Holidays with the Good Doctor

Celebrated the holidays on Decatur Street with the locals. Photo evidence included:
Irma opened…

John carried on…

The Soul Rebels took a break from opening for The Geriatric English Band.  I was at the bar ordering, thus missing the opportunity to document their presence. Man, they still got it…
Finally, Kermit again demonstrated why he should play last. A true master of the craft…

Crédito total, Douglas Rovira




Blues guitarist-singer Albert Collins with Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer.Courtesy of Alligator Records

Remembering Delmark Records Founder Bob Koester

Fifty years ago, Bruce Iglauer wanted his boss, Delmark Records owner Bob Koester, to release music from a blues trio called Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers. Iglauer, a young shipping clerk and protégé of Koester’s, was drawn to the group’s cheery, danceable songs and felt compelled to share them with a wider audience. But Koester declined. So, Iglauer decided to strike out on his own, and Alligator Records was born. Since then, the Grammy-winning label has released work from many well-known artists, including Albert Collins, Marcia BallRobert CrayKoko TaylorShemekia Copeland and Charlie Musselwhite.

Iglauer joined NPR’s Scott Simon to speak about the legendary blues label and its new, three-CD set, 50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music. Listen to the full audio above, and read on for highlights from the interview.

Interview Highlights

On Hound Dog Taylor’s music, the inspiration behind Alligator Records 

“It was the happiest music I had ever heard. You know, Hound Dog didn’t do slow, cry-in-your-beer blues. He did blues to make you drink your beer and get up and dance. It was so raw, and it was so spontaneous. It was just three guys, two electric guitars and a drum set, playing cheap equipment in a club that didn’t even have a stage. And the music just made me want to dance and jump up and down, and it needed to be shared. It felt so great.”

On Shemekia Copeland’s “Clotilda’s On Fire

“It’s a song about the very last slave ship that came to the United States, to Mobile, Ala., just before the Civil War. By that time, importing slaves was illegal, but they did it anyway. And in order to hide it, they burned the ship in the harbor after they unloaded the slaves. It was rediscovered only a few years ago, and it brought back all the memories of how close we still are to those years of slavery. Later in the song, [Copeland] sings, we’re still living with the ghost. And I think this last summer, we saw a lot of that. But she actually recorded it before Black Lives Matter, and it was held because of the pandemic. … I love the fact that she’s getting outside of the traditional blues subject matter and singing songs that are for today’s audience and tomorrow’s audience, and I’m looking for more artists like that for the future of Alligator.”

On the purpose of blues music

“Well, the blues was designed not to make you feel bad. When I first came to Chicago, in 1970, a patron at one of the blues clubs said to me, ‘You listen to the blues to get rid of the blues.’ You know, blues was created by horribly oppressed people down South, Black people down South. But the magic is that the music speaks to people all over the world, and it makes them feel better. It squeezes the pain out of you. It’s a healing music. It’s a music that’s been easy for me to dedicate my whole career to, and it’s a music that just keeps feeding me emotionally.” 

“An artist is anyone who is ahead of his time and behind on the rent” ~ Kinky Friedman


“I want to see a Jew in the White House” an interview.
Kinky Friedman & The Texas Jewboys. “They Aint Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore”.Richard Samet “Kinky” Friedman (born November 1, 1944 is an American Texas Country singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain.He was one of two independent candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas. Receiving 12.6% of the vote, Friedman placed fourth in the six-person race.One of his most famous numbers is “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,” a song in which Kinky verbally and physically beats up a drunken white racist who berates blacks, Jews, Greeks, and Sigma Nus in a bar..


Think Kink

By Ben Greenman

The New Yorker

Illustration by DANIEL HERTZBERG
Illustration by DANIEL HERTZBERG

It’s a good time to be Kinky. Prodigious at chess as a child in the fifties, persistently irreverent as a country artist in the seventies, an author of a series of popular detective novels beginning in the eighties, a gubernatorial candidate in Texas in 2006, Kinky Friedman (born Richard, but Kinky for a half century) is still making the most of his unerring satirical eye, disregard for political correctness, and dedication to his craft(s). A play based on Friedman’s life recently opened in Houston—it was created by the writer-director responsible for “Always . . . Patsy Cline”—and Willie Nelson will release a tribute album of Kinky covers later this year. On May 9th, Friedman will appear at Highline Ballroom for the Springtime for Kinky tour, which celebrates both his writing and his music; he’ll sign recent books and play classic songs of high quality and poor taste like “Sold American,” “The Ballad of Charles Whitman,” “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore,” and, if the stars are aligned, “Ol’ Ben Lucas,” a heartwarming ode to rhinotillexomania. ♦


Lone Star

Kinky Friedman on the campaign trail.

