Burning Down the House

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Down Drinking at the Bar

If you've ever sung in out-of-tune joy or wallowed in silent sorrow while country songs poured out of the jukebox in some dive bar, here's a link for you.

Go on over to
The Big Rock Candy Mountain for a (must... resist ... saying ... 'intoxicating' - avoiding cliches takes as much willpower as fighting an impulse to drunk-dial) selection of the Top 100 drinking songs - the soundtrack to a bender, a lost weekend's worth and then some.

(For further study, there's a list of nearly 200 more songs readers suggested for Frank's labor of lush at his complimentary site Barstool Mountain.)

Frank's list is heavy on country and blues, naturally - Amos Milburn and Merle Haggard make multiple appearances, f'rinstance - all very fitting for the subject matter and his taste for classic sounds. He introduced me to James Hand last year, a modern retro stylist with a classic-to-be: 'In the Corner, At the Table, By the Jukebox' (kinda says it all, eh?)

None of the following made the main list far as I can tell, but here is what I recommended to Frank when he sent out the call ... some of my faves from a misspent adulthood of record collecting, fandom and of course drinking. Go check out the Barstool Mountain list to see how under the influence he was ...

2 by Loudon Wainwright III --
Down Drinking at the Bar (on 'A Live One' 1980) and
Drinks Before Dinner (on 'T-Shirt' 1976)

Glory Days -- Bruce Springsteen (there's drinking in every verse, even the
demo-version verse about his dad!!)
and then for singalongs in bars, maybe Sherry Darling or Out in the Street
-- both a little more celebratory...

Bottom of the Glass -- Moon Mullican, 1948; covered by Whiskeytown on
'Straight Outta Boone County,' Bloodshot, 1997

Wreck (Crash) on the Highway -- Roy Acuff, or as covered by Mortal Combine

Moonshiner -- as recorded by Uncle Tupelo... Dylan's is OK and all.

Drunk and Fucked Up (Like the Twilight) -- Ryan Adams

Parallel Bars -- Robbie Fulks with Kelly Willis (it's on 'Couples in
Trouble', I think...)
Robbie has a lot more...

Love is the Drug -- Roxy Music

Melt Show -- Old 97's (a stomping balls-out rocker with a great line in the
chorus: "Will you sober up and let me down?")

Old Country Waltz and Too Far Gone -- Neil Young!! (the former is from "American Stars N' Bars" ... greatest LP cover art EVER. - it's by Robert Dean Stockwell, btw)

and a couple I remember from a bar jukebox in Dallas many years ago...

? > Lone Star Beer and Bob Wills Music
Hank Williams Jr. : Family Tradition

These are all off the top of my head. I was a rock / entertainment critic at a daily for a number of years and I always loved to foist such thematic exercises on the public ... Top 5 Postmodern Westerns, Top 10 Songs that Break My Heart, that kind of thing ...

The Moon Mullican song is a nice argument against drinking; but as we all know, Ryan Adams is still fucked up. Moonshiner and the Acuff also fit the temperance theme and also are outstanding songs.

And I can't wait to hear what you think might be BETTER than ol' James Hand...

PS possible challenge: Have fewer than three George Thorogood songs...

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Band name!

Your Band Name is:

The Pieces of Twins

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Come to think of it...

I usually don't make snap connections while writing, most of the better ones come from reflection. Must be all the information I ingest; all that time I spent reading cereal boxes instead of staring into the bowl.

Or maybe, as I often speculate, I'm just ADD.

Random (and second) thoughts...

A) I must be doing, acting, thinking something right. I was recently honored fter offering some "resources" to my favorite astrologer:

Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology.

For the record, the ones he passed on to his readers were George Herriman's "Krazy Kat" and Joseph Cornell's boxes. Fell in love with the latter after visiting the Art Institute of Chicago a couple years ago.

Even if you don't believe in this sort of thing, (don't you DARE call me a "hippie") it's entertaining, well written, and it's for YOU. I think Rob has simply figured out that people want and need to be happy, fulfilled and making the most of life. (Rob's column is in a lot of alternative weeklies; one of my friends actually got it into the corporate 'youth supplement' in town -- which only publishes biweekly, so people who read it must only happy half of the time; and I subscribe to the e-mail update, delivered Wednesdays.)

B) I can edit this thing. Writing is rewriting, after all.

Fixed a couple of goofs and errors, the first Big O link in the previous post is fine now.
I HAD to fix that it was SIX Cardinal Colors over at Locust St., not seven. Chris did, however, do a wonderful intro of sorts on the entire color spectrum,
Polychrome Overture.

C) I need a new browser, but am too much of a traditional sort and have WAY too many music files to risk a crash if I make the switch to OSX. (I will search around for other options for OS9.)

Oh, and if this computer talk bores you, just clink on the link below. For all you girly-girls and industrial designers still interested, my computer is pretty. (Blue Dalmatian iMac, 2002, with a sexy still from "Betty Blue" as my desktop pic.)

((Yeah, I know, I need to learn how to post pictures. Next time it rains, I PROMISE I'll read thru the HTML primer and give you some eye candy.)

This thing looks kind of nice in Safari, but in Internet Exploder? BLEAGHHHHH. Heather discovered the same thing.

Everything Bill Gates profits from is merde. I had to get all over coworker Michelle's case after the sacrilege she spake this week: "Aaargggh! I hate Macs! Why can't we have PCs with Windows?"

D) If blogging is masturbation, it doesn't feel as good.

NP: The Mountain Goats (..."Fuck! I broke a string!"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Recommended: Dylan on the Air, Essays in Color

"Often it's asked, 'Is our children learning?' "
-- George W. Bush

For all the blather spilling over on the Interweb, there are some true oases of sublime pleasure, offering such all-around sustenance (and you had no idea how hungry and thirsty you really were), they're worth lingering at and going out of your way to return to again and again.

