and only, Monsieur Jeffrey Evans, who has a brand spankin' new 7" single (and candidate for Record of the Year) out on the newly mighty Big Legal Mess Records.

Here's all the damn history you need to know: Evans' first notable work was with Columbus' own scuzzy, chicken-plucking The Gibson Bros., alongside the aforementioned Don Howland, and also featuring, on occasion, noted jackass Jon Spencer (before he became completely retarded). Moving to Memphis, Evans formed seminal garage rockers, '68 Comeback
, which featured contributions in various incarnations from Walter Daniels, Greg and Jack Oblivian, and Ross Johnson. '68 Comeback took slop jar rock to a whole new level, a twisted paean to 50's Country, Chuck Berry-infused guitar boogie, and a take on what young Elvis might have sounded like if he had developed his drug problem early. All with Evans as spiritual leader.

Throughout his career, Evans has scattered (gifted?) the world with various singles and projects, including The Memphis Roadmasters, La Fong, and The CC Riders. As a producer, Evans has helmed such groups as Mr. Airplane Man and American Death Ray.

Recently, he's taken up with essential dumpster rawk super-group, South Filthy, who we covered in full here.

Evans sings like a Blues-blessed hillbilly on good corn liquor, a shaky ramble of backwoods 'Merica, Southern gutter mumble and moan. His guitar-work spits out the nasty, and trickles the sweet and the lonesome when called for. We here at the Mountain honestly don't believe the world of music, at least as we view it, would be as good today if not for Monsieur Evans.

If you have a record player, we highly recommend you hunt down his latest 7-incher on Big Legal Mess, "Lord Keep Me Sanctified". Mr. Watson, of Big Legal Mess, has kindly allowed us to post the B-side, "Spread A Joyful Noise", for your listening pleasure (ripped from vinyl). It's one of our records of the year. We're also tossing in a few scattered tracks from his various projects. While these tracks are representative, they hardly tell the whole story. Most of his catalog is in print, outside of some limited edition singles which we're looking for, and reasonably priced, so if you like these tunes (and who in their right mind wouldn't?) there's tons more out there for you to enjoy.

See you on Friday, with the beginning of Holiday joy.

Monsieur Jeffrey Evans and His Southern Aces: Spread A Joyful Noise(from vinyl)(mp3)

The Gibson Bros.: Memphis Chicken (mp3)

The Gibson Bros.: Poor White Trash (mp3)

68 Comeback: Otto Wood, The Bandit (mp3)

68 Comeback: Strange Things Are Happening Every Day (mp3)

Monsieur Jeffrey Evans w/Walter Daniels and the Oblivians: The Darker The Berry (mp3)

South Filthy: Ran Out of Run (mp3)

South Filthy: First Train Away From You (mp3)

Please support your local, independent record stores.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oil Drum

Damn. It's been a good couple of weeks. We hope Mr./Senator/President-Elect Obama does well, fingers crossed 'n' all that. Shit, we'd be happy if can get about 5% of what he's promised accomplished. That'd be, oh, what, about a 105% improvement over the last 8 years? Well, here's hoping. It could all fall apart,of course, cynical bastard that I am.

Now then.

We've got a ton of shit to cover between now and Thanksgiving, when we begin our world-famous daily Xmas postings. The odds are not in our favor of getting everything in before Thanksgiving, considering our posting schedule, and the fact we have, you know, a life, and sumsuch. But let's give it a go.

To start with, I'd like to tug on yr coat a little about my favorite record label find of the year, and one LP in particular.

Mississippi Records
(can't find an official site) is a strange oddity, apparently starting out as a way to release personal records and those of friends and influences. Somewhere along the way they started releasing limited edition records of obscure Blues, Country(ish), Soul, and whatnot artists, sort of like Numero Group, but even more, ahem, out there, whatever that is. Some of our favorites, and, yes, we've been trying to collect 'em all, include: "Last Kind Words", "What Are They Doing In Heaven Today" by Washington Phillips, "I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore", and "Life Is A Problem", a fantastic Gospel collection.

But one record in particular stands out.

We often repeat a few phrases and words 'round these parts. Trash and garbage are two of our favorite descriptors, for reasons that are often obvious, at least sound-wise. So we're thrilled to introduce a feller for whom those words can finally be retired

George Coleman, aka "Bongo Joe", played the oil drum. 55-gallon oil drums. Yup.

