Category Archives: Preacher Boy: General News

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 22

Mississippi John Hurt – 1928 Sessions


This is quite possibly one of the most important collections of recorded music in the history of important collections of recorded music. I honestly don’t know how to describe how influential these performances have been, and continue to be. Not just in my life, but in the lives of thousands upon thousands of others as well.

For my part, it’s no exaggeration to say that the direction my life has taken over the last three decades has been shaped in no small part by the mere fact of this album. I first heard Louis Collins when I was 16 years old. I’ll be playing it on stage this weekend. I’ve loved it for that long.

Every time I pick up a guitar, I am in essence picking up this album. My fingers learned to move to the music of Mississippi John Hurt. My whole understanding of how to play guitar, or how to deliver a song, comes from this man’s music.

There is so much I could say about Mississippi John Hurt. His influence, the effect he’s had on me, and so many, is truly extraordinary. At some point before this year of album recommendations is over, we’ll probably talk about every recording he ever made. But for today, let’s start at the beginning.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 18

Lonnie Johnson – Vol. 1 1937 – 1940


Lonnie Johnson comes up in conversation amongst music obsessives so often you’d think he was the most listened to guitarist in the world.

Oddly enough tho, I’m not sure that’s not the case.

Lonnie Johnson has a complicated history; largely the result of being too good a player, and simply living too long. When you’re that good, and you last that long, it’s inevitable you’re going to produce a lot of music … a lot of different music. And that’s the case with Lonnie Johnson.

Was he jazz? Was he blues? Was he folk?

Depending on which recordings you listen to, he was all of those, and none of them.

What he WAS … was an incredible guitar player. And so influential. Listen to Robert Johnson’s canonical recordings, and then go listen to It Ain’t What You Usta Be from these sessions, and you’ll learn an awful lot real quick about how influential this Mr. Johnson really was.

Once you’re done with that, go listen to Swing Out Rhythm. That’ll explain a lot of things to you as well. Django things.

Lonnie Johnson didn’t have a great singing voice, and he largely refused to play the “old blues guy” role during the 60s “rediscovery” era, so his legacy is ultimately a kind of odd one, in that everyone knows him, everyone talks about him, everyone acknowledges his influence, but I don’t know that all that many people actually listen to him.

Which is why I’m recommending THIS particular set of recordings. Because it’s largely just him, solo, or occasionally, with simple piano accompaniment, and he’s largely playin’ blues. Here, you can really hear what all the fuss is about THIS Mr. Johnson.


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 17

Charley Patton – The Complete Recordings 1929-1934 (Disc 1)


Charley Patton is the grandaddy of us all. He is the original fount from which all water flows. This is the voice. This is the rhythm. These are the songs. This is the guitar.

After Patton, only God.

The early country blues recordings have been remastered many times over in attempts to render them more listenable, less buried in static. Of all who’ve tried, my favorite is generally JSP. Their box sets of Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell, and more, are simply canonical; the Dead Sea Scrolls of this music.

This collection is a 5-CD set, so I have 4 more opportunities to recommend it. Today, I recommend Disc 1. Reading the track list is like reading the Psalms; how do you pick just one to live by?

1. Pony Blues
2. A Spoonful Blues
3. Down The Dirt Road Blues
4. Prayer Of Death: Part 1
5. Prayer Of Death: Part 2
6. Screamin’ And Hollerin’ The Blues
7. Banty Rooster Blues
8. Tom Rushen Blues
9. It Won’t Be Long
10. Shake It And Break It (But Don’t Let It Fall, Mama)
11. Pea Vine Blues
12. Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues
13. Lord, I’m Discouraged
14. I’m Goin’ Home

No use to hollerin’, no use to screamin’ an cryin’
You know you got a home, mama, long as I got mine

I think that’s one of the most beautiful pieces of lyric poetry ever composed. I honestly don’t give two fucks for anybody who doesn’t get this. Though I feel sorry for writers like Marybeth Hamilton (author of “In Search Of The Blues”) who are too hung up to be able to experience what’s right in front of them.

