Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'll be going now

The time has come to take a hiatus from the slang-fest that is GGMSW. I have many last-minute tasks to attend to. Shave the head, loofa the feet, cut the nails, and (sob) hang the bike up. It didn't get used very much this season. And of course guilt is part of my make-up, so I'll be obsessing about it for awhile. Until the meds kick in.

Quite possibly in a month or so I'll be back, both here & on Facebook, to delight and astound with my spot-on insights and bullshit opinions.

And now, let the show begin.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Garages Are For Bands

Didja ever see this? A person has a nice deck built off the back of their groovy condo, and yet... they sit in the garage on an old lawn chair!!

Well, they do that in my neighborhood. A lot. And they're not even practicing with their band.

Look, I'm like Lolita in my neighborhood. Most of my neighbors are retired. Aside from the young couple next door and myself, everyone watches Matlock & eats linner.

But this garage thing has me stymied. Maybe it's the equivalent of sitting on your front porch, like back in the old days when Bill Kennedy & Marc Avery were your primary entertainment moguls. You'd plop yourself in your webbed aluminum chair and toss a wave to your neighbor & congregate out front for a cold coca cola, or just idly watch the passing parade. Well, no one really is passing around here. I take that back, because some folks walk their old people dogs. You know, those Rat Terriers that have spindly little legs like their owners - at least the owners who don't have that bloated leg dilemma happening.

Here's the thing: these decks didn't come with the place, you had to get 'em separately, like an afterthought. So do they only get used when the grandkids come by?

I'll be honest with you: I also have one of them there decks, and it doesn't get used near as much as it used to. But I'm not in my garage, no sir. I'm laying on my bed, watching my flat screen tv. If I'm not there, that's usually where I wish I was.

Now hear this: As of next week I'm looking at 2 months off work due to foot surgery (not related to the bloated leg thing). You've heard me rattle on about it ad nauseum. At any rate, I'm planning all these relaxing activities, and due to my immobility they all revolve around my bed. It's summer & I have a deck but I haven't given much thought to sitting out there drinking the day away in the sun. For one thing it's further from the bathroom, and that in itself is gonna be one interesting journey. I mean, there's that ground level obstacle at the junction of outside & inside to navigate. And I want it as easy as possible. Maybe the 3rd week or so.

I do have a small front porch. Maybe I'll go tres retro & set up a chair out there, with my transistor & a cooler full of Faygo Uptown.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Oooh! Oooh! Of Thee I Sing!

It's time for pyrotechnics, for drinking too much & accidentally shooting something or someone, for hotdogs and warm potato salad, for ... well, anything. It's time to celebrate your independence!! And it comes to you smack dab in the middle of the weekend!

America: Baseball. Springsteen. Rhapsody In Blue. Cedar Point. Swimmin'. Grillin' Killin' (I just threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention). (And actually Cedar Point could be replaced with Wildwood, Palisades Park, Six Flags, Geauga Lake, etc.) (But not Disney) (Not that Disney isn't American, I mean, Christ, it's like the love child of Betsy Ross & George M. Cohen, but it's just not "Our Town" enough)

What state is this world of ours in where our country is one major clusterf$%k yet it's still the best place on earth? Bermuda doesn't even seem to be a dream destination for me anymore, what with the wiggers there. Wait, that's not quite right.

As I inch closer to my extended summer vacation & The Intl Film Festival (special screenings of classic beach movies, cult films, horror classics and a manicured handful of rock&roll gems), I am reminded of the inimitable words of the great Joe E. Ross:

Do you mind? DO YOU MIND?

I don't know what that means, this is just stream-of-consciousness shit while I'm listening to Dave The Spazz so it just made sense.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Four Dead In Ohio (and elsewhere)

I don't care about Michael Jackson. I don't think I ever "cared" about him. He started out in the early 70s but will forever be representative of the '80's.

(a whole big giant paragraph deleted. some things are better left unsaid.)

Farrah Fawcett & her nipples never thrilled me. I never used her as a "prop". I was more a Joan Collins/Grace Jones guy.

Billy Mays: what can I say. Quite a ball player.

Sky Saxon - Sky "Sunlight" Saxon - grew into a reclusive strange-o as his legacy progressed. In 1966 his band The Seeds were all over LA and will forever be linked with the Sunset Strip crowd that also spawned Love, The Doors and Buffalo Springfield. Saxon left us with a number of great songs, most notably "Pushin' Too Hard", today revered as one of the original garage "nuggets". When I first started getting into the internet I came across Sky Saxon's email address (I don't know how), and sent him a gushing missive. And he replied, which I printed out & have it put away in my archives somewhere.

Now...back to our regularly scheduled program.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Have So Much In Common With Me

This is not just me being contrary, Mary. I don't know what most people are talking about. Or why. And I have little or no interest in the lion's share of it.

Here's the thing: As with a lot of people, most of my waking hours are spent at work. I work with two other people. That's it, two people, no one else is around. Most of the shift is spent with a pair of earbuds screwed into my head, sometimes with nary a word uttered for hours. Wait, did I mention I work midnights? Yeah, and it's great.

So I live in my own little corner of the world. Then when I come home, I'm alone. When I wake up I spend maybe two hours with my wife, then it's off to work again. And so on.

On the offchance that I mix with other people in a social setting, I try to keep it light. Light, airy & brimming with kicks, laughs & jovial witticisms. Because it appears that my views - especially - ESPECIALLY - when it comes to matters of the world - are quite singular. How can it be that virtually all of the people I see in those social settings possess views that I consider reprehensible? Is it me? Because it sometime seems like it is. They certainly make me feel like it's me.

Maybe it's my insular daily routine. Maybe it's that I have the same morals and ideals I had back when most of these other people had the same ideals, but since then they've had a change of heart. And that's being kind.

I hate talking about work with people. But I understand why people do it, since we've established the fact that most of your time etc. But honestly I don't give a shit about your job. I also hate talking politics because of the reasons previously stated. What's left, religion? HAH! That's the one thing no one (including myself) has any interest in discussing.

I'm a card player. And a smoker & a drinker.

I have had so many experiences where people have strongly - STRONGLY - voiced their choice on something and ... wow, have I gotten off topic.

Back to my original thought: I don't know what people are talking about.

But I do know this: we are NOT going to turn into a socialist country. Don't be an asshole. To be honest that's the thing I hear most from these people I come in contact with. Yeah, it seems really bad now but didn't you ever have to clean up after your dog took a shit on the rug? OK then, you know what I'm talking about.

Now cool the f$#k out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Still Means Fun

As my wife begins her 6-8 weeks off work due to foot surgery (yeah, her too) I'm getting psychologically ready for a summer of leisure. AFTER I wait on her day & night. My daughter said, as my birthday came round at the end of May, "why does his (meaning my) birthday always have to be like he's eight?" And y'know, she's right. Although I'd put it in the eleven to something-teen range. Here's why my birthday is so recreation-friendly: I was born on May 29, a Friday, at 3:30 which I consider to be just in time for school to let out not only for the weekend but for summer vacation. It's kinda the way I'm wired. I have trillions of summer memories. Hey, it was the sixties, then the seventies. It was capital f-u-n. I am looking forward to my own stretch of footlessness (mid-july to mid-september) which I'll fill up with stacks of cheezy fun movies, poptastic books, six days worth (without nary a repeat) of rockin' summer jams on my iPod (which I should name), and plenty of pizza deliveries and any-ole-time-I-want drinkin' and smokin' schedule. Cuz I'll probably die soon. We all will. The one thing I'll miss is my baby Mozella. No bike ridin' for me in three weeks. Well, maybe in October for awhile, if Dr. Bombay gives me the high sign.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'll Lose A Friend Tomorrow

I didn't know about him. Maybe you did (and you didn't tell me??!?). His name was Huey Long, and he played guitar accompaniment for The Ink Spots.

And he was 105 years old.