By Dan Halpern


Here are a few lessons from modern American music. First, he not busy being born is busy dying. Second, you can’t hang a man for killing a woman who is trying to steal your horse. And, third, you come to see what you want to see; you come to see, but you never come to know.

These are good lessons. Bob Dylan provided the first, Willie Nelson the second. The third belongs to Kinky Friedman, who, in the nineteen-seventies, travelled around the country with his country-and-Western band—Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys—annoying audiences with a series of goading, satirical songs with titles like “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore” and “Asshole from El Paso.” In the eighties, after the band broke up, Kinky reinvented himself as a mystery novelist. In the past twenty years, he has written seventeen mysteries starring a detective named Kinky Friedman—a Jewish cowboy from Texas who has quit a singing career for a life of sleuthing and one-liners in New York City. Today, Dylan and Nelson, whose onstage thrones in the great concert hall of musical divinity were installed decades ago, seem to intend to ride their tour buses forever. Kinky, who never learned to sit still much, has grown tired of his second career—this year, at the age of sixty, he announced that his most recent mystery will be his last—and has sought out a third. He intends to be the governor of Texas.

At nine o’clock on a bright May morning, near the start of his first real campaign swing, the candidate was sitting in the shabby ground-floor restaurant of the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Houston, wondering what to have for breakfast. “The decisions that kill me are the little ones,” Kinky told me later. “Wardrobe kills me. I have two outfits. I have my Waylon Jennings vest, which is this booger here that Waylon gave me, and I have my preaching coat, and every morning it takes me half the goddam day to figure which one I’m going to wear.” On this occasion, he had gone with the vest—the preaching coat is usually reserved for more formal occasions—a slightly weather-beaten black leather number, worn over a black shirt and jeans, topped off with his customary black Stetson and the first of eight or ten cigars (Montecristo No. 2s) that he smokes each day. “The Governor has decided on pancakes!” he barked, finally. “Jewford, are there pancakes at this buffet? Do you see any kind of pancakes anywhere?”

“Pancakes for the Governor! The Governor will have pancakes!” Little Jewford shouted, and promptly did nothing about it. Little Jewford—who was born Jeff Shelby—was one of the original Jewboys, a conservatory-trained pianist who played keyboards, accordion, clavieta, toy trumpet, and kazoo. In this new road show he acts as Kinky’s driver, all-around bodyman, and voice of reason—or, often, a sort of profound unreason. They have known each other for almost fifty years, since they were children, and they play off each other in a continuous Marx Brothers-style high vaudeville—Kinky does Groucho, Jewford does both Chico and Harpo. Kinky, who has never been married, often introduces Jewford to crowds as “very possibly the next First Lady of the state of Texas”; when asked about it, Jewford tends to shrug and say things like “I need a gig.”

Kinky went off to look for breakfast in another part of the restaurant. Much as he has a set of different voices—a soft, ruminative tone for conversation, a booming, exaggeratedly countrified delivery when he’s playing the role of bullhorn preacher—Kinky has a few different walks. Now he put on the full cowboy strut, shoulders back and hands at hips: the cowboy hunting breakfast. He soon found the buffet and pancakes, but no syrup. “The Governor needs syrup!” Kinky said. “Is there any syrup for the Governor?”

