Come and Take It!

I travelled to Texas Revolutionary sites this week. In Gonzales, Texas, home of the “Come and Take It” cannon, the Guadalupe River meets the San Marcos River and here is where Mexican soldados met Texan settlers for the first significant fight in the Texian War for Independence. In 1835 the Mexican authorities came to the tiny settlement to reclaim the cannon that had been left to defend the village from Indian attacks. The Texians refused to be left defenseless and determined not to hand over the cannon. The conflict over the cannon eventually forced a violent confrontation between the armed Anglos and the Mexican army. The recalcitrant Texan rebels taunted the Mexican soldados to “Come and Take it.” The Texans repulsed the Mexican assault and  forced the soldados to retreat. Perhaps the moral of the story is don’t try to take a Texan’s gun away–just try to “Come and Take It.” But more likely the story is about natural resources, geography, and environment. Here at Gonzales, Texas two beautiful spring fed rivers come together cooling the hot dry land and giving life to South Texas. And this is where the two opposing forces of colonialism met on the banks of the cold clear river. Texans hungry for land had settled at a veritable oasis in South Texas and the Mexican authorities were not willing to give up that land to the Anglos.

One of my favorite albums about Texas revolutionary history is Asleep at the Wheel’s Asleep At The Wheel Remembers The Alamo. The Wheel even plays the hauntingly beautiful tune of “Deguello,” which is the song General Santa Ana played to indicate no quarter to the Alamo renegades.

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Come and Take It!

Top 15 Albums for May 2009!!!

May 2009

  1. Neil Young – Fork In The Road [Reprise 2009]
  2. Ziggy MarleyFamily Time [Tuff Gong 2009]
  3. Julian MarleyAwake [Tuff Gong 2009]
  4. Steve Earle Townes [New West 2009]
  5. Queen IfricaMontego Bay [VP Records 2009]
  6. The Decemberists The Hazards of Love [Capitol 2009]  
  7. Vybz Kartel Most Wanted [Greensleeves 2009]
  8. BushmanMost Wanted [Greensleeves 2009]
  9. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs La Luz del Ritmo [Nacional 2009]
  10. GomezA New Tide [Ato Records 2009]
  11. YTBorn Inna Babylon [Sativa 2009]
  12. Booker TPotato Hole [Anti 2009]
  13. Steve Winwood and Eric ClaptonLive from Madison Square Garden [Reprise 2009]
  14. UGKUGK 4 Life [Zomba 2009]
  15. The Flatlanders Hills & Valleys (Dig) [New West 2009]

Neil Young’s Fork In The Road pays tribute to cars and praises the new advancements in green car technology. It seems Young was so inspired by Wichita mechanic Jonathan Goodwin’s work on Young’s Lincoln that he wrote some wonderful songs about it. Goodwin converted Young’s 1959 Lincoln Continental adding battery power, biodiesel, and old jet engines in a fashion that increased gas mileage to 100 mpg and at the same time doubled the horsepower from 300 to 600. This album is timely, deep, and insightful. Neil Young continues as a cutting edge songwriter.

Ziggy Marley’s Family Time brings together some great artists making fun reggae sounds for the entire family. Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Toots Hibbert, and others lend their voices to the great tracks. Willie Nelson and Ziggy Marley rework the spiritual “This Train (feat. Willie Nelson)” while Ziggy and Toots Hibbert sing “Take Me To Jamaica (feat. Toots Hibbert).”

The Marley Brothers have been prolific and Julian “JuJu” Marley’s new album Awake displays the excellent quality reggae being produced by Bob’s progeny. “Violence In The Streets” with brother Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley packs a political message inside a driving riddim. “Boom Draw” celebrates the “healing of the nation” that grew on King Solomon’s grave. The tracks “Things Ain’t Cool,” “Awake,” and “On The Floor” rock and “A Little Too Late” with brother Stephen “Ragamuffin” Marley is pure melodic funky reggae.

Queen Ifrica’s Montego Bays caprtures the best of female roots reggae from Jamaica. “Keep It To Yourself” is a lesson in good vibes and “Daddy” is an interesting raw social commentary.

Top 15 Albums for May 2009!!!

BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL 2009

This year’s Bonnaroo Music Festival offered a fine mix of music from bluegrass to reggae to indie rock and jam bands to afro-pop and electronica music. The reggae musicians included Midnite, the Itals, and the Wailing Souls. I unfortunately missed Midnite on Thursday but I got to see amazing sets from the Itals and Wailing Souls. The Itals played roots reggae including songs like “In a Dis Ya Time.” And they played new cuts from the upcoming album Let Them Talk. The Wailing Souls played Saturday and dropped roots reggae classics like “Shark Attack ” alongside reggae covers of the Doors song “Love Her Madly” and the Grateful Dead classic “Casey Jones.” The Wailing Souls also played “War Down at the Pawn Shop” a track written by Sublime headman Bradley Nowell.

Phish played two shows. The first show on Friday night rocked with originals like “You Enjoy Myself” “Wolfman’s Brother,” “Wading In The Velvet Sea,” and “Chalk Dust Torture” and a cover of AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell.” For an encore Phish covered the Beatles‘ “A Day in the Life.” The second show on Sunday night included a guest appearance by the Boss–Bruce Springsteen. The Boss and Phish played a brilliant extended version of “Mustang Sally.” Trey Anastasio and the Boss traded and then dueled guitar solos. It was an amazing show with a jammed out version of “Glory Days.”

Bruce Springsteen played his three hour show on Saturday Night with the amazing E-Street Band, which included Max Weinberg on drums. “Outlaw Pete,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and “Devils & Dust” among other favorites kept the crowd on its feet. The Boss is quite a performer and storyteller.

The Beastie Boys played an amazing and energetic set with favorites like “So What’Cha Want [Explicit],” “Sabotage,” “Shake Your Rump,” “Paul Revere,” and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” on the set list alongside punk rock favorites “Gratitude [Explicit],” “Tough Guy,” “Egg Raid On Mojo [Explicit],” and “Heart Attack Man.” Instrumental Jams like “Sabrosa” laced the Hip Hop and Punk Rock tracks. The Beastie’s DJ Mixmaster Mike is more than a DJ. The man is an exquisite turntablist and musician. MCA, Mike D, and AD Rock still have it going on after all these years. Also rapper NAS performed with the Beastie Boys on a track coming soon on the new Beastie album.

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Santagold, Girl Talk, Brett Dennen, Amadou & Mariom, Booker T with the Drive-By Truckers, Gov’t Mule, Merle Haggard, the Decemberists, and Snoop Dogg all played notable sets. I caught Booker T and the DBTs (Drive By Truckers) playing “Green Onions” and Merle Haggard covering Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Jackson.” The Hag played his own hits too, singing “Mama Tried,” “Working Man Blues,” “That’s The Way Love Goes,” and “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.”

Immediately after seeing Merle Haggard’s set I trucked to the main “What Stage” to see Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound. Snoop strolled through hits “Gin And Juice,” “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?,” “Ain’t No Fun.” The LBC rappers paid tribute to 2pac with “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” Snoop can still move the crowd. He even transitioned into Jamaican patois at one point sounding pretty good as a potential dancehall artist. Snoop needs to do a reggae album.  Merle Haggard and Snoop opening for Phish Sunday night seemed a perfect way to end this diverse mix of music.



BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL 2009