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First, I need to say that you have to get this album. It kicks a million asses eight days a week.

Now that that’s out of the way I can start. This album contains a song you might all know: “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” Initially this was to be the focus of this album, and still is. However, what I decided to change was the types of alcoholic beverages highlighted in the post. The original idea was to pick my favorite bourbon, scotch, and beer and discuss their merits. However, this doesn’t make much sense given the context of the song.

Second, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” is a cover of John Lee Hooker’s version, which is in turn a spin on Amos Milburn’s 1953 hit “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer”. I was unaware of this for the longest time so here’s a video for the uninformed:

Third, I don’t want to  neglect any of the other equally good or better songs on this album. However, I’ve never been to Delaware, so I don’t really have any clever quips about “Deleware Slide”. I’m not going to write about how things songs sound, because it would do the song, and every other song on this album, a huge disservice. But it still deserves, no, demands a listen. So listen to it, goddamn it. And feel free to preview the few featured on this post.

Ok, enough lollygagging. One bourbon, one scotch, one beer. Which ones would you drink if you were broke, womanless/manless, and hitting an enviable 3 a.m. last call? Keep in mind all of the picks have to be cheap because you’re broke, remember? So, here are my picks:

One Bourbon

Bourbon snifter not included.

During my years in Cincinnati and Covington, KY I had a lot of experience with Bourbon. I mean A LOT of experience. I’ve tried over 50 types of bourbon since I was, ahem, 21. The actual number is locked away in a barrel in the back of my head. So, if I remember correctly, I’m kind of an expert.

During most trips to The Party Source or one of Covington’s 2 billion liquor stores I’d pick up a bottle of Old Heaven Hill Bonded. Bonded Bourbon’s the assortment that’s been stored in a government-secured storehouse for at least 4 years and packs 100 proof (50% alcohol) minimum. Old Heaven Hill’s aged for 10 years and only costs $9 for a fifth in Kentucky, which is absolutely ridiculous.

Heaven Hill is a major player in the distillery world and produces many of the finer Bourbons (Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, Fighting Cock, Henry McKenna, J. W. Dant, Old Fitzgerald) but its lowly Heaven Hill varieties rarely make it out of Kentucky. I’ve tried Heaven Hill Gold Label, Green Label, Black Label, and Old Heaven Hill Unbonded. They’re all great Bourbons for the buck and aren’t sweet like most cheap Bourbons. I need to get a few handles sent out West post haste.

That and a case of Ale-8-One: Kentucky’s soft drink and the absolute best mixer for Bourbon.

One Scotch

J&B

Ok, so not the cheapest scotch available, and I know I’m broke, but I still have to have some standards. J&B’s available at nearly every bar in the United States, is about the price of Jim Beam, and doesn’t taste like turpentine or swamp bog, which is what many expensive scotches taste like. J&B is all right by me.

Plus, it’s the favorite drink of Patrick Bateman. Patrick’s a man with a taste for Huey Lewis and the News, fine dining, and viciously murdering prostitutes. He’s a man who knows what he wants.

One Beer

Red Dog: A Class Act

Last night I met a brewer from Barcelona at one of the bars near my place. He’s in San Francisco for Beer Week and just wanted to talk and talk about his beer. It was really hard to figure out what he was saying because he was very drunk and had a super thick Catalan accent. Basically all I could understand was, “I love good beer, I love the hops!”

He kept pouring beer from one cup to another in attempts to aerate the brew and bring out the flavor. The only thing he succeeded in was spilling beer on the floor over and over. While this was happening his non-English speaking friend, who was wearing a turtleneck sweater and a backpack, danced like a 3-year-old in front of the soul-record-spinning DJ.

This wasted Barcelonian kept asking if we wanted to smoke weed or hash. Every now and then he’d slyly pull out these little nickel bags full of the stuff and give us a shit eating grin that said, “I’m a naughty boy, I love the herb!” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that you could light up a fat blunt on a school bus here and no one would give two shits. Seriously, I can’t walk a single block without smelling pot in this town.

I also didn’t have the heart to tell him that I used to only buy 30-packs of Red Dog in Kentucky for $13 dollars.

