Tuesday, April 30, 2013

another giant bites the dust

Sometimes this blog turns into one RIP after another and it seems like we're in one of those times. Today marks the passing of Janos Starker, cranky Hungarian cellist. He's up there with Pablo Cassals and Yo Yo Ma for me when it comes to favorite versions of Bach's Cello Suites, but neither of those guys drank scotch and smoked cigarettes while performing, so in some respects he wins. He also liked to make fun of people who were too dramatic on stage and had no tolerance for their "making love to themselves" as they played, so he wins another point for that. He also looked kind of like an imp, so we'll give him that as well.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

roundtable discussion

Certainly one of the most surreal examples of 20th century poetry: in this song George Jones, Elvis and Fred Flintstone have a roundtable discussion.

"The King Is Gone (So Are You)"

Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter
That looks like Elvis
I soaked the label off a Flintstone Jelly Bean jar
I cleared us off a place on that
One little table that you left us
And pulled me up a big ole piece of floor

I pulled the head off Elvis
Filled Fred up to his pelvis
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

'Round about ten we all got to talking
'Bout Graceland, Bedrock and such
The conversation finally turned to women
But they said they didn't get around too much
Elvis said, "Find 'em young"
And Fred said "Old Fashioned girls are fun"
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

Later on it finally hit me
That you wouldn't be 'a comin' home no more
'Cause this time I know you won't forgive me
Like all of them other times before
Then I broke Elvis's nose
Pouring the last drop from his toes
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter
That looks like Elvis
I soaked the label off a Flintstone Jelly Bean jar....

Friday, April 26, 2013

farewell possum

RIP George "no show"/"possum" Jones

I thought we were done with Nashville posts for a while and here George Jones up and dies. He who never showed up for concerts, born in Vider Texas, who got in a single car accident near my Nashville home and who sang like a motherfucker. Bye bye George. Please take the time to listen to these masterpieces:

I'M RAGGED BUT I'M RIGHT (complete with weird jerry reed exchanges)

For a more complete characterization of Possum, I recommend the Nick Tosches chapter on him, which is either in County: the Twisted Roots of Rock & Roll or the Nick Tosches Reader, I can't remember. Both are worth your while.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

RIP storm

Dead: Storm Thorgerson, album cover art mastermind. You probably recognize some of his images, below. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and, of course, a Helloween album called Pink Bubbles Go Ape (which I've never heard but you'd better believe I'm going to investigate ASAP).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

tennessee #9

what it is: tennessee #9
where i found it: south of the mason dixon

I do believe this will be the last of this series, as I'm not sure how to improve on the excellent images of sacred relics presented below. All from the Country Music Hall of Fame.

jimmie rodgers' guitar

jimmie rodgers' typewriter

pee wee king's accordion

merle travis' gutiar

the stanley brothers' instruments (note caved in banjo)

the louvin brothers' instruments

carl perkins' blue suede shoes

webb pierce's cadillac, which he supposedly used to drive to church

rifle mounted on the back of webb pierce's cadillac

same cadillac: pistol door handle

rifle from another angle

tiny louvin guitar

early electric guitar prototype ("the log") rigged up by les paul

uhf television in the back of elvis' cadillac

mother maybelle carter's guitar

hank williams' martin

merle haggard enterprises letterhead

merle haggard's boots. "hag".

Monday, April 22, 2013

tennessee #7

what it is: tennessee #7 
where i found it: south of the mason dixon

Here are three Nashville classics about a decision commonly made by country musicians: booze over  woman: 

Friday, April 19, 2013

tennessee #6: air castle of the south

what it is: tennesee #6: air castle of the south
where i found it: south of the mason dixon

What also cannot be ignored on a trip to Nashville is the cavernous Opryland hotel, the largest hotel under one roof in the Western hemipshere. The hotel includes indoor boat rides, indoor forests and jungles, vast and empty carpeted spaces larger than football fields and, perhaps most importantly, the radio station WSM "the air castle of the south". This is the station over which the Grand Old Opry has been broadcast for years and it continues to feature all kinds of country, bluegrass, white gospel, etc. It's worth visiting the online stream now and again whether you catch the Opry hours or not. Also, what I did not know is that Wheel of Fortune's Pat Sajak got his broadcasting start there.

