Monday, June 30, 2008

Chick Vid from LA Times

Friday, June 27, 2008

Beatles EMI Tape #E92938

This reel is a test mix for the medley of songs on side two of Abbey Road. The working title of the medley was "The Long One" or "Huge Medley". This is the reel which, upon hearing the completed mix, Paul instructed engineer John Kurlander to cut "Her Majesty" out of the center (note the scrawled out title on the tape box). Kurlander did as instructed however, he spliced the segment back onto the end of the reel preceeded by about 20 seconds of leader tape.

The next day at Apple, Malcolm Davies cut an acetate of the mix and he included "Her Majesty" at the end. When Paul heard the acetate, with "Her Majesty" crashing in after the long pause, he liked the what he heard. On 20 August, when the final master reel (AR19795 previously numbered E93351) was assembled, "Her Majesty" was cut from this reel and spliced onto the end of the master reel. The is the way the album was released.

Since "Her Majesty" was cut out almost immediately, the available recording certainly comes after that was done. In That Magic Feeling, John Winn assumes that the available recording was made after "Her Majesty" was removed completely and spliced onto the master reel. His reason is "...there is no sign of "Her Majesty", either in the middle or at the end."

There are two primary sources for the available recording, No. 3 Abbey Road N.W.8 (Vigotone) and Unsurpassed Masters Volume 5 (Yellow Dog). The Yellow Dog release does not include "Her Majesty" in the middle of the medley. The Vigotone release does include the song in the middle. It is common opinion that Vigotone has "reinserted" "Her Majesty". As mentioned above, the cut-out was probably done almost immediately so the Yellow Dog release is probably the more accurate of the two releases.

In That Magic Feeling, John Winn states that Vigotone reinserts "the released version of 'Her Majesty'". In The 910's Guide To The Beatles' Outtakes, Doug Sulpy states that Vigotone "...simply lifted [the song] from the 'basic tracks' tape and re-edited [the song] back into the medley". Although Vigotone surely reinserted "Her Majesty", close examination reveals that the source is neither of Winn's and Sulpy's suggested sources. The version that Vigotone used maintains the same distortion and ambience as the rest of the medley and the edit appears seamless. It would appear that the "original" source might, in fact, include "Her Majesty" at the end and Vigotone reinserted that version. On the other hand, Yellow Dog might have chosen to simply omit the song since it is, in essence, the exact mix that was used on Abbey Road.

I also have an additional theory. The available recording was certainly made after "Her Majesty" was cut out of the center. But I find the sound of the recording to be consistant with that of a well-worn acetate. I feel that it's possible that the available recording could be sourced from one of Malcolm Davies' acetates. The distortion might be the result of the acetate being well-worn and/or someone's attempt to clean up the sound of the acetate. However, because no surfaces noise is heard in the quiet portions of the recording, I am not completely sold on my own theory.

Additionally, in That Magic Feeling, John Winn questions why this recording is announced as "RS2" when the session sheet clearly states "RS1". My guess is that the "RS1" designation is for the original mix of each song which were made on different reels that were not preserved. Those reels were then edited, crossfaded and mixed together onto this reel (E92938) which made THIS mix "RS2".

Lewisohn describes this day's activities as stereo mixing each song as "RS1" and concludes with "Editing, crossfading and tape compilation". This would seem to fit my "RS2" theory. John Winn also concurs, based on EMI practice, that this is a plausible theory.

All tracks presented here are sourced from Vigotone's release. However, in an effort to create what is probably an accurate representaion of the source recording, "Her Majesty" has been excised and placed at the end with a twenty second leader. Note, too, that although this is announced as "RS2" all available recordings are mono. The recording is certainly a high generation copy of some original source. It was probably folded to mono somewhere along the line. But... this could also lend credence to my acetate theory mentioned above. Some acetates feature stereo mixes folded to mono.

Segment 1
You Never Give Me Your Money (take 40 RS1)
Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard (take 35 RS1)
Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The
Bathroom Window (take 40 RS1)

Segment 2
Golden Sumbers/Carry That Weight (take 17 RS1)
"Ending" (The End) (take 7 RS1)
Her Majesty (take 3 RS1)


Her Majesty (take 3) mono
This mix predates (2 July) the medley mix by almost a month . It does not include the crashing opening chord. That chord is actually the last chord of "Mean Mr. Mustard". That's how Kurlander cut it out of the reel. However, this recording features the lost final chord which was buried in the opening chord of "Polythene Pam" where it remained. Again, a result
of Kurlander's edit. This is found on reel E92839.

