Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

BIG AL's JOVIAL JUKEBOX #8: "Circus Mystery" by SKID ROPER, 1989

Albie's note:  I have been long been a fan of the totally unique American musicain and song-writer Skid Roper, best remembered today as the '80s era sidekick of wild-man goof-a-billy Mojo Nixon.  I like Mojo, too, of course, but the strange poetry and spotty career of the laid-back Skid [born Richard Banke, 19 October 1954 in National City, California] fascinates me more.  After he and Mojo split, Skid would record at least 3 indescribable solo albums containing songs with titles like "The Return Of Rodan,"  "Teen-age Caveman," "Lincoln Logs" and "Shack Out On 101." 

This weird and funny song/poem comes from the classic 1989 Nixon/Roper effort ROOT HOG OR DIE, where Brother Skid was credited with "vocals, bongos, washboard, harmonica and guitar."  It was the only Roper solo song on that album, but young Albie always dug it.

I should warn ya, he's probably whatcha would call... "an acquired taste."  Anyway, here's the tune:

Words and music by
The laughing clown sat down and cried
The wiry contortionist straightened out her act
The lion tamer put away his whip
"Save it for some other cat..."
And the dwarves cried giant tears...
Circus Mystery.
The strong man suddenly became weak
Nagging thoughts came from the horse's pen
The ventriloquist had to dummy up
Couldn't even say "when..."
And the dwarves cried giant tears...
Circus Mystery.
The puppet show was still and quiet
The fat lady's chances were slim
All the acro-bats looked for a new cave
Their wits had... dimmed...
And the dwarves cried giant tears...
Circus Mystery.
All those things in large jars were gone
Aligator man though it was all a "crock"
Dumb elephants can't tell their tales
Houdini Jr. just couldn't pick the lock...
And the dwarves cried giant tears...
Circus Mystery.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

FUN ON THE 'NET: Make Your Own church Sign!

Just went to a fun site today found at this URL:  

You can make your own "church signs" and post your results.  I just made a couple for grins:

Just thought I'd pass on the fun!


Sunday, November 11, 2012


Albie's Note:  I really like this song off the new Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver album.  It's a tribute to the American small-town mercantile store.  I grew up with one of those right down the highway in Sonoita, AZ and it was pretty much exactly what you hear described in the song.  In fact... pictured above is that same store as it looks today! 

Take a listen to this great new song:

The rickety front porch planks are creakin'
But the hound door by the door keeps sleepin'
Old men stare when you walk in
And behind the counter stands Big Jim
He's 5 feet tall and a little change
Telling stories with a grin on his face

It smells like country ham and cheese
Pipe tobacco and kerosene
There's a pot belly stove and checkers by the door
It's a dying breed the country store

There's homemade fudge, RC and moon pies
Fishing lures, guns and knives
Camo' gear and turkey calls
Carhartt coats and overalls
It's a whole lot different then the new Quick Stack
Cause when you leave they say y'all come back

If you're ever around these parts , stop in
Cause if you do your gonna wanna come back again

There's a radio station playin' country
And on Saturday night they listen to the Opry
Tapping to fiddles on a hard wood floor
It's a dying breed that country store
Man, I love that country store!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Some Words That Slammed Me HARD: "Am I Good And Broken?"

by Nancy Leigh deMoss

Proud people focus on the failures of others.
Broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need.

Proud people have a critical, fault-finding spirit; they look at everyone else’s faults
with a microscope but their own with a telescope.
Broken people are compassionate; they forgive much because they know how much
they have been forgiven.

Proud people are self-righteous; they look down on others.

Broken people esteem all others better than themselves.

Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit.

Broken people have a dependent spirit; they recognize their need for others.

Proud people have to prove that they are right.

Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.

Proud people claim rights; they have a demanding spirit.

Broken people yield their rights; they have a meek spirit.

Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation.

Broken people are self-denying.

Proud people desire to be served.

Broken people are motivated to serve others.