Bill Kinney, the main cat for the 'Spots, caught Huey & his trio at the Three Deuces on 52nd Street in 1945 & asked him to join up. This was in the 'Spots heyday. So he did, and stayed with them for a scant 9 months. Then the cat he was replacing, Charlie Fuqua, came back from the war. (Charlie was Moonglow Harvey's uncle)

One of the cool things, I thought, was that even though he was a "Spot" for only 9 months, he played Detroit in that time frame.

Huey also played with Fletcher Henderson and Earl Hines, and had performed with Sassy, Bird & Diz before starting his own trio, just before the Ink Spots gig.

After the Ink Spots he played with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis' Be-Boppers, and did some USO gigs.

Huey recorded a number of sides with The Ink Spots. among them the tune from which I pulled the title of this post.

105? I don't know, I thought I would've heard of him before his death, I mean, you hear talk of the oldest living folks, and I'm sure I would've remembered Huey. Just a bit late, but my hat's off to you, Mr. Long.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Woke Up This Morning, Lucille Was Out Of Sight

When something gets under my skin, I just can't seem to get the correct salve to take away the pain. And sometimes that pain hurts so good.

That's the deal with Lucille.

I'm talkin' 'bout Lucille Cataldo, whose 1984 clip from the New York public access program "Stairway To Stardom" is way under my skin. And much like the cute animated phlegm in the medicine commercial, she isn't planning to leave anytime soon. Lucille, replete in Angie Bowie drag, sings her own composition, "Hairdresser" on a clip I watch over & over, and checking the interweb, so do a lot of other people with time on their hands.

Check it:

I sing this song all day long. I can't wait to get in front of a computer screen so I can watch it. Over & over again. Like Brett Michaels getting flattened on the Tonys (just can't get enough, that shit better win an emmy).

Here's how I found this: WFMU played the audio track, and that particular show's online playlist gave a link to the video. That's all it took.

With each viewing, I find little nuances that just put me into hysterics. I can't tell you what they are, my mind is not wired like most humans. I wanna start up my old band again just so I can do a cover of this song - in this key - with all the same vocal inflections.

If you listen to this song - I mean, really listen - her lyrics are quite clever. It's like a laundry list of salonisms. Or maybe not.

Watch it. Watch it again. Go back to it tomorrow.

There's an entire page of clips from Stairway To Stardom:

Find the one where the kid sings "Wash That Man..." holding a photo of my nephew Dan; or the rapper singing "Crackhead"with his afro sticking out the era hole of his ski mask.

But wait: there's more.

I was gonna wait for another post to tell you about this new find. Her name is Icy Spicy Leoncie. And she is super-groovy.

Here are my two favorites. First off is "Man! Let's Have Fun!":

Then "Sex Crazy Cop":

Also she has a CD out called "Radio Rapist-Wrestler".

I'm gettin' it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Leisure Means Work

Throughout my tenure in the workforce, especially in recent years when I've accumulated a nice parcel of vacation time per annum, I would frequently wonder what it would be like to take all my vacation at once, say in the summer months. Then I'd come to my senses realizing all of my incidental time would be gone. Then what would I do when I'm hung over from the previous night's shot-downing marathon or maybe at xmastime when I'd like to enjoy the unparalleled glittering festiveness the season brings.

This year is the test.

I'll be off work from mid-July to mid-September due to a much-publicized foot surgery. While not quite an entire summer, it's pretty dang close. And it's the longest warm-weather break I've had since 1976.

I've enjoyed buying up cult & b-movie collections on Amazon, and stacking the books I have ready to read, but there's another side to this coppertone-scented coin.

Real-world preparation.

I have someone coming in to paint at the end of July. I have to strip the room, 35x22, of all the wall hangings, the knick-knacks, the ephemera as it were, before my leave. Believe me, that is one major chore.

My wife is also scheduled for surgery next week, and I'll be her "Hazel" until it's my time. So I have to try & figure out how to cook. I thought I knew, but I'll be cooking for a pro, so manwich ain't gonna cut it. Luckily we're near a lot of places that have curb service.

I had been wondering how I was going to tune in to my regular scheduled radio programs (they're all web-based - for me, anyway), but my wife's laptop has a wireless network card so I can stay current with Dave The Spazz & Fool's Paradise & Rodney On The Roq & Breakfast With The Beatles etc. What a relief. And if you know me, that was a real concern of mine.
I also need a surplus of bourbon & cigars. No, this isn't ridiculous. It's summer! And I have to pull up hundreds of cds from the basement due to the fact that I won't be able to climb the stairs.

And I've got a month to cruise the streets with Mozella. Then it's back on the hooks for another year.

And what about this blog? And what about my farm on Facebook?

So yeah, I'm off for the summer, but it's got it's price.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


One of the hippest, wildest, swinginest, rockinest cats EVER has cut out.

Sam Butera, longtime foil for Louis Prima and bandleader of The Witnesses, the greatest lounge band ever, died June 3 at the age of 81. That's Sam pictured above with the band, in the white cardigan blowin' sax, with Louis Prima & his trumpet on his left. That's either Jimmy "Little Red" Blount or Lou Sino on 'bone. Looks like a redhead, so maybe it's Jimmy. But he doesn't look too little.

Sam was from Nawlins, and true to form he rocked like a motherf#%&er. He was a killer sax player & his vocals displayed that black vibe that surely came natural coming up in Nawlins like he did. His band was ALWAYS tops, and Sam was as great a musician as any of those classic cats who walked through the doors of Cosimo's studio on the corner of Rampart & Dumaine.

As time went on, he became less known for his Nawlins thing and more for his Vegas thing. At one time he & Prima were the biggest attraction in Vegas, drawing huge crowds at the Sands and Sahara, and that crowd was frequently packed with stars. You should check out those old recordings; that band truly rocked.

Almost a year ago, July 5 2008 to be exact, WFMU's Michael Shelley interviewed Sam on his radio program - you can hear that right here

Sam was audibly moved that people still cared about him as much as they do. He had nothing but praise for Prima & was gracious throughout.

I am very fortunate to have his autograph hanging on my wall of fame. My sister got it for me in Vegas, of course.

By the way: the title of this post refers to Young Jesse's hit "Next Time". It became Sam 's spotlight tune in his live sets, first with Prima and then on his own with The Witnesses and his most recent band, The Wildest.

Funny thing: not too long ago I was thinking how great it is that Sam was still around, since it seemed like all my unsung heroes of r&b were merging with the universe at an alarming rate, especially the Nawlins cats.

What more can I say? Louis & Sam, back together again. The wildest.

Gonna Pitch A Wang Dang Doodle All Night Long

They called her "Queen Of The Blues". Yeah, her and how many others? (remember Dinah Washington? Her I'd believe)

Koko Taylor died this week at 80 years of age. She found fame in Chicago at Chess records, where she landed a contract thanks to Willie Dixon. He saw her perform live on the south side & that was enough for him. He penned her biggest hit "Wang Dang Doodle", a million seller.

After Chess was sold like so many other independents, she left for blues label Alligator Records, where she stayed until her death. She won so many awards that I can't be bothered listing them.

But, notably, she had a role in Blues Brothers 2000.

She did the festival circuit like so many other bluesies, but right up until the end they dug her the most in Chi-town.

In 2008, the IRS determined she owed them $400,000. Guess the joke's on them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

I must be honest with you all out there (all 2, maybe 3 of you) and say that I had the best weekend I've had in a long, long time. No cynicism, no bitching, no smarmy comments. It was Fabtastic.

I went to a wedding on Friday, and the bride looked like what would appear if Tinkerbell was getting hitched. Cute, petite, blond & did I say cute? Yeah, well she certainly gained points with me when I noticed the guest favors were NOT jordan almonds, NOT bubbles, but a shot glass with the wedding date printed on it - which also happens to be my birthday!! It turns out the bride & a lot of her female family members like to drink Lemon Drops, which are some vodka/seven up concoction that taste not too much like booze. But I pulled a fast one, because those shotglasses also work with bourbon. And if that weren't enough, you could smoke in the hall! Party Time!! And they gave me a special birthday cake & played - what else - Beatles Birthday. And everything I wore looked great - for an old fat man.