Beatles EMI Tape #E66581

All You Need Is Love (Take 58 RM11)

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
(take 8 RM20)

Good Morning, Good Morning
(sound effects) (RM 20)

Intro To Sgt. Pepper (applause)

Billy Shears (applause) (RM 20)

Yellow Submarine (copy of take 5 RM5)

It's All Too Much (copy of take 2 RM1)

All Together Now (copy of take 9 RM6)

Only A Northern Song
(copy of takes 3/11 edit RM11)

Hey Bulldog (mono)

All tracks sourced from
"The Lost Pepperland Reel"
These mixes are superior to ANY of the
"Yellow Submarine" releases

Friday, June 20, 2008

Krauss & Plant - Black Dog (Led Zeppelin)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Morning Jacket

This is the best new music I have heard in some time. Here is what Rolling Stone had to say:

On their audacious new album, Evil Urges, My Morning Jacket veer between funk-metal grooves, Nashville crooning, classic-rock guitar heroics and more — sometimes all in the same song. The album, out June 10th, is the latest evidence that MMJ are aiming higher than almost any other band of their generation. And if their music is increasingly hard to categorize, that's the point, according to frontman Jim James. "People looked at Radiohead when they started, and were like, 'Oh, Brit-pop rock band,'" says James. "Now they're just fucking awesome, awesome weirdos. You can't put a label on them, and that's what I hope has been happening with us. Whether you love us or hate us, we're not any one type of band."
James names Björk, Pearl Jam, Wilco and Radiohead as MMJ's "big-brother bands." "There are parts of our band that are tied to roots," he says. "And there are also parts where we want to experiment." On the Louisville, Kentucky, quintet's first few albums, they leaned harder on their rootsy side, creating haunted, reverb-soaked Americana that led many to assume that MMJ were some kind of Southern-rock throwback (that sound was also influential enough to create its own micro-genre, with both Band of Horses and newcomers Fleet Foxes embracing it). Everything changed with 2005's spacey Z, which reinvented the band from scratch with songs ranging from the ethereal "Wordless Chorus" to the British Invasion pop of "What a Wonderful Man."
MMJ have always drawn fans from the jam-band world, and they retain that scene's commitment to unpredictable live shows; their sets combine headbanging energy, too-accomplished-to-be-indie guitar solos and covers that range from Dylan to Prince. "I've gotten tired of normal rock & roll sounds," says James. "My ultimate goal is to hopefully turn people on to different types of music."

ARTiST: My Morning Jacket
ALBUM: Evil Urges
BiTRATE: 199kbps avg
QUALiTY: EAC Secure Mode / LAME 3.97 Final / -V2 --vbr-new / 44.100Khz
LABEL: ATO Records
SiZE: 83.86 megs
PLAYTiME: 0h 55min 11sec total
STORE DATE: 2008-06-06

Track List:
01. Evil Urges 5:11
02. Touch Me Im Going To Scream Pt. 1 3:49
03. Highly Suspicious 3:04
04. Im Amazed 4:33
05. Thank You Too! 4:26
06. Sec Walkin 3:35
07. Two Halves 2:33
08. Librarian 4:16
09. Look At You 3:27
10. Aluminum Park 3:56
11. Remnants 3:01
12. Smokin from Shootin 5:04
13. Touch Me Im Going To Scream Pt. 2 8:12
14. Good Intentions 0:04



