Thursday, April 30, 2009
"Reynolds charts a "white trash" teenager's harrowing adventures in a wonderfully compelling, powerful, moving, and complex coming-of-age story. Jael helps her mother run a sleazy bar and pool room, all the while fearing the drunken sexual advances of customers who sometimes pass out on the front porch, only to resume drinking in the morning. Her nurturance by the goddess-Mother Earth-Madonna spirit informs the whole novel. She finds this nurturance when she takes comfort from the nearby woods; she finds it in the giant, uprooted oak that provides her shelter when she is seduced and abandoned on an uninhabited swamp island; and she finds it in comforting words from the Virgin Mother's statue in the church in which she discovers work and the power to find peace. Counterpointing Jael's self-redemption, however, is her self-mutilation when in confusion she ritualistically cuts her name into her thigh, gashes her own belly, and gnaws away the skin of her knuckles because it reminds her of penis skin."
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Republican Senator Arlen Specter has switched his political affiliation to Democrat (After 29 years) in response to the insurmountable odds of re-election in the predominantly democratic state of Pennsylvania.
With a looming filibuster-proof majority in congress, you can kiss your system of "checks and balances" goodbye.
There is a reason that the ninth and lowest circle of hell (and, consequently, Lucifer's mouth(s) are reserved for Judas Iscariot, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, because brutality and ignorance are crimes of the flesh, whereas treason and mutiny are crimes of the soul. What an opportunistic cock-bag.
“More men are guilty of treason through weakness than any studied design to betray”
- François de la Rochefoucauld
Friday, April 24, 2009
A couple o' weeks back I posted a story about a moonshiner named 'Popcorn' Sutton who offed himself rather than serve a jail term for what amounts to preserving an American folk-craft. The news struck a chord w/ me for several reasons. One is that moonshine, like a Kashan rug, or a Shaker chair, is a work of art - the ultimate expression (next to fiddle music) of the uniquely American hybrid which results from the commingling of Anglo Saxon and Scotch-Irish culture. Two, good 'shine', contrary to popular belief, is unsurpassed in it’s smoothness ( despite the rough finish) and, in keeping w/ popular consensus, has the ability to completely wreck your shit like the proverbial ‘Hesperus’. As Faulkner once said, "Between Scotch and nothin', I suppose I'd take Scotch. It's the nearest thing to good moonshine I can find." Third - and this is a wholly selfish reason - Moonshine happened to be the livelihood of one of my distant relatives, her rather peculiar history having shaped (for better or worse) the fortunes of my family in the mountains of Tennessee and the neighboring Clinch river valley.
Mahala 'Big Haley' Mullins was my Great (x4) aunt Gincie's oldest daughter, and as the Knoxville sentinel demonstrates, she had a distinction almost as peculiar as her livelihood:
Bless you cousin Hailey. I'd drink to you honor, but some assholes from Lancaster finished off my last jar of "Jumpsteady". As for this here record, it’s another no-name guy on another no name label, though he does manage to beautifully capture, with the brush of the fiddle and some shaped-note singing, the essence of a criminalized American pastime. I like to think the 'likker' they are extolling the virtues of might just have come from cousin Haley's stoneware jug. And that, my friends, makes me extremely thirsty.
'Big Haley' weighed around 500 pounds, give or take an exaggerated 100 pounds. Though her girth, thought to be the result of elephantiasis, was renowned, tonnage wasn't the thing that immortalized her in the hills. It was moonshine. She and her sons made the finest in the region. In the late 1800s thirsty Kentuckians, Virginians and North Carolinians came by horseback and wagon to haul off loads of Big Haley's best. She made apple brandy from the Northern Spy and Limber Twig, two of the tastiest apples ever produced in the dimpled highlands of Hancock. From the corn came a creation of molecular superiority, a supple elixir, which she either sold by the dipper from a wooden keg or by the jug.
There have been many fetching stories about Mahala Mullins, but there is one that surfaced recently that might be the best yarn of all. In the days of the Whisky Tree, near the ridge in Snake Hollow, if a person felt the need for some liquid stimulation, he would ride by the hollowed out beech tree, put in 50 cents and take out a jug. It was the whiskey honor system. Nobody would ever dream of taking more than what they paid for, or taking any of the money. If they had, they wouldn't have gotten to the end of Snake Hollow.'
