Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Story Behind The Song: "I Put A Spell On You" (Screamin' Jay Hawkins)

When a young Jay Hawkins entered the OKeh record studio with his band in 1956, he intended to record a blues ballad. Putting his aspirations to be an opera singer aside, he thought that a refined blues recording might gain him the notoriety that would define him as a mainstream musician. He had already recorded the song "I Put A Spell On You," a year earlier with Grand Records. (The producer at Grand never released it and it wasn't until 2006 that the first recording became available to the public when it was released in the UK on the Rev-Ola CD, The Whamee 1953-55.) 

"I Put a Spell On You" Single 45 RPM (OKeh)
At 27 years of age, Hawkins knew that the song he had written had potential as a major hit and he looked forward to getting to work in the OKeh studio. Producer Arnold Maxin was equally excited, and he welcomed his studio guests with food and a table full of liquor.

Maxin "brought in ribs and chicken and got everybody drunk and we came out with this weird version," said Jay years later about the song. "I don't even remember making the record. Before, I was just a normal blues singer. I was just Jay Hawkins. It all sort of fell in place. I found out I could do more destroying a song and screaming it to death."

Maxin hadn't counted on the musicians drinking themselves into oblivion. That factored into the song completely changing, with Jay using grunts and howls throughout the recording. OKeh released it and it became an immediate success. Deemed as being inappropriate by some, many radio stations banned it from their playlists and some record store owners refused to stock it. That didn't prevent it from becoming a minor hit however. Despite being a good seller, "I Put A Spell On You" was blocked from the record charts.

Sctreaming Jay Hawkins with Henry, his cigarette smoking skull on a stick. 
The song did gather the attention of syndicated disc jockey Alan Freed, who established it as a mainstay in his rotation. Impressed with this new "demented" style, Freed arranged a meeting with Hawkins and suggested a gimmick to capitalize on the primitive sound of "I Put A Spell On You." After that meeting, Hawkins became Screamin' Jay and began to appear on stage wearing a long cape. He'd rise out of a coffin in the midst of smoke and fog, and glare at the audience with his wide-open eyes. Later, he began to use voodoo props such as a skull on a stick (that smoked a cigarette) and he wore bone tusks through his nose. He also incorporated guttural chants, live snakes and fireworks into his act. He became a sensation, and essentially became one of the world's first shock rock performers.


"I Put A Spell On You" went on to rank No. 313 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. It's been covered by several top artists including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Nina Simone, The Eels, David Gilmour, Iggy Pop, Jeff Beck, Bryan Ferry, and many more. Most of the covers were recorded on a serious note, with only a few attempting to imitate Hawkins' primitive style. 

As a blues ballad, "I Put A Spell On You" might have faded into obscurity. But because of a few drinks, it planted itself as a stepping stone in the evolution of American music. 


You may also enjoy: 

The Bigfoot Diaries Interview With Rudi Protrudi of the Fuzztones

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bryan's List of Musical Happenings: Week of 2/10/14

Monday, February 10

Findlay Family Fun Fest at Greenwood 7:00
Monday Night Jazz Series at Ritual Cafe 7:00

Tuesday, February 11

Scott Cochran and Jason Boggs at Blues Under the Blue Roof: Newton Library 6:30
Gaelic Storm at Val Air 8:00
Lindgren and Lewis at Greenwood 8:00

Wednesday, February 12

Reeferseed Express & Friends at Hull Avenue Tavern 6:00 ($1.00 Beers too!)
The Kin, w/ Finish Ticket, Oh Honey at Vaudeville Mews 6:30
Bob Pace & The Dangerous Band at Zimm's 7:00
The High Crest at Raccoon River Brewery 7:00
Courtney Krause at El Bait 8:00
Bill Matykowski at Greenwood 7:30

James Biehn to play The Grapevine on Friday night.
To RSVP, email to

Thursday, February 13

Ben Wantland at Confluence 7:00
Open Mic w/ Mary Mc Adams at Ritual Cafe 7:00
Gas Lamp's Open Jam ft. Fat Tuesday & The Greasefire Keys 9:00
Soul Searchers at Greenwood 9:00
The Snacks at Star Bar 9:30