I think you just have to have a kind of country blues buddha wisdom to understand. This is enlightenment. There is no argument, no discussion, no right, no wrong. There only is. When you are young, when you have Beginner’s Mind, Charley Patton is Charley Patton, and the blues are the blues. Then as you grow, and start to think too much, and get clouded up in the grasping attachments of a clinging mind, Charley Patton is no longer Charley Patton, and the blues are no longer the blues. Then, finally, when you achieve enlightenment, when you have Zen Mind, Charley Patton is Charley Patton, and the blues are the blues.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 16

Stray Cats – Built for Speed


I heard Rumble In Brighton Tonight on the ol’ car radio today (thank you college radio!), and was reminded of just how much I LOVED this album when it was first released. Had I already heard the first two UK releases when it came out? Nope. Had I fallen for the record before I saw the Rock This Town video? Yep.

So I was half cool.

Stray Cat Strut was what did it for me. The guitar tone was just too much. I was a kid still, but I was a good kid. I knew who Cliff Gallup was. But he was might as well have been a broken hero in a Louis L’Amour novel, he was that unreal. But here was Brian Setzer, a skinny white kid from Long Island of all places, soundin’ like THAT. I was hooked.

I loved Stray Cat Strut. I loved Rumble In Brighton Tonight. Runaway Boys too, even Lonely Summer Nights. I was raised on the American Graffiti soundtrack. I understood this music.

I understand now that there were and are better modern rockabilly bands. And I understand that The Stray Cats were ultimately trapped in a musical riddle that can’t be answered. But for a brief and beautiful time, this was the soundtrack to my American life.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 15

Horace Silver and The Jazz Messengers


Yesterday I recommended a Miles Davis album. Today, I’ll recommend an album by someone Miles recorded with, Horace Silver.

Because one of the greatest passages from Miles Davis’ autobiography has to do with Horace and Art Blakey, I’ll recommend this record, which has them both on it!

And no, this recommendation has NOTHING to do with the fact that the album has a song called “The Preacher” on it. Even tho that song is badass.

Anyhow, here’s that bit from Miles:

“I think Art Blakey turned me on to Horace, because he knew him real well. Horace was staying at the same hotel I was staying in – the Arlington Hotel on 25th near Fifth – so we got to know each other well. Horace had an upright piano in his room where I would play and compose songs. He was a little younger than me, three or four years younger I think. I used to tell him a few things and show him some shit on the piano. I liked the way Horace played piano, because he had this funky shit that I liked a lot at that time. He put fire up under my playing and with Art on drums you couldn’t be fucking around; you had to get on up and play.”

For the record, this record IS the alpha and the omega of Hard Bop. If you want to know what Hard Bop is, this is it.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 12

At Home With Screamin’ Jay Hawkins


That the man we knew as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins left this world on February 12th is essentially certain. That February 12th—many years earlier, of course!—was also the day he recorded his most famous song, “I Put A Spell On You” may be a bit of myth-making at work, tho many reputable sites appear to believe it to be true.

Regardless, the song has placed itself in our folklore, and can’t be escaped.

My two favorite appearances of this song are a) in Jim Jarmusch’s brilliant film “Stranger Than Paradise,” and b) at my wedding, in the form of Nina Simone’s version.

The thing is, for all the cultural cachet and cult status this song has taken on over the years, the real bit of magic is the fact that this album ever got made at all.

Have you actually LISTENED to this whole album? It’s completely insane. That someone—anyone—was making albums like this in 1958, is almost impossible to believe.

“Hong Kong” and “I Love Paris” are pretty much in keeping with the “I Put A Spell On You Vibe,” but the rest of it is just flat-out … weird. Not “I Put A Spell On You” weird, loaded up as it is on self-conscious theatricality. But genuinely weird. Listen to “Deep Purple.” You’ll see what I mean.

