Frank Gutch Jr: Dad Gave My Dog Away (A Look At Letting Go); A Music Tsunami (The Real Shade, Wilson Marks, Diane Patterson, Rich DePaolo, and— holy mackerel!— The Green Pajamas!); and The Irrepressible Ricky (Okay, Not Ricky, But We Got Notes, By the Gods!)

My dad?  Give my dog away?  Give me a break!  My dad was the coolest when it came to animals, though he didn’t want them unless it was necessary.  Sure, he caved when we were kids and begged and begged a dog, one my sister named Putsy after Slim Gaillard‘s hit Cement Mixer Putty Putty, but it wasn’t his choice.

True, he would rather have remained dogless, but we had animals aplenty.  Dad raised rabbits when I was in diapers.  Logging was very seasonal work back then and we needed the food.  After rabbits, Dad tried raising ducks but didn’t have the heart to kill them, so he stopped that.  Next was chickens and, oddly enough, he had no trouble killing them.  One swift stroke of the hatchet and we had Sunday dinner and a bit of fun for me, running down the hill chasing said chicken parts, headless, getting blood all over me.  I can still see Momma running out of the house to stop me, screaming epithets at Dad while Dad stood there and laughed. It may seem cruel to you but you have to understand that killing meant meat and meat was the core of most loggers’ (and their families’) diets. We hunted and we fished and gardened like crazy, sometimes heading out into the wilds to harvest mushrooms and other natural vegetables.  There were apples and wild strawberries and, of course, acres of blackberries if you didn’t mind the thorns. We had a couple of flying squirrels too, which was pretty cool.


Dad’s favorite, though was the raccoon.  One thing you had to do when you cut a unit (meaning falling trees within a boundary) was cut the dead trees after the good ones had been felled.  That meant snags and hemlocks (which at that time were considered scrub because of the knots throughout the wood— it was hell on the blades at the saw mill) came down before the logging crew left the unit to the chokersetters and loaders.  One day, just as a snag fell, a raccoon raced out of its hole and was crushed by the tree.  Dad went over to see what he could do and found three baby raccoons, eyes still closed, so he put them in his backpack and brought them home.  For awhile, the whole family got up in shifts during the night to feed the babies with the eyedropper and when the babies got big enough, two were given to friends.  We eventually took them back, one by one, because of problems the other family’s had (they are very curious and mischievous animals).  The last one died of distemper during the Christmas flood of 1964 (the whole Willamette Valley was flooded), but only after Dad spent an entire day negotiating flooded roads to travel the 29 miles from Sweet Home to Albany and back to the only veterinarian he could find willing to look at the raccoon.  I could tell it affected him something terrible.  He didn’t talk much for days and thereafter, any time the subject of pets came up, he would go outside and smoke.  That would be cigarettes, you young kids, and Dad would be the first to tell you not to do it.  He smoked all his life and could not stop, hard as he tried, and hated being a slave to the evil weed.  Just a warning.
But this isn’t about animals.  Well, it wasn’t.  This is about records. (What the…? I can hear you saying). Let me explain. I am giving about half of my record collection to Darrell Vickers, one of the writers (real writers, unlike my pretend writer-self).  I was up against it last night, having nothing as a topic and Darrell said why not try writing about giving your records away, intimating that it was a big deal.  I have to laugh.  Only Darrell and a very small select few of my friends would think that way but the more I thought about it, the more I thought, why not? I mean, I’m giving my records away! My old girlfriends wouldn’t believe it. They probably have a pool about when I might part with my collection (which none would win because they would I am sure all pick “never”).
