Frank Gutch Jr: RIP Steve Young; The Minnows and Their On-the-Money Video; Annabel (lee); Bongo Boy Making Their Move; and a Plethora of Videos…

Frank Gutch young

Although I don’t know how much more.  The wind was taken out of my sails last week when I found out that Steve Young had died.  The musician and not the football player— jeez, I have said that so many times over the years but always with a chuckle.  Not this time.  Steve is really gone and things just don’t feel right.

I met Steve twice— once in 1991 at The Backstage in Ballard WA where he played before two fists of people and once a few years ago at Tsunami Books in Eugene.  Both shows were excellent and while I got a chance to speak with him, we were two ships passing in the night.  Our conversations, it turns out, were destined to be over the phone, a series of four or five phone calls late at night in Oregon and early morning in Nashville.  Out of that came “Steve Young— Reluctant Son of the South,” a historical piece placed on my own website and more recently on No Depression (click here).  Those conversations took place over a period of about fifteen years and little by little I got to know Steve Young the man.  He told me he was a hellraiser and drinker and burned more bridges with people in the music business than he had any right to.  That he would be dead but for one hospital’s rehab program.  That he turned his life around so that he could spend time with his son, Jubal Lee Young, also a musician by trade.  He opened his heart and soul in those conversations, to the point that I thought was invading his privacy, but that was he way of being truthful.

I have spent the last few days contacting people and talking about Steve’s music and life and have little energy left for the job at hand; i.e., this column.  There will be no revelations or real remembrances this time around.  One thing Steve and I agreed on was that you did for the living and I wrote about him many times while he walked among us.  I shall give him and myself a bit of a rest.

Steve’s family knows what Steve and his music means to me.  I would give comfort if I could, but there are no words.  This is how I shall remember him, singing the first song that crawled under my skin and made me itch like hell.  May your journey be a good one, Steve.  We all will miss you immensely.

The Minnows Strike Gold…..

They’re from Belfast, these Minnows guys, and they have been together a long time if not forever and have had a hell of a time getting attention outside of Ireland in spite of one excellent album and several excellent tunes.  I mean, it is hard to get noticed, you know, so when they linked me to this video, it sucked the oxygen right out of me.  I had heard the story and seen a short video and it made my heart sink, but this…  this video with music is overwhelming.

I wanted to say something, to stop her from looking up.  What a bittersweet moment, seeing someone you probably think you will never see again, right in front of you.  To be in front of someone you once loved with all your heart.  And I ask, does it ever stop hurting?  I mean, for more than just a little while?  Is it painful?  Or is it just momentarily overwhelming?  I mean, do you remember the last time?  It is hard to believe that the song wasn’t written just for this video.

Hardly a one hit wonder, either.  You might know The Minnows from other videos I have posted.  Like this one.

Or this one…

New album on the way, though their first, released a handful of years ago, is still available.  The title is Leonard Cohen Is Happy Compared To Me.  I love it just for the title.

What the hell?  Is Austin nothing but musicians?  Seems like very time I turn around, there is another artist or group of artists I haven’t heard but should have.  Like Greyhounds:

Bongo Boy Records is flipping discs out the door like frisbees and I cannot keep up, but I did happen to catch a few.  Like Out of the Garage, which is an exceptional sampler of Pop crunchers, including Mark Lindsay (yes, of Raiders fame), The Catholic Girls, The Chords UK, Zombie Garden Club and this little band called Rage of Angels, borrowing from the sixties girl group scene.

Of course, I’ve been a big fan of Zombie Garden Club from the beginning.  This track could be straight out of the Jerden Records collection—- it reeks of Pac NW rock.

When Annabel (lee) signed with Ninja Tune, I expected big things, but what they did was pull every video she had on YouTube except one.  The one I would love to have you see is a monster music noir video which featured various Seattle street scenes.  It wasn’t the street scenes which caught my attention, though they were pretty cool, but the music— Annabel’s sultry voice singing late night jazz in a way which put me on a different planet.  The track was titled Glow.  She recorded a full album for Ninja and it is something else, but I need my noir fix.  But what the hell, here is a track from her latest album and one I approve (of).  Ladies and Gentlemen, Annabel (lee).

Allow me to reprise three of my favorite Australian female artists (actually, four, because Kate & Ruth are technically two.

What a strange trip.  I would think a singer singing this genre would head for anywhere except Nashville, but Nashville it is, evidently.  Nice, nice track.  But Nashville?  Fleurie?  Are you there?

A little sample off of Javier Escovedo‘s new Kicked Out of Eden LP.  I’m digging it.

Morwenna Lasko and Jay Pun filmed this video in Italy.  I almost hate to call most of their work songs because in reality they are compositions.  A few years ago I drove over 400 miles to see them play in an old church in Eastern Oregon and it was one hell of a show.

Friend David Koski, parenthetically attached to 70s rockmeisters Notary Sojac, dug this gem from the depths of YouTubedom.  A bit of Django Reinhart, which Bireli Lagrene and cohort make seem like a walk through the park.  I am amazed by musicians so in tune with music and instruments that they make it seem like anyone could do it.

This probably doesn’t seem like much of a column for those who have become accustomed to my normal windbag approach to music (myself, not the music), but I will make it up to you soon.  In fact, I have a surprise which fans of the late great Steve Young should dig.  And there is some digging I have to do myself.  Thanks for the chance to regroup.  And keep the faith.


Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at

dbawis-button7Frank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at Frank bottle capone time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.”

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