Monthly Archives: December 2012

Teddy, Tongue and their times

One of the traditions here at AM, Then FM, is the year-end tribute to those who have gone on. Another of our traditions is preserving small chapters of Wisconsin’s rock ‘n’ roll history.

This is Teddy Mueller’s story.

Four years ago, I came across his blog. Teddy was a guy from Milwaukee who lived the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle for years. He played drums in a bunch of bands, starting when he was 14. He’s perhaps best known for playing in Axe in the late ’70s and early ’80s. He met a lot of people. He partied hard.

Teddy was 17 when he joined Tongue, a blues-rock band much loved in Wisconsin in the late ’60s and early ’70s for its energetic live shows. I have Tongue’s only LP, which was released in 1969, before he joined the group.

He mentioned Tongue in his blog, so I emailed him. We exchanged a few emails one summer day, and he filled me in.

“Dick Weber was the first drummer. They did the album in ’68-’69. I joined in ’71.”

Tongue promo

“I attached a pic (taken) in ’72. We just got back from L.A. (They had played the Starwood Club in West Hollywood, as evidenced by the bumper sticker.) It was some of the best times in my life. You could drink at 18 and the music scene was wonderful. We would play to crowds 5,000 in a field somewhere in Wisconsin. Great times. It’s too bad video games took over. I wish music would come back.”

If Mueller sounded wistful, it’s because he was fighting for his life. Even then, in the summer of 2008, he had advanced cases of hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver.

That’s Teddy Mueller on the left in the picture from 40 years ago.

“I did have some long hair for that time,” he said. “We traveled the country, had a blast. I was 17.”

Teddy also reminisced about the Wisconsin club circuit of the early ’70s.

“We used to play the Pack and Hounds in Green Bay and a lot of festivals. I don’t think the Pack and Hounds is there anymore. (It’s long gone.) Atlantic Mine used to open for us. We used to eat at the Log Cabin in Wausau. Eau Claire, we played all the time at The Bar and the London Inn and partied at The Joynt.”

That late August day was the only time Teddy and I talked about his place in Wisconsin music history. I’m glad we chatted when he did. I kept an eye on his blog, but it became painful to read. He was dying.

Teddy passed away on June 29, 2012. He was 57.

This video has the audio from both sides of a Tongue single from 1972. “Hotel Arbutus” is the A side and “Harp Thing” is the B side. It was recorded at Audiotech Studios in Minneapolis. The drummer is 17-year-old Teddy Mueller. The images, a bit of a video scrapbook, are from Teddy Mueller’s life and times.

When he posted it to YouTube two years ago, Teddy wrote:

“This was my first professional recording about the Hotel Arbutus in Eagle River, Wisconsin. They bought it and tore it down. We used to stay there and played Hop’s Modernaire Bar. That’s a lot of sex, drugs and debauchery. Ha.”

To learn more about Teddy’s life and times, read this tremendous 2010 interview with Glenn Milligan of Metalliville, a UK webzine. Teddy’s friends also have this Facebook tribute page. Teddy’s blog is no longer online.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under December 2012, Sounds

A smaller Christmas, Day 25

“Someday at Christmas, there’ll be no war.”

Someday.

motownxmaslp

“Someday at Christmas,” Stevie Wonder, 1967, from “A Motown Christmas,” 1973. That tremendous compilation, one of the first Christmas records we bought back in the late ’70s, is out of print but is available digitally.

This is the title track from Wonder’s 1967 Christmas record. A Motown original written by Ron Miller and Bryan Wells, it addresses the social concerns of that time — and of our time — war, poverty, hunger, civil rights, injustice.

“Someday at Christmas, man will not fail
Hate will be gone and love will prevail”

Someday.

Enjoy your holidays, everyone.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2012, Sounds

A smaller Christmas, Day 24

On this Christmas Eve, a post that has become a tradition.

On a winter day more than 40 years ago, Louis Armstrong went to work in the den at his home at 34-56 107th Street in Corona, Queens, New York.

That day — Friday, Feb. 26, 1971 — he recorded this:

“The Night Before Christmas (A Poem),” Louis Armstrong, 1971,  from “The Stash Christmas Album,” 1985.

It’s out of print, but you can find the original 7-inch single (Continental CR 1001) on eBay for around $10. I found it earlier this year when my friend Jim threw open his garage door and sold some of his records.

(This is the sleeve for that 45. You could have bought it for 25 cents if you also bought a carton of Kent, True, Newport or Old Gold cigarettes.)

