Thursday, December 31, 2009

Don't Let Us Get Sick; Don't Let Us Get Old; Don't Let Us Get Stupid, All Right? (or, Happy New Year 2010, Mofo!)

Don't let us get sick
Don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight

The sky was on fire
When I walked to the mill
To take up the slack in the line
I thought of my friends
And the troubles they've had
To keep me from thinking of mine

Don't let us get sick
Don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight

The moon has a face
And it smiles on the lake
And causes the ripples in Time
I'm lucky to be here
With someone I like
Who maketh my spirit to shine

Don't let us get sick
Don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid, all right?
Just make us be brave
And make us play nice
And let us be together tonight

Warren Zevon, "Don't Let Us Get Sick" 
from the album "Life'll Kill Ya" (2000)

Kicking out the Jams, Mofo remembers the family, the friends, the family of friends, and the friends of family that we lost from 2000-2009...

Remember to Kick out the Jams in 2010, Mofo!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

3 X 3 Table of Vinyl (or, Flipping & Flipping & Flipping at Antone's)

Stop #2 on my tour of Texas record stores was Antone's Record Shop in Austin, TX. With the best vinyl collection of blues, Cajun, rockabilly, funk, classic country, Texas music, etc. for many a mile, I could have spent a small fortune. I tried to restrain myself and in the end only picked up 9 records:

[Click on the picture to see higher resolution.]

While I had about 18 albums in the "to be considered pile", I chopped the acquisition list down to 9 to stay within budgetary constraints. I purchased 7 country albums, a mid-70's Dayton, OH funk record, and a new, sealed mid-period Zevon album (from upper left to lower right):

1. Faron Young – Here’s Faron Young (1968)
2. Ohio Players – Fire (1975)
3. Red Sovine – Teddy Bear (1976)
4. Hank Snow – I’ve Been Everywhere (1963)
5. Ferlin Husky – One More Time (1971)
6. Bobby Bare – Sleeper Wherever I Fall (1978)
7. Warren Zevon – Sentimental Hygiene (1987)
8. Bill Anderson – Don’t She Look Good (1973)
9. Bobby Bare – (Margie’s at) the Lincoln Park Inn (1969)

It will be fun to drop the needle on each of these upon our return home.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Can We Please Blame Ringo? (or, Who Killed Rock 'N' Roll, Why an' what's the reason for?) [book review]

"Not us," says the angry crowd,
Whose screams filled the arena loud.
"It's too bad he died that night
But we just like to see a fight.
We didn't mean for him t' meet his death,
We just meant to see some sweat,
There ain't nothing wrong in that.
It wasn't us that made him fall.
No, you can't blame us at all."

Who killed Davey Moore,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Who Killed Davey Moore?" by Bob Dylan
Copyright ©1964; renewed 1992 Special Rider Music

I read Elijah Wald's new book during the fall, but am only now getting around to writing a few words about a book that I highly recommend. It was one of the more interesting "big picture" music-related books that I have read in recent years and it is good follow up to Mr. Wald's previous book, Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues that I also highly recommend. Both of these books consider subjects far more expansive than the titles imply. Other than being known for misleading book titles, Elijah Wald should also be known as a source of some of the more provocative commentary on the trajectory of, and trends in, 20th century American music.

In his current book, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock n Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music, he does a decent job of building a case (really several different cases) about why and how the river of American music flowed in certain channels over the course of the century. While he doesn't really get around to his explanation for how the Beatles might be a culprit in the racial Balkanization of current American music and therefore the destruction of Rock 'N' Roll until the very end of the book, the preceding chapters provide some interesting takes on all sorts of things related to the century's popular music.

Much of the book is a compelling, critical essay that incorporates recent scholarship on popular music and Wald's reconception of various influential forces (economic, social, the state, and technology in particular) and how they conditioned the music of the 1900s. From his discussions of these specific factors (the Depression, recording and transmission technologies, the World Wars, Prohibition, gender, migration patterns, geography, urbanization, industrialization, the pathologies of field recordists and amateur musicologists, etc.), we gain a fair bit of insight into developments over the course of the decades that got us to where we are today--in a world of Rock 'N' Roll being nearly solely the domain of white people in the wake of the splintering off of R&B and the rapid rise of what would become hip-hop. He demonstrates how the split is a relatively recent phenomenon and points his fingers at the various culprits (individual and societal) responsible for Rock's fragmentation in the recent generations (and the "forced categorization" of different types of music earlier in the century).

