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At the end of O Brother, Where Art Thou? the beloved protagonists are faced with quite a dilemma: let the lawman get to hangin’ or take a quick bum rush for a hopefully painless suicide-by-cop. You never expect what’s coming.

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You’re goddamn right, a flood right out of nowhere! Not the kind that ruins cities and drowns old women but the kind that rescues a lovable group of good-natured convicts from certain death! It’s also the kind of flood that was built right here in America by God-fearing Americans. Yep, that’s right…this flood was brought to you by the electric hands of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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Let me step back here for a minute. You see, back during the 30’s when this movie takes place we in America had this thing called a Depression. That means nobody had  good-paying job with which to raise a family. Many men, like Ulysses, Delmar, and Pete, turned to crime just to make ends meet. And then there were those who joined government-sponsored work programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority–or TVA for short.

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The role of the TVA was to develop the rural areas of Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, North Carolina, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Georgia. This was a good thing for most of men from this area, as they were either flat broke or skimming by on profits from a measly moonshine operation. Of course, this is a blatantly stereotypical generalization of a proud and diverse people. However, it is also true.

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Moonshine still in Knox County, Tennessee. Photographed by TVA in 1936 as part of its Fort Loudoun Dam surveys. See, I told you so.

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In any case, almost all of the hydroelectric dams that are still operating in the area were built or planned during the period of the late 30’s by the TVA. This construction program, which was government-funded, was a big reason that thousands Appalachian people didn’t starve during those trying times. It also still powers the Daytona 500 into the living rooms and outhouses of millions of hillbillies.

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Boy, oh boy, it's a boy.

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Today Americans are faced with a similar situation of those folks in the Great Depression. We have millions of able-bodied men and women who are receiving unemployment support from the federal and state governments. Without this help many would be forced out onto the streets, where they very well might end up like Ulysses, Delmar, and Pete–hunting for a hidden treasure that simply doesn’t exist.

But the big difference today is that these men and women on unemployment aren’t expected to offer anything in return. They don’t build dams, don’t blaze concrete trails through inhospitable lands, and last time I went camping I didn’t see anybody planting trees.

I’m all for helping people get on their feet during times of need. It’s an American responsibility to take care of other tax-paying, anthem singing ‘Mericans. But I also feel that the folks on unemployment should give something back to the community that’s paying their mortgage.

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So down what avenues of the public sector can we send these brave men and women. Let’s not set them to building environmentally harmful hydroelectric dams. It seems there are plenty of roads already built throughout this Great Nation, many of which I haven’t even driven on. And last time I went camping it seemed there were just about the amount of trees, give or take.

Here’s what I propose: enlist these fine people as a sort of police for modern social tact. We’ll call them the Silicone Valley Authority, simply because it works for the intents and purposes of this blog. Here’s a list of the SVA’s 10 most pressing duties.

Duty 1) Patrol vigilantly for people listening to standup comedy on their iPod. Arrest at sight.

Seriously, I hate the way you laugh.

Duty 2) Prevent everyone from posting cool videos on Facebook before I do.

At least give me a chance, jerk.

Duty 3) Discourage, violently, all German tourists from flaunting their good times on our weak American dollar.

Hey Hans, those glasses don’t look smart at all.

4) Commandeer and destroy any iPad that is operated by a user who is in motion under his or her own power.

If you don’t get off the sidewalk I will smack that thing right out of your hand.

5) Ban Twitter

I’m not going to lie, I still don’t get it.

6) Execute a successful viral marketing campaign to make old flip phones cool again.

My cell is so vintage.

7) End self-satisfying, rambling blog posts that have absolutely nothing to do with the post’s original subject matter.

Fine, be that way.

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Click here to download the 10-year anniversary clear vinyl-to-MP3

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From the album cover:

Out of the blue of the western sky…comes SKY KING!

That’s the way it all started back in the late 1930s.

For more than 30 years Sky King was to be America’s flying cowboy, proving week after week, on radio and television, that law and order always wins out over bad and evil.

Sky King was introduced to the American public in the 1940s as a radio series. Young people and their older brothers and sisters and mothers and dads gathered around the radio set to listen to Sky and the familiar hum of his aircraft, The Songbird.