>>>Click here to download Awesomeness at 320 kbps

Tracklist

A1 You Got To Lose 3:15
Written-By – E. Hooker*
A2 Madison Blues 4:24
Written-By – E. James*
A3 One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer 8:20
Written-By – John Lee Hooker
A4 Kind Hearted Woman 3:48
Arranged By – George Thorogood
Written-By – Robert Johnson
A5 Can’t Stop Lovin 3:04
Written-By – E. James*
B1 Ride On Josephine 4:17
Written-By – E. McDaniel*
B2 Homesick Boy 3:02
Written-By – G. Thorogood*
B3 John Hardy 3:18
Arranged By – George Thorogood
Written-By – Traditional
B4 I’ll Change My Style 3:57
Written By – Parker-Villa
B5 Delaware Slide 7:45

I have something of a love/hate relationship with Southern Rock. For the longest time it was only hate that boiled within whenever “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” came on the radio. This happened a lot because Southern Rock is big business in Cincinnati. Well, it was during the 90′s before the Butt Rock wave of Linkin Parks and Nickelbacks washed its poisonous spray across the United States.

When I moved here in the 1991 “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” was everywhere…I mean everywhere. Put it on STAR 93.3 Christian Contemporary and “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” would be wedged in between repeats of Michael W. Smith’s “Awesome God”.  If the rain started coming down in sheets “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” would start blaring over the emergency sirens. Call any Pizza Hut in the 513 area code and you’d get “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” as you waited to order a Stuffed Crust pizza.

But the main advocate of Georgia Satellites was definitely Wildman Walker, sports guru for Cincy’s WEBN, even back when WEBN was a legitimate broadcaster of music. For as long as I can remember Wildman’s been the voice of the Cincinnati Cyclones. He’s been there to jubilantly announce each and every power play whether the Clones are playing at Cincy Gardens or The Crown/U.S. Bank Arena (site of the tragic stampeding deaths of 12 people at The Who Concert in 1979) .

Wildman rocking with Georgia Satellites’ roadie Todd “Frog Sack” Squiggins.

During the early 90s “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” was constantly echoing through the bomb-shelter-like confines of Cincinnati hockey arenas. In between face-offs the words “I GOT SOME MONEY IN MY POCKET, IT GOES JING-A-LING-A-LING” would bounce off the scoreboard, to the ice, and then smack your face like a cold-hearted slapshot. And to make it much worse, the song would unleash some sort of primal urge hidden deep within every Cyclone fan. It was to the point of  religious ritual. Each time the song started the beautiful people of Cincinnati would rise up, raise their Bug Lights, and rhythmically flail around. Beer would spill, the aroma of loose-hold gel would waft, and the floor would slick with north-meets-south sweat. It was ugly.

Twister presents one lucky fan with the Pure Romance erotic toy gift bag of the game!

For the longest time I simply couldn’t listen to Georgia Satellites. It made me feel like a dirty, dirty redneck and drove me to cover my head with a down pillow in the relative safety of my suburban home. I just kept seeing those Cyclones fans in slow motion, with their teeth jing-a-linging.

But then a curious thing happened. I turned 21 and started visiting bars around the city. At first I drank the typical bar-newbie pussy drinks. Sex on the beach, buttery nipples, banana slammers, Bud Select….I drank the weakest of the weak. But eventually, after a steep learning curve, I graduated to Bourbon. Not whiskey, not that Jack Daniels crap, but real Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Heaven Hill, Wild Turkey, Ancient Age, Booker’s, Bulleit, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Ezra Brooks, Jim Beam, Johnny Drum, J.T.S. Brown, Old Grand Dad, Old Crow, Old Fitzgerald, Very Old Barton, Kentucky Tavern, Kentucky Gentleman.

They were, and still are, all my friends. And after spending a good amount of time in their warm company I’ve learned a few important things. We’ll call these “The Way of the Bourbon”.

First, ditch the New Balances for a pair of cowboy boots. A real pair, complete with full wooden heel and toe pointy enough to ease access into a terrorist’s ass.

For advanced buckaroos only.

Second, get yourself a big ol’ belt buckle. Pick a buckle with a theme with which you can identify. If you drive a Chevy get a “Heartbeat Of America” buckle. If you like horses then by all means get a stallion; just make sure you don’t accidentally get a Shetland. Most importantly don’t get something which would compromise your manliness. Here are examples of acceptable and unacceptable buckles.

Strong theme, clean design, good proportions. Acceptable.