David Cook - Analog Heart

This has just been posted - American Idol's Winner


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Prince - Earth Tour 2007

I never thought I'd have the pleasure of being able to write the inclusion of '1999' into one of Prince's shows ever again, but there it is. The set-list may not look to appealing, however this is a great show with Prince in fine form and a very enthusiastic, energetic crowd who's energy he is evidently feeding off. Not the best show of the tour, but a mighty fine one. The recording leaves a little to be desired and added to audience noise (who are audible, but in no way detrimental overall) there is some distortion on the high-end of Prince's mic and guitar which leads to a little crackling. It settles down as the show progresses, but the first half of the show certainly has some audio issues. In a similar vein, there is some movement of the mics/equipment used to record. Normally I'd rate this as an EX- recording as the show is very clear, but the audio issues on parts of Disc 1 force me to demote it to a VG+, albeit a mighty impressive VG+. As for the show - it could have stopped after the first song and still been fantastic. The majority of the opening half of the show is pretty standard fare until the inclusion of two back-to-back Planet Earth tracks in the shape of 'Guitar / Somewhere Here On Earth', followed by a very rare, and extremely impressive 5 minute version of 'Forever In My Life' which includes various "Alright" crowd chants. The bass solo is back at the beginning of 'Black Sweat' (having been omitted the last few shows) which is always a plus, other than that the remainder is funky but unsurprising. The aftershow recording is vastly superior and certainly suffers none of the minor problems which affect the mainshow recording - thankfully, as it's a beauty. The audience are audible throughout, but in no way detract or overpower the recording to the detriment of the show. There are a few little niggles in the beginning where the person perhaps changes position or moves, which affects the sound momentarily, but on the whole this is a pretty impressive audience recording. Beverley Knight was once again the support act at both the main show and this 3121 aftershow, and her aftershow set is surprisingly enjoyable. The only Prince-related moment of her show is a cute cover of 'Raspberry Beret', along with the NPG Horns joining her for the closing numbers. The Prince set begins with 'Empty Room' and whilst the opening piano bars lull one into a false sense of security, he proceeds to tear us a new asshole with a blistering guitar solo. 'Peach' follows which features the music only and Prince inserts the lyrics from 'Rock Me Baby' before Marva King takes to the stage for 'I'll Take You There'. A James Brown medley follows and not only has Prince covering JB on two tracks, but also features both bass and keyboard solo's. An instrumental 'What Is Hip' is slightly abridged to the normal lengthy workout, however the following 'Stratus more than makes up for it at 12:30 in length. Disc 4 begins with Shelby taking over vocals on 'Love Is A Losing Game' before Prince joins her on 'Sing A Simple Song'. Shelby is back on the mic for a cover of the Mary J. Blige song 'Be Happy' before Prince takes over proceedings for two of his own. 'Girls And Boys' begins as a fairly normal version of the song, but soon evolves into a fast, frantic 13 minute jam with a number of different songs, lyrics and horn-lines thrown in for good measure climaxing in a real party atmosphere. Likewise the jam on 'Thank You' features the intro of 'When You Were Mine' played on the guitar, along with the riff of 'Head'. Overall this is an excellent release in terms of content. The main show may be lacking in sound quality compared to many others, but it more than makes up for it in the quality of the show itself. The aftershow is a joy from start to finish, and the quality of the recording is superb with very little to be critical about.

Earth Tour
O2 Arena, London
London, Main Show & Aftershow
Aug. 14, 2007

(Great Audience Recording)

Disc 1:
Main Show:

01. UK Hall of Fame video intro
02. 1999
03. Musicology
04. Prince And The Band
05. Cream
0U. Got The Look
07. Shhh
08. Take Me With U
09. Guitar
10. Somewhere Here On Earth
11. 7
12. Forever In My Life

Disc 2:
01. If I Was Your Girlfriend
02. Black Sweat
03. Kiss
04. Purple Rain
05. Keyboards interlude
06. Alphabet St.
07. I Feel For You
08. Controversy
09. Let's Go Crazy
10. Audience
11. Crazy
12. Nothing Compares 2 U

Disc 3:
Aftershow Feat. Beverly Knight:

01. Keep This Fire Burning
02. I'm Every Woman
03. Flava/Raspberry Beret
04. Time Is On My Side
05. Piece Of My Heart
06. Think (About It) incl. More Bounce To The Ounce/Atomic Dog/One Nation Under A Groove)
07. NPG Horns came on - continuation of above with BK's band incl More Bounce To The Ounce Zapp / Atomic Dog George Clinton / One Nation Under A Groove Funkadelic / No Diggity Black Street - all with Mike on vocoder vocals. (Beverely Knight's band leave the stage to NPG at 1.36)

Disc 4:
Prince 1.43 am - 3.30 (approx)

