Joe's "Tide is High" post reminded me of a long forgotten Jamaican covers mix I'd been working on. Mostly rocksteady and early reggae.

The Wailers - I Made a Mistake

The Impressions - I Made a Mistake

Hortense Ellis - My Last Date

Skeeter Davis - My Last Date (With You)

Phyllis Dillon - Make Me Yours

Bettye Swann - Make Me Yours

Ann Peebles - Make Me Yours

Ken Parker - How Strong

Otis Redding - That's How Strong My Love Is

Ken Parker & Dorothy Russell - Sincerely

Moonglows - Sincerely

Ken Parker mentions "Sincerely" in an interview at reggae-vibes.com:

Q: [Both you and Phyllis Dillon] were contemporaries at Treasure Isle in the sixties. Did you work together there?

A: Yeah, that was in the early days, that's the early days. I think if I am not mistaken, one of the tracks that I have done on Treasure Isle, I dunno if she was the one who did the backing or if we actually did a song together. I think she was the one who did 'Sincerely', but I'm not too sure (sings the chorus).

Q: I think that was credited to one 'Dorothy Russell', whoever that was.

A: Oh, OK.

Q: Never heard that name before though, it could be her maiden name for all I know - or a name Duke made up to get the publishing, not unlikely.

A: Yeah, yeah. That song that they... actually it was her song, but she couldn't do the high note and couldn't do the changes according to how the song went, so Duke asked me to sing along with her to give her ideas in how to sing the song. But afterwards she just included me in, y'know, the singin' of that song, so that's why actually that track was not originally my track. But it was a track that Duke had liked, so it's just that I start singin' the part for her and then the rest of the song is history.

Also, I was reading Carl Wilson's book on Céline Dion last night and have to share this excerpt. It's from a chapter about Dion's worldwide appeal and deft international marketing. Jamaican-American music critic Garnette Codogan explains the Jamaican roughneck affection for Dion:

[I remember] always hearing Céline Dion blasting at high volume whenever I passed through volatile and dangerous neighborhoods, so much that it became a cue to me to walk, run or drive faster if I was ever in a neighborhood I didn't know and heard Céline Dion mawking over the airwaves.

I sometimes shared this little anecdote with other Jamaican friends, only for them to laughingly comment that they had a similar practice. The unofficial rule seemed to be, "If you hear Céline Dion then you're in the wrong place."

When Codogan asked around, the reason given was, "to quote one fellow, 'Bad man have fi play love tune fi show 'dat them a lova too.'"




1980 & 1983 Volvo wagons


1969 Mercedes 300 SEL


1967 Dodge Dart


1961 Ford Falcon


1974 VW Thing (that's a 1973 pictured above)


1965 Datsun L320

Michael Hurley - '54 Chevy


The Paragaons:





Notable American musicologist Archie Green died at home today; he was 91. That's him on left, with banjoist Dock Walsh, in 1962. The New York Times has a great obit here.





Lucky enough to have been a misfit teen during the dawn of punk rock, Theresa Kereakes was in the right place at the right time, namely Los Angeles during the latter half of the 70s. Apparently, she photographed everyone who mattered- from the Avengers to X- and her archives span multiple blogs, including those dedicated to portraits of men and women, early punks, and things she find interesting when she goes out walking.

Now working as a cinematographer out of Nashville, TK continues to document the scenes she loves, and her photos continue to capture the intimate moments of often chaotic lives. Perhaps the best example of Theresa's aesthetic- and certainly our favorite- are the photos she took of the Germs as they were just starting out.


Theresa Kereakes' photographs- very reasonably priced- are available for purchase here.



Minneapolis poet John Berryman is most famous for his epic volume Dream Songs, an obtuse collection of poems that seem to draw as much from Whitman as they do from Joyce. Filled with allusions and unreliable narrators, Dream Songs is an at times impenetrable and mystifying meditation on life, death and the in-between. He killed himself in 1972, jumping into the Mississippi River from the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis.

These photographs, taken from the LIFE archive, show the poet on vacation in Dublin in 1965.



A troubling interview with a clearly intoxicated Townes Van Zandt, followed by a typically stirring live performance of Bruce Springsteen's "Racin' in the Streets." This footage was recorded in 1984 for part of the PBS series Austin Pickers.

