Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Off To The Races

July 29, 2009 marks Opening Day at the track celebrating the 146th season of racing in Saratoga, at the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the United States.
2009 also will mark the 140th running of The Travers Stakes, the oldest major thoroughbred horse race in America.

I will be on assignment, at the track for the duration of the six-week season.

Stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Barack Obama is Al Sharpton with a better haircut"

Bob opines on the "great uniter"

Also, Bob explains socialism

... and the expansion of Medicaid, aka Barack Obama's healthcare plan

The Houston Hipster: Smokey Wood

"Smokey was shouting blues vocals, pumping kick-ass swing piano, and puffing all the weed that the Lone Star State could supply. He lived the life he sang about - lived it in dingy beer joints and one-lung radio stations far from the networks and international promoters. While a later breed of urban cowboy would make it big in the media, Wood, under a cloud of friendly, fragrant smoke, just faded away into obscurity".

Western swing pianist Smokey Wood was born John Bryce Wood in September 1918 in Harrison, Arkansas, where his father was a railroad engineer and his mother a piano player.
He spent the majority of his childhood in Oklahoma before moving to Houston in 1935 at the age of 17.
Wood set out from Muskogee, OK, bringing his band the Oklahoma Playboys with him. Proudly wearing their jazz influences in a country guise, Wood and his early musical cohorts found it hard to break into Houston's music scene; with influences like Fats Waller (also a favorite of Bob Wills), Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, and Stephen Foster, Houston's musical powers didn't quite know what to do with the group and generally ignored them.
Times were tough due to the depression and they started to make music in the beer joints out of Houston, earning one dollar a night with some tips extra.

Aside from music, Smokey Wood's greatest love was for the "wacky tobacky", or as it's better known: marijuana.
According to some accounts, Wood was high most of the time and would even smoke on the bandstand when the notion grabbed him.
To further put things in perspective, Wood's love was so big, he usually kept at least a pound or two around for safe keeping and would spare his lean budget by growing some plants of his own.
Smokey was also known as "The Houston Hipster" and his reputation was that of "a pot-smoking, whiskey-drinking, womanizing, fun-loving Western swing guy."
Wood played in a series of bands near the end of the Thirties– most notably the Modern Mountaineers with fellow pothead and ace fiddler J.R. Chatwell.
Smokey Wood would also work part time in a Houston gas station, where the job consisted of filling tanks, wiping windshields, and selling pot in quantity.
He continued performing, but he and Chatwell were booted out of a Bob Wills side project for living the nightlife instead of playing it.
Wood played and recorded sporadically until the end of his life. He moved around a lot, played the carnival circuit, ran a flea market, and mostly raised fighting cocks and grew marijuana until his death in 1975.

Smokey Wood & His Woodchips (1937):
Carry Me Back To Virginny; I'm Sorry; Keep On Truckin'; Lonely Heart Of Mine; Moonlight In Oklahoma; Riding To Glory; Woodchip Blues; Wood's Traveling Blues

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


John Dawson was a founder member of the New Riders Of The Purple Sage and toured with the Dead and NRPS during the early 1970s. During this period he sat in with the Dead on a number of occasions and contributed to three Grateful Dead LPs; Aoxomoxoa, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty.
Dawson contributed to the writing of Friend Of The Devil and was the major songwriter for the New Riders during the seventies.
John Dawson's musical career began in the mid-1960s folk music scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. There he met fellow guitarist David Nelson, and was part of the rotating lineup of Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, a jug band that included Jerry Garcia and several other future members of the Grateful Dead. Dawson was also influenced by the Bakersfield sound genre of country music.
Dawson had written a number of country rock songs, and Garcia had become interested in playing pedal steel guitar. Joined by Nelson, they formed the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

According to the New Riders' official website, John Dawson died on July 21, 2009.They have released the following statement:

John passed away peacefully on July 21, 2009 at the age of 64 in Mexico, where he had retired several years ago. It is with great sadness that we relay this news, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and all his many fans out there.

His songs inspired us in so many ways. His energy, passion and commitment to the New Riders brought us all so much joy over the years. We can all be thankful that his music and legacy will live on forever.

Images link to musical selections by N.R.P.S.

a TRIO trio

Here's a trio of videos from the German minimalist group TRIO.
The band never got very popular outside of Germany, and are largely forgotten even for their one hit.The band was produced by Klaus Voormann, who also played bass on a few songs.

