Over the course of the past 30 years, Mr. Cebar has hosted a rather incomparably wide-ranging radio program on a listener sponsored radio station affiliated with the Milwaukee School of Engineering, WMSE 91.7 FM. That show, "WAY BACK HOME" airs from 9:00 A.M. 'til Noon on a two Wednesday's on- one off rotation. Click here to access the WMSE archives to hear some of Paul's past radio shows.There was a disruption in the archives due to a server crash in late 2013 through Mar. 2014.Efforts are being made to retrieve shows from that period. All is well, archivally, as of Mar. '14. Find his listing on Wednesdays and click to find the archives. ( If we're not mistaken, Feb.14 and Feb.21 of 2007 might be a couple of good shows to start with. Or, try May 28, or June 4 of 2008.)  Many African, Brasilian, Cuban, Columbian, Trinidadian, Jamaican, and, yes, North American gems laid lovingly in mingling array.

Some 2016 Musical Favorites

This Is Where I Live-William Bell

Livin' On A High Note-Mavis Staples

Hold On!-The James Hunter Six

A World of Love and Hope-The Flat Five

Take Me To The Alley-Gregory Porter

You Want It Darker-Leonard Cohen

You're Dreaming-The Cactus Blossoms



Urgent Jumping! (Sternsmusic)

Kenya Special Vol.2 (Soundway)

Tanbou Toujou Lou (Ostinato Haitian comp)

Nigeria Freedom Sounds(SoulJazz)




Paul's 2016 Reading

Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange-Amanda Smyth

Black Noir

Memphis Noir-ed/ Lauren D.Cantwell&Leonard Gill

The Continental Op-Dashiell Hammet

Fortunate Son-John Fogerty

Letters to Yeyito-Paquito D'Rivera

Shut Up In My Bones-Charles M. Blow

Corina's Way-Rod Davis

I Hear You Knocking (reread)Jeff Hannush

The Red Storm-Grant Bywaters

Havana Twist-Lia Matera

I Blaim Dennis Hopper-Illeana Douglas

Drowning In A Sea Of Love-Al Ypung

Dancing With The Devil In The City Of God-Juliana


The Heat's On-Chester Himes

Lucking Out-James Wolcott

Do Not Sell At Any Price-Amanda Petrusich

Delicious Foods-James Hannaham

The Color Of Water-James McBride

Kill 'Em And Leave-James McBride

The Ballad Of BlacK Tom-Victor Lavalle

Making Tracks-Charlie Gillett

Slapboxing With Jesus-Victor Lavalle

Burning Bright-Ron Rash

The Book of Harlan-Bernice L. McFadden

Between The World and Me-Te-Nehisi Coates

My Father's Guitar and Other Imaginary Things-Joseph Skibell

Cut Me In-Ed McBain

Ways To Disappear-Idra Novey

Driving The King-Ravi Howard

The Assimilated Cuban's Guide To Quantum Santeria-Carlos Hernandez

Written In Dead Wax:The Vinyl Detective-Andrew Cartmel

Charcoal Joe-Walter Mosley

Screaming Jay Hawkins All-TimeGreatestHits-Mark Binelli

Bumping Into Geniuses(Tim Morck Collection)-Danny Goldberg

Close Enough For Jazz(Tim Morck Collection)-Mike Zwerin

Your Song Changed My Life-Bob Boilen

Make The Road By Walking-Todd Lazarski

Sergio Y-Alexandre Vidal Porto

Soul Serenade-Rashod Ollison

Loteria-Ruben Mendoza

How To Listen To Jazz-Ted Gioia

The Consummata-Mickey Spillane/Max Allan Collins

Mozart & Leadbelly-Ernest J. Gaines

Olio-Tyehimba Jess

The Beautiful Struggle-Te-Nehisi Coates

Blind Man With A Pistol-Chester Himes

Moses Ascending-Sam Selvon

Leadbelly-Tyehimba Jess

Negroland-Margo Jefferson

Better Get It In Your Soul-Krin Gabbard

The Ancient Minstrel-Jim Harrison

Desperado:A Mile High Novel-Manuel Ramos

Absalom's Daughters-Suzanne Feldman

Umami-Laia Jufresa

The Mortifications-Derek Palacio

Ghosts Of Havana-Todd Moss

Soutown,a Whitney Logan Mystery-Mercedes Lambert

Every Song Ever-Ben Ratliff

How To Travel Without Seeing-Andres Neuman

Wandering Time-Luis Albert Urrea

Dancing In The Dark-Caryl Phillips

Great Spirits-Randall Grass

The Jealous Kind-James Lee Burke

The Lady Of Solitude-Paula Parisot

Mississippi Noir-Ed. Tom Franklin

Born To Run-Bruce Springsteen






Look Closer-Saun & Starr

Rise and Fall-Dayna Kurtz

Coming Home-Leon Bridges

Sound & Color-Alabama Shakes

A River's Invitation-The California Honeydrops

Mono-The Mavericks

Gates of Gold-Los Lobos

Coming Forth By Day-Cassandra Wilson

Senegal 70 (Analog Africa comp.)



The Death of Sweet Mister-Daniel Woodrell

The Outlaw Album-Daniel Woodrell

Cadillac Orpheus-Solon Timothy Woodward

I Never Met A Story I Didn't Like-Todd Snyder

Give Us A Kiss-Daniel Woodrell

My Dog Skip-Willie Morris

Good Old Boy-Willie Morris

A Brief History Of Seven Killings-Marlon James

The Hilliker Curse- James Ellroy

Wild Tales-Graham Nash

Thelonious Rising-Judith Richards

Sidewalks-Valerie Luiselli

North of Havana-Randy Wayne White

Elvis Presley Calls His Mother After The Ed Sullivan Show-Samuel Charters

Man Walking On Eggshells-Herbert Simmons

Sound Man-Glyn Johns

Yonder Stands the Orphan-Barry Hannah

The Snare-Elizabeth Spencer (at Peter Whipple's recommendation)

Ralph Peer & The Making of Popular Roots Music-Barry Mazor

Reverb,An Oddysey-Joe Ely

The Blue Hammer-Ross MacDonald

The Doomsters-Ross MacDonald

You Don't Know Me- James Nolan

Starting Over-Elizabeth Spencer

Oye What I'm Gonna Tell You-Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes

The Distant Marvels-Chantal Acevedo

The Underground Man-Ross MacDonald

The Instant Enemy-Ross MacDonald

Strangers in Town-Ross MacDonald

Into The Beautiful North-Luis Alberto Urrea

A Sport and a Pastime- James Salter

Black Orchid Blues-Persia Walker

All the Light We Cannot See-Anthony Doerr

World Gone By-Dennis Lehane

The Dog of the South-Charles Portis(at John Sieger's recommendation)

Going Into The City-Robert Christgau

Fire In The Hole-Elmore Leonard

Unknown Man No.89-Elmore Leonard

Trouble Follows Me-Ross MacDonald

Find A Victim-Ross MacDonald

And Sometimes I Wonder About You-Walter Mosley

The Galton Case-Ross MacDonald

Return To The Same City-Paco Ignacio Taibo II

Yonnondio: From The Thirties-Tillie Olsen (re-read)

Dylan Goes Electric-Elijah Wald

The Wise Women of Havana-Jose Raul Bernardo

A Free State-Tom Piazza

The Name Is Archer-Ross MacDonald

The Way Some People Die-Ross MacDonald

The Chill-Ross MacDonald

Cortadito-Enrique Fernandez

Among The Wild Mulattos-Tom Williams

The Barbaous Coast-Ross MacDonald

Tell Me A Riddle, Requa1and other works-Tillie Olsen

The Sisters Brothers-Patrick DeWitt (at Gurf Morlix's recommendation)

The Wind In The Reeds-Wendell Pierce

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink-Elvis Costello

Street Of No Return-David Goodis

Natural Histories-Guadalupe Nettel

Haitian Graves-Vicki Delany

Charlie Martz & Other Stories-Elmore Leonard

Gold Coast-Elmore Leonard

Please Talk To Me-Liliana Heker

The Odd Woman And The City-Vivian Gornick

Cuba Straits-Randy Wayne White

Los Lobos:Dream In Blue-Chris Morris

Mourner's Bench-Sanderia Faye





Some 2014 Musical Favorites:


A Reasonable Amount of Trouble - Jesse Winchester

Hot Shot (single) - Saun & Starr

Popular Problems - Leonard Cohen

Brass Tacks - NRBQ

Common Courtesy - Rusty Belle

Silver Ladder - Peter Mulvey

The Complete SAR Records Recordings - LC Cooke

Spirit of Malombo - Malombo Jazzmen

You're Not the Bossa Me - Marti Jones

Township Jive and Kwela Jazz Vol. 3

The Afrosound of Columbia Vol. 2

Middlewestern - Frankie Lee

Let's Fly A Kite - Eleni Mandell

Easy Gone - Ray Bonneville

Give The People What They Want - SharonJones & The Dap-Kings

Hall of FAME Vol. 3- Various artists

The Bert Berns Story Vol. 3



Some Live Highlights 2014:


The Flat Five - The Hideout in Chicago

Blake Mills - SPACE Evanston, IL

Kobo Town w/ Calypso Rose - Global Union/Milwaukee and The Mayne Stage/Chicago

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings w Saun & Starr

(Lawrence, KS, Mpls.,Chi.,Det. and Pittsburgh) 

Sierra Leone's Refugee AllStars

Cecile McLorin Salvant - Chicago Jazz Festival

Sun Ra Arkestra - Chicago Jazz Festival

Mavis Staples at 75- Chicago

Taj Mahal Trio - Summerfest/ Milwaukee

Rusty Belle w/Hayward Williams-Anodyne/Milwaukee

Frankie Lee - Anodyne/Milwaukee

Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets- Old Town School








Paul's 2014 Reading


The Good Lord Bird - James McBride

Never Street - Loren Estleman

A Field Guide to Getting Lost - Rebecca Solnit

The Faraway Nearby - Rebecca Solnit

The Girl With The Golden Shoes - Colin Channer

Hollywood Nocturnes - James Ellroy

Under the Bright Lights - Daniel Woodrell

Muscle For The Wing - Daniel Woodrell

The Ones You Do - Daniel Woodrell

Clandestine -James Ellroy

Last Car To Elysian Fields - James Lee Burke

How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America - Kiese Laymon

City of Tiny Lights - Patrick Neate

Saint Monkey - Jacinda Townsend

The Switch - Elmore Leonard

Pig's Foot - Carlos Acosta

The Black Mass Of Brother Springer - Charles Willeford

Rhode Island Red (re-read) - Charlotte Carter

Long Division - Kiese Laymon

The Neon Rain - James Lee Burke

Here Comes The Night - Joel Selvin

Willin' - Ben Fong-Torres

I'll Take You There- Greg Kot

Down By The River Where the Dead Men Go - George Pelacanos

Twelve Bar Blues - Patrick Neate

Huey Smith & The Rocking Pneumonia Blues - John Wirt

Really The Blues - Mezz Mezzrow / Bernard Wolfe

Suicide Hill - James Ellroy

Coswell's Guide To Tambralinga - Scott Landers

The Keillor Reader - Garrison Keillor

The Wrecking Crew - Kent Hartman

Crusader's Cross - James Lee Burke

Love & Death In A Hot Country- Shiva Naipaul

Respect Yourself - Robert Gordon

In the Electric Mists With The Confederate Dead - Burke

Not For Everyday Use - Elizabeth Nunez

Being Dead In South Carolina - Jacob White

Is Just A Movie - Earl Lovelace

The Man Who Loved Dogs - Leonardo Padura

Dixie City Jam - James Lee Burke

Heaven's Prisoners - James Lee Burke

Swan Peak - James Lee Burke

The Interior Circuit - Francisco Goldman

The Lost Get Back Boogie - James Lee Burke

Mr. Lover Man - Bernardine Evaristo

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls - David Sedaris

Pepperpot Best New Stories From The Caribbean

Cubana - ed. Mirta Yanez

River of Shadows - Rebecca Solnit

The Other Side Of Paradise - Julia Cooke

Light of This World - James Lee Burke

Faces In THe Crowd - Valeria Luiselli

Leapfrog and Other Stories - Guillermo Rosales

Crow Blues - Adriana Lisboa

Movies - stephen Dixon

Cape Town Coolie - Reshard Gool

The Strat in the Attic - Deke Dickerson

Fanon - John Edgar Wideman

A Little Lumpen Novelita - Roberto Bolano

Can't We Talk About SomethingMore Pleasant-Roz Chast

Another Side Of Bob Dylan - Victor & Jacob Maymudes

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie- Ayana Mathis

Black Cherry Blues - James Lee Burke

Now We Will Be Happy - Amina Gautier

The Wide Net - Eudora Welty

A Language Of Song - Samuel Charters

Rose Gold - Walter Mosley

A Simple Distance - K. E. Silva

Tropic Death - Eric Walrond

Ballad Of Another Time - Jose Luis Gonzalez

The Search - Geoff Dyer

Cannery Row - John Steinbcek

Really The Blues - Joseph Koenig

The Freedom In American Songs - Kathleen Winter

Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore - Walter Mosley

Even This I Get To Experience - Norman Lear

The Maid's Version - Daniel Woodrell

Winter's Bone - Daniel Woodrell




Paul's 2013 Reading

A Woman Like Me - Bettye Lavette

Taps - Willie Morris

140 Goats and a Guitar - David Berkeley

North Toward Home - Willie Morris

Thoughts Without Cigarettes - Oscar Hijuelos

Mr. Sammler's Planet - Saul Bellow

Herzog - Saul Bellow

Firefly - Severo Sarduy

Christ On The Rue Jacob - Severo Sarduy

Johnny Too Bad - John Dufresne

It So Happen - Timothy Callendar

The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax-Tom Piazza

Chinaberry Sidewalks - Rodney Crowell

Welcome to the Arrow Catcher Fair-Lewis Nordan

Jazz Body and Soul - Bob Willoughby

Tiger Rag - Nicholas Christopher

How Literature Saved My Life - David Shields

Venus Drive - Sam Lipsyte

The Collected Stories - Calvert Casey

Gumbo Tales - Sara Roahen

The Art Of Cartography - J. S. Marcus

98% Funky Stuff - Maceo Parker

Maps To Anywhere - Bernard Cooper

We Live In Water - Jess Walter

Tin Roof Blowdown - James Lee Burke

Woes of the True Policeman - Roberto Bolano

The Wrong Handed Man - Lawrence Millman

Little Green - Walter Mosley

Enough About You - David Shields

Long Gone Daddies - David Wesley Williams

Ayiti - Roxane Gay

Come Together, Fall Apart - Christina Henriquez

Creole Belle - James Lee Burke

Tenth of December - George saunders

The Geographical Cure - Michael Parker

Grey Skies Tomorrow - Silvia Molina

High Wire Moon - Susan Straight

The Fun Parts - Sam Lipsyte

Between Heaven and Here - Susan Straight

King Of Cuba - Christina Garcia

New Hope For The Dead - Charles Willeford

The Way We Die Now - Charles Willeford

Sideswipe -Charles Willeford

The Shark Infested Custard - Charles Willeford

Miami Blues - Charles Willeford

I Was Looking For A Street - Charles Willeford

Men In Miami Hotels - Charlie Smith

Don't Make Me Stop Now- Michael Parker

Hit Me Fred - Fred Wesley

High Times,Hard Times-Anita O'Day(recommended by Kelly Hogan)

The Big Ear - Robin Hemley

A Small Hotel - Robert Olen Butler

Fidel's Last Days - Roland Merullo

WhenTheWomenComeOutToDance-Elmore Leonard

Bruce - Peter Ames Carlin

TheKingdomOfThisWorld-AlejoCarpentier (recommended by Jon Cleary)

