Monday, February 28, 2005

Rocket 88

'Nuther Monday, 'nuther episode of the BigRock. Rocket'n'roll.

Gotta be a short one, as I'm headin' out to get me mullet trimmed.

Don't forget to guess the new quote above. First to respond wins an autographed mix cd from the 'Mountain. John(from Milwaukee) is disqualified, as he won last week. It's on the way, John.

Rocket 88 is estimated by some wiser than me as the first true "rock'n'roll" song. I dunno. The first rock song was probably quite some time ago when Ogg and Gogg started beating on the ground and smashing stones together in a cave. 'Course, I think Hank Williams is punk rock and Robert Johnson is death metal.

Anyway, Rocket 88. Some confusion exists, not just on it's place in history, but on whose damn song it is. Ike Turner plays piano, and on some versions takes lead vocals. He probably wrote the song, or most of it,too. The supposed definitive version, and the one posted below, is credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. Jackie was a member of Turner's Delta Rhythm Kings. Much more on the history and confusion can be found here. What's most important is that it's a wonderfully trashy little tune about girls, cars, and sex. Not necessarily in that order. Recorded by Sam Phillips years before he formed Sun Records, and based on (copped from?) Jimmy Liggin's "Cadillac Boogie, it's a fine slice of music history.

Continuing the rocket theme, I'm gonna add a good girl gone bad. Bonnie Lou weighs in with a randy little bit of bopabilly. Apparently she's on a rocket and it's creating quite a bit of friction heat. Hmm.....

Jackie Brentson and His Delta Cats: Rocket 88 (mp3)

Bonnie Lou: Friction Heat (mp3)

As ever, please consider purchasing all yr rocket materials from yr local independents. It's good for you. It's good for them.

Friday, February 25, 2005

My Head Kissed the Ground

I don't like Pink Floyd. There, I said it. Sacred cows, 'n all that. Maybe I just never got it, holding on to the belief that you often only need 4 tracks and 3 minutes to say what you need to say. Maybe they just needed an editor and few less overdubs to really impress me. Whatever. There is one album by the Floyd that I am quite keen on; Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Terrible title notwithstanding, it's the Syd album. And I'm fond of Syd.

Most everyone breathing knows the story. Syd Barrett, budding cracked genius, cracks for real on a sea of lsd. Band removes the lad and goes on to fame and infamy, while Syd is left to face his demons. Sort of.

Tracking Syd's solo stuff is often an exercise in muddled reissues and lazy notekeeping. But gems abound, and I'd say The Madcap Laughs is a stone classic. Pastoral psychedelic without the pomp and circumstance. It's the slightest, and quietest, of records. Fragile and strummed, with the barest of bones backing, Syd lays the groundwork, the template, for future oddballs like Robyn Hitchcock. Lovely in its disintegration. Eerie in its descent into madness. I'm not sure if Skip Spence and Nick Drake were listening, or if it were the other way around. How to melt in hushed tones.

From The Madcap Laughs today, two tunes to kickstart yr morning tea or coffee. One, "Dark Globe", has been covered extensively. It's one of the saddest songs I've ever heard.

Syd Barrett: Love You (mp3)

Syd Barrett: Dark Globe (mp3)

Syd's still alive, and would probably appreciate a few shillings. If you are so inclined, please consider buying from your local independent.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Roll Truck Roll

Give you a lift? Out on the open road? Truckin' Thursday.

Before hopping onboard for the day, head over to BlueSkies, run by CountryGrrl out of bonnie Scotland. It's a new blog, and she's working through some bugs getting tunes up at the moment, but if you like the music here, I think you'll love her site. I'm really looking forward to future posts from her.

Also forgot to mention that we have a winner in the contest. John (from Milwaukee) correctly answered, within minutes of my post, that the above quote was uttered by one Mr. Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera. Thanks to those who emailed their answers, and please return Monday morning for yr next shot at internet glory and a chance to win an exclusive BigRockCandyMountain slim case with bonus cd.

More rig rock for y'all today. After this, I'm going to give Dave Dudley a rest for a bit. He's the king of truckin' music, really, so it's hard not to include him in every post, but there are hundreds of other deservin' wheel hogs out there demanding a spin.