More great performances and interviews with Townes can be found in Heartworn Highways, a documentary from 1975 that features many of Austin's singer/songwriters, including Guy Clark, David Allen Coe, and a 19 year old Steve Earle.

This clip, featuring a 79 year old neighbor of Townes', is particularly moving:



These videos are taken from Greg Cartwright's 2007 in-store performance during Memphis' annual Gonerfest. Cartwright- best known as a founding member of the supremely influential Oblivians- is no mere garage turkey, having explored all aspects of the American pop canon in his his other outfits (the pre-Oblivians Compulsive Gamblers, and currently with the Reigning Sound).

For me, the Reigning Sound have always been one of those bands who really need to be seen live; on wax, they can come off a bit fetishistic in their songwriting and studio tropes. Stripped down like this, the high lonesome quality of Greg's voice really comes through, and the songs sound a bit more honest when given some breathing room outside the static environment of the recording studio.

Oblivians classic "Live the Life"

"Stop and Think It Over" This song was recorded by legendary Shangri-Las singer Mary Weiss for her comeback record, which Cartwright produced and played on.

"Wait and See"

It's recently been confirmed by Greg himself the the Oblivians will reunite- with the 1990's other most influential garage band, Detroit's the Gories- for a European tour this summer and two US shows (one in Memphis, the other in Detroit).



Artist, DJ, programmer, etc. Daito Manabe's "electric stimulus to face" tests.



Jim Coyle and Mal Sharpe - avant-garde humorists who predate Ali G by 40 years - began their careers in San Francisco in 1964. Working for KGO, they used hidden microphones to assault the populace with absurdist skits and man-on-the-street interviews. Below, their famous "Warbler" bit, followed by a sketch for their tv show, in which they harass an unsuspecting job-seeker.

Coyle & Sharpe: These 2 Men Are Imposters is a three-CD and one-DVD collection of their work, available from our friends at Goner Records.






I didn’t start really listening to rock music until I was about 14. I did however grow up reading comic books which require a similar leap--you can’t ever question the absurdity of the premise. You have to roll with the punches, and the costumes, and the hard bodies, the titanic breasts, the deaths and contrived rebirths, the cliffhangers, and the crossovers. When I started “growing up”, that is, when I was no longer interested in superheroes, or (more likely) decided that I shouldn’t be, there was a whole bunch of “adult” comics that traffic in the same language—lusty & violent supernatural soap opera— but with a relative realism. Mostly they tease at the absurdities of superhero comics or act as sensational parables of the Real World Issues, or both (as with Watchmen). The problem, if this qualifies as one, is that these comics are really only for the post-adolescents (like me) that spent their youths ogling Psylocke’s bustline and trading impassioned opinions on Spider-Man’s new costume, but at some point, couldn’t continue caring quite so much for the unintelligible plots and decided it was all maybe pretty stupid anyhow.

Ultimately these more serious comic books (or graphic novels, a term which smacks of delusion) are more about the language of comics than they are about life or living.

Likewise, rock & roll builds from the same foundation of adolescent fantasy. Both comics and rock scratch the adolescent itch for extremes. Both have a zealous older fan base for what was, in conception, kid’s stuff. Rock & roll has always been principally concerned with the big money teenage market, even as it rose to the status of art. So the same year that a recording artiste like Leonard Cohen released Songs from a Room, Zeppelin came out with their first album. Of course Zeppelin is hardly Tommy Roe, so you see the confusion was already setting in. And, actually, Zeppelin were rather frustrated at the press’s unwillingness to recognize them as artists.

I like Zeppelin, but the only way you can really prop them up as art is in their technically awesome musicianship (Jimmy Page is sort of like Jim Lee or Todd McFarlane—adept at capturing the imaginations of 12 year old boys, but with a craft that has very little to do with the visible world) or accepting the mythology of rock and recognizing that they excelled within that frame of purpose and meaning. Which is essentially where we're at. The band is no longer understood as grandiose pimple music. They are respected pillars of rock & roll tradition.

(If you think Zeppelin are no good you’re welcome to insert your favorite big, stupid, hugely influential rock band)

And, by now, virtually all us rock fans have accepted (or been raised on) the rock & roll myth that allows us to say things like “yes, Bonham shreds.” The mythology has grown into and around culture and custom and all those things which provide us with measures of meaning and value. The rock mythology has become like the religious mythology-- too much genuine belief amassed upon the story for the story to merely be taken at face value.

