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Friday, September 30, 2016

Sammy Eubanks
It's All Blues To Me (Underworld Records)

With lapel-grabbing stridency, these eminently tradition-grounded songs illustrate blues' table-pounding potential. Sammy rips from simply six stings a host of lightning-streak furies, adroit amblings, and introspective articulations. Easy-at-home vocals shoulder in beside them, evincing disarming emotional substance. 

Recommended "It's All Blues To Me," "No Excuse For the Blues," "I'm Gonna Leave You,"  "Sugar Me," "My Baby's Gone," "It's My Life Baby"

Video "It's All Blues To Me"

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hillary vs Elvis 2016
Does Clinton believe Presley to have been a "deplorable?"

Singer Mary J. Blige's musical successes were commercial and era-bound in nature; she neither turned new creative soil nor was particularly interesting in her revisiting of cliches.

She did, though, slur her artistic superior. In 1997, Blige lied bold-facedly about the late Elvis Presley, deriding him without foundation as "racist."

The otherwise irrelevant Blige is a minor player in current political news. She is making quite the loud spectacle of herself on behalf of Hillary Clinton. 

In a simply tilted video interview spot soon to run online, Blige sings questions to Clinton. The candidate wears a pained, 'why in the hell did I agree to this?' expression, the same one she sported during her recent Between Two Ferns appearance. 

My guess is that some millennial vote-hunting campaign functionary was later disciplined roundly.

But Hillary's opportunistic embrace of Elvis-hater Blige neatly illustrates a larger reality about her campaign, as well as of an evolving foul and nonsensical cultural trend. In this addled movement, everything established, successful, reasonable, and traditional is to be reviled and plowed under. 

There is no distinction recognized between positives and negatives. By virtue of vintage, all are equally opprobrious. 

To have enjoyed previous cultural cache, goes the fury-brained half-thinking, is to be (pick one or more) racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, etc. And, hence, the despised enemy to be strangled by the marching, sign-hefting forces of goodness.

In this undisciplined era of anarchic tumult, Hillary Clinton has made manifest her sympathy: Out with the old, and in with the new. Elvis would be counted as an 'irredeemable deplorable,' by her rancid arithmetic. 

(Never mind that they don't get much older than she; not unlike celebrity backers Cher and Madonna, Hillary seeks to reinvent herself for the incoming generation of ticket buyers.)

Given her amoral calculating, it is logical -- albeit still thoroughly despicable -- that Clinton cast her lot with rampaging, violent, and destructive street thugs over law officers representing decent and orderly American society. 

At this point, a stipulation cries out to be acknowledged. No candidate can reasonably be assumed to share every belief of their backers. 

A major misjudgement was made by news media commentators challenging Donald Trump to publicly distance himself from stray unsavory supporters. Such outsiders had without invitation sought greater visibility by attaching themselves to his more popular and spotlighted effort.

It was unreasonable to demand that Trump acknowledge them as legitimately worth attention. But as we've seen in this election season, reasonableness is most clearly not a mainstream media ambition.

There is a considerable difference, though, between that and the Hillary/Blige case: The Democratic candidate chose her association with the Elvis-smearing singer of long-since-gone renown.

Hillary does not necessarily share Blige's deceitful, noxious prejudice. But by uncritically availing herself of the faded pop luminary's aid and comfort -- and, in a very real larger sense, with the bedraggled, anarchic assassins of all-that-came-before -- she certainly is positing this metaphorical choice:

You can stand with either Elvis Presley or Hillary Clinton. Can't be both.


Mike Eldred Trio
Baptist Town (CEN/RED)

Sometimes, it seems like men have been so beat down and suffered so that even when they're put under, their ache and sorrow snake back up out of deep Southern soil. Darkened memories of tortures hang in the air like tormented spirits, moaning heartbreak testament into eternity. And no one ever learns.

At Mike's elbow when he laid down these appropriately sparse, flesh-made-blues narratives of worldly woes were Blasters John Bazz and Jerry Angel. Robert Cray, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, and John Mayer added their qualities to recording services convened at Sun Studios, a hallowed site where common men wrought treasure from natural human experience.