The Ballad of Gato Guerrero - Manuel Ramos

Hectic Ethics - Francisco Hinojosa

Jack Of Diamonds - Elizabeth Spencer

Kansas City Lightning - Stanley Crouch

The Book Of My Lives - Aleksander Hemon

Local Souls - Allen Gurganus

Southern Cross The Dog - Bill Cheng

Cadillac Jukebox - James Lee Burke

A Morning For Flamingos James Lee Burke

Mo'MetaBlues-Ahmir Questlove Thompson & Ben Greenman

Levels of Life - Julian Barnes

Barracuda In The Attic - Kipp Friedman

Purple Cane Road - James Lee Burke

Crusader's Cross - James Lee Burke

Eminent Hipsters - Donald Fagen

The Big Blowdown - George Pelecanos


Some Musical Favorites of 2013

Love Of Mine - Vic & Gab

David Egan David Egan

Minute By Minute - James Hunter Six

Victim Of Love - Charles Bradley

Here's Nikki Hill - Nikki Hill

Liquid Spirit - Gregory Porter

Live In San Francisco - Ry Cooder

Family Atlantica

Le Grand Kalle: His Life, His Music

The Three FAME Ace George Jackson records

Electric-Richard Thompson

Forever Endeavor - Ron Sexsmith



2012 Reading

Life-Keith Richards

Groove Interrupted-Keith Spera

Babylon Rolling-Amanda Boyden

Charity-Mark Richard(re-read)

Tom Waits on Tom Waits

The Convict and Other Stories-James Lee Burke

Marielitos, Balseros, and Other Exiles-Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes

Nothing To Be Frightened Of-Julian Barnes

(at Peter Whipple's urging)

Who She Was-Sam Freedman

Los Angeles Stories(City Lights Edition)-Ry Cooder

Shango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes-William Kennedy

All I Did Was Shoot My Baby-Walter Mosley

Before the End,after the Beginning-Dagoberto Gilb

The Last Holiday-Gil Scott-Heron

Moon Deluxe-Fredrick Barthelme

The Last Sultan: The Life & Times of Ahmet Ertegun-Robert Greenfield

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle-Monique Raffey

Swing Symphony-Christopher Lawrence

Bob Dylan:Like a Complete Unknown-David Yaffe

Nica's Dream-David Kastin

LeFreak-Nile Rodgers

420 Characters-Lou Beach

Half-Blood Blues-Esi Erdugyan

Sunset Limited-James Lee Burke

Lita-Jervey Tervalon

A World Made Of Fire-Mark Childress

Jitterbug-Loren Estleman(suggested by Mike Finnegan)

Black Swan-Christopher Hope

What Is What Was-Richard Stern

Sistermony-Richard Stern

Downriver-Loren Estleman

The Glass Highway-Loren Estleman

Ernie K-Doe The R&B Emperor of New Orleans-Ben Sandmel

Cubop City Blues-Pablo Medina

The Midnight Man-Loren Estleman

A Smile on the Face of aTiger-Loren Estleman

Sweet Women Lie-Loren Estleman

A Natural Woman-Carole King

The One-RJ Smith

Natural Shocks-Richard Stern

The Ferguson Affair-Ross MacDonald

Lady Yesterday Loren Estleman

Dropped Names-Frank Langella

Burning Midnight-Loren Estleman

Forbidden Fruit-Pablo LaRosa

Suddenly a Knock at The Door-Etgar Keret

Anacaona-Alicia Castro

L.A. '56-Joel Engel

Sans Souci-Dionne Brand

How Music Works-David Byrne

NW-Zadie Smith

Saving The World-Julia Alvarez

This Is How You Lose Her-Junot Diaz

The Cocktail Waitress-James M. Cain

Home-Toni Morrison

Knockemstiff-Donald Ray Pollock

Marginal Voices-Julio Ramon Ribeyro

Telegraph Avenue-Michael Chabon

Some Musical Favorites for 2012

Election Special-Ry Cooder

Rebirth-Jimmy Cliff

Secret Canon Vol.1-Dayna Kurtz

Locked Down-Dr. John

Home Again-Michael Kiwanuka

Painted Caves-Painted Caves


Dan Penn FAME Recordings

The FAME Recording Story

Slipstream-Bonnie Raitt

The Domino Effect-Herb Hardesty

Live Music Highlights for 2012

Levon Helm-Northern Lights Theater

Alabama Shakes-Pabst Theater

Garland Jeffreys-FitzGerald's

David Byrne/St. Vincent-Riverside Theater

Pedro Martinez-Jazzfest

Mavis Staples-Jazzfest

Nick Lowe-Chicago Opera House

tUNeYards/Meyer Hawthorne -Summerfest






Some Musical Highlights 2011

Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down - Ry Cooder

Bad As Me - Tom Waits

Last Star - Jon Rodine

The Old Magic - Nick Lowe

Bad Man's Blood - Ray Bonneville

I Wake Up Screaming - Kid Creole & The Coconuts

So Beautiful or So What - Paul Simon

American Standard - Dayna Kurtz

Betty Wright:The Movie - Betty Wright w/The Roots

Soul Time - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

The Original Sound of Cumbia - Soundway comp

Don't Be A Stranger-The Rolling Stones(previously unreleased track)

Live Music Highlights2011

Sade at the United Center in Chicago

Paul Simon at the Riverside Theater- Milwaukee

Pedro Martinez-Guantanamera and Lincoln Center in New York and UCC in Milwaukee

Special thanks and tribute to my heros who died this past year:

Harry Van Oudenallen

Debra Evenson

Pat Cummings

Marv Tarplin

Howard Tate

Clay Hammond

Jerry Leiber

Jerry Ragavoy

Nick Ashford

Manuel Galvan

Carl Gardner

Phoebe Snow

Paul's 2011 Reading

Cuba,My Revolution -Inverna Lockpez Dean Haspiell w/ Jose Villarubia

Pacific Tremors-Richard Stern

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey-Walter Mosley

Shares-Richard Stern

Soul Mining-Daniel Lanois

The Lacuna-Barbara Kingsolver

Room-Emma Donoghue

The Havana Habit-Gustavo Perez Firmat

Heaven is Hard To Swallow-Rafael Perez Gay

Brazil-Jesse Lee Kercheval

In Corner B-Es'kia Mphalele

Palo Alto Stories-James Franco

Carribean Currents-Peter Manuel

Stitch-Richard Stern

The Weather and Women Treat Me Fair-Percival Everett

Europe,or Up and Down with Shreiber and Baggish-Richard Stern

Alan Lomax:the Man Who Recorded the World

John Szwed

Down & Delirious in Mexico City-Daniel Hernandez

The Remarkable Life of Leonard Cohen-Anthony Reynolds

The Missing-Tim Gautreaux

Memory Wall-Anthony Doerr

In the Walled City-Stewart O'Nan

Last Night At The Lobster-Stewart O'Nan

Woman in the Dark-Dashiell Hammett

The Clearing-Tim Gautreaux

Anything Goes-Madison Smartt Bell

Heaven Before I Die-Michael Oliver-Goodwin

The Sound of Building Coffins-Louis Maistros

House of Prayer No. 2-Mark Richard

The Island of Eternal Love-daina Chaviano

the Bright Midnight-Josh Russel

The Next Step in the Dance-Tim Gautreaux

The Long-Legged Fly-James Sallis

Southland-Nina Revoyr

Eye Of The Cricket-James Sallis

Bluebottle-James Sallis

Moth-James Sallis

Love Is A Mixtape-Rob Sheffield

Ghost of a Flea-James Sallis

The Crazy Kills-Chester Himes

Black Hornet-James Sallis

Cripple Creek-James Sallis

Salt River-James Sallis

Death Will Have Your Eyes-James Sallis

A Visit From The Goon Squad-Jennifer Egan

Volt-Alan Heathcock

The Zebra-Striped Hearse-Ross MacDonald

The Goodbye Look-Ross MacDonald

Golk-Richard Stern

Born Under The Sign of Jazz-Randy Hultin

A Father's Words-Richard Stern

Samba Dreamers-Kathleen DeAzevedo

Unfinished Blues-Harold Batiste Jr.