Like The Willis Brothers. Formed in 1932, primarily as a Western and Western Swing band, The Brothers recorded a whole slew of truckin' songs, long before the genre as we know it even really existed. This was at the dawn of trucks as long range transportation, and these old rigs looked quite a bit different than the modern semi of legend. On a side note, the guitar player's real name is James Ulysses Willis. As a confirmed James Joyce fan, it makes me smile every damn time.

Dave Dudley: Asphalt Cowboy (mp3)

The Willis Brothers: When I Come Driving Thru (mp3)

Please support yr favorite music any way you can. Wear a t-shirt, spread the word, make mix cd's. If you can buy, buy locally and independently. Support independent music by putting money back into independents. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Surely They Were the Sons of God

Right then. Billy Childish. A man who makes Robert Pollard look like Boston. More primitive than Jad Fair and more misanthropic than Mark E. Smith.

Since 1977, Childish has released something like 10,000 (slight exaggeration, but not by much I'd suspect) records, cd's, singles, books, god knows what else. He's the British lo fi genius of such groups as The Pop Rivits, The Milkshakes, Thee Mighty Ceasers, Thee Headcoats, Blackhands, the Singing Loins and now the Buff Medways. Not to mention recordings under his own name and with Holly Golightly, Sexton Ming and Dan Melchior.

You'd think with all the output over the years, there'd be a few lapses in creative control, or a turn towards the worst of the Rolling Stones, slogging off stale versions of past glories. No, instead, and like The Fall, every release carries it's own personality and bristles with barely controlled energy. Equally influenced by rockabilly, soul, trashy r'n'b, and punk, it's hard to pin down exactly what Mr. Childish is. A legend of sorts, surely, and highly influential on a generation of autistic mutterers, howlers, and bedroom three chord wanderers. Oh, yeah, he's a published writer on non-rubbish books as well. Go here for more info. And he makes pictures. A regular Renaissance man for the Dark Ages.

Picking tunes to feature is almost impossible. So enjoy the following, not as a summation, but as a fragment of a sample of the world that is Thee Billy Childish.

Billy Childish and Dan Melchior: Bottom of the Sea (mp3)

Thee Mighty Ceasars: I Was Lead to Believe (mp3)

Please consider honoring the spirit of Billy Childish and purchasing yr musical goodies locally and independently. Or buy direct. A discography with links can be found here.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hey me, I'm riding

Just a few quick bits before getting to today's cover star, Mr. Lee Hazlewood.

First, I can't even begin to discuss the death of Hunter S. Thompson. Just want to say rest in peace. In a world of media mediocrity, he will be sorely missed. Drink well, Gonzo.

Second, in a pathetic attempt to solicit comments, I'm instituting a weekly contest. The first person to correctly identify the quote (and it's source) in the description field above (right underneath the blog title) will win a free cd slim case. As a bonus, I will include inside the case an exclusive mix cd made by yrs truly, featuring only the finest tunes from the BigRock library. Get googlin'.

Third, I have egregiously erred. In the Train post from Thursday, I incorrectly claimed a song was by Jimmie Dale Gilmore. While it was my intent to post a Gilmore song of the same name, the tune actually posted was performed by Kieran Kane, from the album Dead Reckoning. Important lesson learned: don't rename all yr files without doublechecking that you've done it correctly. It'll save you hours of work fixing the problem. Gad. Thanks to "Emmett" for pointing out the error.

Now, Lee Hazlewood. Most are aware of his work with Nancy Sinatra, and the essential "These Boots Are Made For Walking". He's the guy who makes Leonard Cohen sound like a classically trained singer.

Hazlewood's genius has always been as a producer and songwriter, working on songs by Dean Martin, Duane Eddy, Johnnie Ray, Waylon Jennings, Hal Blaine, the Shacklefords, and countless others. If Phil Spector were a country boy, he'd produce just like Lee.

One of my favorite Hazlewood collaborations is his work with screen legend Ann-Margaret, The Cowboy and the Lady. It's a strange little piece of country trash noir. Perfect, then, for the 'Mountain.