But there seem to be a lot of us who are a little embarrassed by this, shaky in this faith, and therefore desire something truer, more relevant, thoughtful, less decadent, more adult.

There is a kind of rock music made for us, by us. Those of us whose long relationship with rock & roll makes us yearn for a slow cathartic build and maybe some tasteful guitar solos. We who might ache with private joy at the crunch of a power chord but who’ve suffered too many of the real and petty injuries of a young but long enough life to actually continue Believing. Because most of us can only really believe like that when we’re really young and we don’t have to worry about stupid things like health insurance and can instead worry about different stupid things like how did Joey Ramone get such awesomely ravaged pants? Can I buy them? Does it look fake if I cut my pants with scissors? …So in an effort to resolve our grown-up reality with a secret craving for the trappings of rock we seek the music that attempts to salvage something truer, more relevant, thoughtful, less decadent, more adult, out of the mythology of Rock.

But I think there’s a problem with this. For one, this is why people end up listening to Wilco, who're probably the Wynton Marsalis of alternative rock.


A couple of weeks ago I went to see Phosphorescent at the Empty Bottle. He’s touring in support of an album of Willie Nelson covers, which I think is mostly pretty good. The band was great, really tight. They sounded so heartbreaking, but tempered by a warmth in that particular way in which country rock excels. It was exciting. I hadn’t heard music that good in a long time. But then, and maybe I was just tired, or annoyed at the guy who clasped my shoulder after I bumped into him in this annoying way that big guys always handle me because I’m smaller than them, but at this point, any good feelings just sort of drained out of me. The music still sounded good, but the whole affair became like a museum piece, like one of those period rooms with all the appropriate furniture and artwork, every detail just how it was in Rococo France or wherever. And it wasn’t that the band was slavishly trying to sound like Willie Nelson. They were playing a lot of originals along with the covers and they were doing their thing comfortably. But I think at some point I realized that it was music for fetishists. Music for people who would recognize the borrowed conventions, all the appropriate details like the interplay of piano and guitar, and think “yes, my kind of music.” Who didn’t want the set pieces or costumes or anything too flashy but wanted all the hot licks. Guys like me who wanted the clichéd laments of nights of boozing, and women trouble because it was all familiar but wanted it delivered by Brooklyn jerks in jeans and t-shirts so we could feel like it was maybe about us. Music for people with such a pathetically specialized notion of the kind of music that represents us, we end up listening to rock music about rock music, with nothing much to say about anything else.



Vintage Pacific NW beer iconography.

The Rainier R: once a sign that the drive from Portland to Seattle was nearly over, it has been replaced by a garish, serifed green T, for the Tulley's coffee company.

Weinhard's Brewery: as part of Portland's efforts to "revitalize" the historic Pearl District, the brewery is now home to to high-end kitchen and clothing stores.

Olympia broke out of the regional beer ghetto in 1967 after Dustin Hoffman was seen drinking it in "The Graduate." Unfortunately Olympia's Tumwater, WA plant closed years ago after new owners Miller decided the small-time brewery wasn't worth operating. That famous "artesian" water now comes from somewhere in Milwaukee.



This was Mississippi's first compilation (5th release overall, after a few indie rock things and a cassette tape of one of the owners' bands) and really set the tone for how the label would develop. Original copies have hand-pasted sleeves, and the pressing was limited to 300 copies.

Last Kind Words: 1926-1953



Shelves of wooden letterpress blocks

Among the many great things Nashville has to offer (the Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame, burgers at Rotier's), Hatch Show Print easily emerges as the highlight. Located on the city's historic music row district, Hatch has been in operation for over 130 years, making it the country's oldest operating letterpress shop.

Opened in 1875 by brothers Charles and Herbert Hatch (who had learned the art from their father, a printer in Wisconsin), Hatch Show Print's very first job was to print a handbill announcing the arrival in Nashville of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe), and since then Hatch has steadily produced some of the most handsome promotional documents known to man.

