Tag Archives: Elvis

Million Dollar Quartet

Sun Records

7 Aug , 2012,
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments

Sun Records

Sun logo

Sun Records

Sun Records—I was about five years old in the early 1970s, when my grandmother first played a Johnny Cash record for me. I think it was “I Walk the Line”, or maybe “Ring of Fire”. I liked the way the rhythm reminded me of a train. I liked Johnny’s voice, and I liked the guitars of Cash and Luther Perkins. My dad had already played some old Elvis records for me, which I also liked. I had rockabilly in my ear from an early age. What I didn’t know at the time was, this sound that I liked was known as the “Sun Sound”. Both Elvis and Johnny Cash started their long careers at the Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, with Sun founder, Sam Phillips acting as music producer, guiding and directing their sound.

Sun Records–Sam Phillips and a Good Idea

Sam Phillips at Sun Records

The Sun Sound began when Phillips launched his record company in early 1952. He named it Sun Records as a sign of his perpetual optimism: it was a new day and a new beginning for Phillips and for music in general. Phillips rented a small space at 706 Union Avenue, in Memphis, for his own all-purpose studio. Sun Records was launched amid a growing number of independent labels, and in only a short time Sun gained the reputation throughout Memphis as a label that treated local musicians with respect and honesty. Phillips provided a non-critical, spontaneous environment that invited and encouraged creativity and vision.

Sam Phillips had a good ear for music. He could tell when something was “good” or merely “good enough”. Phillips was patient and willing to listen to almost anyone who came in off the street to record. In the early 1950s, Memphis was home to a diverse musical landscape–gospel, blues, hillbilly, country, boogie, and western swing were all popular in the South, and were gaining popularity in the rest of the country. Phillips was a businessman who was able to take advantage of this range of talent–and to eventually become wealthy in the process. In one form or another, Sam Phillips found a way for Sun to record all styles and genres of music. Because of the vast pool of talent to draw from locally, there seemed to be no limitations at Sun. Sun Records was already doing well, but the label hadn’t yet found the One to put it on the map

Sun Records–Elvis and the Million Dollar Quartet

Million Dollar Quartet

Then, in 1954, by chance, a young truck driver from Mississippi, named Elvis Presley, came into Sun studios to record a song for his mother. In Elvis, Phillips found an artist who could perform with the excitement, unpredictability and energy of a blues artist but could reach across regional, musical and racial barriers. Elvis helped form the beginnings of the Sun Sound by infusing Country music with R&B. Elvis’s bright star attracted even more ground-breaking talent to the Sun galaxy. Among his Sun contemporaries were Johnny Cash, the “killer” Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. These four soon became known as the Million Dollar Quartet, because of an accidental, impromptu recording session, one Tuesday afternoon in December 1956.

Shortly after those stars were signed at Sun, came Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich, Bill Justis, Harold Jenkins—later to be known as Conway Twitty–and other equally memorable musical talents. All these artists eventually sold on Pop, R&B, and Country charts and grew to international fame.

Sun Records–Rockabilly to the Masses

Sun Studios2

Rockabilly became the major evolution in the Sun Sound. Lyrically the music was bold; these kids sang about things that the generations of young people before had only thought about, but dared not mention out loud. The music itself was sparse and exciting; and it certainly moved in ways that popular music hadn’t moved before.

In the 1950s, Country music rarely used the drums that were so vital to jazz, blues, and jump bands. In fact, at the time, drums were prohibited on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. But in Rockabilly, drums played a vital role in driving teens across the nation to get behind the Rockabilly movement and the revolutionary Sun Sound. Once again, Sun was able to break new ground, recording music of unparalleled diversity and creativity.  The lasting quality of Sam Phillips’ Sun label is vibrancy that survives to this day. Sun produced sincere, passionate music that has stood for almost 60 years. Sun’s music takes us back to our roots, while it moves us forward. It is music that has reached across race, age and gender boundaries. It reflects the diversity and vision of the talent that recorded on the Sun label, and indeed, American popular culture itself. Sam Phillips didn’t set out to change American music forever, it just happened. Sun Records was a place for locals to make some music, and for Phillips to make some money without having to get a real job. Phillips only wanted to pay his rent, and have fun while doing it.


Sun Records.



