Volume 3-2012



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The photograph used for the "Big Rock Candy Mountain" cover above is a 1940 publicity shot of Woody Guthrie and Burl Ives in Central Park. Their casual closeness mirrors the homoerotic storyline of the song, in which a burly bum recruits a young boy into an alternative lifestyle, at least for awhile.  Since first being released in 1928, everything about "Big Rock Candy Mountain" has been controversial, especially its liquor references and its cheerful championing of sloth and laziness. It has been released in many versions, and sanitized as a children's tune. In the bite of its true form it is a true product of the Depression Era, an artifact of a  yearning need to believe in a place of ease and plenty. In that, it is a story type as old as written language, represented by the mythical land of "Cockaigne" in Middle French. This may be why my generation has long wanted to believe that the real meaning of this "children's song" we all grew up with - we got the clean versions on daytime TV - was  that "big rock candy mountain" was code for cocaine. The true concept is far deeper than that, which is why it is this election cycle's offering. U.S. politics is a sort of Cockaigne that is offered up in a presidential election year, with hard choices related to both "the home guard" and "the union card".  Click on the cover above to have a listen and see if you don't think 1928 sounds a lot relevant in 2012.



Memphis Rock'N Soul Hall of Fame - A plea for good intentions

Tim Ryan - Tool Cool for Just One Band

Amy Lavere - Memphis Upright

8 Days to Amsterdam - Memphis Power Pop

Reba Russell - Memphis Queen Rips up "When Love Came to Town"

Matt Nathansan on the SF Links


Mr. Grumpy

In an effort to spare gentle readers from the sharp sticks and pointy stones that this site occasionally throws at our favorite cultural targets, all of our outright negative stuff will hereafter appear on its own bummer page, set aside for "Mr. Grumpy". This stuff is always rude and offensive, finger-pointing and filled with rage and judgment. Or, otherwise put, the best stuff on the site.  Use this link to go to the grumpiest page in all of whatever it is we do here!.

Building a Cult Following

Were you under the impression that Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, The Grateful Dead, and KISS got to the top on sheer talent? Story on the Artist Management page.

Mawazine International Music Festival -

Do Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey and Jimmy Cliff know anything about the North African regime they are supporting? Story on the RCJ...









Learning from Jimmy Iovine

Interscope Records CEO Jimmy Iovine was featured in a recent piece in Rolling Stone, and it was one of those rare celebrity interviews that actually yield insight and useful information for people interested in music production and engineering. READ MORE...



(Click here)

New Releases on RARadio: "1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; "We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; "Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY; "I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  "Carriers of Light" by Brendan James; "The Last Time" by Model Stranger; "Last Call" by Jay; "Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; "Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" from Actress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; "Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio; Apteka "Striking Violet"; Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along"; Dana deChaby's progressive rock




"The Musical Meccas of the World"









Original Musical Compositions and Select Covers

Fiction and Non-Fiction

Special Projects



Featured Artist: Tommy Talton

MUSIC REVIEW: Tommy Talton

Let's Get Outta Here


Trans-Atlantic Southern Rocker releases a solo LP on Hittin' the Note Records


By Bill Thames


Bill Thames is a writer/photographer and the photographs associated with this article are his. He has an extensive music photography library, some of which can be viewed at his Website: 


Attending Tommy Talton's live shows recently has been quite like visiting a community garden every week or so, just to see what has popped up out of the ground. He has germinated, nurtured, and developed some of the finest music of his 45 year career during the past year. Talton has obviously given considerable thought to "Let's Get Outta Here," and the songs that distinguished themselves enough to be included on this CD. The notes and individual musical elements created on this recording aren't stacked like cordwood, or the layers of a cake, they mesh together perfectly as if every note depends on every other for their very existence.  David Keith, engineer, co-producer with Talton, percussionist, and owner of Gintown Studio in Graysville, AL is responsible in part for the quality, and intricacy of this recording.

While following the path of Duane Allman's early recordings, Talton, and his band Cowboy were some of my earliest discoveries. Talton's music has constantly graced my turntable, 8-track player, cassette deck, or CD player since. As a fan from day one, the collective respect already given "Let's Get Outta Here" only confirms my earliest conviction.

