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

Shine on, harvest moon

September 13, 2019

For me and my gal.

And on Friday the 13th, too. Boogity boogity boogity.

Paddy on the railway

June 29, 2019

“For it’s ‘Paddy do this,’ and ‘Paddy do that. …'”

This fellow waves at me every time I cycle past. And Paddy waves back. ’Tis no day at the beach, to be workin’ on the railway.

The Doctor is out

June 6, 2019

R.I.P., Dr. John, a.k.a. Mac Rebennack. From “Gris-Gris” to Popeye’s Chicken to Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem in just 77 years? I can’t top that, me. The Next World Orchestra just keeps getting biggerer and betterer.

Riding the (temperature) range

April 15, 2019

Everything’s growing in the yard, including
the amount of time I spend mowing it.

Yesterday was one of those days when you stare into the kit drawer thinking, “Fuck it, I’ll just take it all.”

The temperature was 33 degrees when I first checked in the ayem, and topped out at 74. That’s quite a range. Had it been a song, not even Roy Orbison could’ve sung it.

Steelman Eurocross No. 1 on the high side of Tramway Lane.

Oddly, it never felt quite that warm; not to me, anyway. El Rancho Pendejo is a dark house, lodged at the bottom of a cul-de-sac, and cool morning air drifts down the hill and surrounds the joint like bad news, delivering an inaccurate perception of the actual conditions outside.

Thus I whiled away the morning serving the cats, performing domestic chores, and shouting at various websites, and didn’t start my ride until noonish.

I set out with arm and knee warmers. But while I pulled the arm bits off toward the end, the knee ones stayed on, in accordance with the Bostick Rule, which went something like “Cover your knees under 65 degrees.”

What a beautiful day for a two-hour ride on a cyclocross bike*, though. A little pavement, a little dirt, a lot of laughs. You won’t catch me crying on a day like that.

* Batteries not included.

Cool cats

April 4, 2019

Mister Jones and me, stumbling through the barrio.

Oof. The allergies are fierce. I slept OK last night, thanks to a hit of Benadryl, but the previous night I woke up at midnight with my nose running like a Democrat after the White House.

Snorting and snuffling like a hog hunting truffles, I had to relocate to the spare bedroom so that Herself could bag the Z’s she needs to help Darth Goodhair run the Energy Department.

And I felt like hammered shit most of yesterday, so none of the ol’ bikey ridey for Your Humble Narrator. In fact, I suspect that a two-hour trail ride through the junipers may have triggered the late-night snotlocker meltdown.

But we were talking about cool cats, and so here’s the tale of a Scottish cycle tourist who made a new friend on his two-wheeled trip around the world.

I suggested a global bicycle tour to Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and his adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and they told me I could fuck right off with that shit and bring them something to delicious to eat at once, if not sooner.

Also, here’s Marc Maron’s interview with T Bone Burnett, a very cool cat indeed who’s taking a hiatus from production to release his first album in 11 years, “The Invisible Light.”

Burnett’s chat with Maron covers a lot of waterfront, from the Beat Generation to Jackson Pollock, Jimmie Rodgers to “True Detective.” Did you know that Robert Johnson’s real name was Dusty Spencer? Or that the blues came from Texas? That mariachi music comes from the French?

Me neither. Maybe it’s the Benadryl talking. Just what I need, another voice in my head.

White-line fever

February 20, 2019

Base camp at the overflow area in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, circa 2004.

It’s been a chilly, damp winter in Albuquerque, which isn’t saying much.

Still, it grates after a while, and never more so than during February, a month that is simultaneously too short and too long.

Herself has been to Costa Rica, the neighbors just fled to Mexico, and some other friends beat feet all the way to France.

And yet here I sit (no, this is not a poem, and it is specifically not that poem), rattling the bars on my window of opportunity and losing arguments with the voices in my head.

I’ve written often and at length about my irrational hatred for February, and I was getting set to do it again when I realized, “Hey, I’ve written often and at length about my irrational hatred for February. Why don’t I turn it into a podcast?”

