Thursday, January 18, 2018

recommended gigs


Friday Jan 19 - Water Landing with Johnny Zig and the Force at the Double Down

Monday Jan 22 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday Jan 23 - the Pine Hill Haints, Pluralses, All Togethers, Slow Motion Cowboys, Halsey Harkins, HKG at the Dive Bar

Wednesday Jan 24 - the Psyatics, the Pine Hill Haints, Slow Motion Cowboys at the Double Down
Wednesday Jan 24 - the Rhyolite Sound with the Reeves Brothers at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Jan 27 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Huntridge Tavern
Saturday Jan 27 - the New Waves at the Double Down

Thursday Feb 1 - Rev Horton Heat, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Shanda and the Howlers at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Saturday Feb 3 - Bogtrotter's Union album release show at McMullan's Irish Pub

Thursday Feb 8 - Go Betty Go at the Beauty Bar

Saturday Feb 10 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger
Saturday Feb 10 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Friday Feb 16 - HaHa Tonka, the Unwieldies, Paige Overton at the Beauty Bar
Friday Feb 16 - Daijaiku, the Swank Bastards, the New Waves, Dr. Phobic at the Dive Bar
Friday Feb 16 - the All Togethers at the Huntridge

Saturday Feb 17 - The Gentlemen of Four Outs, Thee Swank Bastards and Shanda and the Howlers at the Double Down

Saturday Feb 24 - the Implosions, Sheiks of Neptune, the New Waves and Ave Army at the Dive Bar

Saturday Mar 17 - Franks'n'Deans, Sheiks of Neptune, Geezus Cryst and Free Beer, Left Unattended at the Double Down
Saturday Mar 17 - The Unwieldies and Bogtrotter's Union at the Golden Tiki

Saturday Mar 31 - the Swamp Gospel with the Psyatics (for the record release show!) and more at the Double Down

Thursday April 5 - the Legendary Shack Shakers at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 19 - the Terrorsaurs, Psyatics, Swank Bastards at the Double Down

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

The Knitters - The Modern Sounds of...

The Knitters were (are?) a side project of X, with John, Excene and DJ from that band, along with git-whiz Dave Alvin and stand-up bass-man Jonny Ray. Here they strip down their sound and go semi-acoustic as they cover and write old school country/folk/rockabilly tunes. This 2005 release is their sophomore effort, with their debut appearing 20 years previously in 1985, with this record  mining the same territory they did back then.

Here they open with a Link Wray rumble of chords for a few seconds in "Easy Goin' Sunday" before headin' to "Give Me Flowers While I'm Livin'", a goofy bit of folk/country highlighted by Alvin's electric baritone guitar solos. Doe takes lead vocals for his "Try Anymore", that has some fine acoustic guitar riffin' and X-like harmonies. X's "In This House That I Call Home" is given a re-working, with Alvin again lettin' loose on the baritone to great rockabilly-ish effect. Dave contributes the really fine, mid-tempo "Dry River", Excene's "Skin Deep Town" is a bit of silliness that I know that I've heard on something else, but I can't place it (it was on X's Live at the Whiskey album), and Albert Brumley's "Rank Stranger" is a sweet gospel ballad with more impressive guitar work and powerful call'n'answer vocals, making it one of the highlights of this record.

John and Dave's country-ish "The Call of the Wrecking Ball" was also done on X's Live At the Whiskey, Jimmy Driftwood's "Long Chain On" is another dramatic cover that they treat wonderfully, making it an additional fave from this record. They take Bill Anderson's country tune "I'll Go Down Swinging" and turn it into harmony-laden rockabilly, X's "Burning House of Love" is given the acoustic treatment, the traditional "Little Margaret" is a beautifully done, melodic, folk ballad, and then bring things to a close with a strange version of "Born to be Wild" that alternates from slow, acoustic country to fast rock and I'm not sure it really works, but it is an interesting experiment.

