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"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

July 29, 2008

"City of New Orleans"

By: Bernard Chazelle

Every now and then I stumble upon a band I've never heard of that reminds me how crowded with musical talent this country is. The audio is lame but you get a sense "The Hounds" (as evidently they are called) know what they're doing. The guitar solo runs through an encyclopedia of standard country licks. The telecaster (the guitarist's instrument) is great for country music: you can get particularly good "steel" sounds and chicken picking. Check out the T-bone Walker lick over the Bm pentatonic at 3:03. (The song is in D, so that's over its relative minor.) Chuck Berry was obsessed with that lick. But he didn't invent it. T-Bone did.

Anyway, I think Arlo Guthrie and Steve Goodman would be proud. A great railroad song!

— Bernard Chazelle

Posted at July 29, 2008 07:18 PM

THANKS!! Really enjoyed their sound. Apparently out of Jersey.

Posted by: Robertjm at July 30, 2008 01:24 AM

I've always been impressed with guitar players who can tune their guitars in the middle of the chaos of a song.

The bar below the video doesn't show the time so I can't locate the D pentatonic riff over the Bm chord to which you refer.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at July 30, 2008 09:54 AM

Bob: I see that about the timetrack. Not sure if I did something wrong while embedding the vid. If you doubleclick you can go to the Utube thing itself, which has the timing.

Ruth: Perfect! Except the ending: it'd be either "votre commentaire" or "vos commentaires"

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at July 30, 2008 11:15 AM

Interesting comedy fact about Steve Goodman: he used to open for Steve Martin when Martin was at the height of his standup career.

I've also been told that Martin showed up at the hospital when Goodman was dying and paid the huge bill, since Goodman didn't have health insurance. I don't know if that's true, though.

But if that IS true, it goes to show our system works: if you work hard enough, you'll have rich friends who can take care of the giant costs you incur because of not having health coverage.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at July 30, 2008 11:41 AM

AH: HRL is on youtube. Awesome stuff.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at July 30, 2008 08:17 PM

Nice version of "Bobbie McGee" too, on the same strip (#8 I think).
Their drummer has some pipes!
Jersey boys (and girls) can rock.
It's in the water or something.

Posted by: uncle buck at July 31, 2008 11:01 AM

Good to see your fine video of "City of New Orleans" by Steve Goodman. He often doesn't get his due. You might be interested in my 800-page biography, "Steve Goodman: Facing the Music." The book delves deeply into the genesis of "City of New Orleans," and the song's popularizer, Arlo Guthrie, is a key source among my 1,050 interviewees and even contributed the foreword.

A commenter notes Goodman's connection with Steve Martin, who also is among my interviewees. Goodman was the ideal opener for Martin in 1978-80, doing so more than 200 times. That's a big part of the book.

You can find out more at my Internet site (below). Amazingly, the book's first printing sold out in just eight months, all 5,000 copies, and a second printing of 5,000 is available now. The second printing includes hundreds of little updates and additions, including 30 more photos for a total of 575. It just won a 2008 IPPY (Independent Publishers Association) silver medal for biography: To order a second-printing copy, see the "online store" page of my site. Just trying to spread word about the book. Feel free to do the same!

Clay Eals
1728 California Ave. S.W. #301
Seattle, WA 98116-1958

(206) 935-7515
(206) 484-8008

Posted by: Clay Eals at August 4, 2008 12:47 AM