19 Jan , 2012,
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments


I was just turning nine years old in July of 1977. but, I remember well August 16, 1977 when Elvis Presley died. Of course, I knew his name, and even at that young age, I knew songs like Hound Dog and Heartbreak Hotel. Being nine, I didn’t quite get it yet.


I remember Dad getting home from work that day in shock and disbelief. Dad kept saying that he couldn’t believe he was gone. I didn’t know what was going on. I had been outside playing Star Wars all day. I don’t think I had even turned on the TV yet. Okay, so Elvis was dead, but it didn’t really mean anything to me then. I was already a fan of the TV show Happy Days. I thought Fonzie was still the coolest thing around. Young Elvis reminded me of Fonzie, and I was cool with that.

It was years later, after I got into high school, that I developed a true appreciation for Elvis. I was starting to discover rockabilly in the early ’80s. It was the Stray Cats who reminded me that I had heard these sounds before. In my mind, even though Elvis had become the punch-line to a bad joke among my circle of friends, there was still something that I liked about him. I chose to ignore the cheesy, Las Vegas Elvis, preferring to listen to the younger, ‘dangerous’ version of Elvis.

Elvis–Sun Records

Elvis5Anyone who cares to know, has already heard that in the early 1950s, a young Elvis Presley went into Sam Phillips’ Sun recording studio, to make a record for his mother,and how Phillips later nearly shat himself when he realized that he had found exactly what he was looking for with a young white boy who had the look and sound that would turn the music industry upside-down. Phillips had been looking for a white kid who could match the intensity of what the young black artists were doing at the time. The term Rock and Roll hadn’t even been coined yet, and Phillips was hoping that he could find a way to break into the white audience market with an artist that wouldn’t frighten the money–or the audience–away.

Elvis–the Million Dollar Quartet

Between 1953 and 1955, Elvis Presley’s Sun recordings were cut at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis is a melting pot of many types of music: both black music–blues, rhythm & blues and gospel–and white music–country & western and hillbilly. The records that Elvis made reflect these influences.

Million Dollar Quartet

Elvis recorded more than 20 songs at Sun, 18 of them have survived and two tapes are lost. Ten were released by Sun as Elvis’ first five singles between 1954 and 1955,  A year or so after he left Sun Records–although Elvis would never officially record with Sun again–Elvis was caught on tape during an impromptu jamming session on December 4, 1956. Presley had arrived during a Carl Perkins recording session, which also featured a young Jerry Lee Lewis on piano, with Johnny Cash watching on. During a break in recording Elvis sat at the piano and began to sing along with Perkins, Lewis and Cash. Phillips kept his tape recorder running and, seeing an opportunity to promote another of his new acts, he arranged for a reporter to cover the event. The recordings would eventually be known as “The Million Dollar Quartet”.

Las Vegas would come later…


Warren Smith1

Warren Smith

10 Dec , 2011,
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments

Warren SmithWArren Smith 4

Warren Smith isn’t a name people just know off of the top of their heads. Most everyone it seems, knows Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis. Even if they aren’t great fans of the music, people generally know these guys’ names. Warren Smith is a name that gets by most of us.

Warren Smith–Auditions for Sun Records

Smith was born in Mississippi and started playing guitar to ward off boredom while stationed in Texas, in the United States Air Force. When he was discharged from the service, Smith moved to West Memphis, Arkansas to pursue a career in music. After a successful audition at the Cotton Club–not THE Cotton Club in Harlem–this Cotton Club was a local, Arkansas night spot–Steel guitarist Stan Kessler, who was playing at the nightclub with the Snearly Ranch Boys, took Smith to Sun Records to audition for Sam Phillips, with the Snearly Ranch Boys as his band.

Warren Smith 3

Phillips liked Smith’s sound. “Rock & Roll Ruby”–a song credited to Johnny Cash–would be Smith’s first Sun recording. Smith later claimed that George Jones actually wrote “Rock & Roll Ruby” and sold to Cash for $40, but that is a story for a different time.

Warren Smith–Rock & Roll Ruby Out-Debuts Some of the Greats

Smith recorded “Rock & Roll Ruby” on February 5, 1956. “Rock & Roll Ruby” hit No. 1on the local pop charts. Smith’s first Sun Records recording went on to outsell the first Sun releases by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins.