There’s no music. Just “Little Satchmo Armstrong talkin’ to all the kids,” reading Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem in a warm, gravelly voice.

“But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, ‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night. A very good night.’

“And that goes for Satchmo, too. (Laughs softly.) Thank you.”

It was the last thing he ever recorded. Satchmo died the following July.

You just never know.

Embrace the moment, especially at Christmas.

Enjoy your holidays, everyone.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2012, Sounds

A smaller Christmas, Day 23

With everything that needed getting done, yesterday seemed to summon another of the whirlwinds that so often ensue as Christmas draws near.

You just want to step out of that whirlwind and find a quiet place.

Especially now that Dec. 23 has turned to Christmas Eve.

creolexmascd

“O Holy Night,” Irma Thomas, from “A Creole Christmas,” 1990. It’s out of print and not available digitally, but Amazon will rip you a copy.

Reverent yet thrilling, this version is done as a New Orleans-style dirge with some moody Hammond organ and some terrific gospel voices singing backup.

Five years ago, my friend Rob called this “goosebump-inducing stuff.”

It still is.

Enjoy your holidays, everyone.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2012, Sounds

A smaller Christmas, Day 22

Tonight, we present “Scrooge.”

In the two years since we last enjoyed watching George Thorogood and the Destroyers frolicking on the MTV set in 1985, that clip has been removed from YouTube. It was the one with John Lee Hooker as Santa, the one with Martha Quinn dancing with Santa, and the one with Mark Goodman getting a nice long smooch from a cutie under the mistletoe. Bummer.

Screen shot 2012-12-22 at 11.00.14 PM

Sorry about that? Oh, come on. Guess we don’t want new generations to enjoy a classic.

On to Billy Squier, then! Let’s watch him lip-sync it with the MTV VJs and crew. As always, the question remains: Nina Blackwood or Martha Quinn?

rocknrollxmascdgood

“Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You,” Billy Squier, 1981, from “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas,” 1995.

Yeah, this CD is still around, and it’s still one of the best compilations. I saw it at Barnes & Noble earlier this month.

Your Christmas music requests in the comments, please.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2012, Sounds, Sounds like bull to me

A smaller Christmas, Day 21

The day after the blizzard, the morning after the silent night, brought a second round of snowblowing and shoveling.

The world did not end, but the afternoon and evening simply blew past in the whirlwind that ensues as Christmas draws near.

At 9 p.m. on many Friday nights, it’s time to listen to the Funky 16 Corners Radio Show. Each week, my friend Larry puts together a fine program full of vintage soul, R&B and jazz and streams it via Viva Radio.

Last night was the Funky 16 Corners Christmas Special. I missed it. Doing something else in the 9 o’clock hour.

However, Larry made a playlist, and I checked it twice. Gotta find out who’s naughty — yeah, the show opens with Clarence Carter and “Back Door Santa” — and nice — oh, there’s Donny Hathaway and “This Christmas.”

And also …

“We got that set started with the mighty Otis Redding.
Two sides of a fantastic single if you can find it. On the Atco label, the top side is of course his upbeat ”Merry Christmas Baby’
and the B side is one of the greatest Christmas soul records
of all time, Otis’ reading of ‘White Christmas.’ Very, very nice one.”

xmasinsoulsville

“Merry Christmas Baby,” Otis Redding, 1968, from “Christmas In Soulsville,” 2007. It’s a compilation of songs from the Stax label. It’s out of print but is available digitally.

Good song on its own, but you also ought to hear it in the context of Larry’s show. Head over to the Funky 16 Corners Radio Show page and scroll all the way to the bottom for the playlist and the link to the mp3 of the show. The shows also are available via iTunes podcast.

It’s been fun sharing this smaller Christmas with friends — I’m told there are more than five or six of you! — and sharing what friends have done. Scott and Derek were first, and now Larry.

Your Christmas music requests in the comments, please.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2012, Sounds

A smaller Christmas, Day 20

Ah, yes. Where were we? Day 20.

On Thursday, we were socked by a blizzard. We got 10 inches of wet, heavy snow. So I ran the snowblower and shoveled.

The storm was all but over when I got home at midnight. It was by then, save for the sound of the plows, a silent night.

staple singers 25th day of december cd

“Silent Night,” the Staple Singers,” from “The 25 Days of Christmas,” 1962. Re-released on CD, 2007.

The familiar Christmas hymn done as a slow Delta blues number. Listen for the reverb from Pops Staples’ guitar and some  sweet Hammond organ.

Your Christmas music requests in the comments, please.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2012, Sounds