Thursday, November 30, 2006

Here without you

Daytime just makes me feel lonely
At night I can only dream about you
Girl you're on my mind nearly all of the time
It's so hard being here without you

Words in my head keep repeating
Things that you said
When I was with you
And I wonder is it true
Do you feel the same way too
It's so hard being here without you

Being here without you

Though I know it won't last
I'll see you some day
It seems as though
That the day will come never
But there's one thing I'll swear
Though you're far away
I'll be thinking about you forever

The streets that I walk on depress me
The ones that were happy when I was with you
Still with all the friends I know
And with all the things I do
It's so hard being here without you

- Gene Clark

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


The Skinpops were yet another in the long line of Athens, GA duos. I’ve only got one EP by the band but it’s a good one.

Side one of the record is early grunge. It’s not the stereotypical sound most people expect from an Athens band. People who’ve never been there anyway, most of the bands from Athens didn’t sound like they were from there. The song everybody remembers is “D.D.S.F.”, a song about four things you shouldn’t attempt to do simultaneously. The other two songs are good too. This one sounds like something off of the Slits CBS album.

Side two is a bit more arty. One song actually does sound like another Athens duo. The bass and drums on this remind me of the great Method Actors. There’s also a song about a cat and another one about maggots.

For a few months, Skinpops must have been the busiest band in the southeast. They were everywhere. I saw them a couple times each in Chattanooga and Knoxville, I know they played in Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham too. And then they stopped. I guess they broke up or decided that touring wasn’t worth it anymore.

After this EP, there was a split single with Little Debbie, also on Weedeater Records. It’s still available, stock up now!

Guitarist/bassist Barry Sell went on to play in numerous bands, including an early version of the Drive-By Truckers. He’s got a solo record called RAVENS IN THE SNOW. Aaron Phillips has been drumming for Jack Logan and has (had?) a band called the Wide Receivers.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Looking for you

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Here we are

in the years

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Before they were Big Star

Christopher Bell joined his first band in 1964, when he was a Student at Memphis University School. The band was called the Jynx, Bell played guitar, Bill Cunningham played bass. The band were all Anglophiles so the set list was heavy on Beatles, Stones, Them, The Zombies and The Kinks. Hoping to get an appearance on George Klein's Talent Party TV show, the band recorded a 4 song demo at Roland Janes’ studio. The songs were all covers, 2 songs from the Moody Blues first album (one was a James Brown cover), a Them song, and one American song, "Just Like Me" by Paul Revere & The Raiders.

The Jynx had broken up by early '66. Bill Cunningham joined a band called the Jokers but left them to join a new band that had been offered a chance to record some songs at Chips Moman's American Studio. The original plan called for Chris Bell to sing in the new band. unfortunately for him, he was not able to make the session. In his place was the singer for Ronnie & The Devilles, a 16-year-old named Alex Chilton was invited to sing on the songs. The band was called the Box Tops. You may have heard of them.

There were more hits but Chilton didn’t like being in a band controlled by producers and managers. In 1969, Chilton left the Box Tops and moved to New York City to start a solo career.

Christopher Bell was not sitting around while Chilton was off being a teenage rock star. He played in various bands and hanging out with Terry Manning at John Fry's Ardent Recording Studio learning how to make records. With Manning, Bell joined Rock City, a band that was led by Thomas Dean Eubanks. Eubanks played bass and sang lead. Jody Stephens was the band's drummer. Eubanks wrote most of the songs but Chris Bell got a few of his songs on the album. Rock City had came together to record an album and even though everyone was happy with the project, the band ended when the album was finished.

Alex Chilton was back in Memphis recording his solo album with Terry Manning at Ardent. Chilton and Bell co-wrote several songs during this time. Rock City recorded one of the songs on it’s album and Bell, Manning and Stephens recorded another as a trio called Icewater. Chilton abandoned his solo LP and joined Icewater. You probably know where the story goes from here.

Boom boom

Here they go again

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dixie refried

By request, here's another rerun. And for both of you regular readers - Here's a couple of bonus songs.


The first I ever heard of James Luther Dickinson’s music was when Tav Falco covered “Oh How She Dances” on 1986’s PLAY NEW ROSE FOR ME compilation. The song was weird, I liked it. The liner notes said that it was taken from Jim Dickinson’s DIXIE FRIED. I figured it was from story or play so I started looking for books by Jim Dickinson. There aren’t any.