A final matter-this book is also a pleasure to read because Wald is a great writer. One might not dig his unconventional take on American music, but his well-sourced and clearly-written book should be read by any music fan that has an eye toward the long view of the role of popular music in American society. Highly recommended.

Read out the Jams, Mofo!

Monday, December 28, 2009

*My Top 30 Concerts of the 2000s (and some that were left behind)*

I was fortunate enough to see approximately 90 or so concerts during the decade (counting whole festivals as one concert and not including various smaller-scale shows/local bands in a variety of locations). There were also some shows that got away - I had tickets for them and couldn’t make, or just couldn’t make a show/tour.

*My favorite 30 Concerts of the Decade (in no particular order)*

• Bob Dylan with Asleep at the Wheel, March 31, 2000 Rochester, MN (my 25th Dylan show, my wife’s 15th, my mother in law's first and last. RIP J.)
• Neil Young & Crazy Horse (w/ Willie Nelson on guitar for some songs), at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic/Campout, north of Austin, TX, Summer 2004
• Guided by Voices, the band’s final 2 shows, The Metro, Chicago, Dec. 30th & Dec. 31st 2004,
• Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings (one of Waylon’s last concerts) Grand Casino, Hinckley, MN, 2001
• Alejandro Escovedo, 7th St. Entry, Minneapolis, 2000 [my 10th Escovedo show]
• Merle Haggard – UFO Festival, Roswell, NM 2004, (also sat in on guitar for entire Willie Nelson set)
• Billy Joe Shaver, Smith's Old Bar, Atlanta, Spring 2000
• Los Huracanes del Norte, Queretaro Estado Feria, Mexico, 2002
• The Mountain Goats, The Slowdown, Omaha, NE, Fall 2007
• The Dead, 3 shows at Red Rocks, CO, Summer 2003
• John Prine, Washington Pavillion, Sioux Falls, SD 2002
• Elvis Costello, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Summer 2009
• Plastilina Mosh, Aguascalientes, Mexico, Estadio Terreno, 2003
• The Bad Plus, Flynn Space, Burlington, VT,2006
• The Hold Steady, The Slowdown, Omaha, NE, Spring 2009
• Del McCoury, Wintergrass, Tacoma, WA, February 2002
• The Flatlanders, The Lensic, Santa Fe, NM, Spring 2004
• The White Stripes, Bell Center, Montreal, QB, Fall 2005
• Richard Buckner, The Launchpad, Albuquerque, NM, Spring 2001
• Built to Spill, Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque, NM, Summer 2006
• Ralph Stanley, The Paramount, Santa Fe, NM, Fall 2004
• The Sleepy Jackson, The Black Cat, Washington DC, 2004
• White Denim, High Noon Saloon, Madison, November 2009
• Bonnie "Prince" Billy, The Launchpad, Albuquerque, NM 2004
• J.J. Cale with James McMurtry, The Paramount, Santa Fe, 2005
• Patti Smith, First Avenue, 2 nights of shows, December 2000
• Camper van Beethoven w/Cracker, The Paramount, Santa Fe, Spring 2005
• Ska-P with Panteon Rococo, Queretaro, Mexico, Gallos Blancos Stadium, 2003
• Dave Rawlings Machine, The Waiting Room, Omaha, NE, December 2009,
• Jaguares, Gimnasio Lopez, Aguascalientes, Mexico, 2002
• Scott H. Biram, The Triple Door, San Marcos, TX, December 2009

*Tours/Shows that I had tickets for but unfortunately had to sell or just plain missed for some reason (these are the ones that all still pain me)*