Recommended "Baptist Town," "Black Annie," "Sugar Shake," "Hundred Dollar Bill," "Hoodoo Man," "Papa Jegbo," "Roadside Shrine"

Video: narrated CD promo, filmed at Sun Records

In 1997, Mary J. Blige slurred the late Elvis Presley, falsely declaring that he'd been "racist."

In coming days, Blige's interview of Hillary Clinton will air.

Of course, Hillary Clinton does not necessarily share each of Blige's opinions. But her uncritical association with Blige does merit observation.

And that Blige was so willing to be deceitful, encouraging of racial division, and bold-facedly smearing of the deceased Presley is to her lasting discredit.

With that recent development an inspiration, I'm reprinting a past essay:

To Smear a King:
Crossing swords with the power of myth
by DC Larson

It has become something of a tradition, albeit a regrettable one. As the August anniversary of Elvis Presley's 1977 death approaches, self-righteous hectors villify him as "racist."

It is a false claim, though for some one not requiring that examinable evidence ever be produced. But putting one's hands on contrary testimony is easily done.

The myth-debunking website (on its "Urban Legends Reference Page") details the origin of the counterfeit claim. The site cites Michael T. Bertrand's book "Race, Rock, and Elvis."

Bertrand had found that the April 1957 issue of the white-owned Sepia magazine contained the article, "How Negroes Feel About Elvis." The piece noted that, "colored opinion about the hydromatically-hipped hillbilly from Mississippi runs the gamut from caustic condemnation to ardent admiration." It offered views allegedly collected from both celebrities and "people in the street."

Snopes writes, "Presumably from the 'people in the street' came the infamous and uncredited quotation, "The only thing Negroes can do for me is shine my shoes and buy my records."

Sepia sought input from African-American Minister Milton Perry. "I feel," Perry told the magazine, "that an overwhelming majority of people who know him speak of this boy who practices humility and a love for racial harmony. I learned that he is not too proud or important to speak to anyone and to spend time with his fans of whatever color, wherever and whenever they approach him."

It was not long, though, before the anonymous, 'people in the street' comment was being falsely attributed to the singer, himself. Again, Snopes. "The rumor grew and spread throughout 1957. It mattered not that the story came cloaked in impossible details, such as Elvis supposedly making the statement in Boston (a city he had never visited) or on Edward R. Murrow's Person To Person television program (on which Elvis never appeared)."

Unable to source the rumored comment, the website records, Jet magazine sent reporter Louie Robinson to interview Presley on the "Jailhouse Rock" set. ("The 'Pelvis' Gives His Views On Vicious anti-Negro slur" Jet, August 1, 1957)

"I never said anything like that," Presley told Robinson. "And people who know me know I wouldn't have said that."

A number of fellow musicians, whites and blacks, came to Presley's defense at the time. Notable among them was R&B singer Darlene Love, who had backed Presley with vocal group the Blossoms. "I would never think that Elvis Presley was a racist," Love was later quoted as saying in a 2002 article. "He was born in the South, and he probably grew up with that, but that doesn't mean he stayed that way." ("False Rumor Taints Elvis," Cox News Service, August 16, 2002)

(Other contradictory direct evidence exists on Charly Records's 2006 "The Million Dollar Quartet, 50th Anniversary Special Edition." In 1956, Sun Records alum Elvis joined Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash at the Memphis studio for an impromptu session. Prior to a loose, collective retelling of his then-chart hit, "Don't Be Cruel," Elvis related seeing Billy Ward and the Dominoes's recent cover performance of it. "Much better than that record of mine," Presley concedes. He describes Ward's onstage energy: "He was hittin' it, boy!" Jerry Lee responds, "Oh man, that's classic!" Performers naturally admiring a fellow performer; not a hint of color consciousness to be found.)

Myths, though, are of a seductive quality -- often for cultural reasons other than themselves. This popular legend-based anti-Elvis sentiment persists, with recent illustrations including Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" (1989) and Living Colour's "Elvis Is Dead" (1990).