Her reputation for fine spirits began to irritate local law enforcement authorities, and a number of federal agents. A new sheriff decided that he would make a quick name for himself and arrest Big Haley. He got a judge, who was familiar with and had sampled some of Big Haley's best to issue a warrant. The old judge smiled as he signed the official papers, handing them over to the new sheriff. 'Don't fail to bring her in,' he admonished the law officer. Armed with the warrant, the sheriff set out for Newman's Ridge. When he got to her log cabin, the sheriff went up to the door, knocked and went on in. He announced that he had a warrant for Big Haley's arrest and had come to take her in. At this point the sheriff discovered one intriguing fact; Big Haley was too big to get through the door. He measured her, measured the door and shook his head. When he returned to town he reported to the judge, 'She's catchable, but not fetchable.'
When she died, the problem arose about what to do about getting her body through the door. They sawed the legs off her bed, boxed it up, and it became her coffin. They opened a hole in the back wall of her chimney big enough to ease the coffin through the fireplace and then replaced the brickwork after the funeral."
North Carolina Hills - Fred Mach & Trio
P.S. Popcorn Says "Fuck You!"
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Courtesy of SayUncle:
The Case for a Federalism Amendment: Randy Barnett, professor of Constititional Law @ Georgetown University, suggests petitioning Congress for a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution...you know, like the kind that ended prohibition and stuff.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I had initially intended to post his cut on 03/13 (See: Jinx!), but I couldn't for the life of me find it amongst all the clutter. You see, my filing system is decidedly non-linear. Add to that all the incoming detritus and you begin to get the picture.
It's just as well that this cut and accompanying sleeve looks like it was steeped in swamp water, as this tune is so lazy that it brings to mind the summer heat and Wisteria tangles of it's native Arkansas.
Montie Hall (dubbed 'Little' Montie Hall by fellow performer 'Little' Jimmy Dickens) was a staple of the Louisiana Hayride and the Grand Ole' Opry in the late 50's. He was, in addition, a disc-jokey of some note and was at one time considered the youngest dee-jay in the south. He cut several sides for Arkansas' Jemm records, including 'Moonshine'. Incidentally, these sides were engineered by Gene Sullivan of 'Bob Lewis & the Texas Playboys' fame.
Far from stagnant (despite the stains), Little Montie Jones lays out a cool little crawler w/ some sharp guitar across the face of this 1960 Oklahoma City rag.
Black Cat's Chasin' Me - Montie Jones
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tying up loose ends left unresolved since the Cruikshank decision (1876), the 9th circuit appellate court has (Wisely) ruled in favor of the incorporation of the Second Amendment pursuant to the 14th Amendment (I.e. 2nd Amendment protections on a state level).
"We therefore conclude that the right to keep and bear arms is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” Colonial revolutionaries, the Founders, and a host of commentators and lawmakers living during the first one hundred years of the Republic all insisted on the fundamental nature of the right. It has long been regarded as the “true palladium of liberty.” Colonists relied on it to assert and to win their independence, and the victorious Union sought to prevent a recalcitrant South from abridging it less than a century later. The crucial role this deeply rooted right has played in our birth and history compels us to recognize that it is indeed fundamental, that it is necessary to the Anglo-American conception of ordered liberty that we have inherited."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Thun.der.bird /n/: A spirit of thunder, lightning, and rain in the form of a huge bird in the mythology of certain Native American peoples.
Thun.der.bird /n/: Fruit flavored, fortified wine drink usually found in urban area convenience stores for a relatively cheap price.
If you were to ask your average Lakota Indian (And I know you have) about the proud heritage of the majestic Thunderbird, he would surely regale thee w/ tales of this auspicious thunder-eating fowl. Consequently, if you were to ask your average bum in Newark about that same subject, you’d probably be offered a hand job in a public park under the auspice of acquiring this strange species of bender-juice. Frankly, this is why I avoid soup kitchens.
Nothing good ever came out of from a screw-top, and Thunderbird is no exception. The stupor one crafts on this shit is of the fightin’ kind (Sweatin’ & Cussin’), and the hangover is of such a rare species that you would welcome the sweet embrace of death as an alternative to the Armageddon you have unknowingly unleashed in your head. Oh, and it turns your tongue black like a giraffe's. Needless to say, I love this shit.