01. Empty Room
02. Peach/ Rock Me Baby (BB King)
03. I'll Take You There (The Staples Singers)
04. I Can't Stand Myself When You Touch Me/There Was A Time James Brown/Tutu Miles Davis
05. What Is Hip Tower of Power
06. Stratus (Billy Cobham)
07. Love Is A Losing Game - Amy Winehouse (Shelby J. lead vocals)
08. Sing a Simple Song (Sly and the Family Stone)
09. Be Happy (Mary J Blige)
10. Girls & Boys / 3121
11. Partyman
12. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) - instrumental Sly and the Family Stone - included riff from "Head".
13. Shake Everything You Got - Maceo Parker
14. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I love You) - Aretha Franklin (Shelby J. on lead vocals)


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Top Ten Cooking Mistakes

Great advice here from Kieth Law -

1. Salt. The food police have everyone running scared of good old sodium chloride, but it’s incredibly important from a culinary perspective as a flavor in and of itself and as a flavor enhancer. Salt intensifies other flavors in every dish by hitting the fifth taste known as umami; without salt, most foods will taste bland, flat, or even stale. Salting foods early in the process allows you to use less salt in total because you can often infuse your foods with salt by dissolving salt in the cooking liquid. Pasta water should always be heavily salted, and the cooking liquids for small grains like rice, barley, or quinoa should also have salt. Seasoning the exterior of meats helps prepare the surface for the Maillard reaction that occurs during the application of direct heat on a grill or on a stovetop pan, producing that brown crust that, for me, is the #1 argument against vegetarianism. I prefer kosher salt for most applications because it doesn’t dissolve too quickly and is easily pinched due to the coarse grain size, but I use table salt for baking because kosher salt will not integrate evenly in most doughs and batters.

2. A real knife. You can do a lot with a good chef’s knife, and you can’t do shit without one. It doesn’t have to be an expensive model; America’s Test Kitchen has recommended this Victorinox 8” chef’s knife (or its 10” version , about a buck cheaper!) for years, although I have grown accustomed to the handles on my Henckels Four-Star knives. Buy a good chef’s knife that feels comfortable in your hand, with a blade 8 to 9 inches long, and buy a honing steel to keep it sharp. Avoid home sharpeners, though, which “sharpen” your blade by destroying it.

3. Cooking by temperature. Most recipes say “bake for 20 minutes” or “grill for 15 minutes,” but those directions assume a median size and shape for the food being cooked and a degree of consistency in ovens and grills that simply doesn’t exist. The food you’re cooking is dead – even lobster dies when it hits the boiling water if you haven’t already killed it – and doesn’t know when the timer goes off. Your roasted chicken breast is done at 161 degrees, whenever it gets there, and you’re not going to know when it gets there unless you check it with a thermometer. I keep two in the house: A cheap instant-read thermometer (also useful for checking the temperature of water for green tea, which is best brewed at 160 degrees) and a probe thermometer with an electronic alarm. I wouldn’t roast a turkey or a pork loin without one of the latter.

4. Using fresher spices. If you’ve got a cheap $10 coffee grinder with a rotating blade, I have two things to say to you: It’s useless for grinding coffee, and it’s great for grinding whole spices. Buying spices whole and grinding them yourself is cheaper two ways and maybe three. One, the whole spices tend to be cheaper per unit of weight. Two, they’ll last far longer than ground spices, which go stale in six months to a year; a whole nutmeg will last for several years, while ground nutmeg is sawdust in a few months. And three, if you’re buying your ground spices at a regular grocery store, there’s a chance you’re getting fillers in addition to your chile powder or allspice. Buy your spices whole, toast some before grinding (cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in particular), and grind them as you need them. I recommend Penzey’s for mail-order spices, although I may be biased because I have one near my house. I’ve been very happy with their quality and prices on almost everything they sell. A corollary to this rule is to use fresh herbs when you can, especially in season. A $1.29 package of thyme from my local farmstand will keep for two weeks if left in its plastic box in my vegetable crisper drawer, and the volatile oils in fresh herbs give them a deeper, richer flavor than dried herbs can provide. This also means that those spice mixes you buy in stores are a particularly bad deal – they often contain fillers, they nearly always contain salt as the first ingredient, and they take the control out of your hands. Make your own spice mixes in small batches as you need them.