(To his credit, Public Enemy's Chuck D. later expressed a more complex and nuanced opinion. He told a reporter, "As a musicologist -- and I consider myself one -- there was always a great deal of respect for Elvis, especially during his Sun sessions. As black people, we all knew that...My whole thing was the one-sidedness -- like, Elvis's status in America made it seem like nobody else counted. My heroes came before him. My heroes were probably his heroes..."Chuck D. Speaks on Elvis's Legacy," Associated Press, 8/12/02.)

As noted in an 8/11/07 New York Times op-ed ("How did Elvis get turned into a racist? ") by author Peter Guralnick, singer Mary J. Blige  also cited the scurrilous myth as if it were at all based in fact.

Of course rock'n'roll existed prior to Presley's 1954 recording debut at Sun Records in Memphis. It was in some cases electrifying and wondrous in ways known only to audiences and subsequent vinyl collectors.

But the national stage appearance of Crown Electric Co. truck driver Elvis marked -- not an example of white culture appropriating something blacks had already developed but for which they were denied credit -- but the emergence of the hitherto-unrepresented working class into popular culture visibility.

In early years, Elvis did perform for segregated audiences in the pre-Civil Rights-era South. But for critics highlighting that to be fair, they need to note that segregation of public facilities was then a matter of civil law and not of performers's choosing.

Some might hold that, that being the case, performers had a moral duty to refrain entirely from public performance. But that would have made performing impossible for all musicians, black as well as white. And for many, it's as much a calling as a profession.

A Memphis, Tennessee contemporary of Presley's, Paul Burlison first earned renown as lead guitarist for Johnny Burnette and the Rock'n'Roll Trio. I interviewed him for a 2000 Goldmine article. He shared something of what the situation was like for working musicians in that time and place.

Paul was in a country band in 1951, when he caught the attention of blues man Howlin' Wolf. He began backing Wolf on the latter's radio program, though due to racial codes, Burlison's name could not be cited in group introductions.

"The reason I didn't play in the clubs with him was because of the racial thing back then," Paul told me. He recalled having to enter black clubs through back doors and said of Wolf, "It was the same with him if he came up to where we were playing. We would have liked to have [played clubs together], of course. It just wasn't permitted in those days. Not in Memphis, anyhow."

(Before his death in 2003, Paul's credits included not only rockabilly genre pioneering giants the Rock'n'Roll Trio, but international solo work and a 1990s showcase at the Smithsonian Institution.)

The "Elvis was racist" article-of-faith mantra is an offshoot of the larger fiction holding against evidence that rock'n'roll is exclusively black in origin. But Tennessee rockabilly guitar man Carl Perkins did not sound like venerated shouter Big Joe Turner, nor did the frantic storms of Jerry Lee Lewis recall the risible and urbane stylings of Fats Waller -- though all helped develop the music.

In his invaluable volume, "Unsung Heroes of Rock'n'Roll," veteran music writer Nick Tosches noted that the burgeoning sound which spread across 1950s America began in regional pockets and was of mixed parentage.

"Rock'n'roll was not created solely by blacks or whites," wrote Tosches. Earlier, after dispatching mono-racial rock'n'roll creation arguments, the author observed, "One could make just as strong a case for Jews being the central ethnic group in rock'n'roll's early history; for it was they who produced many of the best songs, cultivated much of the greatest talent, and operated the majority of the pioneering record companies."

Difficult as it would be to construct an exhaustive review of early rock'n'roll without citing Doc Pomus, Mort Schuman, Les Bihari, or Sid Nathan, it is telling that many of today's race-as-creative-qualification theorists might not even be able to identify those men, significant to the style's germination though they were.

Rock'n'roll was more than just music, it acted as a socially-unifying wing of the growing civil rights movement, uniting people on the dance floor just as others would come together in polling places. (Not to paint an overly-rosy portrait. It was not the entire solution. But it did help immeasurably to spur the phenomenon.)

It is flatly anti-creative to argue as some do that an individual or community can "steal" art from another, and that instances of blended creation be discouraged and reviled. That's how art is created. One artist inspires another, an idea is raised up, turned around, and new art is born.