Story goes that brothers Earnest and Julio Gallo (Yup, the very same) were looking to market a relatively cheap wine to the as-yet undervalued urban demographic (See: Ghetto). Priced to move and for-T-fied (i.e. added booze), the only component missing was a conveyance to get their product to the masses. I assume the brainstorming session when something like this:
Ernest: Say Julio, how can we sell this shitty cough syrup to ornery black folk?
Julio: Why, by capitalizing on their affinity for rhyming couplets, of course!
Hence this crafting of thee greatest commercial jingle of all times…
"What's the word? / Thunderbird / How's it sold? / Good and cold / What's the jive? / Bird's alive / What's the price? / Thirty twice."
Having gotten that that off my chicken chest, I really don’t know shit about these two records, save for their obvious mutual adoration of Lokata heritage and tradition (Obviously). The Casual-Aires tune is perhaps the most conspicuous of the two, having been included in Crypt records Las Vegas Grind series, an as for the ‘Thunderbird Twist’, I grabbed that pearl out of a box of junk near Trenton and I haven't looked back (Don't wanna make eye contact). Seriously,'Twist' is one of my absolute faves (my standards are admittedly low).
Make sure you get your wig busted up on some dirty bird before loosing these hounds. Just screw off the cap and let your inner transient take flight.
What's the jive? / Bird's alive!
Thunderbird Twist - Thunderbirds
Thunderbird - Casual-Aires
P.S. Dig these vintage adverts (Here and Here) for the crowned-prince of low-class hooch. Nothin' say classy like James Mason!
TX Gov. Rick Perry joined state Rep. Brandon Creighton and sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"A number of recent federal proposals are not within the scope of the federal government’s constitutionally designated powers and impede the states’ right to govern themselves. HCR 50 affirms that Texas claims sovereignty under the 10th Amendment over all powers not otherwise granted to the federal government."
Dog Will Hunt!
Dept. of Homeland Security declares conservatives racist extremists.
Mike Tribby -American Library Association:
"Searching for "authenticity" in a music intended for broad commercial success may seem an odd undertaking, but Barker and Taylor are hardly the first to try. What was more authentic, the Sex Pistols or disco? Setting aside that so asking demonstrates a misunderstanding of what Malcolm McLaren and his hirees were up to, that simple question expresses the authors' MO. Similar queries animate the discussion and help make a framework within which to consider desegregation in the American South and other historical matters. Perhaps the quintessential chapter is "Heartbreak Hotel: The Art and Artifice of Elvis Presley." Few other pop stars have so thoroughly covered the gamut from the plausible authenticity of Presley's musical roots to the obvious, saccharine artifice of the King's movies. Other chapters ponder Neil Young (a rocker given to concerns about authenticity and legitimacy, sometimes too much so), Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Moby, and Donna Summer. With plenty of interesting and contentious assertions to stimulate even casual readers, this is a heck of an argument starter."
Monday, April 13, 2009
Well. Now we know the answer to that burning question first proposed by Jimmie Lowe,"What's Behind the Green Door?"
Answer: The Grim-freakin'-Reaper...
Adult film star Marilyn Chambers (Peggy McGinn) has been found dead in her Northern Los Angeles County home. C.O.D is unknown, but I suppose "Death by Unga-Bunga" isn't entirely out of the question (wink)
R.I.P. Marilyn Chambers 1952-2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
“Possessed people, reaching a once-distant goal, almost close enough now to touch. Squirt gunfights in the dark, shrieks from the kitchen, Brookey-poo down the hall. Nights in hotels, endless bars, a year and a half getting tight; now the precious moments on stage, when all is right and their music is real and we all become sound an electricity for a too-soon ended instant. The road home is dark and lonely. Few make it.”
– Robert Rouse (From the liner Notes of 'Country Funk')
Lets get this outta the way right off the bat. The record is neither country, nor funk. It ain't even Funktry, which is strange concidering I just made the word up (Surfabilly anyone?). Rural-Psych is another classification which I've heard bandied about, but that makes even less sense. What it is, consequently, is a heavy hybrid. Accustic and fuzz-ladden in the same breath. This 1970 release is both the debut and swansong these LA vagabonds . Overly sentimental, but w/ a little crack of doom, it certainly is a strange cross-polinization in the Moby-Grape kinda vein. Apparently Beck sampled this LP on the Odelay album. Confirm, or deny!?
