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May 23, 2009: RIP: Chris Gaffney, 1950-2008
When I came into the station this morning at 5 am, I was happy to see tribute albums to two of my favorite Texas musicians: Steve Earle’s homage to Townes Van Zandt plus Vanguard’s new Doug Sahm tribute CD, with contributions from Los Lobos, Alejandro Escovedo, Terry Allen, Jimmy Vaughn & others. But the tribute that blew me away was one for Chris Gaffney. Chris, longtime Los Angeles-based songwriter/singer/sideman, died last April of liver cancer. I’ve been a fan of his for years—his own band, his Hacienda Brothers duo, his work with Dave Alvin & the Guilty Men—and it’s all good. So long, Gaff. Hasta la vista.
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|Big Guitars from Texas||Bulldoggin' Boogie|
|The Juke Joint Pimps||Wolfman's Romp||Despite their cliched band name, this German combo can rock-- and they have a nice website too.|
|Booker T||Get Behind the Mule||From "Potato Hole"-- great new instrumental album from funky organ pumper, with help from Driveby Truckers & Neil Young|
|Phil Upchurch||Inner City Blues||Great jazzy guitar from 1972, with Joe Sample on piano|
|Moby Grape||Black Currant Jam||This comes from a companion album to "Wow"-- their great 1968? album, both of which were recently reissued on the San Francisco Sound label|
|Moby Grape||Changes||Sundazed just released a collection of unissued stuff from 1967-68, some demos, some live: "The Place and the Time"|
|Bela Fleck & Anania Ngoglia||Kabibi||The banjo goes back to Africa and finds this amazing Tanzanian vocalist; check out the terrific "Throw Your Heart Down: Africa Sessions" (Rounder, 2009)|
|Bela Fleck and others||D'Gary Jam||The liner notes say this is 24 minutes long but the album only has this 6 minute snippet. Musicians to be identified later.|
|Taj Mahal & Kassemady||Tunkaranke (The Adventurer)||From "Kulanjan"-- Taj's 1999 collaboration with Toumani Diabate and others|
|Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabate||Take This Hammer||With help from Toumani on kora & Ramatou Diakite on vocals|
|Paul Robeson||Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho||The allmusic.com website-- an excellent source of info-- describes "spirituals recorded during the mid-'20s with Lawrence Brown at the piano; Brown sings a duet with Robeson on a positively swinging, upbeat version of 'Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho' "|
|Pete Seeger||John Brown's Body||I was looking for Paul Robeson's version but Pete will do!|
|Ry Cooder||Rally Round the Flag, Boys||Despite his dry vocals, Ry Cooder does a great job on this Civil War classic; from his 1972 "Boomer's Story" album. "Though we may be poor, not a man shall be a slave; shouting the battle cry of freedom!"|
|Leadbelly||On a Monday|
|Esther Ofarim||Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye||Leonard Cohen cover|
|Leonard Cohen||Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye||Live in London, 2008|
|Iron and Wine||Loud As Hope||A nice new CD-- "Around the Well"-- is filled with good songs; on Sub Pop|
|Calexico||Quatro (World Drifts In)||Tucson's best band, so I'm told|
|The Handsome Family||Little Sparrows||Rennie & Brett Sparks new CD is "Honey Moon" (Carrot Top, 2009)|
|Freddy Fender & the Texas Tornados||The Gardens||On a wonderful tribute to Chris Gaffney, who (shockingly) died last year. Chris was a great songwriter, played most recently with Dave Alvin plus in the Hacienda Brothers with Dave Gonzales|
|Big Sandy, Los Straitjackets with Bill Kirchen||Silent Partner||Another Chris Gaffney tune|
|Chris Gaffney||The Guitars of My Dead Friends||This is the final tune on the tribute CD. So sad.|
|Dave Alvin & the Guilty Women||California's Burning|