I am certainly a huge fan of X and dig a majority of the stuff that they have done, so it's only natural that this appeals to me, as well. Everyone's contributions are stellar (although I haven't really mentioned them, Jonny and DJ are a superb rhythm section) and the song choices, overall, are pretty damn great. Fun record!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Maddox Brothers and Rose, Volume 2

Called "America's most colorful hillbilly band", the Maddox Brothers and Rose did their best to live up to that slogan with their elaborate, custom made outfits and wild stage show. The group played country ("hillbilly") music, but did so at a time when there were no rules, so they blended plenty of old-world folk, pop, gospel and whatever else popped into their heads to create their own style.

The musicianship is somewhat simplistic (they learned how to play as they went), but it's strong and melodic and always fitting for the song. Nice steel and 6-string git-playin' throughout, plenty of mandolin'n'fiddle and they all harmonized with Rose's sweet voice. Sometimes I feel the harmonizing is almost too much - in an Andrew Sisters pop sense, - but overall, it's a fine sound. One gimmick that is definitely over-the-top is the jokin'n'laughin'n'cacklin'n'woopin' it up that dominates too many of the tunes. When they refrain from that, the folk/country melodies are catchy and nicely done.

This 30 song (!) CD is the natural companion to Volume One (guess that goes without saying) for a full picture on the early days of country/hillbilly music in the States. A little more pop-oriented than some may prefer, but a great snapshot of the burgeoning scene.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Reeves Brothers - King of Country Music

Pahrump's Reeves Brothers (Matt and Cole, along with unrelated bassist Kelly) are experts in traditional country music, having grown up in a family of players and being immersed in the music and culture for their entire lives. Their dedication to real C&W shows in their own music and lives gigs and this, their 2nd CD, is another fine example of modern cats taking up the mantle of the originals.

The CD sleeve does not hold much information, not even a listing of personnel - just the song titles and some thanks, so not much to go on other than just diggin' the music!

This time out they start with their proclamation of fealty to all things country in "Waltzes and Western Swing", complete with fiddles'n'pedal guitar and some fine git-pickin' from the brothers and some musical nods to their heroes. Of course, any self-respectin' country act has to sing about drinkin' and "Damn You Whiskey" has them honky-tonkin', singin' sad songs and sippin' the devil's brew - all while playin' some excellent guitar licks and singin' with just the right whiskey growl. Dig that fancy ending, too! Ya gotta have a road ballad or two, as well, which they do in "Mama You Raised a Ramblin' Man" and "Honky-Tonks and Cheap Motels". There's a live track from their Pahrump home base, The Hubb, that has them playing acoustically and bringing some excellent harmonies to the tune. There's another fine drinkin' number with top notch 6-string slingin'n'singin' in "C.C. Waterback" (with some help from Tony Martinez), a mandatory gamblin' tune (with superior steel guitar and Tele licks interminglin'), more road weary, travel tales in "Sober Up and Face the Night" and the title track "King of Country Music" (nice acoustic guitar pickin', steel guitar and fiddlin' here and a bit of the melody of "God Didn't Make Honky Tonk Angels" in the fade out) and it all winds up with peppy banjo pickin' in "Unclouded Day".

These brothers are the real thing and are right up there with the original country greats - see them whenever you can (they are a barrel of fun live) and pick up their CDs for some true C&W!

The Freaks of Nature - 7" EP

I've been meaning to write about this wild'n'wolly garage single since Thee Fourgiven played with these crazed cats way back in September but life keeps interfering. They blew me away with their live show and this single (with a slightly different line-up) is damn near as ferocious!

They did a great job with this 45 - the sound production is perfect for 60 garage'n'roll, with guitars galore, a frantic rhythm section and appropriately snotty'n'great vocals. Fuzz guitar dominates "Key To Your Heart"and they do a frenzied version of Thee Gentlemen's "Cryin' Shame" while still retaining it's garage swing and hip backin' vocals. They don't let up the pace even with slightly off-kilter rhythms on their own chord-driven "That's Alright" and the Grifs' "Keep Dreamin'" is another fuzz-filled piece of garage madness.