Big Rock Candy Mountain would like to encourage you to purchase yr favorite records at yr local independents, if at all possible.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Hobo Days

Due to several requests, and the increase in my traffic, I'm reposting the following entry from August. It's an intro of sorts. BigRock 101.

It's occurred to me that the title of my blog may need a bit of an explanation to those who haven't seen Oh Brother Where Art Thou, or who aren't big fans of hobo music. Obviously the song, Big Rock Candy Mountain, is a favorite of mine, and a bit of a theme, though i've never "rode the rails" in my life. It's old timey music in the grandest tradition. I'm going to do quite a bit of plagarizing for the full text of the following paragraph, go here:

"Big Rock Candy Mountain' is a song about a hobo's idea of paradise. It was first recorded in 1928 by Harry McClintock, also known as Haywire Mac. It is probably best remembered for its recording by Burl Ives in the 1940s, but it has been recorded by many artists throughout the world. The most popular version, recorded in 1960 by Dorsey Burnette, reached the Billbord top 10.
The song is generally recognized as a turn of the century hobo ballad based on
An Invitation to Lubberland, but authorship is also generally attributed to Harry McClintock since earlier written evidence of the song is not known. As a result, the song's copyright status is also in dispute. There are secondhand reports that McClintock attempted to enforce a copyright on the song but lost his lawsuit; in that case the song is in the public domain. Without further verification it must be assumed that the song is copyright by Harry McClintock.
Before recording the song, McClintock cleaned it up considerably from the version he sang as a street busker in
1897. Originally the song described a child being recruited into hobo life by tales of the "big rock candy mountain". Such recruitment actually occurred, with hobos enchanting children with tales of adventure called ghost stories by other hobos. In proof of his authorship of the song, McClintock published the original words, the last verse of which was:
The punk rolled up his big blue eyes
And said to the jocker, "Sandy,
I've hiked and hiked and wandered too,
But I ain't seen any candy.
I've hiked and hiked till my feet are sore
And I'll be d--ned if I hike any more
To be buggered sore like a hobo's whore
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
In the released version this verse did not appear; in fact all mention of the "hoosier boy" was removed. The "cigarette trees" became peppermint trees, and the "streams of alkyhol" trickling down the rocks became streams of lemonade. The lake of gin is not mentioned, and the lake of whiskey became a lake of soda.
1929, the song lent its name to a cluster of brightly-colored hills a short distance north of Marysvale, Utah, and a spring nearby was named "Lemonade Springs". The Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort is at the base of the hills.
1943, Wallace Stegner published his autobiographical novel The Big Rock Candy Mountain
The largest exposed rock in the South Platte rock
climbing area of Colorado is also called "Big Rock Candy Mountain" because of its colored stripes resembling a candy cane.

Now, wasn't that enlightening?
For both versions of the lyrics go here.

The first song is Tom Waits' version, take from the film "Candy Mountain". Frankly, the film's kind of a stinker...but Tom is brilliant as usual. This tune comes to us via a bootleg, so be warned that the sound quality is not exactly topnotch.
Next is Harry McClintock, of course. This version is a bit different from the more famous version used in "Oh Brother..." It features a rather long interview followed by a live rendition. Harry's not sounding real great here, perhaps having just come down from the mountain, so to speak. The tune is featured on the album Railroad Songs and Ballads, put out by Rounder.
Finally, a bonus cut by Harry, "Hallelujah I'm a Bum", helping to cement his reputation as the bard of the hobos.

Tom Waits: Big Rock Candy Mountain (mp3)

Harry McClintock: Big Rock Candy Mountain (mp3)

Harry McClintock: Hallelujah I'm a Bum (mp3)

Please purchase yr Hobo music locally and independently. The Hobos would, dontcha know.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Train Took My Baby Far Away

Thursday is for...Trains.

Switching things up a little this Thursday morn. So, for those here looking for Truckin' Thursday, sorry. I have about as many Train songs as I have Truck tunes. So I figgered, in the interest of keeping things slightly less predictable, I'd alternate. Big rigs next week. I also have an old repost coming tomorrow, and a train post sets it up perfectly.