The mere existence of this album is truly remarkable.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 8

Soul Coughing – Ruby Vroom


If “Screenwriter’s Blues” were the only song I ever heard from this band—it was the first song I heard from this band—they would still go down as one of the greatest, most compelling, most unique, most innovative acts to land in my headphones in decades.

Funk, jazz, hip-hop, house, rap, techno, rock, blues, soul, folk, spoken word, slam, be-bop … what ISN’T in here?

And yet, it’s totally unified. There IS no genre hopping. Every song contains within it ALL these influences. It’s Jack Kerouac meets Gil-Scott Heron at the mic, with Portishead’s DJ working alongside The Gap Band’s rhythm section, performing the soundtrack to a film noir that Bob Dylan scored, as produced by The Bomb Squad.

It’s of course NOT that. Because that never happened. But if you wish that DID happen, then get this album. Cuz that’s pretty much what it’s like.

Vocalist/lyricist Mike Doughty described it “deep slacker jazz.”

Recommended track to start with: Screenwriter’s Blues

I am going to

Los Angeles

to see my own

name on a

screen, five feet

long and luminous

as the radioman says

it is 5 am

and the sun has charred

the other side of

the world and come

back to us

and painted the smoke

over our heads

an imperial violet

it is 5 am

and you are listening

to Los Angeles.


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Jan 28

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath


This album was recorded in a day. A day! Riffs have never been the same since.

Honestly, Tony Iommi is one of very few electric guitars players that I can straight up call a super influence. But man, is he an influence …

It’s a shame that Black Sabbath’s long history is actually so bloody messy, and so fraught with so many ghastly and horrible missteps … I’m not one to begrudge the lads their success, so more power to them for whatever, but it’s hard sometimes to remember just how fucking incredible this band was when they were on, especially in their early days.

Black Sabbath was one of those bands that just emerged fully formed. Similar to The Doors, whose debut was released just 3 years earlier, this album is somehow a masterwork; fully-realized upon arrival.

Can you actually count how many perfect riffs there are on this album? Take any one song and cut it up, and you could make another 50 legendary sludge-rock tunes out of the pieces. Iommi is a machine. Relentless. And Geezer. Jesus. They’re giant-killers.

This is also the album Ozzy’s voice was meant for. Ozzy had a range of about 4 notes, and they’re all on this album, and they work perfectly.

Recommended track to start with: The Wizard

What a jam this is. Yes, the N.I.B riff is crazy. Yes, the song Black Sabbath is the alpha and omega of their 5-decade career. But The Wizard is just perfect. It’s thick, and sludge-y, and funky, and blues-y, and riffy, and it’s smart, and it’s stupid, and it’s ambitious, and it’s mindless, and it’s genius, AND IT’S SUCH A JAM! The drum thing. Jesus. It’s crazy.

Misty morning, clouds in the sky
Without warning, a wizard walks by

Be warned. Black Sabbath is walking by.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Jan 27

Jimmy Smith – Back at the Chicken Shack


That the name Jimmy Smith is synonymous with the Hammond organ is a truism on par with “water is wet,” but uttering the statement, as sweeping (and correct!) as it is, nonetheless fails to do justice to just how fucking cool this album is.

This is quite simply the sound of what bein’ cool is. I don’t care who you are or what you do, if you don’t sound like this, you’re not cool.

The lineup is, of course, incredible. Kenny Burrell on guitar, and the great Stanley Turrentine, at this point still a very new name, on the tenor. And, Donald Bailey on drums, who—in addition down to holding down SO many great Jimmy Smith recordings—also played drums on one of the great, but largely unknown, jazz albums of all time, The Peace-Maker by Harold Land.

But back to how cool this album is. Not Birth of the Cool cool, mind you. But cool as in, badass. As in, “dang, that shit was cool” cool.

There’s just swing and style all over this music. And honestly, it’s way hipper than the whole chicken shack theme would lead you to believe.