!Cocinando!-Pablo Yglesias

Conversations with Walter Mosley-ed. Owen E.Brady

The Tempest Tales-Walter Mosley

The Right Mistake-Walter Mosley

Diablerie Diablerie-Walter Mosley

Six Easy Pieces(re-read)-Walter Mosley

Wish Someone Were Waiting For Me Somewhere-Anna Gavalda

The Night Train-Clyde Edgerton

Great House-Nicole Krauss

Ladies & Gentlemen-Adam Ross

Glorious Days and Nights-Herb Snitzer

The Bolero of andi Rowe-Toni Margarita Plummer

The Ten-Thousand Things-Maria Dermout(at Peter Whipple's recommendation)

Someday This Will Be Funny-Lynne Tillman

The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock n Roll-Preston Lauterbach

Black Postcards-Dean Wareham

The History of Love-Nicole Krauss

Life On the Hyphen-Gustavo Perez Firmat

The Ballad of Bob Dylan-Daniel Mark Epstein

The Screaming Mimi-Fredric Brown

Lesser EvilsTen Quartets-Gary Soto

The Ice at the Bottom of the World(re-read)-Mark Richard

Talking to the Dead-Sylvia Watanabe

Train Dreams-Denis Johnson

Serenade-James M. Cain

Adios,Happy Homeland-Ana Menendez

The Butterfly-James M. Cain

The Cat's Table-Michael Ondaatje

Snow-Orhan Pamuk(at Peter Whipple's urging)

The Time of Our Singing-Richard Powers(at Gabe Roth's urging)

Devil Brings The Rain- Tom Piazza

Rifftide:The Life and Opinions of Papa Joe Jones as told to Albert Murray  ed. by Paul Devlin-

Tom Waits on Tom Waits - ed. by Paul Maher Jr.

Sudden Fiction Latino- ed.Robert Shepard,James Thomas & Ray Gonzales

Some Musical favorites 2010

You Are Not Alone - Mavis Staples

I Learned The Hard Way - Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Black Dub - Black Dub

The Promise - Bruce Springsteen

Nigeria Special Vol.2 - Soundway comp

Nigeria Afrobeat Special - Soundway comp

Ghana Special - Soundway comp

Exile On Main Street reissue and augmentation - The Rolling Stones

Palenque Palenque - Soundway Columbian comp

The Definitive Collection of Federal Records

(VP comp of rare Rock Steady and Reggae)

Guaguancos - Orlando Contreras

Afrocubism - Afrocubism

Songwriting Demos - Jon Rodine

San Patricio - The Chieftains featuring Ry Cooder

Singles and should be singles 2010

Plundered My Soul- The Rolling Stones

Better Things - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

i Learned the Hard Way - Sharon Jones & the DK's

Mama Don't Like My Man - Sharon Jones & the DK's

Soldier of Love - Sade

Tightrope - Jonelle Monae

Soul Is / Pontiacs No More - John Stano

Spanish Eyes - Bruce Springsteen

The Brokenhearted - Bruce Springsteen

Stoplight Roses - Nick Lowe

Out Demons Out - Geraint Watkins

Quicksand - Ry Cooder

The Hills Of Mexico - Ry Cooder w/ The Chieftains

Some live 2010 Highlights

Sagbohan Danialou & Band- Jazzfest New Orleans

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings- HSB Festival San Fran

Nick Lowe & Band plus Geraint Watkins -

Pabst Theater Milwaukee

Black Dub-Lincoln Hall Chicago

Sachal Vasandani & Gretchen Parlato - Alverno College Milw.

Booker T - Turner Hall  Milwaukee

Super Chikan - Waterfront Blues Festival-Portland, OR

Levon Helm - Jazzfest New Orleans

Mr. Symarip - Subterranean  Chicago

Magnetic Fields - Pabst Theater  Milwaukee

Nick Sings Elvis, Elvis Sings Nick - Great American Music Hall  San Fran

Vampire Weekend - Riverside Theater Milwaukee

Norah Jones - Riverside Theater Milwaukee

David Lindley -  Riverside Theater milwaukee

Paul's 2010 Reading

Too Much Happiness - Alice Munro

Brides & Sinners in El Chuco - Christine Granados

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere - Z.Z. Packer

John Crow's Devil - Marlon James

Noble Rot - Richard G. Stern

Reasons For And Advantages of Breathing - Lydia Peele

Day Out Of Days - Sam Shepard

The Unemployed Fortune-Teller - Charles Simic

Tuesdays With Morrie - Mitch Albom

What Is What Was - Richard G. Stern

Lost Alphabet - Lisa Olstein

 Record Makers and Breakers - John Broven

Perfecting Sound Forever - Greg Milner

Record Palace - Susan Wheeler

See Jack - Russell Edson

Havana Best Friends - Jose LaTour

Another Bullshit Night In Suck City - Nick Flynn

Gringo - Chesa Boudin

The Position Of The Body- Richard G. Stern

The Dying Crapshooter's Blues - David Fulmer

Escaping the Delta - Elijah Wald

Little Richard  The Birth of Rock 'n Roll - David Kirby

The Paper Boy - Pete Dexter

Letters From New Orleans - Rob Walker

The Ticking Is The Bomb - Nick Flynn

More of This World and Maybe Another- Barb Johnson

Where the God of Love Hangs Out - Amy Bloom

God's Gym - John Edgar Wideman

Three Delays - Charlie Smith

the World In Six Songs - Daniel Levitin

Walking To Guantanamo - Richard Fleming

      through a generous loan from John Radanovich

Lean On Pete - Willie Vlautin

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life - Steve Almond

An Evening At The Club - Christian Gailly

My Life In Heavy Metal - Steve Almond

The Hungered One - Ed Bullins

How To Leave Hialeah - Jennine Capo Crucet

Beautiful Maria of My Soul - Oscar Hijuelos

Ray (re-read in aftermath of Barry Hannah's untimely demise)

A Language Of Song - Samuel Charters

New Orleans - Samuel Charters

The Return - Roberto Bolano

The Insufferable Gaucho - Roberto Bolano

Roberto Bolano: The Last Interview & Other Conversations

                                    ed.and intro by Marcela Valdes

Conditions Uncertain & Likely To Pass Away - Frank Stanford

Antwerp - Roberto Bolano

Known As Evil - Walter Mosley

Chicago Blues: A New Collection Of Crime Stories

                            ed.Libby Fischer Hellman

The World In Half - Christina Henriquez

 Nashville Chrome - Rick Bass

Take One Candle Light a Room - Susan Straight

Lengua Fresca  ed.Harold Augenbrum and Ilan Stavans

When that Rough God Goes Riding - Greil Marcus

Further Adventures In The Restless Universe - Dawn Raffel

Hawk Moon (re-read) - Sam Shepard

Kora In hell (re-read) - William Carlos Williams

Los Angeles Stories (re-read) - Ry Cooder

Other Men's Daughters- Richard G. Stern

Vida - Patricia Engel

What the Dog Saw - Malcolm Gladwell

White Bicycles - Joe Boyd

Gandys on The MoPac - Wes Sumptor

In The Year Of long Division - Dawn Raffel

The Light The Dead See - Frank Stanford

Airships (re-read) -Barry Hannah

San Francisco Noir 2 - ed. Peter Maravelis

Brief Encounters With Che Guevara - Ben Fountain

Thank You To My Heros Who Died This Year 2010

Lhasa De Sela

Abbey Lincoln

Bobby Charles

Don Van Vliet

General Johnson

Willie Mitchell

Barry Hannah



A Few Musical Favorites 2009

For The Love Of Hazel - Dayna Kurtz & Mamie Minch

Throw Down Your Heart : Africa Sessions - Bela Fleck

Panama 2&3 - Soundway Comps

O Canto Dos Escravos - Clementina de Jesus,Geraldo da Filme & Tia Doca

Live At Bob's - John Sieger

Keletegui et ses Tambourinis - The Syliphone Years

Tumbele - Soundway French Caribbean Comp

Africa Boogaloo - Honest Jon's Comp

Echos Hypnotiques - Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou

Razorburn Blues - Mamie Minch

Pacho Galan, Climaco Sarmiento, Pedro Laza - Fuentes label comps

Live In London - Leonard Cohen

A Few Live Highlights '09

Mavis Staples - Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (SF)

