Friday, January 29, 2010

Charlie Robison - Yellow Blues

Charlie Robison (born Charles Fitzgerald Robison on September 1, 1964 in Houston, Texas) is an American singer/songwriter, who was raised in Bandera, Texas. His brother is singer/songwriter Bruce Robison.

Buy Charlie Robison Albums

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Krayolas - Alamo Dragway

The Krayolas:

Hector Saldana: Lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica. David Saldana: Vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards. Van Baines: Harmony vocals, lead guitar, pedal steel guitar. Abraham Humphrey: Harmony vocals, bass. Louie Bustos: Saxophone Al Gomez: Trumpet

The "K" in Krayolas comes from Hector's favorite group, The Kinks.

"Non-ironic use of Vox organ ... the writing is crisp, and the sound is powerful and locked-in, effortlessly mixing Tex-Mex, Motown and British Invasion sounds into a winning concoction."
-- Jeff McCord, KUT/NPR "Best Music of 2009"

From the Krayola's web-page bio:
"The Krayolas are back among the living. It's like something out of a Stephen King novel or Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" -- it's alive. Thirty years ago, the Krayolas walked out of their daddy's garage and into the legendary West Side studio, Zaz, to make their first 45 r.p.m. vinyl record, "All I Do Is Try" b/w "Sometime." They were just teenagers, but soon they would be making many more singles with the help of great musicians like the West Side Horns, Ezra Charles and Rene & Rene. The Krayolas were hailed Tex-Mex Beatles, just as the Sir Douglas Quintet had been a decade earlier -- connected in spirit, their love of rock 'n' roll and their hometown roots. The Krayolas always championed their San Antonio connection. "Best Riffs Only: The Krayolas 1977-1988" compiles long-unavailable, out-of-print indie vinyl singles and rare album tracks for the first time. Some of it dates back 30 years, most of it is a quarter century old. The title of the new, 16-song collection comes from a bit of advice that Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds gave the band when they played together at the historic Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa in the late '70s. Taking a step back and listening to the disparate collection that only hints at the Krayolas onstage power, their essence is irresistible. It's direct-to-the-brain power pop and garage band rock -- young, raw, energetic, upbeat, charming, campy and fun. Always melodic, the Krayolas easy-to-hum sound puts a smile on your face. It's timeless. The Krayolas are timeless. And if they're alive, maybe you are, too."

Krayolas Home Page
Krayolas MySpace

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tish Hinojosa - Donde Voy

In a November post, we featured Tish Hinojosa's song The Westside of Town, about growing up Latina in San Antonio. Today let's hear Hinojosa's beautiful Spanish language ballad Donde Voy.

(Where I go)
By Tish Hinojosa

Madrugada me ve corriendo
(Daybreak finds me running)
Bajo cielo que empieza color
(Under a sky that's beginning to color)
No me salgas sol a nombrarme
(Sun please don't expose me)
A la fuerza de "la migración"
(To the force of the INS)
Un dolor que siento en el pecho
(The pain that I feel in my chest)
Es mi alma que llore de amor
(Is my heart that hurts for love)
Pienso en ti y tus brazos que esperan
(I think of you and your arms that wait)
Tus besos y tu passión
(Your kisses and your passion)
Donde voy, donde voy
(Where I go, where I go)
Esperanza es mi destinación
(Hope is my destination)
Solo estoy, solo estoy
(I'm alone, I'm alone)
Por el monte profugo me voy
(Through the desert, a fugitive, I go)
Dias semanas y meces
(Days, weeks and months)
Pasa muy lejos de ti
(Pass far away from you)
Muy pronto tu llega dinero
(Soon you'll receive some money)
Yo te quiero tener junto a mi
(I want to have you near me)
El trabajo me llena las horas
(Work fills my hours)
Tu risa no puedo olividar
(Your laughter I can't forget)
Vivir sin tu amor no es vida
(To live with out your love isn't living)
Vivir de prófugo es igual
(To live as a fugitive is the same)

Official Site
Buy CD

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Esteban "Steve" Jordan - You Keep Me Hanging On

Esteban "Steve" Jordan (born February 23, 1939) is a conjunto (norteño) and Tejano musician from the United States. He is also known as "El Parche", "The Jimi Hendrix of the accordion", and "the accordion wizard". An accomplished musician, he plays 35 different instruments.

Born in Texas to migrant farm workers and partially blinded as an infant, Jordan was unable to work in the fields. Left at home, he found friendship and guidance among the elderly. At a very young age he was introduced to music, especially the accordion. At the time, the musician Valerio Longoria followed the community of migrant farm workers and played for them in the labor camps. These circumstances brought the two together and the young Esteban mastered the instrument quickly. While he has remained close to his traditional conjunto roots, he has never limited himself musically. More than any other accordionist, Jordan pushes the diatonic accordion to its limits, both musically and physically, playing traditional conjunto, rock, jazz, salsa, zydeco and more.

