Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29, 2013 Playlist

Tune in to Dirty Roots Radio every Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. (central) at

Buddy Guy – When My Left Eye Jumps
Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost – Dana Dew
The Dictators – California Sun
The Bobby Fuller Four – I Fought the Law
Esquerita – Oh Baby
Esquerita – Rockin’ the Joint
Gene Vincent – Ain’t She Sweet
The Clash – Police on My Back
Slim Rhodes – Gonna Romp And Stomp
Mack Self – Everyday
Little Willie John – I’m Shakin’
Hound Dog Taylor – Give Me Back My Wig
Tav Falco’s Panther Burns – Love is my Business
Johnny Cash – Cry, Cry, Cry
Muddy Waters – I Can’t Be Satisfied
Possessed by Paul James – We Welcome You Home
Possessed by Paul James – Feed the Family
Reverend Anderson Johnson – If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
Isaiah Owens – You Without Sin Cast the First Stone
The Replacements – Takin’ A Ride
Alex Chilton – Can’t Seem to Make You Mine
The Standells – Dirty Water
T-Model Ford – Look What All You Got
Scott H. Biram – Killed a Chicken Last Night
The Hooten Hallers – She Used to Love My Music
Kamikaze Cowboy – Charlie Floyd
Kamikaze Cowboy – A Girl Like You
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders – Earthquake Shake
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Hear Voices
Iggy Pop – Success
X – Wild Thing
Howlin’ Wolf – Spoonful
Howlin’ Wolf – Shake for Me
The Misfits – 20 Eyes
Tom Waits – Martha
Peter Case – House Rent Jump
Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughn – Pride and Joy
WhiteTrash WhipLash – Spodie Odie Hey!
Hasil Adkins – Ugly Woman
The Head Cat – Big River
Social Distortion – Can’t Take It With You

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 22, 2013 Playlist

Tune in to Dirty Roots Radio every Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. (central) at

Chuck Berry – No Particular Place to Go
Original Blind Boys of Alabama – Sit Down and Rest Awhile
Chuck Berry – Rock & Roll Music
Those Darlins – Drivin’ Nails in My Coffin
Ernest Tubb – Walking the Floor Over  You
The Animals – Dimples
John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom
The 101ers – Rabies (From the Dogs Of Love)
X – The World’s a Mess; It’s in My Kiss
The Rolling Stones – It’s All Over Now
Esquerita – Sinner Man
The Clash – Garageland
The Cramps – Surfin’ Bird
Charlie Rich – Behind Closed Doors
R.L. Burnside – Old Black Mattie
The Dictators – Who Will Save Rock And Roll?
Charlie Feathers – Bottle To The Baby
Sleepy Kitty – Speaking Politely
Little Walter – My Babe
Andre Williams – Pass the Biscuits Please
The Blues Brothers – Rawhide (Theme)
Scott H. Biram – Have You Ever Loved a Woman
Porter Wagoner – Committed to Parkview
Porter Wagoner – The Cold Hard Facts of Life
Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
James Brown – Night Train
Bo Diddley – Ride On Josephine
The Prisonaires – My God Is Real
The Prisonaires – Just Walkin’ In the Rain
Big Star – Don’t Lie to Me
Ike & Tina Turner – I Idolize You
Howlin’ Wolf – Shake for Me
Howlin’ Wolf – The Red Rooster
Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
                            [live at the Star Club – Hamburg, Germany]
Johnny Cash – Frankie’s Man, Johnny
Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros – Long Shadow

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I'm a couple of days late on this, but Friday would have been the 93rd birthday of the great Charles Bukowski.  Though he definitely isn't for everyone, he's something of a hero to me.  Not a hero as in "a model of how to live well" exactly.  He wasn't known to be a nice man.  But he was known to be an honest man.  And as Bono (God how I hate him) said in the Bukowski documentary "Born Into This": the truth is never ugly to God.

Bukowski was wise in his own unique way.  And he was unafraid.  He told it like he saw it.  And he lived, for better or for worse, according to his own soul.  It's hard to articulate, but he's even been an influence on my Dirty Roots Radio Show.