• Paul Westerberg 2002 tour
• David Bowie 2002 & 2004 tours
• TV on the Radio, First Avenue, 2006 & 2008
• Tom Waits tours in 2004, 2006, and 2008
• Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Mexico City, 2003
• Leonard Cohen 2008 tour
• Luna farewell tour 2004-05
• The Pixies 2004 reunion tour
• Bob Dylan (Ames 2002, Sioux Falls 2005, Lincoln 2006)
• Merle Haggard, Isleta Casino, New Mexico, 2005
• The Hold Steady/Drive-by Truckers tour, First Avenue, 2 nights, fall 2008

List out the Jams, Mofo!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

*My Top 175 Albums of the 2000s (25 in rank-order + 150 honorable mentions in alphabetical-order)*

*My Top 25 albums of the 2000s*

1. TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain (2006): TVotR put out three top-notch albums during the decade and their second release succeeds at many different levels. All of the guitars, effects, percussion, bass lines, and vocals are in just the right place to my ears. But what seals the deal? The most awesome, twisted lyrics set inside the great music. My good friend David Bowie and I both give this our album of the decade designation.

2. The Mountain Goats – Tallahassee (2002): John Darnielle has been called the “best non-hip hop lyricist writing today” by Sasha Frere-Jones in The New Yorker, while others have compared him to Raymond Carver. Regardless, this album and its tale of two married alcoholics and love gone wrong in Florida is literary, brutal, spare, and evokes Carver’s Cathedral and Russell Banks's Trailer Park in its simple, haunting beauty.

3. Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day (2003): This album is a great introduction to one of the finest and hardest-working bands in the land today. Yes, it is bold and raw in its description of the “Southern thang” and the human endeavor in general, but it is also badass rock-n-roll. [Note: I almost put "The Dirty South" by the Drive-By Truckers in this slot.]

4. The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls of America (2006): Craig Finn and the boys maybe didn’t set out to make [wait, maybe they did] several outstanding albums that perfectly capture many nice and not-so-nice facets of upper Midwestern teen & 20-something life, but they sure pulled it off. This one is the best of their consistently strong output. [Note: I almost put "Separation Sunday" by The Hold Steady in this slot.]

5. The White Stripes – White Blood Cells (2001): An album that still sounds fresh 8+ years on. Proof that sometimes a good band actually gains widespread popular acclaim every once in a while. I listened to this album nearly every day for many months while living in India in 2001/02 after having them recommended to me by a fellow music fan at a Guided by Voices show in 2000. Jack White will always make me think of the northern Indian plains and my growing fear of rickshaws.

6. Bob Dylan – Love & Theft (2001): A nice change of direction for Robert Z. Or is it a return to the roots? Or is it a multi-leveled guidebook to the River of American Song? There is some good New, Weird America to be found here on this album that was released 9-11-2001.

7. Molotov – Dance and Dance Denso (2003): This politically-charged Mexican, rock/rap/metal/punch/roots band delivers a masterpiece. This is an album meant to be played very loud, pinche gringo puñeteros. Be ready to lower your shoulder and let those heads bleed.

8. Wilco –Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002; but circulating widely in 2001 due to record company dispute): Sure to be near the top of many lists. It is quite the perfect album. Hard to believe even now that Reprise refused to release it. It was originally supposed to be released on 9-11-2001 before it got shelved by the label...but in many ways it became the album (along with Dylan's L&T) most associated with 9-11 for me and plenty of other people anyway.

9. PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000): Float away with Polly Jean. An album that should be listened to on a state highway in the Southwest as the sun begins to set on a crisp autumn day. Turn it up.

10. Alejandro Escovedo – The Boxing Mirror (2006): While No Depression named him the “Artist of the Decade” in 1998, it is his 6th album that puts everything in the right place in the new decade. Only a few years before this album we almost lost him as he collapsed on stage in Phoenix and then battled the effects of untreated Hepatitis C. Then he rises again with this release. Outstanding.

11. The Fall – The Real, New Fall LP (formerly Country on the Click) (2004): Mark E. Smith doesn’t like you. And he doesn’t give one flying fuck whether you like this album. Go away now. Seriously, go away now. Get out of here.

12. Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) (2001): Gillian and David Rawlings made the most efficient, best album of the decade. Gorgeous, wonderful music. What more can be said? Play it while sitting on your back porch. Or in front of a fire. Or better yet, on your back porch and in front of a cast iron fire pit fire.

13. Mclusky – Mclusky do Dallas (2002): What a band, etc. What a legend, etc. A great album that starts kicking you and keeps kicking you to the curb. Should be required listening for all that have forgotten how to rock (and write clever lyrics).

14. Scott H. Biram – The Dirty Old One Man Band (2005): An amazing guitarist. An amazing lyricist. This album alone is worth more than the last 10 years of everything that has been played on pop country radio. An album that should be sold with its own bottle of house whiskey taped to the cover.

15. Gogol Bordello – Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike (2005): All your sanity and wits they will all vanish. I promise.

16. Ry Cooder – Chavez Ravine (2005): An album that plays out like a novella. In a good way. In a very good way. I have sat in the outfield bleachers at Dodger Stadium and this album tells me how that came to be. Plus Ry Cooder brings the chops and the guest players to this wonderful concept album.

17. Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years (2009): Take the trip with SFA. There are many stops along the way. Inconvenience. What the fuck?

18. Warren Zevon – Life’ll Kill Ya (2000): The last truly great Zevon album. The album that would take on much more real life significance a few years later for Zevon, but not in a good way. RIP Warren.

19. Peter Rowan and Tony Rice – Quartet (2007): Nothing much new here overall, but still.... Two wizened veterans come together to make yet another bluegrass album of covers, standards, and their own compositions. But the sound, oh the sweet, wonderful sound! Tony’s guitar and Peter’s voice are so good you are going to have to scrape the sugar burn off your woofers and tweeters after listening to this incredible recording.

20. Robyn Hitchcock – Spooked (2004): A newer era Hitchcock album that harkens back to the earlier days of the Egyptians in terms of the richness of the sounds, though this album has the fine pickin’ and singin’ of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings throughout. Only Robyn can apologize to his television for TV-infidelity and make the numerous scatological references seem so comforting.

21. Billy Joe Shaver – The Earth Rolls On (2001): An album about and for Eddy and Brenda — Billy Joe’s son and on-again-off-again wife — who had both died (heroin overdose and cancer respectively) in the recent years before this album came out. It is a strong statement from an artist, a father, and a human being. Billy Joe is criminally unknown as a songwriter and musician.

22. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods (2005): While some folks didn’t much like this offering from the women of S-K, I really liked the crunchy riffs and volume 11 mentality of this scorcher of an album. Nothing quite rocked the mid-decade like this swan song from one of the best rock bands of the modern era.

23. The Black Keys – Rubber Factory (2004): Some more minimalist guitar and drums on the list. Raw and digs at you like abrasions on the knuckles of your fingers. Just don’t bump that hand.

24. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Master and Everyone (2003): A sparse and open release from Will Oldham. Quiet and contemplative and haunting and focused—the usual from this former Palace Brother.

25. Johnny Cash – American III: Solitary Man (2000): The last of the great Rubin-produced releases. While there would be moments of brilliance on #4 and #5 (and the Unearthed box too), American III found Johnny with a near-full voice and a consistently strong batch of songs.

