Frank Gutch Jr: My Morbid Yet Sanguine World

Someone once told me I was eccentric.  I laughed out loud because I am the least eccentric of any people I know.  I am, in fact, so normal and middle-of-the-road that I occasionally label myself boring.  I am.  Boring, that is.  I am a puddle of mediocrity in a pool of ordinary.  The jack of all trades and master of none.  Neither the dimmest bulb nor the brightest.  Plain yogurt.  A one dollar bill.  I am as exciting as baseball in the off-season and Christmas in July.  I have been the second choice of too many girls to recount (Gosh, Frank, if it wasn’t for— insert name here— it would be you) and the tenth choice on a team of nine.  I write because I have no other talent.  I am the sponge which lives vicariously.  Even the kids who love me abandon me when they are old enough to realize…

But I do have one thing.  I have taste.  I know because I have gone way back in time and revisited some of my best moments in music.  Oh, few if any of my choices have ever made it, but they are excellent anyway.  I know because I keep coming back to them time and time again.  That’s right, sports fans, you’re in for it now.  We’re going to relive some of Notes‘ best moments, starting with…

The Weaver Twins… To my knowledge, this band released only the one album, Fayre, but it was a winner.  Their take on rock was just far enough outside the box that it put a permanent dent in my head.  Watch the videos closely.  You might learn something.

This video reportedly utilizes film of the 1939 Chicago World’s Fair.  Amazing!  Great song too.

Some of the women in this video are now claiming sexual harassment.  Go figure.  Music by The Dementians!

Who said protest was dead?  Eric Corne wanted to make sure we didn’t forget what a piece of shit is Scott Walker.  Wisconsin, you deserved what you got.

Every day, this is becoming more and more a requiem, thanks to the eggsucking corporate politicians who want the planet dead.  Song by the late Pete Seeger who walked among us as a wise man.  Performance by Lester Quitzau, who understands and laments with us.

You can give The Five Man Electrical Band all the credit you want for the song Signs, but the big impact they should have made was this one.  Maybe big in Canada but it didn’t even scratch the surface in The States, which should have embraced this song like crazy.  The future at 45 RPM.

‘Cause sometimes you need something like this.  Dig Byron Isaacs on resonator guitar.  You don’t see that that often.

My friend Joe Lee turned me on to Kink Ador.  Seems he shared a stage with them and was impressed enough to send me a link to this video.  I am glad he did.  Killer stuff!

I still haven’t figured out why The Green Pajamas never hit the bigtime.  I mean, what does it take?  Then again, when I see who IS making it, maybe I wouldn’t wish upon the Pajamas what those guys had to do to make it.  Over the years, especially with the amount of music they have provided, these guys are at the top of my list.

We can’t stop there, though.  New album soon and then there is this—- my favorite Fuck Trump anthem.

Devon Sproule has an amazing amount of approaches to music.  This is only one of them.  When all is said and done, people who know music will be looking her way.

Taken from the Notes section of a column some five years ago… And here’s something very intriguing— this new group out of Florida, Carrousel, just released three videos on Youtube which are evidently all from the same shoot. One is a split screen is backward (as a performance, they say) and one side forward.

Tommy Womack has done a lot of things since getting into music.  This is one of the best.

A reminder from the 2012 ACM Awards Show as to why I cannot stomach Nashville anymore (Remember: This year People Magazine awarded Blake Shelton the sexiest man alive yoke, which goes to show you no one at People knows anything about sex).  From a column I wrote:

Hosts Blake Shelton, left, and Reba McEntire speak onstage at the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday, April 1, 2012 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Normally, I do not watch award shows.  I didn’t watch the ACM Awards show last week either, but by happenstance clicked by and hit a moment I wish I could forever erase from my mind. As I remember it (and I am trying hard to disremember, trust me), Reba McEntire introduced KISS (wait a minute, was this the Academy of Country Music Awards?) who spent way too long looking and acting like primadonnas in full makeup and halloween attire opening an envelope so that they could announce a winner, and it would have made no difference who because if Nashville is about nothing else these days, it’s about formula.