Unlike many conjunto musicians, he has kept abreast of technological developments, using devices such as phase shifters, fuzzboxes, and synthesizers, and was one of the few conjunto musicians to weave styles such as fusion jazz and rock into his music. He has also recorded country, western and mambo numbers. Members of his family frequently back him up, including his sons Steve Jr., Steve III, Richard, his eldest daughter Anita, and youngest daughter Estela. Currently, Steve III (guitar) and Richard (bass) accompany Esteban on-stage and in recording.

New wave polka bands such as Brave Combo have cited Jordan's influence. In 1986 he was nominated for a Grammy, but lost out to his old friend Flaco Jiménez. His bid for mainstream presence continued in 1986 when he was asked to do the soundtrack for the Cheech Marin film Born in East L.A.

He has appeared in the film Texas Conjunto: Música de la gente, a documentary about Texas conjunto music. He has also appeared in True Stories, an American musical film directed by and starring musician David Byrne. He did the music and appeared as an accordion street player in the film Born in East L.A. starring Cheech Marin.

From the NPR report The Corrido of Esteban 'Steve' Jordan:

"...Jordan's liver is diseased with cirrhosis and cancer. He underwent chemotherapy last year. But Jordan says he feels good these days. And he's finally begun granting interviews — he used to be notoriously elusive. Though he's ailing, he's still got the old attitude.

"Right now, I'm so far advanced that nobody can catch up to me," Jordan says. "Nobody, I mean, that includes nobody. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Esteban Jordan grew up the youngest of 15 siblings in a family of southern Texas farmworkers. They picked sugar beets in Colorado, cotton in Arizona, figs in California. But Jordan couldn't work in the fields.

"I couldn't see a damn thing," he says. "I was a young kiddie. And I was turned loose at that age: Go ahead on, find yourself something to do."

Jordan says he started making a living as a musician when he was 7. By the late 1980s, it looked like his career was finally taking off. He played the Berlin Jazz Festival, had a Grammy-nominated album and played the soundtrack for Cheech Marin's Born in East L.A. Hohner even produced the "Steve Jordan Tex-Mex Rockordion."

Back then, some even started calling him "the world's best accordionist."

Jordan should have ridden that wave 20 years ago. He should be set now, sitting back, enjoying the fruits of his international renown. (He has rabid fans in Germany and Japan.) But he says he isn't seeing any royalty payments.

"Nada," he says. "Not a half a penny. They've been taking advantage of the handicapped."

He isn't too happy about it, either.

"Of course I'm bitter," Jordan says. "Everybody's living in Oceanside, and here I am living over here, a poor little dude."

He speaks from the living room of his rundown rental house. The linoleum is cracked, and two dogs mill about a bare front yard.

But Jordan has a plan to finally take charge of his music. He says he has nine CDs' worth of unreleased material in which he plays and overdubs every instrument. He's mixing it at his house, which he shares with his two sons, Esteban III and Richard..."

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Jon Dee Graham - It's Not As Bad As It Looks

Jon Dee Graham is a musician, guitarist and songwriter from Austin, Texas. He was born February 28, 1959. Graham was named the Austin Musician of the Year during theSouth by Southwest (SXSW) music conference in 2006. He was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2000, again in 2008 as a member of The Skunks, and again in 2009 as a member of the True Believers.

The Skunks' lineup featured Jesse Sublett on bass and vocals and Bill Blackmon on drums. Founded in 1978, the band invited Graham to be their new guitarist (replacing Eddie Munoz, who departed to join The Plimsouls) in 1979. Graham's guitar can be heard on the band's live CD, “Live: Earthquake Shake, released in 2000. [1]

The True Believers, which included Alejandro Escovedo and his brother, Javier Escovedo, are widely considered by critics to be seminal figures in the fusion of literary songwriting and punk rock, a sound often referred to as

Jon Dee Graham went on to play with John Doe, Exene Cervenka, James McMurtry, Eliza Gilkyson, Kelly Willis, John Hiatt, Michelle Shocked, Patty Griffin, Calvin Russell, andLone Justice.

His music has been featured in soundtracks such as Ladder 49 and Veronica Mars. In 1992, Patty Smyth covered Graham's song, "One Moment to Another" on her album, Patty Smyth.

To date, Graham has released six studio albums: Escape from Monster Island (1997, Freedom Records); Summerland (1999, New West Records); Hooray for the Moon (2002, New West Records); The Great Battle (2004, New West Records) and Full (2006, Freedom Records). His record, "The Great Battle," was produced by Charlie Sexton.