Proud people desire to be a success.
Broken people are motivated to be faithful
and to make others a success.

Proud people desire self-advancement.
Broken people desire to promote others.

Proud people have a drive to be recognized and appreciated.
Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness;
they are thrilled that God would use them at all.

Proud people are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked.
Broken people are eager for others to get the credit;
  they rejoice when others are lifted up.

Proud people have a subconscious feeling,
"This ministry/church is privileged to have me and my gifts";
they think of what they can do for God.
Broken people’s heart attitude is, "I don’t deserve to have a part in any ministry";
they know that they have nothing to offer God
except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.

Proud people feel confident in how much they know.
Broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn.

from © Brokenness: Revive Our Hearts.
Written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.



I just Googled the words "beatnik" and "comics" together on a lark and found some funny old images.  Just thought I'd share a few.  I actually like the guy in the "Dennis" panel.  The camaraderie with kids is endearing.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

POETRY BREAK #11: "Dream Of A Baseball Star" by Gregory Corso 1960

Poem by Gregory Corso

I dreamed Ted Williams
leaning at night
against the Eiffel Tower, weeping.

He was in uniform
and his bat lay at his feet
–knotted and twiggy.
Randall Jarrell says you’re a poet!” I cried.
“So do I! I say you’re a poet!”

He picked up his bat with blown hands;
stood there astraddle as he would in the batter’s box,
and laughed! flinging his schoolboy wrath
toward some invisible pitcher’s mound
–waiting the pitch all the way from heaven.

It came; hundreds came! all afire!
He swung and swung and swung and connected not one
sinker curve hook or right-down-the-middle.
A hundred strikes!
The umpire dressed in strange attire
thundered his judgment: YOU’RE OUT!
And the phantom crowd’s horrific boo
dispersed the gargoyles from Notre Dame.

And I screamed in my dream:
God! throw thy merciful pitch!
Herald the crack of bats!
Hooray the sharp liner to left!
Yea the double, the triple!
Hosannah the home run!
From The Happy Birthday of Death, City Lights Press, San Francisco CA (1960, poetry)
Gregory Nunzio Corso (March 26, 1930 – January 17, 2001)

"...It comes, I tell you, immense with gasolined rags and bits of wire and old bent nails, a dark arriviste, from a dark river within." — Gregory Corso, How Poetry Comes to Me (epigraph of Gasoline)


Well, it's official.  Youtube is amazing.

Just when I was sure there was some music from my past so strange and obscure it would never, EVER end up on this insane WorldWideWeb, I playfully decided today to search for "Jonathan And Leigh" and my favorite song from their single and (I assumed) long-forgotten 1967 Vanguard album THIRD AND MAIN popped up and played for me!

Yes, Youtube, you win.  You are amazing... and, Ok, you're very useful too.

I bought this one on vinyl back about '87 when-- as a college student in Northwest Arkansas-- I was somehow heavily into old folk and blues music.   At a record store in Fayetteville ARK I had struck up a friendship with the owner-- a guy named Dave-- who repeatedly sold me old Vanguard titles at reasonable prices.   Looking back, I think there must have been virtually no call for these titles in the collector's market of the time, as Dave was notoriously expensive on everything else, from current English rockabilly imports to standard oldies fare. 

As a result, I built up quite a collection of recordings by artists like Ian And Sylvia, Judy Collins, Mimi And Richard Farina, Josh White, Odetta, early Gordon Lightfoot, and even occasionally Joan Baez.   I had originally gotten into this kind of stuff because of a record store owner I had known earlier back in Tucson AZ-- Larry The Mad Hatter-- who would play strange songs by Farina and Leonard Cohen on his store's sound system while he drank beer and laughed and read Gregory Corso poems.  All of this stuff-- quite old already at the time-- was actually quite new and strange to a miner's son from Sonoita AZ who had grown up with older brothers playing awesome stuff like Buck Owens, The Ventures and Del Shannon on those old, suitcase-style record players.

