Archive for February, 2009

Stagger Lee

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

At the Blues show at KWUR Week last night, I was so fortunate to witness an amazing performance by Boo Hanks, an 81-year-old from Virginia who is one of the last living performers of authentic Piedmont blues music. He played one of my favorite blues/folk standards, “Stagger Lee” (a.k.a. “Stack-O-Lee” and “Stagolee”). A lot of people are probably familiar with this song as it’s been done over and over again (I’ve embedded several youtube videos for your viewing pleasure), but not that many people know that it was inspired by a murder that occurred here in St. Louis at the end of the 19th century. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat provided the following account, which I found on this great website detailing the history of the song:

“William Lyons, 25, a levee hand, was shot in the abdomen yesterday evening at 10 o’clock in the saloon of Bill Curtis, at Eleventh and Morgan Streets, by Lee Sheldon, a carriage driver. Lyons and Sheldon were friends and were talking together. Both parties, it seems, had been drinking and were feeling in exuberant spirits. The discussion drifted to politics, and an argument was started, the conclusion of which was that Lyons snatched Sheldon’s hat from his head. The latter indignantly demanded its return. Lyons refused, and Sheldon withdrew his revolver and shot Lyons in the abdomen. When his victim fell to the floor Sheldon took his hat from the hand of the wounded man and coolly walked away. He was subsequently arrested and locked up at the Chestnut Street Station. Lyons was taken to the Dispensary, where his wounds were pronounced serious. Lee Sheldon is also known as ‘Stag’ Lee.”

Anyway, with your history lesson done for the day, here are several interations of Stagger Lee for you to enjoy.

Mississippi John Hurt

RL Burnside

RL Burnside – Stack-O-LeeThe best home videos are here

The Isley Brothers

Bob Luman

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

The Black Keys

Atlanta, GA: Inside/Out

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

“We Fun” Coming Soon…

So Long Late Night…

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Tonight Conan O’Brien ends his long (16 year) run on Late Night. Sure, he’s moving out to L.A. to take over the Tonight Show (starting June 2), but I’ll still miss him in the 12:30 slot. I’m confident Conan will bring his own style to the Tonight Show (which far surpasses the mediocrity of Jay Leno), but it won’t be the same (i.e. I wouldn’t expect the “Masturbating Bear” to make an appearance…).

I’ve been watching his show for over 10 years now (and I hate TV), so it’s been a lot of fun watching these last batch of shows full of old clips and unannounced guests. Conan favorites The White Stripes will be the music guest for tonight’s last show, but who else will show up? (I hope Andy Richter makes an appearance…)

And here’s my favorite reoccurring Conan skit, “The Interrupter”…

Ron Jeremy and Craig Gross on the Airwaves!

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Here is a little documentation of the fabulous interview that we conducted with RON JEREMY on February 13th, 2009, and, lucky for us, Pastor CRAIG GROSS popped in, too! The interview lasted about 40 minutes and included lots of goofy shmeckle talk, harmonica riffs, and porn banter.

On the KWUR Airwaves…
David Shainker, Ron Jeremy, Tara Pham (eek! what was I thinking?), and Kenny Hofmeister

Alex Fine, Ron Jeremy, Tara Pham, and Kenny Hofmeister

The Judgment Hour with Kenny and Tara – with Ron Jeremy and Craig Gross

My impressions from the interview:

Pornstar Ron Jeremy is a smart dude… but he certainly lives in an alternate reality than most of us, simply by virtue of the fact that he defines “work” and “play” much differently than the majority of folks. He is very chatty, a real showman. He is down to grope girlies and sign their lady humps without hesitation. He has done the right things with his career – in that he knows how to make fun of himself and is grateful for the opportunities that porn has offered him, but he’s more than just “shmeckle.” He eagerly pursues non-pornographic projects (movies, tours, education, etc.) and has a strong loyalty to his friends (and fans) in and out of show business.
Pastor Craig Gross has his act together. He’s preaching the right things to the right people. He’s a man of God, sure, but it seems he is more concerned with people’s general spiritual well-being than their adherence to the word of the book (i.e. the New Testament). With piercings and a hipster ‘do, he is to preaching what KWUR is to radio… a breath of fresh air, among other things. He has a great sense of humor and also kind of plays the role of the “adult” on this Great Porn Debate tour with Mr. Jeremy, at times keeping track of where Ron is and maybe making sure he makes his appointments. Craig Gross should be your new celebrity crush – because he’s the foxiest pastor I’ve ever met…