Concepts like ownership, territoriality and separatism are wholly foreign to the phenomenon. (Which is not to argue that these invalid notions are still not useful for some; indeed, Mos Def founds the narrative of his 2002 "Rock and Roll" upon that very sand.)

Too, this involves a fundamental issue, that of reason versus emotion. There is evidence -- which merits intellectual regard and can convert the unsympathetic -- and there is self-righteously uncritical passion. It is the latter that animates the "Elvis was racist" lie.

That untruth is comfortable within a cultural posture that pronounces it acceptable and proper for genuine histories of oppression and appropriation to be universally assigned so as to include any specific instance or individual the speaker might select.

It is a model in which an argument's merit turns not on soundness, on actual provability, but merely on the identity and cause of the arguer; in which unfounded partisan sentiment assumes all the legitimacy of objective fact and demands respect as such.

There is a long and reprehensible history of struggling artists being denied rightful due. And both black and white musicians were so victimized, indicating that the matter is one perhaps more of business predation and of class than racial prejudice.

Critics are correct to point out that elements of white-dominated mass popular culture have at times assumed and reinvented black culture-born idioms, while paying neither due acknowledgment nor recompense. Deserving artists went unnoticed -- and that was criminal.

But such critics expose themselves as intellectually illegitimate and unethical when they seek to superimpose that tragic broad reality upon every specific target that might be tactically magnetic, without benefit of evidence. (And yes, it is ironic that while Presley's 1950's white racist detractors despised his music's multi-racial sensibility, many of his contemporary ones castigate him for the identical reason.)

Elvis was one of many talented men and women whose music helped American popular culture become representative of all the country's people. To ignore that today and instead proffer slanderous myths is an affront not only to his contributions and the prize of racial unity but to the intellectual ideals of honesty and reason.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Teddy Boppers
Medicina (self)

On this jubilantly swinging, Spanish-language neo-rockabilly single, carbonated sax falls in with spartan, driving guitar/stand up drums/slap-bass corps. Eminently cat-styled, fully forceful zeal that acknowledges no stop signs. Put on a happy face!

Audio clip, "Medicina"

Video, in-club interview

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

April Mae and the June Bugs
Sun Kissed! (The Sun Studio Sessions) (self)

Wire bifocals perched midway down his nose, genial, old Doc Burford removed the stethoscope plugs from his ears and stepped back.

"Heart sounds strong," he declared. "Everything else checks out, too."

"So, how come lately I'm feelin' run down?" Burford's sad-eyed patient was confused.

"Well, sir," the doctor furrowed his brow. "Could be you're not gettin' enough countrybilly."


Burford opened a cabinet. Reaching past medicinal bottles, he took down a CD.

"Here we go: April Mae and the June Bugs. This here''ll perk you right up. It's a real horn-honker!"

The patient examined the disc. "Looks good enough!" He peered at the doctor."And you're sure it'll fix right what's ailin' me?"

"Yessir! They're as hopped up as all get-out! She's a pistol! They got Jerry Lee's old drummer, J.M. Van Eaton...Bassman slappin' like he's goin' to town! And this cigar box guitar-playin' character, name of Catfish - land a'Goshen! What he can do with that thing could set a barn ablaze!"  

"Okay, Doc!" The patient brightened and reached back for his wallet. "You just made yourself a sale!"

Recommended "It's All About the Boogie," "Hard-Headed Woman," "Memphis Bound," "Grease It Up and Go"

VIDEO bio clip

Monday, September 26, 2016

Day of the Dead
Heartbreak Island (self)
Dead If You Don't (self)

Truly, no man yet breathes that has seen the transfixingly horrific spectacle of Ray Ban sunglasses-wearing Mad Daddy skeletons twisting and jerkily gyrating on moonlit surfside beaches as a ghostly transistor radio blares flipped-out rockin' from beyond. But we do have these bold and gripping audio slices -- startling, inspirational of exotic imaginings, and of spine-bending, star travel go-go aspect.

