A Thought For The Day From Woody Guthrie

Just got back from a week in Nova Scotia, a couple of days in Halifax and the rest deep in the woods. I like Canada, it’s like the white parts of the U.S. if Jimmy Carter was still president. Didn’t find too many records (a Soul Stirrers album I didn’t have, a Sister Rosetta Tharpe LP, and a copy of Jackie Wilson’s Baby Workout LP to replace the one I traded away a couple of months ago), but our rent a car soon grew a huge library of cheap used books. I returned to find NYC (and much of the world for that matter) teetering on the edge of economic collapse. I predicted this all two years ago, ask my wife. How is it a brain dead deadbeat like me knew this and the people who run everything didn’t? Not a good sign, not at all. We can safely say the worst people are running everything. It’s hard not to feel a touch of schadenfreude seeing these Wall Street morons walking around with their tails between their legs. Which brings us to my favorite Woody Guthrie song. Let’s face it, New York worked better when the Mafia ran things. As one old timer told me– “Frank Costello was the best mayor this town ever had”. I concur. I’ll try and post more tomorrow or Thursday of this week. And on a more interesting subject.

Ike Rocks The House

This is little Ike Chalmers, the coolest kid I’ve seen in my life. His parents are Jon Chalmers (Church Keys, Sato & Johnny) and Masayo (Plungers, Sato & Johnny). If there was ever a natural it’s this little duffer. Playing behind him are Jon Chalmers and Dave Lindsay (of Ff and Purple Wizard, not visible) on guitars, Doug Dellefemine on drums, I don’t know the bass players name.
It was shot at the Bill Pietsch memorial at Freddie’s Bar in Brooklyn, Sep. 21, 2008.

Lost Crusaders: Wasted On Broken Wind….

I first met Chandler several centuries ago at a place called the Club 57 on St. Marks Place. It was an impromptu nightclub and bar without a liquor license in the basement of a church that was a CIA front staffed with Ukrainian Nazi collaborators resettled by the OSS to fight communism. I was the DJ. Chandler arrived from Portland, Maine with Tim Warren, who would go on to found Crypt Records. Chandler liked good records and he liked to drink and we became friends. His first musical enterprise was a duo— Tchang & Chandler (pictured here standing on the carcass of a woolly mammoth they’d killed for food). Chandler was a natural as a frontman and songwriter and within weeks had composed some killer tunes like “Spit It On The Floor”, “A Man Needs A Woman”, “Black Jack” (recently covered by the Hives), and others I can’t quite remember. He joined a neo-garage band called the Outta Place who cut an LP for Midnight Records then formed the Raunch Hands with Tchang, George Sully, Vince Brnicevic and a guy whose name means cocksucker in Spanish (so he moved to Spain, what would Freud say about that? Here’s what the Mummies had to say). The Raunch Hands never caught on with the Indie rock crowd but they kept rockin’ through the 80’s and 90’s, made some fine records, spent most of their time in Europe and eventually dissolved.

Chandler took to sleeping in shopping carts and garbage cans. But tenacity is an under
rated character trait, and Chandler pulled himself together, quit drinking, and put together a new band and recorded a new record. The band is the Lost Crusaders and the record is called Have You Heard About The World? (Everlasting Records, Spain, or available from Itunes). It’s hard, really hard, to make something new out of the old influences in this post-everything era, few veins have not been mined to death. The Lost Crusaders take their inspiration from black gospel music, groups like the Sensational Nightingales and the EverReady Singers. However they do not sound like a bunch of white guys imitating Ray Charles. In fact, they don’t sound like anything I’ve ever heard. The closest analogy I can make is a 21st century version of Brother Claude Ely. Here’s one of my favorite tracks on the disc— Wasted On The Wind. Country singer Laura Cantrell appears on two tracks and Jon Spencer is on one if that sways your opinion in any direction.
It’s rare I hear a new record I like, it happens about once a year or less. It’s even rarer I find a new record that I play over and over again, but this one has really got it’s talons into my ears.
Now go buy it.

Kelly Keller and Bill Pietsch RIP

Today marks the fourth anniversary of Kelly Keller’s passing. I posted about her in August, check older posts on the right. Sunday was a year since Bill Pietsch bought it. You can read about him below. 

Just thought I’d post one  more photo. I’ve never missed anyone like I miss them…
BTW if you check out Redboy’s site (link under “stuff I read” there’s a killer Hooks Coleman 45—“Black Widow Spider”, and an amazing Clarence Walton disc– “The Cat”, both new to me, for free download.  Keep ’em comin’ Redboy…..
The photos of Kelly and Bill were taken by Robert Spencer.