What I saw at the Grand Old Opry itself was a mixture of 80s country relics, horrible new country/pop shitheads, an old school Western Swing band and some virtuosic bluegrass. Not bad. You can access archived recordings here.

It is also worth mentioning that in the lobby of the hotel they are piping in strangely relaxing and very subtle overlapping ambient tones, which I didn't notice until I'd been there for about ten minutes. Psychological manipulation Southern style.

indoor jungle
indoor fountains
Indoor waterfall. Years ago there was a creep in a white tux who used to play harp on top of this waterfall, but i guess he lost the gig.

musical instrument ceiling mandala in lobby
This was a fence covered with poison ivy/oak, a security measure i had not seen before.
sajak, the early years

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

tennessee #5

what it is: tennessee #5
where i found it: south of the mason dixon

While in Tennessee I was unfortunate enough to see some ads from generally disgusting Southern burger chain Jack in the Box for their new sandwich item called the Hot Mess. I always thought "hot mess" was urban slang for pile of shit, which seems accurate in this case, but why would you willfully give that name to the food you are trying to sell? Even weirder is that the Hot Mess is tied in with a fictional metal band called Meat Riot. Anyway, check out these pictures, both from consumers and the actual marketing campaign. At least Meat Riot puts their stuff out on vinyl.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

other mind

what it is: other mind
where i found it: my wife

There's plenty more posts about Tennessee on the way. In the mean time my autism scholar wife sent me this video, which will  shake up your ideas about what you think you are. To get the point you need to watch the entire thing. It's very difficult to explain, so you should probably just watch it. This lady has a thing or two to communicate.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

tennessee #4

what it is: tennessee #4
where i found it: south of the mason dixon

One toxic and wonderful by product of visiting Nashville is that I discovered the country era of Jerry Lee Lewis' career, which had eluded me to date despite my obsession with his early material. Here's a youtube mix with a number of highlights. You have to be in a certain head space to appreciate this stuff and I'm not sure how to help you get there. I might describe it as a cross between sincerity, mischief, painful heartbreak and being possessed by evil forces. Good luck.

Friday, April 12, 2013

tennessee #3

what it is: tennessee #3
where i found it: below the mason dixon

Another important aspect of a Nashville sojourn is the god damned food. I had a few overwhelming experiences with this, several of which I was directed to by a nice red haired local lady. First off we have Papa Turneys, a bar-b-que joint in a very shitty strip mall behind a gas station. Looking more like the locale of an adult movie shop than a delicious smoked meat array, this place had some of the best pig, brisket and pie you can find and extraordinarily friendly people. They also have live music on Saturdays which features a two year old on a mini-drumset. I like their website, too.

prestigious location
magic smoker adjacent to dumpster

Second up we had a traditional meat and three (meat plus three sides, though in this case it was three meats and twelve sides) in a giant white mansion with a rolls royce and greek fountain out front, located directly next to the abyss of the airport runway. $14 all you can eat. I'm still full. Check it out:

adjacent abyss
the understated lobby
about one half of lunch

Thursday, April 11, 2013

tennessee #2

what it is: tennessee #2
where i found it: below the mason dixon

The second weird and awesome sight I found in Tennesee was a strip mall that included a liquor store, a defunct Wax Museum of the Stars (apparently never having recovered from the 8 foot deep flood that plagued the entire city and punished them for their sins), the Dukes of Hazzard musuem and the Willie Nelson Musem. All in one place. There's even a General Lee parked out front (which I didn't get a picture of b/c they wanted to charge 5 bucks).

I'll bet that the wax museum was far creepier and depressing than I can imagine, but I will never know. What I do know is that there were a lot of foot and hand prints in the concrete out front, including these great gentlemen:

Inside the Dukes of Hazzard museum they also had this for sale for five thousand dollars:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

tennessee #1

what it is: tennessee #1
where i found it: below the mason dixon

I went for a Tennessee vacation last week and saw a number of unusual and/or great things, which I'll be posting about overt he next few days. The first involves a series of giant (approx. 8 feet tall), unappetizing/awkward pictures attached to the front of a honky tonk/restaurant near the airport, where I was lucky enough to eat and hear a country band that made almost no physical movement as they played. Check out these pictures. I think one of the guys eating ribs might be Tommy Lasorda.