Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Around the Grounds -- Updated

A little catching up from weeks of blogging ennui. This may be updated as things spring to mind.

--> reminder about Saturday Night Country, even when the cricket is on you can still listen via the net. I will be listening to the cricket myself, but happily the shows are archived.
--> Guitar Meme at Woodshed Willie. Bit old now but worth checking out. Sadly, I'm a Lyrics Chauvinist and don't know my Open A tuning from my middle eighth so I can't contribute.
--> Newly discovered blog, Blueskies. Terrific writing and glorious MP3s.
--> Photos of the Trucker Bob Tribute Night. I took some too, but Brian's are, as usual, all you need.
--> New Capital News, with excerpts of Kris Kristofferson cover story.
--> Links fixed!
--> Ralph Stanley has had heart surgery, said to be in a "fine condition."
--> More on Gaslight tapes release via Starbucks.
--> Bluegrass Preservation Society Podcasting (via Podcasting News)
--> More country podcasting at Country Roots
--> Indy music scene in Nashville

Since I mentioned my sister Cozalcoatl's japes in the Caribbean, let's complete the journey and check out her awesome pics from the Mexican leg. They are -- I think the correct archeological term is -- way freaking cool. On topic trivia: Sara, the first ex-Mrs Dylan, is a noted collector of pre-Columbian art.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Non-Hipsters Shall Inherit the Twang

"That kind of non-hipster, Texas, folk songs, pot, old Gibson guitar aesthetic. One thing I liked about Hayes was that he was like that; he appealed to me more than the new college alt-country branding that was going on."

~ producer R.S Field

Hayes Carll is the latest barefoot Texan singer-songwriter to come down the blacktop, a throwback in more ways than one to the maverick Heartworn Highways days of the 70s. I like Field's quote, my interest in Uncut-approved "alt.country" is in the trough phase of the cycle. I shall name no names right now (I'll keep my powder dry, a rant might be developing) but mumbling and whining set to an unidentifiable variety of echo-y yowls does not a country song make. Hayes' bio reads right for a legend in the making (before you snark about the middle class suburban childhood, recall Townes' trust fund safety net), and he turned down a deal from Roots ground zero Sugar Hill and self-funded his CDs, of which there are two so far. Greats like Townes, Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard (the last too have already collaborated with Carll) have been able to combine a flinty intensity with lyrical beauty, hard core carousing with hard core poetry and young Hayes is definately growing into it too.

Listen: Down the Road
Listen: Naked Checkers
Like 'em? Buy 'em!

Hat tip to Honky Tonk Highway for original puttingontoness.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My strongest urging to anyone who can get along to this, to do so. I lifted these few lines from the Tamworth Rage Page. See also Honky Tonk Highway (also has a map.)

Trucker Bob and Family Benefit Night – Trucker Bob is a well-known character around the inner-city honky-tonk scene. He’s always found at gigs in town and gets up from time to time to do some great renditions of country favourites (his “Blackboard of my Heart” is a classic!). He and his family have suffered a family tragedy and now David Hibbert, Kitty Adams and others are organizing a benefit night for him Sat 25 June at Cooks River Motor Boat Club Holbeach Road, Tempe. All proceeds of the night go to Trucker Bob and his family. Cost is $20 which includes dinner. The club is generously donating the food. There will be raffles and cheap drinks as well.

Lineup includes:
Trucker Bob Benefit Night 5pm Cooks River Motor Boat Club $20
w/ Deadwood 76, Fat Dusty, Hogstomp, Kitty & The Alley Cats, Mary Heard, The Cartwrights, Rob Luckey & the Lucky Bastards & and more!!!! - Includes Dinner & Show
Contact Dave for more info: 0401 136 550 or the Club : 9558 5522

Monday, June 20, 2005


Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues a compact and satisfying PBS produced doco screening at the Sydney Film Festival. Hopefully, SBS or ABC will pick it up. It tells the overarching Hank story using archival footage and a successsion of good old boys and girls who played with and knew him. Biographer Colin Escott adds some bookish Englishness to the proceedings and Hank III mopes around an old caravan listening to scratchy 78s, and puts an end to scuttlebutt about Bocephus' paternity by looking every inch his granddaddy's ghost. The official website rightly notes this film wouldn't be possible in a few years time given the ages of many of Hank's contemporaries and their observations are invaluable, affectionate and protective of his legacy but clear-eyed about his faults. Fascinating too the insight into Hank's truly formidable mother, Lillie, and a glimpse of the magentic live performer he must have been, piercing eyes and proto Elvis knee shake.

Hank had serious back problems from childhood, mostly likely spina bifida occulta, and quack Toby Marshall was always around to hand out blank scripts (an especially sorrowful irony when you consider many of Hank's performances were in "medicine shows" spuriking the very latest in snake oil), and eventually the strain on body and mind was too much.

There are some brilliant moments from the archive here: Hank singing with a coy Anita Carter, a sharp suited Tony Bennett kicking back on a hay bale with Ernest Tubb and what appear to be home movies. These have that fake looking 50s washed out colourised look and the faces are all blurry and indistinct. In the end, this seems a fitting final image, a warning against thinking you can get too close to such a complex character.

