Sweet Virginia – The Rolling Stones

This is the second Stones tune added to the Bourbon playlists. The first was Dead Flowers, which made the seminal Julep Sessions Volume I playlist. This one is from the only Stones album that I have in my collection, Exile On Mainstreet. I grew up with this band courtesy my older brothers, who passed the decade of the 70’s smoking cigarettes and listening to music – albums –  in our fake-wood paneled shag-rugged 70’s era-basement.  I was not really part of the basement club, being a bit young to smoke in public, but did get a good appreciation for the music of the era as it bust through the walls of our P.A. Saskatchewan home. The Stones were on frequent rotation during that era.

This is my favorite song from Exile – a lyrical swinging alcohol-laced bourbon-fist in the solar-whatsis…

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Crazy Rhythm – Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson

Adding a few tunes to the Bourbon list tonight based on a fantastic random set spun out of the bourbon wheel. This piece is just thrilling jazz from Mssrs. Getz and Johnson. Dig this crazy rhythm cool people, while you dance a jigger in ice and bourbon….

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Koko Taylor – Gonna Buy Me a Mule

Adding Koko Taylor to the Bourbon list tonight. Fantastic song. Swirling with character, smoky authenticity, and hilarious proto-feminist in-your-face blues lyrics, this is a winner even before the protagonist decides she’s gonna replace her useless man with a mule.

Seriously folks, pour yourself a double and check this out…

 

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Hip Hug-Her

Adding this one to the bourbon list – crazy that it hasn’t yet appeared. Connection to bourbon? Well, for starters, the bourbon genre simply loves a good instrumental (and if you look at the various cd’s we’ve put together, this fact will be borne out). Not just any type of instrumental mind you, but something that pertains to the genre, like a good bluegrass tilt, or a jazz piece, or something with a disarmingly cool sounding hammond organ pushing you down the street, as is the case here.

The best bourbon reason for putting this on the current list is that it is the opening song in the movie Barfly. As my moniker on this site suggests, I’m kinda invested in that one.

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Hyporheic

This term refers to a region beneath and alongside a stream bed, where there is mixing of shallow groundwater and surface water. The flow dynamics and behavior in this zone (hyporheic flow or underflow) is recognized to be important for surface water/ groundwater interactions, as well as fish spawning, among other processes.

The assemblage of organisms which inhabits this zone are called hyporheos.

The context of this term is the reconstruction of a streambed where extreme erosion has taken place and there is some concern about where and how the water will flow, both to ensure the production of benthic invertebrates, and to keep everything stable so there is no repetitive mass wasting in the watershed.

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Grilled Eggplant Quinoa Greek Salad

We’ve made this a few times, trying to up the ante on a summer Greek salad. This time was a winner with a mix of grilled and fresh veggies mixed with Quinoa and a light lemony, fresh herb dressing… Fear not, there’s still room for grilled peaches and ice cream for dessert!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 bell peppers (orange, red, yellow) grilled and chopped
  • 2 eggplants, sliced long and grilled, then chopped
  • 2 red onions, cut in wedges and grilled on skewers
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered and chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1 cup feta cheese

Dressing

  • lemon, squeezed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint and oregano

Cook quinoa ahead of time.

Brush vegetable grill ingredients with oil and grill. Chop and mix with fresh ingredients. mix in quinoa and dressing. Serve.

 

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Grilled Potato Salad

This potato salad is not the one you’ll remember from your childhood family picnic gatherings. There’s no mayo, mustard, or hard boiled eggs. The addition of a vinaigrette dressing, oranges and arugula dramatically alters the usual potato salad experience, creating a delightful refreshing accompaniment to any barbeque meal.

Serves 4. Thanks to Rachael Ray for this recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend (2 palmfuls), such as McCormick brand Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves (3 sprigs), stripped and chopped
  • 2 navel oranges, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 cups arugula (2 bunches), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

PREPARATION

Pre-heat a barbecue or grill pan to medium-high heat.

Place the potatoes in large bowl and toss with about 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons grill seasoning and the rosemary. Grill the potatoes on a barbecue or grill pan for 4-5 minutes on each side.

While the potatoes are cooking, combine the oranges and red onion and dress with red wine vinegar and some olive oil.

Remove the potatoes from the grill or grill pan to the dressed oranges and onions and toss to coat. When you grill the potatoes, they will be slightly drier than when you use other methods of cooking. By adding the potatoes to the dressing while they are hot, they really will soak in the dressing.

When you are ready to serve, add the arugula to the potatoes and toss to distribute.

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Beanhole Beans

This is the granddaddy of all baked beans recipes: made from scratch, in a Dutch Oven and smoked on the grill. It’s a basis in reality for all family gatherings, be they seasonal celebrations, weddings, or funerals.

Advance preparation:
Soak the beans overnight before you plan to cook.

Ingredients:
1 lb dried navy beans
10 slices thick sliced bacon
1 lg onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Tabasco
2 tsp liquid smoke
Coarse salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup beer

Equipment:
1 dutch oven (cast iron /ceramic pot)
1 1/2 cups wood chips or chunks soaked in water for 1 hr to cover, then drained.

Spread the beans out on a rimmed baking sheet and pick through them discarding any foreign matter such as pebbles or twigs. Place beans in a colander and rinse under cold water; then place in a large pot and add water to cover by 4 inches. Let the beans soak for at least 4 hrs or as long as overnight.