A few weeks after that I was flipping through the used records at Courter Brother Records in Chattanooga. I found one with a cool cover of a guy in a white suit standing on a marble monument reading from a book. The album was by James Luther Dickinson. I didn’t make the connection until I flipped the record over and there in the middle of side two was “O How She Dances”. I took the record up to the counter and Bob Courter started telling how great the record was. He said it was somewhere in between Tom Waits and Dr. John. I bought the record anyway.

It is a great record. There’s not much else like it, Tom Waits and Dr. John are close but DIXIE FRIED rocks more than either of them. Dr. John actually plays piano on the record, Eric Clapton adds some guitar.

Jim Dickinson was already a well established session man in 1972. He’s played on more great records than most of us own: Aretha Franklin, Rolling Stones, Sam & Dave, Flamin Groovies, Brook Benton, Tony Joe White, Arlo Guthrie, Little Esther, Lulu, Betty Lavette, Petula Clark and many others. Dickinson’s produced almost as many: Big Star, The Replacements, Mudhoney, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, Jason & The Scorchers and the band his two sons started: The North Mississippi All-Stars.

The album was re-issued on CD a few years ago and I believe it is still available. Go find a copy.


was that writing?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sad news

R.I.P. Ruth Brown

This is my favorite.

I can't deny

that I'll be there

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The city of courtesy

Ever since I started hunting for records by Huntsville bands, Jay at Sunburst Records has been helping by saving 45’s with Huntsville on the label. He’s come up with a few good records so far.

And then there’s this record.

I’ve asked around and nobody knows who Carlisle Davis is or why he was so concerned about newcomers being courteous. If I had just moved to town and somebody said “You’re in Huntsville now, you can’t be rude like you used to be in wherever it was that you live before you moved down here to paradise”, I'd probably get pissed off. This record is the only place I've ever heard the slogan "Huntsville, The City of Courtesy."

There’s more. Carlisle is a philosopher too.

One more thing about Carlisle: despite the promise that he made at the end of side one, he never does salute the elderly people of the city. That’s just rude.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Whiskey made me drunk

and I'm gonna do that again

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sometimes I think he is the greatest

Lefty Frizzell is the second greatest country singer ever.

Frizzell started out playing clubs and radio shows in his home state of Texas through the Forties. By the end of the decade, Frizzell was working in the oil fields during the day and playing clubs at night. One night, Jim Back, a local producer, heard Frizzell and asked him to sing some demos. One of the songs was sent to Little Jimmy Dickens who hated it. Dickens producer – Don Law – liked the song and the singer. He signed Frizzell to Columbia Records and released the song as Frizzell’s first single. “If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time” went to number one, so did the song on the flipside of the single.

In 1951, Frizzell had four songs in the Top Ten simultaneously. He continued to record until 1955 when Frizzell announced that he was burned out. He stopped recording although he did continue playing concerts and The Town Hall Party radio show.

It was 1959 before Frizzell decided he liked a song enough to record it. What a song it he picked. “Long Black Veil” is my favorite country song ever. There was one more number one record in 1964.

After that was the long decline. Frizzell had become an alcoholic and Columbia cut back on the amount of records they would release, cutting down on the chance of Frizzell having any more hit records. Frizzell continued touring and switched to ABC Records in ’72 but didn’t have any big records. He developed high blood pressure but refused to take the prescribed medicine because he thought it would interfere with his drinking. Frizzell died of a stroke on July, 19, 1975. He was only 47 years old.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I keep scissors.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I could've

been dead

Friday, November 10, 2006


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Troubles and heartaches

Jim C. has turned up another old record by a Huntsville band!

This 45 is a band called the Continentals. The Continentals were one of the first garage bands in Huntsville along with the Hi-Boys Combo. I think the record is from ’64 or ’65 but that’s just a guess. The band sounds kinda Northwest frat-rock to me. The best part is the guitar and saxophone part on this song.

Saxophone player Bill Rasnake wrote both sides of the single. Rasnake went on to play in local legends The Tiks. The Tiks were the band that everybody expected to make the big time. I’ve never heard them, I don’t know if they ever made any records. That doesn’t mean any much though. I wouldn’t know about this record if Jim hadn’t found it in a junk store recently.

