Monday, August 31, 2009

Woodbrain - Port Chicago Highway

Rock and roll blues with guitars and harp playing swirling in loving circles wake this week up and end this month with a highway song that blasts the stage into another dimension. The party continues with full-bore power with another rocker called Northbound. These guys have got to be a blast to see live - it’s great that they managed to capture so much energy in the studio.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

George Strait - Twang

Yep, Friday night, get to the bar & what should ya do? “They got a juke box in the corner full of old country tunes. Eighty-five dollars worth of quarters, it’s the first thing I always do, ‘cause I need a little twang!” About three hours of music picked by one guy? Gotta love this bar. And love the guy who has a big enough johnny paycheck to listen to johnny cash with some johnny rodriguez and some hank and waylon along the way. “Get that foot-stomping honky-tonkin’ feeling flowing through my veins!” That one needs a whoop and a haller, you betcha! Meet me at Triple T’s tonight & we’ll see if that one’s on the karaoke list. They do the single vowel texas style – every single vowel lasts for seven syllables. Can’t sing with Twang? No sweat, just dance. Shoutouts for Same Kind Of Crazy, Hot Grease & Zydeco, and El Rey. George Strait

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Loudon Wainwright III - Moving Day

”Landlord said this morning to me, ‘Give me the key, this flat ain’t free. I can’t get any rent outta you, pack up your rags and skidoo.’” Leave it to Loudon to find a 100 year old song that applies to hundreds of thousands of Americans today. As I write this my sister is moving out of a foreclosed house. This topical song is great on its own, it’s just icing on the cake that Loudon has arranged this with a dance beat with some beautiful harmonies.

The title tune, High, Wide & Handsome, includes this philosophy: “Song, wine and women, they’re my three favorites. Beer, gin and whiskey, that’s five, six and four. Saturday night I like eatin’ and dancin’, and I sleep all day Sunday so’s I’m ready for more!” Shoutouts for the honky tonk smiles of Took My Gal Out Walkin’ (“she said she wouldn’t kiss me, so I kissed her instead”) & the country gospel pop of Acres of Diamonds (“you simply must have overlooked what you’ve been looking for”).
Loudon Wainwright III

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reliving 1969 - Steel Mill & Woodstock

I've spent the past few weeks simply enjoying 1969. There are the 5 new Sony releases which I talked about a few weeks back - those are all eye-opening. I've also been enjoying the brand 6 CD Rhino release which includes several never-heard-before cuts, as well as the brand new Arlo Guthrie release called "Tales of '69". The Arlo release is not recorded AT woodstock, but was recorded less than a week before, so it's interesting to compare & exciting to listen to. I had actually never hear Alice Part 3, or even knew of it's existence. Fantastic.

The Ken Bielen Woodstock tapes were also released during the past few weeks. Not exactly easy listening - these are audience recordings made on a dictaphone recorder. It's a wonder this material survived at all. It manages to add 15 unique recordings to our Woodstock collection, which with all the recent "finds" has grown from 22 CDs to 24 CDs. There's still more out there, I'm sure - but it's worth the wait. The best thing about the Ken Bielen tapes is it reminds us that the experience from the ground was not as grand as the 2 hour movie could lead one to believe.

I made many sidetrips, as usual - spent 8 hours lisening to all my Jimi CD's, then turned around and did it again a day later. I pulled out all my Janis CDs and listened to those, as well as Johnny Winter. I took a few side-trips through Delany & Bonnie & Donovan simply because I wanted to hear them.

But, that's not all folks! My personal absolute favorite band from 1969 was Child/Steel Mill - mostly because I saw them live about 15 times during those years. I was a young guitar player and wuld get as close as I could to see their guitar player named Bruce play the most wonderful guitar licks - I learned by watching lots of power chords and lead playing. The band went through changes, with great organ playing by Danny along the way, and a player named Steve added in the mix to play bass. The drummer, Vini, has been busy recently - and this has me grinning from ear to ear, literally. I still pull out my live tapes every summer but Vini has been working with some players to attempt to recreate the era on CD - in the studio. A few years back he released Chronicles, and it's a blessing to hear crisp clean versions of Come On, The Wind And The Rain, Boppin The Blues, KT88 & more. This month he has released a second CD, with All Man The Guns, and a personal favorite, Resurrection. There's much more good news: Sherlock Goes Holmes is fantastic, and I love the full band version of Cowboys by the Sea. The full band version of that one I have on tape is extremely muddy, so this is a revelation - and interesting to compare with the solo demos. There's a few more that were popular in 72 - Down To Mexico, Crow Liquor, Sweet Melinda & Lady Walking. The version of the Train song included here is not as powerful as the demo or the one Robbin Thompson officially released; but it's still great that it's included. I am excited that Vini continues to mine the old tapes for these gems, and it is my prayer they continue to record crisp versions - I'm hoping next time he'll do versions of Jambalaya (Roll Over, Roll Over), Sister Theresa, and a host of others. By my reckoning, there is at least 5 or 6 more CDs of superb material to share with folks who love the power rock blues sound that Bruce and company were famous for before he went on to join a major label and turn to pop.

