Posts Tagged ‘Country music’


This afternoon I was shooting the shit with a friend, swapping stories, and he related one of the better bar-gig tales I’ve ever heard:

In the early ’80s he was playing in a country band in Tucson, and they had a regular weekend job playing in a bar out in Avra Valley (west of the Tucson Mountains, and at the time still very much a part of the wild west). The clientele consisted of shitkickers and bikers, who of course didn’t mix.

As one would expect — what with the cost of a new Harley running to close to $30,000 — the bikers were a lot better off than the cowboys, and a lot of them held well paying jobs; their head honcho, for instance, owned a wrecking yard.

Anyway, there was a regular, a local who worked as a postman, who was enough of an alkie that he’d sometimes stop at the bar in his mail truck for a beer or two after completing his route before returning to the station.

That wasn’t so bad, but on weekends he’d drive his Cadillac to the bar, get tanked, and turn into all hands, harassing the waitresses.

This didn’t apparently didn’t sit well with at least some of the bikers, who didn’t like the guy anyway, but rather than resolve the situation in the normal manner (violence), they decided to teach the asshole a profitable (for them), expensive (for him) lesson.

One Saturday night, after the gig ended, my pal was packing up his drum kit, when he and the rest of the guys in the band heard a blood-curdling scream from outside. They ran out and found the drunk postman yelling his head off.

When he went out the door to weave his way home in his Cadillac, all he found was a chassis. What was left of the car was up on blocks, the wheels gone, as were the windshield, hood, doors, and rear window.

The bikers had done this with people going into and out of the bar all night. Evidently, people disliked the jerk sufficiently that they ignored the dismantling of the vehicle or were afraid of the bikers, or both. In either case, the bikers had taken a good hour or two to dismantle the car in public view — okay, in an unlit dirt parking lot — and no one reported them.

This incident likely cost the asshole a good two or three grand and likely netted the bikers at least several hundred bucks through sales of the parts at the wrecking yard.

I hope they threw a great party with the money.

 

 


Porter Wagoner

I had a woman
I guess every man does
And every man thinks his is the best
Mine was
Stuck by me through thick and thin
Till it just got too thin

–Porter Wagoner, “Confessions of a Broken Man

For other perversely wonderful Porter Wagoner tunes check out “Sorrow on the Rocks” and “The Rubber Room.”


“It should be simple

For us to get along

‘Cause I’m always right

And you are always wrong”

–Al Perry and the Cattle, “Little by Little,” off the “Losin’ Hand” CD


2016 was a good year for us  (if not for U.S. democracy, the rest of the world, and the environment).

In our first half-year, in 2013, this blog received 2,500 hits; in our first full year, 2014, it received 8,000; in 2015, 9,800; and in 2016 the number jumped to 14,900.

We also hit 400 subscribers in December; had our best month ever in that same month, with over 2,100 hits; and had our best week ever, last week, with just under 1,000 hits.

Our 10 most popular posts in 2016 were:

  1. Anarchist Science Fiction: Essential Novels
  2. Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm than Good
  3. A very brief History of Calypso and Soca Music
  4. Back to the Terrifying Future: Sci-Fi E-book Giveaway
  5. A very brief History of Country Music
  6. God’s Thug: Brigham Young
  7. A very brief History of Funk Music
  8. Alt-Country Player Al Perry
  9. Review: The Martian, by Andy Weir
  10. Homecoming for Mormon Missionaries

During the coming year we’ll continue to post daily (well, we’ll try) on music, politics, science fiction, religion, atheism, cults, science, skepticism, humor, and anything else we think is interesting and that our readers might enjoy.

Over the coming month, we’ll post an excerpt from our upcoming title, Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, by Rodolof Montes de Oca, reviews of two new sci-fi novels, Ken Macleod’s Insurgence and Robert Charles Wilson’s Last Year, more on the “Russian hacking” affair, more interesting and marginally useful Internet crap, and a good old fashioned Religion Roundup.

Be on the lookout for another e-book giveaway sometime reasonably soon.

 


When I was growing up ages ago in Phoenix, I hated country music, and more especially the creeps who listened to it. It was simply, extremely uncool. Its fans, in high school and beyond, were physically aggressive fascist jerks who were doing their best to avoid the draft, no matter how much they favored the war, and wanted to force the rest of us into fighting it.