Then on Saturday, I celebrated my birthday in my own home, barefoot, relaxed, with my head up my ass and again with the bourbon & cigars. Also my favorite ice cream cake! But also my very special guest My Grandson, who can have anything on earth he wants. In total, my eight kids/stepkids/grandkid. Fun! Laughs! Food! Booze! Gifts!

Sunday's bill of fare took a very low-key route. Booze- and smoke-free with of course a lunch at Five Guys.

Yep, summer is off to a pretty good start.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ain't no cure

Well, it's officially here. Not technically here, but officially. "Socially" officially. Like yes you can wear white clothes official. Last weekend I planted, mulched, fertilized, assembled, laddered, and at the end of each day I was so beat & my ground pads were in such misery that I never ended up doing what I really wanted to do over the weekend: plant myself in front of a mixer with two cd players with a pair of headphones, some smokes & a jockey of bourbon for a couple hours. I had the opportunity, but for some reason sleep seemed nicer, laying on my back with the breeze flowing overhead.

Ah, Summer.

My bike, which I've christened Mozella (aka Bloody Mama), was totally ignored. She sat there & looked at me as I repeatedly passed her, rakes and brooms and hoses and trash bags and plant food in hand and ... well, you get the idea.

But this coming weekend will be different. It's my birthday.

Something will happen which I will regret, I'm quite sure. My mouth's brain (and my brain's mouth) is too carefree - until it's too late, then responsibility hits. Hard.

F#%k it. It's been the same way since I've had a conscience and a memory. You can't teach an old dawg new tricks. Get your own birthday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Meeting The Devil At The Crossroads

I was reading an interview with Jarvis Cocker, and he thinks, as do I once I sit & capitulate, that it's odd how blues has become the middle class middle-aged guy's music of choice. Especially since it's the sound of black slaves dealing with their "situation".

White guys, like me, with an adequate job & some sort of normalcy in their lives - wife, kids, mortgage, multiple TVs & cars - digging - playing - de blooze. They remember with fondness their youth: Cream, Fleetwood Mac (UK version, not Cali cokehead version), Savoy Brown - wait, aren't these all from the UK, where the working class is truly lowdown & the caste system is still in full effect today? Wait, I'm not done: Canned Heat, Paul Butterfield, Johnny Winter (talk about white). All those guys got their data from those first- and second-generation American negroes. Today's blooze fan doesn't know Son House from Dr. Gregory House.

(OK - this is not really another one of my posts showing how people are root-ignorant; that's not what this post started out to be. People certainly don't have to be down on their luck to dig the blues. As always, it's nice when the originators get credit.)

Later this summer if all goes well with a foot surgery scheduled for July I'm supposed to go to an outdoor blues concert featuring blues giant B.B. King and Robert Cray - neither of whom I like. But here's something interesting: B. B. goes back 60 years. He's a contemporary of most of the blues cats I listen to, and normally that would be good enough for me, but B. B.'s so ... Jerry Lewis Telethon. He's up there singin' & playin' the blues (however not at the same time) in a sparkly tux that would make Marc Bolan envious. Shit, he's loaded, and I don't expect him to wear one-strapped overalls, but he's just too damn slick for my liking. His blues has morphed into the Vegas Blues. Not so strange then that I don't get any soul from him. The reality is he transcended all his down home funk & he's not gonna front. Normally I would consider that great. But his Quincy Jones-type shit just doesn't happen for me. And Robert Cray is truly an exceptional artist, but that experience for me is like listening to your college suitemate play a gig on the diag. As some bald-domed cat once said, it is puzzlement. Personally I don't wanna live a destitute life, bad luck & trouble followin' me wherever I go, but psychologically that's what I expect from my blues artists (if they're British, of course, then all I expect is delta influences & bad teeth). Different strokes, is all I'm sayin'. And as usual, my favorite strokers are dead.

If my demographic is blues's ideal audience, then so be it. My peers could have chosen young country over blues. Most black folk don't dig the blues because it reminds them of bad times. Me and my peeps can't relate, we just wanna look over yonder wall and dust our broom, bottles in hand: one cheap whisky, one Purell.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Waiting For The Man

Summer's comin' on like a pimple on my ass in May (go figure). And I know that in recent months my posts have been less than stellar, and not very interesting to say the least. But before I go any further, I must say that I warned you about that. I think it's in my blog heading. But these recent posts have even bored me. I'm phonin' it in, folks. I went back in the post archives, to last summer, for inspiration. All I had to do was read one of them & I could feel the difference between then & now.

Can I credit that to any of the crap that's happening to the world nowadays? I mean, gas is back up to 2.50 a gallon. No one has a job. Therefore, no one has any money. I have both, but not a lot of the latter. And I'm waitin' to be inspired.

I can get inspired by the writings of Michael Musto and Kinky Friedman, or the paintings of Miro and John Currin, and I used to think the diatribes of Lester Bangs. Recently I've been reading a collection of Bangs' articles, called Psychotic Reactions & Carburetor Dung, and now I consider him juvenile, stupid & just plain boring. Everyone in pop journalism pisses themselves over his stuff. Bangs this, Bangs that. He was just the first to write as if he didn't care about anything, as if Leave It To Beaver or bologna was more important than whatever he was supposed to write about. Just the first, like Presley in his field (I don't like him, either).

But he inspired people, I guess. Me included. And now there are smart-assed journalists the world over that make his writings wither on the vine.

I used to wonder if I didn't like certain writers or painters or artists because I was too simple minded to understand what they're doing. Now I'm comfortable with the realization that they don't move me, man. I mean, I may still be simple minded, but I'm cool with that.

No sacred cows.

Someone told me don't be a hater. I say don't be a lover. There's a lot of shit, and I do mean shit, out there. There's a lot of great stuff out there, too, except you gotta hunt it down. Most people can't be bothered. They settle, or they decide it's not important. Books, films, music (especially music), et al. If you dig it, go for quality. My main man Tom was great for that. You'd try to hip him to something, & he'd just say "oh yeah? so?" I loved it, and it infuriated me. But it kept me real.

So what this boils down to is this: while the summer of my 11th & 12th year are quite memorable to me, and I find myself replaying those memories in my head every solstice, the reality is once you've shared that with someone, it becomes irrelevant. Do you wanna hear someone else's old stories over & over? No. So I won't bore you with mine. Because the vibe won't be the same.

Monday, May 18, 2009

T Shirts Cutoffs & A Pair Of Thongs

I can't wait for summer to get here. Psychologically it's already landed & set up shop in my head. Ice cream trucks, lawn sprinklers in the afternoons (which is bad, because mornings is the ideal time for that activity but who's up at those hours unless you haven't gone to bed yet), beach party and love boat flicks.

And of course a perfect soundtrack.

My iPod has undergone a summer makeover. Gone is most of the current pop & rock stuff. Also gone is most of the jazz stuff. We're promoting a light, breezy and very organic mood here. So we're left with a lot of sixties "AM Gold" stuff, but nothing too flaky. Mostly seldom-heard gems that evoke fun, sun and , y'know, kinda the whole beach vibe. The kind of music that once was, or should've been, all over the radio dial. Perfect for riding one's bike under a periwinkle sky.

However, there's still a LOT of soul, r&b, jump blues, rockabilly and of course The Fall and Zimmy on that thing. I mean, I'll be listening at night, too.

I'm looking forward to that point of the season where memories of my favorite summers take full flight - 1964, 1965. That'll probably come with pain killers in July. Or you could just check last summer's archive posts.

It's just like that Belle & Sebastian song: "get out of the office & into the sunshine". Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Throw away your socks. Switch over to mojitos or VTs. Summer's such a gas.

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Pal Foot-Foot

Sorry, I haven't been posting as frequently as usual. Blame it on facebook.

I get an email every time someone who is my "friend" makes a comment on ANYONE'S facebook page. Also whenever anyone makes a comment on MY page. Also whenever someone wants me to work on their farm. Or when they want to send me a gift for my farm.