Why Darrell, you ask?  He didn’t ask for them. When I approached him about it he probably thought I was kidding.  But Darrell and I understand the importance of music in our lives, and it goes way beyond music itself. When we talk we have to put the needle in the groove.  Our idea of adventure is finding a new record store (preferably an old one which we had just never seen before). Our heroes aren’t cowboys unless they sing, and they’d better sound like Hank Snow or Hank Williams. All kidding aside, I’m not a youngster anymore and when I go, I don’t want some clown to come in and toss my records in a box marked Goodwill. I want someone to have them who would appreciate the importance of the item and the music contained therein. Darrell received his first box last week. This is what he wrote.  “I am so excited, I’m having a tough time concentrating.” Of course that could be his cat, Buffy.  That Glencoe album is probably like catnip to her.
That first box is only a portion of the good stuff. I’m loading the boxes down with what I consider classics, some more and some less, but all worth his time and effort to unload and digitize.  He did not receive but will soon—
A string of Michael Nesmith albums.  I debated about those but decided to keep only From a Radio Engine To a Photon Wing and Infinite Rider On the Big Dogma.  I was over the top for that period, Nesmith finally taking off his cowboy hat for new territory.  I dig the rest, but have heard them enough to have them implanted in the mental jukebox.
Satin Whale‘s Desert Places.  At one time, I was a huge krautrock freak.  I didn’t have the money to go whole hog so I handpicked as many as I could afford. This album I thought (and think) a prog/jam gem. I must have listened to it a hundred times, easy.  It was time to let it go.  It plays in my head anytime I want it to.
Heartsfield— The first three (HeartsfieldThe Wonder Of It All, and Foolish Pleasures).  These are extras I picked up over the years.  When bands are this good, I would put a dollar amount to the titles and buy copies if they matched or were below that purchase price.  I cannot tell you how many Heartsfield albums I have given to people.  Every one of them were thrilled.  Heartsfield were/are a great bunch of guys as well as one hell of a band.
Alvin Lee— RX5.  I have liked Lee since his very first album with Ten Years After as have many of my friends, but most of them lost interest when he began making his solo albums.  While this is not technically a solo album, it was released under just his name.  I love this record partially because of the inclusion of Steve Gould of Rare Bird fame.  Gould and Lee should have kept this band intact. Darrell is going to love this one.
Mandrake Memorial— Puzzle.  Though it is an unfair comparison, I rank this right next to The Millennium‘s Begin. Both have an unerring sense of melody and approach the music through what I consider the psych edge.  The results were different, true, but I love them equally, Puzzle for its harder psych edge, Begin for the pure beauty of the melodies.
John Martyn— a whole bunch.  I became a Martyn fan when I picked up John & Beverley Martyn‘s Stormbringer album when I haunted the House of Records in Eugene in the very early seventies.  There was something in the mixing of the voices I found exhilarating. Of course, John started delving heavily into the jazz side of folk and that is mostly what Darrell will get.  Solid Air.  Bless the WeatherLive at Leeds.  And more.  I cannot think of anyone else who will have the intense appreciation of what a unique musician was Martyn. There will never be an other like him.
The Sights— So Much For Everlasting Love.  This lady walks into the record store one day and asks for The Sights.  She can’t find it anywhere.  I gave to tell her it’s out of print, that the label folded just when it started getting airplay.  She was crushed.  I offered to give her my copy. I thnk she thought I was hitting on her (I would have liked to, but I wasn’t) and she refused the offer. I could tape it for you, I told her, and she was amenable, so I did. After I gave her the tape, she came back in the store a week or so later with a bottle of wine as a thank you.  Too bad I didn’t drink wine, but the girl I gave it to said it was good.  I have no doubt.
Simple Minds— Once Upon a Time and Sparkle In the Rain.  I am so happy to just be getting rid of those albums.  These guys sucked. But Darrell will take anything, I suppose.  Ha!
The Strangeloves— I Want Candy.  Not only a classic, but it is mono. I would have thought twice if it was someone else, but Darrell will appreciate this as much as I did and do.
Tarney-Spencer— Run For Your Life.  I will never understand why these guys were not a smash, out of the box. Some of the best Pop I have ever heard.  It was an extra.