Warren Smith–Ubangi Stomp

In August 1956, Smith went back to the Sun Records studio to record his second release, “Ubangi Stomp”. This catchy, rollicking song had a politically-incorrect lyric including an African chief with the the grammar syntax of a bad movie Indian. “Ubangi Stomp” would almost certainly not be well-received today, and in fact, could be condemned racist by the more sensitive listener, but in the ’50s, people weren’t paying attention to that sort of thing. Besides, it is still a fun song.

Warren Smith Sun1

For the B side, Smith recorded the classic 18th century British ballad, “Black JackDavid”. This English folk song had survived for generations in various forms in the mountain communities of the American south, and may be the oldest song ever recorded by a rock and roll performer. Although it was a great artistic success, “Black Jack David” did not sell anywhere near as well as “Rock & Roll Ruby”.

In 1957, Smith recorded “So Long, I’m Gone”, a song written by Roy Orbison. It did become Smith’s biggest hit at Sun, peaking at No. 74 nationally on the Billboard charts, but Sun had no cash to promote it at the time. Sam Phillips was putting every dollar Sun had behind Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”.

Warren Smith1

Although Smith continued to make rockabilly records for Sun, including a cover version of Slim Harpo’s “Got Love if You Want It”, which was recorded in October 1957, none of these records did well commercially. Toward the end of 1958, Smith, seeing his future in country music, cut a cover version of Don Gibson’s “Sweet Sweet Girl”. It was Smith’s final record for Sun. In spite of a review in Billboard calling it “ultra commercial”, this record also failed to sell. Like other artists such as Sonny Burgess, Hayden Thompson, Billy Lee Riley and Ray Harris, chart success largely eluded him. Smith then decided to leave Sun Records.

In 1959, Smith and his wife and son moved from Mississippi to California, settling in Sherman Oaks, not far from Johnny and Vivian Cash. Cash offered Smith a spot on his show, but Smith turned it down, seeing himself as a headliner, not a supporting player. In early 1960, Smith signed with Liberty Records, and immediately scored a hit with “I Don’t Believe I’ll Fall in Love Today”, which went to Number 5 on Billboard’s Country & Western chart. This record, and Smith’s subsequent records, were produced by Joe Allison, and featured one of California’s best country session musicians, Ralph Mooney, on pedal steel guitar. Smith scored again with his next record for Liberty, “Odds and Ends, Bits and Pieces”, written by Harlan Howard. Liberty had Smith record several more tracks, mostly cover versions of recent country hits, to flesh out an album called The First Country Collection of Warren Smith.

Smith continued to record with some success for Liberty, and to tour with his band,Warren Smith 5 from 1960–1965. On August 17, 1965, Smith was involved in a serious car accident in LaGrange, Texas, and suffered serious back injuries from which it took him nearly a year to recover. By this time, his contract with Liberty had lapsed. Smith made several attempts to restart his career, first with a small, virtually amateur label called Skill Records, then for Mercury Records; but addictions to pills and alcohol held him back. Eventually, Smith’s drug problems led to an 18-month term in an Alabama prison for robbing a pharmacy.

After his release from prison, Smith continued to struggle to restart his career. In the late 1970s, he got a bit of a boost from the rockabilly revival then occurring. In 1977, he was invited to appear at London’s Rainbow Theatre, on a bill featuring Charlie Feathers, Buddy Knox and Jack Scott. To his shock, Smith was received in London with standing ovations. His reception in England boosted his spirits and, upon his return to the U.S., he began to perform with new-found vigor. In November 1978, Smith and fellow Sun alumnus Ray Smith toured Europe, again to great success.

In 1980, while preparing for another European tour, Smith died of a heart attack at 47 years of age.

Smith’s contribution to rockabilly music has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Bob Dylan has repeatedly featured Smith on his XM Satellite Radio show, Theme Time Radio Hour, playing Smith’s records “Red Cadillac & A Black Moustache”, “Uranium Rock”, “Ubangi Stomp” and “So Long, I’m Gone”. Dylan recorded a studio version of “Red Cadillac & A Black Moustache” in 2001 and also played that song and “Uranium Rock” in concert in 1986.

Warren Smith still isn’t a name a lot of people are familiar with. To the rockabilly enthusiast, however, Warren Smith isn’t someone to let slip from your attention too long. Virtually unknown or not, Warren Smith has earned his place at the table.