It's exhausting.

And I know, I know, I said so many negative things about facebook in the past - see, I don't even capitalize it. I still feel negatively about it. But it gives me the opportunity to say a bunch of stupid fictitious stuff about anything at all. Like the lists of five. Five favorite toys from your childhood, five favorite beers, five cars you owned, stuff like that. And of course I always lie to make the outcome funny - or at least my idea of funny. Unless it's something that I want people to actually know that I dig. And how are they supposed to know which stuff is facetious and which stuff is true? I don't know; I don't care. BUT - my audience is much bigger than my blog audience. Hell, I may as well just write emails instead of do this stupid page.

But in about 8 weeks, I'll be off all of this for, well, about 8 weeks.

Foot surgery will have me laid up, totally off my feet. I always wanted to know what it would be like to take all my vacation in one piece in the summer. Guess I'll find out. My estimate is that I'll be out of work from mid-July to mid-September.

I'll be having triple arthrodesis surgery. They'll fuse the 3 major bones in my foot together, bone-on-bone, and screw them all in place. This is big stuff, according to my dr, my wife's dr, and much of what I read on the web.

I'm starting to think about my video consumption for that time frame. Also refining my iPod content. Also, I need to stock up on booze & cigars.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

El Porko Mal-something

It's finally here - Cinco de Mayo. Andale'! Arribba!

Cue the low groan.

So patient zero is a five-year-old boy. What would they do if he were an animal? Like Barney Fife would say, nip it in the bud.

And now some people are saying, "do you know how many people die from unswine flu? blah blah blah?" Don't they understand we need this kind of fear? It gives us something to hate.

No, but really, what do you do with this kid? Do you punish his parents? Is he just relegated to the pile of sad-newsworthy saps stinking in the corner like Octomom, Michael Phelps, Joe DePlummer and Vince Shamwow? I smell reality show!

I had Mexican food last friday. My throat hurts a little & I keep blowing my nose. Hopefully my boss is reading this; I won't be in tomorrow. Oink .. uh-oh, what was that?

You need to know: after one week, Bob Dylan is still on the stereo. He'll move to the iPod in a couple days. Whadda yarn spinner. Woody Guthrie mixed with Will Rogers filtered through Raymond Chandler marinated in Jack Kerouac. You gotta understand him. He's simple but always, as the kids say, right on.

Don't forget to call your mother this weekend. Unless your estranged. Then screw it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I'm sure you all out there are just relieved that this new post pushes ol' Bearthur's maudes out of the way. By the by, that artwork puts me in mind ofn one of my favorite artists, John Currin

WFMU's hour of soul single sensation, Downtown Soulville, plays every friday evening. Check out the archives, especially the March 13 marathon edition where numerous Detroit references are made (host Mr Finewine hails from Mo-wood), or his great Eddie Bo tribute ( ). Weird to hear a New York show mention the Red Coat Tavern in Royal Oak.

Bob Dylan has done it once more with Together Through Life. I read something the other day where they still referred to him as a "folk singer". Jeez, how long does it take? Then again, I guess a case could be made that a folk singer is exactly what he is. He pulls in heavy influences from the country, blues, standards and yes I guess even the folk genres. IMHO He is our most gifted musical storyteller, with an uncanny economy of language and an adequately entertaining style. And his band ain't too bad either. But in ranking his latest group of "raggedy old codger albums", I'd have to rank this one 3rd out of 4. But it's still much better than Neil Young's latest. That guy hasn't made a solid album since he laid Crazy Horse off (although his "I Hate George Bush" lp was pretty fine).

Y'know what's annoying about Facebook, aside from the obvious? The hundreds of e-mails I get alerting me to every comment made against my own comments, and the comments made by my "friends", and comments made by their friends. What the f#%k do I care what someone said to one of my "friends"? It just brings out the ol' prickeroo in me. Then I start getting salty. Like I lie in the "pick your five ". I never really met Edwin Meese. I wouldn't watch The Breakfast Club over & over again. I wouldn't want Liberace on my side in a bar fight. Wait, yes I would. And I told a friend's daughter to sleep with the Dean to get into a certain University. I'm just really sick & tired of it. Except my nephew just joined, and I think he's a pretty good candidate for smart-ass ombudsman. Except he seems pretty sincere in his postings. At least when he's talking about his dead goose.

I sent an electronic facebook message to my ex-wife's uncle, who just celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary. Now I get a message that it's his birthday. I can't take it anymore.

I never had so many friends. I'm a regular Bill W!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Notes From The Overground

Just thought I'd shart off some miscellaneous tidbits of news since we last gathered:

Colonoscopy: Big news - I am no longer a probe virgin. Also I am polyp-free. Now. I have the pictures to prove it.

Did you know (no you di-int): apparently African sixties garage bands sound like American garage bands, i.e. there is no ebonically-tinged dialect to be found. This is evidenced from the collection "Cazumbi: African Sixties Garage Vol 1". Nope, not even a hint of Beyonce-speak as in "Please tsell me what tsahm it is."

And speaking of that attractive talentless young thing, I would have much more respect and appreciation for her if she actually sounded like the YouTube clip from the Today show making the rounds. I won't provide a link, but it's not hard to find andyou really must check it out. I could hardly contain myself. You'll L-O-L!!

Maude is dead! That's right, Bea Arthur has gone to that great pastel-decorated lanai in the sky. There is a burning question I could never get answered. No one ever broached the subject on the interweb: in Maude, back in the 70s, Bea Arthur was rather zaftig, not obese or anything, but she definitely had an ass & was very amply bosomed. But in Golden Girls, she's as flat as the man her voice hints at. That cannot simply be a result of dumping a few pounds. She should still retain some tittage I would think. So what then, a breast reduction? Double mastectomy? A sapphic-friendly tape-down? Friends of Dorothy (ha) need to know!

Sound alert: an e-mail from Skyroo online ordering sez that my pre-release order of Bob Dylan's Together Through Life has been shipped. Will I get it before the world-wide release date of Tuesday? I paid extra to get it post-haste, pronto and asap!

At this year's TriBeCa film fest you can be among the first to see Woody Allen's new film starring Larry David! The role he was destined to play? Maybe! And in more L. D. news, the cast of Shinefeld (that's how my mother pronounced it) will be featured in the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Looks like I'll be subscribing to HBO again for awhile.

Notes from the silver screen: Speaking of the pisher formerly known as the Woodman, I also saw Vickie Christina Barcelona this weekend. Pfeh. Also saw Seven Pounds. At the end I was ready for suicide. And a friend gave me a copy of Cadillac Records. I hear Beyonce isn't tsoo good in that, either. Impossible!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Back To Vinyl

I am a happy obsessive. I went to Record Time for the 2nd Annual International Record Store Day and it appeared to be a rousing success. At least for proprietor Mike Himes, can't vouch for other jam emporiums. Mike said pretty early on all those specially released 7" singles put out by all those vinyl-sympathetic artists were sold out. Great news!

As soon as I walked through the door I picked up the new Neil Young CD, he's kinda bitchin' about stuff per usual but it really - how do the kids say it - rocks. Also picked up two (two!!) CDs by Mister Ernie K-Doe, an anthology of singles from the infamous A2 record label (that's A-Square, as in Ann Arbor) except glaring in it's absence is anything by The Rationals (licensing, I'm figuring), the new CD by The Black Lips and I think another one I can't remember.

Now the vinyl, that's where the real gems came in. A big stack of singles including ? And The Mysterians doing Tommy James' "Do Something To Me", an original release of "Last Nite" by The Mar-Keys on Satellite (that's before they changed their name to STAX), "Love Power" by The Sandpebbles, "Treat Her Right" by Roy Head (did you check out those You Tube clips?!!??)and much much more including one of the greatest mid-sixties soul records ever, "Give Me One More Chance" by Wilmer & The Dukes. I made my companion Per put headphones on & listen to it to prove it's greatness. And albums, well I got a "Dinah Washington Sings Bessie Smith", "Mose Allison Sings For Lovers", a Lambert Hendricks & Ross lp, a double lp Bebop comp, a New Orleans r&b comp, ... let's just say I'm not paying bills this month.

