Sunday, December 30, 2007

Web in front.

I spent most of the last two weeks in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, residing literally in the shadow of Cold Mountain. I'm gonna blog on the entire trip, but choose to do it out of narrative order. So I'll start with my first weekend there and a Saturday (the 22nd) trip from Lake Junaluska east on the The Great Smoky Mountains Expressway and then I-40 to Asheville.

Eric Bachmann and his ensemble in Archers of Loaf, a Chapel Hill band that really originally hails from the west and Asheville, provide our entry title, their second single and the first track from their epochal 1993 release, Icky Mettle, a noisefest which mimics among other things the sound of boulders falling in the Pigeon River Gorge on I-40 between Waynesville,NC and the Tennessee state line. Hope they don't mind my "Backwash"!

Anyway we went to Biltmore Village first for lunch at Rezaz.

This quaint area of arts and crafts homes and some nice brick buildings is where the railhead ended, the supplies were dropped off, and the artisans lived while building the largest private home in America (to this day) for George Washington Vanderbilt II. Nowadays even the Mickey D's is nice!

Here's a typical street scene in the very heart of Biltmore Village.

This Biltmore Village street garden is out front of the New Morning Gallery, a fun two story maze of everything from kitchsy $2 magnets to high five figure bedroom sets.

Another fine restaurant at the back of Biltmore Village on Boston Way is The Corner Kitchen, where Joe makes his own fantastic potato chips to couple with the gourmet American cuisine.

Across the street is Chelseas: a tea shop and frilly emporium as its subtitle —A Country French & English Store— suggests.

It does have some pretty planters out front of each entrance.

Here the festively bedecked BV Christmas shuttle passes between Chelseas and The Corner Kitchen.

A great place for concerts is All Soul's Episcopal Cathedral.

We headed up and over two hills on Biltmore Avenue to the Asheville Wine Market and then retraced our steps and hit the Blue Ridge Parkway to visit the Southern Highland Craft Guild's Folk Art Center for a Christmas concert featuring The Blue Ridge Orchestra and The Voices in the Laurel youth choirs.

On the way back to Junaluska, we stopped at the W(estern)N(orth)C(arolina) Farmer's Market, as featured in the legendary Rick Sebak's PBS documentary: To Market To Market To Buy a Fat Pig (And yes, the Dekalb Farmer's Market is that incredible; he also did the ones on ice cream, sandwiches, hot dogs, and old style amusement parks, for starters!).

One of my favorite places to shop at the Western North Carolina Farmer's Market is Coates Produce, with both fresh produce and delicious jams, jellies, preserves, and butters.

Monday, December 17, 2007

King tut.

This is the funniest thing I've read in a long while, enough that I was guffawing out loud as soon as I saw it sitting in City Bagel.

Funnier still is that it's really a throwaway one-liner (or more precisely two-word independent clause as caption). But then you had to be there and remember Martin's deadly sense of timing and pitch. In my head, I heard and saw him—lips pursed-holding this picture up to an audience. And then those two words "No Comment" through clenched teeth in his precisely clipped diction. Yes, he was a genius standup comedian. If "The Great Flydini" isn't the definition of genius, then I don't know what is. And one other fond memory from this two page spread. I remember the Tallahssee show he alludes to as one of the few good pop music concerts in my misbegotten North Flroida 1970s adolescence: Steve Martin opening for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at Doak Campbell Stadium during FSU's Homecoming.

All those folks who go on and on about FSU as the "Berkeley of the South" have evidently never been to the Bay Area to see what a vibrant college town is really like. Also if they could remember the late 60s or early 70s, either they weren't really there . . . or they were Bill Clinton and didn't . . . . Hell Palo Alto had more nightlife in the mid 1980s than Tallahassee ever has or probably ever will. Not that I don't still love my hometown, mind you.

Don't stop believin'.

It's like 1981 all over again. Petra Haden totally rules.

Kanye's not so bad either.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Six pack.

Six candid snaps from my 12/15/07 Christmas could be a Mix Tape party.

Kim Beatty

Koffee Klatch

Donna Wolf catching up with the Jones'

Some of my Christmas Toy Collection

The tree is a party of one

Half the dining room spread

Friday, December 14, 2007

You're the top!