Eventually, a waiter turned up with the syrup. He couldn’t stop grinning, and he insisted on addressing Kinky deferentially as Governor, which made the candidate a little nervous. He liked making the joke himself, but the waiter really seemed to mean it. Kinky’s problem, he has said, is that he considers himself a serious soul who has never been taken seriously. But you might say that his problem is more that he’s always taken seriously for the wrong things, at the wrong times. He’s taken literally when he sings an entirely silly anti-women’s-liberation song that’s meant as satire (“Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed”); he’s not taken seriously when he sings a sober, elegiac country song about the Holocaust (“Ride ‘Em Jewboy”). At breakfast, he was just having fun with the idea of being governor-self-mockery as self-importance-and the waiter took it straight; later that day, he would be annoyed by reporters who insinuated that he was just faking a campaign for the hell of it. But in the restaurant he relaxed after a moment and smiled at the waiter, shook his hand, thanked him for the syrup, and told him he was a good Texan. Then he started in on the pancakes, pronouncing, “The Governor is happy.” After another bite, he added, “Well, maybe happy is going a little far. But the Governor has syrup. So that’s something.”


~~~ CONTINUE ~~~




Emotional Weather Report – TOM WAITS

Late night and early morning low clouds

Chance of showers into the afternoon
With variable high cloudiness
And gusty winds, gusty winds
With a chance of fog
At times around the corner of
Sunset and Alvorado
Things are tough all over
When the thunder storms start
Increasing over the southeast
And south central portions
Of my apartment, I get upset
And a line of thunderstorms was
Developing in the early morning
Ahead of a slow moving coldfront
Cold blooded
With tornado watches issued shortly
Before noon Sunday, for the areas
Including, the western region
Of my mental health
And the northern portions of my
Ability to deal rationally with my
Disconcerted precarious emotional
Situation, it’s cold out there
Colder than a ticket taker’s smile
At the Ivar Theatre, on a Saturday night
Flash flood watches covered the
Southern portion of my disposition
There was no severe weather well
Into the afternoon, except for a lone gust of
Wind in the bedroom
In a high pressure zone, covering the eastern
Portion of a small suburban community
With a 103 and millibar high pressure zone
And a weak pressure ridge extending from
My eyes down to my cheeks cause since
You left me baby
And put the vice grips on my mental health
Well the extended outlook for an
Indefinite period of time until you
Come back to me baby is high tonight
Low tomorrow, and precipitation is


November 26, 2021


~~~ LISTEN ~~~

For more than 20 years the performance artist known as Reverend Billy — real name, Bill Talen — has been crusading against consumerism in New York and abroad. I first met him in early 2000, when I recorded his attempt to exorcise a cash register in the Disney Store on Times Square. 

“People, tourists, listen to me,” Reverend Billy called out in the flagship store. “Mickey Mouse is the anti-Christ. This is the devil!”

Chain stores, especially Starbucks, were the targets of the Reverend Billy’s wrath as he railed against “the sea of identical details.” He blamed them for destroying mom-and-pop businesses all over America. Back then, Talen was known to enlist audience members in political actions. I followed members of one throng as they marched to a Manhattan parking lot, where a billboard deemed an affront to the neighborhood was defaced using paintball guns.

After the economic meltdown in 2008, Talen shifted much of his focus to the climate crisis. The fake clergyman remains the spiritual leader of the Church of Stop Shopping, and in November celebrates 20 years of musical anti-consumerist crusading in a New York City concert with his Stop Shopping Choir. But he now refers to the Earth as “our religion.” He launched a podcast, and in a video posted on YouTube he stands at a lectern in the ocean, preaching about extreme weather.

~~~ WATCH ~~~

“The globe is warming and it is human-caused!” he preaches, water up to his knees. “This wet, white and blue spinning rock in space that is our home is in grave danger.” As the sermon progresses, the sea does, too, rising up to his waist, then his chest.

Firms like British Petroleum now serve as the Reverend’s foils. At the Tate Modern in London, he exorcized BP, which had underwritten an exhibit. Protesters dumped gooey black theatrical oil over his Elvis pompadour, and it dripped down to his trademark white suit. 

“Climate change! Climate change! Climate change!” he shouted in a cavernous section of the museum, his voice ringing with urgency. Though he intentionally smeared a BP logo on a wall with the black goo, Talen was not detained. He says he’s never been arrested in the U.K., though he claims police followed him constantly during a nine-city tour earlier this month.

Talen, 71, estimates he’s been arrested elsewhere more than 50 times over the last two decades—always in his clerical collar, along with a leisure-suit wardrobe expanded to include shades of neon pink, orange and green. His longest jail stay was three days in California. During the pandemic, he was arrested for trespassing at a field hospital in Central Park set up by an anti-gay religious group.

Sometimes Talen keeps the clerical collar on even when he’s not performing. Over the years, he’s started assuming pastoral duties, presiding at hundreds of weddings, baptisms and even funerals. “People pulled me into rituals,” he says. “I was at first just following what people were telling me to do, in a sort of state of amazement. But now I’m just helping wherever I can.”

Talen has a knack for conveying spiritual sincerity to both his audiences and the dozens of people in the Stop Shopping Choir, says Alisa Solomon, a veteran journalist and Columbia University professor, who edited the 2011 book The Reverend Billy Project

“There’s a tendency at first to look at Reverend Billy and say, ‘Oh, yeah. We know this joke: Here’s a guy who’s making fun of the Jimmy Swaggarts,'” Solomon says. “But he’s not just making fun of the preacher role; he’s making use of it. Reverend Billy is not a role that he just puts on and plays: he really is Reverend Billy.”

Solomon cites Talen’s wife, Savitri D. — Talen refers to her as the director of the Church of Stop Shopping — for the dramaturgical shaping of the group’s public actions. “Their events are highly choreographed,” Solomon notes. “There are plans for where the choir is going to stand, when they’re going to sing, when Billy is going to bust out into a sermon.”

That as many as 25 members of the Stop Shopping Choir continued to rehearse in Brooklyn during the pandemic, Savitri D. explains, prepared the group well for its recent British invasion. “During COVID, we met on a rooftop and sang in masks for three hours, week after week, in all kinds of weather,” she says. “We were able to tour in the U.K. and be a really coherent ensemble because we never stopped singing together.”

The choir was bolstered by several members of its satellite chorus in the U.K., and supported by a grant from the British Arts Council. The tour concluded in Glasgow during the COP26 Summit, though its final performance was cancelled after a member tested positive for COVID.