His sixth studio album, "It's Not As Bad As It Looks" was released October, 2009 on Freedom Records.

Graham's music generally explores the struggles with being a grown up and the battles that adults fight as they try and raise their children, maintain marriages and jobs, and grapple with the quick passage of time. Despite the heaviness of such themes, Graham's music is also infused with a strong sense of the joys of life and the need to remain optimistic.

Graham's second child, Willie, suffers from a chronic, rare childhood disease called Legg-Perthes. In 2005, the Austin music community banded together in an effort to raise money for Willie's treatment. The resulting benefit concert at Austin's Continental Club became a CD/DVD release called "Big Sweet Life: The Songs of Jon Dee Graham." Musicians like Alejandro Escovedo, Bob Schneider, David Garza, Ray Wylie Hubbard,Ian McLagan, and Steve Poltz all contributed by covering Graham's tunes. An additional benefit concert, held the same night at the Saxon Pub, featured performances by Roky Erickson and the Skunks. Graham commuted the short distance between clubs to participate in both shows.

Over the years, Graham has been backed by Jim Keltner, Rafael Gayol, Mark Andes, Michael Hardwick, and Andrew Duplantis, who went on to play in Son Volt with Jay Farrar.

In early 2006, production began on a feature-length documentary on Graham and his music. Entitled, Jon Dee Graham: Swept Away, it was released on DVD on May 20, 2008. The film was directed by a fan of Graham's, Mark Finkelpearl, who happens to be a documentary television professional with a background on the staffs of the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Television.

In August 2008, Graham underwent emergency surgery after being injured in a one-car accident.[2]

Almost every Wednesday night, fans can see Graham live at the Continental Club on Austin's South Congress Avenue where he traditionally plays a set at 10pm, just before James McMurtry goes on at midnight.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reverend Horton Heat - Baddest of the Bad

The Reverend Horton Heat is the stage name of Jim Heath, the bandleader of an American psychobilly trio from Dallas, Texas. Heath is a singer and songwriter, born in 1959 in Corpus Christi, Texas).

The group originally formed in 1985, playing its first gigs in Dallas's Deep Ellum neighborhood. Its current members are Jim "Reverend Horton" Heath on guitar and lead vocals, Jimbo Wallace on the upright bass, and Paul Simmons on drums. Through relentless touring and a manic stage show, they have established themselves as one of the most popular underground acts in America.
Their sound is self-described as "country-fed punkabilly." Their music is a mixture of country, punk, big band, swing, and rockabilly, all played loud and energetically with lyrics that are often very humorous, and they have achieved success within the genre and even in mainstream America, many of their songs being featured in video games and commercials.

Reverend Horton Heat

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Terry Allen - Bloodlines

Terry Allen (May 7, 1943 in Wichita, Kansas) is a country music singer in the outlaw country genre, painter, and conceptual artist from Lubbock, Texas, and living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His father was Fletcher Mason ("Sled") Allen (b. August 23, 1886 in West Plains, Missouri – October 16, 1959 in Lubbock, Texas) a catcher in 1910 for the St. Louis Browns who continued his career as a player-manger in the Texas League.

He attended Monterey High School in Lubbock, Texas. His contemporaries at Monterey High School included Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Jo Harvey Allen and Jo Carol Pierce. Trained as an architect, he received a B.F.A. from the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. His art has been supported by three NEA grants and a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. His work Trees(the music, literary and third trees) is installed on the campus of the University of California San Diego as part of the Stuart Collection. His artwork has been featured at the L.A. Louver art gallery in Venice, California.

Terry Allen is represented by Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, CA. His works are represented in the collections of many international museums including the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Nelson/Atkins Museum in Kansas City, the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, l’Espace Lyonnais d'Art Contemporain, Musee Saint Pierre, Lyon, France, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Terry Allen recorded eight albums during the years 1979 to 2004 and collaborated with David Byrne on the soundtrack for Byrne's movie True Stories. Allen's music is far from traditional. A quote attributed to Allen states: "People tell me it's country music, and I ask, 'Which country?'" calls his 1979 release, Lubbock (On Everything), "one of the finest country albums of all time" and a progenitor of the alt-country movement.