Little Richard

6 Sep , 2011,
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments

Little Richard

When I was in high school in the 1980s, I thought I wrote a joke that went something like this…

Little Richard1Q: If Elvis Presley is the King of Rock and Roll and Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul, who is the Queen of Rock and Roll?

A: Little Richard.

Ha ha…that is so funny. I thought I wrote that joke. The punch-line is, Little Richard had been telling that joke for years before I even got here. Oh well. I’ve been a little Richard fan almost as long as I’ve been a Beatles fan. I remember being young and hearing McCartney belt out the lyrics to “Long Tall Sally”, which was basically a 12 bar blues song on cross-tops. Perfect.

Little Richard PosterLittle Richard –Long Tall Sally; almost “impossible” to cover…

In 1955, Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” was big. Little Richard’s first song had made it to #2 on the R&B charts. This helped make him and his label–Specialty records–very happy. Soon thereafter, Pat Boone’s cover version of the song reached #12 in the pop charts. Although Little Richard was making more money than he had ever seen, Pat Boone was making as much, if not more, than he or the label were. As you can imagine, this pissed Little Richard right off. So, Richard and A&R man and producer “Bumps” Blackwell decided to write a song that was so up-tempo and the lyrics so fast that Boone would not be able to handle it. Pat Boone eventually did record his own version of “Long Tall Sally”. It went to #8 on the pop charts. but like so many weak recordings of good songs, Pat Boone’s music isn’t nearly as good–or bad?–as Shatner’s.

Little Richard–Little Girl with a Sick Mother Writes a Song…Beautiful

Blackwell said that he was introduced to a little girl named Enotris Johnson by a popular local disc-jockey. And it goes that this little girl had written a song for Little Richard to record so she could pay the costs of medical treatment for her ailing aunt Mary. The “song” was only a couple of lines on a piece of paper. The written lyrics went like this–

Little Richard5

“Saw Uncle John with Long Tall Sally
They saw Aunt Mary comin’
So they ducked back in the alley”

Blackwell didn’t want to piss off an influential disc-jockey, so he “accepted” the offer and took the idea to Richard, who wasn’t sure about it either, at first. Nevertheless, there was something about the line “ducked back in the alley” that seemed to fit what they were looking for. And, they kinda liked it. Richard kept practicing until he could sing it as fast as possible. They worked on the song, adding verses and a chorus, until they got the record they wanted. “Long Tall Sally” was the best-selling single of the history of Specialty Records.

Little Richard–He taught the Beatles to go “Wooo!”

Little Richard2

Little Richard was a guy whose music my dad introduced me to when I was seven or eight years old.  In the 1950s, Paul McCartney grew up listening to Little Richard, as did my dad. There was something in Little Richard’s voice and music that caught my attention in me as a kid in the 1970s. Perhaps it was because I am and always was a McCartney guy, but Little Richard had something that no one else had at the time had.

Dad has talked about being a Little Richard guy when he was in high school in the ’50s. He said that he and his friends had just discovered Elvis and Chuck Berry when they heard “Long Tall Sally” for the first time.

Back in the 1950s and early ’60s, as American records made their way overseas to England–the BBC wasn’t playing rock and roll–the music caught the attention of everyone, including very young Yardbirds, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, the Move, Small Faces, the Troggs. Fleetwood Mac–? Yeah, before Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie ruined the band, Fleetwood Mac was a convincing Chicago sounding blues band–and the Beatles. It is difficult to impress how important American music was to British music at that time. From blues to Elvis to the Everley Brothers, everyone wanted part of what America had.

My dad was stationed someplace outside of Paris, when he first heard the Beatles’ “Ibeatles_jfk_64 Wanna Hold Your Hand” in 1963. shortly thereafter, he heard the Beatles’ version of “Long Tall Sally”. He and I haven’t really talked about Little Richard or the Beatles lately, but he did say that some of his early interest in the Beatles was how much this McCartney guy sounded like Little Richard.

During the early 1960s, when the Beatles were playing clubs in Hamburg, Germany, they would often open for larger, more established acts. Little Richard was one of those acts. In a radio interview in the early ’90s, Little Richard talked about how well the Beatles played his music and how by the time he was going on stage, they had already played 20% of his set-list, leaving a gaping hole in his act for the evening.