Recommended, Heartbreak Island 
"Death Valley," "The Last Stand," "Alamo,"

Recommended, Dead If You Don't 
"Damned If You Do," "Black Heart," "Queen of   Aces," "Midnight Murder Call," "Shadowland"

Video "Death Valley"

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fun On Saturday Night (Rip Cat)

It is today as it ever was: The Blasters' mastery of American roots slang idioms, joyful evocation of those hardscrabble sounds' truest natures, and heart-bursting, ain't-nothin'-but-right melding of them into a spectacular whole slaps a silly grin on every mug in the joint. 

'Revival?' Hush up your mouth, fool. 'Cause this here Blue Line never stopped. And it never will. No sir.

Recommended "Fun On Saturday Night," "Love Me With a Feeling," "Well Oh Well," "I Don't Want Cha," "The Yodeling Mountaineer," "Breath of My Love," "Rock My Blues Away"

Video "Fun On a Saturday Night"

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Jim Liban and the Joel Paterson Trio
I Say What I Mean (Ventrella)

His harp afire with emotions too true to be anything but loudly brash, Jim uncovers for universal delight a stomping, hand-clapping, shouting-in-earthy-testament Chicago-style blues that bobs its brim and snaps its fingers into hazy wee hours. 

And it's indicative of Jim's guiding hipness, and also of the in-pocket groove worth of this thoroughly solid wax, that he enlisted the Joel Paterson trio, hot-damn crackerjacks of whom no high accolade could be superfluous.

Recommended "I Say What I Mean," "Stop On By," "Cottonweed," "Thank You For the Dance," "Cold Stuff"

Video "I Say What I Mean"

Friday, September 23, 2016

Creepin' Cadavers
In 3d (self)

Stormclouds touch shoulders in the nightmarish, darkened skies. All around, unrelenting sheets of icy rain drive down, savagely pummeling earth. Lightning flashes in erratic, unbound ballet. A gale-force wind rips up rickety, paint-peeled edifices surrounded by gnarled and barren oaks. And a madly rocketing, stitch-faced psychobilly punk creation rages with a violent loudness that shakes entire dimensions.  

Recommended "When the Lights Go Out," "Monochrome," "The Pigs Below," "The Wraith," "Hang With Us"

Video "When the Lights Go Out"

Thursday, September 22, 2016

DNA and the Cellarboys
s/t (self)

There's a big time rightness you can literally hear and feel when all the important elements flow in fraternity - the smart song craft, affably and determinedly swinging dispatch, a mood of high-spirited uplift. And yes, all those hale factors are in these snapped-tight, countrybilly grooves -- along with comfortably slung vocals and an electrically charged dynamism that ensures no hardwood floor will know a lonely night.

Recommended "Hey Little Lucy," "On the Road," "I Can't," "Reckon I Fall," "Never Look Back," "Ridin' In the Rain"

Video "Hey Little Lucy"

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Stray Cats
Live At Rockpalast 
(Made In Germany Music)

The Stray ones weren't alone in the 70s/80s neo-rockabilly resurgence; other leading representatives included Robert Gordon, the Rockats, and the Blasters. But the singular lightning they had bottled was a bracing, raucous combination of Gene aggression and tuneful Eddie style. They stalked world stages, faces like fists, in the explosively defiant rebel tradition. These convulsive '81 and '83 Rockpalast uprisings emblazoned their gutsy essence. 2 CD and DVD set.

Recommended '81: "Rumble In Brighton," "Drink That Bottle Down," "Storm the Embassy," "Fishnet Stockings," "Gonna Ball,"
"Rock This Town," "She's Sexy and 17"

Recommended '83: "Double Talkin' Baby," "Something's Wrong With My Radio," "Look At That Cadillac," "Banjo Time (Foggy Mountain Breakdown," "Stray Cat Strut," "Built For Speed," "Too Hip, Gotta Go"

Video "Rumble In Brighton"

Monday, September 19, 2016

American Patrol
The American Way (self)

Any adjectives I might assemble would fail in fully descriptive task. I could indicate Jerry Sikorski's redoubtable, 70s/80s resume 
-- Ray Campi's Rockabilly Rebels, Colin Winski, Jimmy and the Mustangs, Candy Kane. Or that of cohort Jim Leslie -- who co-wrote "White Boots," for Stevie Ray Vaughn. Too, I could dwell on the fresh and unique coolness of harnessing traditional values sensibilities with unerring, old-school rockin' (sporting cowboy carriage) that sends one reeling down familiar Bop Street.