|John Doe and the Sadies||The Sudbury Nickel|
|John Doe and the Sadies||Are the Good Times Really Over for Good||Cover of Merle Haggard, during his cynical opportunist period; thankfully Merle came out of that and still makes great music-- as does John Doe|
|Merle Haggard & The Strangers||Big Time Annie's Square||Merle hangs with the hippies on "Someday We'll Look Back" on Capital|
|The Blackjacks||The Red Dragon||Let's twang until the top of the hour: "An Outbreak of Twangin': Phantom Guitars, Volume Two"|
|The Saxons||Saxon Warcry||More twang: "26 cool early 60s guitar instrumentals" on Psychic Circle|
|Steve Earle||To Live is to Fly||Steve Earle's new CD is a tribute to the late and (very) great Townes Van Zandt|
|Steve Earle||White Freightliner Blues|
|Willie Nelson||I Just Dropped By||Old Willie. "To get these songs re-released, Willie had to pull a few strings." From his days back in Nashville in the 60s: "Naked Willie" (RCA Nashville, 2009)|
|Wayne Hancock||Work at Working||"If I can't find work, how am I gonna pay my dues." Wayne's new album is "Viper of Melody" (Bloodshot, 2009)|
|Flaco Jimenez w/The Westside Horns||Ta Bueno Compadre (It's OK Friend)||One of many great songs by/for Doug Sahm on "Keep Your Soul" (Vanguard, 2009)|
|Delbert McClinton||Texas Me|
|Holy Modal Rounders||The Whole World Oughta Go on a Vacation||Recorded in Nashville in, I think, the 70s. Reissued on CD: "Good Taste is Timeless" (Sundazed, 2009)|
|Oscar Brown, Jr.||Rags and Old Iron||Written in the early 60s, this amazing tune was reissued, along with newer Oscar Brown tunes, as "Then & Now" (Weasel Disc, 1995)|
|Nina Simone||Backlash Blues||I pulled this off a fine collection of black protest music, jazz & blues, called "Defiance Blues"|
|Kermit Ruffin||When My Dream Boat Comes Home||New Orleans hornman and bbq king has charisma and chops, a nice combination!|
|Bettye LaVette||Nearer to You||Fine soul singer-- now back & better than ever-- put out some top notch stuff in the 60s that has been reissued by Sundazed as "Do Your Duty"|
|Ted Hawkins||Groovy Little Things||I miss this guy. From "The Next Hundred Years" (DGC, 1994)|
|Empire Jubilee Quartet||Wade in the Water||This 1929 tune is part of an impressive book/CD of photos & baptism songs from 1890-1950-- "Take Me to the Water"-- with intro essay by Luc Sante.|
Hey, anyone out there? I'd love to hear your comments on the tunes.
Yes we're here, Steve. Possibly, it's that the Jeffrey crowd is trained to never expect the comment thing. OK, so comments: I love this Taj record, in a sort of bittersweet way- it was enjoyed by an ex and myself together... and then she "up and left me..."
In another realm, I remember some years ago that a member of my farm (I used to operate a community supported farm in High Falls, NY) named Chris who owns a house in Jersey City says he was an acquaintance of yours... I haven't talked to him for years, but he spoke fondly of you. Anyway, I always enjoy your shows. Enjoying it currently here in Nova Scotia, enjoying government sponsored health insurance until December, and really getting my money's worth. Going out in the kayak today...
Oh yeah, by the way: Chris is a really rockin' drummer... wife Anne, and three kids, who I am sure, I wouldn't recognize...
Andy, nice to hear from you-- up in Nova Scotia. Hi to Chris & Anne up in the Shawangunks
Im dancing to White Freightliner Blues right now. More bajo!
Praise the iphone, now I can even listen in while I am church. I'm praying for your souls.
Nina Simone did an amazing cover of Rags and Old Iron on a Colpix LP called
"Nina's Choice." I never heard the Oscar Brown jr. version, probably the orignal. Thanks for playing it.
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