Leonard Cohen - Rosemont Theater (CHI)

Little Richard - Potowotomi Casino (MILW)

Dayna Kurtz & Mamie Minch - Cafe Carpe (Ft.Atkinson WI)

Bonnie Raitt - South Bend (IND)

Richard Thompson/Loudon Wainwright - Pabst Theater(MILW)

John Fogerty - Riverside Theater(MILW)

Should be Singles of the year:

When My Angel Smiles- John Sieger

Only The Lonely - Dayna Kurtz & Mamie Minch

Astroland Tower - Mamie Minch

The Lemon Tree - Willy Porter

Vision of Alpha/Laboring -Eric Blowtorch & the Welders w/ Rico Rodriguez and Brian Edwards

Paul's 2009 Reading (roughly in order read)

Dr. King's Refrigerator - Charles Johnson

Stagolee Shot Billy - Cecil Brown

Retro Redux- ed: Amy Prior

The Night Buffalo - Guillermo Arriaga

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

Tomorrow They Will Kiss - Eduardo Santiago

Havana Lunar - Robert Arellano

Ruins - Achy Obejas

Mambo Pelligroso - Patricia Chao

Trinidad Noir - ed:Lisa Allen-Agostini/Jeune Mason

The Jazz Ear - Ben Ratliff

Netherland - Joseph O'Neill

No Sleep 'Til Canvey Island - Will Burch

The Right Mistake - Walter Mosley

Slumberland - Paul Beatty

Blackout - Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza

Interpreter Of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri

Tales Of Tenderness and Power - Bessie Head

Things The Grandchildren Should Know - Mark Oliver Everett

Days Of Awe - Achy Obejas

Tell The Truth Until They Bleed - Josh Alan Friedman

A Twisted Pig's Tale - Vern Pinkowski

The Sound and The Fury - William Faulkner

The Long Fall - Walter Mosley

For The Record:The Life and Work Of Alex Steinweiss - Jennifer McKnight-Trontz & Alex Steinweiss

The Savage Detectives - Roberto Bolano

My Father, Dancing - Bliss Broyard

Nine Lives - Dan Baum

La Perdida - Jessica Abel

The Opposite House - Helen Oyeyeme

Lost River - David Fulmer

The Blue Door - David Fulmer

Delta Blues - Ted Gioia

Welding With Children - Tim Gautraux

Crazy Heart - Thomas Cobbs

Jazz and Twelve O'Clock Tales - Wanda Coleman

Hidden In Havana - Jose Latour

Es Cuba - Lea Ashkenas

Something About The Blues - Al Young

Do Travel Writers Go To Hell? - Thomas Kohnstamm

Havana Fever - Leonardo Padura

Triangular Road:A Memoir - Paule Marshall

Here We Are In Paradise - Tony Earley

New Stories From The South;The Year's Best 1993 - ed: Shannon Ravenel

Alone In The Crowd - Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza

Hound Dog - Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller/David Ritz

Lowside Of The Road - Barney Hoskyns

Parrot In The Oven - Victor Martinez

The Lazarus Project - Aleksander Hemon

Playback - Raymond Chandler

The Amazing adventures Of Kavalier And Clay - Michael Chabon

Los Angeles Stories - Ry Cooder

Sequins For a Ragged Hem - Amryl Johnson

Wild Man Of Rhythm: The Life And Music Of Beny More - John Radanovich

Nightmare Town - Dashiell Hammet

Make Mine Music - Bruce Swedien

Love And Obstacles - Aleksander Hemon

King of the Queen City - Jon Hartley Fox

How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'N' Roll - Elijah Wald

A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You - Amy Bloom

Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight - Alexandra Fuller

Havana Nocturne - TJ English

The Year Before The Flood - Ned Sublette

Paul's 2008 Reading List (roughly in order read)

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

No One Belongs Here More Than You - Miranda July

As Far As You Can Get Without A Passport - Peter Case  

This Is Your Brain On Music - Daniel Leviten

Fear Of The Dark - Walter Mosley

The World That Made New Orleans - Ned Sublette

Last Evenings On Earth - Roberto Bolano

Cinnamon Kiss  - Walter Mosley

The Faith Healer Of Olive Avenue - Manuel Munoz

Fear Itself   - Walter Mosley

Paradise Travel - Jorge Franco

Fearless Jones - Walter Mosley

Spy's Fate - Arnaldo Correa

Comrades In Miami - Jose LaTour

A Window On Copacabana - Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza

Divisadero - Michael Ondaatje

Southwesterly Wind -  Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza

Jass - David Fulmer

The Silence Of the Rain - Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza

A Death In Brazil - Peter Robb

Rampart Street - David Fulmer

Pursuit - Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza

The Autograph Man - Zadie Smith

Striver's Row - Kevin Baker

Chronicle Of The Seven Sorrows - Patrick Chamoisseau

I,Flathead - Ry Cooder

Carnival - Robert Antoni

Infinite and Finite Games - James P. Carse

My Grandmother's Erotic Folktales - Robert Antoni

The Day Is So Long, The Wages So Small - Samuel Charters

Winter In Lisbon - Antonio Munoz Molina

City Of Refuge - Tom Piazza

The Dud Avocado - Elaine Dundy

I Got Somebody In Staunton - William Henry Lewis

The Motel Life - Willie Vlautin

Any Wednesday I'm Yours - Mayra Santos-Febres

Tango For A Torturer - Daniel Chavarria

Little Star Of Bella Lua - Luana Monteiro

Chasing the Devil's Tail - David Fulmer

Havana Noir

Waking Up In Memphis - Andrea Lisle and Mike Evans

Renewal Time - Es'kia Mphalele

The Cigar Roller - Pablo Medina

Northline - Willie Vlautin

The Words Of Every Song - Liz Moore

Here Is Where We Meet - John Berger

Consuelo Kanaga - Barbara Head Millstein/Sarah M. Lowe

Exiled Memories - Pablo Medina

First Stop In The New World - David Lida

The Book Of Other People - ed.by Zadie Smith

Photocopies - John Berger

All Aunt Hagar's Children - Edward Jones

Telex from Cuba - Rachel Kushner

Considering Genius - Stanley Crouch


Some Musical Favorites for 2008

I,Flathead     Ry Cooder

In A Bad Mood   Geraint Watkins

Nigeria Special   (Soundway Comp)

Lagos Jump   (Strut Comp)

Goin' by Feel     Ray Bonneville

The Hard Way    James Hunter

Same Old Man    John Hiatt

Live Hope at The Hideout  Mavis Staples

Toda Vez Que Eu Dou Um Passo...    Siba e a Fuloresta

The Way I See It    Raphael Saadiq

Cuban Pearls:Latin Jazz    (Syllart Comp)

Beto Villares   Beto Villares

Live Highlights:

Chuck Prophet  live at Fitzgerald's

Robbie Fulks     live at Fitzgerald's

Stevie Wonder     live in New Orleans and Milwaukee

? and The Mysterians   live at the Ponderosa Stomp

David Byrne      live at the Pabst Theater

Orchestra Baobab   live at The Barrymore Theater- Madison

Guitar Bass Drums    live at Great American Music Hall SF

Nick Lowe    live at The Green Mill and The Barrymore Theater

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Jonathan Batiste at Jazzfest

Ruthie Foster  Jazzfest

Ethiopiques at Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Carlinhos Brown  live in Chicago

Album title of the year

The Shaming Of The True   John Sieger (Faux Real Records)

Singles (or should've been singles!) 2008

Strange Overtones  David Byrne/Brian Eno

Sure Hope You Mean It  Raphael Saadiq

Love That Girl   Raphael Saadiq (bassline of the year!)

Waitin' for Some Girl     Ry Cooder

Filipino Dance Hall Girl    Ry Cooder

Cherry Red   John Hiatt

Tell Her  James Hunter

Carina  James Hunter

Goodbye For Good   John Sieger


Paul's 2007 musical picks:

Dirt Farmer   Levon Helm

We'll Never Turn Back   Mavis Staples  

My Name Is Buddy  Ry Cooder

The Roots Of Chicha

Voodoo Love Inna Champeta Land   Columbiafrica Mystic Orch.