I'm not sure my nostalgic journey is over - you'll know when the blog returns daily that I'm refreshed and ready to start sharing new finds with you. In the meantime, "Hail Hail Resurrection!"

Notes: Arlo's CD is not yet available on Amazon, but a quick google search for "Tales of '69" will help you discover it. Vini's website for the new versions of Steel Mill/ BSB Band songs is - Long live Dr Zoom & The Sonic Boom!

Listen to "Dead Sea Chronicles" online!

Buy Dead Sea Chronicles by Steel Mill.

Buy All Man The Guns by Steel Mill.

Watch Steel Mill from 3 weeks ago:

The original line-up in San Francisco playing America Under Fire:

The "muddy version" of Cowboys of the Sea is on You Tube!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Indie Friends

In celebration of our TEN-YEAR anniversary since the birth of SideCho in 1999, we would like to invite you to join us for this exclusive sale! We have 3 exclusive packages ranging from 3 CDs for $10.00, 6 CDs with a T-shirt for $20.09, and 10 CDs with 2 T-shirts for $29.99. All packages come with buttons/stickers, and posters. This will only be available for a Limited Time only! The sale ends at the end of August. For more information visit and

Visit & Save

Elvis Presley = The Ed Sullivan Performances (DVD)

I’ve seen clips of these on documentaries through the years, but it’s quite a joy to see all three Elvis appearances in one sitting. First thing I notices was that Ed Sullivan was not even there for the first appearance – and later in one of the additional features I learned that Sullivan had been in a pretty bad car wreck. The second thing I noticed was that all those stories about Elvis being filmed from the waist up were only true about his final performance. So, some folk tales squashed, and some really fine show business moments in these appearances. It’s obvious these guys are singing live and not lip-syncing because of a few flubs on live TV. The music, of course, is great. And, maybe not so important to some, but people like me are interested in the range Elvis has, and how in the close-ups you can actually see his adam apple going through the tremendous range Elvis had as a vocalist. Great fun to watch. Elvis

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bryan Ragsdale – Modern Day Mountain Man

”Living softly off the land!” Start in New York City, drive down to Kentucky to grab some of the story telling techniques of Tom T Hall, then ride through Colorado to capture some of the mountain cowboy clear vocals of John Denver, and keep heading North to Montana and you end up with Bryan Ragsdale singing songs about living life in a place he loves. Brian Ragsdale

Monday, August 10, 2009

Roger Klug - About Time

”Enough to drive you crackers!” The late 70’s introduced us to “New Wave”, and Roger has captured the spirit of the era with this tune. While the spirit is not original, the energy exuded by the cut makes for a great listening experience. The silly guitar solo makes for a bopping summer radio smash. Add to that the fun oddio track Witch From Hell, which delivers the vindictive it promises, and My Life Is Sweet, which really says nothing more, but is arranged in a queenbeachboy fashion that makes it a joy to hear occasionally. Roger Klug

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Drive-By Truckers - Mama Bake A Pie

The guys dug this beautiful song off a Tom T Hall album from 1970. I remember crying then as I do now 40 years later. Fine job at re-creating the song for our current crop of buddies facing the same headlines when they come home. PS – the original song is available, with 100 children, on Tom’s exquisite anthology.