Oh my mother
She is a mountain
And her breast
It touch the sky
And my father
He is a river
Running through her
Sweet bye and bye
And my sister
She is a songbird
And she's singing in her flight
And my brother
He is a moonbeam
Failing on her in the night
There is a river
Run through the mountains
Under moonlight
Hear the song
Of the bloodlines
Gone long before me
And ever after… Moving on
Ever after…moving on

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rosie Flores - I'm Goin' Down/You Tear Me Up

Rosie Flores (born September 10, 1950 in San Antonio, Texas) is a rockabilly and country music artist of Mexican American heritage. Her music blends rockabilly, honky tonk, jazz, and Western swing along with traditional influences from her Tex-Mex heritage. She currently resides in Austin, Texas, where August 31 was declared Rosie Flores Day by the Austin City Council in 2006. In 1995, she joined Wanda Jackson on a coast-to-coast North American tour. She has appeared on Austin City Limits and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Joe Ely - Me And Billy The Kid (Live)

Cover of the combined release of Joe Ely/Honky...Image via Wikipedia
Joe Ely (born February 9, 1947 in Amarillo, Texas) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist whose music touches on honky-tonk, country and rock and roll.

He has had a genre-crossing career, performing with Bruce Springsteen, Uncle Tupelo, Los Super Seven, The Clancy Brothers and James McMurtry in addition to his early work with The Clash and more recent acoustic tours with Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, and Guy Clark.

Ely spent his formative years from age 12 in Lubbock, Texas.

Shortly after attending Lubbock High School, in 1970, with fellow Lubbock musicians Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, he formed The Flatlanders. According to Ely, "Jimmie [Gilmore] was like a well of country music. He knew everything about it. And Butch was from the folk world. I was kinda the rock & roll guy, and we almost had a triad. We hit it off and started playing a lot together. That opened up a whole new world I had never known existed."

In 1972, the band released their first and— until 2002's Now Again— only album, but have appeared together on each other's albums. Since the band's initial break-up just after their first album was cut, the three musicians have followed individual paths.

Ely's own first, self titled album, was released in 1977.

The following year, his band played London, where he met punk rock group The Clash. Impressed with each other's performances, the two bands would later tour together, including appearances in Ely's hometown of Lubbock, as well as Laredo and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Ely would contribute backing vocals on the Clash single "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" from Combat Rock (1982), and Ely's Live Shots includes photos of Clash member Joe Strummer performing as a guest with Ely's band.

Throughout his career, Ely has issued a steady stream of albums, most on the MCA label. Ely's energetic live performances have become legendary, and he has released a live album roughly every ten years (the last was LIVE Cactus in 2008).

In the late 1990s Ely was asked to write songs for the soundtrack of Robert Redford's movie The Horse Whisperer, which led to re-forming The Flatlanders with Gilmore and Hancock. A new album from the trio followed in 2002, with a third in 2004.

In February 2007, Ely released Happy Songs From Rattlesnake Gulch on his own label, Rack 'Em Records. Ely said in an interview with Country Standard Time that he thought it would be easier to release the material on his own label instead of dealing with a regular record label and their release cycles. A book of Ely's writings, Bonfire of Roadmaps, was published in early 2007 by the University of Texas Press. In early 2008, Ely released a new live album featuring Joel Guzman on accordion recorded at the Cactus Cafe in Austin, Texas late 2006.

The Flatlanders released their newest album "Hills and Valleys" on March 31, 2009.

Listen to Joe Ely, Me And Billy The Kid:

Well, me and Billy The Kid never got along:
I didn't like the way he cocked his hat and he wore his gun all wrong.

Well, we had the same girlfriend and he never forgot it.
She had a cute little Chihuahua till one day he up and shot it.
He rode the hard country down the New Mexico line.
He had a silver pocket watch that he never did wind.
He crippled a piano player for playin' his favorite song.

Yeah, me and Billy The Kid, we ain't never got along.
Yeah, me and Billy The Kid never got along:
I didn't like the way he buckled his belt and he wore his gun all wrong.

He was bad to the bone, all hopped up on speed.
I would've left him alone if it wasn't for that senorita:
He gave her silver and he paid her hotel bill.
But it was me she loved: she said she always will.
I'd always go see her whenever Billy was gone
Yeah, me and Billy The Kid, we never got along.

Yeah, me and Billy The Kid never got along:
I didn't like the way he buckled his boots an' he wore his gun all wrong.

One day, I said to Billy: "I got this foolproof scheme.
"We'll rob Wells Fargo, it's bustin at the seams."
I admit that I framed him. I don't feel no remorse.
It was just my way of gettin' even with the man who shot my horse.
Yeah, Billy reached for his gun but his gun was on wrong.
Yeah, me and Billy The Kid, we never got along.

Well, me and Billy The Kid never got along:
But I did like the way he swayed in the wind while I played him his favorite song.
Now my baby sings harmony with me, to "La Cucaracha".
She winds her silver pocket watch and pets her new Chihuahua.
I moved into the hotel, I got a room with a shower.
We lay an' listen to that watch tick hour after hour.
Outside, I hear the wind blowin' oh so strong:
Me and Billy The Kid, we never got along!

