Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Now I'm gonna teach you how the crow flies...

Here's a great song (really two songs) about a jacknife, an ear, a crow, and a red newt:

Michael Hurley, Unholy Moral Rounders, Jeffrey Frederick & The Clamtones – Jacknife/The Red Newt (buy album)

If you like it (or are at least intrigued by it), then you should check out the album from which it comes, called Have Moicy!, by Michael Hurley, Unholy Moral Rounders, Jeffrey Frederick & The Clamtones. This truly brilliant album from 1976 also features the song, Griselda, which was later covered by Yo La Tengo.

Read more about it at The Rising Storm, All Music Guide, and from
Robert Christgau (A+ review).


brendan said...

I've determined a lot of my love for this album comes from my ignorance of Michael Hurley, who is consistently awesome. Have you checked any of his other solo stuff?

But yeah, everywhere you go you'll find somebody saying this is the best record ever. I haven't met an enemy to Slurf Song yet, which was my "song of the summer" last year.

The one you posted here has to be the catchiest.

Paul said...

I haven't checked out his solo stuff, but it's now on my list.

dean said...

So glad you made it over!

Karate Boogaloo said...

Hey...Just left this comment for you over at tumblr:

Hey Paul - This is Tim from the blog Stupefaction (theworldsamess.blogspot.com). I found you here by accident. Anyway, I'm following you and I think you're following me. Welcome!

By the way, in case you haven't figured it out yet, you can feed tumblr from your blog as well as post things here directly. I also feed it from my Google Reader.

Matt.H said...

Great song, love Griselda too though I haven't heard much of the album or any of Micheal Hurley's other solo stuff. Will file it alongside Paul Siebel's Jack-Knife Gypsy in the great songs about Jackknives vault. I look forward to checking 'Have Moicy' out. You may have unearthed another lost classic for us Paul.
The Rising Storm's another great blog by the way.

Paul said...

Thanks Matt!

For the most part, The Rising Storm does the unearthing and I give a hearty "second!"

Hugh Candyside said...

Have Moicy! is one of my desert island disks, and anything by Michael Hurley is worth picking up. Check out http://www.snockonews.net/

Hurley will burn you copies of the out of print stuff for a small fee. I requested Parsnip Snips and just got back a CDR and a nice letter, both hand-written by the man himself.

Thanks for posting this. I love your site.

Paul said...

That is so cool that Hurley will burn copies for you. What a nice guy!

Paul said...

I got a nice e-mail from Roger Straus, which he has graciously allowed me to reprint here:

"Found your blog piece on Jacknife/Red Newt and wanted to let you know more of the story.... Actually, you can find out more at www.jeffreyfrederick.com, the MySpace profile www.myspace.com/jeffreyfrederickandfriends and now a misspelled Facebook page (my finger slipped) Jefffrey Frederick and Friends. The regular website has a lot of info, stories, tunes and etc. There are also some 8 video clips up on YouTube and Myspace.

I ended up marrying his widow, Kathryn Frederick, and now help her with Frederick Productions, the music label she started to make good on her promise to Jeff, as he was dying, to care for his music. He was really a progenitor of alt-country. His Nevada bands came closer to traditional country and honky tonk, when they weren't rocking out. His Portland bands were more alt-country/good-time Americana. The story of Have Moicy is that Robin Remaily (Holy Modal Rounders, author of "Euphoria:" and also "Four In the Morning") set up the gig, dragged Jeff, his Vermont version of the Clamtones, and his lifelong buddy Michael Hurley into the studio, somehow also rounded up Peter Stampfel, who brought Paul Presti from the Unholy Modal Rounders, and there you have it. Based on Have Moicy, Rounder had Jeff record "Spiders In The Moonlight" the following year, did a new Rounders album and put out the first of a series of Michael Hurley lps. They never really promoted "Spiders," which Kathryn finally remastered (the band never liked the sound quality) and put out on CD a couple years ago as "Resurrection of Spiders In The Moonlight" with three cuts from his Nevada band. The Clamtones and Holy Modal Rounders had merged by the time Spiders was recorded -- when Steve Weber (who was not on Have Moicy) fronted, they were the Rounders. When Jeff fronted, they were the Clamtones. This was a larger band -- the live two CD set, "Clamtones B.C." is probably the best sample of what they were like, and has many of the tunes from Have Moicy on it. Later on, by the way, David Allen Coe ripped off "Robbin Banks" and his lawyers ran out the clock on Jeff's lawsuit over that. Jeff's buddies included folks like Willie Nelson and Eric Clapton. Nowadays a number of folk keep Jeff's music alive, ranging from Portland's Freak Mountain Ramblers (all of whom played with Jeff, two were on Have Moicy, in fact) to Ekoostik Hookah, who do a verson of Red Newt.

Anyhow, check out at least the MySpace and Facebook sites to get more of Jeff's tunes and to check out the videos. A good time is guaranteed!"

-Roger Straus

James Woe said...

THanks for the Hurley/umr song..I think Hurley's Snockgrass album is timeless-- you would NEVER guess it was recorded in 1980.

I posted one of the tunes from it over at

feel free to stop by and download.