Wednesday, October 19, 2005

down the road

i grew up in the back seat of a midnight blue oldsmobile station wagon. my family was a dixieland jazz band doing one niters up and down the roads of america, and during the late 50's there were no interstates. the only way to get to from one end of the u.s.a. to the other was route 66, a two-lane blacktop that wound from chicago to santa monica. it crossed 8 states through some of the prettiest parts of the country, and some of the most boring.

i must've traveled that road a hundred times through the years since i was a kid. in the 90's it was in a ragged, slow, bumpy, hot truck zig-zagging back and forth doing shows across the country. we'd travel through gallup, amarillo, flagstaff, barstow, st. louis, albuquerque, kingman .... tho most of the little eating and gas places i remembered are gone, as is most of '66'. it's all swallowed up by various interstates now (although sometimes you can find it as a side road along i-40 in certain places). i still have vivid memories of the old blacktop tho, driving thru the night, playing with radio to help keep my dad awake and playing 'spot the v.w.' or 'name the licence plates' with my sis. sure was a cool way to grow up ...

so now we are heading down that old hi-way again, or whats left of it. we're leaving for new orleans, or whats left of that, on friday to do that thing everyone else down there is doing, mainly cleaning up. we're gonna be gone for a week and as my laptop is down i'll try to post from my sister's when i can ...
well i gotta go pack now, but i'll leave ya'll all the tunes from one of my road cds that's gonna help get us farther down that road.
happy trails ya'll!

cartunes road mix 05 (via yousendit):
drivin' - the kinks
down the road - smiley lewis
run it - the replacemants
drive me - blodwyn pig
key to the highway - big bill broonzy
under my wheels - alice cooper
feats don't fail me now - little feat
rocket 88 - jackie brenton
traffic light rock - xtc
you can't catch me - chuck berry
back of a car - big star
big road blues - tommy johnson
little red lights - todd rundgren
passenger side - wilco
have love, will travel - the sonics
drive around the world - weezer
chevrolet - zz top
terraplane blues - robert johnson
killer cars - radiohead
crosstown traffic - jimi hendrix
here comes bob - sparks
grey cortina - tom robinson band
driving sister - mott the hoople
caddilac man - the jesters
going mobile - the who
transfusion - nervous norvus
(and, this all fits on a cd, if you are so minded ...)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

fats comes home

Clean living keeps me in shape. Righteous thoughts are my secret. And New Orleans home cooking.
-- Fats Domino

well, fats domino made it back to his ninth ward compound thursday to assess the damage from katrina. he was accompanied by a local news crew that filmed his reactions, which, considering the devastation, was pretty upbeat. there is about a foot of muck covering the floors and everything else is laced with mold. his cadillac couch and white piano are ruined, but his favorite shirt seems to have made it through, and he said he is never gonna leave new orleans and is already planning to rebuild.

after katrina hit fats was thought to be missing. for a few days rumors were rampant about him being lost in the flood that washed out most of the neighborhood where he lived. thousands were relieved when the news broke that the 77 year old pianist had been rescued and was taking shelter in the apartment of l.s.u.'s quarterback jamarcus russell.

as he walked around his house w/ his son-in-law fats was smiling and pointing out the various items damaged in his once beautiful home to the reporter. later he stood outside and chatted with fans who took pictures with him in front of a spray-painted message on his house mourning his exagerated death. the fatman said he felt as though he had gotten off better than many others, and with a laugh he exclaimed,“I’m still here, thank God. I’m alive and kicking.”

the fats domino compound on st. claude is famous around the world. many tourist would venture out daily from the french quarter to pass by in the hopes of seeing him sitting on his porch. in september 1964 the beatles played at city park stadium and they made a special trip to the ninth ward to pay a visit to fats in his house. afterward paul mccartney told the press, "fats domino we admired. we met him in new orleans. he had a very big diamond watch in the shape of a star, which was very impressive." george harrison added, "he was sweet. just like a little boy."

in 1968 the beatles released 'lady madonna', a throwback rocker that recalled the best of the fatman, and later that year recorded 'birthday' in one session after being inspired by a group viewing of 'the girl can't help it', which starred many of the early rock-n-rollers; fats, little richard, eddie cochran and gene vincent (among others, and oh yeah, the voluptuous jane mansfield).

fats reciprocated later that year by releasing singles of 'lady madonna', the wild and crazy 'everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey' and sgt. pepper's 'lovely rita', (now out on the album 'sweet patootie') and all of which fit the mold he had created over a decade before.
fats has been a major influence in rock-n-roll for the past 5 decades and says he has plans to release a new song soon called 'alive and kicking'... and we sure are glad he is!

fats goes home (a photo set)

fats and the rock-n-roll connection

from the mississippi to the mersy's a few fats domino tunes (mp3s via yousendit):
everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey
lady madonna
do you know what it means to miss new orleans

