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When the room gets dark...

The Blasters weren't everybody's cup of tea -- and they weren't always my cup, either.

I tend to prefer the solo work that Dave Alvin would later do, in part because I prefer the stripped down acoustic sound of his recent solo efforts to the Blasters retro-rockabilly sound, but also in part because I prefer Dave's gravelly voice to the voice of his brother Phil that led most of the Blasters songs.

That said, some of their songs are terrific rockers, much more "authentic" than those old Stray Cats songs, which is of course probably why the Cats had hits and the Blasters stayed at the same level of success as X and the Minutemen within the LA early 80s club scene. And if you're in any way a rockabilly fan -- from Charlie Feathers in the 50s to what passes for rockabilly in the here and now -- then they're indispensible: guys who could play their instruments well and had an encylopedic love and knowledge for the R&B and rock and roll of the 50s.

I've been listening a lot to the Blasters' anthology that I just bought -- on two discs, they manage to cram in their three full-length albums on Slash and a live EP. (Their first album, the well-regarded independently released American Music, was re-released a couple of years ago on Hightone. So that plus the anthology equals the Blasters output.) One of the stranger songs on the anthology is "Colored Lights." Unlike most of the Blasters' catalog, this song wasn't written by Dave Alvin, but instead by Blasters' fan John Cougar Mellencamp, who also produced this one recording.

It's a terrific song, actually, a great sultry rocker, with tasty guitar fills and possibly Phil's best vocal turn. If you can find it on your file-sharing software of choice, you should download it. It's one to drive to.

posted by Anon. 1:54 PM
Red sky at morning

Very, very troubling news in Rolling Stone.com. Long-time Palmermix readers are familiar with Palmermix's distaste for Lucinda Williams' album of last year, Essence, after being a longtime Lucinda fan. While her previous albums generally took years upon years to write and craft, Lucinda wrote Essence in two weeks -- and it showed. The sad news today is that Lucinda has written ten songs for a new LP expected out by the end of the year.
"You get up, make coffee, start writing," she told Rolling Stone last year. "I enjoyed it. Then I started playing the demos for close friends, getting reactions. A couple of people said, 'Why don't you just put the demos out?' People say that because they're always complaining that I take so long [between records]. I proved them wrong this time."
Uh oh.

posted by Anon. 1:45 PM
Rocking ironies

David Fricke gives the new Wilco album four stars in Rolling Stone -- and points out the irony that the album was rejected by Reprise Records ... only to end up being released by Nonesuch, which like Reprise is part of the AOL Time Warner empire. Ah, life in the age of giant conglomerates, we love you so!

posted by Anon. 11:38 AM
Twisted sisters

Sunday night, at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 8 p.m. Central, Vh-1 will air its original movie, Warning: Parental Advisory, chronicling the Parents Music Resource Center hearings against "filthy rock lyrics" during the 80s. That was a fight that was co-led by, yes, Tipper Gore, back when she was the author in the family, having written Raising PG Kids in an X Rated Society. Julie Salamon reviews the movie in the New York Times today; Tipper is played by Mariel Hemingway, Frank Zappa is played by Griffin Dunne, and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister is played by... Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. Hmm.

Salamon's piece makes mention of the limited music choices in the film. I actually met the music supervisor of this movie at a Golden Globes viewing party earlier this year. (In interesting spouse-pairings, her husband has been covering the energy crisis in California for Dow Jones the past two years.)

One of the more interesting stories she shared was her difficulties in obtaining rights to songs by Prince. Prince's songs, particularly "Darling Nikki," weren't just songs that the PMRC attacked -- Tipper Gore even credited her hearing one of her daughters listening to a Prince song as what sent her on her crusade in the first place. Well, apparently as Prince has now kinda become born-again, he has disavowed some of his more, uh, scandalous songs of his back catalog, and wouldn't give the Vh-1 movie the rights to the naughty ones.