At My Age   Nick Lowe

Authenticite  Syliphone Guinean comp

African Pearls: Congo, Guinea and Mali comps

Pinata   Mexican Institute of Sound

Song of the year:

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day   Nick Lowe


Paul's 2007 Reading List:

Movies - Stephen Dixon (re-read)
Women of America - Charlie Smith
Hotel Atlantico - J G Noll
Intimate Diary—Ana Christina Cesar
The Archipelago:New Caribbean Writing   Conjunctions:27
Muchachos Adios - -Daniel Chavarria
Small Island - -Andrea Levy
Mexican Postcards - -Carlos Monsivais
A Sudden View-Sybille Bedford
The Book Of Disquiet-Fernando Pessoa
Voices Made Night - Mia Couto
Tales From The Cuban Empire - Antonio Jose Ponte
Mexican Days-Tony Cohan
Between Midnight and Day - Dick Waterman
Yonnondio - Tillie Olsen (re-read)
Bonfire of Roadmaps - Joe Ely
Havana Blue - Leonardo Padura
Fruit Of The Lemon - Andrea Levy
Our Man In Havana - Graham Greene
Havana Black - Leonardo Padura
Childhood and Other Neighborhoods - Stuart Dybek
Tropicana Nights - Rosa Lowinger and Ofelia Fox
The Salt Roads - Nalo Hopkinson
Song For My Fathers - Tom Sancton
Havana Red - Leonardo Padura
Straight No Chaser - Leslie Gourse
Hard Language - Mike Padilla
Lonely Avenue - Alex Halberstadt
Doctor Sax - Jack Kerouac
The Last Night I Spent With You - Mayra Monteiro
Thine Is The Kingdom - Abilio Estevez
Adios Hemingway - Leonardo Padura
Skin Folk - Nalo Hopkinson
I Sailed With Magellan - Stuart Dybek
The Coast Of Chicago - Stuart Dybek
Ike Turner-King Of Rhythm - John Collins
Streets in Their Own Ink - Stuart Dybek
Cuba In Mind - ed. Maria Finn Dominguez
Traveler’s Tales:Cuba - ed. Tom Miller
Loteria and Other Stories - Ruben Mendoza
Havana World Series - Jose Latour
Infinite Refuge - Virgil Suarez
The Lawless Roads - Graham Greene
Every Tongue Got To Confess - compiled by Zora Neale Hurston
Walking With Legends - Barry Martyn

Paul's 2006 Reading List:

The Insatiable Spiderman - Pedro Juan Gutierrez
Dream Boogie - Peter Guralnick
Zero - Ignacio De Loyola Brandao
Why New Orleans Matters? - Tom Piazza
1 Dead In Attic - Chris Rose
Blue Monday - Rick Coleman
The Second Death Of Unico Aveyano - Ernestro Mestre-Reed
Blues Up And Down - Tom Piazza
A Simple Twist Of Fate - Odegard and Gill
Last Dance in Havana - Eugene Robinson
From Coal To Cream - Eugene Robinson
Lord Of Dark Places - Hal Bennett
The Known World - Edward P. Jones
The First Thing Smoking - Nelson Eubanks
My Sax Life - Paquito D' Rivera
The Long Tail - Chris Anderson
Nights Of Love And Laughter - Henry Miller
The Mexico City Reader
Arsenio Rodriguez and the Transnational Flows of Latin Popular Music - David Garcia
My First Love - Zoe Valdes
Music In Brazil - John P. Murphy
The Devil's Stocking - Nelson Algren
Lancelot (reread) - Walker Percy
The Magic Striptease - George Garrett
The Last Flight of Jose Luis Balboa - Gonzalo Barr
Dirty Blonde And Half-Cuban - Lisa Wixon
Brides and Sinners In El Chuco - Christine Granados
This War Called Love - Alejandro Murguia
Cold Havana Ground - Arnaldo Correa
By the Rivers Of Babylon - Jorge De Sena
Mamzelle Dragonfly - Raphael Confiant

A Few Favorite Albums of 2006 :

People Gonna Talk - James Hunter

Orphans - Tom Waits

Another Black Feather - Dayna Kurtz

Big Ol' Fiya - John Mooney

Living With War - Neil Young

Compilations and Reissues:

London Is The Place For Me 4

Take One - - Hallelujah Chicken Run Band

Historia Do Brasil Atraves Dos Sambas De Enredo "O Negro Do Brasil"


Paul's 2005 Reading List:

Midnight Robbers - Nalo Hopkinson

Brown Girl in the Ring - Nalo Hopkinson

Cuba and It's Music - Ned Sublette

The Gettin' Place - Susan Straight

The Man Under My Stairs - Walter Mosley

The Quality of Life Report - Meghan Daum

Get Home Free - John Clellon Holmes

Outcast - Jose Latour

The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow

Him With Foot in His Mouth - Saul Bellow

Humboldt's Gift - Saul Bellow

Innocent When You Dream - Tom Waits interviews

Train - Pete Dexter

The Whiteman In The Tree -Mark Kurlansky

Ask The Dust - John Fante

The Ghost Writer - Philip Roth

Gilead - Marilyne Robinson

On Beauty - Zadie Smith

Dirty Havana Trilogy - Pedro Juan Gutierrez

Tropical Animal - Pedro Juan Gutierrez

Enduring Cuba - Zoe Bran

The Reader's Companion To Mexico                     

2005 Year End Favorite Albums

Chavez   Ravine - Ry Cooder

***Solo In Rio 1959 - Luis Bonfa ***

Multiply - Jamie Lidell

Our New Orleans - Nonesuch Hurricane Relief Album

Tijuana Sessions Vol.3 - Nortec Collective

Afro - Novalima

London Is The Place For Me 2 - Diasporal Compilation on Honest Jon's

2004 Favorite Albums                             

  • "3AM (In the Beats We Trust)" Side Stepper
  • "Loved Her Then" John Sieger and the Skeletons from "Her Country"
  • "Havana Mood" Bill Laswell & Jean Touitou - Remix dub Cuban music
  • "The Nguni Sound " Hugh Tracey - South African Recordings - SWP Records
  • "Cabeca Feita" Nadinho Da Ilha - Odeon Records Reissue
  • "Folklore for Export" Hugo Diaz - Orfeon Records"
  • I Want More" & "Heaven Knows" from Cassandra Wilson's album "Glamoured" on Blue Note
  • "Las Canciones des Maria Teresa Vera" Viente Anos on Egram Records
  • "Objectif Perfection" Balla et Ses Balladins
  • "Bola Sete" Odeon Records (reissue)

Previous Fave's include

  • Oriza - Silvestre Mendez
  • Os Afrosambas - Baden Powell and Vinicias de Morales
  • The Convincer - Nick Lowe
  • Hellish Calypso (Cook label comp)
  • Kick It Around - James Hunter
  • El Supremo - John Sieger
  • Songs From the Golden Calf - Mike Fredrickson
  • Neighborhoods - Olu Dara
  • Time the Revelator - Gillian Welch
  • Get Low Down - Allan Toussaint productions


                                                                         * * * * *

In a glimpse at the possibly febrile, mid-eighties mind of our dear commander Cebar, here's a review that he wrote for a Minneapolis weekly upon the release of Tom Waits' RAINDOGS in 1985:

TOM WAITS    RAINDOGS (Island Records) reviewed by Milwaukee musician, Paul Cebar

"It's raining songs. I can't find enough things to catch them in.   

                                               Tom Waits  The Face Nov. '85

"I'm trying to break out a little bit, let all the birds fly out of my head....to do music that belongs to me a little bit more.

You chase it, catch it, skin it, cook it and eat it. It feels like yours."  

                                         Tom Waits   Record Magazine "85

Got to give a dog a bone. There has been no more ambitious work on the vinyl frontier this long year than RAINDOGS, the tenth album of a particularly frisky cur called Waits. Whether one wants to simply consider the breadth of influences drawn upon, the sheer variety of points of view, the efflorescence of language, or merely the value for the dollar (19 songs, 53 and a half minutes of lowbrow hijinx), this hound is decidedly the big boy on the block.