Their big "hit":

My personal favorite:

This song's cool, but I REALLY like the video:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Blues In The Bottle"

Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers' "Blues In The Bottle" was recorded on March 28, 1928 in San Antonio, Texas. This recording is considered one of the first of what would be later categorized as "Western" or "Texas" Swing, popularized later by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. The style is a unique amalgam of blues, ragtime, jazz and old time fiddle music.

Prince Albert Hunt chose to live "on the wrong side of the tracks." He was shot to death outside of a Dallas bar in March of 1931.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite Dead At 92

Jackie and Dunlap on Walter Cronkite's death.

Everybody loved Walter Cronkite! -- Or did they?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Barack Obama at the All-Star game

Bob comments on "The One" 's appearance at the game last night

"Last night Barack Obama threw out the first pitch at the all-star game. He walked out onto the mound and lobbed the ball over the plate**. When he was done he went into the stands had a couple of hot dogs and a couple of beers. In the 2nd inning he went into the commentators booth and talked to Joe Buck about how great his life is. Are you freaking kidding me?!
Did I miss something? Was there a memo that went out that said the economy had turned around? That un-employment was on it's way down? Was there a memo that said Iran and North Korea are no longer developing nuclear weapons? Of course not! There was no memo!
Would somebody tell Barack Obama, he's the President of the United States. That's not a 40 hour a week job! 7 days a week, 24 hours a day this guy should be up at the freaking White House thinking of ways to make this country a better place!
Nobody asked him to run for President. Nobody walked into Barack Obama's room late at night, grabbed him by the ears and told him he was going to run for president. He decided! He begged people to freaking vote for him. I love these senators, congressman , mayors and presidents; they beg people to vote for them and then when they get elected they act like they are doing us a freaking favor by just being in office.
Well let me tell you something Barack, you're not doing us any favors! The country is falling apart and this guy is at a freaking baseball game throwing back peanuts with his feet up on the back of somebody's freaking chair. It's disgusting! It's freaking disgusting what this guy is doing and I'm sick of it! I'm freaking sick of it!!"
(Click image for video)

Bob has been busy. He recently posted the following rants, as well.

On the Sotomayor hearings;

How much time and money are these freaking Senators on Capitol Hill wasting, while they interview Sonya Sotomayor?

On the GM bailout;

We didn't bailout General Motors to save America or the American Worker. We bailed out general Motors to save General Motors and that's WRONG! It's freaking wrong!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

United Breaks Guitars

Could be that the best thing that ever happened to the Sons of Maxwell was that United Airlines refused to pay for breaking singer Dave Carroll's guitar last year, when the band was on its way to Nebraska. The Halifax-based Carroll wrote a song, called United Breaks Guitars, about the long compensation dispute - and it "went viral," as they say, on YouTube.

"In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didnt deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say no to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming." ~ Dave Carroll

It also seems that Loudon Wainwright III has had his own similar "Unfriendly Skies" experience.

Friday, July 10, 2009

After Dark - July 10, 1969

Today's Date In Music History:The Grateful Dead performs at the Playboy Mansion
- for clarification, July 10, 1969 was the broadcast date, the show was actually recorded on 1/18/69. Sorry for any confusion.

The clip begins with a conversation between Jerry Garcia and Hugh Hefner.

Also of note for this date in music, are the birthdays of Messrs. Arlo Guthrie and Bela Fleck.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"When I get back to the bottom of the bottle that I'm drinkin', I said son, it's a honky tonker's life for me"

Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours

Lucky Tubb has taken it upon himself to preserve his family’s musical heritage and does so with reverence and pride.
Tubb is the great nephew of the legendary honky tonk singer, Ernest Tubb.
The Modern Day Troubadours are Tubb on vocals and rhythm guitar, Natalie Page Monson on fiddle and harmony vocals, Jericho Renshaw on lead guitar, Casey Gill on slap bass and Steve England on pedal steel, dobro and mandolin.The band plays with freshness and urgency. Moaning steel guitar, lonesome mandolin, and sad sweeping fiddle lines are all seamlessly woven into their honky tonk sound.

Lucky won’t be a darling of the Nashville scene.He comes from the Wayne Hancock, Hank III school of hillbilly music, happy to tour the bye-roads of small town America in the tradition of the likes of Tubb and Bill Monroe.