Which I did. This is it. You’re welcome. Now hand me the snow shovel on your way out, would you? I want to smack myself in the head with it.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Editorial notes: The “Mad Dog Unleashed” column headlined “On the Road Again: Frown Lines Search for a Few Tan Lines,” which is my onion at the bottom of this bitter pot of bitch stew, first appeared in the February 2004 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. My line about February having roots in the French “febrile” is, as you may already know, complete and utter bullshit. The Cactus Cup has returned to McDowell Mountain Regional Park since that 2004 column — this year’s edition is slated for March 8-10. And finally, did you know that Peter “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow, pedal steel player for The Flying Burrito Brothers, was also a visual-effects artist and stop-motion animator who worked on “Gumby?” Neither did I.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited in Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro, adding audio acquired through fair means and foul via Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack (no profit was taken in an admittedly casual approach to various copyrights). Speaking of which, the pedal steel riff that closes the episode is from Merle Haggard’s “White Line Fever,” as performed by The Flying Burrito Brothers on their eponymous 1971 album. The background music is “Trapped” from Zapsplat.com. And the rewind sound is courtesy of TasmanianPower at Freesound.org.

Preach, brothers, preach

February 17, 2019

Sometimes it pays to wander aimlessly along the Infobahn, turning over rocks just to see what’s underneath.

Don’t neglect those exit ramps, side streets and back alleys.

And for God’s sake, get the hell off of that L.A. Freeway.

• Bonus track: Robert Ellis on NPR’s “Tiny Desk.”

Mad Dogs, Margaritas and music

February 12, 2019

Steve Earle and the latest incarnation of The Dukes: Kelley Looney on bass, Chris Masterson on guitar, Eleanor Whitmore on fiddle & mandolin, Ricky Ray Jackson on pedal steel guitar, and Brad Pemberton on drums and percussion. | photo by Tom Bejgrowicz/

Pat O’B contends that there’s still some good music out there today, the Grammys notwithstanding and despite a preposterously publicized preponderance of primadonnas, poseurs and pissants.

He’s right, of course. As a free-range rumormonger and Avatar of Fake News I lean toward the flamboyant and unsupported statement: “That sucks.” Or as the black marketeer Duffy put it in “The Commitments.”

“I don’t know why you bother. Everything’s shite since Roy Orbison died.”

Duffy got himself head-butted later for acting like a douche during a gig, despite being a patron of the arts, albeit a slightly heavy-handed one. And he certainly had it coming, Roy Orbison fan or no.

So who isn’t shite, and why?  Chime in with your hit parade, and don’t sweat it about providing links if you’re not in the mood.

As for me, I’ll note that Steve Earle has a new album coming out next month, a tribute to the legendary Guy Clark, with guest appearances by Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Terry Allen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Mickey Raphael, Shawn Camp, Verlon Thompson and Gary Nicholson.

NPR’s Bob Boilen chatted with Steve earlier in the year. Their chat kicks off with a discussion of the Texas Chili Parlor’s Mad Dog Margaritas and segues into interesting bits like this:

“I’m very thankful that I came along at a time … this period when Bob Dylan had sort of singlehandedly elevated pop music to an art form by the force of lyrics. I really truly believe that this moment when Bob Dylan wants to be John Lennon and John Lennon wants to be Bob Dylan makes rock and roll hard overnight. Otherwise it’s just songs about cars and girls.”

So I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say Steve Earle doesn’t suck. Steve Earle is not shite. Please don’t head-butt me.

I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

January 3, 2019

No wonder the Chinese aren’t wasting their money on iPhones. They’ve been saving their pennies to debut a Pink Floyd space opera.

Nollaig shona duit

December 25, 2018

I love this maple in the back yard. It always seems to be reaching out for something. Probably the warmer weather toward the southwest.

Here we are again, gathered around the old bloc na Nalloig beneath the freeway, trying to keep both warm and unnoticed by The Authorities, which is not an easy thing in these days of modern times.

Herself and I enjoyed our traditional Christmas Eve dance last night (one of us was limping a bit), and this morning while sipping our coffee we listened to my cousin Joseph Thompson and his colleague James Bishop-Edwards performing their arrangement of J.S. Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” from their album “Baroque Masterworks for Two Guitars.”

We’ve downsized the old solstice tree. The cats are less likely to try climbing this one.

Now “Performance Today” is rocking the house, ’cause that’s how we roll on Christmas.

There are no gifts under the tree. There’s not much room beneath it, for starters. And we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to buy things as we deem them necessary, rather than delaying gratification until Dec. 25. It helps that we really don’t want much.

So instead of littering the floor with wrapping paper we jotted down some notes about organizations in need of financial support. This year we went heavy on animal rescue, free speech, independent journalism, justice, and outfits that help those whose tribulations often go unnoticed because they don’t have free internet, scads of executive time, and a nice big White House from which to make their case.

Happy happy joy joy to thee and thine. May your days be merry and bright. And if you feel like kicking up your heels a bit, give a listen to “The Rebel Jesus,” from The Chieftains and Jackson Browne. I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer, from a heathen and a pagan on the side of the rebel Jesus.