*The Next 150 Albums Deserving Honorable Mention (alphabetically-ordered)*

• 16 Horsepower – Secret South (2000)
• Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker (2000)
• Ryan Adams – Jacksonville City Nights (2005)
• Amadou & Mariam -- Dimanche a Bamako (2005)
• The Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
• The Bad Plus – These are the Vistas (2003)
• The Bad Plus – Give (2004)
• Blind Boys of Alabama -- Spirit of the Century (2001)
• Bobby Bare Sr. – The Moon is Blue (2006)
• Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Sings Greatest Palace Music (2004)
• Bonnie “Prince” Billy -- The Letting Go (2006)
• Scott H. Biram – Graveyard Shift (2006)
• Scott H. Biram – Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever (2009)
• The Black Keys- Thickfreakness (2003)
• Billy Bragg and Wilco, Mermaid Avenue Volume II (2000)
• Richard Buckner – Dents and Shells (2004)
• Built to Spill -- Ancient Melodies of the Future (2001)
• Built to Spill -- You in Reverse (2006)
• T-Bone Burnett – The True False Identity (2006)
• Kate Bush – Aerial (2005)
• Bjork – Vespertine (2002)
• David Bowie – Heathen (2002)
• David Bowie – Reality (2003)
• John Cale – HoboSapiens (2004)
• Glen Campbell – Meet Glen Campbell (2008)
• Neko Case & Her Boyfriends – Furnace Room Lullaby (2000)
• Neko Case – Blacklisted (2002)
• Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
• Johnny Cash – American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)
• Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds -- Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus (2004)
• Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (2008)
• Centro-Matic -- South San Gabriel Songs/Music (2000)
• Centro-Matic – Love You Just the Same (2003)
• Manu Chao -- Proxima Estacion: Esperanza (2001)
• Les Claypool's Frog Brigade – Live Frogs: Set 1 (2001)
• Ry Cooder – I, Flathead (2008)
• Cracker – Forever (2002)
• Cracker -- Countrysides (2003)
• The Dandy Warhols – Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia (2000)
• The Decemberists – Her Majesty, the Decemberists (2003)
• Dengue Fever -- Venus on Earth (2008)
• Drive-By Truckers – Southern Rock Opera (2001)
• Drive-By Truckers – The Dirty South (2004)
• Drive-By Truckers – A Blessing and a Curse (2006)
• Bob Dylan – Modern Times (2006)
• Alejandro Escovedo – A Man Under the Influence (2001)
• Alejandro Escovedo – Real Animal (2008)
• Firewater – The Golden Hour (2008)
• The Fall – Reformation Post TLC (2007)
• The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
• The Flatlanders – Now Again (2002)
• Bill Frisell – The Willies (2002)
• Bill Frisell – The Intercontinentals (2003)
• Future of the Left – Travels with Myself and Another (2009)
• Garage a Trois – Emphasizer (2003)
• Garage a Trois – Outre Mer (2005)
• Jimmie Dale Gilmore – One Endless Night (2000)
• Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Come on Back (2005)
• Gogol Bordello – Super Taranta! (2007)
• Guided by Voices – Isolation Drills (2001)
• Guided by Voices – Earthquake Glue (2003)
• Merle Haggard – If I Could Only Fly (2000)
• Merle Haggard -- Roots, Vol. 1 (2001)
• PJ Harvey – Uh Huh Her (2004)
• PJ Harvey – White Chalk (2007)
• Levon Helm – Dirt Farmer (2007)
• Levon Helm -- Electric Dirt (2009)
• Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 – Olé! Tarantula (2006)
• Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 – Goodnight, Oslo (2009)
• The Hives - Veni Vidi Vicious (2000)
• The Hold Steady – Almost Killed Me (2004)
• The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday (2005)
• The Hold Steady – Stay Positive (2008)
• Iron & Wine – The Creek Drank the Cradle (2002)
• Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days (2004)
• George Jones — Hits I Missed And One I Didn’t (2005)
• Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings -- 100 Days, 100 Nights (2007)