So, I thought I'd share some of my favorite quotes from him.  These are listed in no particular order.  I've probably forgotten some.  But some of these have saved my life, or at least my soul, more than once.  And that's not hyperbole.  

Good ol' Buk...

The Laughing Heart
"your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you."

"If you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. If it never does roar out of you, do something else."

"Some people never go crazy.  What truly horrible lives they must lead."

"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery--isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is."

"You have to die a few times before you can really live."

"If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose."

"Some lose all mind and become soul = insane.
Some lose all soul and become mind = intellectual.
Some lose both and become accepted." 

"Great art is horseshit.  Buy tacos."

"I was laying in bed one night and I thought ‘I’ll just quit — to hell with it.’ And another little voice inside me said ‘Don’t quit — save that tiny little ember of spark.’ And never give them that spark because as long as you have that spark, you can start the greatest fire again."

"Find what you love and let it kill you."

"the free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it - basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them."

"unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.”

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 15, 2013 Playlist

Tune in to Dirty Roots Radio every Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. (central) at

Willie Nelson (featuring Mavis Staples) – Grandma’s Hands
Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
James Leg – Fire And Brimstone
R.L. Burnside – See What My Buddy Done
Bettye LaVette – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Bob Dylan – High Water (For Charley Patton)
Snake Drive – Goin’ Down South
The Stooges – 1969
Jim White – Wordmule
Howlin’ Wolf – Commit a Crime
T-Model Ford – Hi Heel Sneakers
Little Richard – Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes
Willie Nelson – Midnight Rider
Mavis Staples – For What It’s Worth [live]
Raw Spitt – Put A Little Love In Your Heart
Motorhead – Louie Louie
Andre Williams – I Can Tell
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Love Paris
R.L. Burnside w/the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Snake Drive
Robert Cage – Get Out of Here
Tav Falco’s Panther Burns – She’s the One That’s Got It
Mike Ness – No Man’s Friend
Social Distortion – Alone and Forsaken
Hank Williams – Six More Miles (To The Graveyard)
Swamp Dogg – Total Destruction to Your Mind
Muddy Waters – Crosseyed Cat
Fred Friction – Longhardroad
Hank III – Pills I Took
Ben Harper w/Charlie Musselwhite – Get Up!
Johnny Cash & June Carter – What’d I Say
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages – The Corner Man
Steve Earle – Transcendental Blues
Tom Waits – I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You


"I don't know anything about music.  In my line you don't have to."  - Elvis Presley

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 8, 2013 Playlist

Tune in to Dirty Roots Radio every Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. (central) at
R.L. Burside & the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Goin’ Down South
Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost – Dana Dew
Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost – Berta
Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost – Billy Brown
Adrian Lloyd & the Sunsets – Justine
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages – My Baby Didn’t Come Home
Honeycombak – Sex Change Sadie
The Sonics – Psycho
Bristow Hopper – Hate That Bear
The Premiers – Farmer John
Hasil Adkins – Ducken
Joe Johnson – The Gila Monster
Gene Maltais – Gang War
Micky Hawks – Bip Bop Boom (Pt. 1)
Stud Cole – Always & Always
The Breakaways – That’s How It Goes
Christopher and the Souls – Diamonds, Rats, and Rum
R.L. Burnside & the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Shake ‘Em On Down
T-Model Ford – Sail On
The Atmospheres – The Fickle Chicken
Lloyd Price – Stagger Lee
T-Model Ford – Look What All You Got
The Wray Brothers – Ninety Nine Years To Go
Rufus Thomas – Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
Swamp Dogg – Plastered to the Wall (Higher than the Ceiling)
Swamp Dogg – She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye
Larry & the Blue Notes – Night of the Sadist
Edgefield C. Johnston – Button Made of Stone
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages – The Corner Man
George Jones – Revenooer Man
Jeb Stewart – The Greasy Frog
Danny Johnson & the Rhythm Makers – Tired of Working for the Other Man
Bostweeds – Faster Pussycat Kill Kill
Screaming Lord Sutch – Jack the Ripper
Lightnin’ Slim – Goodmorning Heartaches
Screamin’ Rebel Angels – Sizzle
Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band – Hoodoo Man Blues
Otis Redding – I Can’t Turn You Loose
Stiff Little Fingers – Suspect Device
Little Jerry Williams – Hum Baby
Albert King – Laundromat Blues
Bob Reuter – Dark Night of the Soul
Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost – Hell Town
Sister Rosetta Tharp – Didn’t It Rain
The Vultures – Train Kept A-Rollin’
The Shadows – Rhythm and Greens
Edgefield C. Johnston – Meet Me In the Ground
The Music Machine – Talk Talk
Tim Timebomb – Oh Lonesome Me
Onie Wheeler – Onie’s Bop
Kim Fowley – Animal Man
Shonen Knife – The KKK Took My Baby Away
The Barbarians – Moulty
The Count Five – Psychotic Reaction
Skids – The Saints Are Coming
Johnny Thunders – Ask Me No Questions
T-Model Ford – T-Model Theme Song
Lowell Fulson – Rock This Morning