From the Flying Crown Ranch, Sky, his niece Penny and nephew Clipper flew the skies and rode the trails, chasing an assortment of kidnappers, bank robbers and other assorted criminals.

The series moved to television in 1952, with Derby Foods syndicating Sky King in various markets. Nabisco bought the show in 1955 and moved it to the CBS network, where it maintained a spot at the top of the ratings for children’s shows through 1967, when Sky King retired from the airways.

Sky King is currently being syndicated through television stations across the nation and to worldwide outlets with programming beginning in the fall of 1975. A new color television series is also on the drawing boards, along with a brand-new radio series that will soon be heard once again. Sky King has been America’s most popular and famous Flying Cowboy.

These recordings include the original advertisements for Peter Pan Peanut Butter, who was the sponsor for the radio program. Apparently Peter Pan Peanut Butter is guaranteed to make you an all-around kickass kid with huge muscles and killer clout. I’m fairly certain these spots were originally written as menthol cigarette ads. When you listen, consciously insert “Camel Menthol 100’s” in place of “Peter Pan Peanut Butter”…it’s beautiful. And makes you want a peanut butter & tobacco sandwich.

Check out these ads from the 50s. I particularly like how the second one extols the healthy benefits of delicious egg nog.

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Click to download MP3 adventures of the machine gun-toting Sky King

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Bonus! I love the mysterious love note on the album sleeve from SilverFox to SkyQueen

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Adorable

Indian Love Call, vinyl, record, mp3, 320 kbps

Hey there partner, click here for a random Rebuilt Tranny album!

*download below*

I wish more than anything that Slim Whitman was my grandpa. His mustache, while somewhat sinister to the untrained eye, would have been a constant source of comfort. The scent of sun-heated Brylcreem would evoke memories of neighborhood baseball games. The feel of rough nylon garnering flashbacks of sweet Slim hugs.

Imagine a visit to Grandpa Slim’s house, if you will. You’re 7-years-old and visiting Grandpa Slim’s plantation house during an early summer in rural northern Florida, just far enough from the swamps and their pesky mosquitos but still clear from the ruckus of the interstate. It’s been a while since you’ve seen Grandpa because he’s been on an extended tour in England. They love him in England, almost as much as you do. Your ma says that’s where the Queen lives in her castle.

The morning starts with Grandpa Slim gently waking you by softly yodeling the intro to “Indian Love Call”. Him and Gramawmaw Rose Marie always refer to you as their little Geronimo, their little blue-eyed chief. Your room at the plantation is set up with cowboy and indian wallpaper, leather-tinted shag carpet, and a bunk bed that’s built to look like a trail-tested Conestoga wagon. The closet if full of white jeans and heavily embroidered, pearl-buttoned shirts.

The day starts as any other day would with Grandpa and Gramawmaw. Honey-cured bacon, jumbo eggs sunnyside up, buttermilk biscuits, grits with salted butter n’ sugar, white toast with blackberry jam, and buckwheat pancakes with pecan maple syrup that’s all washed down with a big, cold glass of whole milk. A growing boy needs a hearty breakfast to see him through a big day and there aren’t many days bigger than Founder’s Day. You’re gonna need energy if you’re going to win the potato sack race this year.

Grandpa Slim opens the Founder’s Day celebration with the most heavenly rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” the South’s ever heard. Even the town’s general store owner and self-proclaimed Jefferson Davis historian Jacob Pearson was seen wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. Yes, this year’s festivities are just going to be magical. You can just feel it.

As with every year the day starts out with the Daughters Of The Confederacy’s Annual Swamp Sunflower Pageant. There’s no prizes or ribbons given for the most beautiful Swamp Sunflower because competition is unbecoming of a southern belle.  However, Gramawmaw Rose Marie assures you that if there did happen to be a judge on hand her batch of swamp sunflowers would give Miss Annabelle Johnson’s wilted abominations a thorough shellacking.

Pageant is followed shortly by Troop 334’s Soapbox Derby Race down Cutler Hill. You watch on with cripping jealousy as the older kids race at breakneck speeds down the county’s biggest incline. A boy from Grant Intermediate wins first place and you watch with hungry eyes as he’s presented with a trophy that’s almost as tall as you. Grandpa Slim musses your hair and gives you a wink. “Don’t worry, Geronimo. That’ll be you before you know it, as sure as I’m standing here. Your grandpa’s got some old racing tricks up his sleeve. Yes sir, some real whoppers.”

