Charles Hale

Apr 232014

I ran out of podcast room so I don’t get to share as much of this week’s show as I’d like. Here’s what we’ve got. Enjoy.

Two Cow Garage “No Shame” from Three

Dex Romweber Duo “So Sad About Us” from Image 13

Otis Redding “Lucille” from Pain In My Heart

Drive-by Truckers “Trying To Be The Boss” from Dragon Pants

Joey Kneiser “Goodbye Iris” from Moonlight For the Graveyard Heart

Wilco “The Late Greats” from A Ghost Is Born

Hayes Carll “Girl Downtown” from Trouble In Mind

Blasters “Never No More Blues” from The Blasters

Rank And File “Coyote” from Sundown

Jason & The Scorchers “I Really Don’t Want To Know” from Lost & Found

Apr 212014
Sometime in the fall of 1994 I was sixteen years old with a job at McDonald’s, a hand-me-down 1981 Honda Accord and a healthy addiction to music. There was a fairly new radio station out of Atlanta, the early wave of X stations, that started playing an acoustic  song. It reminded me of Tom Petty but this song was funny. It took a couple of times on the radio for me o learn it was a guy named Todd Snider and the song was called “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues.” Needless to say, this song spoke to me and I wanted to spend some of my McDonald’s money on that album.
We had a Blockbuster Music in Athens in those days and they had recently added the listening station to the store. This was revolutionary. You could walk into the store, pick out a CD and they would open it up and let you listen to it. I’m certain I annoyed more than my fair share of Blockbuster Music employees. (But look at me now)
 For reasons I can’t explain, I remember walking into BBM to find the Todd Snider CD. The employee was a short, skinny guy with thin black hair and glasses, I’m pretty sure he had helped me before. I found the CD but didn’t recognize the song title on the back. I asked the guy if I could listen to it. I sat there on the blue, vinyl-lined barstool and skimmed each song on Songs From The Daily Planet. Nothing. I told the guy I had heard a song by that guy on the radio but it wasn’t on the CD. I might not have known the title at this point. He didn’t know what I was talking about and he looked up on his pre-internet computer and saw that Todd Snider had no previous CDs. It was a mystery and I left the store unsatisfied.
Later, I was listening to the same X station and the DJ played the song and mentioned it was a hidden track on Songs From The Daily Planet. Of course. I took some of my McDonald’s money back to Blockbuster Music and bought the CD from the same employee. I don’t know if he remembered me and asked or if I volunteered that I had been in before. I told him that the song was a hidden track. We both agreed that kind of thing was a pain in the ass.
But I promised you Todd Snider was a prophet and so far all I’ve talked about is my childhood. On the song “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues” Todd talks about being an alternative band to the steady stream of alternative bands. He claimed to be in the only band that never played a note. They didn’t receive much commercial success until they told record labels that they were from Seattle. Suddenly the band was a hit and got asked to play MTV Unplugged. Haha, the 90′s were fun.
Then, a few weeks ago I was listening to NPR (see the trend) and they talked to a band that recorded an album of silence and put it on Spotify. The band is called Vulfpeck and the album is called Sleepify. They recorded thirty second clips of silence and asked their fans to stream it on Spotify on repeat over and over again. Their idea was to generate enough funds to go on tour and play shows for free. Now, this seems like a great and noble idea, when I read this interview in Rolling Stone it seems that the band isn’t that bright about the realities of touring. Apparently, they have generated about five grand but asked their agent if that was enough to get a bus, or something like that.
I’m not sure if that’s what Todd Snider was talking about 20 years ago (Jesus, has it been that long) but if Todd suggests marching to the end of the earth I’m going to consider his directive very carefully.
Apr 162014

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Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One “US Mail” from Illuminator

Aretha Franklin “Son Of A Preacher Man” from This Girl’s In Love With You

Black Joe Lewis “Skull Diggin’” from Electric Slave

Waylon Jennings “Low Down Freedom” from Honky Tonk Heroes

Sturgill Simpson “Life Of Sin” from Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

Sixteen Horsepower “Brimstone Rock” from Low Estate

Rick Danko “Java Blues”

Arliss Nancy “Directions Never Hold” from Wild American Runners

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House “From Bad To Worse” from Mayberry

The Box Tops “Everything I Am”

Kevn Kinney “Not Afraid To Die” from McDougal Blues

Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs “How Do You Catch A Girl”

Valerie June “Somebody To Love” from Pushin’ Against a Stone

Langhorne Slim “Back To The Wild” from Be Set Free

Eddie Hinton “I Want It All” from Very Extremely Dangerous

Otis Rush “You Reap What You Sow” from Duane Allman Anthology Vol. II

Uncle Tupelo “Watch Me Fall” from Still Feel Gone

Six String Drag “Bottle Of Blues”

Apr 112014

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Brown Bird “Thunder And Lightining” from Salt For Salt

Hillstomp “Meet Me At The Bottom” from Portland, Ore

Mike Watt &The Black Gang “30 Days In The Hole”

Chuck Ragan “Gave My Heart Out” from Till Midnight

Brittany Howard & Ruby Amanfu “When My Man Comes Home” from I Wonder

Only Sons “Cutting Corners” from American Stranger

Rum Drum Ramblers “Sure Sign”

Scott H. Biram “When I Die” from Nothin’ But Blood

Arc Iris “Whiskey Man” from Arc Iris

Shovels & Rope “Jonnny 99” from Johnny 99 / Bad As Me 7″

Jason & The Scorchers “White Lies” from Lost & Found

Have Gun Will Travel “Wolf In Shepherd’s Clothes” from Postcards From the Friendly City

Peter Mulvey “Sympathies” from Silver Ladder

Ben Nichols “This Old Death” from Last Pale Light In the West

Charlie Parr “Ellen Mayhem” from Rooster

Hank Williams III “One Horse Town” from Lovesick, Broke And Driftin’

Apr 082014


In early 1980 Peter Buck was working at Wuxtry Records when he met Michael Stipe. Chances are good that you know the rest of that story. But this record review is about a different story, the story of Peter Buck’s second solo record, I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again, a grandiose title for a humble record. If you haven’t heard Buck’s first solo record from a couple years back then you are no doubt curious about what a Peter Buck solo record sounds like.

For starters, Buck sings. His voice is gruffy, confident and filled with snarls. But what does the music sound like? To me the record sounds like the music Buck would have made in 1980 if Stipe hadn’t started coming into the record store all the time. I Am Back… is filled with crunchy guitar driven garage rock with the kind of hooks that would make Joey Ramone proud.

I don’t exactly know why I say this, but it’s hard to believe that a guy that’s sold millions of records could make an album like this. There are no hints of pretense or success. However, there is urgency and debauchery mixed with an understanding of how to play loose and fast while crafting excellent garage rock songs.

Joining Peter Buck is longtime collaborator Scott McCaughey as well as Kurt Bloch and Bill Rieflin. Corin Tucker from Sleater Kinney sings lead on one song and Patterson Hood does one of his spoken word things about the fall of the south on a song. But throughout the record what is most prevalent is the bizarre and oddball joy that exude the grooves and must have been present in the recording sessions.

Normally this is where I would stick in a couple of songs for you to check out but since Peter Buck decided to only release I Am Back... on vinyl I can’t do that. But this website has some minute long samples you can check out.

Not only is I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again Essential Listening, it is one of my favorite records of 2014 so far.

Buy I Am Back… Official word from Peter about the record