Straight from Peru (Indiana) to you, props and congrats to Emma Ignaszaewski, WINNER of the Inaugural Christmas Could be a Mix Tape Christmas Party Contest. Emma's CD entitled Love Letters (see she knows how to scan a blog and suck up to the contest holder, but note I didn't vote as an ex officio member of the judging panel) is pictured above along with her entry essay. I'm proud to name it the final member of the LoveLetters Trilogy I: The Compilation, II: lfil, and III: Emma's Songs.

Here's what the judges got when deciding she was the winner:
Tape B

Nicely illustrated track listing; Tape involves original songs plus a Karaoke effect singalong by compiler. Has an essay explaining this decision.

Aida-Every Story is a Love Story
Stevie Wonder-Part-Time Lover
John Mayer-Only Heart
Box of Rain-Grateful Dead
Sarah Bereilles-Love Song
Christina Aguilera-Ain't No Other Man
Bruce Springsteen-Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Dean Martin-Send Me The Pillow You Dream On'
James Morrison-This Boy
Journey-Don't Stop Believing
Aida-Every Story is a Love Story (Reprise)

essay: Love is a swaying porch swing watching the sunset. Love is biking to the park on a weekend afternoon ton play frisbee a dusk. Love is singing along to the music. I taped myself singing along t all my favorite songs…those songs I play five times in a row on the way t school. The result is this, a mélange of bona fide performers and me, a regular kid who loves music so much that she isn't ashamed of her mediocre voice being subtly played next to those legends.
Anyway, double congratulations are in order as Emma is awaiting news of where she'll attend college next fall: she is an extremely talented science student and Arizona state medallist in swimming. I know her parents are very justifiably proud of all her accomplishments. TNA is excited to hear where she decides to attend college when she decides.

Emma, thanks for the mix! The Prize (?) is in the mail.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Have a holly jolly christmas.

The Christmas decorations are taking shape at 119 Edgewood Drive. I've finished putting up what few ornaments I'm arranging on the bigger and smaller trees. I've got some presents under the tree (to distribute to friends, not for me silly!). Wreaths and other knick knacks are suitably laid out. Just have to finish arranging the Christmas toys and a few other items related to the Mix Tape contest on the coffee table behind my white couch.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


My hometown; a Mountain Goats disc on 4AD.

"Tallahassee" London (2005)

"Game Shows Touch Our Lives" Atlanta (2006)

"Game Show" video featuring John Darnielle

"No Children" Chicago (2004)

"See America Right" Baton Rouge (2006)

And why not?

Freddy Cannon, "Tallahassee Lassie" (ca. 1959-60)

Alas no footage of the famous Flamin Groovies version from Groovies 'Greatest Grooves. However, lots of bands from Finland cover this tune!??! following something called Hurriganes. I guess Big in Finland is to the '00s what Big in Japan was to the '70s. Lordi anyone? anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Addenda 12/10/07 11:25 AM

Mountain Goats in London with Eddie Argos from Art Brut 8/12/2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Come join the band!

Besides needing scholarship money, why would you ever join a military style marching band? Especialy when you could be a rock star instead like this

and this

All Right Now! JumP JumP JumP!

Rammer Jammer that!

Long live the scatter band tradition.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

King dork.

One of the most charming things about Frank Portman's fantastic young adult novel, King Dork, is the running joke about Tom aka Sheepie aka Chi-Mo's continually non-existent band composed of his few buddies, which changes names and logos seemingly weekly like a fictional version of one of Bob Pollard's 4-disc box sets with 103 songs each attributed to a different band with hilarious names like Bottoms Up! (You Fantastic Bastard), Resin Cabin, Turbo Boy, Unshaven Bird, Marching 100, A Good Circuitry Soldier or Mars: The Bringer of War. But a perceptive fan named Hez did point out this truth:
I brought Frank Portman's book King Dork on my trip. I read the thing in two days. It was really good. In the book, the main character makes up a band with his best friend. They change the band name every week. Baby Batter was one such name...while going through my dad's records I was surprised to see that it was a real album!
Pretty much anyone with a serious interest in pop/rock music has fantasized about being in a band and created a back story or a Behind The Music career arc. Ten years ago here's the one I came up with:

A fragment of

The Maximal Bard;


Shakespearean Society and The Spectacle

Some Ruminations by G. E. Light

[Page Break]

For the Young and Young at Heart

© Copyright by George Evans Light 1997
All Rights Reserved

[Page Break]