We never got along

Joe Ely Homepage
Buy Joe Ely Alums

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Flaco Jimenez and Ry Cooder - The Girls From Texas

Well, I met a girl from Texas 'bout a year ago
Hadn't known her for too long when I had to let her go
You see, she had a razor, was ten inches or so
And every night you'd hear her knocking at my door
She said, "Baby, I'll give you the clothes on my back
You can have everything that I've got in my shack
But if you ever try to leave they'll take you out in sack
'Cause me and my razor will see to that”

That's the way the girls are from Texas
That's the way the girls are from Texas
That's the way the girls are from Texas
That's the way the girls are from Texas

I thought about my situation, decided not to tarry
For my own self preservation, I decided we should marry
When the preacher started reading 'bout 'till death do us part
I told him, "Skip it, she had that understanding right from the start”
She said, "Baby, I'll give you the clothes on my back
You can have everything that I've got in my shack
But if you ever try to leave they'll take you out in sack
'Cause me and my razor will see to that”

That's the way the girls are from Texas
That's the way the girls are from Texas
That's the way the girls are from Texas
That's the way the girls are from Texas

Well we settled down, got me a little old job, '65 Fair lane Ford
Every Friday night I would stop in and cash my pay check
Down at the grocery store
They had a little girl worked in there, must have been about seventeen
She was the cutest thing I had ever seen
It's the same old story and I'm afraid it wasn't too very long
Before we had fallen deeply in love and I knew it was wrong
I said baby, we got to stop this thing right here.
In tearful supplication, she looked up in my face
I could feel her heart was breaking as these sad words she did say
"You should have told me you was married, baby”
She pulled out a forty-Eve and let me have it
Right smack between the eyes

That's the way the girls are from Texas
That's the way the girls are from Texas
She was guilty, I was dead
(That's the way the girls are from Texas)
Now, what'd you think that the old judge said?
(That's the way the girls are from Texas)
"Ah, that's just the way the girls are down here in Texas
Case dismissed!"
That's the way the girls are from Texas
(Houston to San Antone)
That's the way the _girls are from Texas _
(Houston to San Antone)
That's the way the girls are from Texas
(Got to love 'em right or leave 'em alone, boy)
That's the way the girls are from Texas
That's the way the girls are from Texas

Lewis, James [Songwriter]
Holiday, Jimmy [Songwriter]
Chambers, Cliff [Songwriter]

Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez (born March 11, 1939) is a Tejano music accordionist from San Antonio, Texas. Jiménez's father, Santiago Jimenez Sr. was a pioneer of conjunto music. He began performing with his father at age seven and recording at age fifteen, as a member of Los Caporales. He played in the San Antonio area for several years, and then began working with Douglas Sahm in the 1960s. Sahm, better known as the founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet, played with Jimenez for some time. Flaco then went on to New York City and worked with Dr. John, David Lindley, Peter Rowan, Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan. He appeared on Cooder's world music album Chicken Skin Music. This led to greater awareness of his music outside America and after touring Europe with Ry Cooder he returned to tour with his own band, and on a joint bill with Peter Rowan.

Jimenez won a Grammy Award in 1986 for "Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio", a song of his father's. He was also a member of the supergroup Texas Tornados, with Augie Meyers, Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender. The Texas Tornados earned a Grammy Award in 1990, and Jimenez earned one on his own in 1996, when his Flaco Jimenez won the Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American Performance. In 1999, Flaco earned another Grammy Award for Best Tejano Performance (Said and Done, Barb Wire Records), and one for Best Mexican-American Performance as a part of supergroup Los Super Seven. Jimenez has also won a Best Video award at the Tejano Music Awards and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from Billboard Latin Magazine for "Streets of Bakersfield" with Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens.

Jimenez has appeared in the film Picking up the Pieces, with Woody Allen and Sharon Stone. He also appears on the soundtrack to that movie, and in many others, such as Y Tu Mamá También, The Border, Tin Cup, and Striptease. The Hohner company collaborated with Jimenez to create the Flaco Jimenez Signature Series of accordions.

Jimenez's latest CD is Squeeze Box King (2003, Compadre Records).

Ryland "Ry" Peter Cooder (born 15 March 1947, in Los Angeles, California)is an American guitarist, singer and composer.

He is known for his slide guitar work, his interest in blues-rock, roots music from his native North America, and, more recently, for his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries.

Cooder's solo work has been an eclectic mix, taking in dust bowl folk, blues, Tex-Mex, soul, gospel, rock, and much else. He has collaborated with many important musicians, including The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Earl Hines, Little Feat, Captain Beefheart, The Chieftains, John Lee Hooker, Pops, Mavis Staples, Gabby Pahinui, Flaco Jimenez and Ali Farka Touré. He formed the Little Village supergroup with Nick Lowe, John Hiatt, and Jim Keltner.