I was hanging around with too-early-for-hippies, terminally late post-beat nihilists. We were reading Sartre, Kerouac, Celine, et al. We occasionally got into fistfights with the cowboy creeps, and I remember one drunken night in high school where I got cornered, broke off a whiskey bottle, came at them, and they backed off. (We left before the cops arrived.)

That basically encapsulates it — they were, and still are, gutless bullies who only go at you when you’re outnumbered. God bless America, and sieg heil y’all.

I still despise most country music fans — moronic racist, religious thugs and bootlickers as far as I can see, so stupid that they willingly serve their masters.

Which makes it all the more ironic that I’ve grown to love some country music, and am really enjoying playing it of late. (It’s something new — I’m so used to playing the blues/jazz/soul/funk end of the American music spectrum that country is utterly foreign to me.)

Anyway, here are some of my not-so-guilty country musical pleasures. Check ’em out. I think you’ll like ’em. (The most obvious and classic artists — Hank, Patsy Cline, Bob Wills, Johnny Cash — omitted here.)

  • Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi, by Jim White
  • The Bottle Let Me Down (Merle Haggard, Mavericks version)
  • East Bound and Down, by Jerry Reed
  • Highway Patrol, by Junior Brown
  • Little by Little, by Al Perry
  • The Power of Positive Drinking, by Mickey Gilley
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Cheat, by David Allen Coe
  • Broke Down Outside of Dallas, by Junior Brown
  • Confessions of a Broken Man, by Porter Wagoner
  • It Just Don’t Get It No More, by Hank Jr.
  • City Lights, by George Jones
  • The Only Thing That Hurts Now Is the Pain, Al Perry
  • Streets of Bakersfield, by Buck Owens
  • Dreaming, by Al Perry
  • Orange Blossom Special (Hank Jr.)
  • She Got the Gold Mine, I Got the Shaft (Jerry Reed)
  • Old Blevins, by Austin Lounge Lizards
  • Cum Stains on the Pillow, by David Allen Coe
  • (and of course) I Feel like Homemade Shit, by the Fugs

You can find ’em all on Youtube. Enjoy!

And, if you’re ever in Tucson, check out my country band once it’s up and running, probable name “Backslidin’.”

In the meantime, Al Perry and Hank Topless are here in Tucson, appear fairly regularly, and are well worth seeing. A few months ago, Hank opened for Junior Brown — maybe the best living country guitarist — at the Rialto, and I was sorry to see Hank stop playing. First time ever I’ve wanted an opening act to play much longer. Both of these guys are sensational.


Al

Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know alt-country player Al Perry. Despite his crusty exterior — I’ve always thought that a great country stage name would be “Crusty Sheets” — Al is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Also one of the funniest and most insightful. One thing we have in common is that we’re both from Phoenix, and loathe the place. (Tucson is better — much smaller, more scenic [lusher desert surrounded by 9,000-foot mountains], not quite as hot, better arts and music scene, more politically progressive.)

Al sat in a couple of times with my last band, Pinche Blues Band, at gigs, and I was surprised that he’s a really good blues player in addition to being a great alt-country player, vocalist, and songwriter.

As is typical in modern-day America (“We’re number one!”), Al is not well rewarded. He lives in a shit hole about a mile-and-a-half southeast of me, albeit in a slightly less scary neighborhood (fewer shootings), though with a much greater infestation of UofA students.

Despite a fair amount of acclaim over the years — he’s toured Europe four times — Al’s music income has nosedived since around 2000, as people have simply downloaded his songs for free. He hasn’t shared much in the remaining source of income for working musicians, touring, as he simply doesn’t do it of late. He occasionally plays clubs in L.A. or New York, but that about it: it’s not a significant source of income.

A couple of years ago he told me that his income from CD sales had fallen 75% over the previous decade. Both of his CDs are now out of print, so his income from them is now zero. We’ve talked about starting a label (with our CDs and those of other artists/bands we know here in town and up in the Bay Area), but what would be the point? It’s a dead business model.