I. Shakescult/Bardcrit 1

II. The Profession 6

III. Acting Up 10

IV. Detritus 15

V. Prologemena for a New Edition ?

VI. Textual Note(s) ?

[Page Break]
Pop Music and Shakespeare

Mr. Malone, Hey Nonny Nonny this. If I had a band, its name would most definitely be “This happy breed of men” and it would play loud dour guitar music somewhere between The Mission of Burma and My Bloody Valentine. Several song titles already come to mind: “Pursued by a Bear,” “The very naked name of love,” “Seen the Spider,” “Gazer Joy,” “Because my name is George,” and “The muzzle of restraint.” For good measure our set would end with a Jonsonian encore of the punky “Turd i’ your teeth” followed by three covers: a cover of This Mortal Coil’s cover of the Chris Bell tune “I am the Cosmos,” Guided by Voices' “Over the Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox,” and a frenzied finale of The Weddoes’ “Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft” in full Albini effect.

That’s the harmony in MY head; such is the stuff dreams are made on. (p. 13)

Highway song: a mix-tape redux.

Well the entries are in and the play lists sent out to judges across the globe for my 1st ever Christmas is Like A Mix Tape Christmas Party Contest. In preparing for the party I had to dig out amongst other items my picture flexidisc copy of the biggest selling 45 of all Time, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas", and the famous NME punk mix Pogo A Go Go NME 021. Trawling through the music room closet is always an adventure. The search for Pogo also turned up my absolute favorite mix tape.





Driving Tape Maxell XL II 90 recorded in KZSU studio B 10/31/89


The Cowboy Junkies-Blue Moon Revisited (Song For Elvis)
The Supremes-Someday We'll Be Together
The Chambers Brothers-People Get Ready
Winston Groovy-Please Don't Make Me Cry
UB40-Don't Slow Down
The Smiths-Never Had No One Ever
Billie Holiday-Moonlight in Vermont
Sly & The Family Stone-Qué Será Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)
Robert Cray-Right Next Door
Toussaint McCall-Nothing Takes The Place of You
Ray Charles-Careless Love
The Pogues-I'm A Man You Don't Meet Every Day

Fast & Bad
The Beatles-Helter Skelter
Siouxsie & The Banshees-Spellbound
The Cult-Love Removal Machine
Led Zeppelin-Communication Breakdown
The Undertones-You Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It)
Jesus and Mary Chain-Never Understand
Hüsker Dü-Maske No Sense At All
NY Dolls-Personality Crisis
The Lyres-Help You Ann
The Wedding Present-I'm Not Always So Stupid
The Avengers-The Amerikan In Me
The Clash-Complete Control
The Mr. T Experience-On The Team
The Godfathers-Birth, School, Work, Death

I could listen to that one on an endless autoreverse loop "Till the conversion of the Jews"!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A wild and crazy dude.

In honor of Steve Martin publishing his autobiographical memoir, Born Standing Up, these two clips should explain his essential genius to the youngsters out there who mainly know him as a white guy gray haired Hollywood Father figure. In 1981 when he walked away forever from live on the road as a stand-up comic, he was filling 20,000 seat arenas and was as hot as any comic has ever been.

Ben Yagoda says it this way over on Slate:
According to the census bureau, roughly 40 percent of the American populace was born after 1981, which means that Steve Martin has not been a stand-up comedian in their lifetime.

He concludes thusly:
Reading Born Standing Up, you're not surprised that Martin's stand-up career should have ended so suddenly and definitively. A tummler like Mel Brooks will do shtick as long as he can aspirate, but Martin's comedy was the cerebral and premeditated project of a shy man, and when he perfected the act, the only places to go were repetition, self-parody, or diminishing returns. So, as tempting as it would be to wish that he were back on stage instead of making Father of the Bride 4, it would also be wrong. Rather than begrudge him his Hollywood paydays, I'd rather thank him for the great old stuff and for this wonderful book. Back in the stand-up days, he had a bit that started out, "You know, a lot of people come to me and they say, 'Steve, how can you be so fucking funny?' " On stage, he'd say the secret was, "Before I go out, I put a slice of bologna in each of my shoes. So when I'm on stage, I feel funny." In Born Standing Up, he gives us the real answer.

Steve Martin at LA Universal Amphitheater in 1979

The truly inspired "The Great Flydini bit" performed by request for Carson on that famous final week of shows: wait for the crotch phone at 3:05 and the Luciano puppet at 5:03

Merry christmas, baby.

