Tuesday, December 16, 2014

El Delfo

“Instrumental accordion music was the traditional dance music of the rural working people in the border area [of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Northern Mexico] and continued to be popular and sold widely via records throughout this period [of the 1940s and 1950s] and is still in demand today. Los Hermanos Cardenas (the Cardenas brothers) grew up on a ranch south of Reynosa, Tamaulipas playing for family and friends which they continue to do today and in much the same style popular several generations ago. Chencho Cardenas has always played a two row accordion and both brothers take great pride in playing traditional material in the traditional way.” —adapted from Chris Strachwitz’ 1978 liner notes to Texas-Mexican Border Music Vol. 13: Norteño Acordeon – Part 3 – South Texas and Monterrey, N.L. – The 1940’s and 50’s (Folklyric 9020)

Hermanos Cardenas • El Delfo • c. early 1950s

Chencho Cardenas, accordion; Lupe Cardenas, bajo sexto; E. Gutierrez, bass. Recorded c. early 1950s

Friday, August 15, 2014


The big man swerves out onto the lost highway, foot to the floor, and passes the ghost of Hank Williams like he was settin’ still. . . .

Sleepy LaBeef • Lost Highway • 1980

Sleepy LaBeef, vocal/guitar; Cliff Parker, guitar; Henry Strzelecki, electric bass; Phil Breeding, acoustic bass; Earl Poole Ball, piano; D. J. Fontana, drums. Nashville, c.1980

Thursday, July 03, 2014


Ray Kinney again, heard here a couple of months ago extolling the virtues of Haleakala on Maui, now singing the praises of Diamond Head (Leahi). And today’s music is accompanied by an utterly charming photo of a very young Princess Kaiulani, from the Hawai‘i State Archives.

Ray Kinney with Dick McIntire & His Harmony Hawaiians
Leahi (Diamond Head Hula) • 1936

Photo: Princess Kaiulani, “approximately six years old seated holding hat with backdrop of Diamond Head & palm trees in a photo studio,” c.1881. Wikimedia Commons/Hawaii State Archives. Call Number: PP-96-9-019.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Release Me

“Jay McDonald front and center with his steel guitar.”*

Buck Owens • Release Me • 1963

Jay McDonald, pedal steel guitar; Buck Owens, guitar; Don Rich, fiddle; Jelly Sanders, guitar; Kenny Pierce, electric bass; Ken Presley, drums. Recorded in Hollywood, California, 14 Feb 1963.

*LP notes

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


The CD pictured arrived in yesterday’s post-holiday mail. Before putting the CD in to play, I pulled out the booklet and flipped through it quickly. Later I went back to compiler/note writer Chris King’s notes. They begin: “Listen with presence of mind, receptivity, and without distraction, to the first track, Epirotiko Mirologi, but read no further.”

Well, OK, I was up for the game. So about 11:30 p.m. I popped the CD in and listened to the first track, mesmerized. Then I read the rest of the intro notes. King asked some quasi-philosophical questions, quoted Jake Gittes from the movie Chinatown (there is also an epigraph on the front page of the booklet that quotes from Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon) and encouraged the listener to “play the first track again and unravel this yarn.”

OK, again. I was ready to play it again. And again. Over and over. What a track. Mesmerized? I was ready to give up my lifetime love of blues music for a tune/record like this. (I know some of you out there probably think I already did that.) The rest of the CD (I’m only about halfway through it) hasn’t quite hit me yet like the first track and I haven’t read the rest of the booklet notes. All I can say at this point, in the mortal words of Gomer Pyle, is, “Gol-lee!” 

Have a listen and see if you don’t immediately agree. . . .

Alexis Zoumbas

click on song title to listen

The new CD/LP/mp3, Alexis Zoumbas, A Lament for Epirus 1926–1928, released May 20, 2014 on Angry Mom Records, should be available now wherever fine records are sold.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


“Duralde is a little community near Mamou, Louisiana. This haunting fiddle tune was recorded in LeJeune’s kitchen on the newly invented tape recorder. Wilson Granger plays the fiddle and Alfred Cormier is on guitar. Eddie Shuler said that LeJeune’s house had been made of green wood, so when the wood dried there were cracks left in the walls. This let all the outdoor noises come into the house, including the barking of LeJeune’s dog which can be heard on this recording.” — Ann Allen Savoy, 1992

Iry Le June (And His Accordion)*
Duraldo Waltz • 1956

*(except he doesn’t play accordion on this!)

Notes reprinted courtesy of Ann Allen Savoy. (Song notes excerpted from booklet notes to Iry LeJeune, Cajun’s Greatest: The Definitive Collection, Ace CDCHD 428, 1992.)

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Here’s a nice bit of “Maui no ka oi” for all you “Mauiians” out there. . . .

Ray Kinney with Dick McIntire & His Harmony Hawaiians
Kilakila Haleakala (Hawaiian Cowboy Song) • 1937

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Ladies and gentlemen, the queen of enka, Misora Hibari, performing her 1966 hit “Kanashii Saké” (Sad Saké). . . .

美空ひばり• 悲しい酒 • 1966
 (Misora Hibari • Kanashii Saké)

Saturday, February 22, 2014


OK, so a month later, we’re still here . . . but don’t get any funny ideas!

Canned Heat • On the Road Again • 1968

Get it: Chartbusters USA Vol. 1

To hear Floyd Jones’s 1950s adaptations of the Tommy Johnson song, click here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


The Stanley Brothers • Rank Stranger • 1960

Find it: Sacred Songs from the Hills

Album cover: All Music

Monday, February 17, 2014



Truly soulful music can only be understood properly by knowing what soulful music truly is. To be a soulful song, it must be handed down from one to another. Most of the time, each listener will deliver these songs in his own way: by mail, download, or just the old fashioned way. They will add or take away or rearrange these songs to suit their feelings.

There are so many things expressed in real soul music that if the story doesn’t reach you, well, like old Wolfman Jack used to say, “You got a hole in your soul, bay-bay.” But for most, whether they are odds or ends, they will understand in one listening the true American soul. So, take a seat, rear way back, and whether you’re from Amphioxus, Minglewood, or Nagasaki, and whether you’re happy, hurting, or just a little pink, you should be able to find something here to suit your mood, or get you in the mood.

And remember, the Soul of a man is the real soul music, and these artists sing these songs with soul. A case in point is Anti von Klewitz and her Eastern European string quartet Cskólom. . . . 
—Fats Terminal, DJ, Radio Station KBAK, Lompoc    

Csókolom • Pink Panther Theme/Pink Legényes/
Legényes A minor • 2001

Get it: Ludo Luda

Monday, February 10, 2014


Dixie Hummingbirds • This Evening • 1962
(lead vocal: James Walker)

Monday, February 03, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014


Let’s get together and rock and roll tonight. . . !

Lawrence Walker • Allons Rock And Roll • 1961

Get it: The Essential Collection of Lawrence Walker

Monday, January 06, 2014