Which naughty ones? You know, the ones about incest or having sex with a woman who is on the way to her wedding, and accidentally ejaculating all over her wedding dress. Good times.

posted by Anon. 8:50 AM


Okay, one more

These Yee-haw prints are so great, I thought I'd post one more up.

posted by Anon. 10:07 AM
Soul meeting

Some great soul-related links, sent to me from Memphis resident Rapmaster.

First, I erroneously recently posted that the Center for Southern Folklore is no more. Evidentally, it was no more for a short period of time, but is now more again, relocated from Beale Street to a new location on Main Street in Memphis. They have a website up, but the real goody of the site is the catalog: terrific T-shirts and other gifts for any other soul fan in your life.

There's also this terrific print series from Yee-Haw Industries of great soul singers -- if you in any way like folk art or self-taught artists (think Howard Finster), you owe it to yourself to check it out. There are also some wonderful prints of Woody Guthrie, etc, on the main splash page.

posted by Anon. 10:06 AM
I'll just let him fly

There's an interesting piece in Slate, of all places, on where songs come from. The main focus of the article is New England songstress Patty Griffin. The writer rejects the idea that musical inspiration comes from anywhere but within (which at once seems to reject both the spiritual and the mystical possibilities in artistic inspiration), and even then, the "within" is only described as one part of the brain. Griffin seems to disagree. Thanks to Jordan for the heads up.

posted by Anon. 9:43 AM


Conde nasty

While I enjoy the music bits in the "Talk of the Town" section of the New Yorker, every time that they bother to print a larger piece on popular music, I get a little annoyed.

First of all is the timeliness factor: the New Yorker seems to have a knack for waiting about 5 months after every other publication has weighed in about a group or musician before they offer their ten cents. Second of all, there's generally an attitude in the piece that the writer is introducing the reader to a group or artist that the reader has probably never heard before. Like with Nick Hornby's disappointing pieces on Steve Earle and Los Lobos (I mean, at least his Steely Dan piece assumed that NY readers had some memory of that), where Hornby spoke as if he was explaining Earle and Lobos to a guy who had been living in a geodesic dome for the last ten years.

It was also the case with Bill Buford's piece on Lucinda Williams a couple years back, though Buford did at least have the guts to draw Williams warts and all (and with Lucinda, there are a lotta warts). And that's the case with the recent piece by Ben Greenman, on the White Stripes and the Strokes.

Greenman has a nice breezy style; the problem isn't in his writing per se, and there is one great line about movements and Florence. But the piece conveys a smug attitude that he's enlightening the New Yorker readers to the hip music the kids are listening to -- even though any New Yorker (the citizen, not the magazine) has been reading about the White Stripes and the Strokes for months, especially if they've had any exposure to the happy media machine. Both of these bands finished in the Top 10 of the Voice Pazz and Jop Poll this year.

The other problem is a greater one, one that the piece shares with the so-so Dylan piece that David Remnick wrote a couple years ago. Greenman doesn't seem to have quite the critic's vocabulary or knowledge: his outlining and defining of what "rock and roll" is compared to "rock" is laughable. Not in the concept itself -- many have defined rock as being different than rock and roll. But in his attempt to articulate it, Greenman comes across as a rank amateur. (There's a place for those, too. Web logs!) Considering the high quality of the criticism coming from Anthony Lane and Nancy Franklin (I do not care for Denby, long story) in dealing with the other artistic media, it'd be nice if the New Yorker could have someone covering pop who had already a lengthy career of writing about it. Instead of choosing writers who happen to like music -- like Buford, like Remnick, like Hornby -- that they find a music critic somewhere, probably at an alternative weekly newspaper, who lives and breathes the stuff. And isn't just, as Greenman is, a moonlighting fiction writer.