• Salif Keita – Moffou (2002)
• Kinky – Kinky (2002)
• Kings of Leon – Youth and Young Manhood (2003)
• Lambchop – Nixon (2000)
• The Libertines – Up the Bracket (2002)
• Lhasa – The Living Road (2003)
• Bob Log III -- Log Bomb (2003)
• Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose (2004)
• Los de Abajo -- Cybertropic Chilango Power (2002)
• Los Super 7 – Canto (2001)
• Los Super 7 – Heard it on the X (2005)
• Charlie Louvin -- Charlie Louvin (2007)
• Low – Things We Lost in the Fire (2001)
• Luna – Romantica (2002)
• Stephen Malkmus -- Face The Truth (2005)
• Stephen Malkmus – Real Emotional Trash (2008)
• The Mars Volta – Deloused in the Comatorium (2003)
• The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute (2005)
• Del McCoury – Del and the Boys (2001)
• James McMurtry – We Can’t Make it Here (2005)
• Medeski/Scofield/Martin/Wood – Out Louder (2006)
• Medeski, Martin, & Wood – Radiolarians II (2009)
• Morphine -- The Night (2000)
• The Mountain Goats – All Hail West Texas (2002)
• The Mountain Goats – We Shall all be Healed (2004)
• The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree (2005)
• Willie Nelson & Ray Price – Run that by Me One More Time (2003)
• Willie Nelson -- You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker (2006)
• Randy Newman – Harps and Angels (2008)
• Robert Pollard – Choreographed Man of War (2001)
• Robert Pollard – From a Compound Eye (2006)
• The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic (2000)
• The New Pornographers -- Electric Version (2003)
• John Prine & Mac Wiseman – Standard Songs for Average People (2007)
• O’Death – Broken Limbs, Hymns, and Sin (2008)
• Plastilina Mosh – Juan Manuel (2000)
• Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
• Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
• Jay Reatard – Matador Singles ’08 (2008)
• Peter Rowan and Tony Rice – You Were There for Me (2004)
• John Scofield – Uberjam (2002)
• The Shins – Oh, Inverted World (2001)
• Silver Jews – Tanglewood Numbers (2005)
• Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (2008)
• Sleater-Kinney – All Hands on the Bad One (2000)
• Sleater-Kinney – One Beat (2002)
• The Sleepy Jackson – Lovers (2003)
• Elliot Smith – Figure 8 (2000)
• The Soft Boys – Nextdoorland (2002)
• Sonic Youth – Murray Street (2002)
• Son Volt -- Okemah and the Melody of Riot (2005)
• Spoon – Kill the Moonlight (2002)
• Spoon – Gimme Fiction (2005)
• Bruce Springsteen – We Shall Overcome/The Seeger Sessions (2006)
• Super Furry Animals – Rings Around the World (2001)
• Super Furry Animals – Phantom Power (2003)
• System of a Down – Toxicity (2001)
• Trio Beyond – Saudades (2006)
• Richard Thompson – The Old Kit Bag (2003)
• Richard Thompson – Front Parlour Ballads (2005)
• Richard Thompson – Sweet Warrior (2007)
• Tinariwen – The Radio Tisdas Sessions (2001)
• Tinariwen – Aman Iman: Water is Life (2007)
• Tool – Lateralus (2001)
• TV on the Radio – Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes (2004)
• TV on the Radio – Dear Science (2008)
• Townes Van Zandt – In the Beginning (2003) [posthumous release]
• Various Artists – O Brother Where Art Thou? [soundtrack] (2001)
• Various Artists -- Team America: World Police [soundtrack] (2004)
• Julieta Venegas – Bueninvento (2000)
• Tom Waits – Alice (2002)
• Tom Waits -- Blood Money (2002)
• Tom Waits —Real Gone (2004)
• Gillian Welch – Soul Journey (2003)
• Paul Westerberg/Grandpaboy – Stereo/Mono (2002)
• Whiskeytown -- Pneumonia (2001)
• Wilco – A Ghost is Born (2004)
• The White Stripes – De Stijl (2000)
• The White Stripes – Elephant (2003)
• Woven Hand – Consider the Birds (2004)
• Woven Hand – Ten Stones (2008)
• Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)
• Yo la Tengo – And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (2000)
• Warren Zevon -- The Wind (2003)