Recommended track to start with: Minor Chant

It’s actually a Turrentine composition, but the feel is just ridiculous. When  Ivie Anderson declared on behalf of Duke & Co. that it didn’t mean a thing if it didn’t have that swing, she needn’t have worried about this song. Or this album. Or Jimmy Smith.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Jan 25


Manifesto Mix Tape Vol. 1

This, the 3rd annual compilation from legendary DJ Greg Lonesome—host of The Rock n’ Roll Manifesto—is a celebration of those days when creating a custom mix tape was exactly that, a Manifesto. A personal statement of belief.

If THIS compilation is THAT statement of belief, then safe to say Greg Lonesome believes in intelligent, forward-looking, legacy-minded, punk rock, roots rock, garage rock, art rock, and … rock.

I cannot encourage you enough to download this mixtape.

Full disclosure, I’m on it. But I’m also a fan. A BIG fan. As I hope you’ll see from my comments below:

The Shods – I Know A Place

A classic rock n’ roll ode to rock n’ roll itself. Any song in which rock n’ roll is both a noun and a verb is alright with me! Arrangement-wise, the half-time move to the minor is the key to the song’s success … that, and the crazy film-score-meets-ska-meets-snake-charmer-music guitar solo … The chorus is straight up Hooksville, and one should definitely prepare fists for pumping … Is this a certifiable “anthem?” Yes. Yes it is.

The Ex-Gentlemen – You Were Mine

Straight out of the three-chords-and-the-truth school, complete with pick scrape to open the tune, this is music schooled in the fundamentals of heart-on-the-sleeve pop, but with bigger, badder guitars. Would I get in trouble if I mentioned The Gin Blossoms as a possible sonic reference? Possibly, but somewhere in the vortex of The Replacements, The Gin Blossoms, The Ramones, and early Elvis Costello, is where I’m hearin’ the echoes of these origins … (p.s. it’s a Prince song. But—insert heresy here—I’m not really a big Prince listener, so I didn’t really notice that.)

Suede Razors – Rubies and Pearls

Man, I dig this guitar sound. Very much. Lots of adrenaline here, and shouting, and gang choruses, and big chords, and thumpin’ beats, but behind it all, a wizened take on addiction and its perils: “She likes diamond rings, rubies and pearls.  It don’t feel as good as when the needle stings.” I’ve seen the band’s songs described as “heady,” and that’s about right … I think it’s a brave move, and I applaud it. Rock n’ Roll shouldn’t be stupid. This is smart rock’ n’ roll, and I’m with the Manifesto here, I approve!

Lovesores – The Wicked World

Well, that’s a hell of a lyric: “I love the way that you lose. You look good with a bruise.” And here’s an image for you: “The moon is full of shit tonight.” This is straight-up garage with lyrical color, with a particularly excellent dose of guitar perfection that refines the art of sounding sloppy on purpose; music like this deserves a guitarist who is deadly serious about not sounding deadly serious, and they’ve got one here, and it’s a good thing.

390 – Don’t Want To Be Controlled

Yeah man! Killin’ riffs here, can I be forgiven for hearing a trace of Fast Eddie Clarke in the intro? This is one of my favorite tracks on the compilation. The riffs are just endless and awesome, and I especially dig the call-and-response vocal thing in the verses. It makes me think of Fugazi. And any time that happens, I’m fuckin’ happy. This song is what barre chords were invented for, but that said, the “new revolution” section that kicks in around the 2:20 mark is a whole other kind of guitar groovy … “We need a new revolution, and we need it now.” Yep … Timely.

Hard Evidence – Drums of War

I’m gettin’ a whole lot of early Clash things here, and lots of other references as well … but the band that REALLY comes to mind as a comparison is the legendary Swingin’ Utters … I was playin’ many of the same clubs as the Utters were in San Francisco when “The Streets of San Francisco” first hit, and MAN, I loved that record … so if I love this song, I’ll confess it may partly be due to Utters nostalgia .. but that’s alright!

The Beggar Belief – Polite Politely Fuck Off

Holy shit. Wait, what? Greece. Jesus … this cut is killer. My fave song on the compilation. #EssentialListening.