Lucky and the band are currently on tour, opening for Hank Williams III.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

California is going bankrupt and Schwarzenegger is handing out IOU's to everyone with a pulse...

... Yet, they have enough money to throw a memorial service for Michael freaking Jackson?!!!

"Magnesium Proverbs and sobs"

Better known as Syd,
Roger Keith Barrett (January 6, 1946 – July 7, 2006) was an original, founding member of the British rock group Pink Floyd.A key figure in the development of London's underground music scene, Syd found himself in the role of lead vocalist, lead guitarist and primary songwriter.

Pink Floyd began its existence as just another straightforward blues band, but in 1965 the group began to move in a more adventurous direction, Syd's fanciful lyrics and unconventional guitar technique placed them at the front of the burgeoning psychedelic music scene.

It was on Pink Floyd's first tour to the United States in 1967 that Barrett began to show the effects of his illness, apparently undiagnosed schizophrenia (exacerbated by his use of LSD). It would render him catatonic during performances and in 1968 Syd was kicked out of the group due to his increasingly unpredictable behavior on and off stage, thus ending Syd's membership in the band he had named and led to national success.
Barrett was still popular in London when he left Pink Floyd, so he wasn't able to stay dormant very long. Harvest label head Malcolm Jones and Pink Floyd members Richard Wright and David Gilmour (who was Barrett's replacement in Pink Floyd, childhood friend, and has remained one of Barrett's strongest advocates) helped to spearhead the making of two Syd Barrett solo albums in 1969 and 1970, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett.

Although he continued to receive royalties from his work with Pink Floyd he lived his life in relative obscurity and seclusion.
After leaving music behind he did turn to art for his creative endeavors.

While trying to live a quiet life he was still pursued by journalists and paparazzi. Interest in his music and curiosity over his seclusion would never diminish, until his death.
After battling diabetes for several years, Barrett died at his home in Cambridge on Friday July 7, 2006. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, but this was usually reported as "complications from diabetes".The occupation on his death certificate was given as "retired musician."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Artie Shaw

Born Arthur Arshawsky (May 23, 1910), Artie Shaw helped define the big band and swing music eras. Shaw was a clarinetist considered on par with the great Benny Goodman. He was also famous for his many marriages, including marriages to actresses Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, and Evelyn Keyes, as well as "Forever Amber" author Kathleen Winsor.
In the 1950's, Artie left music behind to concentrate on literature, authoring two collections of short fictions. He died at his Thousand Oaks, California home at the age of 94.

In the player below:
I Get A Kick Out Of You; Innuendo; Krazy Kay; Love Walked In; Moon Face; Mucho De Nada; Needle nose; No Name Jive; Octoron; Oh, Lady Be Good

The Human condition

... a rant by Duckman.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


MC to move to TN?

Jackie and Dunlap on the new Tennessee law that makes it legal to carry guns into bars and restaurants with a permit.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cracker Live at the Hobart Jaycee's Fest, North Ridge Plaza

Today's Date In Music History: Cracker in Hobart, Indiana on July 3rd, 2008.

Cracker was formed by David Lowery (of Camper Van Beethoven fame) and his longtime friend Johnny Hickman in 1991.The band has been touring continually ever since and has established devoted following both in the U.S. (where fans refer to themselves as Crumbs) and throughout Europe.
Cracker mixes influences and sounds from rock, punk, alt-country, psychedelia, blues, and folk.

Highlights of this performance include Cracker favorites "Low" and "Teen Angst", as well as a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Loser".

Disc 1
1) Intro - 2) Teen Angst - 3) Movie Star - 4) Gimme Me One More Chance - 5) Mr. Wrong - 6) Lonesome Johnny Blues - 7) Sweet Thistle Pie - 8) One Fine Day - 9) Man In Me -10) Sweet Potato -11) This Is Cracker Soul -12) Loser -13) How Can I Live Without You
Disc 2
1) Euro-Trash Girl - 2) Riverside - 3)100 Flower power Maximum - 4) Infirmary - 5) Happy Birthday To Me - 6) Low - 7) Everybody Gets One - 8) Whole Lotta Trouble - 9) Saint Cajtean -10) Ballad Of Chas M.(I Need Better Friends) - 11) Get Off This

Play show here:

Download full show here.