List out the Jams, Mofo!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Jams, Mofo" Book Club Vol. 1 Selections (or, Read Out the Jams, Mofo!)

Kicking Out the Jams, Mofo is interested in starting a music-related book club. While perusing the aisles of a local bookstore last evening, I found 6 music-related books that I have not read as of yet, but that would make perfect selections for the inagural meetings of the club. Here is what I purchased (click on the links to access's new and used availability):

A biography of Warren Zevon.

A biography of Hank Williams.

Merle Haggard's autobiography.

The collected interviews of Tom Waits.

A biography of Townes Van Zandt.

Heylin's followup book to From the Velvets to the Voidoids.

I think that I will just go ahead and read these in the order listed.  Pick yourself up some copies and join the Jams, Mofo book club... We'll talk about the Zevon book in mid-January.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Well I Never Been to Heaven, But I Been to Oklahoma (or, Hoyt Axton 1938-1999)

Today, I made a quick winter vacation shopping foray to Sundance Records in San Marcos, TX, where I picked up 6 new LP's. Three of them are records by Hoyt Axton.

I am looking forward to dropping my new copy of Hoyt's 1971 album "Joy to the World" on the turntable, which contains "The Pusher".

Hoyt Axton, kickin' out the used-to-be-a-hit-for-Steppenwolf-and-made-famous-by-Easy Rider-but-I-wrote the-damn-song-and-I-sure-sound-a-bit-like-Captain-Beefheart-here jams, mofo!

Hoyt charted a dozen or so songs on the Billboard "Hot Country Songs" list between 1973 and 1981. His duet with Renee Armand, "Boney Fingers", went to #8 for him in 1974.

His two best known songs (and chart-topping hits) were made famous by Three Dog Night: "Never Been to Spain" and "Joy to the World".

Hoyt, an Oklahoma native, was often in the public eye as an actor. Early in his acting career, he appeared on an episode of Bonanza where he sang a few songs.

He also had TV roles on shows such as WKRP in Cincinnati, I Dream of Jeannie, Dukes of Hazzard, Diff'rent Strokes, Murder, She Wrote and The Bionic Woman. He also had minor character parts in a number of movies, including We're No Angels and Gremlins.

Hoyt Trivia: His mother, Mae Boren Axton, a fellow member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, co-wrote the Elvis Presley hit "Heartbreak Hotel".

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It was a different time (or, The Band, Ed Sullivan, and Cripple Creek, oh my!)

In large part due to the 2nd encore performance of "The Weight" by David Rawlings, Gillian Welch, & 3/5ths of Old Crow Medicine Show last night in Omaha, I was inspired to listen to Side A of each of the first two The Band albums today.

40 years ago and some change, The Band played the Ed Sullivan Show on November 2nd, 1969.

A very young-looking The Band, kickin' out some abbreviated-for-60s-TV jams, mofo!

Do make sure to pick up a copy, if you don't have one already, of Leven Helm's 2009 release "Electric Dirt" which just barely got edged out as my album of the year.

Hopefully in the months ahead, I can finally get around to reading Levon's 2000 autobiography "This Wheel's on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band".

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"Best" Interview with a Musician during the Decade (or, Worst Interview with a "Musician" during the Decade)

Gene Simmons talked with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air in February, 2002. It was this decade's Frost/Nixon discussion equivalent. Do you remember where you were when you first heard it?

Get the MP3 here if you care to hear the infamous interview for the sake of 2000s decade nostalgia!

Has anyone heard when John Darnielle and Dave Eggers will finish the screenplay based on the interview? Is Jim Jarmusch still going to direct? Is Bill Murray still going to play Simmons? Is Julie Delpy still going to play Gross?

Next post I'll link to the companion interviews: Bob Edwards chatting with Paul Stanley and Mara Liasson speaking with Peter Criss. And, if I can find it, I'll link to Ace Frehley answering the questions of Scott Simon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ouch! That hurts! (or, Pop Country infection treated with the Thin Man from the West Plains)

I had the misfortune of having to hear not one but two modern pop country songs over the last couple of days as I was in establishments that had current country radio stations tuned in. Following the advice in my "Hank Williams Handbook of Medicine", I rushed home and self-medicated with some Porter Wagoner. So far, so good. Recovery is going nicely and my fever has broken. The Bill Anderson-penned "The Cold, Hard Facts of Life" went to #2 on the Billboard Country & Western chart for Porter in 1967.

Porter Wagoner died in 2007 only a few months after hitting 80. That same year, however, he released "Wagonmaster" on the Anti- label, which is a stellar cap (similar to how it was for Cash with the Rubin-produced American Recordings albums prior to his death) to a nice music career. Seek it out, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

DBT! DBT! DBT! DBT! DBT! (or, Yet another best of the decade preview post, this time from "The Dirty South")

The Drive-By Truckers kickin' out the jams, mofo!

One of my favorite bands from the 2000s. They will have several albums on my best of the decade list.