Seriously? No. Get to steppin’, Mr. Caruso.

Third, acquire a loud set of speakers. Minimum requirements for this are a 3-way system with a subwoofer of no less than 12″ and power handling of over 100 watts at 8 ohm. Get a copy of Georgia Satellites self-titled LP. A digital copy will do in tight pinches. Especially one from Rebuilt Tranny’s Rat Rod Record Exchange. That site always seems to have quality rips. Turn the volume up to 11. Stand in front of the speakers, dig in your heels, and absorb the sound into your belt buckle. It will vibrate quite nicely.

Finally, accept your inner hillbilly. Allow him to permeate all areas of your life. Invite him to family dinners. Let him tell a dirty joke or two. If he feels the need to laugh loudly, or comment positively on abundant cleavage, afford him the liberty. But most importantly, let him enjoy intermissions at the Cyclones games. Once you do that you’ll stop asking, “Who in the hell are the Wheeling Nailers?” and just enjoy a good roughing penalty in the decaying metropolis of the Queen City.

Correct excecution of “The Way of the Bourbon”. Note how the female fawns over the male’s wild nature.

>>>CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD GEORGIA SATELLITES ROOTIN’ TOOTIN’ GOOD TIME

Tracklist

A1 Keep Your Hands To Yourself 3:26
Performer [Additional Musician] – Dave Hewitt (3) , Randy Delay
A2 Railroad Steel 4:12
A3 Battleship Chains 2:58
Written-By – Terry Anderson (2)
A4 Red Light 2:48
Written-By – Neill Bogan
A5 The Myth Of Love 4:12
B1 Can’t Stand The Pain 3:44
Written-By – Rick Richards
B2 Golden Light 3:42
B3 Over And Over 3:37
B4 Nights Of Mystery 4:44
B5 Every Picture Tells A Story 5:22
Written-By – Rod Stewart , Ron Wood

Update 1/4/11: Gerry Rafferty died today at the age of 63. He passed on peacefully at home with family. Thanks for the music, Gerry.

If you’re not familiar with Gerry Rafferty or with his song “Baker Street” you should first take a look-see at this video.

Please, allow your saxophone-induced erection to subside before reading the remainder of this post.

While researching this album I came across a couple of interesting pieces of information about Gerry Rafferty. First, Rafferty just recently suffered liver failure due to acute alcoholism and is in critical condition. Amazingly this isn’t the first time he’s suffered liver failure from overindulgence. Additionally, alcoholism has driven Rafferty to a life of seclusion; and perhaps made him a fan of George Thorogood. There have even been reports of him completely disappearing from time to time. All of this leads one to believe that, despite becoming a popular musician and selling over 5.5 million copies of City To City, Rafferty’s a lonely, depressed soul. Evidence of this is found in the lyrics of “Baker Street”.

Winding your way down on Baker Street
Light in your head, and dead on your feet
Well another crazy day
You drink the night away
And forget about everything
This city desert makes you feel so cold,
Its got so many people but its got no soul
And it’s taken you so long to find out you were wrong
When you thought it held everything

Baker Street, London, England

You used to say that it was so easy

But you’re tryin’, you’re tryin’ now
Another year and then you’d be happy
Just one more year and then you’d be happy
But you’re cryin’, you’re cryin’ now

Second, some people credit the sexophone solo in “Baker Street” with inciting the stampede of screaming reeds that ran rampant throughout 80′s pop. Music critic and historian Richard Ingham termed Rafferty’s sax influence the “Baker Street Phenomenon” in The Cambridge Companion To The Saxophone. Below is an excerpt from the book:

The year 1978 saw the appearance of what can only be described as the Baker Street phenomenon. An attractive but seemingly innocuous rock ballad, a hit for singer/composer Gerry Rafferty, was decorated by a handful of notes turned into an eight-bar phrase at the beginning and between verses.

No one really knows why, but following the success (and consequent air-play) of this number, it seemed that every self-respecting band had to include a saxophone.

Soon after that an enormous percentage of TV advertisements had a sultry tenor or wailing alto taking prominence, and in the mid 1980s the saxophone became the most popular instrument for youngsters starting out. Rafael Ravenscroft, the player in question, can thus be said to have initiated the biggest boom in saxophone sales since the craze of the 1920s.