Little Richard has since forgiven the Beatles for ‘stealing’ his material.


I Am Older Than a lot of Famous Dead Guys

4 Jul , 2011,
, , , , , , , , ,

I am older than a lot of famous dead guys.

May 12, 2011.  Unless I’m mistaken, today in my friend, Charles’ 47th birthday.  Charles and I have been friends since 1974, when I was starting elementary school, although we haven’t hung out in over thirty years.  Happy Birthday, Charles!  I remember your 12th birthday at COS.

Summertime has always meant birthday season to me.  My sister’s birthday is at the end of May. My mom, grandfather, cousin and brother all have June birthdays.  My birthday is in July.  My dad, my son, and aunt all have August birthdays.









There are other birthdays scattered throughout the year, of course.  My daughter is a Christmas baby.  October had been a big birthday month for me.  There have been October birthdays that have been important to me, over the years.  Among others, my grandmother and John Lennon have October birthdays.

I woke up this morning with the song, “That’s alright, Mama”–Elvis’ first big hit from 1955 or 1956–going through my head.  That’s what started me thinking about birthdays.

See, I just did some math–I hope I counted leap years and everything right.  As of May 12, 2011, I have lived 42 years 326 days.  Elvis Presley lived a grand total of 42 years 301 days.

Damn!  Now there is a little perspective for you.  “…too much.  A little too much fu*king perspective.”   — David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap


It has been brought to my attention that I am in a lot better condition in my early 40s than Elvis was.  Even with the occasional drinking jags, and the bouts with the blues, I am still doing better than Elvis Presley was when he was approaching birthday forty-three.  John Lennon had been dead nearly three years on his forty-third birthday.  I’d say I’m in a hell of a lot better condition than both of those guys.

I am older than a lot of famous dead guys–the 27 club

I have to laugh–sometimes so I don’t cry–when I think about the Twenty-Seven Club.  These poor, dumb, dead  kids.  I raise my coffee this morning to Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison,  Kurt Cobain, and all the others who succumbed to excess so long ago, at the age of twenty-seven.  It is kind of a bad joke, but I have been known to say that by this time, the Twenty-Seven Club had been gone for nearly sixteen years when they were my age.

robert johnson

Robert Johnson drank whiskey laced with strychnine at a country crossroads near Greenwood, Mississippi. Details are sketchy, and there are a number of accounts and theories.  According to legend, when Johnson was offered an open bottle of whiskey, his friend and fellow blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson knocked it out of his hand, and told him that he should never drink from an open bottle. Johnson allegedly said, “Don’t ever knock a bottle out of my hand”. Soon after, he was offered another open bottle and accepted it. That bottle was laced with strychnine. Johnson is reported to have started to feel ill throughout the evening and had to be helped back to his room in the early morning hours. Over the next three days, his condition steadily worsened and witnesses reported that he died in a convulsive state of severe pain—symptoms which are consistent with strychnine poisoning.  Shortly thereafter, Robert Johnson was dead.

Jim morrison

Jim Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment. Under French law, no autopsy was performed because the medical examiner claimed to have found no evidence of foul play. The cause of death was officially listed as “heart failure”, but heroin use was probably involved, possibly inhaled because he thought it was cocaine.

jimi1Jimi Hendrix died in a London hotel room under circumstances which have never been fully explained. According to the doctor who initially attended to him, Hendrix asphyxiated–literally drowned–in his own vomit, mainly red wine.  Authorities can only assume that it was Jimi’s own vomit he choked on, because as many of us know, you can’t really dust for vomit.

Brian Jones

Brian Jones drowned in the swimming pool of his home in Hartfield, Sussex, England. After a second arrest for marijuana possession, sporadic contributions to the Rolling Stones–which he co-formed–substance abuse and mood swings, Jones was pretty much kicked out of the band and was told by the other members of the band that a new guitarist would be added to the lineup, and that a tour of the US would go ahead without him.  Which was okay, because by that time, Brian Jones was already dead.



Kurdt Cobain blew his own head off at age 27.  Even after the success of his band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain was still as screwed up in the head as ever.  Money and fame don’t buy happiness.  In the last years of his life, he struggled with drug addiction and media pressures. Following a meeting with friends and record company executives, arranged by his wife Courtney Love, Cobain had agreed to undergo a detox program, but left the facility the day after arriving. On 8 April, Cobain’s body was discovered at his Lake Washington home by an electrician who had arrived to install a security system.