Let me jump back a second ... remember the last post where I said I never experienced a listening booth before? Well Record Time had three turntables set up with headphones to check your vinyl before you buy it. ALMOST a listening booth.

And I saw my sorta-kinda-not-quite-friend (because he doesn't really know who I am) Willy Wilson, the last great radio dj in Detroit.

And - remember a couple posts back when I was big upping East Lansing & mentioned their music shop Flat Black & Circular? Well I just found out Ra Ra Riot who put out one my favorite albums of 2009 (The Rhumb Line) did an in-store appearance! And all Record Time had was ME!!

So that was my day, an obsessive trip to the record shop. No more purchases. Until the Beatles Mono Box in September.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Supply Is Limited

Saturday is Record Store Day, & I'm going to visit one of my old haunts, Record Time in Roseville. I've been going there since the 80s, and after all this time Mike Himes is still the owner. He's been written up & quoted in the UK press during all the Detroit garage action. Record Time was my favorite place for 12" singles in the suburbs. Mike's taste was similar to mine, so he was always referring stuff to me. Matthew Smith from Outrageous Cherry used to work there in the 80s. So did a number of the guys in The Witches. One of their best staffers whose name I can't remember dj'ed my niece's wedding. Another cat who worked there made up these cool WKNR Keener survey t-shirts which I never bought, and now I wish I would've. Kid Rock did some very early-day rapping gigs there, he was more wigger than the beer guzzlin' hick he portrays himself as today.

Back when I was a tot, you could buy records at barber shops in the hood. Also at "electronics" stores, where they sold TVs and radios and of course record players - that's where Brian Epstein worked when someone came in asking for a Beatles record. I never was in a shop that had "listening booths", but I always thought that was the coolest thing. At Record Time you can listen to CDs on boomboxes chained to a shelf as long as you give the clerk your keys or something like that. You could also buy records at "dime stores", the precursor to Kmart. My sister worked at one & that's how she built our singles collection. "Music liberation", similar to what I do today on the internet.

I bought records at an electronics store as late as 1970. I saw a yellow pages ad for some place in Ferndale. I called them & asked if they had this & that, which they did, so I hopped a bus over there & bought a stack of 1950s r&b. That night I also made my first trip to the Grande Ballroom and saw my first (and only) Who concert. That has no pertinent meaning, I thought I'd just throw that in.

Young people today don't get the importance of the Record Shop Experience. I wouldn't expect them to. But to go into a place where everyone's hanging out, listening to/talking about/obsessing over music, well, it's a beautiful thing. Amazon & eBay & all the rest make it so incredibly easy. You can sit in your drawers with a drink & a smoke (I love that analogy) & it doesn't get any easier than that. (Interesting fact: a good number of my on-line purchases have been vinyl) But the push & pull of an in-store scene makes it so ... I don't know, authentic? It's a sad reality that record shops' days are numbered. I don't see that reversing, either. I'm just glad I was able to experience it. You should too while you still have the chance.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Number One With A Bullet

I knew it would happen. I didn't want it to, but I knew it needed to.

Phil Spector had a need to hide behind a gun. He was a short Jewish mama's boy. He had very bad hair back when hair was probably the most important thing. His musicians were defined by him yet ultimately surpassed him and led happier lives with their new boss Brian Wilson (another troubled genius who never had to point a gun at anyone). He had bad luck with women yet he coerced one of the most exotic and popular women in the business to marry him. He also had power, influence, money. And a gun collection.

He made a million dollars before his 21st birthday. Not an extraordinary thing nowadays, but this was the end of the 50s. He learned from the masters at Atlantic records, studying all those big city r&b and pre-soul records. He learned and certainly surpassed his teachers. He hung with and befriended the young Stones on their first US visit. A few years later he would find kindred spirits in The Beatles and would be forever linked with their worst album, and yet have success with numerous solo Beatle releases. He played a cameo in Easy Rider as a cocaine dealer with no lines (no pun intended). He was here, he was there. He was everywhere, baby.

No one will be able to think of Phil Spector anymore without the stupid wigs and his murder trial. Hopefully that won't overshadow his hits - those massive, fantastic little 7" records, never to be paralleled - but the two pieces will forever be linked.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Stacks Of Wax

Lookout! It's happening again next Saturday April 18: INTERNATIONAL RECORD STORE DAY !!!!

I didn't think it would go past the first one, but it did! But I know better this time. Not accepting any free subscriptions to Paste Magazine, to be sure (looked at maybe the first 2 issues, never even opened the accompanying CD - this magazine is truly dire). Also I will refrain from asking store clerks for assistance, because unless I'm looking for Animal Collective (which I'm not) or Butch Walker (ditto - sorry Tom) I can figure it out on my own. (in all fairness, I already have Animal Collective - just haven't listened to it yet. Is it anything like Paste?) So, I guess I'll be expanding the back catalog, as usual. But nothing too exotic - Fela or Sleepy LaBeef are never in the racks.

A lot of bands (lot is a relative term) are releasing limited run vinyl singles & eps for this occasion. That's futile of course, but I appreciate the effort. We gotta do whatever we can to keep music stores alive & open. Things point to their total demise, and the prominence of bands releasing exclusive stuff via "Rock Band" is growing at an alarming rate. And people eagerly wait for it, and some make the argument that the quality therein is better than any other media. Think that's an overstatement? You'd be wrong.

I could go on ad nauseum, but everyone has their own viewpoint. Just get out next weekend & buy a CD - and not from Best Buy. Please.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Green Still Goin' Strong

The Spartans of East Lansing went all the way there. They made it past the bouncers, they got to the stage, but in the end they got the gong. But they went farther than everyone else.

I have some good memories of East Lansing. My dear friend Keith used to, ahem, go to school there in '73-'75, or '76. He lived a modified version of the punk lifestyle at MSU, so very cool at 19, 20, 21, when all that stuff was exploding around him. I remember going for a visit, prowling the halls of various dorms, swigging from whiskey bottles like we were Johnny Rotten. One time I distinctly remember passing the closed doors of some auditorium, asking who was that singing on stage. "That's Loudon Wainwright III" (Rufus' dad, y'know) I cracked open the door & remarked. "he ain't too 'Loud', is he?" My g-g-g-generation, what can I say.

Some of my ex-in-laws lived up there, still do, and there were plenty of great memories with those folks. My daughter graduated from MSU what seems like a hundred years ago, now that she's a wife and mother.

I saw The Stones in 1994 when Spartan Stadium was just remodelled, or just re-somethinged. I remember some decent record shops, like Flat Black & Circular. And then there was Dooley's, a bar big enough to throw the biggest party in town, and of course Beggar's Banquet, the bar where someone wrote "leave the stones alone" on the wall outside. Someone would paint over it & it would always show up again. And Larry's Shop-Rite for great prices on booze. And the always questionable chocolate cheese from the campus dairy.

And then there was the bar whose name I can't remember, where The Ramones and Patti Smith played. Chances Are maybe? And the street musician King Swami. Maybe not so much street.

Anyway, a lot of memories that can wash away any defeat thrust upon that great city.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Coming In June

The new Fall lp on Domino. Photo from show at KOKO, London, 4/1/09

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Song Late & Lotsa Dollars Short

On "Breakfast With The Beatles" this weekend, host Chris Carter shared his experience about his first Paul McCartney concert, on the Wings 1976 tour. His experience was similar to mine, in that I also saw that same tour, it was also my first time (to date) and we both missed the first song.

My pal Keith & I had tickets for May 8 1976. I think I paid $5. My only other "Beatle" show was John & Yoko at the John Sinclair rally in Ann Arbor December 1971. He was in "busker" mode, with Abbey Hoffman, Jerry Rubin & street singer David Peel. It wasn't "rock", but it mixed music & politics just cool enough for me at that point in my life (that was $3).