To get an idea exactly what and how Coleman plays, please allow me to quote the record's "liner notes" by one Mr. Larry Skoog, with typos unchanged:

"Coleman's drum is a 55-gallon oil drum shaped with a hand ax in a curious series of dents, bulges, cuts and wrinkles. His drum sticks are made from hammer handles, the bases of hand oil cans filled with pebble and BB shot to provide a rattle, and rubber chair leg caps. The entire set-up is the result of trial and error experimentation that has occurred since George was turned down for a drummers job in Houston during the late forties."

It's hard to pin down Coleman's style into a neat little package like Jazz or Blues. It's not either, really, but maybe a little bit. As a street performer, one could try to link Coleman to Moondog, minus the theoretical albatross, but that doesn't work either. Coleman was no savant. His is a more tribal and rhythmic performance, designed to move yer ass not yer cortex.


Coleman sings/raps/rants over the top of his rhythmic constructs. Like any street performer, Coleman's got...opinions about the world. But Coleman's not a crackpot...he's remarkably prescient, anticipating the social disconnect of the IPod generation, 40 years early (!), with the track "Transistor Radio", linked below. There's a kinship with The Beats, though denied by Coleman, in terms of vocal delivery, his rhythmic incantations matching his tribal drumming. Since Coleman preceded the Beats by some years, it would be more apt to say they were influenced by him, though I could find no evidence of any them copping to it (Coleman's base was Texas, so it's hard to imagine much in the way of crossing paths).

Coleman began performing publicly in the 40's and continued, primarily as a street performer, until the early 90's, when health concerns took him off the corner and the public eye. He died in 1999 at the age of 76.

Chris Strachwitz, the man who recorded "Bongo Joe" for Arhoolie, said of Coleman: "He was the original rapper.... I tried to record him in the street, with the crowd interaction, but my tape machine went out. I took him to a friend's house and recorded him there...He was an amazing drummer, too. I just saw him as a wonderful storyteller. He was an improvising genius. His songs are powerful little statements."

"Bongo Joe", recorded in 1968, is a revelatory album, and highly recommended to all readers of this here little corner of the blogosphere (I feel silly writing that word, frankly). It's available on CD from Arhoolie, with bonus tracks, but the LP reissue (on Mississippi) remains essential (it's the proper track listing, with the proper sonic playback.)

Shake yr boots!

George Coleman: Transistor Radio (mp3)

George Coleman: Cool It (mp3)

Support your local, independent snake oil salesman. Buy in bulk. Barrel size, even.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Washington Talkin' Blues

Fun election-day tunes at the end of this post!

First, fare thee well Studs Terkel. More later on him, though words from this inept writer could hardly do justice to a man who defined America through his own mastery of the language, and the language and stories of the people he spent a career preserving.


We here at the Mountain have drunk the Kool Aid.

The lovely Mrs. Mountain and I, along with some of our fellow traveling, tax and spending, wealth distributing elitists, will be attending the Barack Obama rally Tuesday night in Grant Park here in beautiful Chicago. Yup, we scored tickets. Witness to history, 'n' all that.

I honestly don't know if we'll be witnessing a victory speech or a concession speech. Perhaps it will be neither, as this election could take days or weeks to resolve. Who knows?

I wouldn't call this an endorsement of any sort. Who cares who some blogger is voting for? Most folks have already made up their mind, one way or the other, and if someone is still undecided this late in the game, I'm not sure what argument they're waiting for to convince them.

I'm voting for Obama because of his stance on issues that are important to me. I'm a big ole bleeding-heart liberal, fer chrissakes! My Republican friends (and yes, I do have some) are voting for McCain based on issues important to them. Others are voting 3rd party for the same reasons.

Regardless of who wins, I hope they have the best interests of everyone in this country.

I hope everyone finds time to vote on Tuesday, if you haven't already taken advantage of early voting, no matter who you're for. A few hours in line is nothing compared to what folks endured during the Suffrage movement of the early 20th Century or the Civil Rights movement of the 50's and 60's.

Probably could have been more obscure with the following songs. Oh well.

Can't believe the Sam Cooke tune hasn't been used by the Obama campaign yet. Perhaps it's too obvious. As far as we're concerned, Woody Guthrie is the poet laureate (along with Walt Whitman) of these here United States. And Frank Sinatra is..well..he's Frank Sinatra.

Sam Cooke: A Change Is Gonna Come (mp3)

Woody Guthrie: This Land Is Your Land (mp3)

Woody Guthrie: Better World A-Comin' (mp3)

Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore: It's All Up To You (mp3)

Vote, guldurnit!