Don't know much about Bobby Hebb, really. He wrote the classic "Sunny", which has been covered by Frank Sinatra, Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield, Ella Fitzgerald, and a host of others. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, he joined the family business, entertainment, and was performing tap and vaudeville around town by the time he hit first grade. He's had a pretty rich history, as briefly detailed in the link above. The song below is a racous preachin' r'n'b cover of an Owen Bradley tune, written for Roy Acuff's Smokey Mountain Boys.

Bobby Hebb: Night Train to Memphis (mp3)

Kieran Kane: Ramblin Man (mp3)

As ever, please buy locally and independently. Or direct. If you can afford it. And take a train. Save Amtrak.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Pitchers and Catchers Report

Aaaaah, the most magical phrase in the English language. Pitchers and catchers report. The start of Spring Training. "Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor." When the promise of the green blanket of summer beckons, and a World Series is ours for the taking. Hot dogs and slightly cold beer. Crackerjacks, peanuts, and a walk-off home run. Bases loaded, 2 outs, 2 strikes, 3 balls, Mark Prior versus Albert Pujols. Wrigley frickin' Field. Thousands of fans drunkenly channelling Harry Caray on "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". TV's ok. Radio's better. Being there in the ballpark? Perfect. God, I love baseball. And this is definately the Cubs years. Definately. Without a doubt. I'm pretty sure. Maybe. Errr...

Hey, congrats, Red Sox fans. It's our turn now.

So. Two dandy tunes about Baseball.

The Guided By Voices (see, I do listen to indie pop once in a while) tune is one of those perfect Bob Pollard moments. Just Bob on acoustic guitar conjuring lost snatches of time. Me and my dad driving home, after watching Willie Stargell hit 2 home runs to beat the Reds at Three Rivers Stadium.

The Marah tune is kind of an adult version of the same theme. And they talked Phillies' announcing great Harry Kalas into doing the intro. This is from Marah's first album, Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight", a finer slab of gritty Philly country punk soul you're not likely to find.

Guided By Voices: Look It's Baseball (mp3)

Marah: Rain Delay (mp3)

If you have enough dough after buying baseball tickets, and enjoy the bands, please consider buying from yr local independent rekkid store, or direct from the artist. If not, please sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame as loud as you can in public places. Make your co-workers join you.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Back In the Saddle Again

Problems fixed!!! Welcome to the new and improved Big Rock Candy Mountain.

I wanted to do a post about the fantastic Toe-Rag Studios in London, England. Naturally, the essential Fire of Love scooped me on the mention. Not the first time he's done that. The dirty no good so and so. No matter. One can never have enough Toe-Rag.

As I was going through my collection looking for tracks, I was astounded by just how many of my favorite rekkids and cd's had been recorded at Toe-Rag. Obviously the studio has gained a bit of notoriety of late due to a certain husband/sister/wife/brother duo who recorded their last platter there. But it's been the homebase of Thee esteemed Billy Childish, Holly Golightly, The Kaisers, and others of their ilk since it's inception in 1992, birthed by one Liam Watson, formerly of Armitage Shanks.

What makes Toe-Rag special, in addition to the acts it attracts, is it's overall philosophy of recording. From their website (linked above): >"Toe-Rag is a predominately analogue based recording studio....acoustically designed and custom built throughout. The living room is approximately 17ft x 14ft with 11ft high ceilings. The control room is approximately 14ft x 9ft also with 11 ft high ceilings."

What does that mean? I dunno, really, except that, like vinyl vs. cd, the sound comes out warmer, more human, more live sounding.

Most of the bands recording there deserve their own posts, and Mr. Childish has been long overdue. So for today, I pulled a few tracks from Sympathy For the Record Industry's collection Sympathetic Sounds of Toe-Rag. The sound is 50's trash rock filtered through a haze of blues'n'garage, and oh so very British. Enjoy.

Gustav Temple and the Blades: Puddings and Pies (mp3)

Ludella Black: I've Just Seen a Face(mp3)

The Masonics: Ooh Poo Pa Doo(mp3)

(right click, save target more yousendits!!!!)