So by 1976 my friends & I were becoming increasingly entrenched in the punk rock ethos: OK, we got music here, and that was almost incidental to whether or not we could get a drink, & of course we were done inconveniencing ourselves in a damn stadium like cattle. We acted like we didn't care. We were just "out" on a Saturday night.

So I never looked at the tickets, and assumed starting time was 7:30. We went out to do some preliminary "boozin'" and when we got to Olympia Stadium we found a great parking place right across the street. So we're walkin' across and I hear music coming from the building & it sure sounds like "Venus & Mars". Keith tells me to check the tickets & of course they say 7pm. I can still hear him say "nice one dummy" or something more akin to a boozed-up 22-year-old suburban punk (that's OK, he more than made up for this throughout the following years - like missing Jimmy Cliff due to pre-show boozin' again).

As nonplussed as we think we are about all this crap, we're both thinking "shit, we missed part of a Beatle performance". I can't remember if we knew how good our seats were before we walked inside - 15th row, main floor! AISLE! And no more than 10 feet from a coke machine (no booze served at concerts yet, but still it's liquid refreshments. I shoulda brought slippers). Anyway, we asked someone what we missed, and it turns out just the opening song, which runs into the one we came in on.

They were great - I guess. I can't remember any of it, really. Recently I saw a photo of Macca onstage with a Red Wings sticker on an old Epiphone guitar. Turns out a fan gave him that sticker on that date in 1976. And also, he wrote "Yesterday" on that guitar, & used it to sing the same on Sullivan.

Yeah, I was there, whatever. Can I get a Red Stripe & a double bourbon?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Re: Greta DeDay

Regret. Is that a deadly sin? No, I don't think so. Is it a sin at all? No, I don't think so, but maybe it's an affliction. Some people say they have no regrets. How can that possibly be? I have a lifetime full of regrets. I regret most everything. I regret that last sentence.

I think that those who say they regret nothing (yeah, you, Edith Piaf) are fooling themselves. Everyone makes bad decisions. Maybe they aren't classified as regrets if you learn from them.

Do you believe that some people commit questionable acts just to get caught & obtain help? Not me. Wait, I regret typing that. Catch me. Help me.

What about guilt? Is that the same as regret? Because I've always said that I'm full of guilt, and maybe I'm not, maybe it's regret. Maybe I'm full of regret. Yeah, just maybe.

I've always thought people who are on the sunny side of a negative comment have a very easy time defacing themselves. F'rinstance, if you say someone's butt-ugly, and Catherine Deneuve says "oh, me too, I'm so hideous, my nose is like a toucan's beak". I mean, that's easy to admit, because it's not really true. And she knows someone will say get real, you're absolutely stunning. If no one responds to her ridiculous statement, maybe she herself would get real and just pipe down, thinking to herself "yeah, it must be horrible to be butt-ugly, glad it's not me - or is it? Why isn't anyone pro-ing my con? Nah, they're just in tune to the real deal, & now they're thinking how shallow I am". Then she'd have regrets. But she'd still be fine as hell.

Here's something you can do in the self-help area: if you have regrets about something and ... never mind, I forgot.

Hey, here's something fun: what would be the best drag queen name?

Crystal DeCantor
Rita Menu
Bertha DeBlues
Anna Rexia
Diana Cancer
Ida Slapter
Dixie Normous
Harry Balls
Sharon Needles
Rachel Tension
Marcia Dimes
Helena Handbasket
Lois Carmen Denominator

Any I missed?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blocked Again?

I have nothing to write about. Trust me, I've started many posts & deleted all their drafts. It's gotten to the point where my blatherings don't even interest me.

Well, I could tell you about the wonderful visit I had with my grandson this past weekend. What a little droolbox. I finally found a viable outlet for my excessive spending jones. I need nothing else; I'll just blow some cash on him.

This past weekend I also started watching reruns of Bachelor Father, with John Forsythe, Sammee Tong & Noreen Corcoran (older sister of Disney-ite Moochie Corcoran). A frequent character was a friend of Corcoran's character Kelly, Howard Meechim, played by Jimmy Boyd who coincidently died recently. He was also the kid who first saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. So blame him if he messed up your childhood fantasy world. Plus, he married Yvonne Craig - Batgirl. That louse!

So I guess that's about it for now. Except watch this clip from Carson:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"I'd Like To Hear Hamtramck Mama by The York Brothers..."

Man, I am so confused by all the stuff on Facebook. OK, like can I customize the page? I want people to always see a link to my blog page. I want people to see the badge (just learnt that one) for donating to WFMU. And I want a big red arrow that points to all the pictures of my grandson. Maybe being part of the Facebook Army means no customization.

My son-in-law will be by next weekend. Maybe he can show me some crap. He's part Tron.

I think I mentioned this last year, but it's that time again: WFMU in Jersey is doing its once-a-year fundraising. I'm not saying pledge (although better radio you'll never find: Mr Finewine, Michael Shelley, Fools Paradise, Dave The Spazz) but I am saying I have an entertainment note for you: Friday Mar 13 from 8pm-11pm on the Pseu Braun show once again Yo La Tengo will be live in the studio attempting to play immediate requests from pledgers. You call, you pledge, you suggest a tune, YLT play it! This is one great experience. I have a CD of one of their past efforts called Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics. Extra-boss! Anyway, you should listen, but you gotta listen live, the YLT episodes are never archived, just go to WFMU's webpage

Once I widen my blog audience via my facebook page, and then once I con - I mean persuade them into checking out all the things I prescribe, I'll be on my way to - dare I say it? - world blog domination!

Great Googa Mooga Shooga Wooga!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sit On My Facebook

You have f#%king got to be f#%king kidding me.

(moron) wants to be added as one of your friends.

what is (loser) doing right now?

(pathetic moron loser) wrote on someone's wall.

you may know (f#%king pathetic moron loser).

you must be friends to see (oh, I don't even care)'s full profile.

OK, OK, I gave it a shot. I logged onto facebook, entered personal info, spent a ridiculous amount of time entering my favorite music (I like The Fall, OK? There's nothing else you need to know.) I started responding to pop-up shit about "friends" - some people I didn't talk to in person when I saw them. And they're sending me e-mail!!! I got so f#%king disoriented I started clicking on everything, not realizing I can turn down their requests.

There's a list of people I can add as friends. And when I "x" them out, another one pops up in their place!! And I don't even know who they are!!!!

Oh you would've laughed your ass off if you saw me get so frustrated. I'm here for your amusement.

I can't be connected to a whole shitload of people at any given time. I don't know how you do it. When do you people masturbate??

I'll be back on it tomorrow, I'm sure. Wonder what (ran out of ideas) is doing right now?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

You Can't Go Home Again Or Can You No Maybe Not Part. 6

First, to answer a burning question: I don't read the obits everyday. Spending most of my waking hours in front of a frikkin' computer I see a lot of stuff; too bad none of it helps me in my day-to-day life. The stuff I come across is usually put out there by obsessives which whom I share some pathetic commonality.

Now - all of a sudden I'm getting all these e-mails adding me as a friend / acknowledging my existence / sniggering at me in corners / tsk'ing ever so audibly regarding my recent enrollment to "Facebook".

I don't know what I'm supposed to do.

I only joined because my daughter said "if you ever want to see your grandson again, you better join because that's the only way you can obtain photos of him". So I did. And now she's dangling this carrot in front of me. Well guess what? They closed the expensive child store in my local niche-mall. So THERE.

I have no idea what facebook does. I have a feeling it's not like sleeveface, which is a shame.

I only joined this stupid world of blogging because of something similar; I can't even remember exactly what it was now, but it was something related to upcoming grandkid stuff. Now he's here & I have to join Upromise & Facebook.

What's next, Twitter?