Friday, February 14

Gas Lamp's Work Release Party Ft. Bob Pace & The Dangerous Band 4:30
James Biehn at The Grapevine, Clive 7:00 (BYOB)
The Red Letters at Mars Cafe 7:00
Bela Fleck, Abigal Washburn & the Del McCoury Band at CY Stephens, Ames 7:30
Tallgrass w/ Sam Knutson at Vaudeville Mews 8:45
Rick Burke at Greenwood 9:00
Jewel City Sound Vday Spin at Gas Lamp 9:00
St. Christopher w/ Agrinex and Dark Mirror at Hull Avenue Tavern 9:00

Crooked Mile will be playing at Gas Lamp on Saturday night
with The Reeferseed Express 

Saturday, February 15

Bill Matykowski at Smokey Row 7:00
Hot Tamale and the Red Hots at Snus Winery, Madrid 7:00
King of the Tramps at Prairie Blue Creative Arts, Jefferson 8:00 
Thankful Dirt at Greenwood 9:00
Crooked Mile w/ Reeferseed Express at Gas Lamp 9:00
Randy Burke at Raccoon River Brewery 9:00
Diplomats of Sound, w/ Mr. Kicks, Poppa Neptune, Royal Nonesuch, Paige Harpin Group at Wooly's 9:00
Dead Larry at DG's Tap House, Ames 9:00
Nate Nelson Acoustic at Hull Avenue Tavern 9:00

Sunday, February 16

Brad "Be Bad" McCloud at Botanical Center 1:00
Fat Tuesday Trio w/ Janey Hooper at Summerset Winery, Indianola 2:00
Michael Charles at Byron's, Pomeroy 5:00
Michale Graves w/ Buzzard, Handlebar at Vaudeville Mews 5:45
Tom Gary Blues Project - Open Jam at Hull Avenue Tavern 7:00
Calle Sur at Star Bar 8:00
Soap at El Bait 8:00
J BOOG w/ Los Rakas at Wooly's 8:00
Korby Lenker w/ Ryne Doughty at Gas Lamp 9:00

Corrections/additions always welcome!

To get this list directly to your email, send a request to Bryan Farland at 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Buck Owens Brunch: The Tragic Story of Don Rich

Most would agree that Mick Jagger would have been nothing without Keith Richards. The same could be said about  Buck Owens, regarding his musical relationship with Don Rich. Both men were instrumental in developing what has become known as The Bakersfield Sound. Don learned how to play the fiddle and the guitar from an early age, and was playing in bars by the time he was 16 in his hometown of Olympia, Washington. 

Don and Buck having a good time during the early days. 
His band, a three piece rock and roll outfit eventually landed a regular gig in South Tacoma at a place called Steve's Restaurant. It was there that Buck Owens, who also lived in Washington during this time, happened to catch him playing fiddle one night. Buck became so enthralled by this young musician that he asked Don to join him at local venues. The two formed an immediate friendship and a budding musical bond. With Buck on guitar and Don playing fiddle, the two became regulars on BAR-K Jamboree, a local music show that was featured on KTNT-TV 13. 

Buck's career had already started to take off. With Don, it seemed to be accelerate. But after "Under Your Spell Again" reached No. 24 on the Country Charts in 1959, Capitol Record executives asked Buck to return to Bakersfield.*

Buck didn't hesitate, and asked Don to join him. Don had other plans however. He enrolled at Centrailia Community College in Centrailia, Washington where he began studies to become a music teacher. Meanwhile he tutored other students in music and continued to play local gigs. After about a year - in late 1960, Don decided to move to Bakersfield to resume playing with Buck.

The first single he played on was "Excuse Me (I Think I've Got a Heartache)" which peaked at No. 2. Don and Buck played seedy bars up and down the west coast. Most of the time they would play with a house band, but sometimes it would just be the two of them together on stage. Meanwhile they continued to record singles in Bakersfield. Don, now employed by Buck, earned $75 a week.

Buck Owens and the Buckaroos circa 1963 (Don Rich is on the fiddle)
In 1961 "Foolin' Around" spent 8 weeks at the No. 2 spot. Over the next year the two had begun to refine (and define) their sound. Up to that point, Buck had stuck to playing in a Texas Shuffle style, with Don predominately playing the fiddle. That all changed in 1962 with the release of Buck's "You're For Me," a song he had written several years prior. The shuffle on the snare drum became a tightly closed high-hat. The off beat was accented by a quick half-rimshot half-click on the snare drum. This churning, upbeat 2/4 rhythm made every Buck Owens single immediately identifiable. Don compared it to a "runaway locomotive." Buck described it as sounding like a "Freight Train."