"Oftentimes when a new group comes out, people pay attention to the wrong things. A group's music is frequently ignored and too much importance is placed on irrelevancies. The color of Country Funk's collective eyes or if they dig pizza and ice cream really don't matter. What matters is that they are into music and music has brought them together.
In the spring of '68 the group, consisting of Hal Paris, Adam Taylor, Joe Pfeifer and Jeff Lockwood, headed for the West Coast to cut an album and take it from there. This was a reunion for Hal and Adam, because they had been together in a group back in the eighth grade and at different times later in their careers. After some rehearsing they auditioned at Kaleidoscope. Amps blew, tempers flew, there was trouble with the p.a. and the audition flopped. Some weeks later they did a stint of five weeks at Gazzari's on the Strip in the summer of '68.
Autumn came and the group broke up; Hal and Adam stayed in Hollywood, trying to get a new thing going. A formidable song-writing team, the nucleus of COUNTRY FUNK, was formed. They found James Lanham through an ad in Wallach's Music City and began rehearsing with Joe Pfeifer. A week before their first gig Joe split and Verne Johnson, whom they met through the Union, took over the drums. They came to Vermont in the winter of '68 to play the ski clubs. When they left, Verne had split and Joe was back. Then it was off to Amherst to play the Woodrose Ballroom. This started the group giving concerts and led to Cambridge for the summer of '69, where they soon became part of the Boston scene. Ray Paret of Amphion Productions put them on the road back to L.A. and the Record Plant to produce their debut album on Polydor. While it was being cut, Joe split again and Verne, who was floating, came back to the Funk, bringing all the original members together once more.
With the release of their first album, COUNTRY FUNK stood the way it started: with Adam Taylor playing lead guitar, Hal Paris on piano and rhythm guitar, Jim Lanham playing bass and steel guitar, and Verne Johnson playing drums and jews harp. They are together and from here, let their music speak for them."
- original press release, 1970
When I'm Without You - Country Funk
Poor Boy - Country Funk
Apart of Me - Country Funk
Monday, April 6, 2009
From Bill Fay to Jenny...
The stars at night may be big and bright, but the guitar chops of this San Antonio psych combo could use a little stove polish to bring the shine out. Hard to imagine the guitar-face that went along with the tasty lix on this solo attempt, but rest assured, it's loose in all the right places, and inept enough to make you thank your lucky stars for rock and/or roll. Flip this disc over and dig a pretty thorough ham-stringing of Carlos Santana, complete w/ bongos and by-the-book B-3. And as an added bonus, you get the whole shebang laced-up on 'Skate' records. I tells ya, I can almost taste the stale pizza and Pepsi. Just don't get you skates caught in the floor-length urinal. Chicken Dance anyone?
Are You Ready? - United
Amor - United
Dig this: Blogger has computer, cable modem and wireless router confiscated over expository police website. Accused by Phoenix police chief of running an "unaccredited grassroots Web site". Well shit...
Friday, April 3, 2009
Wow. Here's another one boasting the mysterious Bill Fay's peculiar brand of scarification.
Sounds like a cross between Lefty Frizzel's 'Long Black Veil' and Johnny Horton's 'When Its Springtime in Alaska' (So you know right there its gonna be upbeat). It's so reminiscent of the latter, in fact, that it might as well be Horton singin' the whole damned thing. One thing's for sure, it certainly is an impersonal tune. Kinda apathetic, no? Perfect soundtrack to watch the world slouch towards Bethlehem through the bottom of a cut-crystal glass (He types while doing just that).
Buddy Long, longtime Spring Valley Arizona native, got his start backing Duane Eddy on his debut single 'Soda Fountain Girl'. Long went on to work w/ Ray Odum, Waylon Jennings and Bob Fite and the Western Playboys.
Produced by Lee Hazelwood, you know 'Nothins' gotta be quality w/ Jody Reynold's home away from home, Demon records, givin' it the horned treatment and all. Endless sleep indeed.
It's Nothin' to Me - Buddy Long