posted by Anon. 7:40 PM
Diary of a DJ

The 8,091st thing I love about the World Wide Web is that it has given musicians such a clear line of communication with their fans. Many musicians use their websites now to update fans on a seasonal basis, or post messages every few months or so. (Some of these messages seem to even be written by the musicians without being massaged by a publicist's nimble pen). But on his site, Moby posts several different updates per day. Yesterday, for example, you have Moby complaining about the New York heat, and then offering these nuggets:

more random things:
1-the refrigerator magnets are up on my fridge and they look great.
2-people who are really good at karaoke intimidate me.
3-it's still very hot here.
4-my neighbor put a ceramic owl on his roof. it's staring at me and i feel like special agent dale cooper.
5-i wish i could see 'mulholland drive' as the tv show it was intended to be.
6-when nyc is very hot it feels unlike any other very hot place in the world.
or at least any other very hot place that i've ever been to.
7-i hope that our fine representatives in the senate realize that voting for opening up the anwr for oil exploitation is a bad idea.
8-it's time to go to the airport.

You can't buy entertainment this good! Basically, the posts do a wonderful job of showing the inner life of a rock star. Namely, that Moby spends just as much time being bored with his day as you ro I do. (He also seems to spend a lot of time thinking about David Lynch projects.) For example, on April 8, he has this startling commentary on his TV viewing habits:

ok, there are a variety of reasons why i haven't seen the simpsons very much as of late. but what's odd is that every single time i've seen the simpsons in the last 6 months i've seen the EXACT SAME EPISODE.
it's the episode where it's the first day of spring and bart and milhouse discover the cave full of fireworks ('chinese sky candy') and the narrative is seen from 4 different perspectives that all kind of intertwine.
why do i keep seeing this same episode? isn't that odd?
is the universe trying to tell me something? 'dear moby, this is our favourite simpsons episode. we think you should memorize it. sincerely, the universe.'
and if it's the universe's favourite simpsons episode, what do they like about it so much?
the part where lou says 'chinese sky candy'?
that's my favourite part.

You can view all the Moby Diary entries here.

posted by Anon. 7:14 PM
In the shadow of the Space Needle

I hadn't heard anything from or about Seattle's Experience Music Project recently, so I snuck a peak today at their website today. The EMP is America's other rock and roll museum, funded primarily by Microsoft co-founder, generous gadfly, and Hendrix fan Paul Allen. It has a bizarre building, inspired by smashed up guitars, designed by Frank Gehry, but, in my opinion, it's neither as pretty as Los Angeles' near-finished Disney Music Hall or as bold as the Guggenheim in Bilbao. The Museum itself has always been a little bit cheesy -- putting a big emphasis on allowing people the hands-on experience of making music. Fun for kids, but the hands-on stuff can be a little bit superficial for the grown-ups.

The website, though, features some goodies. Learn a guitar lick. Or get a lesson in harmony. Or hang out in the studio with Built to Spill, or read an interview with everyone's favorite socialist British folk rocker, Billy Bragg. It's certainly a site that's worth a stroll.

posted by Anon. 2:59 PM
Can't stand it

Speaking of Wilco -- which might not be the best band in America today, but which is certainly my favorite band in America right now -- there's a very good piece in the LA Times on the new album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and on the bizarre conflict with their old label Reprise. This piece is well-worth reading, especially for the excerpts of interviews from the A&R guys who rejected the album, leading Jeff Tweedy and company to relocate to Nonesuch. You can almost see the Reprise guys squirm.