Women, I love ’em.

I love women. Except maybe Republicans. Man, I hate that Sarah Palin. Her voice has the same intonation as every asshole teacher that ever sent me to the principal’s office. But the rest of ’em I love. Here’s three of my favorites, guess which one I married?

I really love Jane Birkin, I probably first saw her on a Yardley commercial as a kid. She shows up in such films as Blow Up, The Knack and How To Get It, and this oddball flick which I’ve provided a clip from: Je’Taime Moi No Plus, a movie directed by Serge Gainsborough, her husband and producer of her records at the time. It is a 90 minute meditation on watching his wife being sodomized by Warhol Superstar Little Joe Dallesandro. A more peculiar movie I’ve never seen. There was a much better (sexier) clip on Youtube but it was taken recently removed. You can buy a French copy of the DVD on Amazon.
These days Jane still makes records, acts and does charity work all over the world.
Brigitte Bardot has intrigued me since childhood. She never made a Hollywood movie.
Some say she never made a good movie, but I love Roger Vadim’s And God Created Woman and Godard’s Contempt, in both flix she basically plays herself. If ever a woman was born to be described as feline it is Bebe. Brigitte Bardot has survived three suicide attempts. Now retired she spends her time helping furry quadrupeds
Gillian McCain is the co-author (with Legs McNeil) of Please Kill Me: The Oral History Of Punk (Grove Press. 1996), the best book on punk rock ever written. She’s also authored several volumes of prose poetry: Tilt (Hard Press, 1997), Religion (The Figures,1999), even made a record with Alan Vega and Ric Ocasek called Getchertiktz. She is currently
working on three or maybe five, book projects.
I would have been dead many years ago had I not met her.
BTW there’s a funny picture of me and my old pal Ike Turner on Eric “Roscoe” Ambel’s blog (click the Knucklehead link on the right), I believe the photo was taken by Bob Gruen at Tramps around ’97.

The Evening Redness In The West (West 19th St. that is…) or Scalphunting for fun and profit

I’ve been obsessed with Cormac McCarthy’s book Blood Meridian (Ecco,1985) for a good twenty years now. The late actor Rockets Redglare turned me onto it— “James, you gotta read this one, it’s right up your alley….can you lend me $6 dollars?”. Rockets (whose film credits can be found here: IMDB.com) wanted to play the Judge in the film version (which will probably never be made which is fine with me). Lately I’ve gone back and reread all of McCarthy’s early novels (Outer Dark, The Orchard Keeper, Suttree) looking for a clue. A clue to what you ask? If there is a main theme to McCarthy’s work, as near as I can figure it is the idea of the absence of God. What I want to know, is, seeing as his work references the bible so much, does McCarthy believe in God? Well, I’m still wondering. He gives up nothing in the few interviews he’s given. In fact, the best interview out there is one where McCarthy himself interviews the Cohn Brothers soon after the filming of No Country For Old Men. He’s mainly interested in how Josh Brolin reacted to the dog which was trained to rip out a human’s jugular. You can read it here.
One thing I did turn up was historical evidence of the Judge Holden and John Glanton, Blood Meridian’s most chilling characters. The Texas State Historical Society published in 1996 a very handsome volume, profusely illustrated by it’s author and annotated by William H. Goetzman a most unusual manuscript called My Confession: Recollections Of A Rouge, the memoirs of one Samuel Chamberlain, a rounder and roustabout who claims to have ridden with scalp hunters John Glanton and the Judge Holden in the 1840s. There is much debate about the authenticity of this document, and many inconsistencies (such as the above drawing by Chamberlain showing Holden with a full head of hair while the manuscript describes him as bald as a cue ball), Goetzman addresses these subjects in detail. Let’s face it, there are few first hand accounts from the world of commercial scalp hunting (if my cirrhosis gets any worse maybe I’ll write one myself), and that makes this book a fascinating read. My Confession is still in print and is not hard to find. Cheap too, only $30 for a big coffee table job with dozens of color plates.
I also wonder if McCarthy read any of Paul I. Weilman’s books such as Spawn Of Evil (1964), Death On The Prairie (1934), Death In The Desert (1935) and A Dynasty of Western Outlaws (1961), all nonfiction, they deal with “The Evening Redness In The West” unflinchingly. This is the part of American history we weren’t taught in school.
While I’m pondering, I wonder if his Knoxville novels (The Orchard Keeper, Suttree, Child Of God) were influenced by Harry M. Caudill’s Night Comes To The Cumberlands (1963), a study of violence in the depressed area where Kentucky borders West Virginia, a place where fueds lasted generations and blood was shed over things like the placement of a fence post. Whether McCarthy is familiar with the above works of history I guess really doesn’t matter, but if you care to know about who and what we, as Americans (hell, check that, we as people period) really are, you owe it to yourself to track down these volumes. These books are not for the faint of heart or soft of head.
One last thought, a quote from Mr. McCarthy that I agree with wholeheartedly:

“There’s no such thing as life without bloodshed, I think the notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is a really dangerous idea. Those who are afflicted with this notion are the first ones to give up their souls, their freedom. Your desire that it be that way will enslave you and make your life vacuous.”

Thanks to Jeff Roth at the New York Times for turning me onto Spawn Of Evil, and that smelly bookshop in Paris for selling it to me.

Today’s Special- Free Rolling Stones Outtakes!

The first LP I ever owned was the first Rolling Stones album, got it for Christmas in ’64, I was five years old and even then, I knew this is good shit. I still play it, the same copy. I drew a mustache on Bill Wyman on the back cover.

I don’t know how they got so good and I’ll bet they don’t either. I do know they haven’t made a decent record since Tattoo You in ’81 but that’s okay. I saw them do a great acoustic show at the Paradiso in Amsterdam in the early 90’s but the record from that show– Stripped wasn’t very good, they’d gone back and fixed all the mistakes and took the life out of the thing. I liked the live version of “Oh No, Not You Again” they played live a few summer’s back at Lincoln Center before their press conference. Their last big greatest hits package Forty Licks had one nice new tune– Keith’s “Am I Losing My Touch”, but their records mainly suck these days, and I think even they know it.  I read an interview with Keith Richards a few years back who said something to the effect of “we could still  make great records, but the record company would never release them”.  So they bring in lames like Donald Was and Baby Face to try and make them sound as bland as everything else on the radio. Keith did make a great record about ten years ago which Virgin refused to promote or even distribute– it’s a Jamaican gospel record recorded at Keith’s house in Jamaica, mostly acapella with a bit of African percussion for flavor.  Keith dubbed his rasta songbirds The Wingless Angels.  Here’s their version
of the traditional gospel tune Morning Train. You should try and hunt down the CD,
it’s the best thing Keith’s done in decades.
According to Martin Elliot’s The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002 (Cherry Red, 2002) these next four tracks were done in August or September of 1978  in L.A. at RCA Recorders (where “Satisfaction” was done) and feature the Small Faces’ Ian McLagen on piano. Keith is singing lead and playing the rack harmonica and guitar on the three versions of Jimmy Reed’s “My First Plea” (which features the classic line– “don’t pull no subway/I’d rather see you  pull a train”– translation—I’d rather see you gangbanged than gone).  Freddie Cannon’s “Tallahassee Lassie” (which Charles Gillet called “the worst rock’n’roll record ever made” in his classic Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock, 1970) seems to have always been one of Mick’s favorites, he even said the end of “Brown Sugar” was ripped off from it. Anyone out there have any info on the life of Kenny Paulson who played guitar on the Freddie Cannon original? I know he ended up in prison and died of a heroin overdose in ’74 and that’s about it. Anyways, here they are, ladies, gentlemen and hermaphrodites of the jury, The Rolling Stones: 
Dig how perfect the cymbal crash is, it sounds like they’re playing over the original Jimmy Reed track. For comparison’s sake, here’s the original Jimmy Reed version
They may dress like the Golden Girls these days, but god  love ’em, where would we be without the Rolling Stones?

Bill Peitsch 1962-2007 The Last King Of Rock’n’Roll

Sunday marks the year anniversary of Billy Peitsch’s death. I knew him for twenty years and I can safely say he was the coolest person I’ve even known. His death, coming so soon after the deaths of my close friends Bob and Alice Quine, Kelly Keller, Dee Dee Ramone, Cordell Jackson, and Hasil Adkins sent me into a state of shock that I’m just now starting to emerge from. I’m not a good enough writer to do justice to his life and achievements,but  if you knew Bill you know what I mean. He was one of a kind in the best way. And one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. I never had less than a great time when Bill was  around, he could take the piss out of lames like no one I’ve ever seen, he could fix your car, explain to you why the Brooklyn Bridge didn’t fall into the river, expound on why Chuck Berry was the greatest songwriter ever, and when Andre Williams would go missing in action five minutes to show time it was Bill who could find him, get his false teeth back in Andre’s mouth

and get him onstage.