I guess what I appreciated about this stuff at the time-- and still appreciate to some extent-- was that it seemed like there was a real attempt at poetry in all of it.  These artists, in their better moments, would actually compose songs that were poetic-- even on paper-- and as an impressionable young English major sitting in my loft discovering Blake and Whitman and Lew Welch I could not help but be compelled to it.  Even today, song-writers like Eric Anderson and Ian Tyson can really impress me with their imagery, but back then?-- sipping Brandy, painting in watercolors, and composing my own strange "poems" at my book-cluttered desk-- it was like I was in a garret in Paris or something! 

[Hey... I warned you in my blog header I was a Beatnik!  It is now a part of me I just can't bury... and believe me, I have tried! :) ]

Anyway... back to the album. This one was cheap even for Dave-- 2 bucks, if memory serves-- and it was so obscure I could find no reference to these artists anywhere, not even in the folk music reference books, although Osbornes' Record Guide did at least list it (nothing ever got by that guy, apparently.)

I bought it because it was on Vanguard, and nothing I had ever found on that label was entirely uninteresting. At first I though it was just OK, good songwriting and selection of covers, with decent-- if wimpy-- vocal interpretation.  But after a few plays it really grew on me.  It just had that wintery, folky feel to it.

Phil Ochs (December 19, 1940 – April 9, 1976)
My favorite cut was this one, "Changes,"  a Phil Ochs tune I had already heard in its original and  several cover versions.   What made J & L's version special to me was the female harmony on the later verses, supplied by the mysterious "Leigh."  I never had any info on her or "Jonatahan, but today, thanks to the 'net, I now know some basic things.

Apparently, according to the site, which uses information from the CD re-issue [there's a CD???!], this much we know:

"The obscure male-female folk-rock duo Jonathan and Leigh recorded one album for Vanguard, Third and Main, released in 1967. Songwriter Jonathan Alden and his partner Leigh (no last name given on the sleeve but actuall Sandy Lee Roepken) echoed contemporary folk-rock male-female acts such as Richard & Mimi Farina, Ian & Sylvia, Jim & Jean, and the We Five... Among the supporting musicians were Russ Savakus (who had played bass on several Ian & Sylvia and Farinas albums), bassist Richard Davis, and guitarist Jay Berliner (both of whom would play on Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, and the rhythm section of Warren Smith (drums) and William Salter (bass), who would play on several albums by Pearls Before Swine. Smith also played on Astral Weeks, although the presence of three sidemen who also played on that album should not be taken to mean that Jonathan & Leigh sound at all like Van Morrison... For all that, it's a rather likable if slight folk-rock album, recorded perhaps before the duo's skills had reached optimum maturation. Considering it was on the rather high-profile independent folk and folk-rock label Vanguard, it made very little impact, though it's not all that hard to find in the used bins."
Both of them are still alive, apparently, so Jon, Leigh... If you ever come across this blog, please know that I liked your record a lot. It was a big part-- of a small part-- of my crazy life.

by Phil Ochs

Sit by my side, come as close as the air,
Share in a memory of gray;
Wander in my words, dream about the pictures
That I play of changes.

Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall
To brown and to yellow they fade.
And then they have to die, trapped within
the circle time parade of changes.

Scenes of my young years were warm in my mind,
Visions of shadows that shine.
Til one day I returned and found they were the
Victims of the vines of changes.

The world's spinning madly, it drifts in the dark
Swings through a hollow of haze,
A race around the stars, a journey through
The universe ablaze with changes.

Moments of magic will glow in the night
All fears of the forest are gone
But when the morning breaks they're swept away by
golden drops of dawn, of changes.

Passions will part to a strange melody.
As fires will sometimes burn cold.
Like petals in the wind, we're puppets to the silver
strings of souls, of changes.

Your tears will be trembling, now we're somewhere else,
One last cup of wine we will pour
And I'll kiss you one more time, and leave you on
the rolling river shores of changes.