Best, though, for me to simply advise you to listen for yourself.

Recommended "The American Way," "Big Time Boogie Woogie Shuffle," "The Greatest Love," "Glory Hallelujah," "Can't Get You Outta My Head," "Lucky 7"

Video "The American Way" (live) (This page features Jim Leslie solo tracks.)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Teenage Cruisers - film soundtrack
(Rollin Rock/PART)

Ronny Weiser's Rollin Rock Records turned out indispensable rockabilly in the '70s/'80s, an era in which authentic, country-rooted rockin' was rare. Based in a Van Nuys, California garage, Weiser's bootstraps DIY operation was in its time underappreciated. Much of its significant vinyl was marketed through mail orders. 

Despite those inclement circumstances, though, Weiser's label boasted singular distinction. It was a link between original rockabillies such as Charlie Feathers and Ray Campi and a new generation of twanging rebels like Jerry Sikorski and Billy Zoom.

Oh -- and Weiser discovered the Blasters, giving them important entree into the recording world before they moved to Slash/Warner Bros.

The film Teenage Cruisers was billed as the first cinematic union of pornography and rockabilly. Though of meager production standards, and featuring less than stellar actors,  it is today a cult item; collectors prize it for its humor and oddball character.

The music is of paramount worth, though. This wax (later rereleased on CD by PART) was and remains a relevant reminder that important rock and roll doesn't require elaborate conception.

Just a feeling and a guitar.

Recommended "That Certain Female," (Charlie Feathers), "Are You Hep To It?" (Johnny Legend), "Marie Marie" (Blasters), "Hard Knocks and Tough Rocks," (Wildman Tony Conn), "Backseat Boogie" (Jerry Sikorski) "The Newest Wave" (Ray Campi), "Bad Boy" (Billy Zoom), "I Wanna Eat Your Puddin'" (Alvis Wayne)

Video "That Certain Female"

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Robert Gordon [with Chris Spedding]
Live In Passaic

Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding

At My Father's Place 3/6/79 
Lone Star Cafe 9/16/88 Early Show 
(Rock-A-Billy Records)
Lone Star Cafe 9/16/88 Late Show 
(Rock-A-Billy Records)

Gloriously, scandalously electric rock and roll was never the 'passing craze' 1950s detractors assailed it as being. Of racially and experientially blended character, the defiantly upstart style was much more powerful than the milquetoastian polite society strictures it forever rattled into rubble.

In its fecund youth, rock and roll spoke to and for entire swaths of under-celebrated America: the poor, blue collar workers, blacks, teenagers. Anyone who dwelt 'outside,' and intuited that the mannerly crooners blaring from 'Your Hit Parade' broadcasts weren't 'of' them, and didn't care to be. Those powdered songbirds would probably shrink from the egalitarian prospect.

During the 1970s, punk savages essentially followed in kind. Springing up from the urban grassroots, they noisily renounced the overblown and painstakingly placid 'rock product' that relentlessly streamed from corporate radio of the day. 

Throwing off status quo bondage, they sifted through influences, admixing them with their own, newly coined rage. The fresh creature produced turned out to reflect the same insoucient, rudely rebellious spirit previously voiced by Elvis, Jagger, et al.

Like the sounds he so loved -- embracing, as they did, once-taboo modes like jumping rhythm and blues, and swinging hillbilly country -- Robert endured through flashy, annoying trends that had nothing to do with the bop that mattered to him. His music drew heavily from predecessors' patterns, but added serrated edges, interpreting them as forcibly high-spirited in contemporary context.

Possessed of a deep baritone, he commanded both audience appreciation and, doubtless, peers' envy. A technically sublime vocalist, Robert easily located notes beyond others, sustaining them with rousing potency. His powerhouse pronouncements swelled with confident authority. (As they still do: Robert's 2014 Lanark records release, I'm Coming Home, found him in as stentorian and agile voice as ever.)

He was and remains our era's top-most rockabilly icon, of such impressive capacity as to merit pantheon rank. 