5. Fry – or, as Alton Brown’s plastic chicken once said, “fry some more.” Everyone’s afraid of frying just as they’re afraid of salt, but if you fry right, the fried food will absorb very little of the cooking oil and will amaze you with its texture and moisture. When you keep the oil hot and remove the food before it’s overcooked, the food’s exterior (usually a batter or breading) won’t absorb the fat in which it’s being cooked. The keys to frying are simple:
* Use a huge pot of oil or fill your electric fryer. The more oil you use, the faster the oil temperature will rebound after you add your cold food, which can easily knock a small pot of oil down fifty degrees.
* Use a frying or candy thermometer and monitor it. Too low and you’ll get greasy, undercooked food. Too hot and you’ll get smoke and eventually fire.
* Keep an eye on the food. If it stops sizzling or emitting steam, it’s probably starting to overcook. The force of the food’s internal moisture escaping as steam prevents oil from seeping in, but when the steam stops escaping, the food is dry and will start to suck up oil from the pot.
* Use a fire extinguisher. Duh.

6. Brine. I’ve preached the brining gospel here plenty of times, but here it is in condensed form: Brine lean meats before cooking them. That includes most pork, chicken, and turkey, and you can brine shrimp as well. Brining infuses water and some salt into the meat, helping prevent the meat from drying out as it cooks, which lean meat does tend to do, especially if you like to push your pork past medium.

7. Using proper heat. You need to learn your stove over the course of many meals to understand where “medium-high” really lies. On medium-high, a chicken breast seared in a hot pan in a little bit of oil should develop a nice brown exterior in under three minutes, but more than two. A chicken cutlet (sliced and/or pounded to ¼” thick) should cook through in two minutes per side, and a properly seasoned piece of salmon should have a slightly crispy brown crust in about two and a half minutes. Cooking over heat set too high will result in uneven cooking, with a raw interior and a perfectly-cooked exterior, or a perfectly-cooked interior surrounded by leather.
When the recipe says “simmer,” that doesn’t mean “boil the shit out of it.” Turn the heat down until the bubbles are small and aren’t coming too quickly. When the recipe says “sweat,” don’t sauté. Stir the cut aromatics in the hot oil, sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture, and let the mixture sit over medium to medium-low heat for six or seven minutes until the onions are translucent and golden.
When pan-frying, use plenty of oil and add the food when the oil starts to shimmer, which may mean starting on high or medium-high heat and backing it off as the oil heats. If it smokes, it’s too hot – and yes, I know ATK likes to talk about wisps of smoke, but they’re wrong, because smoke means the oil is breaking down. You might consider a splatter-screen if you pan-fry often, and always remember to turn the gas off or take the pan off the burner before adding any alcohol to a hot pan. (I have, in fact, ignited a few pans, and am fortunate that alcohol burns at a pretty low temperature.)
Remember that long cooking times typically mean indirect heat. On a grill, that means putting the food on a part of the grate that isn’t directly over the heat source.

8. Buy better ingredients. It depresses me to walk into the local Stop and Shop and see the sad excuses for fruits and vegetables offered in that section of the store, especially since a mile away is one of the best farmstands in the area (Wilson Farms), selling superior-quality produce at comparable prices. Food is no different than anything else in life: garbage in, garbage out. If you start with bad produce, no amount of cooking skill or seasoning is going to create a great salad or pie or contorno. Some basic rules of thumb when shopping for fresh produce, meats, fish, and cheeses:
* Produce should be brightly colored and, with a few exceptions like basil, stored in a cool area. Leafy things shouldn’t be wilted or have brown spots, and if any part of a leaf has started to break down into a slightly oozy green substance, then it’s gone bad. Solid fruits and vegetables should be heavy for their sizes, indicating the presence of plenty of moisture in the fruit. Buy whole when you can, as it lasts longer and avoids risk of cross-contamination at the store. Carrots with the leaf stems on top are better than trimmed carrots, which are better than peeled carrots, which are better than the fake “baby carrots” sold in bags (nothing more than peeled, cut full-sized carrots tumbled to give them smooth, rounded exteriors). Fresh beats frozen, and the only acceptable foods in cans are beans and, if the quality is high enough, pears, which are nearly impossible to get out of season because they store and travel poorly.
* Fish shouldn’t smell fishy; if it does, it has already gone bad, and no amount of seasoning will get rid of that taste. Don’t be afraid to ask the monger to let you smell the fish before you buy it. Fish should be stored on ice, and the monger should provide ice for the trip home if you ask for it. In warm weather, bring a small cooler to the store. Color is not an indicator of quality in salmon, since salmon farms can alter the fish’s coloring by changing the feed. Shellfish can make you extremely sick if it’s not handled properly, and salmon can even carry a rare but dangerous parasite that’s killed in cooking.
* Meats and chicken are easier to pick out, as long as they’re stored properly in a cold case and there’s good turnover at the meat counter. As with produce, the more it’s been handled, the greater the risk of cross-contamination, and the less you know about what’s in the product. If you’ve got a good knife, especially a sharp boning knife, buy whole chickens and butcher them yourself; you’ll get more bang for your buck and can save the bones (and wings, if like me you find them to be a waste of time for eating) to make stock. Remember that seasoned or marinated meats rob you of your chance to give the meat a visual inspection before buying. When buying steak, more marbling will mean a more tender end product (and higher cost, but it’s worth it). And try duck. Not only is the meat delicious, if you render the subcutaneous fat, you get one of the greatest cooking fats on the planet.
* The flavor of cheese is entirely determined by what the cow, goat, sheep, or water buffalo eats, so that “Parmesan” cheese from Argentina or Wisconsin isn’t going to rival the Parmiggiano-Reggiano from Italy. Buy cheeses from the right places, looking for an official seal if it’s from Europe (Denominación de Origen from Spain, for example). A good cheesemonger should be willing to give you a taste of any cheese you want, and be willing to cut to any size you’d like. Buy in small quantities that you expect to use in a few days; soft cheeses go bad quickly, hard cheeses can become too hard to eat out of hand, and all cheeses are prone to absorbing other flavors in the fridge. Wrap your cheese in waxed paper to give it some room to breathe, then plastic wrap to keep off flavors out. Shredded or grated cheese is halfway to stale when you buy it, and any cheese can be dismantled quickly with the use of a good box grater .