For what it's worth, while I didn't listen to the Foxtrot material when it was available for download on the band's website, I did hear them play a few of the songs live at Town Hall in New York in late September. (I think I've posted about this; this is the show where I accidentally called out for their song "Airline to Heaven," forgetting that given that 9/11 was two weeks before, that request could be taken the wrong way by my fellow concert-goers.) They were overall very good; and very melodic and catchy, much more so than the material on the earlier, alt-country albums by the group. Which makes Reprise's rejection of the album even stranger.

posted by Anon. 1:10 PM
Eating crow

A strongly written, critical review, chock full of Botox and dermatology references, of Sheryl Crow's new album by David Segal in the Washington Post. I think he hits on what has always been a problem for me with Crow's music: it's generic, unthreatening, and harmless. Sometimes the melodies are catchy, but the music doesn't stay with you -- and the too-often dopey lyrics unfortunately do stay with you.

posted by Anon. 12:52 PM
It's making me wait, keeping me wai-ai-ai-ting

Less than one week to go!

posted by Anon. 9:12 AM
Grades are in

Robert Christgau's new Consumer Guide has finally been posted. Among the albums given Christgau's shopworn and fieldtested pithy paragraph treatment: the Alanis Morrissette album (which he likes), the "new" Velvet Underground live album taken from tapes Robert Quine made (RC also likes), and Cornershop's new record (RC likes this a lot). Cornershop is a strange one: the instant I heard "Brimful of Asha" more than six or seven years ago, I knew I was hearing one of the great singles of my life. But nothing on the rest of that album impressed me as anything more than quirky musical collage -- there weren't any other songs, man -- and I missed all the follow-ups. Maybe this one is worth a spin, but then again, this is Christgau, whose tastes aren't always dependable, even if his prose itself is.

posted by Anon. 12:22 AM
What's Gary Cherone, chopped liver?

David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar announced today that they're going to tour together. Somehow they managed to upstage the weirdness of this announcement itself by showing up with bizarre changes to their hair. David Lee Roth is evidentally now a platinum blonde, while Hagar is now sporting short hair and a not-so-short goatee. There was this priceless excerpt from the Reuters story:

"The flashy Roth, dressed in black nylon trousers and shirt, was accompanied by three bodyguards, three masked catwomen in fluorescent unitards and a beer-drinking midget sporting an Andy Warhol wig. Hagar turned up solo in jeans and T-shirt."

Good times.

posted by Anon. 12:08 AM


50 States of Rock and Roll

50 songs. 50 songs. 50 artists.

After a brief holding pattern, we resume our quest with our first Southern state. Kentucky. (Admittedly people living in Alabama or Mississippi look at Kentucky as South-lite, but if you ever run into someone from Kentucky (or, better, date someone from Kentucky) and suggest that they hail from the Midwest, or the Rust Belt, you'll be welcomed with blank stares. Or frowns. Or worse. So South it is!)

What songs in popular music invoke Kentucky? (Stephen Foster songs do not qualify. We may not be limiting this to rock and roll, but we can certainly limit this to songs from the "rock era.") Here are a few.

"Kentucky Woman," Neil Diamond. Say what you want to about Neil. (And most people, I find, do say what they want to about Neil Diamond; he is not one that encourages demure or muted opinions about his music.) "Kentucky Woman" rocks.

"Blue Moon of Kentucky," Elvis Presley. So here's one from Elvis' Sun Records period -- a period many think of as his greatest, their seeing it all gone downhill the second Colonel Tom Parker got Elvis to place his signature on that RCA contract. (I disagree, and if you know "Suspicious Minds," you know I'm right.) This is a lovely number. (There's also a later Elvis song called "Kentucky Rain.")

"Blue Kentucky Girl," Emmylou Harris. One of her prettier ones, from her 70s period.

"Kentucky Bluebird," Lou Johnson. A fine Bacharach/David number, by a soul singer who never quite made it.

"Paradise," John Prine. There was an old story that Bill Monroe heard this classic Prine song, and cried, it made him think of his childhood. Strong stuff when you think that Prine was probably less than 30 when he wrote it. A lyric:

When I was a child, my family would travel
Down to western Kentucky where my parents were born.
And there's a backwoods old town that's often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn.

And Daddy, won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County,
Down by the Green River where paradise lay?
Well, I'm sorry, my son, but you're too late in askin';
Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away.