I love the fact that there are still great garage bands popping up around the world and these cats are right up there with the best! Grab this one while you can and a new 45 is due out at any time!

RIP Mike Carroll


Sad to hear of the passing of Poison 13/Lord High Fixers frontman Mike Carroll.

Greg Shaw (RIP) turned me on to Poison 13 well over 30 years ago and I immediately dug their mix of punk, blues and garage that I have listened to continuously ever since.

Later, while touring with the Tommyknockers, Laura Bennett would regale me with stories of the combined exploits of the Screamin' Sirens and Poison 13 and their off shoots.

I never knew Mike but have long been a fan. His legacy will remain.

Monday, January 15, 2018

RIP Edwin Hawkins


Edwin Hawkins, gospel star known for ‘Oh Happy Day,' dies at 74
 ---
"Oh Happy Day" was a great gospel/pop hit though I never knew much about Hawkins. Sad to hear of his passing.

Friday, January 12, 2018

the monks - let's start a beat! Live at Cavestomp 1999

The monks (officially, lower case "m") were American GI's who formed a beat band in Germany, found managers who helped them to meld their ideas into something wholly original, recorded an album, split up and were relegated to semi-obscurity until crazed garage freaks (especially Mike Stax in San Diego) discovered their madness, searched for and found the original members. This CD is a recording of their first ever show on American soil, at NY's Cavestomp in 1999. Despite some issues (most troubling was singer Gary's laryngitis), they put on a phenomenal show and played several more times in the ensuing years (including a Las Vegas show that gave me the inspiration to start playing guitar again after an eight year hiatus) before an inevitable breakup due to members passing away. Thankfully, this show was captured to prove that they did not lose any power or creativity in the several decades since their last gig!

The obvious opening of "monk time" is supremely powerful and their sound is perfect - totally monks sound, as if they were still at their height in 1966! Even via CD, this is damn near breath-taking! They blast right into "oh how to do now"and despite his illness, Gary's voice is great, his guitar is ferocious and Larry's keyboards are huge'n'noisy, while Dave (banjo), Roger (drums) and Eddie (bass) keep the primitive cave stomp going. "We Do Wie Du"and "Boys are Boys" follow before "Pretty Suzanne", which at the time was still unreleased and they stretch out the slow, hypnotic beat while Gary taunts "you're not in a hurry, are you"?! The sound is impeccable for the demented circus number "hushi pushie" and the truly psychotic "cuckoo", there is monstrous fuzz in "complication" and Gary improvises his monologue in "that's my girl" and lets out an insane guitar solo worthy of the Velvet Underground!

The group vocals, fuzz bass, crazed guitar and simple, 1-2-1-2-3, psycho beat in "shut up" is pretty damn menacing even before the group shouts out "SHUT UP!" but they lighten up in "i can't get over you" with its damn happy-sounding, nursery-rhyme-ish melody. Speaking of nursery rhymes, the maniacal "higgle-dy piggle-dy" is next, with an insane guitar solo, and then there is the tremelo'd guitar feedback takeoff that appropriately starts off the mostly-instrumental, tribal stomp number (Adam Ant must have listened to these guys!) "blast off!" before stretching out their hymn, "I Hate You", to give everyone some instrumental time - an ironic ending, as they were obviously having a blast. Not knowing any more songs, for the encore Gary calls out "let's start a beat" in the key of "G" and they wail! A fantastic, off-the-cuff finale to an amazing show!

Such an amazing combo! I wish they were still around to continue to show the uninitiated how it's done. A must for monks acolytes!

13th Floor Elevators - Easter Everywhere

This Texas band was certainly one of the trippiest groups of the 60's, especially outside of the San Francisco area. Led by the terrific voice of singer Roky Erickson, the group combined garage sounds with new psychedelic tones and effects (including their unique electric jug) to create an unforgettable, atmospheric backdrop to many acid drops. Of course, their hit, "You're Gonna Miss Me", appeared on their debut album but this follow up is at least as strong and possibly superior in some ways.