The hole left in your gut from watching some punk kid take your rightful trophy is soon filled by lunchtime’s smorgasbord of Southern cuisine. Hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, brisket, fried chicken, and bar-b-que ribs serve as the stage up on which corned pudding, oyster stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato souffle, and coleslaw dance into your quickly ballooning belly. Just as your intestines are about to bust a seam, Gramawmaw Rose Marie sets a heaping plate of banana fosters and apple pie in front of your widening eyes. These delicacies soon disappear down a baby-tooth lined hatch, followed shortly tidal wave of Royal Crown Cola.

After lunch you listen to a little guitar strumming, courtesy of Grandpa Slim. “It aids with the digestives,” he says. Grandpa Slim lays down a  hoppin’ little diddy, left-handed on his six-string acoustic. The missing fingers on his left hand, the fingers that  (according to your Uncle Billy) got cut off turning a steer into a cheeseburger, always freak you out a little bit, but in a good way way. He’s like Frankenstein a little bit and Frankenstein’s pretty cool.

A little digestion is just what you needed because, after all, who wants to run in the Founder’s Day potato sack race with a full tummy? Last year’s second place finish was truly heartbreaking because that cheater Jimmy Willard used a Yukon Gold potato sack. Rules state only Idaho potato bags are allowed in the competition, everyone knows that. But when you cried foul Jimmy had already switched out bags. You don’t know how he did it without the judges seeing but he did. The sly little grin he poured down on you from from his advantageous position on the podium will be forever burned in your memory.

This year, though, Jimmy won’t be a problem because Jimmy’s dead. He took an unfortunate fall off of the big slide down at Seminole Park at the end of last summer. Only thing is, nobody knows Jimmy took that spill, nobody except you and Grandpa Slim. After you pushed him as he summited the slide’s last step, something you did with that sly little grin blinding your better judgment, Grandpa Slim had been there to clean up the mess.

With the same shovel he used to dig the concrete foundation for your basketball hoop, Grandpa Slim to buried Jiimmy Willard beneath the big oak that supports your treehouse. It’s Grandpa Slim’s and your little secret. Now, every time you go out to play secret agent in the treehouse you say you’re “going out to play with Jimmy,” and you and Grandpa Slim always have a good laugh.

With Jimmy now feeding that big oak you’re sure to win the potato sack race. Cheaters never really win, Grandpa Slim always says.

He really is the best Grandpa in the whole wide world!

>>>Click here to download Grandpa Slim’s Very Best

Tracklist

A1 Indian Love Call
A2 Ramblin’ Rose
A3 My Happiness
A4 Room Full Of Roses
A5 Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain
A6 When My Blue Moon Turns Gold Again
A7 Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
A8 There Goes My Everything
A9 My Heart Cries For You
A10 Let Me Call You Sweetheart
B1 Rose Marie
B2 Vaya Con Dios
B3 Roses Are Red
B4 Somewhere My Love
B5 I Love You Because
B6 Una Paloma Blanca
B7 I Can’t Stop Loving You
B8 Sail Along Silvery Moon
B9 You Belong To My Heart
B10 Red River Valley

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If you’ve been watching any local television lately you’ve probably noticed a terrible wave of slime and filth creeping into the commercial breaks. Tis the season, once again, for political attack campaigns! From now until November you get to hear all sorts of bogus statistics from bogus reports by bogus Committees or Bureaus or Centers for Goobernatorial research on Back Alley Hand Job Growth.

You’ll also have to bear witness to unflattering photos of a candidate’s opposition, preferably when the (Nancy Pelosi-worshipper/John Boehner-stroker) is eating, sneezing or squeezing out yesterday’s Pickle Loaf and Pepper Jack on Pumpernickel.

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There will also be pics of confused and shriveled seniors who were duped by Washington Fat Cats into paying a penny-out-of-pocket for a Hoveround.

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There will be handshaking. Oh God, will there ever be handshaking. 

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Pleased to meet you!