Cooder was ranked 8th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Willie Nelson - Gravedigger

Willie Nelson

Cyrus Jones 1810 to 1913
Made his great granchildren believe
You could live to a hundred and three
A hundred and three is forever when you're just a little kid
So Cyrus Jones lived forever

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

Muriel Stonewall
1903 to 1954
She lost both of her babies in the second great war
Now you should never have to watch
Your only children lowered in the ground
I mean you should never have to bury your own babies

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

Ring around the rosey
Pocket full of posey
Ashes to ashes
We all fall down

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

Little Mikey Carson 67 to 75
He rode his
Bike like the devil until the day he died
When he grows up he wants to be Mr. Vertigo on the flying trapeze
Ohhh, 1940 to 1992

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain
Feel the rain
I can feel the rain


Willie Nelson Homepage

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tom Russell - Tonight We Ride

Thomas George "Tom" Russell (born March 5, 1953 in Los Angeles) is an American singer-songwriter. Although most strongly identified with the Texas Country music tradition, his music also incorporates elements of folk, Tex-Mex, and the cowboy music of the American West. Many of his songs have been recorded by other artists, including Johnny Cash, k. d. lang, Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Iris Dement, Dave Alvin, and Suzy Bogguss.

In addition to his music, Russell also paints folk art, and has published a book of songwriting quotes (co-edited with Sylvia Tyson), a detective novel (in Scandinavia),and a book of letters with Charles Bukowski (Tough Company; Mystery Island Press).

Russell graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in criminology and taught at schools in Nigeria during the Biafran War. He has also lived in Spain, Norway, and played music at a circus in Puerto Rico. He began his musical career in earnest in the early 1970s in Vancouver playing strip bars, then later relocated to Texas and formed a band with singer-pianist Patricia Hardin. In 1977, they moved to San Francisco, performing regularly in clubs there as Hardin & Russell, during which time they recorded the second of their two studio albums. They eventually split in 1979, at which point Russell drifted out of the music industry for a while.

While working as a taxi driver in Queens, Russell met guitarist Andrew Hardin (no relation to Patricia). After hearing his songs, Hardin convinced him that they should form a new band. Shortly after this, Robert HunterGrateful Dead was a passenger in Russell's cab. Russell sang him his song Gallo Del Cielo. An impressed Hunter invited Russell and Hardin first to join him on stage at New York's Bitter End, and then to become his regular opening act. Hardin remained Russell's full-time sideman until April, 2006. of the

Russell's albums in the 21st century have been heavily influenced by his current home city, El Paso. Albums such as Borderland feature a strong Tex-Mex influence and feature songs of life on both sides of the border.
In 2005 Russell released Hotwalker, the second part of his Americana trilogy (the first part being "The Man From God Knows Where"). It was another conceptual work largely inspired by his correspondence with author Charles Bukowski. Subtitled "A Ballad for Gone America", the album features songs and spoken word pieces, many of the latter delivered by another friend of Bukowski, circus midget Little Jack Horton. The sampled voices of Lenny Bruce and Edward Abbey are also heard on an album which takes the form of a musical collage lamenting the passing of the America of Russell's childhood and the Beat generation.

In addition to working on new music, Russell also exhibits his original artwork and organizes an annual trans-Canadian music train, which combines song-writing and -singing workshops with live concerts aboard a vintage long-distance streamline train. This train trek was depicted in Russell's 2005 concert/documentary, "Hearts on the Line", produced by Canyon Productions, which features a concert with Russell and Andrew Hardin videotaped at Capilano College in Vancouver as well as behind the scenes footage of the music train experience.

In 2006, Russell released Love and Fear, a collection of original songs that were inspired by the highs and lows of his relationships with women. This was followed in 2007 by "Wounded Heart of America", a tribute album of Tom Russell songs covered by other artists, including Joe Ely, Suzy Bogguss, Dave Alvin, Jerry Jeff Walker, and beat poet legend Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Two new songs, "Who's Gonna Build Your Wall" and "The Death of Jimmy Martin", are also included on the album.

In 2008, Russell's new record company, Shout Factory, released a 2 CD retrospective album "Veteran's Day: Anthology" and Russell and Canyon Productions, Inc. released a DVD featuring Russell and Ian Tyson discussing the art of songwriting called "Mano a Mano." Russell is also working on a documentary film project called California Bloodlines and is currently touring, painting and writing new songs.