Now, it's known as The Bakersfield Sound.

In 1963, for the sake of touring and recording, Buck decided to employ a full time band to back him up. Naturally, Don was chosen as the band leader, and in the early days, the band resembled a revolving door with members coming and going. One such member was Merle Haggard, who had christened the band "The Buckaroos." While Haggard left after just a short time, the name stuck.

Early on after forming this new band, Johnny Russell's "Act Naturally" was pitched to Buck. Buck rejected it at first, but Don latched on to it. Eventually, Buck came around to it and the Buckaroos recorded it on February 12, 1963. That summer it went on to become Buck's first No. 1 hit, spending (non-consecutive) weeks at the top.

"Act Naturally" also marked the first single on which Don played lead guitar. Over the years Buck had taught Don his signature guitar style and by 1963, Don was ready to set down his fiddle and pick up Buck's Telecaster. Buck was more than happy to relinquish it, knowing that he could concentrate on his songwriting and honing his skills as the frontman of the Buckaroos.

Buck, Don and the rest of the Buckaroos in promo photo at Carnegie Hall
Things began to really take off for Buck, Don and the Buckaroos. Every single that they recorded seemed to shoot straight to the top of the charts. "My Heart (Skips A Beat)." "Together Again," "I've Got A Tiger By The Tail," and "Before You Go," are a few of the songs that went to No.1. "Buckaroo" did too - becoming the first country music instrumental to do so. Don's guitar style, while incorporated from the teachings of Buck, became his own. That telecaster twang became the signature of the Bakersfield Sound.

In 1966, the band went to New York City to record a live album at Carnegie Hall. Many have called it the greatest live country album ever recorded. Buck later revealed that The Buckaroos played so tightly at Carnegie that there wasn't a need for the band to go to post-production to fix mistakes. There were none to be found. 

Buck, with Don and the other Buckaroos had become the hottest country band in the world.

Buck and the Buckaroos. Notice Don's fiddle next to the drum set. 

In 1969 Buck Owens and the Buckaroos released "Tall Dark Stranger" and "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass." Don recorded the latter using a heavy fuzz tone, that until that point had generally been used by '60s garage bands. Traditional Country music fans were shocked, and even became irate at Buck for defacing country music with such a blatant rock and roll sound. Buck essentially shrugged off this criticism. He never confined himself to the status quo, and anybody who knew Buck would know that his entire career was a musical evolution. 

"Purists never like any sort of progress." Said Buck years later. "I'm a purist, and I don't usually like progress in anyone except myself. A real purist wants everyone else to stay the same, but he himself wants to change." 

Regardless, "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass," shot up the charts and reached No.1, where it sat for two weeks in 1969. It's become a cult-style classic among Buck Owens fans, and today it is regarded as an innovative cog in the development of the Bakersfield Sound.

In a twist of irony, the next song that went to the top of the country charts was a live cover of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode, from the Buck Owens in London "Live" Lp. Buck always seemed to be one step ahead of his audience, and he always seemed to have the last laugh.

The last No. 1 song the two recorded together was "Made in Japan," which hit the top of the charts in 1972.

On July 17, 1974 Don finished work at Buck's Bakersfield studio and left on his motorcycle to meet his family for a vacation in Morro Bay, California. Earlier in the day Buck had suggested to Don not to take his bike, but instead drive a car. Maybe it was premonition, but Buck had pleaded with Don for years to quit riding, as it was something that worried him deeply. Don shrugged it off, and said goodbye to his friend. Later, at some point in the night Don hit a center divider on northbound Highway 1. He was thrown from his motorcycle and suffered heavy damage to his head and body. An ambulance rushed him to a hospital, but he died before he arrived.   

Later, police investigating the scene said that there were no skid marks and that in probability, he hit the divider at a high rate of speed. Other than that it was unclear what caused the accident.

Buck was absolutely devastated. He not only lost his creative partner, but also his best friend. In an interview in the late '90s Buck said of Don, "He was like a brother, a son, and a best friend. Something I never said before, maybe I couldn't, but I think my music life ended when he died."

Buck continued, "I carried on and existed, but the real joy and love, the real lightening and thunder is gone forever."

Don was buried in Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Bakersfield.
His gravestone commemorates him as "Always Smiling."

Don Rich was just 32 years old. His musical influence has been felt throughout the world in rock and roll, country and other genres. He is considered by many to be the most innovative country guitar player that ever lived. 

*"Under Your Spell Again" would eventually peak at No. 4.

Friday, February 7, 2014

King Tubby Murdered 25 Years Ago Today

More reggae-themed news.

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the murder of Jamaican engineer King Tubby, born Osbourne Ruddock. Considered by many to be the father of remixing he worked with numerous artists, including Augustus Pablo.


Thanks to Magnus Sellergren for the heads up. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bob Marley Would Have Turned 69 Today

Happy birthday, Bob Marley. 

May your peaceful lifestyle continue to influence this world which you've helped to make a better place.

Here I am, walking down the street (walk walk walk walk walk walk walk)
and the terrain, everything is so sweet
(woah woah woah sweet 2x)
I'm doing my thing and I'm doing it slow
but there is just one thing I would like you to know, oo
When it wet it slippery yea
When it dump it crumpy
If it's likely you will tumble down
Don't want you on the ground
Oh oh oh Caution, the road is wet
Black soul is black as jet
Do you hear me
Caution the road is hot
You got to do better than that
'cause ah
When it wet it slippery (when it wet it slippery yea)
When it damp it crampy
If it's likely you were tumbling down
don't wash it on the ground brother
Hit me from the top
you crazy motherfunky (3x)
When it wet it slippery yea
when it dumpy crumpy
if it's likely you were tumbling down
don't wash it on the ground


Monday, February 3, 2014

Local Perspective: Pete Seeger's Influence and Legacy

"I usually quote Plato, who said 'It is very dangerous to allow the wrong kind of music in the republic." - Pete Seeger in 2001

Last week Pete Seeger died in is sleep at 94 years old, leaving behind almost a century's worth of music, peace and political activism. 

Extremely prolific as a songwriter, many of his songs became standards in America's rich musical history. But as much of a songwriter as he was, he was equally involved in activism and became a loud voice in the opposition of tyranny. He spoke when most remained silent, often placing mainstream America in it's hunches, far outside of it's comfort zone. As a member of The Weavers, he was blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

Subpoenaed In 1955, he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee against the Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress. Seeger refused to plead the Fifth Amendment (which would have asserted that his testimony might be self-incriminating) and instead, like his brothers in the Hollywood Ten, refused to name his associations on the grounds of violating his First Amendment rights. This resulted in him being indicted for Contempt of Congress, and for many years he had to had to keep the government apprised of his whereabouts any time he left the Southern District of New York. In 1961 a jury found him guilty of Contempt of Congress and he was sentenced to ten 1-year terms to be served consecutively. In 1962 an appeals court ruled that the indictment was flawed, and overturned his conviction. 

Jail didn't hinder his drive, it only made him more determined. With his songs and strong voice he rallied against war, pollution and unrighteousness and led the charge at many different national protests and organized events. He remained steadfast in political activism right up until his death, participating alongside the Occupy movement in New York City in 2011-12.                         

Many of Seeger's songs have become American standards, such as "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?," "We Shall Overcome," and "Goodnight Irene." In the early '60s he covered Bob Dylan folk classics, such as "Who Killed Davey Moore," and "A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall."

Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger together in the early '60s. 
He was a member of the board of directors for the Newport Folk Festival, and was in Newport, Rhode Island in 1965 when Bob Dylan turned the Folk movement on it's heels by going "electric." Outraged, it was Seeger who threatened to disconnect Dylan's equipment and boot him off the stage.

"I couldn't understand the words," Seeger said, in a 2001 interview."I wanted to hear the words. It was a great song, "Maggie's Farm," and the sound was distorted. I ran over to the guy at the controls and shouted, 'Fix the sound so you can hear the words.' He hollered back, 'This is the way they want it.' I said, Damn it. If I had an axe, I'd cut the cable right now!' But I was at fault. I was the MC and I could have said to the part of the crowd that booed Bob, "You didn't boo Howlin' Wolf yesterday. He was electric!"

He then added, "Though I still prefer to hear Dylan acoustic, some of his electric songs are absolutely great. Electric music is the vernacular of the second half of the 20th century, to use my father's old term."

Pete Seeger left a legacy that won't be forgotten. He was a human check and balance system for the oppressed and a true man of the people. His influence has been felt around the world, even right here in the fly-over part of the country. 

Last week Pete Seeger died in is sleep. He died as he lived, in peace. 


A few Iowans offered these accounts of what Pete Seeger's legacy meant to them: 

Scott Cochran: I cannot remember a time when we didn't have Pete Seeger as an American folk resource. He was a force of nature, living in the woods in Upstate New York, a survivor of the McCarthy era. His group, the Weavers, were blacklisted and couldn't work for years back in the 50s. I saw a thing about him a few years ago, (was it the Obama inauguration?), and he and Springsteen were performing This Land Is Your Land, outdoors in the freezing cold and Bruce said that he suggested cutting a couple of verses, and Seeger insisted that that would be wrong, it should only be sung in it's entirety, as Woody Guthrie wrote it. The guy was beyond reproach, an old school purist, and champion of the working man, something we need more of.

Doug Simkin: Pete, in my thoughts, is a true hero in many ways.  His powerful belief in non-violence defeated many who tried repress him. His tireless energy took him from the 1930's up to today performing almost constantly. He is an example of persistence and perseverance.  The fact that he survived having been blacklisted is inspirational. He built his own home. By himself. Something about his voice and his words completely disarmed people, he could get thousands of non singers to sing along with him like the world's largest choir. He could teach children to live morally through music. I don't think his contribution to the overlap between music and progressive ideology can be over stated. While his passing at age 94 is sad, his gifts given to us all during his lifetime will continue to regenerate through generations into the future.

Sarah Cartwright: I like this story for two reasons, one -- because it shows that right up to his last year he was an involved activist -  at age 93!

Secondly, it highlights a broader concern  for indigenous peoples and that of living in harmony with the Earth, reflected here in one of his last appearances.

A snippet of journalist interview with Onondaga Oren Lyons, faithkeeper and wise man:

AMY GOODMAN: Oren Lyons, on this Indigenous People’s Day, what are your thoughts you’d like to share with our viewers and listeners and readers around the world?

OREN LYONS: Well, as I listened to Pete sing, recognizing the spirit in all of us, the spirit is powerful, and the will, the will to continue and do what has to be done, and responsibility for adults to act like adults, for leaders to act like leaders, and to take away from the corporate powers that are currently in charge of the direction of this Earth and return it back to the people, where it belongs, and also to protect, really be responsible for seven generations of life coming. That’s our mission, and that’s my mission. It’s always been our mission. The mission is peace. The mission is forever. And the mission is friendship, and to understand that the human family is a family—doesn’t matter what color you are. You can change blood. You can’t get any closer than that. And people should understand that.

Also, his wife Toshi is credited with being  a strong influence and impetus for Pete’s activism. She died at 91  -- they would have been married 70 years!

Bryan Farland: Pete and Woody always seemed like two peas in a pod to me. Both were champions of the common folk and protest ballads, contributing to the cultural revolution that swept through the 60's. Pete will be missed, but his music is a treasured legacy that will endure.

Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger
Cory Berry: I'm sure Pete influenced me in the fact that I follow many musicians that he in turn influenced - but I did not follow him much directly. I did listen to an NPR story tonight and they had a recording of him describing how he viewed himself in the history of musicians. He said something about how he viewed himself as a link connecting old timers and their music with the people after him and that he hoped it would continue with more links (people) stepping up and continuing the tradition. (which of course is and has happened) Now I haven't done the research to see who exactly claims to be influenced by him but some of my favorites that I suspect would say so include: Roger McGuinn, Richard Buckner, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Cat Stevens, Jamie Brockett, Jim Morrison, Gene Clark, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Gillian Welch, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, John Lennon, Sinead OConnor, Suzanne Vega, and pretty much anyone else who has a message in their songs relating to peace, nature, giving back, and equal rights.

Sam Knutson: Pete Seeger records were in my parent's record collection. They played em for us when my siblings and me were kids not with the intent of political indoctrination his politics could raise reference to, but because we loved to sign g along with them.

The judgement of grade-schoolers is simple. We liked it. I later learned of his ardent stand for peace, his protest song that got the Smothers Brothers censored and his love of getting a crowd to sing. He understood the power of music and the consequences and benefits of that power in ways almost no one gets to.

He wasn't ahead of his time so much as he was outside of all it. His musical mission was timeless and he did it because he liked it. There was no question he loved to make music and make a point simply.

CW Smith: Pete Seeger showed me how one man can fire up a crowd, lead a generation in song, start a revolution.

He gave popular music a sense of history, a dose of humility, a direction, a conscience.

He taught me that inspiration can come from many places, that the present often parallels the past. That one voice can make a difference.
Thank you, Pete Seeger, for all the great music, all the valuable lessons. You will be missed.

Sue Ellen CrossLea: I worked for the Vietnam Moratorium Committee and Vietnam Vets Against The War, each one half time from about 1968-69. We had numerous 'demos' and events, some with vets and bit-name music acts. Those were cool, but the best ones were the more political 'in the streets' events, I thought. But, no matter what, no matter how small or large, Pete Seeger would show up. He could always fill in the gaps if some politician did not show up or was late, but he didn't just 'fill in.' He took over the crowd, no matter the size with his enthusiastic, super positive singing. The songs were often his, but I don't think we knew that, we just thought they were great songs and pretty soon the crowd was so inspired, so energized, and so anxious to get on board and do whatever action was happening. Pete had an amazing spirit that was infectious and so positive that we were always glad to see him. I don't know how he knew what we were doing or where or when, although there usually was fairly good publicity after we proved ourselves to be reliable about turning out the crowd we said we would. He always knew just what note needed to be struck, and he led us to follow him with his ideas and views expressed so eloquently in song. I loved him. I really did.

Jon Eric: Pete Seeger (RIP) has given so much to the music world as we know it today. His legacy of love, music, and meeting people on "common ground" will live on in each note played. Those influenced by him are forever gifted.

Jon Eric, who is a banjo aficionado wrote this beautiful piece in Seeger's memory: "Welcome to New York. RIP Pete Seeger"  Click on the link to download. 

Bryan's List of Musical Happenings 2/3/14

Monday, February 3

Super Chikan at Blues Under the Blue Roof: Newton Library 6:30

Findlay Family Fun Fest at Greenwood 7:00
The Tighten Up Band at Ritual Cafe 7:00
Andrew Leaghty at Hull Ave. Tavern 9:00

Super Chikan plays Monday night at the Newton Library
(Photo by Bigfoot Diaries) 

Tuesday, February 4

Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles at Civic Center 7:30

Highroller Express at Greenwood 9:00

Wednesday, February 5

Reeferseed Express & Friends at Hull Avenue Tavern 6:00

Bob Pace & The Dangerous band at Zimm's 7:00
Jim Stockberger at Raccoon River Brewery 7:00
Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles at Civic Center 7:30
Brother Trucker at El Bait 8:00
Randy Burk and the Prisoners at Greenwood 8:00
Ben Wantland at Beaver Tap 8:00
Parranderos Latin Combo at Star Bar 9:30

Thursday, February 6

South Skunk Blues Society Presents: Art For The Animals ft. Super Chikan at Center for Arts and Artists, Newton 4:30  
Mike Aceto at Confluence 7:00
Gas Lamp's Open Jam Ft. Fat Tuesday & the Greasefire Keys at Gas Lamp 9:00
Soul Searchers at Greenwood 9:00
Ras Badjo & The Tarakis at Star Bar 9:30

Friday, February 7

Gas Lamp's Work Release Ft. Bon Pace & the Dangerous Band 4:30
Parranderos Latin Combo at The Science Center of Iowa 6:00
B. John Burns at Java Joes 6:30
Joe & VIcki Price at the Grapevine, Clive 7:00
Andy Fleming at Hotel Patee, Perry 7:00
The Red Letters at Mars Cafe 7:00
LAZERfest - Battle of the Bands Final: Dead Horse Trauma, Green Death, Through the Darkness, Apathy Syndrome at Wooly's 8:00
Heath Alan Band at Greenwood 9:00
Katy Guillen & The Girls at Gas Lamp 9:00
The Big Wu w/ Fuzzy Logic at DG's Tap House, Ames 9:00
Deadman Flats w/ Jacob County & The Damaged Goods at Vaudeville Mews 10:00

Happy birthday Byron! 

Saturday, February

2014 Winter Blues Fest at Downtown Marriott 5:00-1:30 
Bill Matykowski at Smokey Row 7:00
Marilyn Jerome at Hotel Patee, Perry 7:00
Joe & Vicki Price w/ Typical Males at Byron's (His birthday party!), Pomeroy 8:00
Sutherland, Ankum, Tomlinson at Greenwood 9:00
Fancy Pants at Raccoon River Brewery 9:00
The Nadas at Wooly's 9:00
Making Movies w/ Cardboard Kingdoms, The Host Country at Vaudeville Mews 10:00

Sunday, February 9

"Mojo" Jono Smith & Ted Heggen at Botanical Center 1:00
Robery Meany at Summerset Winery, Indianola 2:00
Tom Gary Blues Project - Open Jam at Hull Avenue Tavern 7:00
The Tarakis at Star Bar 8:00
Aquamarine Dream Machine at El Bait 8:00

Corrections/additions always welcome! 

To get this list directly to your email, send a request to Bryan Farland at

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Buck Owens Brunch: Story Behind The Song: "Streets Of Bakersfield"

Buck Owens was extremely accomplished as a songwriter, and he seemed to have a knack for producing number one hits. According to Billboard, he had 15 consecutive # 1 records between 1963 and 1967, and a total of 20 # 1 records between 1963 and 1974. Twenty-six more songs, including four duets, made it to the Top 10 during that time, a remarkable achievement for any artist. So it's with a bit of irony that the song he is possibly best known for was written by somebody else.

The Bakersfield Sound was created in the mid to late '50s in reference to the eclectic country music that was coming out in Bakersfield, California during that time. It was so far apart from the country music that was coming out of Nashville, that it was coined with it's own genre.

Credit for this goes largely to Ken Nelson, who was in charge of the A&R division for Capitol Records. He recognized the uniqueness of music that was coming from this relatively small desert region, and signed artists such as Buck Owens and the Buckaroos and Merle Haggard and the Strangers to his record label. Many say that Bakersfield country was more of an attitude than a music genre, and a reaction against Nashville and it's smooth style of country music. The sound has gone on to inspire such acts as Marty Stuart, Dwight Yokum, Creedance Clearwater Revival, The Fabulous Flying Burrito Brothers, and The Rolling Stones (think "Far Away Eyes").

But no other song epitomizes the Bakersfield sound like one that was penned in 1972 by an unknown song writer named Homer Joy. It's called "The Streets of Bakersfield," and the story of how it came to be is almost as rich as the song itself. The offices of established country stars are very attractive for aspiring song writers who come in with hopes that an artist will record their material. Buck Owen's office was no exception, and he had a had a strict policy regarding these wayward songwriters.

"People would come around my office and unless I knew who they were, I would never see 'em." Said Buck. "One important reason was, if they have some song that you already have, or might acquire later, you're running a big risk of litigation."

Homer Joy, who had moved from Washington State to Bakersfield was relentless. Having been shunned several times by Buck, he never gave up on his hope of Buck recording one of his songs. Week in and week out he would enter the offices, only to be misdirected by Buck's secratary or other members of his staff. This rejection ultimately led Joy to write the verse that would become a country music staple...

You don't know me but you don't like me.
You say you care less how I feel.
But how many of you who sit and judge me,
Have walked the streets of Bakersfield?

Once again, as became the norm for Homer Joy, and this time with his new song in hand, he entered Buck Owen's office. Maybe he caught Buck on a good day, or perhaps his persistence impressed Buck, but the country music icon agreed to let the man into his office. Joy presented Buck with "Streets of Bakersfield," and Buck immediately fell in love with it. Buck recorded it and used it as an album cut on his Aint it Amazing, Graciealbum.

It's time was still to come.

"Streets" was released again in June of 1988 as a duet by Dwight Yokum and Buck Owens (with Flaco Jimenez on accordian), and it peaked at number one by early August and the rest is country music history.

"I always like that song," Said Buck in 1992. "The timing wasn't right before, I guess. I always thought it was a big song and that's why I harangued Dwight to record it; I didn't say, 'Record that song with me.' To be part of a #1 song years later was a great experience."