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Candidates will be seen smiling, with sleeves rolled up, while rubbing elbows with factory workers to feign giving two shits about the working man. And, in some instances, those factory workers will be tragically topless.
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There will be bullshit. Heaping helpings dumped on our heads from the left and the right. And before we know it we’ll all be drowning…and buddy, your vote ain’t no life raft.

So, if you’re fed up with all of the terrible, frothing political crap spewing from your television, apply a few drops of this salve directly to your ear drums. It comes in the form of common sense wisdom, poems, and jokes delivered in Southern drawl by former North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin.

If you’ve never heard of Senator Sam let me give you a real quick tutorial. He was instrumental in heading the committees that exposed the illegal and unethical practices of the two biggest dickheads in 20th Century American Politics: Senator Joe McCarthy, Founder of McCarthyism and the Red Scare, and Richard Nixon, Dickhead Numero Uno.

And, as a “Country Lawyer”, as he liked to call himself, he loved telling a story or two about good old Southern moonshine. Here’s a short one from the album.

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But he also liked to stay hip with the times. Here we find him reciting the lyrics to Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” after giving a little prologue about what friendship is all about.

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I invite you to download this album, pour yourself a stiff glass of Old Weller 107 Bourbon, and relax as you absorb a little southern comfort from good ol’ Senator Sam.

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>>>Click here to download Senator Sam At Home to MP3

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A1 Zeke And The Snake 1:40
A2 Friendship 1:50
A3 Bridge Over Troubled Water 2:32
  Written-By – Paul Simon
A4 The Fault Of Conformity 1:50
A5 Southern Heroes (“Defeat May Serve”) 1:50
  Written-By – Edwin Markham
A6 If 1:50
  Written-By – Rudyard Kipling
Medley
A7.1 Grow Tall, My Son 1:23
  Words By – Loonis McGlohon
A7.2 Through The Years
  Music By – Al Ham
A8 Cousin Sue And The U.D.C. 1:23
A9 The First Amendement 1:05
A10 John And Mandy And The Strikin’ Clock 2:53
A11 Myself 0:33
  Written-By – Edgar A. Guest*
A12 Philosophy Of Life 2:02
B1 The Hymn Book And Link Shaw’s Singin’ 2:06
B2 The Old Rugged Cross 3:45
  Arranged By – Al Ham
Written-By – George Bennard
B3 Thoughts On Religion (“More Faith In Honest Doubt”) 2:18
  Written-By – Alfred Lord Tennyson
B4.1 If I Had A Hammer 1:45
  Written-By – Lee Hays , Pete Seeger
B4.2 America The Beautiful
  Arranged By – Al Ham
B5 Comments: Elbert Hubbard, W. C. Fields, Josh Billings 0:47
B6 General Jim Leach And The Mount Vernon Hotel 3:10
B7 Country Ham 0:10
B8 Jus’ Right Likker 0:34
B9 The Greatest Hunger Of The Human Heart 2:56
B10 Thoughts On Shakespeare 0:30
B11 Joshua 1:34
B12 The Drunk Driver 1:04
B13 God Give Us Men 1:20
  Written-By – Josiah Gilbert Holland
B14 The Last Verse Of Our National Anthem 1:25

How many times have heard someone say,”Man, I would give anything to have been at so and so’s show show show.” Whether it’s some affluent hippy acquaintance willing to trade her Saab convertible for a few hours of muddy sex at Woodstock, your stoner buddy who would give his left nut to see Led Zeppelin in ’73 at Madison Square Gardens, or that one redheaded raver who’d gladly administer a beej to see Danny Tenaglia in Ibiza during the ecstasy revolution. Everyone has that one show they’d kill to have seen.

Well, this is one of those shows. Mr. Cash, The Man In Black, rable-rousing for a crowd of petty thieves, con men and murderers. What would it have been worth to peep this show? Would it have been worth a day behind bars in Folsom Prison? A month? A year? A spot on death row only to be pardoned by the Governor at the very last second? Well, take a read of Johnny Boy’s words here and have a good old think over it.

Folsom Prison Blues

The culture of a thousand years is shattered with the clanging of the cell door behind you.  Life outside, behind you immediately becomes unreal.  You begin not care that it exists.  All you have with you in the cell is your bare animal instincts.

