The YouTube Rabbit Hole: #ShareTheLex Edition

I was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. I also lived there from 2007-2009. I lived in nearby cities Richmond and then Danville from 2010 until July of 2013. Although I’m not there to enjoy it, it warms my heart to know Lexington is experiencing something of a renaissance of late. I think it’s great that VisitLex has taken a cue from Kentucky for Kentucky–to whom we owe a big debt of gratitude for slowly bringing more national attention to our kickass commonwealth–and launched a fun and funny viral campaign centered around a hashtag. Check out this hilarious #ShareTheLex video:


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One of my goals in life, and something I’ve slowly been working on in my free time, is compiling a history of the Lexington, Kentucky music scene. It’s always been a little disappointing that the Lexington scene has never risen to the prominence of an Athens or a Louisville. However, if you do a little digging, you’ll find that for decades Lexington has had a rich music scene that has often been on the verge of receiving national attention.

One of Lexington’s closest encounters with the big leagues came in the form of a band by the name of Velvet Elvis. Velvet Elvis recorded an album for Enigma Records with Mitch Easter (who also produced the early REM records) in the mid-’80s. Their sound recalls both REM and Husker Du–two of the great heavy-hitters of 1980s college/indie rock–so it’s a little sad that Velvet Elvis never managed to breakthrough. Check out this live video:


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If anyone knows where I can track down any of Velvet Elvis’s records, I would be eternally grateful. Here’s one of their music videos:


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Speaking of 1980s college/indie rock, one of my newer favorite bands from the L-E-X plays in the tradition of Husker Du and Mission of Burma, but today. The band is Salad Influence, and they rule. Check out a set they played at the WRFL (Radio Free Lexington) studios:


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Another near miss for Lexington was Paul K and The Weathermen. Interestingly, there was a brief period in the mid-’90s when future Wilco stickman Glenn Kotche manned the kit for The Weathermen. During that period, the band released in an album produced by The Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker. Check out a snippet from the Paul K doc A Wilderness of Mirrors in which Kotche is interviewed:


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Another Lexington mainstay is The Blueberries. I first discovered The Blueberries years ago when my old band The Watching Stars opened for a two-piece that–if my memory serves me well–consisted of head-Blueberry Otto Helmuth on guitar and vocals and Tim Welch, formerly of Paul K & The Weathermen, on drums. I think I’m remembering that right, but regardless, I was so taken by the power pop songs I heard that night that an internet search after the show led me to discover The Blueberries. Here’s a video of The Blueberries in concert:


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Of course, no discussion of Lexington’s music scene is complete without mentioning The Infected. Fronted by Nasty Nate for over twenty years, The Infected are the punk kings of Lexington. Former-Deanimator axeman Junkyard Jack Hogg played lead guitar for Nasty Nate’s crew in the late ’00s. He is featured on their Awake In Our Own Graves EP. Check out two of the songs from that record:


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Finally, there’s Lexington’s one true success story: Sturgill Simpson. Sturgill actually hails from nearby Woodford County, but his old band Sunday Valley called Lexington home for a number of years. Here’s a video of Sturgill and his band playing a couple of songs in a brewery:


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Check Out hissing lawns -and- The YouTube Rabbit Hole: The Byrds Edition

In addition to writing about music here on Taco Talks Records, I’ll also be contributing to the Savannah, Georgia music blog hissing lawns from time to time. Regardless of if you live in Savannah or not, I encourage you to check out the great work Bill and the other contributors are doing over there. Over the past year, hissing lawns has single-handedly kept me up-to-date on the latest local music news. It’s a thrill and an honor to get the opportunity to contribute to that great blog.

Click here to check out what I wrote about this past Saturday’s Ian McLagan show at The Wormhole.

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I’m sure I’m not alone in falling down the YouTube rabbit hole from time to time. Recently, I ended up wasting a healthy chunk of a day watching YouTube videos related to The Byrds. I thought I’d share some of the better gems I found:

The Byrds on Playboy After Dark September 28, 1968

Okay, first, we get to see frontman Roger McGuinn awkwardly schmooze with Hef and a few Playmates. Luckily, after those unpleasantries are out of the way, McGuinn, Clarence White, John York, and Gene Parsons blaze through two Basement Tapes-era Dylan tunes. The revelation here is Clarence White. For my money, he is one of the best American guitarists in rock & roll history, and it’s his axework on “This Wheel’s On Fire” that leads me to prefer their version of the song to Dylan’s or The Band’s.

Oh, and dig those dance moves out in the audience.

The Byrds on German TV in 1970

Years ago, music blogger Mark Prindle chided me on Facebook for my unabashed love of late-period Byrds. I mean, Mark really hates their later work. I’m not sure what I see that he doesn’t. Maybe it’s Clarence White’s otherworldly guitar playing. Maybe it’s Skip Battin. Or maybe it’s just the sheer weirdness of the post-’60s Byrds. That weirdness is on full display in this clip. Check out the floating German lady at the beginning of the song. And check out how spaced out all five of these dudes look here. If I’m being honest, I could watch this clip every day for the rest of my life and not tire of it.

The Byrds at The Fillmore East on September 23, 1970

Here they are performing a groovy version of “Eight Miles High.” The bass and drums breakdown showcases just how formidable Battin and Parsons were as a rhythm section. And pay extra close attention to the Poindexter in the audience having a freakout at 7:50. Um, give me your lunch money, Screech.

Another clip of The Byrds on German TV in 1970

Here they are performing an even groovier version of “Eight Miles High.”

I mean…the guy playing bongos was just their drug dealer, right?

The Byrds – Under Review

Finally, here’s a great BBC documentary on The Byrds. If you like The Byrds as much as I do, it’s well worth your time.