Today, I share two such places to rest and be filled.

The personalities involved both offer something we as Americans don't get enough of -- edification. It's possible on the radio, and certainly on the Web. Unless you're a right-wing nutjob, in which case there's no help for you.

Bloggers who do their homework, with deep research presented in artful writing, are so rare. I don't claim to be either thorough or artful (much), and never will. For that reason and more, I can't speak highly enough of Chris over at Locust St. – he hooked me with his current "6 Cardinal Colors" series and I've since been immersed in his archives of the 7 Drinks of Mankind (the Coffee entry is especially strong, no pun intended) and the 7 Deadly Sins. He's also currently going through the 1950s, year by year.

Go get you some learnin' – in full color, linked to sources throughout and with a playlist for each subject. Chris goes for
so-not-the-obvious musical cues, too – there are enough songs about "Yellow" that a Coldplay MP3 wasn't necessary.


OK, now I need to talk about Bob Dylan, and where to get a recent episode of his famed satellite radio show. But only after several other words about ... Singapore. Sort of.

One of my favorite Webzines for a long time, since waaay before the blogosphere sucked me under, is The Big O – a left-of-center pop culture zine out of Singapore with lots of goodness for your hipster soul and a special emphasis on rare recordings. There are also frequent, feisty rants and jibes about the state of politics in that overcrowded Asian city-state that seems to be some prolonged historical flux.
I get a real man-on-the-street vibe from the Big O, and that street has some very cool bookstores and record shops. Recent downloads I've sampled from their server all the way across the world include a Berlin show by the late rock dandy Nikki Sudden (Swell Maps, Jacobites) – I saw him play at New York's Knitting Factory this year, two weeks before he died at age 49 – and vintage Coca-Cola jingles by bands like The Bee Gees and The Who. And that's just some of the more esoteric stuff. Pink Floyd? Neil Young? Dylan, Stones, New Pornographers? Check, check, check, and check.

And this week, the lead article is on "Your Host, Bob Dylan" and the wonderful thing that is Theme Time Radio Hour on XM. They don't get satellite radio in Singapore, but that did NOT stop the mag from posting a complete set of MP3s of Episode 13, "Rich Man, Poor Man." With printable CD covers!

Do I need to recommend this further?
He's a poet of the microphone, a raconteur, a helluva witty emcee, and as the article states, a throwback to the day long past when DJs actually knew a LOT about the music they played. He'll give you a history lesson as well, in old-time blues and much, much more. Dylan's spiels about the songs spin out multiple contexts and he is ALWAYS entertaining while doing so.

The teaser for the next week's show: The theme is "Devil." OMG I love Bob all over again since he started doing this.

As the man said,
You better go now:
Time Radio Hour: Rich Man, Poor Man

You'll thank me, I know.

"The nail that Lil' Kim didn't drive through feminism, Mariah Carey finished off."
-- John Darnielle

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

War and Peace

Contrast Podcast No. 19 is up right now, with my first contribution! This is a worldwide group blogger effort on a different theme each week. Tim Young puts it together, out of love apparently. A very cool thing in this here democrasphere.

This week's theme is War and Peace... the end is coming soon, you know? Peace is just around the corner. Or something. I submitted Manfred Mann's version of Bob Dylan's "With God On Our Side," my no. 1 all-time anti-war song, way apropos since 9/11 and the rise of the Christian Right here at home.
You'll find my intro and the song, and about 14 other submissions on the theme, at
Contrast Podcast.

That's week 19. Tim has posted three more themes, so the free-for-all to submit for those has already begun. I'm actually listening to No. 14 right now, "Parlez-vous Francais?" and Warren Zevon's ... what is it? French version of "Monkey Wash, Donkey Rinse"? Although I think he's really singing "Leave My Donkey Alone" which, if I'm right, is a two-way Zevon in-joke. You can't download 'em all, but many are still available for download, RSS feed, whatever. Go for it. Enjoy. Immerse yourselves in the clash of diverse musical palettes.

this is my first time posting links here. Hope it works.

Peace out.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

We are Family

Had the big-ass family reunion yesterday, at the old Reformatory Clubhouse (an outing center for guards, not for inmate recreation) - same place we had the event at when I was a kid. Over 100 people. Now, as then, I couldn't help noticing how smokin' HOT some of my cousins are, what with all that Italian and mixed-Irish-whatever blood. And, now, some of my kid cousins' girlfriends and wives too. Damn.

you know the old white-trash joke?
"Where did you two meet?"
"Family reunion..."

There were lots of babies, we chowed on clams and pasta and sausage and corn off the grill, and my sister-in-law made a quilt for the big raffle prize. "The Guilt Quilt," I called it, because she, an outsider, won the huge compendium of family tree/history in last year's raffle, a source of much (funny) resentment.

(The quilt was won by my cousin Konnie, who generally cleaned up on other prizes and commiserated with me on turning 40 soon, neither of us hardly able to believe it).

One of the cousins (there are literally DOZENS... my grandmother was one of 10 kids and no way did I even recognize most of the people there) DJ'd, and the music was generally great. Lots of old soul, Al Green, James Brown, some classic rock, and even Springsteen's "Lost in the Flood" from 1973. (an inspired choice, I later realized ... most of us old enough to remember the Hurricane Agnes flood of '72 might agree.)

Then we took my dad to the hospital when his usual minor complaints added up to enough major concern, for a change. No worries as yet, but what a way to end the day.

Coming up: music and movie posts and a big podcast announcement.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Welcome to my obsession

I always said I'd solve my CD, book, video and paper organizing difficulties with a single match, hence the title of this blog. It will be a little music, a little commentary, a little inside baseball on a variety of topics that are not necessarily baseball.