Storied English guitar phenomenon Chris Spedding laced Robert's already outstanding offering with stylistically multifarious, sensitively nuanced six-string articulation. In his hands, songs could storm, fly, or cruise with settled serenity.

Chris cleverly intercut rockabilly, blues, and country enunciations with telescopically sliding jazz chording and flabbergasting treble stings. One notes the unerring heed of a genuine artist evident in every purposeful stroke.

Theirs was a remarkable, decades-long partnership that would take them to numerous recording studios and world stages. These significant discs capture the magic they created in their earliest years together. Longtime setlist mainstays are featured in their halcyon iterations. So too, rewardingly, are several less-encountered efforts. 

Live In Passaic Robert and Chris would issue their first RCA vinyl, Rockbilly Boogie the year following this 1978 gig. Several songs that would turn up in those grooves were here performed. And the rightness of their then-young partnership was already evident. They tore into material with headlong vigor and obvious affection.

Recommended "Rockabilly Boogie," "All By Myself," "Flying Saucer Rock 'n' Roll," "Wheel of Fortune," "Blue Christmas," "I Just Found Out"

At My Father's Place The band is tight, aggressive. The crowd is voluble and beside themselves with excitement. Which apparently spurred the players to remarkable abandon. At shows like this, the distinction between band and fans fades and a communal party rises. 

Recommended "Blue Moon of Kentucky," "Love My Baby," "Black Slacks," "Gunfight" (Spedding) "Twenty Flight Rock," "Hey Miss Betty" (Spedding), "I Got a Woman"

Lone Star, Early Show and Lone Star, Late Show both illustrate how comfortable Robert and Chris were in the more intimate club setting. The performances are somewhat looser, less spotlight-precise, and more relaxed. The firepower of their playing and material, though, is manifest. 

Early Show Recommended "Red Hot," "Mystery Train," "In the Middle of the Night," "Breaking Out Tonight," "This Thing Called Love"

Late Show Recommended "The Way I Walk," "Lonesome Train," "Walk On By," "It's Only Make Believe," "Fire," "Don't Act Like You're In Love"

"We were never a 50s act," Robert later told an interviewer. "We were always a contemporary band. It was never designed to be a retro act. We just played off that rockabilly sound."

And in the process, we hear, created something of indispensable, provocative disposition. 

Video: "Rockbilly Boogie" (studio track)



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Ruts DC
Music Must Destroy 
(Westworld Recordings)

Cameo rope-burn vocals by taut icon Henry Rollins on one track are an extra advantage. This resurfaced old-school UK punk sect, though, can and does blast away at breakneck pace on its own. And iron-handedly, at that. Dig the friction faction.

Recommended "Psychic Attack," "Kill The Pain," "The Vox Teardrop," "Surprise," "Soft City Lights"

Video "Psychic Attack"

Monday, September 12, 2016

Levi Petree and the Radio Publica
It's Country (self)

At its thunderous acme, which is where It's Country most often dwells, this stirs rush-blooded, reciprocal dedication. A stony, anthemic rock and roll marching mission with heart on parade, jaw out, and gaze targeting a convivial horizon.

Recommended "The Rapture," "Eyes So Blue," "The Habanero 
Do-Si-Do," "I Know You're Gonna Haunt Me," "Do What You Want"

Video "The Rapture"

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Nathaniel Hintz
s/t (self)

Significant music often springs from unspectacular circumstances. All that's required as reliable foundation is one charged soul, impelled by ambition. That much and more is comfortable here. There is also abounding evidence of a composer's ear for fetching tunes and a romantic's heart made lyrical. All are interpreted in deftly-tailored, economical country ease, with ripples of attitudinal upset. 

Recommended "Two Drinks," "My Cheatin' Songs," "The Earth Needs a Hit," "Success Express"

Album release party

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Lust Punch
Just a Taste (self)

Angry humanity extremely out loud. Amongst muscular, blast-chorded grunge-charges lurks generationally peculiar existential perspective. And it's fun.

Recommended "Unchained," "Lake Of Fire," "Bang Bang," "I Don't Mind," "Insanity"

Video "Unchained"