9. Sauce. I’m not suggesting that you whip up a hollandaise every time you poach an egg or steam some asparagus, but any time you sear meat in a pan, you’re halfway to a pan sauce. Deglaze the pan with some wine, beer, chicken stock, or chicken broth, then return to the pan to the heat and simmer most of the liquid away, scraping the pan bottom to dissolve the brown bits (known as fond) into the liquid as it thickens. Boost the sauce with a little cognac, some chopped shallot, some Dijon mustard, and chopped fresh herbs (or a pinch of dried); you can add a few tablespoons of heavy cream if you’d like, or even full-fat coconut milk. Remove from the heat and mount it with two tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, and season with salt and pepper. I’ve also shown you how easy it is to make a buerre blanc, which is great on fish, white-meat chicken, and many vegetables. Hoisin is one of the few jarred sauces I’ll use, but you can build a simple pseudo-Asian sauce with soy sauce, honey, a pinch of dried chili flakes, some cornstarch dissolved in water (which will thicken the sauce when heated, so add this to the pan with the vegetables still in it), and a shot of toasted sesame oil right before serving. You can get a lot of extra mileage out of a simple dish like sear-roasted fish or steamed broccoli by saucing it properly.

10. Play with your food. I know it’s trite advice, but it’s true. You may not feel up to experimenting right away, but there are little things even the novice cook can do, like altering or adding herbs and/or spices to dishes, or adding extra flavors when the food is off the heat, like the toasted sesame oil I mentioned above or some toasted sesame seeds, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or some slivered toasted almonds or ground peanuts. There are, unfortunately, some bad combinations of foods, but it won’t take you long to understand what foods play nicely together to encourage you to experiment more, until you get to the point where you can devise your own recipes from scratch or recreate something you ate in a restaurant just by figuring out the ingredients as you eat it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

BBQ Band Aids

Bacon Strips Bandages
Ouch! That smarts! Treat your minor cuts, scrapes and scratches with the incredible healing power of a designer bandage from Accoutrements. And if a fancy bandage isn't enough to dry up your tears, how about a FREE TOY! Each comes in a 3-3/4" tall metal pocket tin and contains a small plastic trinket to help make even the ouchiest owies feel all better in no time. The 3" x 1" Bacon Strips are cut to look like small slabs of bacon. Fifteen per tin.


