Archive for James Gang

Backyard Fireball – Thanksgiving edition

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , on November 20, 2011 by 30daysout

This what your redneck neighbor's backyard will look like on Thanksgiving

Editor’s Note: In the interest of preserving the environment this holiday season, we are recycling some old blog posts. Don’t worry – most of the links work.

Are you gonna deep fry a turkey this Thanksgiving?  Put the fire department on speed dial – especially if you’re gonna be hoisting a few.  Actually I do have some experience with this, and I will attest that the first and most important step in deep frying a turkey is getting oneself properly hydrated with your favorite beer.

I can’t really remember when I first saw my crazy Louisiana relatives frying a turkey.  It may have been in the 1980s some time; we went over to see our relatives in and around Cecilia and Catahoula, Louisiana (yes, near the Atchafalaya Swamp) and early one morning those insane bastards were out in the cold, drinking beer and plunging poor turkeys into boiling grease.  Now my Louisiana relatives – who refer to themselves and each other as “coonass” – will stalk, shoot, clean and cook pretty much anything that walks, swims or flies.  And they do this with a deadly efficiency, particularly when they’re drunk.

Anyhow, my old man decided to fry one himself one year.  We got everything ready, turkey immersed in grease and we started our timing (about three minutes for every pound of turkey) and of course, our beer drinking.  I dunno what the correct beer-to-frying-time ratio is, but our turkey turned out OK.  And during Super Bowl XXVII in 1994 (Cowboys vs. Bills) we fried one on my back porch and put in too much oil.  When the turkey went in, the oil came out and … my eyebrows and arm hair grew back but there’s still a big burn mark on my patio Astroturf.

Since then,  I’m content to smoke turkeys on my Weber grill while spinnin’ the albums Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie and The Last Waltz by the Band (which was recorded on Thanksgiving Day, 1976).  Which, I should add, is a tradition rich in patio time and a much extended beer-to-turkey-cooking ratio.

More wisdom from Louisiana: Stay away from the dreaded turducken!  My Uncle Harold once said, “Never eat anything with ‘turd’ in the name.”  Hell, that dude fried pork chops!  Pecan pies must always have a little bourbon, your dressing must be cornbread and it never hurts to whip up a batch of pralines.  And never, ever bet on the Lions!

Uh, guess you need to get goin’ to work on your own turkey.  Thanks to you, our loyal readers, for supporting this blog.  Since 2008 we have had more than 1.3 million readers, and we appreciate that.  We’ll close the dump for Thanksgiving but will be back next week to start the Christmas watch.  We’ll keep rockin’ as long as we can!  Happy Thanksgiving.

MP3: “Deep Fried Turkey Blues” by Jay Gaunt

MP3: “Turkey Hop” by the Robins

MP3: “Thanksgiving Day” by Johnny Dowd

MP3: “Thanksgiving” by Mary Gauthier

MP3: “A Thanksgiving Prayer” by William S.  Burroughs

MP3: “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)” by Sly Stone w/Johnny Winter

MP3: “Turkey and Dressing” by the Butthole Surfers

MP3: “Turkey Gotta Gobble” by Reverend Horton Heat

MP3: “Jive Turkey” by the Ohio Players

MP3: “I Thank You” by Sam & Dave

MP3: “Little Johnny Pilgrim” by Gene Autry

MP3: “Thanks” by the James Gang

MP3: “Thank You” by Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes

MP3: “Sweet Potato Blues” by Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three

MP3: “Holiday” by James McMurtry

MP3: “Forever Young” (live) by Bob Dylan & the Band (from The Last Waltz)

MP3: “Getting Ready For Christmas Day” by Paul Simon

Even the New York Times recommends endorses mentions drinking beer when frying a turkey!

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: ‘Zachariah’ soundtrack

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , on February 5, 2010 by 30daysout

I came across this record – the soundtrack for the 1971 movie Zachariah, which was billed at the time as the “first electric western.”  Do you remember that one?

This movie, I believe, was one of the strange films that came out of Hollywood after Easy Rider virtually destroyed the old-school big-studio movie model in 1969.  In the wake of that groundbreaking movie, filmmakers saw that there was a huge untapped market in the era’s youth – so you had a lot of low-budget movies with avant-garde leanings … and a lot of rock music.  It didn’t hurt that Easy Rider was kind of a western too.

So dig this: take the central idea behind Easy Rider (two buddies on the road, searching for something) and put it back in the Old West: check.  Rock music? Check.  Hey, how about putting rockers in the movie as actors?  Oh yeah, check.  While we’re at it, let’s just give them their electric guitars and let ’em play on screen!  What????

Yeah, that’s Zachariah. The movie opens on this arid desert scene, there’s a lonely rider getting off his horse and scuffling through the dust, then – three dudes playing electric instruments!  That’s the James Gang, and that sets into motion the story of young Zachariah (played by John Rubenstein), who gets a mail-order gun and winds up shooting down some dude in the local saloon.  He and his friend Matthew (Don Johnson!) join the Crackers, a rock band who are also pitifully inept stagecoach bandits.   Zachariah and Matthew eventually set out to become big-time gunslingers, but a break in their friendship grows into a rivalry that can only have deadly consequences.

At first it’s kind of disorienting to see dudes riding around on horses then go into a saloon where Joe Walsh is tearing off a riff on his guitar.  Immediately you get the idea this is some kind of spoof, maybe some kind of thing where the people who made it were stoned (it was written by two members of the Firesign Theatre), maybe the movie was intended to be seen by audiences who were also stoned.  I remember seeing it when it came out, and even as a 16-year-0ld I thought it was pretty stupid.  But I also thought the rock music in the film was killer bee.

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