If yr budget allows, and you enjoy the music, please consider buying direct from Sympathy For the Record Industry, or from yr local independent retailer. If yr budget does not allow, please say nice things about the bands to yr friends.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Queen of the Truckstop

It's that time again. The engines are revving and the wheels are turning. Truckin' Thursday. Hooray.

A little cowpunk ditty for y'all courtesy of the Cowslingers.

Cowslingers: Queen of the Truckstop (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

Sorry to still be using yousendits....Server maintenance is crawling along at a snail's pace, but we're getting there. I promise. Help is on the way. We'll just call this last week the trials and tribulations of an idiot. That sounds good. Thanks for sticking with us.

Please support the bands you enjoy by shopping direct or from yr local independent establishments.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Obsession in Sepia

We here at the Mountain apologise for the delay in new posts. We bit the proverbial bullet and have subscribed to an online server so that we may provide you with the best possible downloading experience. Unfortunately, we have no idea what we're doing. Sad. But true. Currently we are trolling through countless tutorials. As soon as the lightbulb goes on, joy and dancing will be rampant.

We also are having trouble acknowledging that it wasn't the Pittsburgh Steelers hoisting the trophy on Sunday.

Opinions? Advice? Hate the "new" look of Big Rock Candy Mountain? Let me know.

Thanks for stopping by. My home is yours.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Stepped Out For a Smoke

Ch Ch Changes. The Mountain will be undergoing some renovations over the weekend, in an attempt to make your enjoyment of our quality product even better. Files will be a little screwy and you may experience odd colour combinations that will make your head hurt. We aint the brightest ants at the picnic here, dontcha know. But come Monday, I think we'll all be a little happier.

In the meantime, please visit the sites under my links. I've added some new ones, and will be adding more. They're good places, every one, and would enjoy your attention.

For your weekend enjoyment, a little drunken ditty by Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies.

Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies: Show Me the Way to Go Home (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

Please support yr local independent businesses.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Mother Trucker

Be part of the in crowd. Take trucking lessons and head out on the open road. All the cool and rockin' kids dig truckers. It's true. Just look at the hats.

Yep. It's that time again.

You'd think I'd consider renaming this blog, what with all the fawning I do over a certain gruff old carney barker I keep referring to. Well, we like to be real predictable here at the Mountain. And since I posted covers of his songs yesterday, why not post The Man himself. Doing a trucking song. Written by Red Sovine. It's a tune about a truck driver who's...not all there.

As a bonus, and because I've been horribly lax in posting female artists, we have a little truckin' ditty by Miss Norma Jean (no, not the one you're thinking of). She aint exactly a country legend, as those things go, but quite a few legends aren't legends. Rockabilly daughter riding shotgun, we'll call it. What more do you need?

Tom Waits: Big Joe and Phantom 309 (mp3)

Norma Jean: Truck Driving Woman (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

Please feel free to purchase all yr truckstop favorites locally. And independently. It's better for you.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

There Aint No Devil, Just God When He's Drunk

Voices, I think the topic was. And Screamin' Jay Hawkins has got one. A more likely candidate than Mr. Johnson to have sold his soul, 'cept he probably wasn't at any crossroads. Stands to reason he was in some jukejoint, and the demon's name was Henry.

Screamin' Jay is spooky. Real spooky. During his shows,the man was carried onstage in a coffin.
"I Put a Spell On You" still stands as one of the eeriest songs of obsession and evil I can imagine. And it was a hit, and enduring classic. Deserves to be.

Hawkins wanted to be an Opera singer(obsessed, as he was, by Paul Robeson), but the dark lord must have had other plans.

It seems only natural, in retrospect, that Hawkins would have a go at some Tom Waits tunes. Why not? Both men featured in Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train. They're both of questionable mental stability. They have those...funny voices. And they're both obsessions of mine.

Jay does Tom

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Heart Attack and Vine (mp3)

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Whistling Past the Graveyard (mp3)

And an Old One

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Baptize Me In Wine (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

If Screamin' Jay Hawkins or Tom Waits figure in yr budget, please consider buying from your local independent record store. Some (noncomplete) guides can be found here and here.