Friday, September 24, 2010

Mike Edison’s Third Annual Banned Book Party

Says Mike Edison, author of the memoir I Have Fun Everywhere I Go, former High Times publisher, editor at Screw, etc., about his Banned Book Party: “Beyond the traditional prudishness of America, we are constantly facing new kinds of more insidious censorship born out of media conglomeration and new intellectual pathologies, like the concept of ‘net neutrality.’ We are going to attack all of that, plus I get to read some really filthy poetry with a bongo player. It’s my kind of party.”

Live soundtrack by the Space Liberation Pocket Arkestra, featuring BOB BERT (ex-Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore, etc) and MICKEY FINN (Boss Hog).

Joining the party this year will be very special guests, HERALD PRICE FAHRINGER, the pre-eminent free speech attorney who has spent a career fighting for the First Amendment, defending free speech warriors such as LARRY FLYNT, and going toe-to-toe with the enemies of free expression, most notably former mayor RUDOLPH GIULIANI in the Battle of Times Square; and publishing avatar RICHARD NASH, named by the Utne Reader this year as one of Fifty Visionaries Changing Your World.

Housing Works Bookstore Café
126 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012 Tel: 212-334-3324
Wed, September 29th, 7 pm FREE

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lyres on the Tee-Vee!

"Don't Give It Up Now" circa '84

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Black Cracker by Josh Alan Friedman

The experts all agree: Josh Alan Friedman’s autobiographical novel Black Cracker (Wyatt Doyle Books, 2010) offers up some of the funniest lit to appear in recent history. The Hound called it “a cultural tell-all that will leave you howling.” Author Joe Bonomo noted that it’s “a very funny and closely observed book about growing up as an outsider — in Friedman’s case as the only white kid in an all-black school in Glen Cove, New York in the mid-1960s.”

Bonomo’s thumbnail synopsis gets to the source of all the comedy in Black Cracker, namely, the protag’s own outsider status and the wonders and conflicts--cultural, economic, historical, & racial--that ensue. Read on as a grade school version of the author, known to his schoolmates as Jock, discovers the bastardized local kidspeak for Aunt Jemimah: Hecha Momma. Bear witness to the nightmarish lesson, delivered at the hands of a brood of drunken black women, that, contrary to delusion, Jock is not just very light-skinned negro. What’s not funny about being the lone, white, Jewish kid enrolled in the last segregated school in the New York area?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jimmy Reed Bookends - Odds & Ends/Ends & Odds

Today the GS offers a couple of Jimmy Reed instrumental bookends, reproduced here in glorious Scratch-o-Phonic sound. We spare no expense here to achieve the hi-est of hi-fi. Vee-Jay records released "Odds & Ends" in Oct. 1958, as the b-side to the R&B chart-climber "I'm Gonna Get My Baby." As you listen to this one you might ask who's playing that freaky fiddle? Sugarcane Harris? Papa John Creach? Research reveals that it was played by a one Remo Biondi of the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra.

Later that same year, Billboard announced the release of another Jimmy Reed instrumental, "Ends & Odds": "Reed has two great blues sides that should gather lots of R&B coin, especially in the Southern markets. 'Ends & Odds' is the natural follow-up to his previous click 'Odds & Ends'."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bo Diddley on the TeeVee!

On the Ed Sullivan Show, 1955.

Yes, this one's a medley. But check out The Duchess!

Another good one for The Duchess.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tommy Blake: $F-Oldin' Money$

The Rhythm Rebels. Carl Adams on the left. Note Adams' mangled pickin' claw and upside-down telecaster.

Tommy Blake: bastard child, juvenile delinquent, radio personality, gifted songwriter, drinker, and born loser: in his corpus gathered all the ingredients for great rockabilly.

Born Thomas LeVan Givens in Shreveport, LA--or was it Dallas? No one seems to know for sure--in 1931, the illegitimate son of an uncaring mother, Blake, as a youngster, took up the guitar, inspired by his love of country music. He quit school and joined the Marine Corps. He quickly left the Marine Corps. He then became a musician and itinerant radio personality, a career path usually overlooked by High School job fairs. Blake landed a regular spot on KRUS of Ruston, LA. Here Blake convinced rhythm guitarist Ed Dettenheim and another tragic talent, guitar wiz Carl Adams, together known as the Rhythm Rebels, to back him. Adams, it turned out, was oddly claw-fingered after a childhood shotgun accident. Said deformity, along with a love of amplifier volume, lent to Adams’ playing a certain craziness which had already been utilized by another Shreveport rocker, Dale Hawkins. Tommy Blake and the Rhythm Rebels were up and running, and made the rounds on the weekly live country & western radio broadcasts like the Louisiana Hayride and Hill Country Hoe-Down. Meanwhile Blake honed his songwriting skills, churning out nuggets like “Honky Tonk Mind” and “Ballad of a Broken Heart” which eventually became hits for Johnnies Horton and Cash, respectively.