I speak partly from experience.  I have been behind bars a few times.  Sometimes of my own volition sometimes involuntarily.  Each time, I felt the same feeling of kinship with my fellow prisoners

Behind the bars, locked out from “society.”  You’re being re-habilitated, corrected, re-briefed, re-educated on life itself, without you having the opportunity of really reliving it.  You’re the object of a widely planned program combining isolation, punishment taming, briefing, etc., designed to make you sorry for your mistakes, to re-enlighten you on what you should and shouldn’t do outside, so that when you’re released, if you ever are, you can come out clean, to a world that’s supposed to welcome you and forgive you.

Can it work???   “Hell NO.”  you say.  How could this torment possibly do anybody any good…..But them! Why else are you locked in?

You sit on your cold, steel mattressless bunk and watch a cock roach crawl out from under the filthy commode, and you don’t kill it.  You envy the roach as you watch it crawl out under the cell door.

Down the cell block you hear a steel door open, then close. Like every other man that hears it, your first unconscious thought reaction is that it’s someone coming to let you out, but you know it isn’t.

You count the steel bars on the door so many times that you hate yourself for it.  Your big accomplishment for the day is a mathematical deduction.  You are positive of this, and only this:  There are nine vertical, and sixteen horizontal bars on your door.

Down the hall another door opens and closes, then a guard walks by without looking at you, and on out another door.

“The son of a ….”

You’d like to say that you are waiting for something, but nothing ever happens.  There is nothing to look forward to.

You make friends in the prison.  You become one in a “clique,” whose purpose is nothing.  Nobody is richer or poorer than the other.  The only way wealth is measured is by the amount of tobacco a man has, or “Duffy’s Hay” as tobacco is called.

All of you have had the same things snuffed out of your lives.  Every thing it seems that makes a man a man.  Women, money, a family, a job, the open road, the city, the country, ambition, power, success, failure – a million things.

Outside your cellblock is a wall.  Outside that wall is another wa.  It’s twenty feet high, and it’s granite blocks go down another eight feet in the ground.  You know you’re here to stay, and for some reason you’d like to stay a live.- and not rot.

So, for the fourth time I have done so in California, I brought my sh to Folsom.  Prisoners are the greatest audience that an entertainer can perform for.  We bring them a ray of sunshine in their dungeon and they’re not ashamed to respond, and show their appreciation.- And after six years of talking and finally found the man who would listen at Columbia Records.  Bob Johnston believed me when i told him that a prison would be the place to record an album live.

Here’s the proof.  Listen closely to this album and you hear in the background the clanging of the doors, the shrill of the whistle, the shout of the men…even laughter from men who had forgotten how to laugh.

But mostly you’ll feel the electricity, and hear the single pulsation of two thousand heart beats in men who have their hearts torn out, as well as their minds, their nervous systems, and their souls.

Hear the sounds of the men, the convicts all brothers of mine with the Folsom Prison Blues.

– Johnny Cash

>>>Click here to download Mr. Cash at Folsom Prison in 320 kbps MP3

Tracklist

A1 Folsom Prison Blues
A2 Dark As The Dungeon
Written-By – M. Travis*
A3 I Still Miss Someone
Written By – -J. Cash – R. Cash, Jr.-
Written-By – R. Cash, Jr.*
A4 Cocaine Blues
Written-By – T. J. Arnall*
A5 25 Minutes To Go
Written-By – S. Silverstein*
A6 Orange Blossom Special
Written-By – E. T. Rouse*
A7 The Long Black Veil
Written By – -M. Wilkin D. Danny-
Written-By – D. Danny* , M. Wilkin*
B1 Send A Picture Of Mother
B2 The Wall
Written-By – H. Howard*
B3 Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog
Written-By – J. H. Clement*
B4 Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart
Written-By – J. Clement*
B5 Jackson
Vocals [With] – June Carter
Written By – -G. Rodgers – B. Wheeler-
Written-By – B. Wheeler* , G. Rodgers*
B6 Give My Love To Rose
Vocals [With] – June Carter
B7 I Got Stripes
Written By – -C. Williams – J. Cash-
Written-By – C. Williams*
B8 Green, Green Grass Of Home
Written-By – C. Putnam*
B9 Greystone Chapel
Written-By – G. Shirley*