For the unfamiliar he was best known as the drummer/singer of the Church Keys, as well as several other bands like Purple Wizard. Visit film maker Danny Rose’s site Wayne County Ramlin’ which is chock full of photo and video material.
 I have two funny stories I can share. At the bar I own, the Lakeside Lounge, some lowlife suburban squat slummer threw a brick at my bartender. Bill chased the perp down but they got into the door of their squat and threw the bolt just in time— they thought. The next day Bill returned with a sledge hammer and a posse, and we never had trouble in the bar again. 
My other story is when I set Bill up with some goofy VH1 film crew who were making a tv show about “male groupies”.  I was trying to publicize a band I was managing at the time called the Prissteens  (two of whom would later form Purple Wizard with Bill). So VH1 came to film Bill as a Prissteens groupie (which he really wasn’t, although he’s credited on their LP as their Fluffer).  When the camera started to roll so did Bill and he had the host so flustered they had to stop filming four or five times. The guy was simply no match for Bill in mental chess and the crew concurred, basically letting Bill direct his own segment.  He was inter spliced with a Sarah McGlaughlin (or however it’s spelled) groupie in the final edit. It’s quite hilarious. I lost my copy, if anyone out there has it please post it on Youtube and let me know. It aired half dozen times in Febuary of ’98.  Bill was a natural and had quite a few film credits including Bruce Bennett’s short Shirt Sleeves, Chris Frieri’s I Was A Teenage Mummy and Danny Rose’s Wayne County Ramlin‘. He recorded a killer LP for Norton (The Church Keys Ale Up) and a couple of amazing 45’s (“Peephole” is particularly brilliant, a work out on Bill’s Chuck Berry obsession)
I miss Bill Peitsch as much as I am proud to have known him. They’ll  never be another like him. He left behind his wife Andrea and two young children– Wendy Jean and Billy Ray Jr., and I’ll try to find out if there’s any sort of official channel for helping them out and post it here as soon as I know. I think I need to go take some heroin now.
BTW the above Japanese beer commercial featuring the Church Keys classic “Ale Up” was shot at my bar the Lakeside Lounge, I think I’m show up when the camera pans the bar. Also, notice in the photo, even the cop is smiling. The girl on the left is Lori Yorkman who was in the Prissteens and Purple Wizard.

Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks

Not much to say today, but I love this Scopitone clip of Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks.Yes, the big eared blond on drums is Levon Helm.  Not their best tune (for that, try this one– their version of Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love from 1960 (Roullette). It was a huge hit in Canada whose radio stations blasted it into Detroit at the time, evidently it was a big influence on the Stooges’ James Wiliamson whose solo on Search & Destroy would echo it twenty two years later. Enjoy. BTW My airchecks are logged here: WWW.thehound.net if you’re lookin’ for ’em.

The Rolling Stones, Howlin’ Wolf, James Burton & Dope

I remember seeing this when it first aired, I must’ve been five or six years old and I worshipped the Rolling Stones the way my older brother worshipped the Beatles.

My asshole stepfather (who voted for George Wallace in ’68, if you’re still alive out there die you vile prick) never had much to say about the Beatles but the site of the Stones on our b&w tv would send him into a red faced drunken Irish rage. “Dope fiends”! It was the first time I’d ever heard of dope. But I knew, from that moment that some day I’d be a dope fiend.  Anything that made him mad had to be good. 
Anyway, it was because of this cameo I picked up on Howlin’ Wolf and even got my grandmother to buy me his Evil album for Christmas the next year, setting off another life long obsession— old blues records.  Seeing this clip now brings all that back, but I never realized that James Burton, star of Dale Hawkins’ “Suzi Q” and many Ricky Nelson, Bob Luman, Elvis, Gram Parsons, Merle Haggard, etc. hits was backing up the Wolf. He sure sound good, no?  It’s a bit of a long clip but it reminds me of just how the right bit of stimuli could change a kid’s life. I knew I’d never have a 9-5 job or house and family in the suburbs as soon as that first door to another world was cracked open just an inch. If you watch the whole clip there’s a funny Righetous  Brothers ripoffs doin’ a pretty cool version  “Work With Me Annie”, them I don’t remember.
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