Archive for the ‘Music that doesn’t suck’ Category


December 4, 2020

Yes, it’s that time of year again, and things have become so dire that it became necessary to make documentaries about Frank Zappa and Shane MacGowan to show us how to do it right.

Look here, brother — we’re not jivin’ you with that cosmik debris. Now is that a real poncho or a Sears poncho?


November 10, 2020

Continuing with our food theme, we consider the tale of three hungry fellas who got busted for boiling a pair of chickens in one of the geothermal features at Yellowstone National Park.

What, there wasn’t a Chik-fil-A in that neck of the peckerwoods? The National Park Service must be too busy kowtowing to the e-bike lobby to take care of important business. When Bubba has to boil his own birds at a campout, goddamnit all to hell anyway, the terrorists win.

Anyway, it proved a pricey meal. According to The Guardian, the three were banned from the park and received fines ranging from $540 to $1,250, plus probation.

And two did a short stretch in the stony lonesome, where the dining is anything but al fresco and the menu less inventive.

R.I.P, Jerry Jeff Walker

October 24, 2020

Scamp Walker has left the building.

Jerry Jeff finally got off of that L.A. freeway. But he had to get killed to do ’er.

“L.A. Freeway” wasn’t one of his songs. That was a Guy Clark number, like “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” Likewise, a lot of the songs I remember him for came from other musicians. “London Homesick Blues” (Gary P. Nunn). “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother” (Ray Wylie Hubbard). “Jaded Lover” (Chuck Pyle). “Night Rider’s Lament” (Michael Burton). And “Railroad Lady” (co-written with Jimmy Buffett). Etc.

“Mr. Bojangles” was the first actual Jerry Jeff tune I heard, by far his most famous, and I heard it from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

I got to say howdy to Jerry Jeff, briefly, at the Dirt Band’s 20th anniversary bash at Denver’s McNichols Arena, the same show where I met John Prine. Jerry Jeff was off the sauce then, or so we heard, and not at all the same fella who was so hammered he nearly fell off the stage during a concert years earlier in Greeley, when I was still pretending to go to college.

For my money, Roy Blount Jr. wrote the definitive Jerry Jeff story (The Early Years Edition).  Here’s a sample:

Not long ago Jerry Jeff telephoned my home in Massachusetts to report that he would be appearing in nearby Hartford the next weekend. My wife and I were out; our friend Rose took the message. “Where exactly in Hartford are you going to be?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” said Jerry Jeff. “Where exactly am I now?”

You get the picture. Religions have been founded on less. And Jerry Jeff was certainly one of our “high” priests Back in the Day®, with the live album “¡Viva Terlingua!” (recorded with The Lost Gonzo Band) containing most of the hymns. “Ridin’ High” was a close second.

Throat cancer nearly did for him a couple years ago. He managed to churn out another album (“It’s About Time”), but recently his voice went, and soon Jerry Jeff followed it, wherever it went. Peace to him, his family and friends, and his fans. Let’s sing him out with “Mr. Bojangles,” from the Dirt Band’s 50th anniversary show.

‘Make a joke and I will sigh. …’

September 18, 2020

By Cthulhu’s slimy tentacles! Can Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” really be 50 years old today?

This was one of the albums I used to drive my parents insane, along with Iron Butterfly’s “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida” and Led Zeppelin’s and Steppenwolf’s respective self-titled debuts. I’m surprised the family Telefunken stereo hi-fi console survived the prolonged and vicious beating I gave it.

Later, of course, I mellowed into the quiet flower child you’ve all come to know and love.

’Round about midnight

September 9, 2020

The dread Crusty County Snow Spiral of Doom. Photo by Hal Walter

A wind-driven rain blew us right out of bed last night about three hours after lights out.

I say “last night” because it was still dark. But it was just after midnight. And it sounded as though Poseidon was power-washing the house, or maybe shot-peening it, which probably doesn’t do much to harden stucco against the elements.

As I will never be smart, this was about the time it occurred to me that I probably should’ve taken down the various bird feeders hanging around and about El Rancho Pendejo, maybe cinched down the cover over the gas grill, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

But this morning, all the feeders and the grill cover remained in place. The only damage was to the plastic footlocker we use to store the cushions for our patio furniture; that sucker got blown over and one of the gas struts FUBARed.

The cushions, as you might deduce, got wet.

I estimate that we got a foot or two of rain, but since it was coming in sideways at warp 5 it only amounted to a quarter inch or so. We can expect more of the same later today, it seems. And with the weather widget showing 43° at 8:48 in the ayem it’s about as warm as it’s going to get.

About 12,000 Burqueños lost power last night, and the problem persists this morning. Khal S. reports that he and a few thousand of his fellow Santa Feos were back to kerosene lanterns, wood heat, and carrier pigeons too. Up north my man Hal Walter was likewise back to a traditional mountain lifestyle (freezing to death in the dark), and woke up to snow; the icing on the cake, as it were.

All in all, it seems a good day to stay indoors and listen to Miles Davis. Even if it’s not ’round about midnight.

Dump the bosses off your back

September 7, 2020


And a happy Labor Day to you and yours, comrades.

• One Big Union: The Industrial Workers of the World.

• Fascist v. centrist: A new “people’s party?”

• Utah Phillips: The Long Memory.

• New Mexicans on the dole: A Labor Day like no other.

• Lost wages: Income shrinks along with unions.

‘I Remember Everything’

June 12, 2020

Said to be the last song John Prine recorded. He wrote it with longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin.

Me, I don’t remember much. And a lot of what I do remember I’d like to forget.

But I don’t ever want to forget John Prine.

R.I.P., Little Richard

May 9, 2020

“A wop bop alu bop, a wop bam boom!”

Rolling Stone called it “what has to be considered the most inspired rock lyric ever recorded.” Some may disagree; it is a high bar to hop. But Little Richard was most definitely inspired, and one of a kind, a true trailblazer.

As Jim Dodge noted in “Not Fade Away”:

“Little Richard had returned to the Church, but because he was wearing lipstick and eye shadow the Church wasn’t sure what to do with him.”

Now he’s gone on ahead. That Big Band Beyond best have its game on. Wooooooo!

Stay away

April 25, 2020

R.I.P., John Prine

April 7, 2020

That Next World Orchestra just keeps getting bigger and better.

I met John Prine once, at the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 20th-anniversary show at Denver McNichols Arena in 1986, and don’t I wish I could have a do-over for those few moments.

My guitar and I were butchering a few choice selections from his first, self-titled album and “Sweet Revenge” just this afternoon.

Well, mostly it was me. Wasn’t the guitar’s fault. Sure as shit wasn’t John Prine’s fault. Plenty of people — poets, musicians, authors, and journalists — would call it a career after writing a line as good as “There’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes.” He wrote whole albums that good and just kept on writing them.

Condolences and peace to all who loved him. This ol’ man has finally gone to town. Here’s The New York Times obit. And here’s a note from John’s wife, Fiona.