The record was released on Spot Records and credited to American Band Productions. I’ve never heard of either them. It was pressed up in Nashville, just like every other sixties 45 around here was.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


all the time

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'm broke as the 10 commandments

A few months later, in June of ’41, Turner joined Tatum and his band in a New York studio for a second time. Turner sings on all four sides and Tatum is still providing solid backup. I would have loved to see this band play in a club. It's too bad that these 6 songs are the only records they made together. Maybe they would have recorded more if not for the war and Petrillo's A.F.M. recording ban.

Turner recorded “Corrine, Corinna” for the first time at this session. It’s a song he would come record several more times. "Lonesome Graveyard" is even better. And then there's "Rock Me Mama".

Oscar Moore plays electric guitar this time around. He's a terrific addition to the band.

Oh yeah. There is another Joe Turner that was important to Art Tatum’s career. A piano player named Joe Turner discovered Tatum in Toledo, Ohio.

Art Tatum - piano
Joe Turner - vocals
Oscar Moore - Guitar
Yank Porter - Drums
Billy Taylor - Bass
Joe Thomas - Trumpet

Monday, November 06, 2006

I asked my baby, could she stand to see me cry

Art Tatum died fifty years ago this week. In honor of the great pianist, here are a few songs he recorded with Big Joe Turner.

By January 21, 1941, both Joe Turner (he wasn’t Big Joe until September 1941) and Art Tatum had established careers, this was the first time they recorded together. Tatum’s playing is amazing – it always is – but he’s playing backup here. He’s not too busy or taking the focus away from Joe. The number one complaint about Tatum his playing is too busy, that he played too many notes. That ain’t happening here. The band stays out of the way.

Wee Baby Blues” is great. The songs from this session were released by Decca Records in February and March 1941. The flipsides on both records were instrumentals by Art Tatum & his Band. Hot instrumentals. I’m not sure but this may be the earliest electric guitar solo in my collection.

Art Tatum - piano
Joe Turner - vocals
Ed Hall - clarinet
John Collins - guitar
Eddy Dougherty - drums
Billy Taylor - bass
Joe Thomas - trumpet

I don't want nobody to give me nothing,

(open up the door, I'll get it myself)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I am

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hey old lady

Another rerun. Any requests?

The thing about the Hampton Grease Band is you either love them or hate them. Duane Allman and Frank Zappa loved them, Columbia Records execs and Three Dog Night fans did not. You can decide for yourself which side you're on but I think they're great.

The Hampton Grease Band was together for 7 years and released one double LP with 4 long songs and 3 shorter ones. It was the second worst selling record in Columbia Records history. I could write more but band member Glenn Phillips already wrote a history of the band that's informative and has pictures.

Brush with greatness: A long time ago, Col. Bruce Hampton was playing a show with the Fiji Mariners at the Tip-Top Cafe and I gave him a ride to Thai Restaurant. We talked about the houses we passed on the way.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Be all you can be

Jake Holmes’ first album shouldn’t be an obscure footnote. The album has a few good songs and several very good ones.

While he was at Bennington College, Holmes joined a folk group with Tim Rose. That band broke up when Tim Rose signed to Columbia Records and Holmes formed a short-lived comedy trio with Jim Connell and Joan Rivers.

By 1967, Holmes had started a trio and was playing clubs in Greenwich Village. Holmes band had a unique lineup: lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass and no drums. The lack of a drummer gives the songs a strange feel, esp. when the songs are structured as rock songs.

The Jake Holmes Trio did play a memorable show opening for the Yardbirds in August, 1967.

Holmes did a few more LPs for several different labels. Except for one song, I’ve never heard any of them but the second one – A LETTER TO KATHERINE DECEMBER – is supposed to be pretty good. Holmes also wrote songs for the Four Seasons on their pretty good pop-psych album GENUINE IMITATION LIFE GAZETTE and Frank Sinatra on his pretty good pop-psych album WATERTOWN.

In the seventies, Holmes turned to jingle writing and finally found success. “Be All You Can Be”, “Raise Your Hand If You’re Sure” and “Be A Pepper” are Holme's best known ads. Holmes has also backed Harry Belafonte in recent years.
Free Web Counter