Hank Jr's output is wildly varying in quality, and for mine he way overplays the Hank's my daddy card. This is a sneakily catchy novelty number with Hank Snr's pedal steel player Don Helms, who also features in the doco. That's him you hear on Cold, Cold Heart, Why Don't You Love Me and I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You) among many others.

Listen: Hank Jr and Don Helms The Ballad of Hank Williams

Friday, June 17, 2005

Gig of the Week

Meme Redux

Another meme from the Chez du Indigo.

Total number of books I’ve owned:
Dunno. I probably have close to 500 floating around here, and I do mean floating around. The queer eye boys would look very dimly on my storage techniques. Before I went overseas to live in 2001 I got rid of about 80% of the books I then had. Left hundreds out on the side of the road and that being the Peoples Republic of Enmore they disappeared promptly. Most of my books have that telltale black mark across the bottom meaning they are cheapie remaindered stock.

The last book I bought:
I bought three last go out. The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits, which has provided fodder for the last two Fridays worth of lazy blogging. A big ass reference book called Ancient Egypt and Evolution: The Triumph of An Idea by Carl Zimmer (click for his excellent website.) Purchased at a discount book barn at Central Station, Love to do my book shopping at Abbey's or Gleebooks but it's all about the cash, man. Not that you asked, but currently I am reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson which from memory was also a remaindered purchase. It is the fascinating story of the Chicago 1890s Worlds Fair plus the true gothic horror of one of America's first serial killers, uber-freak (in a bad way) H.H Holmes. Cree-py. This sounds all very high brow, I'd be very happy to spend my days reading nothing but murder mysteries really.

The last book I read:
Don't recall, the new computer took over all my spare time for a while. Possibly it was the Sue Grafton Kinsey Milhone mystery, B for Burgular. Possibly.

Five books that mean a lot to me:
In Cold Blood Truman Capote He became a bit of a caricature of himself in later days but, boy that man could write.
Independent People Halldor Laxness Family saga set in remote 19C Iceland. Breathtaking prose, heartwrenching epic.
The Demon Haunted World Carl Sagan The only man who can wear a brown skivvie and still be sexy. Critical Thinking 101.
Cash by Johnny Cash Just a great book, honest and moving.
Dogger by Shirley Hughes My favourite kids book which I dug out of storage recently. Sniff.
If the question were "Five Favourite Books" I would also add Philip Sugden's The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. I wouldn't say it "means alot to me" but it is indispensible.
Pass it on to: Anyone who wants it. Hard to keep track of who's done it. We need some fresh memes, people.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I'm off to see two films of interest at the Sydney Film Festival this week.

Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues


Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt

There are prob some tickets left, although they advise you to book in advance.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday Night No. 1

Bar Room Buddies
Merle Haggard and Clint Eastwood
Elektro 46634
Writers: Milton Brown, Cliff Crofford, Steve Dorff, Snuff Garrett (it took four people??)
No 1: July 26, 1980

File it away for pub trivia, people. What was Clint Eastwood's only number one song? Why, Bar Room Buddies with Merle Haggard from the eminantly forgettable Bronco Billy.

Tom Rowland in The Billboard Book of Country Number Ones takes up the story.

"I think you can say that Merle Haggard had a hit and sort of dragged me along," Clint Eastwood told Rolling Stome's Tim Cahill in 1985 ... Merle apparently agreed.

"I Almost prostituted myself in some ways ... [Eastwood] shouldn't sell his camera, I'll put it that way. I told him before we started, "I hope you're a better singer than I am an actor," but I believe I'm a better actor than he is a singer."

Listen: Bar Room Buddies -- Merle Haggard and Clint Eastwood

Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday Night No. 1

Bought an excellent book this week.The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits by Tom Roland. $6.95 at that discount place at Railway Square underground, there were a few left. Run! Entries on all the number ones from 1968 to 1989. Lots of curious factoids. I heart factoids.

Take entry no.237. Good Hearted Woman by Waylon and Willie, which hit the top of the charts on February 21 1976 and stayed for three weeks.

Jennings and Nelson wrote [the song] in 1969 in a Fort Worth motel room, during a poker game. "I'd been reading an ad for Ike and Tina Turner," Waylon recalls, "and it said, "Tina Turner singing songs about good-hearted women loving good-timing men." I thought, " 'What a great country song title that is!'" Willie contributed only two lines, though he recieved half the royalties, and the twosome dictated lyrics to Nelson's wife, Connie, as they continued the game (they lost, incidentally) ... Ironically, after her ad inspired the song, Tina Turner later cut "Good Hearted Woman" on an album of her own.

And here it is.

Listen: Good Hearted Woman -- Tina Turner.

PS please do listen to Dan Bern below.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

In the comments below, Woodshed Willie reminds me that tonight the ABC is showing a doco on the murder of Emmett Till, about which the Bobster wrote one his most earnest songs. Tonight 9.30. Coincidentally the whole hideous tragedy is back in the news as Till's body is exhumed.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I am trialling a new MP3 delivery system. Please listen a) to check it works and b) its a bloody fantastic song. Go buy some Dan Bern. Now. No seriously, dude. Now.

Download: Dan Bern -- Jail

You can still listen to my meme songs here for a short while longer. (click fembot)