Judging by the vigorous expansiveness of this record and it's big brother, 1983's SWORDFISHTROMBONES, self-production has been quite the charm for dear Tom. Having painted himself into something of a corner with 1980's HEARTATTACK and VINE, Waits immersed himself in film work for Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studio and after composing the score for ONE FROM THE HEART, emerged with a clear-eyed gumption and the radically revised sonic palette needed to blow the doors clear off their hinges and let the big birds out.

Ritually eschewing certain sonorities (saxophones and strings on SWORDFISHTROMBONES to distance himself from a penchant for jazz cliche, piano on the new album,with the single exception of the twisted," Tango Til They're Sore," in order to "take the music outdoors"), Tom has opened up a whole new can of worms. Tailoring sound to sense more provocatively than ever, he has placed a decided emphasis upon instruments that run out of breath, crack like limbs, clang like all get out, or simply stumble menacingly about. In so doing, he has found a musical vocabulry that makes assets of his vocal limitations.

As part of an effort to purge himself of what he has called " that jazz thing", he has warmed up to the possibilities of more rigid rhythms. ( Witness "Cemetary Polka", "Singapore", and last album's "Underground".) He confidently caroms wildly in and out of tune in a mongrel sprechstimme aided and abetted every step of the way by the assured embrace of untempered ( or shall I say, distempered ) percussion. All the perverse moves under the sun only serve to make the idiosyncratic work of this former one-trick gutter statesman more effectively expressive of starkly varied human perspectives. 

To make the music slither, stomp, and generally get on up and walk around, emphasis has been put on a generous assortment of astringent guitars. Waits seems in search of a holler out back of the Port Authority, a roadhouse on the streets and avenues of Empiretown and in that search he has called upon Lounge Lizard, Marc Ribot, G E. Smith, Robert Quine, Chris Spedding and even wholesome old Keith Richard to unpack their cases and play twice as better than he will. Let's just say they play clean as New York water.

For my money, Smith's tingling work on the sublime,"Downtown Train" is the most resoundingly right guitar performance of the year. Ribot's bold strokes on both, "Jockey Full Of Bourbon", and the title cut run a very close second and Waits, himself, pulls the strings to very grand effect throughout the album.

As if that weren't enough, kudos are in order for the excruciatingly apt accordianistics of one William Shimmel, the sterling horn work of Ralph Carney, The Uptown Horns and even John Lurie on the Ornette-ified, "Walking Spanish", and the peerless rhythm section jockeying of Stephen Taylor Arvizu Hodges, Michael Blair and rock-solid Larry Taylor.

All of this inspired clanging and banging, wheezing and scraping would add up to less than squat had Waits not made commensurate strides lyrically as well. He has staved off prolixity, heightened his images , found still more telling details and generally scattered more clearly delineated narrative voices all about the place.

In contrast to the taut clarity of SWORDFISHTROMBONES' tightly coiled vignettes, much of RAINDOGS exhibits a more opaque, imagistic approach perhaps reflective of a New Yorker's sense of disparate perspectives. Much is made of the improbabilities of conveying the pith of the juxtapositions one has made one's own bed in to another who has woven his own crazyquilt on the next street over.

The spirit of New York hangs in the hat of many of the protagonists, a spirit of cultural, linguistic, and economic clangor, of fetid vitality shambling off into nextday. Employing a stunning variety of vocal approaches (hushed to bellowing and all stops in between), Waits conjures a gallery of monologists in full cry. Each employs a personal English (pickpocket argot, thirties slang a la William Kennedy's Albany cycle [a world of millionaires,dimes, trains and dames], or plain and simple private references) to emphatically expose a new back door on a sound and fury signifying too much of something.

So what do you get? A smorgasbord. Start with a crypto sea chantey, move on to a whispered walk on slightly tarnished gilded splinters, a stomping polka-based family history, a latin guitar and whisper workout, a warped tango, a wakeful, heartfelt lullaby of a kiss-off, a gutter prognosis and an elegy for an elegiac appreciator of time. Then, turn the damned thing over and drive all over the map again. Dye your hair in the bathroom of a Texaco with John of "Gun Street Girl", climb through the window and down to the street, shining like a new dime and find her in your "Blind Love". Then, lay your head anywhere and make your home for the Nigerian and Louisiana saints are marching in.

RAINDOGS is singular music served up by a mature artist and his accomplices in a manner only they could pull off. It brings to mind Jacob Riis, Howlin' Wolf, Richard Burton, Kurt Weill, Captain Beefheart, Chano Pozo, Mac Rebennac, a thousand downtown trains and Brooklyn girls just to name a few. One can take it or leave it. I take it like a big hook between the lobes. RAINDOGS invites attention and rewards one with resonant complexity and that's barking up the right tree for a dog like me.


                                                           * * * * *

 As I grapple with the memories of yet another Jazzfest (the 39th), I thought that it might be fun to revisit a piece that my callower self wrote for a long defunct Milwaukee publication called LOOSE, concerning my impressions of the 15th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival


Dancing at the Mouth, Fun and a Half in the City of Hips 

In an effort to dodge the humorless self-absorption of the Mr. One-Glove, the superficial modernity of the Culture League Twins, the sad,sad normality of the Sheena-Kenny-Crystal axis, and the leathered-up Mad Suburbanites of Doom,  to New Orleans went I. The 15th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival provided the same opportunity that the fourteen before it had for coming to terms with a town in these asphalted states which remains itself. That is, a city with it’s own food, it’s own architecture, it’s own beat; the seat of Gumbo Culture.

Throw it all together on the corner of Mystery and Terpsichore and it’ll go down good. It’s still going down in New Orleans. The brew’s on the boil. The 15th annual fest held this past April 28 through May 6th only confirmed that verdict.

For all it’s mythic undercurrents, New Orleans is a straightforward town. It’s homegrown root beer, Barq’s sells itself with the simple slogan, “Drink Barq’s ,It’s Good” .  Mac Rebennack, better known to some as Dr. John, who sings and plays on Barq’s radio spots, responds to applause in the middle of his stirring solo piano recital at Tipitina’s (Tipitina’s takes it’s name from a tune recorded by Professor Longhair, the late, lamented King of New Orleans piano and mentor to Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Ronnie Barron, and the recently deceased piano prince, James Booker.) with the rejoinder,”Yeah, You’re right!,” And we were.

Freed up to tour the environs without a band in his own hometown and surrounded by a pack of willing traveling companions, Rebennack journeyed archeologically through the musical life of the city paying tribute to those who had gone before and singing the praises of his contemporaries. Through a set touching on Joe Liggins’ HONEYDRIPPER, Archibald’s STACKOLEE (“If you ever hear rumbling, rumbling under the ground, must be Stagger turning Billy upside down.”), Longhair’s BALDHEAD, the homeboy standard JUNKO PARTNER, Huey Smith’s ROCKIN’ PNEUMONIA, Fats Domino’s I’M IN LOVE AGAIN, Toussaint’s LIFE, Earl King’s THOSE LONELY< LONELY NIGHTS, Ann Cole’s and Muddy Waters’ MOJO WORKING, his own SUCH A NIGHT,  and his appropriation of hoodoo retentions in the Crescent City, WALK ON GILDED SPLINTERS, Rebennack humbly danced the tradition ‘cross the keys, sweating through his alligator vest, ”tryin’ to ‘splain you all about….”

At the fairgrounds on the weekend, the scene of a multi-staged Summerfest [a reference to Milwaukee’s ten day summer music festival] of roots music, San Antonio’s own, Bongo Joe whistled over the rhythms emanating from his day-glo painted, self-tuned 55 gallon oil drums, rattling mallets in hand, explaining in his drawling Muppets voice,” What I like about this earthlife…(pause for rhythmic punctuation)…No matter what different kinds of people there are, they will find a way…We’ll find a way to get along…As in Afro-Engineering…Why buy drums when I can raise a set of my own?… (Whistles)…I’m a pretty good rigger…That’s R-I-G-O-R… never know when someone’s gonna mishear you.”