Janis Joplin died in a Los Angeles motel room of a heroin overdose, possibly combined with the effects of alcohol. She had recently become engaged, and was involved in recording her band’s album Pearl. The song “Mercedes Benz” on the album was the last thing she recorded.

How about all the others who died young?  It’s not really fair, is it?

I am older than a lot of famous dead guys–I’m still getting older

I wrote this piece a couple of months ago.  My 43rd birthday is right around the damned corner. I’m one of the lucky ones.  I am older than a lot of famous dead guys.


X–I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts

4 Jun , 2011,
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments


X–I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts.

I awoke this morning at my mountain top, the smell of coffee and bachelor chow ala campfire caught my attention. My sister’s

EXENE and JOHN DOEbirthday would be coming soon. It’s almost June. June is No Negativity Month. I like it.

After my first coffee and choker, I was thinking of the band X. more specifically, I was thinking of the bass part from I Must not Think Bad Thoughts, from X’s 1983 Electra/Asylum release, More Fun in the New World.

When we were in high school, our youth minister, JD had the greatest vinyl collection–indeed, one of the greatest music collections–I had ever seen.  JD was a divorced guy in his mid 30s.  JD was the guy who could make a twenty minute drive in ten minutes when he had to.    He was pastor of the Methodist Church.  His favorite band is probably still the Rolling Stones.  JD introduced us high school kids, living in the hills, to lots of punk rock and new wave…and the band X.




X–Will the last American band to get played on the radio, please bring the flag?

x los angeles coverIt’s funny that although I liked the way the Americans played rock and roll–we invented it, for cryin’ out loud!–I was still neck-deep in both British Invasions–Beatles, Stones, Sex Pistols, the Clash,  I already knew who Sioiuxsie and the Banshees were, and my friends and I were starting to get into more American rockabilly.  Some–okay, a lot of–the early Sun Records material still sounded kinda hokey to us at first.  This would take some getting used to, but we would manage.

I already knew a little about Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins from my grandmother.  Dad taught me about Elvis and Bill Haley and the Comets when I was younger–wasn’t rock Around the Clock  used as the opening for the first season of Happy Days?

Anyway, I wasn’t just being plunged into ice cold 1950s rockabilly without any preparation. I was already a Stray Cats fan.  I knew a little about rockabilly, I just preferred to work my way back to the original artists slowly.

One day after school, my friends and I went to see what JD was up to.  When we got to his place,  JD was watching a beta–anyone old enough to remember Betamax?–copy of an X concert  that we watched.  I was about 16 at the time.

X–Talk about presence…john doe

I was drawn to X.  I remember not being able to take my eyes off of Exene Cervenka.  Billy Zoom, standing like a damned statue,playing all the right guitar notes.  And to me, X has always been about John Doe and his amazing, perfectly-timed and phrased bass parts and vocals.

X wasn’t even really rockabilly, exactly.  I heard the term “Cowpunk” a few times to describe X’s sound.  I like it.  I think it fits.

Discovering what other American bands were doing in the early 1980s

I had pretty much been a Clash guy for a few months at that point–with other music drifting in and out–but when I heard I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, and the long list of perhaps unjustly over-looked American bands, I knew I was on a mission.  I had to find out about some of this music.  I had heard of many of the American artists they mentioned in the song, but I had really yet to discover “…the Minutemen, Flesh Eaters, D.O.A., Big Boys and Black Flag…”

I was looking forward to the journey.  I still enjoy the journey.

Yeah, don’t get me started on the band, Journey.  June is coming soon.  June is “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts” month.  I’llbilly zoom rant against the band Journey again soon enough, I suspect.

In the Beatles’ song, Let it Be, Paul McCartney tells us that in his times of trouble, he is comforted by Mother Mary and her words of wisdom.  That’s cool.  I’m glad.  I often like to listen to X and remind myself that I must not think bad thoughts.  In many ways, it’s the same thing.

From the top of my mountain, morning chores and devotions over, I listen to the band X, and I don’t have to remind myself not to think bad thoughts.    X.