Not for Nothin’ is some­thin’

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos - Steve Ter­rell

It has been five years since Martí Brom re­leased an al­bum ( Martí Brom Sings Heartache Num­bers). This was about the time she and her fam­ily moved from Austin, Texas, to Washington, D.C. I was wor­ried Brom might have hung it up. So see­ing her new CD, Not for Nothin’, was a true sight for sore eyes — in more ways than one. The art­work, based on old de­tec­tive-story pulp mag­a­zine cov­ers, is one of the sex­i­est al­bum cov­ers I’ve seen lately. Trou­ble ahead, lady in red!

Brom makes sweet, rock­a­billy-in­formed, R & B-in­flu­enced retro coun­try. Her voice has been com­pared to that of Patsy Cline. (Think Cline dur­ing her mid-1950s rock­a­billy flir­ta­tion, such as her tune “Stop, Look and Lis­ten.”) But back dur­ing her teenage years, Brom’s main mu­si­cal turn-on was proto-punker Suzi Qu­a­tro. And one of the first times she played be­fore an au­di­ence was when her hus­band, Bob, a ca­reer Air Force of­fi­cer, con­vinced her to au­di­tion for an of­fi­cers’ wives club mu­si­cal called The 1940s Ra­dio Hour, for which she sang “Blues in the Night.” (An­other cool tid­bit about Brom: she al­legedly named her daugh­ter Ivy, now 20, af­ter The Cramps’ Poi­son Ivy.)

Not for Nothin’ (sub­ti­tled Tales of Ten­sion & Ro­mance) is Brom’s trib­ute to singers, mu­si­cians and song­writ­ers from the Washington, D.C., area. For­tu­nately, none of the songs have any­thing to do with govern­ment or pol­i­tics. And even more for­tu­nately, the al­bum shows Brom in top form, de­spite her five-year ab­sence from record­ing. The first song is a fun lit­tle hopped-up bopper called “Find­ers Keep­ers” by Wynona Carr, a singer best known for her gospel songs though she later turned to R & B. Brom’s high-charged ver­sion is driven by a scream­ing sax. “Mas­cara Tears” is a honkytonk weeper writ­ten by Ar­tie Hill, a fine per­former in his own right. Backed by steel gui­tar and fid­dle, Hill makes it weep. One of the stand­out songs is one made fa­mous by Elvis Pres­ley: “A Fool Such as I.” The song, done here as a coun­try shuf­fle, is a per­fect ve­hi­cle for Brom’s voice. Elvis would be proud.

She teams up with D.C. picker/singer Bill Kirchen on “Sweet Thang.” It’s a de­light, but also seek out the 1967 ver­sion by Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn.

Not For Nothin’ is full of spunk and heartache. It’s great to have Brom back. Check her out at www.mys­pace.com/mar­tirock­a­billy. Also rec­om­mended: ▼ Tex-O-Billy by Suzette & The Neon An­gels. Te­jana al­most be­came a dirty word dur­ing the re­cent gu­ber­na­to­rial cam­paign in New Mex­ico. So maybe I should clar­ify that when Suzette Lawrence sings, “Yo Soy Te­jana (I’m a Texas Girl),” I don’t think her pur­pose is to steal New Mex­ico’s wa­ter from work­ing fam­i­lies. This song is a stomp­ing rocker with some crazy slide and a melody sim­i­lar to Terry Allen’s “Amar­illo High­way.”

Lawrence left Texas for Los An­ge­les in the early 1990s. There she be­came a fix­ture at the Palomino Club and fell in with the “Town South of Bak­ers­field” crowd (her pic­ture ap­pears on the cover of the third vol­ume of the al­bum se­ries of that name) along with the likes of Jim Laud­erdale, Rosie Flores, and James Intveld. Now a Nashville res­i­dent, Lawrence also has roots in rock­a­billy. That’s ob­vi­ous in the open­ing num­ber, “Kitty Cat Scratch,” which also owes a debt to Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever.”

But good bluesy road­house roots-rock is Lawrence’s foun­da­tion. When she sings “Tear Up the Honkytonk,” her fer­vor makes you take the threat se­ri­ously. And when she sings “Go Girl Go,” it’s tempt­ing to shout along with her.

Check out www.mys­pace.com/suzette­andthe­neo­nan­gelsmu­sic.

▼ Eilen Jewell Presents Butcher Holler:

A Trib­ute to Loretta Lynn. Jewell’s voice doesn’t re­ally sound much like Lynn’s blue Ken­tucky drawl. And to her credit, she doesn’t try to im­i­tate Lynn. But like any real coun­try fan, Jewell clearly ad­mires Lynn’s songs. Aided with an able coun­try band and her un­af­fected alto, she does them jus­tice in her own style on this ap­peal­ing trib­ute.

She in­cludes sev­eral of Lynn’s best-known songs: “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man),” “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “Fist City,” and “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” But she also does sev­eral lesser-known gems from the Lynn song­book. There’s the de­fi­antly re­li­gious “Who Says God Is Dead,” as well as the sweet adul­tery odes “A Man I Hardly Know” and “An­other Man Loved Me Last Night.” And I had never heard the orig­i­nal “Deep as Your Pocket,” a song about a gold dig­ger (“Her love for you is as deep as your pocket”).

Lo­cal alert: born in Idaho and now liv­ing in Bos­ton, Jewell, ac­cord­ing to sev­eral sources, lived in Santa Fe around the turn of the most re­cent cen­tury, at­tend­ing St. John’s Col­lege. Ap­par­ently she used to play at the farm­ers mar­ket. I couldn’t find her any­where in The New Mex­i­can’s com­puter archives. Any­one re­mem­ber her? Check out www. eilen­jew­ell.com.

Hear these artists on the ra­dio: I’ve been play­ing mu­sic from these al­bums in re­cent weeks on The Santa Fe Opry, the coun­try mu­sic Nashville does not want you to hear, at 10 p.m. Fri­day on KSFR-FM 101.1. And don’t for­get, you’ll find the finest garage/R & B/surf/soul/psy­che­delic trash and trea­sures on Ter­rell’s Sound World, freeform weirdo ra­dio, same time and same sta­tion on Sun­day. It’s stream­ing and scream­ing on the Web at www.ksfr.org.

A hot pip­ing new Big En­chi­lada: Episode 29 is in the works and should be creep­ing into com­put­ers across the world this week­end. The lat­est episode is called “Psy­chic Flot­sam” and fea­tures songs by The Ding-Dongs, The Tan­doori Knights, The Gories, Nick Cur­ran, The Del Moroc­cos, and many, many more. Hear my fa­vorite mu­sic and maybe even yours on your iPod or right there on your com­puter. Check out my grow­ing list of pod­casts at www.bi­gen­chi­ladapod­cast.com. ◀

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