Mama bake a pie (daddy kill a chicken) Tom T. Hall 1970

People starin' at me as they wheel me down the ramp toward my plane
The war is over for me I've forgotten everything except the pain
Thank you sir and yes sir it was worth it for the old red-white-and-blue
And since I won't be walking I suppose I'll save some money buying shoes

The bottle hidden underneath the blanket over my two battered legs
I can see the stewardess make over me and ask were you afraid
I say why no I'm Superman and couldn't find a phone booth quite in time
A GI gets a lotta laughs if he remembers all the funny lines

Mama bake a pie daddy kill a chicken
Your son is comin' home 11:35 Wednesday night

Mama will be crying and daddy's gonna say son did they treat you good
My uncle he'll be drunk and he'll say boy they do some real great things with wood
The letter that she wrote me said goodbye she couldn't wait and lots of luck
The bottle underneath the blanket feels just like an old friend to my touch

I know she'll come and see me but I bet she never once looks at my legs
No she'll talk about the weather and the dress she wore the July 4th Parade
Lord I love her and I don't believe this bottle's gonna get her off my mind
I see here in the paper where they say the war is just a waste of time

Mama bake a pie daddy kill a chicken
Your son is comin' home 11:35 Wednesday night

The Drive-By Truckers

An anonymous guy with heart:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Gordie Tentrees - Same Old Blues

Acoustic high-steppin’ high energy lookin’ at life as a stage. “If you wanna know who I’m singin’ for? Pretty mama, anytime you want to realize – it’s you!” The recording has a great live feel & some fun lead guitar pickin’ & bass pluckin'. Gordie Tentrees

Friday, August 07, 2009

Shelley Harland - Friday

“If it was Friday, I would walk out the door, strap on my wings and fly away!” Great image, and it is Friday, so the song allows us to fly. This happy summer melody overlies the worker stuck inside while the beautiful summer beaches are calling for some fun. “If it was Friday I could lose myself for a coupla days, till the Monday morning rush on the train.” Sung with excitement. “Is it me, or am I bored with the human race.” LOL!!! Shoutout for Clouds Disappear. Shelley Harland

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Miss Ivy – Evil Bride

“She could not change her behaviour, she is surely one of a kind.” Poetry placed to music is a different craft than songwriting. “If you could see inside her mind you’d never guess at what you’d find.” Often melody must be diminished to allow the meter to fit into a pop format. “A squandered soul may be in the bad memory of a banshee.” Miss Ivy was successful creating little musical story poems because there is melodic music pulling the ear while the stories wring the soulful tales. “Your evil bride is waiting for you outside, she dyed her seashell dress scarlet.” This is well done because it leaves me wondering who is considering the bride evil – my guess the bride herself is not thinking that way, but the community. Shoutouts for Dark Rising (“In an endless field of meadow right over the fence, there’s an old road made of cobblestone”) and Morrigan’s Curse (“I agreed in a certain way to make him pay for all the lies he said to me”). Miss Ivy

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Anjulie - Boom

Happy 1st hump day in August! Hot enough? Let’s dance! “Im getting off track and I can’t control a thing.” Once in awhile a dance album comes out that’s different enough to capture eartaster’s buds. Anjulie has a fine voice that pulls me to the dancefloor, but what stands out here is the production. On Boom the background allows the guitar to enter from several rooms away, and is emphasized by many percussive flavors. The tempo changes between songs, and allows for cool down in the 102 degree summer texas hill heat. Shoutouts for Rain, Crazy That Way, Jamba, Same Damn Thing, and the beautiful slow dance When It’s Love. Anjulie

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Fiona Boyes - I Want to Go

The guitar wakes my ears in a very happy way, and what great fun when the guitar is accompanied y the voice of Fiona. The flavors are an equal match and both perfectly complement each other. In the midsection when she plays a sensational solo shivers find my spine with no problem. It’s not easy to capture a live feel on CD, but it works here perfectly. The band is right here in my living room without the aid of any electronic tricks. A very special shoutout for Old Time Ways, which features some fine good-time piano along with some bluesy lead guitar. The video below shows Fiona is perfectly able to handle this song all by her lonesome without the great back-up musicians. Fiona Boyes

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Popes - Let the Bells Ring Out

“Let the quiet shout so voices may be heard!” Notfadeaway shuffle wake-up rock and roll. Lots of great instruments backing up the excited singer – my favorite is the rock fiddler. Shoutout for the equally loud and more anthemic Shine (“one of these days you will rise up”). The Popes

Less rock and roll than the new one, but still loud!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

John Zorn - Zapata Rail

A rhythm fest with some fun guitar work. Think of a jazz lounge act with a vibraphone who asks a rock blues guitarist to sit in. To add to the instrumental excitement is some damn fine organ playing. Shoutout for the equally exciting Magdalena. John Zorn

A few years back:

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Outside Lands Music Festival