Peppering his talk and chant with astonishing rhythmic voluptuosness, whistling fragments of the pop tunes of 50 odd years of “this earthlife”, twisting his every statement with adjustments of the twinkle in his eye, conjuring a place,” 50 miles southeast of Johannesburg, 25 miles north of Cuba, 3 miles outside of Dallas 25 miles west of New Orleans…..I like the way I said that…One mile north of any urban street.. Call it Deep Elm”. [Note: Attuned to poetics but geographically inexperienced at the time, I failed to realize that he was referring to Dallas, TX notorious sporting section, Deep Ellum] Bongo Joe is Bongo Joe, and nobody else.

100 yards away, New Orleans’ blind guitar angel, Snooks Eaglin is joyously stomping out tune after tune, accompanied by his modest and willing accomplice, Allen Toussaint, on piano. (Toussaint is the man responsible for composing and arranging most of the grand Lee Dorsey singles from RIDE YOUR PONY,and WORKING IN A COALMINE, on through YES WE CAN CAN, TEARS, TEARS, AND MORE TEARS,  FREEDOM FOR THE STALLION, and SNEAKING SALLY THROUGH THE ALLEY,  Al Hirt’s JAVA, Irma Thomas’ most stirring work, Little Feat’s ON YOUR WAY DOWN, Bonnie Raitt’s WHAT DO YOU WANT THE BOY TO DO?, The Band’s horn charts for their Rock Of Ages album and 7 million other wonderful and supremely ageless tunes.) ”Irene,Irene In the middle of a dream,” sings Snooks through a gap-toothed mouth, spitting forth boyish enthusiasm and undeniable good spirits.

“Every record I put out gonna be damn good, I wasn’t born in no summertime,” and with that he’s off into DROWN IN MY OWN TEARS with the entire crowd gently singing the Raelettes part. Lester Young T-shirts sit next to giant Little Richards. Somebody’s grandma is dancing with her husband and so’s somebody’s little brother. Then, Snooks is standing, dancing to Toussaint’s solo, weaving, about to fly…he solos, dazzlingly edgy rhythms butting up against one another, triple jointed fingers flapping against the strings with supreme nonchalance and dead aim. Moments later, he’s lost, looking for the chair he’s left so far behind him. For a moment, the groove took him and held him. We’re all looking for our seats.”God bless all y”all”.

Eddie Bo, headrag in place, seated at the upright piano is the picture of Grandpa Priapus in his prime. (This year sporting full length white robes and a snow-white beard,more like rocking Moses come down with 10 more commandments to get loose.) Bantering every moment, talking to his band, yelling to his crowd, his surrogate neighborhood, Bo is as down as they come. The originator of SLIPPING AND SLIDING, known in Bo’s original version as, I’M WISE, Eddie is a stunningly vibrant embodiment of the glory that was New Orleans in the 50’s and 60’s. Where all too many of his contemporaries have attempted to shed all distinction in the rush for mainstream acceptance and bigger pieces of the Californianized pie, Eddie sings New Orleans and sings it proud in all it’s racial and cultural diversity.

“Check your bucket,” he sings. ”If your kisses fail to move her and your rap fails to groove her…Your bucket’s got a hole in it.” And then, yelling to George Porter (one of the forefathers of funk bass as a charter member of The Meters), “George, are you ready for this? ‘Cause we gonna smoke this sucker,” he was off, ”Confucious say, Every dog got his day. But some dogs got two…My wife don’t walk no dog…I’ll believe ‘til the end, a dollar is man’s best friend…Hardtimes! Hardtimes got me now..” all over a bristling groove reminiscent of middle-period James Brown. Hollering “Get the line!” as the crowd began the second line, New Orleans’ snaking march dance named after the procession that forms behind the funeral bands on their march back from the cemetery, Bo launched into his late 50’s hit, CHECK MR. POPEYE, a tune that spurred the development of a dance in the New Orleans of that day and has since supplied the name of New Orleans own, franchised chicken carryout restaurants, Popeye’s. ”You’d better check your spinach, ’cause Olive’s in the danger zone,” he sang with all the ebullience in the world to which Porter responded with the  warmest smile that side of the sun. Raising his voice, Bo, as Olive Oyl sang, “Popeye, Popeye, Bluto’s trying to make me give it up.”  He stood up, demonstrated the Popeye for the crowd, and with the words, ”I’m crazy,Yes,” he was gone.

The highlight of this year’s fest for this writer was a simple dream – a midnight concert at New Orleans impeccably restored Saenger Theater, featuring the Dave Bartholomew Big Band, Ray Charles, his band and The Raelettes and the right, right Reverend Al Green. From Bartholomew’s emergence on the blue-lit stage, all elegance in grey-pink silk to the final rave-up of Green’s Hi-rhythm gospel groove band the night was a testament to the power of dynamics in Afro-American music. 

Bartholomew’s unshakeable poise playfully offset by his down-in-the-alley with shoes shined sense of humor, the grand sound of his big band in a theater with only incidental sound reinforcement and the drama of simple lighting enervated this viewer beyond the realm of a good dream. This was so good it had to be true.

Striding from side to side singing the tunes he wrote for so many greats, tunes like BLUEBERRY HILL, ONE NIGHT, BLUE MONDAY, and  I HEAR YOU KNOCKING,  Bartholomew’s charm, modesty and hawk-nosed beauty were utterly captivating. With his carnival song, CARNIVAL DAY, Dave brought his set to a close and with his traditional farewell,”I’m a see ‘ya, huh?”, he was gone.

Any other night would’ve ended there but not this one. The spectacle of self-possession that is Ray Charles was unstoppable in the haze of the lights. Here the sense of a capped reservoir of feeling perpetually threatening to break free and yet somehow restraining itself drew the audience into direct interaction with the sunglassed one. In the midst of a lachrymose but spellbinding version of  DO I EVER CROSS YOUR MIND?, a particularly aggressive watchdog and guardian against self-pity sarcastically observed, ”Aw, Poor Ray, he’s gonna cry!” The audience reveled in her ability to call things as they were and still soaked in the tear-filled if a shade less than sincere testimony of grand Ray. In between defining the essence of country music, reinvigorating the standards and whipping the blues into shape, Ray found time to turn the stage over to his five Raelettes who managed to make KNOCK ON WOOD a brand new thing full of anticipation, shivering control and sardonically contained fancy.

Then, with the stage stripped bare and the clock striking three, Al Green, clad in his usual 3 sizes too small suit and backed by two exuberant fellows in dark blue suits, the radiant Linda Jones and a band sworn to the tenets of the great Willie Mitchell produced records of the 70’s, cut loose with all the joy in his heart. Scattering roses to the crowd, saving the last for his mike stand, Green graciously shared the stage with his other singers and players  and patiently explained that “Yes, LOVE AND HAPPINESS. now that was a good song, but you can’t forget AMAZING GRACE, and there are only a certain number of songs one can sing on any one evening.”

Effortlessly bettering the recorded versions of his gospel material, Green, leaping up and down in rapture, was joy itself. The pregnant restraint of the evening was delivered in affirmation of blood and breath in the body and testimony to mystery. Even the skeptical could but give it up. The room was vibrating, euphoric in it’s sleepiness and as the crowd rose to the sustained groove night was night and joy was joy and that’s alright by me.


Add to that the creole mastery and fun of Canray Fontenot and Bois Sec (Dry Wood) Ardoin, two sexegenarian little boys lost in the sound of the fiddle, accordian, and triangle, the drumming of twelve-year-old little gospel wonders,the great Smokey Johnson, Zigaboo Modeliste, and Ed Blackwell, the relaxed stagecraft of Clarence “Frogman” Henry and Jerry Butler, and the startling, body-popping of the wellspring Bo Diddley and one just couldn’t miss, ever.

Coming home with the sounds of the week bouncing about the heart, one treasures the realisation that the music with legs, with hips and eyes ain’t dead or gone. It’s just hidden away, diverted from a mainstream that hardly merits that name. I want the real river to come on a my house and yours. Driving through Memphis with GREEN ONIONS on the AM one could drift off thinking the waves were licking the hubcaps. But, pulling past Allen Bradley [a Milwaukee labor landmark], I knew better and didn’t even turn the damn thing on. You know what I mean?