The trip begins with the somewhat droney, but immensely catchy, "Slip Inside This House" - fine melodies, terrific chorus, burbling jug and guitar lines interweaving with Roky's voice - truly powerful songwriting here. More fine and creative intermingling of guitar'n'vocal melodies in "Slide Machine", there's a beautiful and tender love song in "She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)", lead guitarist Stacey Sutherland takes lead vocals on his folk-rock-y "Nobody to Love" (with more cool guitar work and bongo-esque percussion), and side one of the vinyl ended with a slow, psychedelic version of Dylan's "Baby Blue".

Roky's "Earthquake" is a bit more garage-oriented, although still with psyche touches, he gives another lovely ballad in "Dust" (he did really have a way with melodies), and then there's the stompin' blues-rocker "Levitation" - one of their most potent tunes, easily and logically covered by punk bands in the 70's/early 80's to great effect. Love this song! Another breather with a heart-wrenchingly gorgeous serenade, "I Had to Tell You" co-written by Clementine Hall (jug player Tommy's sister or wife? She also sings on this one) before the psychedelic finale of "Pictures (Leave Your Body Behind)" - a Stones-y R'n'B number as seen through the Elevators' kaleidoscopic eyes!

Truly one of the best psych soundtrack albums ever!

The Essential Barbeque Bob

I definitely discovered Barbecue Bob via the blues calendar series and and was intrigued by his strong yet melodic voice and insistent, rhythmic 12 string guitar playing. His work in the 1920's and early '30's garnered a fair amount of popularity, although he currently is one of the more obscure early blues players. This may have to do with the fact that his guitar playing, while providing a powerful tempo behind his vocals, is not all that exceptional, overall. He does get a little fancier in numbers like "Goin' Up the Country", but still, his instrumental prowess does not really stand out.

The songs are acoustic country blues, hokum, and vaudeville-ish with more traditional blues mixed with goofs like "Diddle-Da-Diddle" (done with various other nonsensical words by plenty of others), greats like "Chocolate to the Bone" (with the line "got what it takes to make a monkey man leave his home") and a version of "Sittin' on Top of the World" in "I'm on My Way Down Home" (one of several numbers with the Georgia Cotton Pickers). He even does some light-hearted smack talkin' with his brother, Charlie, ala later Bo Diddley'n'Jerome is the two-parter "It Won't Be Long Now".

On Disc 2, he performs some rudimentary slide work on the lewd "Twistin' That Stuff", he mashes up many other songs in his take on "Motherless Chile Blues" (talking about getting his "hambone boiled" and "where did you stay last night" and "goin' to the river") and does the same for a lot of the other cuts here - whether he is doing an original version or just making things up as he goes, I couldn't say, but it does all work! I dig the raw-voiced Nellie Florence on "Jacksonville Blues" and "Midnight Weeping Blues" (she causes Bob to break out in uncontrollable laughter at one point) and his work with the Georgia Cotton Pickers helps add to his sound.

Although Bob has a fine voice and brings plenty of oomph to the tunes here, his simplistic playing does make a lot of the songs sound similar, especially over the course of 2 CDs. Still, a cool collection from this original blues cat.

R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders - Singing in the Bathtub

Crumb's Serenaders perform acoustic, old-timey ragtime/jazz/vaudeville numbers from the early 20th Century (along with occasional originals), with emphasis on banjo, mandolin, and guitar, with additional assistance at times from musical saw, accordion, harmonica, horns and strings. These are fun, upbeat, often silly tunes (like the title cut), with nice instrumental work ("Chile Blues") and some showbiz/circus overtures ("Dream of Heaven"). They bemoan their lack of popularity due to being out of step with modern times in "Suits Crybaby Blues", then throw in a bit of zydeco on the accordion/fiddle original tune "Shopping Mall", some nice steel guitar and group singing on "Hula Girl", "La Gima Polka" shows off some fancy banjo-polka-pickin' and they part ways with the farewell song "Hano Hano Hawaii".