I am playing a Charles Brown Christmas tune on BSB this week, just not the really famous one which gives us our title. On this special show, I'll be featuring the great anthology Where Will You Be Christmas Day? (2004) collated by Dick Spottswood for Atlanta's Dust-to-Digital label.

BSB Intro
"Yield Not to Temptation"-Phantom Blues Band, Out of the Shadows
"Peace in The Valley"-Elvis Presley, Elvis' Christmas Album
"Let's Make Christmas Mean Something This Year"-James Brown, Santa's Got A Brand New Bag

Mic Break

"The Last Month of the Year"-Vera Ward Hall, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"Christ Was Born On Christmas Day"-Cotton Top Mountain Sanctified SingersWhere Were You On Christmas Day?
"Christmas Is A-Coming"-Leadbelly, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"Christmas is a Joyful Day"-Lord Executor, Where Were You On Christmas Day?

Mic Break

"Décimas De Nascimiento"-Los Jibaros, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"Sherburne"-Alabama Sacred Harp Singers, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"He Was Born in a Manger"-Rev. J. M. Gates, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"The Wrong Way To Celebrate Christmas"-Rev. Edrward W. Clayborn (The Guitar Evangelist), Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"At The Christmas Ball"-Bessie Smith, Where Were You On Christmas Day?

Mic Break

"Santa Claus"-Davis Walters, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"Papa Ain't No Santa Claus (And MAma Ain't No Christmas Tree)"-Butterbeans and Susie, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto"-James Brown, Snata's Got A Brand New Bag

Mic Break

"Through The Morning, Through The Night"-Robert Plant & Alison Kraus, Raising Sand
"Christmas Morning Blues"-Kansas City Kitty, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"Christmas Morning The Rum Had Me Yawning"-Lord Beginner, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"Christmas In Jail—Ain't That A Pain"-Leroy Carr, Where Were You On Christmas Day?

Mic Break

"Breaking Up Christmas"-Norman Edmonds, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"Lonesome Christmas"-Son Seals, The Alligator Records Christmas Collection
Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'"-Tinsley Ellis, The Alligator Records Christmas Collection

Mic Break

"Silent Night"-Charley Musselwhite, The Alligator Records Christmas Collection
"Zydeco Christmas"-C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band, Genuine Houserockin' Christmas
"Santa Claus Do You Ever Get The Blues?"-Roomful of Blues, Genuine Houserockin' Christmas
"Christmas Time Again (Spend, Spend, Spend")-Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Genuine Houserockin' Christmas

Mic Break

"Grady And Santa Is Coming To Town"-Grady Gaines & The Texas Upsetters, Blues Mistletoe & Santa's Little Helper
"Santa Don't Let Me Down"-Earl King, Blues Mistletoe & Santa's Little Helper
"Santa Bring Back My Baby"-Elvis Presley, Elvis's Christmas Album
"Blues Christmas"-Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff And The Well-Hung Ornaments, Blues Mistletoe & Santa's Little Helper

Mic Break

"Young Girls Drive Me Wild (At Christmas)"-Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets Feat.Sam Myers, Blues Mistletoe & Santa's Little Helper
"I'll Be Home for Christmas"-Various Artists, Blue Xmas
"Boogie Woogie Christmas"-Charles Brown- The Alligator Records Christmas Collection

Mic Break

"We Wish You A Merry Christmas"-Various Artists, Blue Xmas
"Kings of Orient"-The Odds, A Lump of Coal
"The First Noel"-Crash Test Dummies, A Lump of Coal
"'Twas The Night Before Christmas"-Henry Rollins, A Lump of Coal

Mic Break

"I Saw Three Ships"-King's College Choir, Cambridge, Sir David Willcocks, In The Bleak Mid-Winter: The Soft Sounds Of Christmas
"King Jesus Hath A Garden"-King's College Choir, Cambridge, Sir David Willcocks, In The Bleak Mid-Winter: The Soft Sounds Of Christmas
"Wexford Carol"-The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge/John Rutter, In The Bleak Mid-Winter: The Soft Sounds Of Christmas
"The Holly And The Ivy"-King's College Choir, Cambridge, Sir David Willcocks, In The Bleak Mid-Winter: The Soft Sounds Of Christmas
Mic Break

"Happy New Year Blues"-Mary Harris, Where Were You On Christmas Day?
"Happy New Year"-LIghtnin' Hopkins, Where Were You On Christmas Day?