Sunday, June 22, 2008



Today our favorite pilgrim turns seventy two. That's right, seventy two. Hard to believe that he's been around this long considering the hard living and loving of those early days. He must be related to Jerry Lee Lewis. He's left his mark just about anywhere that music is played and has written some of the most enduring modern day standards. Standards about life on the road, wasted days and wasted nights, lovers and friends, pretty much everything but a classic car song when you get right down to it.

Unlike a lot of songwriters you always got the impression that he was the protagonist in nearly all of his songs. While others wrote in the abstract he stuck to everyday life and the struggles from getting out of bed on a Sunday morning to drinking it all away on a Saturday evening. What he lacked in vocal prowess he more than made up for by telling a story that you would never forget. Reminds me of a young kid from Hibbing Minnesota with a limited vocal range that managed to get his point across a few times.

Anyway Kris, it's your day. We'll have a round for you tonight because when it's all said and done "the going up is worth the coming down."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Live Steve Young CD

This new Steve Young CD was left at our doorstep this morning, completely unexpected, but here it is. It was recorded live late in 2006 at the Pioneer Pavillion, Mill Creek Park, Youngstown, Ohio. It will be featured in the next mailer, however it is available for purchase now for early bird shoppers.


Ragtime Blues Guitar (Steve Young)
Little Birdie (trad.)
Coal Tattoo (Billy Ed Wheeler)
The White Trash Song (Steve Young)
Tobacco Road (John D Loudermilk)
Seven Bridges Road (Steve Young)
Silverlake (Steve Young)
Lonesome, Orn'ry & Mean (Steve Young)
Ballad Of William Seyamore (Benet/Young)
Peyote Chant (trad.)
Coyote My Little Brother (Peter LaFarge)
Useful Girl (Richard Dobson)
I'm A One Woman Man (T. Franks/Johnny Horton)
Hoboin' (trad.)
East Virginia (trad.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Like George Harrison before him, the quieter Beach Boy came up with possibly the best solo album of any group members. Dennis Wilson’s “Pacific Ocean Blue” sent white caps through the Beach Boys community. Brian eventually debuted with a really nice one but has mostly been adrift since then. Carl who many expected to run away with it couldn’t seem to overcome the production of the times he recorded his in. Bruce Johnston paddled out a few hundred feet, but never went into open water, while Mike and Al chose to stay on shore and forgo solo careers.

This elaborate two disc reissue finally arrived on our shores yesterday and was it ever worth all those years waiting on the dock. The first thing you notice is that it totally belies its 1977 year of origin. It almost seems like an album out of time. It has the West Coast vibe you might expect, but it remains a more personal statement from the handsome surfer behind the drums.

The biggest surprise though is that the second disc offers the never before released follow up album “Bambu.” I have to say in many ways it may be an even stronger album. One of the reasons is that it is a bit more organic and ever so slightly less polished. In short you get two revealing musical experiences in a single package. And what a package it is, elaborate and with tons of info on the sessions, a forty plus page booklet, essays and more.

He died just after Christmas in 1983 at the age of 39. Swallowed by the waters off of the California coast that had been his second home. Fitting, but way too soon. I can’t help but imagine the character of the Jimmy Buffett song “A Pirate Looks At Forty” when I think of him.

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall.
You've seen it all, you've seen it all.

Watch the men who rode you,
Switch from sails to steam.
And in your belly you hold the treasurethat few have ever seen,
Most of them dreams, most of them dreams.

Yes, I am a pirate two hundred years too late.
The cannons don't thunder there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late.

I've done a bit of smugglin'I've run my share of grass.
I made enough money to buy Miami,
But I pissed it away so fast,
Never meant to last, never meant to last.
I have been drunk now for over two weeks,
I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks,
But I've got to stop wishin',Got to go fishin',
I'm down to rock bottom again.
Just a few friends, just a few friends.

I go for younger women, lived with several awhile
And though I ran away, they'll come back one day.
And still could manage a smile
It just takes awhile, just takes awhile.

Mother, mother ocean, after all these years I've found
My occupational hazard being my occupations just not around.
I feel like I've drowned,
Gonna head uptown.

(J. Buffett)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Stock Tips

The new Scott Kempner CD, Saving Grace, (originally due the 10th) has been delayed slightly. It is now scheduled for release on 24 June. Sixteen years between albums and they still have a few bugs to work out apparently. Give it a listen, it will be worth the wait. In related news we've learned that the Del-Lords recordings will be coming back in print and given the deluxe treatment later this year.

All orders for Emmylou Harris were shipped on time and I am sure many of you are already enjoying that one. One listen and you'll realize that she has made the right album at the right time in her incredible career. The return of Brian Ahern to the producers chair is the icing on the cake. (She was scheduled to appear at the Wakarusa Festival here but unfortunately her show was rained out.)

We just received the new one from Texas honky tonker, Jim Stringer and his AM Band. It is called Triskaidekaphilia and all I can say is that it is an Instant Party in a jewel box. It's modern retro at its finest. Ten new originals and three well chosen covers including Duane Eddy's "Rebel Rouser" to kick off the disc. In stock and shipping now if you can't wait for the July mailer.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Signature Sounds

Way down the road we see plenty to look forward to from Signature Sounds. This small but mighty label has had one of the most consistent rosters in folk music and every year they seem to bring us another new artist to add to the "must have" list. Plus they are a pleasure to work with.
August 6th will bring us the release of the Sacred Shakers' new self-titled album. (For the uninitiated, the Sacred Shakers is Eilen Jewell's Gospel band! Need we say more?)

Then, on September 2nd, we'll see the release of Mark Erelli's seventh Signature album, Delivered. Mark worked with Zack Hickman (of Josh Ritter's band) for this album, and it's a beauty.

Looking ahead to Fall... We'll get a new Winterpills album in late September/early October.

And, last but not least, Richard Shindell! His new album will be out in late October/early November.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bo, Chess, and Riffs

We were celebrating the life and music of Bo Diddley the other day. As you might have guessed we did raise a few in his honor. We also dragged out a whole slew of discs with tracks that "borrowed" his trademark Bo Diddley Beat. They run the gamut from Springsteen, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, U2, and on and on.

As we were scrutinizing the riffs of every song recorded in the last fifty years we stumbled upon these two tracks between trips to the liquor store. Although this is not a qualifier for the "Bo Diddley Beat" playlist it is still kind of interesting as the common riff no doubt has its origins with some other unacknowledged Chess label artist. Give it a spin and see what you think. Just for fun.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Another Sleepy, Dusty Delta Day...

Ode To Billy Joe

I can never let June 3rd pass without stopping to think about this song and the impact it had on me and music in general forty one years ago. I'm not sure there had ever been anything like it before and very few since. Probably only Merle Haggard's "Kern River" could compare to its imagery and stunning sense of sudden loss. I'm not sure Bobbie Gentry ever swam Kern River, but she certainly understands why Merle will never do it again.

This link will take you to my defunct personal blog, and an essay I wrote for the song last year at this time.