Zebra— Panic.  One of those superstar bands put together from pieces of bands which were not superstars. Band members include
I am also sending a fairly large collection of compilation albums from labels like White Whale, Dunhill, and MCA (there is even a Ronco album in the bunch).  Compilation and Radio Station albums (you know, like KJR’s Top Twenty of 1966, though that is anexample and not an actual release) are huge collector’s items. I knew one guy who claimed he had at least a hundred of them. He was a snob so I didn’t believe him, but he might have been telling the truth.
You know, it has been easier than I thought it would be, but I think that is because of Darrell. He’s a good man and one hell of a writer (check out some of his columns for DBAWIS— you’ll die laughing) and most appreciative of the blessings of the music we are lucky enough to receive. Like I say, if someone wants something I have more than I do myself…
That Music Tsunami…
Either I am get ting older than I thought or music is becoming more visible, unless all you want to see and hear are the same old farts going through the motions.  Funny how most of us are all ready to forgive the superstars their lessening presence and failing talent while hardly listening to new talent at all.  Well, I am not having it. I am being swept away by a flooding river of new releases, some of which are truly blowing me away.  Australia’s Luke Plumb & The Circuit, who will, if things go smoothly, be featured in next week’s column. Ireland’s The Minnows, who keep promising that album and are ready to deliver, but haven’t, but keep promising.  (Am I going to have to swim that damn ocean and kick you butt, Rafferty?) Chicago’s The Claudettes, whose Dance Scandal at the Gymnasium! album just crossed my desk today and has me thinking that they are where maybe Seattle’s Goldie Wilson might have been had they stayed together. So many album and EPs and single releases right there if we would just take a minute or two to listen.
Toronto’s Jane Gowan has finally revived Shade as The Real Shade and will release their album, Horizon Diaries, on March 23rd.  The history of the band is one of stops and starts as much as sustained effort and the result has them starting almost at the beginning.  I say almost because they have two fine albums (Highway and One Last Show of Hearts) in their catalogue, either or both of which could help springboard the new release to a higher visibility and possible prominence. Produced by Tim Vesely (RheostaticsThe Violet Archers), both the earlier and new albums have that pop sensibility seldom captured in music today.  Call it a balance between Gowan and band or Gowan’s abilities as songwriter or whatever you want, the band borders on Power Pop without going over the edge.
I have heard six of the songs from Horizon Diaries and have already crowned it the best the band has created yet.  You will be reading a lot about them in future columns. 
Wilson Marks is one of the damnedest musicians I have ever heard.  If he was more serious he would be among the top lounge acts in the world today but the guy has a sense of humor it is hard to deny. Even the curl of his lips has an effect on whichever song he chooses to sing.  You want an example?  Watch this:
Actually, he does gave a serious side.  You just can’t trust him to stay on it is all. What does he play?  I think it is jazz. I think.  Damned accessible jazz, though.  Stuff even rockers can get into.  The only time I saw Tom Waits I went with a couple of hard rockers.  They dug him too. Now, ol’ Wilson maybe isn’t the comedian Tom could be, but he’s got class. Or maybe he skipped class.  Well, something about class, anyway.  The new album is titled Peregrine. I think it outstanding.
You ever have the feeling that distance means nothing?  I know musicians all over the world but somehow missed Diane Patterson who lives right here in the State of Oregon.  Williams, in fact.  I read a book once, written by a lady who lived in Williams (or in that area) back in the forties or fifties.  It was rather humorous, keying on the foibles of being in the middle of nowhere and the adjustments one must make to live in isolated areas. I can remember neither the title nor the author but that book has stayed with me for decades.  I need to go down there and check it out sometime.
I am new to Patterson, having heard only her new album, Open Road. My first listen was an eye-opener. The opening song, Rogue River Highway, was a nice song and if the album had held that level it would have been good enough, but it kept building as the songs played and by the time it reached Shape of Your Sorrow, I was sold.  The song is about the 2016 shooting in Orlando, Florida at Pulse, a popular nightclub where 49 people lost their lives and an additional 58 were injured. I remember the news reports but I had pushed them so far back in my mind I needed to refresh my memory and did an extensive search.  The details came back in a rush, especially as the Parkland shootings were so recent. Patterson had not forgotten. She wove them into a song which is as hard to forget as the incident itself.
