Tag Archives: records

Levon Helm’s New Album, with downloads

Reposted here to encourage the world to get their mitts on the talented Mr. Helm’s new offering

Inspiration from the Delta: Levon Goes Home for Dirt Farmer

Levon Helm’s first record in more than a decade, Dirt Farmer, will be released to the public on October 30, through Dirt Farmer Music LLC in conjunction with Vanguard Records. Levon sings and plays drums, guitar and mandolin on the CD, accompanied by Larry Campbell on guitars and fiddle, and the voices of Amy Helm and Teresa Williams. The record explores songs Levon learned as a boy in Arkansas and others in that style.

“Growing up on a cotton farm in the Arkansas Delta, Dirt Farmer rings true to home,” Levon said. “Amy encouraged me to go all the way back and try to record some of the family songs from home that we always loved best.”

The record reveals the essential beauty of traditional songs like “Little Birds” and the Stanley Brothers’ “False Hearted Lover Blues,” and takes a new look at Paul Kennerley’s “A Train Robbery,” Buddy and Julie Miller’s “Wide River To Cross” and another sentimental favorite, Lauralyn Dossett’s “Anna Lee.”

Levon said: “‘The Girl I Left Behind’ was one of the first songs my parents taught me as a child, along with ‘Little Birds’and ‘Blind Child.’ ‘The Poor Old Dirt Farmer’ is a song that my wood-carver musician friend Michael Copus and I learned together when we worked with Jane Fonda on The Dollmaker down in Tennessee. ‘Single Girl, Married Girl’ is one of my favorite songs of the whole session. It gave us the chance to address a traditional standard with the entire rhythm section using non-electric instruments and a full set of drums. It also gave us the chance to monkey up the rhythm of a traditional country beat.”

1. False Hearted Lover Blues 3:29
2. Poor Old Dirt Farmer 3:52
3. The Mountain 3:35
4. Little Birds 4:41
5. The Girl Left Behind 3:35
6. Calvary 4:53
7. Anna Lee 3:42
8. Got Me a Woman 3:11
9. A Train Robbery 5:28
10. Single Girl, Married Girl 3:18
11. Blind Child 3:26
12. Feelin’ Good 3:31
13. Wide River To Cross 4:52

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levonhelm.com

DOA’s Classic collection “Bloodied But Unbowed” Re-released Today

DOA frontman Joey Shithead Keithley’s record label Sudden Death is re-releasing the seminal collection of kick-ass punk today.

I’ll be picking one up for sure though i’ve owed the vinyl and CD before but both are MIA – lent to some friends, somewhere – rock on, enjoyed i hope.

DOA at NY Theater
DOA, No Means No, Hot Spit Dancers, Chainsaw Running at York – perfect show!

Along with The Clash DOA showed that you could write good songs, which rocked and had something to say.

I was 13-ish when i first heard them as a frustrated kid in the suburbs and over the next several years saw them many times. Often taking the bus to way out venues and street-hiking long distances after the last bus to the burbs had rolled.

DOA Spores AOT in Surrey fro pUnk History Canada
DOA, The Spores and AOT at Bumpers

When they played Bumper’s, an all-ages venue in Surrey – i got to chat with them and they treated me like one of them, not some fan kid in specs and a mac jacket.

In those days, i collected their vinyl like holy artifacts – from the toe-tagged 7″ to the General Strike John Peel Sessions 12″ EP (the best ever). Even the uhh… not so good albums as they sorted through a few line changes – but there was always something that mattered on every disc. Gregg, Goble (Sunnyboy Roy), Dimwit, Biscuits, many more … all through the revolving door. {Note, some years later: RIP to many of the above}.

DOA by Bev Davies
Photo by Bev Davies

Years later, i hung out with Joe on the set of a music video he was making with Randy Bachman – some goofy thing with scaffolding and searchlights and safety vest and hardhats. I saw him then as a sharp-as-a-tack professional who remembered everything and worked efficiently so he could get on to other things – “there’s shit to get done man.” He bantered with me about some rock and roll reminicenses – dingy clubs he’d played in Germany where i been tagging along with the Bad Yodellers on a tour and saw Gwar amongst jack-booted, German acid-heads and he wondered what new bands i was listening to.

hockey lounge
DOA HArdcore 81 at the Hockey Lounge in Olympia, WA

Again, years later in Olympia, Joe got me up on stage at the 4th ave Tav to sing Taking Care of Business in my Canucks jersey – yup i rocked it too. The band and crew came to watch the game on the replay tv (Canucks lost to Avs in Game one of playoffs on a controversial offsides non-call by Chris Drury IIRC).

Later, at the Hockey Lounge (our stealthy smoke-easy on Puget St.), we drank kegged beer and then moved to Kokanee or Canadian cans while gravelly voice Randy Rampage drank Scotch from the bottle and told rock n’ roll stories from Japan and Joe broke down the hockey game with focused concern.

They made lovely houseguests (maybe i should keep this a secret) … they even folded their towels and tidied up before leaving (thanks).   BTW, As i talked about on a Clubside Breakfast Time episode, i ended up meeting the roadie’s brother in Granada, Spain and having a good laugh about the coincidence as i crashed at his place. Sure they can play their instruments decent but the passion and vigor is more important to their stew.

Virtuosity is often overrated when the songs are good enough to carry the day – tough as East Hastings concrete but with a (shock) melody and a structure under the noise.

But as much as the rock rocks, the social messages are what gives their music soul … Not overt but strongly worded, no subtley here but not preachy either ~~ global trade, environment, voting, nuclear proliferation, music theory (disco sucks) ~~ all sacred cows are all up for hitting with the bulldozer. If the message don’t open yer mind, the fuzz will lever it open like a greasy tire iron prying off a hubcap.  What i think he’s saying is (i think) … whatever decision you come up with is probably OK as long as you aren’t harming anyone innocent, you got a reason to do it and you actually do something about it.

The lyrical breadth (big words for punk rock but deal with it) is recently more evident as i’ve mined the DOA catalog for snippets to use on podcasts and most any controversial topic is dissected and set to loud guitar. My old t-shirt spells out the root of the DOA mantra: Talk-Action=Zero.

This past year has been a busy one for Joe and the gang, films, tours, a more tasty reflective seasoning sprinkled from this era of Vancouver hardcore – read Suddendeath for current chronicles and don’t forget that the legendary Bev Davies has a photo calendar too. Punk History Canada is a trove of documentation – if you got any olden punk stuff, scan it, send it, no excuses ya hear.