Known primarily for their work with country music stars (for a while, the shop was located directly behind the Ryman), Hatch worked with many black jazz musicians of the day, and paid equal attention to their more overtly commercial projects, investing the same care and sense of design into every poster, whether it was for Patsy Cline or Graves Sausage Co.

Eventually purchased by an entertainment conglomerate, Hatch was donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, who operate it to this day.

A movie poster from 1933.

Graves Whole Hog Sausages



These photographs, taken by Eric Schaal for LIFE in 1941, were to be the Carter Family's re-introduction to the world beyond the Grand Ole Opry. Having recorded some 350 songs between 1927-1941, the Carters were well established as leading country music talents, but onset of the Great Depression in the early 1930's dashed any possibility of financial success. Having grown tired of playing dances and hootenannies in the mountains around their home, in 1929 A.P. set off to look for work in Detroit, while Maybelle and her husband left for D.C. with similar ambitions.

In 1938, after a slew of intermittent recording sessions and the births of many children, the Carters headed to Del Rio, Texas to record for border-blaster XERA-AM, whose signal was unencumbered by the US law stipulating that radio stations only broadcast to 50,000 watts. Their appearance went out over the air to nearly the entire western hemisphere, and was hugely successful. Record sales surged, and LIFE sent a photographer to the Carter camp, located in the serene Poor Valley area of Virginia. As the magazine was preparing to go to press, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and Carter feature was scrapped.


"Mother" Maybelle Carter


The family at home in Poor Valley


Daughters Anita, June, and Helen; A.P.'s wife Sara, Maybelle, and A.P.


A.P., Sara, and Maybelle


Maybelle, A.P., and Sara


Sara, A.P., and Maybelle




Poor Valley, Va.


9 + 12





Setting records at the Bonneville Salt Flats, ca. 1948-1953.

all photos from the LIFE archive.



Portland city planners have denied a proposal by the University of Oregon to modify the city's iconic "White Stag" sign, an historic landmark (officially) since 1978. Familiar to anyone who has ever crossed the Burnside Bridge from east to west, the "White Stag" sign, which now reads "Made in Oregon," was built in 1940 to advertise White Satin Sugar. In 1959, White Stag Outerwear purchased and modified the sign, and in 1997 the sign was changed yet again when Sam Naito bought it to advertise his company Made in Oregon.

Suggesting that the "loss of the quirky, historic upper-case 'E' and cut-off 'g' in the text are not in keeping with the landmark character of the sign," the city staff recommendation does make room for modifications if they're in keeping with the aesthetic of the original sign, writing "there may be other options that both respect the historic character of the sign, and promote positive conditions for institutional
identification." We hope not.

In an older incarnation:

How it's looked for the past 12 or so years:

via Oregon Live.



Wild-man philosopher Slavoj Žižek discusses Children of Men, which he sees as a meditation "on the ideological despair of late capitalism."



Containing two side-length ragas, this record, released on Mississippi "subsidiary" Change Records, was the first US release for noted singer and spiritual leader Pandit Pran Nath. Pran Nath collaborated with minimalist innovators La Monte Young and Terry Riley, and this record is a great example of the far-out, post-lingual aesthetic he helped to develop, and which was further explored by bands like Sun City Girls.

Earth Groove: Voice of Cosmic India



New York's PBS affiliate WNET is streaming several episodes of acclaimed black variety show SOUL! Originally on the air from 1968-1973, and produced by the openly gay Ellis Haizlip, the show carries the distinction of being WNET's first program filmed entirely on videotape. More than just a musically-focused variety show (musical visitors included McCoy Tyner, Stevie Wonder and Al Green) SOUL! functioned as a space to explore the black experience at large and hosted actors, activists, athletes and political figures.

One of the more interesting performances captured was that of Rahsaan Roland Kirk & The Vibration Society. Blind from an early age, Kirk taught himself circular breathing, and developed a technique for playing multiple horns simultaneously. After working with Charles Mingus and Quincy Jones (notably performing the oft-imitated lead flute line on "Soul Bossa Nova"), Kirk acted as band-leader for most of his career. During his interview with Hazlip, Kirk talks about the trouble with electronic music (mind control), "plantation Earth," and the difficulties of being blind and traveling with a saxaphone. Unfortunately, the episodes aren't embedable, but YouTube is a goldmine.

via The New Yorker