"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent."  - Victor Hugo

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Remembering Bob Reuter, St. Louis Renaissance Man

Every time I sit down to write one of these kinds of things I worry that I sound pretentious because so many other people knew the departed so much better than me.  I wasn’t close to Bob Reuter, I wasn’t an expert on his life, and this isn’t intended to be an official tribute of any kind.

I guess I’m mostly writing this for me.  But I’ll share it because if even one reader gets turned on to Bob Reuter’s music, photography, or writing because of this, then I feel like I’ve done him some kind of solid.

I was devastated today to open up my computer and see the flood of comments about the passing of St. Louis Renaissance Man Bob Reuter.   When I first read people saying they were going to miss him, I assumed that maybe he’d recently announced that he was going to stop doing his radio show.  That made me sad.  But I quickly learned that it was much more serious than that. 

Bob was moving into a new apartment space in downtown St. Louis.  According to the Riverfront Times and STLToday, Bob attempted to step onto a freight elevator in his new building, but the elevator shaft was dark and he didn’t realize that the elevator was actually above him.  He fell into the shaft and dropped 18 feet to his death.

18 goddamned feet killed Bob Reuter.

And he’d just been on Facebook the night before talking about how rad his new place was.

I first heard of Bob twelve years or so ago when I became a member of listener-supported radio station KDHX in St. Louis.  After joining, I got a newsletter in the mail and there was a big fuss about this guy Bob who was doing a new show on the station, Bob’sScratchy Records.  The only thing about the interview I remember is there was a whole section of it about how the song he used to launch his inaugural show was an AC/DC track.  I remember thinking, “Well, that seems kinda mainstream.”  I had so much to learn about being true to yourself and appreciating music for the feeling and vibe and nothing else.

I eventually started listening to his show and it opened up a whole world for me.  I don’t mind telling you that the Dirty Roots Radio Show has been greatly influenced by Bob.  Not only did Bob turn me on to all kinds of music, but he was also the one who taught me that you could go all kinds of ape shit banana crazy on the air and rip your very heart open for all to hear, exposing the deepest secrets, darkness, and light inside it to whoever happened to be listening.  And he taught me that when you do that, it will create a unique, undeniable, and incredible bond between you and your listeners.  Bob taught me that it’s OK to talk all over a song while it’s playing on the totally disrespect the music, while at the very same time completely respecting it and loving it with every fiber of your being.

In addition to hosting his weekly show on KDHX, Bob was a photographer, storyteller, and musician.  Eventually we became acquaintances after I interviewed him when his first album with his band, Alley Ghost, was released.  He was performing live in front of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis for the second annual Record Store Day celebration.  I remember during the performance, he kicked over his drummer’s snare drum, mid-song.  I couldn’t help but feel that the drummer didn’t look as thrilled with the action as Bob obviously was.