On September 15, 2009, Shout! Factory released Russell's new album "Blood and Candle Smoke" featuring twelve original songs. The album was recorded in Tucson, AZ at Wave Lab Studios with members of Calexico providing a world music beat to many of the songs. The album was produced by Tom Russell and Craig Schumacher, who has worked with Neko Case, Iron & Wine and Calexico. Russell will tour extensively through the U.S., Canada and Europe in support of the album for the remainder of 2009.

"Panco Villa crossed the border in the year of ought sixteen
The people of Columbus still hear him riding through their dreams
He killed seventeen civilians you could hear the women scream
Blackjack Pershing on a dancing horse was waiting in the wings

Tonight we ride, tonight we ride

We'll skin ole Pancho Villa, make chaps out of his hide
Shoot his horse, Siete Leguas, and his twenty-seven bride
Tonight we ride, tonight we ride

We rode for three long years till Blackjack Pershing called it quits

When Jackie wasn't lookin' I stole his fine spade bit
It was tied upon his stallion, so I rode away on it
To the wild Chihuahuan desert, so dry you couldn't spit

Tonight we ride, you bastards dare

We'll kill the wild Apache for the bounty on his hair
Then we'll ride into Durango, climb up the whorehouse stairs
Tonight we ride, Tonight we ride

When I'm too damn old to sit a horse, I'll steal the warden's car

Break my ass out of this prison, leave my teeth there in a jar
You don't need no teeth for kissin' gals or smokin' cheap cigars
I'll sleep with one eye open, 'neath God's celestial stars

Tonight we rock, Tonight we roll

We'll rob the Juarez liquor store for the Reposado Gold
And if we drink ourselves to death, ain't that the cowboy way to go?

Tonight we ride, tonight we ride

Tonight we fly, we're headin' west
Toward the mountains and the ocean where the eagle makes his nest
If our bones bleach on the desert, we'll consider we are blessed
Tonight we ride, Tonight we ride

Tonight we ride, tonight we ride."

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Roky Erickson - Two-Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)

Legendary rock n roll pioneer Roger Kynard "Roky" Erickson hails from Austin, Texas. He is, in the words of music writer Richie Unterberger, one of "the unknown heroes of rock and roll." As singer, songwriter, and guitar player for the legendary Austin, TX band The 13th Floor Elevators, the first rock and roll band to describe their music as "psychedelic", Roky had a profound impact on the San Francisco scene when the group traveled there in 1966.

While bands such as The Grateful Dead and The Jefferson Airplane had the their roots in traditional acoustic folk music, the Elevators unique brand of heavy, hard-rocking electric blues pointed to a new direction for the music of the hippie generation. The Elevators only had one chart hit, the Roky-penned You're Gonna Miss Me, but their influence was far reaching. R.E.M., ZZ Top, Poi Dog Pondering, The Judybats, T-Bone Burnett, Julian Cope, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cramps, The Minutemen, Television, The Cynics, The Lyres, Teisco Del Rey, The Fuzztones and Radio Birdman have all either recorded or played live versions of Roky's songs.

In addition to these performers, Roky is an acknowledged influence on such diverse musicians as Robert Plant, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Henry Rollins, Mike Watt, Sonic Youth, The Butthole Surfers, Jon Spencer, The Damned, Red Krayola, Pere Ubu, and current indie hit-makers The White Stripes. His songs have appeared on the soundtracks to the movies High Fidelity, Drugstore Cowboy, Boys Don't Cry, Hamlet (2000), and Return of the Living Dead. While he may not be a household name, Roky has enjoyed the support of a small but fiercely loyal cult following throughout his career.

Unfortunately, Roky's struggles with drug abuse and mental illness took a serious toll. His 1969 arrest in Texas for possession of a single marijuana cigarette led to his being committed for three years to Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he was reportedly subjected to Thorazine, electroshock therapy, and other experimental treatments. Most agree he was never the same after his release. Roky has had prolific periods of creativity in the intervening years, but unscrupulous managers and record label executives often took advantage of his condition, leaving Roky to live in poverty while others profit from his music.

Happily, today we find Roky in the process of being his own miracle and making an astounding recovery from nearly a two-decade long period of almost total tragedy. His youngest brother, singer/songwriter and former Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Principal Tubaist Sumner Erickson, was appointed Roky's legal guardian in June, 2001. Sumner has established The Roger Kynard Erickson Trust to address Roky's living expenses, medical bills, and other financial needs. From June, 2001 until July, 2002, Roky lived with his brother in Pittsburgh, where he finally began to receive the treatment and care he needs.