One other thing we have in common is that we both hate self-promotion, which in large part accounts for why neither of us have been commercially successful — you have to be damn lucky or very well connected to succeed without an onerous amount of self-promotion. (If you can stand doing it and are assiduous at it, you’ll probably succeed — regardless of your talent, or lack of it.)  Al’s (and my) attitude has always been, “This shit is so good you’d be crazy not to buy it. Recognize it.”

Unfortunately, most people don’t.

You can still catch Al around town (Tucson) occasionally as a solo act, and very occasionally with a full band. Once I get another band going, Al will — I hope — be sitting in with us on a regular basis.

In the meantime, you can catch a lot of his new stuff on Youtube. He’s written a couple hundred songs, the vast majority unrecorded, but he’s  putting up new material on Youtube seemingly every week or two.

Here are a few lines from one of Al’s best songs, “Little by Little”:

 

Livin’ with a crazy person since I’ve been livin’ by myself

Got me a big old house

But it seems just like a cell

Sittin’ alone

Without no reason

To ever leave my chair

Checkin’ out the four walls

With a blank and vacant stare

 

The rest of it is just as funny. The self-mockery in it is priceless.

Al Perry is an unrecognized national treasure.

 

(If you’d like to get ahold of Al, you can reach him at alperry@kxci.org. Speaking of KXCI, catch Al’s unique and wonderful show, “Clambake,” on Tuesday nights at 10 pm MST [05:00 Wednesday mornings UT].)

 

 

 

 


Hi folks,

It’s been a good year so far for Internet weirdness. Since we know you want the entertaining stuff, we’ll start you off with the useful stuff instead. Think of it as digital broccoli.

If you’ve been wondering what Glenn Greenwald has been up to since he left The Guardian, wonder no more. He’s working as one of the co-editors (along with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill) of The Intercept, the site funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. In addition to being the platform for release of further documents from Edward Snowden, The Intercept is an excellent source of news/analysis on terrorism, and government spying, persecution of whistleblowers, and suppression of dissent.

The Free Thought Project is the place to go to for news of police brutality and corruption.

And now what you’ve been waiting for . . . . .

It’s a bit late in the day for this one, but it’s been a while since we ran an Internet crap post, so . . .  There are all too many “best of [insert year]” lists every December, and it’s generally best to avoid them. But, speaking of insertion, there’s always Deadspin’s annual What Did We Get Stuck Up Our Rectums This Year? list. It’s compiled from hospital emergency room reports and includes items inserted not just in rectums but in all orifices. As a bonus Deadspin includes links to previous years’ lists.

Then there’s cracked.com’s 23 Most Devastating Insults from All History, presented here in de-slided form courtesy of clusterfake.net’s deslidifier.

And if you think all of the “country” crap on the radio sounds alike, you’re right. Saving Country Music has a good piece on the topic, Mashup Illustrates How Many Country Hits Are All the Same Song.  It contains a link to Nashville songwriter Greg Todd’s Mind Blowing Six Song Country Mashup, in which Todd took six country hits from the last few years, tweaked their tempos and pitch in Pro Tools (recording and editing software), and combined them all into one song, including a “3 guitarists, 1 solo” section and an over-a-minute concluding section where all six songs play at once. Not to be missed.

Finally, we have two weird-new items from–where else?–Florida:

No one trolls like the shock troops of atheism, Satanists. Fresh from the Ten Commandments/Baphomet statue controversy in Oklahoma, Satanists succeeded in having a holiday season display put up in the state capitol in Florida. Of course, Christians couldn’t stand this, and one of them was responsible for this piece in the Tallahassee Democrat, Woman arrested in attack on Satanic Temple display. As a bonus, the article includes photos of the wonderfully cheesy display and of the woman who vandalized it, and who looks about like you’d expect someone wearing a “Catholic Warrior” T-shirt to look.

And–yes!–on the second day of January, we already had the Weird New Story of the Year: Guy Trashes “Spiritual” Girlfriend’s Car After Granny Dildo Sex Prophecy. We doubt that anything will top this in the next 11-plus months, but if anything does, there’s no need to guess its probable state of origin. As fark.com noted when linking to the story, “This is why we have a Florida tag.”

For now, that’s all folks.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?