... and the beatles thinkin' 'bout the fatman!
lady madonna (anthology mix)
birthday (alternate mix)

buy fats domino and the beatles!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

tommy ridgley Oct 23, 1925 - Aug 11, 1999

during the 90's i had the great fortune to work with some of the old guard of new orleans rhythm and blues. i would work any show, anywhere, as a sound man/monitor guy/stage manager/lighting geek/consiglieri/gopher and anything else that was needed. there were always shows happening in the easy, everyday, (and as many as one could handle on the weekends), done in all kinds of venues; school gyms, open air festivals, hotel ballrooms, even the superdome. and we did 'em all ... fats, ernie k-doe, the funky meters, dr. john, neville bros., clarence 'frogman' henry, irma thomas, gatemouth brown, earl king, rockin' dopsie, and many more legends, most of whom are gone now.

tommy ridgley was the most down to earth performer of all from that era. that man was a fashion plate if there ever was one. tommy would show up at a gig, dressed to the nines in the latest in leisure suit wear, in the most outlandish colors known to man ... with shoes to match. he would sit and talk with everyone and make it feel as if you knew him all your life, remembering your name and your momma's, (in the easy it is always polite to ask, 'how's yo' mamma?), and he was always very sincere and funny as shit. many a show tommy would hang by the soundboard to joke and kid about the old days with me right until he ran onstage to sing. and it didn't matter if it was a show at the aquarium, a buisiness convention or the jazz fest, he was always tommy ... what a wonderful man.

tommy had his first hit in '49 with 'shrewsbury blues' on the imperial lable. shrewsbury is where he was from, a little part of metry at the lower part of causeway in jeff parish, where it meets the river. he went on to record many regional hits during the 50's, riding the rock and r&b wave, including the immortally wild 'looped' and the influential instrumental 'jam up'. he was always a must see at the new orleans jazz fest from it's inception until his death from kidney troubles in '99. his band, 'the untouchables' also backed many of the other new orleans legends including miss irma thomas, whom tommy took under his wing and started her long career.

his birthday is october 23, so i needed to get this down before we head down the road to see the destruction first hand, (we split that day). so, tommy, where ever you are has to be a better place for you being there ...

a few of mr ridgely's good stuff on mp3 from yousendit:
shrewsbury blues

and a good book to read: rhythm and blues in new orleans

and fats went home to the 9th ward today, but as of press time i couldn't squeek a link from anywhere .... from what i saw on cnn he didn't look too happy to see his white piany all flipped over in his flooded, muddied purple mansion on st. claude avenue... more to follow ...

buy some tommy ridgely music!

Monday, October 10, 2005

xtc - the apple box

xtc, one of the w'room's favorite bands of all time, is releasing a beautiful box set of their last two albums (with a bunch of neat goodies!) ...

Apple Box
Released 31st October 05

United as originally intended the stunning Apple Venus Vol 1 and Wasp Star with their respective demo recordings. Packaged in a stunningly simple white box with the peacock feather varnished on the front, this 4 cd set includes a 64 page booklet including all the lyrics for the very first time and new sleeve notes.

A real treat for all XTC fans is the inclusion of a content card enabling the user to download for FREE from the XTC web site 2 brand new digital download tracks (Spiral and Say It) and via their mobile phone a FREE 'Stupidly Happy' ringtone.

All copies of the Apple Box are signed by Andy and Colin.

so, as usual for these guys they finally get what they want, a few years later. the initial idea for apple venus (which was released in 1999) was a double album, one rocking, the other mellow. and as usual, they had to fight their record company, (this time tvt records) and as usual they lost.
although this is really sweet, i wish they would do something new. we are really jonesing for another album from the boys of swindon. but then again the wait between 'nonsuch' and 'apple venus pt.1' was only 7 years ...

a few tracks from the demos of 'apple venus' from yousendit:

rivers of orchids (demo)
i'd like that (demo)
greenman (demo)
stupidly happy (demo)
we're all light (demo)
church of women (demo)

(and we always thought it was cool that there is an xtc song in more than one jim carrey movie ... 'dumb and dumber' and 'me, myself and irene', just a silly note to end on ...)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

john winston ono lennon

john woulda been 65 years old today ... if only ...

i guess anyone who is old enuff to remember could tell ya where they were and what they were doin' when they heard the god-awful news that night in december of 1980. me, i was making a tape of beatle sound-alike stuff for my lil sis angel as a x-mas present, songs from cheap trick, badfinger, sparks, big star and the like, (i corrupted that poor girl so bad, to this day she still can't listen to revolution 9 because of me playing it backwards when she was just a pup, but now she is grateful for the rest of the influences).