"Bowling Green," The Everly Brothers. "A man in Kentucky, sure is lucky, to live down in Bowling Green." I've been in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There's not much there. (The Bowling Green University is in another state.) Except for the National Corvette Museum. The EBs also had a song called, simply enough, "Kentucky."

And the winner is? Well, we've already chosen Elvis for Vegas. So he's out. "Kentucky Woman" is a winner. But that song didn't make Bill Monroe cry. So even though it means I might not be able to use his "Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone" for the Minnesota song, I'll go with "Paradise" by John Prine for the Kentucky song. Any questions?

The 50 songs so far...

Alaska: "Anchorage," Michelle Shocked
Indiana: "Goin' Back to Indiana," The Jackson Five
Kentucky: "Paradise," John Prine
Massachusetts: "Dirty Water," The Standells
Nevada: "Viva Las Vegas," Elvis Presley
North Dakota: "North Dakota," Lyle Lovett
Utah: "The Promised Land," Bruce Springsteen

posted by Anon. 11:34 PM
Picture perfect

If you're in need of a quick smile on this Tuesday, then take a minute to check out this online photo gallery of musicians from the Southern Folklife Collection at the UNC-Chapel Hill. My favorite is this one of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

posted by Anon. 2:32 PM
We hate it when our friends become successful

New Musical Express has just announced their rankings of the "most influential artist ever." The winner? Not the Beatles. Not the Stones. No, according to NME, the most influential artist ever is ... The Smiths.

Well, an explanation might be necessary. By "most influential," apparently they mean the artist to have the most influence on NME as a publication during its 50 years of business. So here's the ranking:

* 1: The Smiths
* 2: The Beatles
* 3: Stone Roses
* 4: David Bowie
* 5: Sex Pistols
* 6: Oasis
* 7: Radiohead
* 8: Paul Weller/The Jam
* 9: U2
* 10: Public Enemy

You gotta love the fact that the Stones, Who, and Clash are nowhere to be seen. And love the fact that the Stone Roses are #3. (I mean, I love "She Bangs the Drums" same as the next guy, but...) Looking around on the rest of the NME website, I also read that Coldplay's second album might be their last, and Eminem's new album will be inspired by... 70s Rock. (Didn't Everclear already try that?) Like most British music publications (outside of Mojo, which is really quite good if not quite worth the $11 it costs you to buy it, imported, at an American newstand), you can only read so much of NME online before you start to squirm in your chair.

posted by Anon. 2:24 PM
Album review
While You Weren't Looking, Caitlin Cary

There's a perverse pleasure in the fact that the best solo album to come from the Whiskeytown gang isn't one of the two albums (so far) released by annoyingly prolific Ryan Adams, but instead by the one other constant of Whiskeytown's three (or four, depending on how you count) albums. Caitlin Cary rarely sang lead on the Whiskeytown records, generally speaking through her fiddle. Which is why it's such a pleasure to discover on While You Weren't Looking, it turns out she has a good amount to say.

And a lovely way to say it. Let's start with the voice. The resemblance to Linda Thompson's strong and smooth voice is uncanny. Given that Thompson retired from singing after both her split from Richard and an unfortunately severe case of losing her voice in the mid-80s, this may be the Linda Thompson return that many of us have longed for. (There's even a song called "The Fair," which in subject matter and sound immediately caused me to remember Linda richard singing Richard's carney song, "The Great Valerio.") But there's also a share of Christine McVie and Kirsty Macoll thrown in. (All of which sounds more surprising given that Cary isn't from the British isles, but instead Ohio by way of North Carolina.) And not just in the vocals, but in the songs and the production, too.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, this album from a former Whiskeytowner doesn't sound like alternative country. Instead, former dB Chris Stamey has produced a layered album full of lush vocals, pianos and organs (courtesy of former Jayhawk Jen Gunderman), and even horns. There are occasional steel guitars and fiddles, but the album bears as much in common with the California sound of 70s Van Morrison and Buckingham-Nicks era Fleetwood Mac as it does with any Austin outlaws. Only "Hold On To Me," a song that drifts back and forth between plaintive country ballad and rumbling honky tonk, has a country feel. The album begins with "Shallow Heart, Shallow Water," and continues its melodies into the very Linda-reminiscient "Please Don't Hurry Your Heart," the rocking "Thick Walls Down," the whimsical "Too Many Keys," and the closer, "I Ain't Found Nobody Yet," the best break-up song I've heard in months.

