Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mule Skinner

Download: "Mule Skinner Blues" mp3

Then I heard this horrible crazy sound. And I felt this insane mad feeling. Neither of which was I in any manner acquainted. It was the bluesiest and most obnoxious thing I had ever heard. It was an attack of revolutionary terrorism on my nervous system through aesthetics.

It was blacker than the blackest black record I had ever heard. It reached out and grabbed and it has never let go of me.

I went limp. I almost fell off the sofa. My mouth fell open. My eyes widened and expanded. I found myself hyperventilating. When it was over I tried to get up and go and get a paper bag to restore the correct balance of power between oxygen and carbon monoxide. I screamed for help but nobody was around and nobody came. I was drenched with sweat. It was like I had woken up to a new and thrilling exciting horror movie.

Nothing has ever been the same since then.

You see, I had gone insane.

And I didn't even know about it.


I had to hear that record again. It was madness and I knew it would get me in trouble and it did get me in trouble but I couldn't help it I was out of control.

So I went to the record store in Silver Spring, Maryland, the name of which I forgot. It was at the intersection of Georgia Avenue, and Colesville Road.

Right around the corner from the Silver Theatre.

I asked the man behind the counter about that record. He was a "nice guy." He looked it up in some great big yellow catalogue and actually found it.

But, it was out of print. And there wasn't one on the shelf.

"Sorry, kid, I don't have one and I can't get you one."

"But, I've got to hear it again. I've got to."

"Listen kid" he went on. "that record is no good. In fact it is evil. It caused a lot of trouble while it was around. Women left their husbands. Husbands left their wives. Children ran away from home and were never seen again. There were sunspots on the moon. Revolutions started, massacres happened, suicides and alcoholism went sky high, wars started, monsters were seen on the Edge, it was bad kid. Maybe it would be better for you if you didn't hear it again. I mean I just feel I gotta' tell ya' that kid. It's dangerous for anybody your age to get interested in things like that."

"I don't care," I said, "it must be fate."

"Fate schmate. I gave you a warning. But if ya' don't take it the only thing I can do is tell ya' this. You gotta' find a record collector. Chances are a record collector would know about it."

"You know any of those guys you are talking about?" I asked.

"No, I don't hang out with weirdos like that. But they're around. And I'll pray for ya' kid. I'll pray for ya."

"Thanks a hell of a lot. I may need it."

"Oh, you're gonna need it alright."

From How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life by John Fahey
Drag City © 2000

Locust St. is at it again. If you haven't checked out Chris' exhaustive posts on 7 Means of Movement, do yourself a favor. This post is an addendum to his Interlude 2: Asses and Mules. While it feels to me a little cheap to riff of of his painstakingly epic work, I couldn't
resist posting this Bill Monroe track which I've been wanting to put up for a while. The "horrible crazy sound" that John Fahey so passionately describes in the above excerpt from his book, actually refers to the other side of the original issue of this record. My copy, however is a DJ Promo backed with a godawful track by Elton Britt. Both of these songs come from Jimmie Rodgers.

Here's the flip:

Download: "Blue Yodel No. 7 (Anniversary Yodel) " mp3
by Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, 1939.

Buy music by Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys at Amazon
or at your local independently owned record store.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Stanley Brothers

Shifting gears again. While it may seem to some of you that these rapid genre shifts here in Fluville are extreme, they are indeed not. Basically, most everything here is 20th century American music, which means to say it is all in some way derivative of the blues. So, with that being said, it doesn't really matter if it's Benny Carter or Carter Stanley - as long as it is good. Today, it's The Stanley Brothers, from 1953. This music is so good it hurts. Ralph Stanley is playing tonite at the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn.

Download: "(Say) Won't You Be Mine" mp3

Download: "Our Last Goodbye" mp3

Stanley Brothers Photograph by John Cohen, 1961.
from There Is No Eye, Powerhouse Books, © 2000.

Buy music by The Stanley Brothers at Venerable Music

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Glory of Love

"And the hits just keep on coming..."

