Corridos para Trump y Clinton

Technical glitches seem to be common on my radio show lately: the first twenty minutes of today’s live broadcast were lost somewhere in the stratosphere before the signal finally went out to listeners.

The show opened with a couple of Mexican corridos for, or about, the American President Elect, and I’m sorry these didn’t successfully air. I recorded the whole hour, though, so I’ve uploaded it and am posting it here. You can listen to it anytime.

Corridos have been part of Mexican and Mexican-American culture since the 1800s; they’re narrative ballads, usually rooted in topical events of the day, and for many years now they’ve transformed the latest events – the headlines, the tragedies, the heroes and the villains, the underdogs, lovers, politicians, criminals, and ordinary laborers – into the stuff of compelling, storytelling song. The corridos are significant especially in the border culture spanning both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

This year’s election was full of talk of that border. Not surprisingly there’s a wealth already of Donald Trump corridos — and we can be certain many(!) more will emerge in the days, months, and maybe years ahead. We heard just a few of the first ones today; we also heard a Trump tune from Cuba and Vicente Fernandez’s “El Corrido de Hillary Clinton,” released back in September by the celebrated King of Ranchera Music.

One of today’s songs — “Donald Trump … Yo Soy Mojado, No Soy Criminal,” by El Mustang de la Sierra — suggests in its title the overall tenor of these Trump songs, rebuking Trump’s depiction of immigrants (mojados) as criminals. Some corridos are impassioned and earnest; some are sardonic and comical. Here’s one we didn’t hear on the show today:

I hope someone’s keeping track of all these new corridos. They’ll make for a vital record of our time.

Also on today’s show, we heard songs for the late John Glenn (see my previous post for more about John Glenn songs). We heard a bunch of recordings, too, without much to do with anything in particular — but good songs anyway by Sam and Dave, Esther Philips, John Hartford, George Jones, and others.

I was bummed that this show didn’t air in full. I hope you’ll give it a listen.

Everybody Eats When They Come To My House: The Lost Child’s Thanksgiving Leftovers

As your holiday weekend winds its way down and you sift through your Thanksgiving leftovers, please make room for this final feast from my roots music radio show, The Lost Child: ninety minutes of food-themed songs to accompany your own holiday menu. The Lost Child’s Thanksgiving special is streamable anytime (and not just at Thanksgiving — you can save it as soundtrack for your next big day or night in the kitchen). Not a lot of turkey and dressing in the mix, but a lot of downhome soul food.

There are plenty of highlights here. The Bad Livers provide a funky banjo reworking of an old tune, “Crow Black Chicken,” an ode to chicken pie first recorded in 1928 by Mississippi’s Leake County Revelers and later revived by the New Lost City Ramblers (“Easiest work ever I done,” the lyrics confess, “was eating that chicken pie”). There are two numbers from the great, hilarious, ever-eccentric Andre Williams: first witness his desperate attempt to get his hands on some biscuits, and later revel in his extraordinary celebration of “Pig Snoots.” “‘Cued po’k sho is good po’k,” his Natural Bridge Bunch proclaims in that latter tune, and Williams announces his tireless dedication to that fact: “Aint got no sandals, put on my boots / Come all the way across town to get me some snoots.”

Then there’s the Carolina Sunshine Trio, from a broadcast over radio station WPAQ (Mount Airy, NC), offering this happy picture of romance: “Cornbread and butterbeans, and you across the table / Eatin’ beans and makin’ love as long as I am able.”

Joe Penny, an early alum of Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys, likewise offers in “Southern Fried Loving” a mix of appetites both gustatory and romantic, providing his own recipe for love: “I like my lovin’,” he sings, “just like my chicken / Heat it up until it starts to fry / Then add the seas’ning and starting cooking / That’s how you make lovin’, Southern-fried.”

Bessie Smith delves into full-fledged double-entrendre with her “Kitchen Man”: “How that boy can open clams,” she proclaims of her multi-talented personal chef: “No one else can touch my ham…” Other cooks, though, are less monogamous: see, for example, Roy Dunn’s lament, “She Cooks Cornbread for her Husband (And Biscuits for her Back Door Man).”

Some singers and musicians are narrowly focused on their favorite menu items: see Louis Jordan’s “Cole Slaw” or fiddler Joe Thompson’s lively, delightful “Pumpkin Pie.” The Maddox Brothers and Rose are smitten with “Fried Potatoes”; Baby Little and the Heartbreakers eat nothing but “Neck Bones Every Day.” And speaking of neck bones — in “Cracklin’ Bread,” Ed Baron turns hard times and a thin wallet into a triumphant menu: “Gonna serve some beans and neck bones,” he sings, “so we can carry on!” Still other artists celebrate the whole range of southern foods: Rufus Thomas, the Soul Sisters, and “Stick” McGhee all run down their own litanies of downhome fare. And Cab Calloway offers the ultimate tune for the Thanksgiving table, “Everybody Eats When They Come To My House.” “Have a banana, Hannah; try the salami, Tommy” — Cab has got something for everyone, and it all comes too with the cook’s classic admonishment: “Work my hands to the bone in the kitchen alone — you’re gonna eat if it kills you.”

Anyway, tune in here, and enjoy. Happy leftovers to you and yours. Be sure to share your bounty.

 

Picturing the Lost Child: A Few Drawings & Posters

Since 2012, I’ve hosted a roots music radio show called The Lost Child. To promote my Woody Guthrie centennial show that year, I drew my first Lost Child poster; I’ve done several others since then. This has gotten me back into the habit of drawing, a habit I’d abandoned for more than a decade. Here are a few posters I’ve done for The Lost Child, including the most recent: the Leon show aired last Saturday and the Pete show airs this Saturday. Click any image to enlarge it. I’ll post more of these here in the future. And my next blog post — or, anyway, one of the next — is about how I stopped drawing pictures, and how I started again.

I’m grateful to friends who’ve encouraged me to draw more pictures and make more posters in these last few years. At their encouragement, I’ve made prints of some of these for sale on my Etsy store — and I hope to host my first art show in a few months.

Stay tuned.