Of course, there's plenty more here and all swingin' fun, in their old-timey kinda way.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

recommended gigs

Friday Jan 12 - Thee Swank Bastards at Rebar
Friday Jan 12 - The Super Zeroes and People's Whiskey at the Double Down

Saturday Jan 13 - the Delta Bombers with Will and the Hi Rollers at the Bunkhouse
Saturday Jan 13 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger
Saturday Jan 13 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki
Saturday Jan 13 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Sunday Jan 14 - the Scoundrels and Super Zeroes at the Dive Bar

Monday Jan 15 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Jan 17 - Dead Country Gentlemen and Kid You're No Fighter at the Griffin
Wednesday Jan 17 - Goldtop Bob at the Double Down

Friday Jan 19 - Water Landing with Johnny Zig and the Force at the Double Down

Monday Jan 22 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday Jan 23 - the Pine Hill Haints at the Dive Bar

Wednesday Jan 24 - the Psyatics, the Pine Hill Haints, Slow Motion Cowboys at the Double Down
Wednesday Jan 24 - the Rhyolite Sound with the Reeves Brothers at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Jan 27 - the Gentlemen of Four Outs at the Huntridge Tavern
Saturday Jan 27 - the New Waves at the Double Down

Thursday Feb 1 - Rev Horton Heat, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Shanda and the Howlers at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Saturday Feb 3 - Bogtrotter's Union album release show at McMullan's Irish Pub

Thursday Feb 8 - Go Betty Go at the Beauty Bar

Saturday Feb 10 - the Unwieldies at the Dillinger

Friday Feb 16 - HaHa Tonka, the Unwieldies, Paige Overton at the Beauty Bar
Friday Feb 16 - Daijaiku, the Swank Bastards, the New Waves, Dr. Phobic at the Dive Bar
Friday Feb 16 - the All Togethers at the Huntridge

Saturday Feb 24 - the Implosions, Shieks of Neptune and more at the Dive Bar

Saturday Mar 17 - Franks'n'Deans, Sheiks of Neptune, Geezus Cryst and Free Beer, Left Unattended at the Double Down
Saturday Mar 17 - The Unwieldies and Bogtrotter's Union at the Golden Tiki

Thursday April 5 - the Legendary Shack Shakers at the Beauty Bar

Thursday April 19 - the Terrorsaurs, Psyatics, Swank Bastards at the Double Down

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

RIP Fast Eddie Clarke


Former Motorhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke dies at the age of 67 after battle with pneumonia
---
Once again, way too young.
This band revolutionized heavy metal, punk and everything in between.
Getting the band back together in heaven, I guess...

Friday, January 05, 2018

24 Classic Blues Songs from the 1920's Vol 15

I have been collecting Blues Images calendars with the free CD for a number of years now and am never disappointed by either! The calendar offers ultra-cool images from ads for blues releases from the time and the CD always has high quality artists, usually with some newly discovered, previously unreleased (since the initial record, of course) tunes. This 24 song CD includes greats like Memphis Minnie, Tampa Red, Blind Willie Johnson, Charley Patton, Blind Blake, Tommy Johnson, the Memphis Jug Band and a plethora of others!

Of course, due to the time, this is all early, acoustic blues and, if you are a collector, you will probably own some of these songs already, but there are always some surprises (for me, anyway) and the comp always has the best possible sound and a nice selection.

Less obvious numbers include Johnnie Temple doing a fine imitation of Skip James on "The Evil Devil Blues", the Mississippi Moaner being true to his sobriquet in "It's Cold In China Blues", Rev. Steamboat Bill's Revival Singers sermonizing with "Happy as the Day is Long" and the acoustic pickin' of Hi Henry Brown on "Brown Skin Angel" and "Hospital Blues", to name a few.

Always a good way to start off your year! Collect them all!