Drain the soaked beans in a colander and place them back in the pot. Add water to cover by 4 inches and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface, then reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot. Let the beans simmer until they are tender, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hrs. When done, you should be able to crush a bean easily between your thumb and forefinger. Drain the beans well, reserving 2 cups of the bean-cooking liquid.

Place the drained beans in a large bowl. Stir in the bacon slivers, onion, bell pepper, garlic, molasses, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard,Tabascosauce, liquid smoke, if using, and cloves. Taste for seasoning, adding more brown sugar and/or mustard as necessary and salt and pepper to taste; the beans should be highly seasoned. Add the beer and enough bean-cooking liquid to cover the beans by 1 inch.  Drink the rest of the beer. Place 3 of the whole bacon slices on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Spoon in the beans and arrange the remaining 3 bacon slices over the top. Cover the pot.

Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium low.

When ready to cook, place the Dutch oven in the centre of the hot grate, away from the heat, and cover the grill. Cook beans for 1 hour.

Uncover the pot and check to see that the beans are not starting to dry out. If they are, add some of the bean-cooking liquid. Leave the beans uncovered. If using a charcoal grill, toss all of the wood chips or chunks on the coals and cover the grill. If using a gas grill, toss all of the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box and run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium and cover the grill. Continue cooking the beans until the juices are thick and the beans are very tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour or longer. When the beans are done, they’ll be soft, sweet, dark, rich and moist, but not soupy.

Adapted from Steven Raichlen’s BBQ USA. April 2003. Workman Publishing. New York. 

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Avett Brothers – Live at the Orpheum

We took in the Avett Brothers last night at the fabulous Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, part of the 2012 Vancouver Jazz Festival. What the hell the Avett Brothers have to do with  jazz I’ll never know, but that’s not a question i really need to consider.

We have one Avett Bros album, the 2009 smash I and Love and You, which we have on frequent rotation. What I like about the album is the highs it hits, harmonic, structured, roots rock and roll sung with sincerity and passion. They come off as a young band with a tremendous up-side. Think of John and Paul in the early days and I don’t think you’ll be too far off. They have that kind of potential.

Live, they were a bit of a gong-show. It was like seeing some epic hair band sing classic rock except they played it straight and true with acoustic instruments and clear links to the American tradition. The boys, Scott and Seth, attempted to light the stage on fire and pretty much succeeded, especially Scott, who ran about the stage like a madman, thrashing the banjo, exhorting the crowd (I’m sure he was head cheerleader in high school) to clap hard and sing loud, and singing his damn heart out as loud as he could. Seth played the role of the quiet and contemplative younger sibling, the one with the high range voice, but he too had his turn in the spot-light and didn’t disappoint.

There were some serious highlights here. First, though I don’t know their full playlist, they opened with a thunderclap and the crowd, seated per ticket in designated spot, surged forward to the front and generally rendered the concert a free-form affair. Good for them – it cleared a couple of rows in front of me and made the concert that much more enjoyable.  We did have to stand up to see anything at that point but I’m never going to complain about that, especially at a rock show.

The highlights for me were mostly from the I and Love and You album. Although I don’t know their full repertoire it seemed to me that the song-writing was generally stronger on the later album. I don’t put this on familiarity as I generally have an open mind about these sorts of things.

After kicking the stops out from the get-go, and leading us through a good 45 minute workout with their cellist, stand up bass man, and drummer accompanying the acoustic sound-scape, the lads did some songs as an acoustic duet, and these were, for me, the real highlight of the evening. In particular, Ten Thousand Words, already an amazing song, took on a very personal aspect when the brothers sang it in harmony. They really have something special going on.

I had a great time at this concert, but there were a few caveats. This is a personal thing, but I typically despise sing-alongs. I know it’s a strong temptation for the artist(s) to try and involve the audience to make the show more personal and special. I say play your heart out and let the audience determine the level of participation. For god’s sake, don’t pump your fist and tell me to clap man. Play your song and let me decide.

That’s me, and it’s a small point. The Avett Brothers in concert were much as I expected, having lived with their album for a year or so: young, passionate, prone to hyperbole, awesome, and a study in greatness at the beginning. I am interested in seeing where these boys take their stuff because I think they have the potential to do something big, in the popular space, something worthy of my time and also something that will resonate in a wider sphere.

What I’m saying is that I believe they could become a pop-music institution, if the trajectory follows its current arc.

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Weary Blues From Waiting – Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter

Well, there’s a band that’s got the right handle for a death list – Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. The song I’m adding tonight comes from a Wanda Jackson tribute album put out a few years ago by Bloodshot Records (I have got so much great music from this label over the years) entitled Hard Headed Woman.

I can’t find a youtube link for it at the moment but I’ll try and add a clip here at some point (or break all kinds of copyright law and stream  a copy until I get a cease and desist).

We don’t have a lot of history with Jesse Sykes and her sweet dead band, although we did see them live at the No Depression festival in Mary Moore Park in Seattle some year or two ago, so there’s that. This song spooled by tonight and I thought that even Hank Williams himself might consider this the best version of his own Weary Blues. I certainly do.

This one I dedicate to my children, Erin and Carly, whom I love.

Weary blues from waiting,
Lord, I’ve been waitin’ so long
These blues have got me cryin’
Oh, sweet daddy please come home

Hank Williams, Weary Blues From Waiting

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