If there's a downside to the album, it's the same down-side to the Linda songs on all those classic Richard and Linda records: Cary's voice is beautiful, but she doesn't mix it up enough in her use of it. That said, that's a small quibble on a record that completely surprised me -- and whose melodies and voices gave me some much-needed joy in a particularly Job-like week for me. Get yourself a copy and see if it does the same for you.

posted by Anon. 1:28 PM


Painted from memory

Sometimes the strange nature of coincidence pushes aside my agnostic tendencies, making me think that there probably is a God, and he/she probably has a great sense of humor.

Neither my mother or my father played much music when I was younger. But I do remember that one album that both of them favored was Willie Nelson's Stardust, a collection from the late 70s where Willie covered a collection of old classics: Blue Skies, Moonlight in Vermont, maybe Don't Fence Me in. My memory is shaky on these details; I've meant to pick up that album on CD, but never have gotten around to it.

But a detail that's not shaky for me is a song by grandfather used to sing when he rocked me to sleep.

Ray wasn't a country fan; if he listened to any music, it was the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Irish cassettes he'd put in the tape player, as he drove me around the streets of Philadelphia in his big black Checker. (He did like Johnny Cash -- "There's my man, the Man in Black," Ray said when we caught him on TV. I also remember watching Live Aid on TV when I was ten, spending the summer with Ray at the Jersey Shore, and when Springsteen came on, Ray would say, "Ah, there's my main man! The Boss! They don't have guys like that in California, Mike.")

The song he sang had the same tune as "Red River Valley," but the lyrics were different: "Can I sleep in your barn tonight, mister, for it's so cold to be sleeping on the ground..." I never knew where he heard his version, or where the lyrics came from. He could've just made it all up, I don't know.

Two days ago, I bought Willie Nelson's classic Red Headed Stranger on CD. It was Nelson's breakthrough album of 1975, but neither my mother nor my father, who owned a few Willie albums, owned it. I had never heard it before. I was sitting listening to it this morning, trying to get some work done, and then track 12 came on.

Can I sleep in your arms tonight, lady
It's so cold lying here on alone
And I have no hope to hold onto
And I assure you I'll do you no harm

Did Ray get the lyrics wrong? Did he just learn them differently? Or like so many stories, jokes, and songs in folklore, did the song just grow into several different songs, with slight variations over the years?

I don't know. I do know that hearing that song, more than six years after Ray died in his sleep on an October night -- he had just watched a game of the World Series -- in a row house in the Irish Catholic Mayfair neighborhood of Philadelphia, made me feel warm and sad at the same time. Mostly warm.

posted by Anon. 3:17 PM
I had mentioned in an earlier post a Dave Marsh column linking Dorothy Love Coates with the new Indigo Girls record. Here's the column. Sample quote: "[The Indigo Girls' Become You] is... the great record about the South that Tom Petty and Michael Stipe have groped to make for years..."

posted by Anon. 11:46 AM


Classic gumbo

If you are in any ways a fan of early rock and roll, specifically that which came from New Orleans, then you've heard of Dave Bartholomew. Haven't heard of him? Then read this piece in the Boston Phoenix, anyway, and read an interview with an 81 year old part of music history. Bartholomew was the producer or writer of many of the largest songs from New Orleans music in the 1950s, especially some of the biggest hits by Antoine "Fats" Domino. He also wrote "Let the Four Winds Blow," one of my favorite songs ever by anyone. (I recommend especially the version of this jump blues by Roy Brown.) Like many of the behind-the-scenes men of that period of music history, Bartholomew has his share of bitterness. Like many of those men, he also has right to be bitter.