Great music should take the listener far away from everyday life. This album undeniably does that. The CD opens with the title track, Let's Get Outta Here, and whisks the listener down I-26 in this catchy, horn-driven, foot-tapping, breezy nod to Carolina's Beach Music scene. Talton's solid rhythm and blues roots shine here, and long-time friend Kelvin Holly steps out on lead guitar. You Can't Argue With Love was co-written with Rick Hirsh of Wet Willie fame, and is the only track on this album not written wholly by Talton. This track lures the listener across the Atlantic to meet England's Royal Family, and showcases Talton's soaring slide guitar, and formidable vocals. The arrangement, and thickness of the production here is reminiscent of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound recordings.

The next track, Dream Last Night, is meditative proof of Talton's ability to wrap the listener in a warm blanket of notes, and coax them to follow him wherever he chooses to go. Stern warning and disclosure here: Don't close your eyes during this track, because you could just wake-up anywhere...or nowhere at all. Talton's trademark slide guitar and Rick Hirsch's ethereal guitar coexist like smoke rings on a windless day.

Make it Through the Rain brings lifelong friend and Cowboy band mate, Scott Boyer, onboard to sing harmony vocals for the first of several tracks. This heartfelt ballad showcases the delicacy of Talton's songwriting, and the gracefulness of his acoustic guitar styling. This track is a fall day stroll down a leaf covered country road in the mountains of North Carolina. The listener can almost hear rain dripping from the eaves in this subtle masterpiece. 

Slacabamorinico is a real-life story (Google Slacabamorinico if you don't believe me), set to a rollicking New Orleans, Second Line, horn, bass, and piano driven parade march. This track dances the listener through the streets of NOLA, and eventually on through the streets of Mobile, AL. Talton is joined again by Boyer on vocals, as well as an array of former band mates and friends, including Allman Brothers and Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, and human metronome, Bill Stewart (drums). The horn section here including Chad Fisher (trombone), Shane Porter (trumpet), and Brad Guin (saxaphone), amply challenge Leavell's finessing barrelhouse piano. This track also includes the nastiest, funky four-note guitar lick since Blackhearted Woman.

Where is the World reaches out to blues, and rock fans, but also exudes an edgy, mindful folk, and Americana vibe. Talton is joined by old friends, Kelvin Holly (rhythm guitar), Paul Hornsby (organ), Bill Stewart (drums), Brandon Peeples (bass), and Chuck Leavell (piano), making this track musically pristine. Recent Rain again finds Talton tugging at the listeners heart lyrically, and with notes that cry cinematic with this gut-wrenching ballad about a great love found, and lost.  Talton, the master of moods, consoles that all of this heartache shall wash away, just like the Recent Rain.

The classic, electric slide driven Sunk Down in Mississippi sweeps the listener down the big muddy to the Mississippi line. Here he chronicles Robert Johnson's fatal, true-life story, explaining that it really was not the poison, or pneumonia that killed Johnson; it was the woman that turned his head. Talton electrifies six strings in a musical tornado that testifies to some of Johnson's, and Talton's, finest emotionally gritty guitar work.

If Your Attitude is Funky (nobody wants your monkey) is Talton's adaptation of the old tavern anecdote that begins, "Sure she's gorgeous, but you can bet your last dollar that somewhere there is a guy that is glad she's gone." Talton tells this story with a conviction born of perspective.

Half of What She Is introduces the listener to Talton's boyhood home of Winter Park, Florida. This track is obviously a love song written for, and about Talton's mother, Julie Talton. The song fades into history with a recording that Talton unearthed, after his mother's passing, of her talking about his father; explaining how much she loved him, and how happy they were. Simply breathtaking. 

 Coil Talton up tightly, and watch what happens as he concludes the album with Give a Little Bit...a tribute to old friend, Levon Helm, who originally covered this funk masterpiece.  Talton's wah-wah slide and Tony Giordano's bending, twisting keyboards intertwine on this track that features the rest of the original Tommy Talton Band; Brandon Peeples, bass, and David Keith on percussion. This track is the only cut not recorded by David Keith. It was laid down at Studio 1093 in Athens, GA by former Capricorn wizard, Jim Hawkins.

What is it they say? If you stay in the public eye long enough the truth is revealed. "Let's Get Outta Here" reveals volumes about Tommy Talton; as a man, a musician, and as a writer. If you are looking for a dose of nostalgia, look elsewhere.  Talton is a exception to the rule.

"Let's Get Outta Here" is available at Hittin' the Note Records.












©Rick Alan Rice (RAR), December, 2012