This [testifies] to the power of the mass media, as well as the music itself, and follows in a direct line Acker Bilk, whose Stranger on the Shore was responsible for a generation of clarinet players, and later James Galway with Annie’s Song, similarly providing flute players.

It seemed that Baker Street legitimised (sic) the saxophone in mainstream pop, instead of being an extra instrument on loan from jazz. Almost the best part of this whole story is the fact, like many inventions, it appeared quite by chance.

The band were recording the number, and Rafael Ravenscroft was booked to do a session on soprano (heard briefly in the introduction). Having completed this, they were still waiting for the guitarist to arrive, who was due to record the now famous opening phrases. Time passed and Ravenscroft mentioned that he had an alto in the car if that would do as a substitute for the guitar. It was found to be satisfactory.

It’s hard to imagine the 80s without all the gratuitous sax. Hard, but somewhat cathartic. Here’s a good list of the best of the worst saxual songs from the cocaine decade.

Finally, Gerry Rafferty is a total hipster.

Beard…check. Big glasses…check. Forlorn stare into nothingness…check. Systems check complete: Hipster is a go.

*

>>>Click here to download City To City at 320 KBPS

*

Tracklist

1 The Ark 5:40
Electric Guitar – Jerry Donahue
Fiddle, Mandolin – Graham*
Vocals [Intro] – Bashwhackers, The
2 Baker Street 6:08
Lead Guitar [Lead Electric] – Hugh*
Rhythm Guitar [Rhythm Electric] – Nigel Jenkins
Saxophone – Raphael Ravenscroft
Synthesizer [Moog] – Tommy*
3 Right Down The Line 4:28
4 City To City 5:03
Acoustic Guitar [Acoustic] – Gerry*
Backing Vocals – Gary Taylor (4) , John McBurnie , Rab Noakes , Roger Brown (3) , Vivian McAuliff*
Fiddle – Graham*
Harmonica – Paul Jones
Tambourine – Hugh Murphy
5 Stealin’ Time 5:57
Acoustic Guitar [Acoustics] – Gerry* , Micky Moody
Grand Piano, Synthesizer [Moggs] – Tommy*
Steel Guitar – Brian Cole*
Synthesizer [String Machine] – Graham*
6 Mattie’s Rag 3:29
Accordion – Woody*
Resonator Guitar [Dobro] – Brian*
Synthesizer [String Machine], Fiddle, Arranged By [Brass Section Arranged By] – Graham*
7 Whatever’s Written In Your Heart 6:36
Backing Vocals – Joanna Carlin
8 Home And Dry 4:56
Lead Guitar – Nigel*
9 Island 5:14
Accordion – Willy Ray
Drums – Glen Le Fleur*
Saxophone [Sax] – Raphael*
10 Waiting For The Day 5:45
Bass – Gary Taylor (4)
Drums – Henry Spinnetti*
Electric Guitar [Electric Rhythm] – Andy Fairweather-Low
Electric Piano, Organ, Arranged By [Bass Arrangements] – Tommy Eyre
Fiddle – Graham Preskett
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar – Hugh Burns
Percussion – Glen Le Fleur*
Piano, Vocals – Gerry Rafferty

This is the album that made me think I wanted to visit the UK. Well, not this actual 12″, but the LP that this 12 was derived from. I bought this 12″ a few years after I bought the original in high school. Sue me…joke’s on you, I’m broke.

For a split second it seems like a good idea, vising the Cream Isle. After all, Britannia rules the waves! Wait, can they really do that? Is their science so far ahead of ours? We can’t even clean oil, albeit millions upon trillions of gallons of oil, from our waves. Yet somehow they are able to force the foaming sea to bring millions of Britons breakfast in bed each and every morning.

Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rules the waves!

There really aren’t any perks to visiting England. It’s not like you can hang out for a week on one of their fabulous beaches. You can’t visit their quaint little alpine lodges. You can’t witness the splendor of untainted fauna roaming virgin countrysides. You can’t do none of that because none of that exists!

And do you know why? It’s because the United Kingdom is just a bigger version of New Jersey. There are a lot of weird-looking white people living there with no other place to go. So, in protest of their shitty luck, they’ve been forming unholy missionary positions for the past millenium and producing terribly ugly babies. And those babies have been killing off any wildlife, African Swallows included, they could get within their single-barrel shotgun sights. England, Wales and Scotland aren’t the shallow end of the gene pool…they are the trash compactor.