And Ron Jeremy & co. have left the building…


Back to the Golden Age

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Whats up people. Dapper Dan here, some of you might know me from my show Return of the Boom Bap last semester. Being abroad in London, I miss KWUR and thought I could trick myself into having some false sense of contribution to the station by posting on this lovely blog here. So, without any further bullshit here’s some dope ass hip-hop albums you might all enjoy from the so-called “Golden Age” (like 1987-1996) that I’d probably be rocking at 10 watts if I were back in STL. So…

De La Soul – Buhloone Mindstate (1993)

De La Soul are pretty well known, but for some reason “Buhloone Mindstate,” without a doubt their best album in my opinion, has never gotten its proper due and remains pretty criminally underrated. This gem was released in 1993, and was De La’s third and last collaboration with genius producer Prince Paul. Once again, Paul’s all over this one in the best way possible (you can really see what they lack without him when you hear their like post-96 shit, like the “AOI” series and “The Grind Date”).
Anyway, I’m not sure there’s another hip-hop album that flows so seamlessly from beginning to end. Unlike their first two albums, the more well-known “3 Feet High and Rising” and “De La Soul is Dead,” Buhloone goes light on the skits and such, which is a serious improvement. The album’s also short on guest appearances, only featuring Guru, Dres from Black Sheep, and some verses here and there from a female MC named Shortie No Mass. However, we get some sweet live instrumentation from Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley and Pee Wee Ellis of James Brown and J.B.s fame on tracks like “Patti Dooke,” “I Be Blowin'” and “I Am I Be.”
Like I said, “Buhloone” flows like silk but some stand-out tracks include “Ego Trippin’ Pt. 2,” “Area,” and “Breakadawn.”

Juggaknots – Re:Release (2002)

Oh man is this good. Juggaknots (Breezly Brewin, Buddy Slim, Heroine) recorded most of the tracks on this album around 1995 and released them as the “Clear Blue Skies” EP for Bobbito Garcia’s record label Fondle ‘Em. Juggaknots were definitely in good company on Fondle ‘Em during the mid-90s with the likes of Company Flow, Arsonists, MHz, MF Grimm and a newly renamed MF Doom.
This album is of the exceptional variety where you can easily listen to the whole thing all the way through and not really skip any tracks. “Re:Release” has some dirty ass beats throughout (with some nice Coltrane and Taxi Driver OST samples), but the strength of the album is absolutely due to Breezly Brewin. Basically, Breeze is one of the sickest MCs I’ve ever heard. He’s got a crazy complex and unorthodox rhyming scheme. Nobody has a flow quite like his, at least that I’ve ever heard (check him out as the featured MC on Prince Paul’s concept album “A Prince Among Thieves” from 1999).
Like so many great 90s hip-hop artists, Juggaknots later material – “The Love Deluxe Movement” (2004) and “Use Your Confusion” (2006) – unfortunately in no way compares to the earlier shit. Nonetheless, this album is some dirty New York underground shit.
Just about every track is good, but I guess the stand-outs are “Jivetalk,” “Sex Type Thang,” “I’m Gonna Kill You,” and “Clear Blue Skies.”

The Beatnuts – The Beatnuts a.k.a. Street Level (1994)

The Beatnuts (Psycho Les, Juju, Fashion) aren’t the strongest lyricists, basically sticking to the Alkaholik-type of hedonistic pussy/weed/40s rhymes. But in their case I could give a shit cuz they make the sickest fucking beats ever. The 3 producers/MCs were sort of like marginal members of the Native Tongues Tribe in early 90s New York (A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Black Sheep, and so on), and have produced a lot beats for other people over the years, like Common Sense, Chi-Ali, Kurious, Da Youngsta’s and Fat Joe. Their beats are everything you want out of jazzy early-mid 90s hip-hop, with nice, funky horn, guitar and acoustic bass samples.
Following their almost as good debut EP from 1993, “Intoxicated Demons,” this album keeps it pretty simple, with only one guest appearance throughout from Grand Puba of Brand Nubian. Just funky ass beats and party rhymes. Beatnuts have put out like 4 or 5 albums since then, none of which compare, although “Stone Crazy” is definitely solid (if you can remember all the way to back to like 97 or 98 the song “Off the Books” was all over the radio).
Some stand-out tracks: “Let Off A Couple,” “Rik’s Joint,” “Hit Me With That”