John Chopper Harris – Gang Girls

Swedish Punk Rock? Ok, I’m game. Full disclosure, your love for this song is going to live and die on whether you dig this voice or not. On all other fronts, the right ingredients are there. Crunchy git, train wreck drums, gang choruses, and of course, the gang girls themselves, populating the lyrics as they do. As to the voice, it’s up to you. Either this is a pretty nondescript but certainly reasonable rapid-fire garage-punk cut, or it’s insane, and thus, cool. I’m goin’ with the latter …

One Eight Seven – Excess

Wow. BIG Wah Wah. That’s a rarity in this scene, and much welcomed, done this way. The guitar is in fact fully crazed across the board, but the metalhead-meets-message-punk thing way works … This is crazed rock with a vision:

No gods no masters, we truly are the free
We are above it all, no links to your society
We live without a fear of any higher being
We’ll skip on judgement day and head straight to to the fiery sea

Small lyrical nitpick, “hell” is conventionally accepted to be a religious concept. So if you were really free of gods and higher beings then you probably wouldn’t be/couldn’t be goin’ to hell, cuz it wouldn’t exist in this paradigm … so either that’s a bit sloppy with the songwriting, or I’m missing somethin’ … But again, that’s a minor lyrical red flag; on all other fronts, this rocks. I especially dig that guitar opening, which actually sounds a lot like early Judas Priest … vox are great too, a big fat baritone worth of revolution …

The Sangomas – Working Class Zero

Man, that’s a dynamite guitar opening … so, ain’t no brakes on this song. None at all. None. No brakes. This is 3 minutes and 30 seconds of a guitar player just tearin’ the shit out of a song … I’m a workin’ class zero, baby … dig. Must listen …

Fret Rattles – Shake My Brain

This harkens back a bit further than most of the other tracks on this compilation … less 70s, and more 60s, to my ear. A bit more bluesy, a bit more old-school rock n’ roll … seriously Detroit. This track itself isn’t funky enough to be the MC5, but it’s very Stooge-y … not in a bullshit Strokes way, but in a live, raw, real way … this is a great add to the compilation, really brings a necessary flavor …

SA90 – Patient Zero

Oh yeah man, this is some murky cool shit, complicated and complexicated by the contrast of a tough female vocal on top of the surging mass below … cool recipe, definitely works, and from my hometown even! Santa Cruz in it … Dig the lyrics too:

Quarantined for no reason
In a pinch
End of season

Listen, in the end, it comes down to this. Does YOUR punk band have this vocalist? And does she end YOUR song by sayin’, “Man, I made a puddle,” and then askin’ you what time it is? No? Then best be quiet, and just listen up here instead …

Miscalculations – War in Dreams

Some dynamite, angular, post-punk/art-punk jaggedy git-noir on offer here, straight out of The Buzzcocks handbook … and that’s all a damn good thing! This is some pretty smart music, and highly recommended …

Preacher Boy – A Golden Thimble

Yers truly, and proud to be here!

The Beaumonts – I’m Sorry

The Beaumonts! Can I say it better than they can in their own words? No, no I can’t:

There’s something about Lubbock. Something other than the oppressive blue sky, the unavoidable cloud of shit-smell that occasionally engulfs the city, the flat, featureless landscape, or the preponderance of teen pregnancy, boredom, alcoholism, and God. There’s music.

And, there’s The Beaumonts. Thankfully.

The Shods – Rock n’ Roll Manifesto

Do you remember those Superman cartoons from long ago, when there was an alternate universe, where all the good superheroes had an evil equivalent, and Superman had a black-haired evil doppelgänger? This song is like the soundtrack to that universe, if the good universe’s soundtrack was “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones. What the hell do you call this music? It’s sort of disco-punk, Gang of Four-style. In short, awesome. Great note to end a great compilation!

To quote The Shods, this is indeed a Rock n’ Roll Manifesto! Download now. Or forever hold your peace.


Thank you to Greg Lonesome, and to all the music makers gathered here. Dig.

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