... it was a monday night and i was feeling rather good, picking thru records looking for the ideal beatlesque tunes to fill a 90 minute casette. and as usual, (on a monday nite), the t.v. was on monday nite football, sans sound. the ear-goggles were on when my mom came busting in the wreckroom, scaring the crap outta me and pulling the phones off my head yelling, 'john has been shot!'. i laffed her off, she left, just to return about 5 minutes later, yanking the phones off again saying, 'john is dead ...'. i turned to the t.v. and saw a solemn looking howard cosell talking to the camera. when i flipped up the sound i heard howard say something about '... he came to visit us in the booth for the giants game in october ...', then i knew it was true. i sat cross-legged on the floor, staring at the tube, more numb than i had ever felt since my father died, with mom going on about something that i didn't really hear ... i just knew.

i didn't cry until the next night when all my friends got together at our bar, sir john's in fat city. that is when it really sunk in, we were listening beatle songs, drinking and singing along ... and we all cried together. we had lost a brother and a friend. we had all grown up with john. he spoke for us all, from a lofty perch maybe, but he was still us, human, frail and scared. in the following days, watching the mass of people in the streets on t.v., weeping and singing his songs all over the world, i kept crying ... those were some long and sad days. it hasn't really gotten any better, the days are still too long and sad without him ... and i'm still cryin' about it.

so we spent last night playing all of john's songs, drinking wine, singing along and loving the way he made us feel.

happy birthday brother john ...

mp3s from the lennon box set (alternative tracks from the plastic ono band lp)
by way of yousendit:

buy john lennon 'cos ya should!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

this from wfmu's beware of the blog ...

In order to fulfill his obligation to his early solo label Bang Records,Van Morrison sat down in 1967 or so and cranked out 31 songs on the spot, on topics ranging from ringworm to wanting a danish, to hating his record label and a guy named George. Make sure you get past the first few tunes - it takes him a few to get cooking.

van morrison jumps out of bang contract
(just too damn funny not to pass along)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

hooray for captain spaulding!

julius henry marx was born 105 years ago today and without a doubt we still believe he is the funniest human to have graced this silly planet. he of the razor wit, snappy come back, fake 'stache and brow. groucho and his brothers made the most flat-out wildest movies ever and have influenced generations around the world to this day. his prominence as a subversive character even got the f.b.i. to create a file on him in the 50's. but then again, who wasn't profiled by j. edgar hoover and his gestapo back then?
groucho has been imitated more than almost anyone else in history, either visually or verbally. his affect on modern culture is unreal. it seems not a day goes by without some reference to groucho or the marx brothers in the media ...

the early films on paramount were total anarchy; nothing was sacred and no-one was safe. the later movies weren't as unpredictable, but even a bad marx film is funnier than almost anything else around. and after the brothers groucho went on to a sucsessful career on television, vinyl and film on his own.

the fave marx flick in here is 'duck soup'. it's the craziest and most thought provoking movie they made. when it was released in 1933, during hitler's rise to power in germany, it seemed to scare people from theaters with songs about war and the premise of dictators, spies and shady politics. now it is rather hard to find anything about the movie that doesn't ring true. if anything, it kinda reflects the way things are going today, shoddy diplomacy, arrogant leaders, inept battlefield tactics ... kinda like the morning headlines, eh?
happy birthday julius, old friend ...

... two years ago today our little beagle, sadie, had a litter of 5 puppies. she went into labor early in the morning and started popping them out at various locations around the wreckroom. being very aware that october 2nd was groucho's birthday, i started naming them after the marx brothers. she dropped 4 boys and a girl, (the girl we tagged mrs. dumont, after groucho's leading lady for 6 of their 13 films). the third one out we dubbed harpo, of course, and he is the one we kept. and a more apt moniker could not have been found. harpo is the cutest, funniest and sweetest dog we have known. he has this hilarious habit of 'honking' after lapping up a bowl of water and, swear to dog, it sounds just like harpo's horn.

he makes sure it's an all-out laff riot in the w'room on a daily basis, never dull and quite entertaining. and when s.a. leaves for any reason other than work he runs around the house endlessly crying and wimpering and driving me to drink, (not too hard), til she returns. but he knows when she goes to work and has no prob with that. we can't quite figure that one out yet. there is a bunch of shit we can't figure out about him other than we just love this puppy!
happy birthday lil' buddy!

and this is for the real harpo ... (who died on september 28, 1964)

To Harpo Marx
(by Jack Kerouac, 1959)

Harpo! When did you seem like an angel
the last time?
and played the gray harp of gold?

When did you steal the silverware
and bug-spray the guests?

When did your brother find rain
in your sunny courtyard?

When did you chase your last blonde
across the Millionairesses' lawn
with a bait hook on a line
protruding from your bicycle?

Harpo! Who was that Lion
I saw you with?

How did you treat the midget
and Konk the giant?

Harpo, in your recent night-club appearance
in New Orleans were you old?

Were you still chiding with your horn
in the cane at your golden belt?

Was your vow of silence an Indian Harp?
(audio of this in realmedia)
i ripped these from the films into mp3s for your listening enjoyment (via yousendit):

hello i must be going (animal crackers)
whatever it is i'm against it (horse feathers)
everyone says i love you (horse feathers)
my administration (duck soup)
we're going to war (duck soup)
lydia the tattooed lady (at the circus)

plus a video of lydia the tattooed lady (a wmv file)
and a short snippet of the marxes in color from 'animal crackers' (17 seconds of wonder)

go buy a marx brothers movie!