We talked on and off over the years, mostly through Facebook.  I remember one late night conversation when he turned me on to Johnny Thunders.  Thanks for that, Bob.  I remember a conversation about Vaudeville-era one-man-band Abner Jay.  I also remember one time, the day after a T-Model Ford concert we were both at, that somehow we discovered that we’d both gone home and watched the movie “True Romance” after the show.  I remember trying to philosophically get to the bottom of what, cosmically, was happening that our brains were both in the same place to that degree. 

One of my favorite memories was seeing Bob in a small bar attached to the venue where I’d seen Steve Earle perform.  Bob did a post-Steve Earle-show performance.  He’d just been voted “Best Songwriter in St. Louis” for the first – but not last - time.  There weren’t many people there, which surprised me.  I had to leave before he was done, but late that night I sent him a message that I’d really enjoyed the show.  He wrote me back and opened up about how much he needed to hear that message right then.  He was just having one of those days where you wonder if things were all worth the effort.  It made me feel good that I could do that for him.  He’s someone I look up to and admire so much and to A) know that he felt that way, like any other person, was kind of humbling in a way.  And B) anytime I get close to genuinely telling someone how much something they did meant to me, there’s an initial moment of hesitation.  I guess its pride or fear or vulnerability or something.  But sometimes I give into that shyness and don’t share the compliment.  I always regret it when I don’t.  This was one of the times where I went out on a limb and offered the unabashed praise.  And not only was it graciously received, but, for him it meant the difference between a bum night of “no one gets it” and “hey, at least SOMEone gets it.”  It just felt good to do that for someone who was, if not a hero, then not far from it.

That vulnerability, Bob’s ability to share what was in his heart, is one of the things I most admire and love about him.  If you’ve read my blog or listened to my radio show with any sort of regularity, you know one of my personal themes is the amazing duality of life – how it can all at once be completely hard, brutal, awful, and unbearable, yet at the same time be so wonderful, awe-inspiring, and beautiful.  Bob got that.

I’ve been working on a review of his latest book, “Tales of a Talking Dog”.  I haven’t been much able to get past the opening line I wrote…which is “Bob Reuter gets it.  Gets what?  Well, he gets me.  And he gets you.”  I absolutely hate it when writers say that someone they’re writing about “gets it”.  Gets what?  And what makes you THE expert on whatever IT is? 

But in the case of Bob…he GETS IT.  And IT…well, IT is life.  He gets how hard it is.  He knows.  He struggled and scraped to get by most of his life.  And he knows how beautiful and wonderful life is.  I’ve never met anyone else so genuinely thrilled and appreciative of the modest amount of success they were able to achieve.

Bob got it.  He got life.  And because of that, he got you and me.  And because of THAT, he was so incredibly relatable and approachable.  His words – in his stories, books, and songs – resonated with something so special.  Because he got you.  And you recognized that.  There aren’t many people you can truly say that about.  It’s a rare thing.

In “Tales of a Talking Dog” Bob described his music as such:  "Sunshine and fresh air have nothing to do with the music I play.  Rock and roll is meant to involve loud volumes in small sweaty rooms.  It is sex, anger, joy, and pain in repetition, mixed with a certain amount of darkness and mystery. ..The music we make involves a certain amount of communal sharing, the release of demons, the ritualistic sacrificing of widely-held cultural beliefs, virginal maidens, and televisionary deceits.”

Prior to his work with Alley Ghost, Bob worked with the bands Kamikaze Cowboy, Thee Dirty South, and the Dinosaurs.  You can find a lot of that stuff online and some of it through his record label, Big Muddy Records.  Look it up.  It deserves to be heard.

He released a book of photography a while back called “Light Fuse and Run”.  His photography is simply amazing.  Gritty, black and white…raw.  He conveyed his feelings about the beauty and awfulness of life through his photographs.  In a digital age, he still developed real film in an actual dark room.

Bob was always talking about the great things that made him feel alive.  The last thing I remember him saying that about was the Fourth of July in the South City neighborhood of St. Louis.  He frequently talked about how he was finally – in his early 60s – living the dream he had as a teenager, making music and sharing his art.  Not more than a few days ago he talked about how, even as an older guy, he had so much more to do and how thrilled with everything he was.  He was loving life.