This past weekend was my possibly last Hamtramck Blowout. How disappointing can it be when the best thing you see is The Polish Musllims? Gawd, it was hopeless. Although it may just be that I was in the wrong place at etc. First at Paychecks there was this band who came off as a poor copy of a Foals/Rapture/Joy Division tribute band. Except they sucked. I think they were called Red China, and everyone knows if you have a blue tablecloth, forget it. I even saw Troy Gregory from The Witches high-tail it out of there after a few minutes. So after that, it was on to Carbon which I've not been to before, and The Polish Musilms had all their fans there, and there are a lot of them because everyone goes to catholic church fund raising festivals. Honest to shit they were the best thing all night. And that includes The Detroit Cobras at K of C. You wanna talk about phoning it in? The most innovative thing about The Cobras was leader Rachel Nagy's stupid dye job that apparently required constant attention because she fiddled with the bangs throughout the entire set. And yeah, let's talk about that set. Now I know they're a covers band of a different stripe - like, they have to have never heard the song before to include it in their repertoire, as long as they found it on Motown or Fortune or Federal or some other R&B label. But after getting the chords correct there is nothing further they put into it. I was ready to make that long miserable trip back to the pad after 5 minutes. This was apparently what I was gearing up for all week. And I missed out on Pinkeye with John Sinclair (the band not the condition), because it just seemed to not quite fit (back to Paychecks for 15 minutes before The Cobras), and maybe that was my big mistake. I didn't even make the usual after hours scene at the Clock.

No, I'm not getting too old for the "new" kids. I find lots of great sounds coming out of today's music. But my thirst for a certain level of quality, or even irony, is in tact. What if Detroit's 2nd wind may now just be flatulence?

Speaking of which I did get some new underwear this weekend. So that was a plus.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blowing Celestial

Purgatory just keeps getting funkier & funkier. The funkiest queue in the cosmos, I would guess...

Two of Ray Charles' accomplices, David "Fathead" Newman & Hank Crawford, have split this mortal coil. They were big names in Jazz in their own right, but they got their start with Brother Ray. That's Hank on the left, Fathead on the right in the photo above.

Fathead died Jan 20 at the age of 75 from pancreatic cancer. He started with Ray in 1954 on Baritone Sax. He played with Herbie Mann for 10 years, and his first solo lp was called "Ray Charles Presents". Guess he wanted to be sure people paid attention. 'Tweren't no thing - he was a giant in his field. He released 38 albums as session leader.

Nine days later, here comes Hank Crawford, who was Ray's musical director for a spell. They met while Hank was fronting a rock & roll combo called Little Hank & The Rhythm Kings. He started on Baritone, switched to Alto & was the musical director of Ray's orchestra till 1963, when he started releasing albums with his own septet for Atlantic. Hank had a stroke awhile back & never got right.

Last minute info: I just found out that another of Ray's cats, Baritone saxman Leroy "Hog" Cooper died five days before Fathead, Jan 15. He played a gig that night; at 3am he died from congestive heart failure. In a non-Ray-related note, Hog played on Lowell Fulson's massive hit "Reconsider Baby".

So, three baritones, all affiliated with Ray Charles ... getting the band back together, Ray?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Grooves In Orbit

Lyman Woodard has past. He was - still IS - one of the greatest jazz/funk/r&b/soul organists that put hands to Hammond, peds to pedals.

Back in the 70s he was a mainstay at Cobb's Corner on Wayne's campus, and he was always popping up at Baker's or numerous summer fests (that's him at the Comerica Taste Fest). He was bad.

I met his son last fall, and he told me how Lyman was always hanging out with John Sinclair, & how musicians were always very visible to him as a kid. I told him I owned one of his singles, "It's Your Thing" from 1969, and it was one of my prized possessions.

You need to check him out, and specifically that jam. Go here to Funky 16 Corners and listen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Muffaletta Sandwich For Me

It's March & it's freezing here in Geektown aka Mo-wood, as Nat Morris used to say on The Scene. Not that it's unexpected, but we did have 60 degree days a week or so ago.

A partially planned trip to Nawlins for the Jazz & Heritage Festival is out. Everything is too damn expensive. Before I came to my senses about this kind of thing a northbound driving trip on Highway 1, a cruise and jaunts to Myrtle Beach, Savannah and New York were bandied about. I think the decision to stay home is best. For now.

Meanwhile, check out the best review of U2's latest right here (you won't be sorry):

I can't remember what else I was going to say, so see you soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


People, don't get too excited about things lest ye get ye olde letdown. Take it from me, I know from whence I speak.

Prez (no, not Lester Young, but maybe this one holds his horn sideways too if ya know what I mean) sez this 'n' that, all the people cheer madly and stand after each paragraph, and I'm referring to the address to congress televised Mardi Gras nite. They should just chill, and as their leader he shoulda told them just that. "OK, OK, just be cool. Siddown, let's get this over with & we can all have a li'l taste before Lent kicks in tomorrow!" His speech writer should be Lord Buckley, 'cept he's dead.

Yeah, everyone's excited 'n happy 'n all expectant. I'm tellin' ya, just be cool. And I'm not even your leader.

This all fits in with my post-xmas boredom package. Sort of an Anti-stimulus package, if you will. Nothin' moves me. Not bourbon, not The Fall, not pizza.

I'm not being fatal, I just don't expect anything to happen. I'm sure I'll find solace and joy in stuff again. Probably when I take my bike down from the rafters. A visit from my grandson might do the trick. Maybe if I lost 20 or so pounds.

Hell, maybe this is just what they call cabin fever. Yeah, but I was in Hawaii the end of October; and Florida a month ago.

I know what: piano lessons.

Maybe I just need a night of smoking and drinking all night long at a sleazy bar. Without spending a cent.

And a pedicure.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fiyo On The Bayou

Mardi Gras. Greasy Tuesday. Krewes. Red Indian Tribes. Spy Boys & Flag Boys. King Cakes (yeah, I already know, they're bad). Dubloons. And all the rest. And then it's over, and here comes Lent.

I've been kinda preparing for a trip to Nawlins, after Easter. Go during Mardi Gras? Who am I, Carson Daly?

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival runs two weekends and is chock full of extraordinary international talent. That's kinda what I'm working around. But everything takes money. I've made it clear to my wife that I have some definite "do's" down there. I must go to Tipitina's. I must see Congo Square & Storyville. And I must visit the site of J&M Music Shop, behind which there was a little recording studio run by Cosimo Matassa where all of Little Richard's Specialty sides were created, along with so many other Nawlins legends that's another post in itself.

Oh, and I want a Gris-gris bag, complete with John The Conquerer Root (John The Conqueroo), Goofy Dust, and whatever else I need to cure all my ills.

I urge you to go online & read up on the Red Indians, and go to YouTube & check out the various second line videos.
GO !!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chairman Of The Bored

I just haven't been into "blogging" lately. I might even quit, because like I told you at the start of this blog adventure, there is nothing here that will interest anyone.

Maybe it's just the winter blahs. What makes them any different from spring summer or autumn blahs?

I've been listening to The Chess Records Story 1947-1975. So far, I've gotten to 1955. Hey, it's 10 cds, it takes awhile. As far as current stuff goes, I've been listening to "Get Guilty" by AC Newman from The New Pornographers. Quite disappointing, as was his last cd - but The New Porns are so great, I just don't get it. And then there's "The Crying Wall" by Antony & The Johnsons. My wife rather likes it, which is tres surprising. Me? Well, ... I may be over the soft quiet sensitive stuff, at least temporarily. Y'know, like Sigur Ros, Ray Lamontagne, Bjork ... just not interested right now. But make it some jumpin' r&b from Nawlins or down south or New York no later than 1956, and I'm gonna turn it up.

Leonard Cohen coming to my town in May. I might like to see that. Let's get past the 2009 Blowout & The Detroit Cobras first.

That might just bring me back.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Good Time Boy

I swear I'm gonna change the title of this blog to "Who's Dead This Time?"

Well, this time it's Dewey Martin, drummer and the least (in)famous member of Buffalo Springfield. BUT - here's something he did that stood out: he gave Stephen Stills the LSD on which he wrote "For What It's Worth". I guess when Stills wrote "Stop/Hey, what's that sound?" The next line could've been "It's just the pills in your mind/Stupid".