Instead of white trash they have “chavs”.

But somehow this little island of misfit boy toys never fails to produce a steady stream of musical savants. And you know what, it kind of gives me the creeps. It’s not like these guys are being fostered in a culturally rich environment. The Beatles were from Liverpool, for Christ’s sake.

With less than 900,000 “Liverpudlians” within the greater city limits, Liverpool is less populous than Cincinnati. The only thing that ever came out of Cincinnati was 27th President of the United States William Howard Taft. He was a president so terrible that Teddy Roosevelt came out of political retirement to form a new political party in an attempt to knock Taft, Roosevelt’s former Vice President, out of office.

Nice pants, asshole.

So how, oh how, is it that this land mass crawling with cheeky monkeys keeps birthing killer bands? After listening to the song “Gomez In A Bucket (A Seaside Town Made Of Ice Cream, Slowly Melting)” I think I’ve found an answer both simple and mysterious. That, of course, is the little known existence of an unbelievably potent strain of Indian hash called “Symphalamajamjam”.

Everyone thinks that Gandhi was the reason India gained independence from the British. Non-violence my ass. No, it was because all of the Maharajas running the Indian drug trade got together and said enough was enough; those British bastards had hampered their sweet cheeba trade for long enough. So, in a bid to rid their dominion of the buzzkill wankers, the head Maharaja met secretly with GeorgeVI to let him in on a little secret.

This guy loved the doobage.

Boss Maharaja sais, “Look Georgey Boy, I don’t like you and you don’t like me,” he says. “You been floppin’ your stinky pikey feet all over my sweet subcontinental turf for too long. I want you gone and gone quick but I’m gonna make it real sweet for you, see?”

Boss Maharaja leaned in real close to George VI. It looked as if he would kiss George on the brow, but he resisted.

“This here Symphalamajamjam is gonna make all your people real good at the gee-tar. One toke and they will be just as good as the Beatles, maybe better.”

“Why in the bloody hell would I want my subjects acting like insects, blub blub blub,” said a moistening Charles.

“That’s not important, my man, that’s not important,” said Boss Maharaja. “What isimportant is that you take this little brick of sticky wicky home along with these seeds. Every street and alley in London will be like a god damn Gilbert and Sullivan convention. You dig?”

“No, but your turban is very convincing.”

And that’s how Gomez came to produce this 12″ in 1999.

Click here to download We Haven’t Turned Around and all the fixins’.

Tracklist

A1 We Haven’t Turned Around 6:30
A2 Flight 3:30
A3 Rosemary 4:51
B1 We Haven’t Turned Around (X-Ray Version) 3:16
B2 Gomez In A Bucket (A Seaside Town Made Of Ice Cream, Slowly Melting) 10:02
B3 Emergency Surgery 2:18

Does anyone else envision hobos doing all sorts of hobo things when they listen to this album? I mean this is a great album but I just imagine…

A hobo blowing his nose into a used diaper.

A hobo promising to pay a cobbler with three questionable cans of sardines.

A hobo inexplicably sweeping a lonely stretch of train track.

A hobo drowning his sorrows in a bottle of gin because of his messy divorce from a mongrel dog named Scraps.

A hobo sneezing one of those really gross snot bubbles, complete with just a hint of blood.

A hobo who takes credit for unsuccessfully aborting César Chávez.

A hobo wearing suspenders…funny ones.

A hobo using coal dust to polish his shoes in anticipation of the Frogtown Ball.

A hobo with unquenchable dry mouth, brought on by worry that Halfpint Jim discovered he peed in the local swimming hole again.

A hobo who continually waxes nostalgic about his time as rig foreman for Standard Oil…but everyone knows he’s full of shit.

A hobo with a set of disturbingly pearly whites.

A hobo who toured as roadie for Bob Dylan until he mistakingly asked what foreign tongue Dylan used.

A hobo with a life-threatening urinary tract infection.

A hobo with soft hands and deliciously hot breath.

A hobo who stole The Golden Spike and sold it for 10 tickets to a 5 cent peep show.

A hobo midget with a Kings Island Gold Pass.

A hobo with a heart of fool’s gold.

Download The Best of The Band at 320 kbps