The Sopranos
is over, and I must say I'm relieved. Never have I been so caught up in a show about people I cared so little about. Like Scorsese before him, David Chase used music to create a mood or distraction from what was happening on the screen. In one of the early seasons of the show, Tony is seen listening to CBS-FM. For those of you who don't live in the tri-state area, CBS-FM was the greatest oldies station in the country, with celebrity DJ's like Cousin Brucie, and more relevantly, Don K. Reed with his Sunday night extravaganza, Don K. Reed's Doo Wop Shop. So, getting back to the musical distraction to violence and homicide. I was talking last week with my friend Mike DeCapite, author of Through The Windshield, about these great songs and how Scorsese in particular has used them in his films, when Mike with his usual quick wit responded by saying, "I can't hear that stuff anymore without seeing four guys in sharkskin suits stomping on someone's head." While I don't know if that's applicable to today's selections, it is a jarring image. Below, we have a fine sampling from the golden age of vocal groups. Try not to imagine the violence. Instead, open the windows, let the warm summer wind drift in, listen to to sound of the city outside, turn off the lights, lie down and float away.

Download: "The Glory Of Love" mp3

Download: "In My Lonely Room" mp3

Download: "Deep Sea Blues" mp3

Download: "Stranded In The Jungle" mp3

Download: "Hey Senorita" mp3

Download: "Don't You Think I Ought To Know" mp3

Doo Wop lives on New York Radio every Saturday Night with
Dan Romanello and the Group Harmony Review on WFUV.

Buy these records at Amazon
or at your local independently owned record store.

Moistworks has more versions of "Stranded In The Jungle" Here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chuck Berry

Say what you will about Chuck Berry, but he is Chuck Berry: the single most important figure in the development of what we call Rock 'n Roll, and its first guitar playing singer-songwriter. Chuck Berry is a national treasure, and vastly under-appreciated in his and my hometown, St. Louis. You are more than likely to hear someone discuss his run-ins with the law than his genius songwriting. Sure, Chuck is difficult. Anyone who has seen Hail, Hail, Rock 'N Roll will remember his bitchfight with Keith Richards. Chuck does a regular monthly gig in St. Louis at Blueberry Hill, which can be either fabulous or an excruciating trainwreck. It depends what night you catch him. I learned pretty much everything I know about guitar playing from playing along with The Great Twenty-Eight. Below, is his second single on Chess from 1955, the follow-up to "Maybellene." Check out the guitar solo. This not something to be taken lightly. He invented this stuff. The B-side was his first stab at writing a Nat King Cole style ballad. It's a little rough around the edges. Starts off like Bo Diddley, and then he croons.

Tell Tchaikovsky the news...

Download: "Thirty Days" mp3

Download: "Together" mp3

Buy Chuck Berry music at Amazon
or at your local independently owned record store.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ray Price

Okay, back to the shellac. Here's a couple of early Ray Price records. The first one is a Hank Williamsesque hardcore honky tonk number, "You Always Get By," from 1953. Hank helped Ray Price early in his career, sharing his band on the road and giving him "Weary Blues (From Waiting) to record, as well as getting him onto the Opry.

A few weeks ago Chris at Locust St. published another epic post. This one on Walking. As great as it is, it didn't feature my favorite song about the powerlessness of a man being tugged back to a woman by an inanimate object despite his own best intentions, "My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You," written by Bob Wills, and presented here by Ray Price.

Download: "You Always Get By" 1953. mp3

Download: "My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You" 1957. mp3
Buy Ray Price Music at Amazon

Monday, June 4, 2007

Wilbert Harrison

Sorry if things have been quiet here in Fluville. Between trying to make a living, being a dad and coaching a little league team, my posts have fallen by the wayside. I do hope you all understand. First up today, it's Wilbert Harrison with the first hit recording of Leiber and Stoller's "Kansas City," and it's B-Side, both featuring the searing guitar stylings of "Wild" Jimmy Spruill. Then, Harrison's own composition "Let's Stick Together," a plea to the "very sacred" institution of marriage. Perhaps Wilbert found this wasn't exactly the case, or maybe he just felt the need to revise it to "Let's Work Together (Pts. 1 & 2)." Either way they are both great records with one note harmonica parts slightly reminiscent of Slim Harpo.

Please enjoy...

Download: "Kansas City" 1959 .

Download: "Listen, My Darling" 1959.

Download: "Let's Stick Together" 1962.

Download: "Let's Work Together (Part 1)" 1969.

Download: "Lets Work Together (Part 2)" 1969.

****************** Bonus *************************

Download: "Let's Stick Together" by Bryan Ferry
Available on Let's Stick Together, 1976.

Download: "Let's Stick Together" by Bob Dylan
Available on Down In The Groove, 1988.

Download: "Let's Work Together" by Canned Heat
Available on Future Blues, 1970.

Download: "Let's Work Together" by Dwight Yoakum
Available on If There Was A Way, 1990.

Buy Wilbert Harrison music at Amazon
or at your local independently owned record store.