Dewey at least looked the straightest of the bunch, though. He frequently sported groovy mod-tailored suits in a lot of the promo shots I've seen, while the rest of the Springfield went for buckskin, panchos and jeans. You can't blame that on his Canadian background, because weird reclusive bassist Bruce Palmer and Neil Young were also from Canada.

Maybe it's because he held a number of big time professional jobs before Buffalo Springfield. He drummed for Carl Perkins, Patsy Cline, The Everlys & Roy Orbison, among others. Kinda weird, since his one vocal spotlight was on the Springfield's 2nd and best album "Again", a big brassy soul ditty called "Good Time Boy".

After the breakup of the Springfield, Martin toured with a group called "The New Buffalo Springfield" - for only a minute, because he was sued by Stephen Stills & Neil Young.

Really Big Shew

Spiritually I'm not old. Tick-tick-tick-wise one could argue otherwise. I wasn't aware I was old until my wife told me I was. Ha ha get her at 55 I'm the younger of the duo.

Now forty-five isn't old, age-wise, but what about when you're talking The Beatles first visit to America & their appearance on Ed Sullivan - 45 years ago. That's five less than fifty, which is half a hundred. The Beatles we're talking about here. Not Glenn Miller, not Elvis. Geez.

I remember the Friday they landed in New York, February 7, 1964. I had been home from school for a few days with some illness. One of my friends was trying to coax me to go back to school that Friday afternoon, but I stayed home by the radio (always hated school). They weren't touching down in Detroit, but local radio was all abuzz that day. When they came on the scene, suddenly there were all kinds of magazines with pictures, stories and interviews filled with Beatle stuff (this is where 16, Tiger Beat, Rolling Stone, Creem and a million others started). And there was all kindsa Beatle merchandise. And I wasted a lot of money on it, but I digress.

February 9, 1964. "The Big Bang". Before this, it was flaky crap like Dion and Neil Sedaka, or anonymous big city r&b from Atlantic, but haven't we been down this road before? Yeah, I thought so. What was it, last week we were commemorating their demise?

I don't remember actually watching that broadcast that night, except for during "Till There Was You" when they superimposed their names on the screen during their closeups, and Lennon's said "sorry girls he's married" - sounds lame now, but we were still in that steady date, high-school ring mentality.

On Monday, February 10, 1964, millions of kids started bands, or started guitar lessons, or started wearing their hair different, or just started paying attention.

Elvis lost it all. ALL of it. You can blame Uncle Sam, Tom Parker, or his dumbass hillbilly mindset. He had no choice but to step down, or get stepped on. And when did he do this? February 9, 1964.

Like I said last week, The Fabs ain't going anywhere. They've been here since 2/9/64, and we can't get rid of 'em. The music continues to evolve & technically it stopped 35 years ago. How's that grab ya?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sci-Fi Death In 3-D

On February 4, Lux Interior, vocalist for Psychobilly pioneers The Cramps, died from heart problems. They weren't necessarily my cup o' tea, but they were certainly original. And I guess I'd take them before a whole lot of others.

The Cramps were the first band that I can recall for which the term "Psychobilly" was used. Think Hasil Adkins, Gene Vincent, The Stooges, Surfin' Bird, Little Richard, Monsters, Louie Louie, Au-Go-Go, Ramones, Dolls, B-movies ... you get the idea. Unhinged and informed. Their biggest hits were "Bikini Girls With Machine Guns", "Can Your Pussy Do The Dog", "Goo Goo Muck" and Jack Scott's "The Way I Walk". Electric Psycho Rockabilly!

Formed in 1979, Lux sang while his wife of 37 years, Poison Ivy Rorschach, played guitar with a revolving door rhythm section that at one time included Norton Records founder Miriam Linna on drums. They did the CBGB "circuit" and never sold a lot of records, but were famous for intense shows. Their crowning moment probably came when they played Napa State Hospital to an audience of mental patients. There's a DVD, you can probably see some of it on YouTube, it's chilling yet brilliant.

I know I said they weren't necessarily my cup o' tea, but trying to define them here, they sound exactly like my cup o' tea! Not the only beverage in town, but I'll have an occasional sip.

Anyway, Lux was a true rock & roll maniac, which is a trait I like, and he had a long time wife, which I also like, and now he's dead, which means he's free of all the bullshit of the music business.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What are your likes/dislikes?

The subject of this post is a little shirt that I originally thought came from 1977, Punk Year One, but after doing some investigating I found it came from November 1974 - the year & month I was first married. But anyway, here's the story, with timeline somewhat skewed (I'm not rewriting it, this preface will have to do)...

Back in 1977 - year one for punk - specific touchstones explicitly defined that era IF you were young (or not so much) and in tune with whatever was poised to kill off the crap of the day. At the heart of it for a minute was Vivienne Westwood and her "boyfriend" Malcolm McLaren who was the manager of it-boys Sex Pistols. McLaren & Westwood had a shop in Chelsea initially called Let It Rock, then SEX, then Seditionaries. They sold stuff, mainly odball clothes that became early punk uniforms: rubber trousers, mohair sweaters, the dreaded Doc Martens or brothel creepers. They produced some iconic t-shirts that were exclusively associated with that little storefront: the "Vive Le Rock" one, the cheesecloth "Destroy" bondage shirt that looked as if it would fall apart any second, and the rarest one of the bunch: a shirt that attempted to define punk the very moment it was designed, and then render it obsolete in quick time. Across the top was the statement "You're gonna wake up one morning and know which side of the bed you've been lying on!" Then just below, two columns, the bad stuff on the left, the good on the right, compiled by McLaren, his mate Gary Goldstein and Bernie Rhodes, who two years later would become manager of The Clash. You could either thumb your nose at, alter your disposition for, or if you were a true punk simply ignore, all or any of the above. The last choice being the wisest - who wants some boring old fart to specify what's cool & what isn't? EXCEPT this boring old fart was The Pistols' daddy & he and The Clash's manager say THIS is what's cool & what's not. The thing is, neither column specified which was the cool or uncool side. Genius!

What if you slept in the middle of the mattress?

for the contents of the shirt, check it:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It Was 40 Years Ago Today ...

As much as one might argue "so what", including me from time to time, we're celebrating the demise of The Beatles.

This weekend marks 40 years since all four of them played together in a live show configuration., I hesitate to call it a concert, but one could argue that that's exactly what it was, the difference being that most of the audience didn't know they were the audience.

So Jan 30: it had to be freezing, plus they were on the roof of an office building. They set their gear up in performance lineup mode, and played for about 40 minutes, augmented by Billy Preston on keyboards. One can imagine the underlying feelings - McCartney was hated by the other three who saw him as a megalomaniac, but in reality I think he was just trying to keep the brand (not a typo) alive. Lennon was itching to take his place as the uncontested freak king; Harrison was sick of fighting Lennon & McCartney for any bit of recognition - he didn't need this shit, his jamming buddies were Clapton & Winwood & Dylan & other cats with credibility who respected his playing, so obviously he had eyes to go solo. And Ringo may have only been the world's most famous drummer but he would soon surprise everyone by becoming a filmmaker and aligning himself with then #1 Glam Idol Marc Bolan.

So back to this - Harrison didn't want to do it at all. Lennon just wanted to do something, they were all there at 8am. The cops came in & stopped it like they always did when the neighbors complained about the band in the garage. Everyone presumably went home, and stayed home, after that. And then for a short period from July to August they went into a studio and cut their very last ever sides as a group for Abbey Road & called it a day.

So technically in August it'll be 40 years since their demise.

Personally, by this time I was off them. I had heard The San Fransisco Sound, British Blues, Hendrix, The Velvet Underground. "Yeah Yeah Yeah" was just lame.

Yet here we are 40 years later, still gathering every little trivial detail of their professional and private lives. From their first to last album (13 of 'em) it was only seven years. Nowadays it takes that long between two releases. And no one has been able to overshadow them. Many can sound more contemporary, more avant, more polished, more urgent, but forty years later The Fabs ain't going anywhere.