Her album is packed with other socially relevant songs as well, though not overly done. Her music is damn good but her lyrics are exceptional. I said this before and I will say it again.  We need more Diane Pattersons in this world. That’s all there is to it.
Rich DePaolo sent me his album, eieio. One damn fine album it is,too. Damn fine! Tom Mank has mentioned him to me many times, so why the hell did I not scope him out? Hell if I know.  I should have.  Like it says, he sent me a digital copy of his album. Did I listen right away?  To a couple of tracks before filing it away until he brought the matter up a couple of months later. Know what? It is one of the best albums I have heard yet this year. Easy rocking tunes written by a guy I consider masterful when it comes to music. The arrangements are stunning (which means a lot to me, me being an arrangement freak). The production is immaculate. The performances topnotch. DePaolo has a voice not unlike that of a higher octave Johnny Rivers and uses it extremely well.
Titled Killed For Kings, it has me hungering for more.  Time to hit the back catalogue. (The following is not on the new album)
Yep! It’s Green Pajamas time again, sports fans!  You know how much I love these guys, so let’s just get to it and preview a couple of songs off the new album titled Phantom Lake: Northern Gothic 3.  Limited number (40) of signed CDs available from Green Monkey Records.  Thousand dollars each.  Ha! Well, that’s how much they should be.  Let’s see.  $12.99 (plus shipping, I would assume).  This one rocks!
You can stream the entire album on Green Monkey’s bandcamp page (click here). 
Bonus Time! Here’s a little Jeff Kelly to put some starch in your knickers.
You’re going to have plenty to listen to, should you choose to do so, so let us get to them irrepressible…
Tom Mank and Sera Smolen have been putting out albums for a number of years but it has been way too long.  Here is a live version of a song titled 1966 which has me hankering for more of the new stuff.  Album pending.
I have Sheldon Gomberg to thank for my knowledge and appreciation of Eleni Mandell.  Seems like just yesterday he pointed me toward a cool video of a song from The Living Sisters and there she was, one of three tearing through the day in different places only to meet at the end.  You should waycj it.  Might make you chuckle.
Here she is with a new song and a new video to back it up.  She’s one of the good ones.  Always a pleasure.
Word has it that Julian Taylor is heading back into the studio to record a followup to the excellent Desert Star album.  Good news, indeed!  Let’s hope he hurries it up.  I need a fix!  How as this NOT a hit?!!!
When I saw Phoebe Hunt back in 2009, she was playing with The Belleville Outfit.  She has expanded her horizons quite a bit since then.
I loved this song when I was a kid.  I played it over and over until Momma or Dad would tell me to go outside and play, even if it was raining. One thing I could never figure out, though, was who was singing lead.  I mean, for on line it would be Hank Snow but on the very next line it was Anita Carter.  I have never lost my fascination for the song largely because of it.  One of my all-time favorite duets.
This was the flip of that old 45.  If it had been a girl, I would have married it.
I really need to beef up my Pac NW connections.  There have been many artists and videos who had slid beneath my radar.  Like Robert Deeble‘s dirge-like Even Now.  Sometimes I need to stop dancing on tabletops and rest for a moment.
I love the beach, especially on cloudy or stormy days.  Tobias the Owl.
I always liked these guys.  Barrence Whitfield & The Savages.


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.”


One Response to “Frank Gutch Jr: Dad Gave My Dog Away (A Look At Letting Go); A Music Tsunami (The Real Shade, Wilson Marks, Diane Patterson, Rich DePaolo, and— holy mackerel!— The Green Pajamas!); and The Irrepressible Ricky (Okay, Not Ricky, But We Got Notes, By the Gods!)”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    More great work, love the music!

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