This sounds totally cliché and I hate to write it…but I guess Bob’s passing has really brought into clear focus the fragility of life.  Another friend, T-Model Ford, passed away a few weeks ago, but T was 90-something years old and had been in failing health for a long time.  Bob was only 61 and was kicking ass.  Eighteen feet took that all away.

When I wrote about T-Model Ford’s passing I said that you simply don’t know people like T-Model Ford.  They don’t exist.  And that’s definitely true.  But the thing is, you DO know people like Bob Reuter.  You grew up with them.  You hang with them all the time.  Bob Reuter was just a guy.  A normal guy that you could talk to.  But Bob lived a life that was so genuine and so authentic and so real that it made him something special.  He was one of the few people who aren’t afraid to talk about the rawness of life – the awfulness and the beauty.  He talked about it on the radio and in his music and in his stories and even in his photographs.  If we didn't have a few people like that, how would we know how to approach life…you know?  I mean, we go through our lives and follow the little paths that are laid out for us.  We think we live life.  But Bob really and truly lived life.  He lived it the way his heart told him.  He made his own path.  He struggled for that.  But by living life so genuinely, and sharing the good and bad of it in so many creative and beautiful ways, we all can look and see how, despite how ugly and tough it can be, how very beautiful this life is. 

Thank whatever god you worship for people like Bob Reuter.

Among the many comments I’ve seen about his passing online today, one has really stuck with me.  One dude said, “Bob Reuter is dead and you’re not.  Try to live up to that, okay?”

Seriously.  This beautiful ragged soul who lived a life he loved, in spite of whatever ugliness, was so full of spirit and isn’t here anymore.  And we are.  That needs to be some kind of a wakeup call or a challenge or some damn thing.

I dunno.  As I’ve mentioned, there are so many people who knew Bob better and were closer to him than I was.  I’m not writing this as a grieving friend…I’m writing this as a grieving acquaintance and fan.  This is what Bob has meant to me over the last twelve years of knowing about him, and a few years of knowing him, a little. 

Search around and find Bob Reuter’s pictures.  Take them in.  Read his stories and listen to his music.  You can find it all online.

You need to know Bob Reuter.


Here is a trailer for a documentary about Bob that started a few years ago.  He invited me to meet him at the KDHX studios in St Louis to watch an early version.  The timing didn't work out, which I've regretted ever since.  The project ended up being put on hold, but just a few days ago Bob said that it was back in production.  Let's hope it gets finished...the story needs to be told...

Here's a video that was created to help with the Kickstarter campaign to get Bob's book "Tales of a Talking Dog" up and running...

Here's Bob's most recent musical release - a special 45 rpm single called Dana Dew...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1, 2013 Playlist

Tune in to Dirty Roots Radio every Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. (central) at

Public Enemy – He Got Game
House of Pain – Shamrocks and Shenanigans [Butch Vig remix]
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages – My Baby Didn’t Come Home
Motorhead – Train Kept A Rollin’ [live]
Pearl Jam – Leavin Here
The Ramones – Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio
ZZ Ward – Grinnin’ In Your Face [live @ the Troubadour]
Buddy Guy, Jack Bruce & Buddy Miles – Mary Had a Little Lamb
Son House – John the Revelator
Vintage Trouble – Blues Hand Me Down
Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine
Merle Haggard – Are the Good Times Really Over (I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver)
Tom Waits – Goin’ Out West [live]
Kris Kristofferson – Blame It on the Stones
Buddy Guy – Baby Please Don’t Leave Me
Jason & the Scorchers – Self-Sabotage
The Clash – Know Your Rights
Tim Fite – Took A Wife
Stud Cole – Always & Always
Bare Jr. – Brainwasher
Gary Clark, Jr. – When My Train Pulls In
The Bottle Rockets – White Boy Blues
Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost – Dana Dew
Johnny Cash – Nobody