Roky is now back in Austin, where his health continues to improve dramatically. In March, 2005, Roky made his first public performance in 10 years performing 3 songs at the Roky Erickson Psychedelic Ice Cream Social at Threadgills in Austin. He was backed by the Explosives. In September, he is scheduled to play the Austin City Limits Festival (again with the Explosives) which will mark his first full concert appearance in almost two decades! Celebrate as the miracle continues! More information is available at the trust's official web site:

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

James McMurtry - We Can't Make It Here

James McMurtry
Buy Childish Things

There’s a Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on his wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing and both hands free
No one’s paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget’s just stretched so thin
And now there’s more coming back from the Mideast war
We can’t make it here anymore

That big ol’ building was the textile mill that fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can’t make it here anymore

See those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They’re just gonna sit there ‘til they rot
‘Cause there’s nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There’s a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don’t come down here unless you’re looking to score
We can’t make it here anymore

The bar’s still open but man it’s slow
The tip jar’s light and the register’s low
The bartender don’t have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day
Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won’t pay for a roof, won’t pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far $5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one your stores
Bet you can’t make it here anymore

There’s a high school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that
If she comes up pregnant what’ll she do
Forget the career, forget about school
Can she live on faith? Live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it’s way too late to just say no
You can’t make it here anymore

Now I’m stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
‘ Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can’t make it here anymore

Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I’m in
Should I hate ‘em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They’ve never known want, they’ll never know need
Their shit don’t stink and their kids won’t bleed
Their kids won’t bleed in their damn little war
And we can’t make it here anymore

Will work for food will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
So let ‘em eat jellybeans let ‘em eat cake
Let ‘em eat shit, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can’t make it here anymore

So that’s how it is, that’s what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper, read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind if you’re listening at all
Get out of that limo, look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone tell us all why

In Dayton Ohio or Portland Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That’s done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There’s rats in the alley and trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can’t make it here anymore

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Robert Earl Keen - Mariano

Cover of Cover of West Textures

"The man outside he works for me, his name is Mariano
He cuts and trims the grass for me he makes the flowers bloom
He says that he comes from a place not far from Guanajuato
Thats two days on a bus from here, a lifetime from this room.

I fix his meals and talk to him in my old broken spanish

He points at things and tells me names of things I can't recall
Sometimes I just can't but help but wonder who this man is
And if when he is gone will he'll remember me at all

I watch him close he works just like a piston in an engine

He only stops to take a drink and smoke a cigarette
When the day is ended, I look outside my window
There on the horizon, Mariano's silhouette

He sits upon a stone in a south-easterly direction

I know my charts I know that he is thinking of his home
I've never been the sort to say I'm in to intuition
But I swear I see the faces of the ones he calls his own

Their skin is brown as potters clay, their eyes void of expression

Their hair is black as widow's dreams, their dreams are all but gone
They're ancient as a vision of a sacrificial virgin
Innocent as crying from a baby being born

They hover around a dying flame and pray for his protection

Their prayers are all but answered by his letters in the mail
He sends them colored figures that he cuts from strips of paper
And all his weekly wages, saving nothing for himself

It's been a while since I have seen the face of Mariano

The border guards they came one day and took him far away
I hope that he is safe down there at home in Guanajuato
I worry though I read there's revolution every day"

Robert Earl Keen, Junior (born January 11, 1956 in Houston, Texas) is a Texan singer-songwriter. He is popular with traditional country music fans, folk music fans, the college radio crowd and alt-country fans. Keen currently resides in Kerrville, Texas and maintains a ranch in Medina, Texas.

Keen attended Texas A&M University, where he majored in English. Disappointed in the College Station music scene, he began playing guitar and learned to read and write music, basing his style on folk, country, blues and rock roots. In 1974 he rented a house from landlord Jack Boyett, where his neighbor was a then-unknown Lyle Lovett. The two became fast friends and performed together on the front porch many evenings. This eventually grew into inspiration for a song entitled "The Front Porch Song", which both would add to their repertoire.

In 1980, Keen graduated from Texas A&M and moved to Austin, Texas, where he began writing for a newspaper. Soon he was performing in Austin's nightclubs and live music venues, building a solid following. In 1984 he financed the recording of his own EP and distributed it regionally. In 1986, He moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Discouraged by the polish of the new country sound and unable to land a recording contract, Keen moved back to Austin. In 1988, he was living in Bandera, Texas with his wife, Kathleen. In 1989 he released his national debut album, West Textures. His 1993 release, A Bigger Piece Of Sky, gained wider acclaim, both amongst fans and critics. Over the next ten years, Keen would continue to write, record, perform and tour. In 1994 he performed in the musical Chippy. Keen's 1997 album Picnic features a picture of Keen's own car in flames at Willie Nelson's 1974 Fourth of July picnic/concert. He tells the story on the No. 2 Live Dinner album in the introduction to the song "The Road Goes on Forever."

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Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt