Chambo’s Internet Activity Pages for August 28, 2009

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• ACCIDENTAL GUNFIRE AND UNEXPECTED NUDITY: Doug Fine is a journalist who lives on a remote solar-powered ranch somewhere outside of Silver City, New Mexico. The founding of said ranch is chronicled in his sometimes corny but ultimately pretty fascinating book, Farewell, My Subaru. In the years since, Fine has remained almost entirely off-the-grid, save for the digital connectivity by which he maintains his career as a writer, as well as his blog: Dispatches from The Funky Butte Ranch. This has led him to consider how well he would do in a real grid-crash and the ensuing collapse of mainstream civilization that might soon follow in an essay called “In The Year 2049: Would I Survive A Worst-Case Scenario?” How would he mine the perimeter of his compound? Who would make his shoes? It’s especially entertaining to compare the responses of his city-dwelling pals who are all like “you’re nuts everything’s gonna be fine” and his fellow ranchers who are like “that’s a good idea about the mines.” [Dispatches from the Funky Butte Ranch]

• DO YOU EVER PLAN ON EATING OUT IN LOS ANGELES? Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold’s “99 Essential LA Restaurants” is a delightful read even if you don’t plan on dining out in Southern California anytime soon: It’s a journey from the obscure meats of Vietnamese strip mall joints to the finest haute cuisine, and as such it’s one of the best impressionistic portraits of what makes Los Angeles such a strange, delicious town. He’s known to compare tacos and noodles to different varieties of cocaine, he follows Spanish-language media in order to keep up with Mexican-American chefs and says things like this about a Korean spot out in Torrance:

We are as jingoistic about fried chicken as the next guy, and we’ve been to dives in Louisiana where the chicken was so good it made a roomful of testosterone-crazed roustabouts weep like your mother’s bridge club that time Steel Magnolias came on TV. But Korean fried chicken really is an evolutionary leap forward — steeped in a cabinet full of spices, saturated with garlic, double-fried to a shattering, thin-skinned snap dramatic enough to wake a sleeping baby in an adjoining room.

The new edition is available this week — this is gonna be the first time we pick up a hard copy of the LA Weekly since, well, Gold’s list from last year — and you can also read it online. [LA Weekly]

• ON BECOMING ONE MORE HORSE’S ASS: After 12 weird years of living in Los Angeles, California, I’m moving to Marfa, Texas early next week. Fitting that the sky above my house in Atwater Village is dominated by a massive plume of smoke rising from a forest fire in the San Gabriel Mountains; it always feels good to commence an exodus under a rain of ash. Chambo’s Internet Activity Pages shall resume upon activation of Arthur’s Marfa Station. [Bobby Bare – “One More Horse’s Ass”]

• SPEAKING OF MARFA: Yacht recorded their most recent album, See Mystery Lights, down there in West Texas. They’re giving away copies of the instrumental version over at the Free Music Archive and I am going to be playing it all weekend — along with lots and lots of Doug Sahm — while I load the moving truck. [Free Music Archive]

Headneck Bonanza: Doug Sahm live in 1972 with Leon Russell and the Dead

Garcia and Sahm onstage in Austin
Sir Doug and Jerry Garcia, onstage in Austin. Photo: Steve Hopson


Our celebration of recently departed hippie-country music pioneer John “Marmaduke” Dawson of the New Riders of the Purple Sage’s legacy started a conversation about the history of “headneck” music: tunes beloved in equal measure to cowboys, hippies, bikers and all varieties of stoner hicks, country heads and longhaired rednecks.

Beyond the New Riders and the Dead, the consensus seems to be that Commander Cody, Asleep at the Wheel and Doug Sahm (in his many incarnations, from dusty Texas boogie, accordion-flecked Tex-Mex and sun-dappled Mill Valley country) represent some of the pinnacles of this rowdy sound. After a bit of digging around in the Google crates, we found one of the holy grails of headneck history over at The Adios Lounge: a bootleg recording of an impromptu 1972 Doug Sahm, Leon Russell, Jerry Garcia and Friends show at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas.

On Thanksgiving weekend in 1972 the Dead were in Austin, on tour of course, and they joined Sir Doug and country-time piano genius Leon Russell — you know his rollicking keys from session work with The Byrds, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, his oft-covered song “Superstar”; and you really should seek out the riches of his 1971 solo album, Leon Russell and the Shelter People, as the psych-out cover art is just the beginning — on stage for a couple hours of once-in-a-lifetime country grooves.

doug sahm with spliff
Genuine Texas groover Sahm with spliff and brew


At our request, Lance — the gracious proprietor of The Adios Lounge — has re-upped the whole two-and-a-half hour jam session full of songs from Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan and Hank Williams, among many others. It’s a soundboard recording (A-/A for the tapers out there) full of Garcia’s lush pedal steel, Phil Lesh’s noodly bass, and fiddle duties handled by Marty Mary Egan and Thirteenth Floor Elevator (!?) Benny Thurman. Vocals are traded between Sahm, Garcia, Russell and what sounds like a room full of rowdy Texan headnecks having the time of their lives. “Holy shit” is right.

This is music for hot afternoons, sitting shirtless in the sun, chasing shots of green dragon with econo-brews and popping off at the empties with your “blaster of choice.” Many thanks to Lance for the re-post. Click here to go download yourself a copy.

Now who’s got the hook up on some vintage Commander Cody bootlegs? And “muchas Garcias” once again to longtime Arthur compadre Michael Simmons for initiating my search for this music.

Also: BONUS HEADNECK JAM after the jump …

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