I cringed as the announcement was made, wishing I’d never stopped clicking because it was no more nor less than an awards show-equivalent to reality music shows, the supposed love seeping through the TV screen like a skunk smell on a hot and humid day. Sorry, Nashville, that little sequence made me throw up in my mouth and I would have projectile vomited but for the fact that my carpet is already dirty enough and has already had its share of putrefaction over the years. How can a little three-minute clip (I’m assuming it was three minutes though it seemed much longer) reinforce everything I hate about Nashville, the major labels and the music industry in general? I don’t know, but it did. Nothing against Ms. McEntire, KISS or the Antebellums (though could at least one of them have conjured up enough chutzpah to resist the embarrassing charade which passes as, kaff!, entertainment?), but if I wanted to watch something as lame as that, I would watch The Voice or The X Factor or American Idol or any of the other prefab and staged attempts at making money. I shake my head. You would think that if these people were as talented as they are purported to be, they could at least read the teleprompter and make it not sound like thick cardboard passing through a chipper. And anyway, aren’t the people who inhabit these awards shows supposedly intelligent? Do intelligent people laugh at lame jokes and applaud for things and people they don’t really like and sit with plastic smiles on their faces for what must seem like forever? Evidently, if there is money in it they do. I’ll bet most of them had cramps in their faces when it was all over. Rant over (and you can bet I will never stop on an awards show again).

A clip from another 2012 column in which I talk about working for Peaches Records in Seattle:

You would think that I would have hated working for a huge corporation like Peaches, but I didn’t. There were the typical corporate entrapments, of course, but I worked with some of the best people I have ever known there. Those people— Ben and John and Nathaniel and Howard and Beryl and, later, Howie and D-no and Nate and Ryco and (I don’t mean this in a name-dropping kind of way because few knew who they were back then and they were great people before they became accepted as musicians) Mark Lanegan and Eddie Spaghetti— we all shared our music. There were arguments and snide jokes and loud farts and everything you could imagine when we discussed music because, for us all, it was that important.

L-R: Ryan Collins (Ryco), Mark Lanegan, Howie Wahlen (Sr.), John Larson, Dean Overton, and on floor (where he spent most of his time after the weekends) Damon Stewart

Boy, the things you find!  Here is a clip from the old Carson Daly Show spotlighting Sydney Wayser:

Old friend Louis Chirillo put this little history of Seattle Hockey piece together back in 2012.  They should do this for every hockey team in the history of ice.

And now, since I have overloaded you with videos of people and bands that I like, here are the weekly…


Here we have the worst president the United States has ever seen, an individual virtually devoid of any kind of compassion except for the wealthy, an individual whose base is willing to accept criminal activity rather than back common sense legislation and who is obciously hell bent to destroy this country, and the music community sits with hands on their knees.  There have been a few who/which have taken up a clarion call, but all too few.  Keith Morris of The Crooked Numbers, saw what can happen during the clashes Charlottesville all too recently had with neo-nazis.  This is his response and a question the Repubs refuse to answer.

It’s live and it’s raw.  From Phratry Records out of, I believe, Cincinnati— the same label which brought us those maniacs from that fair city, Mad Anthony.  These guys are from Pittsburgh.  At least, I think that’s what they said.  You can’t trust anyone on Phratry.  They’re insane.

Speaking of insane….

Ah, Audrey Martells… I remember getting a note from her asking if she could send me her then-new indie album, Life Lines.  (I still have the letter)  I remember listening to it that first week, peeling back the layers of what I expected to be a soul/R&B fusion.  I remember being overwhelmed by what was more pop and rock, soul-infused as it was.  Those were good days, in lots of ways, but not so good due to the fact that few picked up on the excellence of what Audrey was doing, choosing instead to go with the tried and true (and, to me, downright boring).  It is the story of the music business which has evolved from an infrastructure which should have been dismantled at that moment but instead has evolved into a quagmire of streaming services and downright thievery by whom I can only call criminals.  But this is not about that.  This is about a video I rediscovered this morning, a rare live video of Martells doing what she does best— sing.  (Of course, I have not seen her acting, but I am sure she is equally as talented there)  Good timing, this.  Martells is releasing a brand new album, the first in, what?  Ten-plus years.  This one is jazz and R&B.  And it is outstanding.  But to the point.  I hadn’t seen this video for a few years.  It reinforces my faith in her music.  Here she is, Audrey Martells, live at Joe’s Pub in New York City.  Circa 2008.

Speaking of the new album (titled Soul Survivor), here is a track to whet your appetite.  That bass-playing dude behind Audrey is husband and musician Belden Bullock.

I tell you, 2006 was a year of topnotch stuff.  Why didn’t The Tamborines get a break?

I remember the day Keith Whitley died.  His wife, Lorrie Morgan, was visiting a store I worked at and suddenly disappeared.  It turned out that Whitley had just died and news reached her during her visit.  Whitley was one of a kind.  I found him when he was singing for J.D. Crowe & The New South and was shocked when he went solo.  By then, his voice had matured and settled, far from what it was as a youth.

Like it or not, the countdown has begun.  X number of days before Christmas brings us a lot we don’t like, mostly in the way of “it’s too soon,” but I find myself not minding this at all.  Phoebe Bridgers singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  I dig it.


Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

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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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