posted by Anon. 11:29 PM
Music city blues

The music industry in Nashville made a huge miscalculation by focusing on the teen market during the 1990s, according to this fascinating piece in the Tennessean. It seems that just as country began to target the youth that dominated the pop market -- the marketplace itself shifted in an interesting way: "At the time, that audience was not active in record stores. As recently as 1991, consumers over age 35 accounted for just 28.3% of American music purchases, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. By 2000, however, that same 35-plus audience was purchasing 44% of the music." That's an enormous ground-shift, and the seemingly contradictory moves that Nashville was making towards "the youth vote" resulted in country's big slump these past few years. Check the piece out -- and also look at this positive review of Willie Nelson's recent show at the Ryman -- where Willie played more than 40 songs and for two hours, twenty minutes: not bad for a 69 year old. Not bad at all.

posted by Anon. 11:15 PM
Steven's Nuggets

When he's not starring as Silvio on the Sopranos, Little Steven -- who, up until his swan song with the E Street Band on Born in the USA was known as Miami Steve Van Zandt -- has recently been taking up as his pet cause the promotion of garage rock, past and present. It's a little bit different from his days of organizing Artists Against Apartheid, but it's a worthy cause nevertheless. Now he's hosting a syndicated radio program, drawing from many of the great bands of the Nuggets-era (The Standells, The 13th Floor Elevators, etc) but making very cool connections between these 60s garage bands and bands from the punk era and beyond. I'm intrigued.

posted by Anon. 9:36 PM
Long goodbyes

The gospel world lost one of its great lights this past week when Dorothy Love Coates died at the age of 74, Here's the New York Times obituary.

I also just read an advance of Dave Marsh's fine column this week, which memorializes Dorothy Love Coates' death while celebrating a new song by the apparently back-from-creative-oblivion Indigo Girls. I'll post the link to Dave's column as soon as Starpolish puts it up on their site. In the meantime, Marsh recommends the following Coates records:

The Soul of the Gospel Harmonettes / Peace in the Valley, Dorothy
Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes (VeeJay/Collectables).

The Best of Dorothy Love Coates and the Original Gospel Harmonettes

The Shanachie Great Gospel Women anthology that I posted about a couple weeks ago includes some terrific tracks by Dorothy Love Coates. There are few albums in my collection that I have copied for more friends, to share the wealth. I can't give it a higher recommendation than that.

posted by Anon. 4:49 PM
R.I.P. N.W.A.

The Los Angeles Times Magazine is generally a worthless read, but today's issue has a great piece by Terry McDermott on the making of -- and the gigantic influence over the years -- of N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton. An album that received no publicity, no radio airplay -- and sold three million copies.

posted by Anon. 4:34 PM
Back on track

What to do when you're staring at a $750 deductible and the explanation that if you are parked and open your door and someone sideswipes you, it's your fault according to California law? Spend $120 at the record shop. Which is precisely what I did yesterday.

Here's what I picked up.

Patty Griffin, 1,000 Kisses
Billy Bragg and the Blokes, England, Half-English
Willie Nelson, Red-Headed Stranger
The Soul of O.V. Wright
Caitlin Cary, While You Weren't Looking
Jack Johnson, Brushfire Fairytales
Ronnie Lane with Slim Chance, You Never Can Tell: The Complete BBC Sessions
The Blasters, Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings
Ron Sexsmith, (untitled debut album)

I went in knowing that I wanted the Johnson album, the Griffin album, and would look for other things. I knew it was going to be a good day at the office when I discovered the brand-new Blasters anthology. And then things kinda rolled from there. I look forward to posting about these records, especially the new ones, in the next few weeks.

A new 50 States post should be on the way today.

posted by Anon. 10:53 AM