Program Notes 31

I hope you saw Bob Weinberg's review of Joey Gilmore's latest release, Can't Kill Nothin', which many expect might be the dues-paid homeboy's big breakthrough. I hear the album has gone Top 5 on Chicago radio charts already. What I like about Nothin', besides that it's a damn fine blues album, is that Gilmore and company were smart enough to cover one of my all-time favorite tunes, Johnny G. Watson's "A Real Mother For Ya." Gilmore's is a pretty faithful, if less sassy, version of a song that, then and now, speaks to the heart and soul of the matter of not having enough money to get by. I just hope you have enough money to get out and buy this album.

Big show tonight (Wednesday) at Talkhouse. Veteran Tommy Anthony and his bilingual band Goza will display why they, too, are about to break big.

The music sucks, dumb metal screech, but I love the title of Pariah's new album: To Mock a Killingbird.

Butthorn of the week: Etta James. Great singer but, my spies say, not nice. Maybe or not, but what she did the other Sunday was definitely not nice. After playing Riverwalk on Saturday, she was booked into Stephen Talkhouse the next night. One person told me he drove down from Broward to see the encore she didn't bother to play at Bubier Park. Others, who live down here, skipped her Riverwalk show knowing they could see her closer to home. Everybody's a loser, because Etta canceled the second gig at the last minute. Excuse: She was ill. I remember one time interviewing Albert Collins while he was on the road. He missed our first phone appointment. Excuse: He was changing a flat on his tour bus to get to the next show on time. And he called me as soon as he finished the job. And then there's Kenny Rankin, who played the Talkhouse the night before Etta didn't. "He was sick as a dog," says the 'House's Mia Johnson. "He was 'getting sick' backstage right before he went on." And he played the show the people came to see.

The media circus, East Coast: Make sure you read Carl Hiaasen's tourist guide to Miami in the December issue of Playboy. Sick, funny, deadly accurate stuff about what makes this place so wonderful, from dolphin rapists to alligators that eat the elderly to street gangs that overpower the U.S. military.

The media circus, West Coast: A newsweekly you've probably never heard of, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, publishes a column by a writer you've never heard of named Chris Norris. Chris is one of those pithy, witty, clever jerks who write sarcastically and irreverently and most of the time you can't figure what the hell they're trying to say. In the column to which I refer, Norris tackles the topic of Counter Culture, the MTV-style marketing of classical music. "Journalists have already delighted themselves with this latest clash between high culture and street talk." Norris's favorite example? "How about Luddy 'The Def Cat' Beethoven, Wolfgang 'The Kid' Mozart, or maybe Johnny 'Rock' Bach. This is the dope bomb, chummy, the real damn deal." Hey! I wrote that. So how come Norris attributes it to "The New Times' Jeff Baker"? I've never heard of Jeff Baker, but then again, Norris has never heard the popular street term "chummy."

Pet corner: So how about some benefit CDs? Many to choose from, including In Defense of Animals, which includes songs by Michael Stipe (a lame one, unfortunately), Skinny Puppy, Pearl Jam, Concrete Blonde, and others. Proceeds go to the In Defense of Animals organization.

The other pet corner: I love PBS, especially the show Nature. But I think public broadcasting needs something to spice it up, like, say, an occasional porno film or two. Or three. Beginning this Monday at 9:00 p.m., Nature delivers just that: The Nature of Sex. The series includes not just regular animal sex, but the kinky stuff, too. Nice.

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