~~~ WATCH ~~~

Some members of the Stop Shopping Choir have sung in the group for a decade or longer, according to musical director Gregory Corbino. Veterans say it’s like a second family. The ensemble includes an opera singer, as well as a Tony-nominated actor, Amber Gray, who is currently starring in Hadestown on Broadway. (Gray, Savitri D. notes, is one of several participants who’ve met their mates in the choir.)

“Some people end up in the choir because they are deeply invested in direct action activism,” says Sunder Ganglani, who has written several of the choir’s most recent songs. Others simply do it for the love of singing. “There are many roads for entry,” Ganglani confirms.

For Talen, activism clearly is a serious tenet of faith. As a way of minimizing his carbon footprint, he flew standby to the U.K., and donated a portion of the British Arts Council funds to a bicycle delivery group and a community garden. By all accounts, locals seemed open to listening to New York City’s faux clergyman. Talen appeared on the BBC, and preached outside the British Museum dressed in a pink suit and carrying a matching pink megaphone. 

His bullhorns were seized regularly by the New York Police Department when he first started railing against consumerism in Times Square during the late 1990’s. It’s not lost on Reverend Billy that his current mode of conveying apocalyptic environmental concern has something in common with the sidewalk preachers he lampooned all those years ago.

“I do feel that I’m getting back to some of the fire and brimstone when I shout about the fires and the floods,” he says, chuckling. “It sounds a lot like those screaming Old Testament people that I was satirizing 20 years ago. And here we are with all that fire and brimstone actually happening in our lives.”

Los Lobos Native Sons


If you’re a Los Lobos fan and haven’t listened to Native Sons you should be ashamed.. One of their best compilations of various styles of music and musicians from southern California. Wow!

The Great Randini gave me the CD he’d stolen, I cranked it up in my studio and about half way through my wife comes in with this huge smile and asks is this all on one record?
Look, the Wolves didn’t reinvent the wheel here, “BUT” it’s simply a joy to listen to, from start to finish, 12 great covers and one excellent original! Generally I don’t review music or books, but for this I’m making an exception. Well done Los Lobos.

Los Angeles based band, Los Lobos, have always been inspired by their surroundings and the place they call home. Their music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, and traditional music such as cumbia, boleros and norteños. With Native Sons the band set out to showcase all of these influences with their own take on the songs of Los Angeles from some of the cities greatest songwriters. Native Sons features 13-songs from well known LA artists such as Buffalo Springfield, WAR, Jackson Browne and the Beach Boys as well as deep cuts from the Jaguars, The Basters and The Premiers. The album title track is the sole original composition written by the band. Love Special Delivery Misery Bluebird / For What It’s Worth Los Chucos Suaves Jamaica Say You Will Never No More Native Son Farmer John Dichoso Sail On, Sailor The World Is A Ghetto Flat Top Joint Where Lovers Go

~~~ WATCH ~~~