BBQ Primer #3 - Interstate BBQ

Interview with Jim Neely Conducted by Brian Fisher

See that's the problem that you have in the food business. Unless you have a McDonald's or chain or something like that, the barbecue business or the food business, whether you're cooking steak or something like that, it's predicated all on the owner or the person.
People ask me all the time, what's the difference between my barbecue and other people's barbecue? I emphatically tell them it's me. It's definitely me. Because, whenever I'm out of here, the food don't change that much but things change.
Attention to Detail changes?
I'm almost sure that's what it is. Everything to me is important. My business starts where that asphalt ends and that concrete driveway starts in here. Then you're on my property. My business starts there.
From that parking lot, all the way to the back, it's important to me. I don't give a damn how minute. There's no such thing "I didn't get around to it." Well nothing, it's not right. Your bathrooms, everything, if it's not right, it's just not right. But they don't get that bent out of shape as I do. Cause they'll just blow the hell out of me because the ketchup ain't where its supposed to be or know about things or how cranky I am. It ought to be that that way. And instead of y'all walking around teasing me, man dad, he's just raising hell cause he can't blah, blah, blah.
It's not about that. If you're the type person where everything's got to be right, your product will be right. You've got your nose to it. If you show up and "well, you know... . No, no, no that's not the way it is.
I grew up in this town. Delta Airlines is getting ready to do a story on what makes Memphis barbecue so different. I guess when you grew up in a town where it's always been done right and you've got a history of it. Well, you know how it's supposed to taste. And, you're not a good judge of something if you never went nowhere and you just did one thing in one place. But when you travel, you experiment, you venture out you experiment with things, you know.
I grew up in this town and I used to love the Memphis barbecue.
(Takes call.)
But there out in those small greasy spoon places. I used to go them and they were beer joints. I mean they had a juke box playing, man, and people would be drinking beer maybe dancing on the floor and they had these little small pits that maybe they could only could 10 or 12 slabs of ribs all day long. But my god, the detail that they were able to pay them. Every 5 minutes they've got this moping sauce. They're in there mopping it and turning them and moping them. Man, when they come out.
When you eat today, you quest for that. Where is that taste at?
Where is that taste? It's just not there. A lot of times, these little backyard barbecue places--
(Radio Call)
Tha t's the thing that you look for. I used to go to Cobb Collor down on Beale Street . Up until a few years ago, there's a little vendor down there selling barbecue. Man.
(Radio Call)
I thin k that's the thing that really intrigued me about being in Memphis . When I got opened up here, barbecue was never, never, nothing I would ever do in my lifetime. It was never even a dream.
This little building right here, used to be grocery store and I bought that in '79 to give my son a job. He came out of the military. We opened a little store and it was so profitable. I was in the insurance business, doing about six figures a year. I'm comfortable. It was so good, I said, you know, when maybe when I retire from insurance, I could sell a little beer, cigarettes, you know, make me a little extra income- utility bill or something.
So I asked the man if he'd give me long term lease. He said why don't you buy the property off of me. Make you a good deal. So I bought it.
This was business and over there was a business. This was a beer joint and that was a little hamburger stand. They cooked (unclear). After I bought it, I started thinking barbecue. What made me start thinking barbecue, was I'd grown up in Memphis . I left here in '55; January of '55 I went into the military. I got out. I went out to California and stayed until '72. I used to come to Memphis twice a year, up until moving here. The moment that I'd cross that river bridge, I'd head for the barbecue place- my favorite place to get me some barbecue.
What was your favorite place?
At that time, Jeff's downtown, Joe's, Uncle Joe's (Unclear) Pepper. I mean these were great places. Johnny Mills was long gone by that time. They just had some great places.
After I got back here, all of a sudden, I couldn't any good barbecue anymore in Memphis . All the old people had died. Small places, kids didn't want it. Course they didn't build it good, it was a job and it stayed a job. Whereas they could have expanded and been as big as Corky's with the product they had. But they didn't have that foresight or wisdom.
Next thing, I find myself, I live down there almost to State Line Road down toward Mississippi , straight down 30. You gotta understand, when I want barbecue I'm driving all the way across town to summer to Gridley's. I said, damn, now something's got to really be bad if I'm going to drive- you know it's always the black neighborhood where the barbecue was. I'm going to dive there across all these black neighborhoods, all the way across Memphis to go over there to buy barbecue. Something is missing here. Where did we lose the thing?
So I started thinking about barbecue here. And I was going to get in there and help them for about six weeks. Now its been 23 years. I did the thing everybody do. I went out and built me a pit over there. Before I got ready to open up, I had this guy who had a barbecue place in my neighborhood in California . He was from Louisiana and he had a good product. Now all of a sudden- I was going back to California about twice a year- now I couldn't wait to get back to California to eat his barbecue. I'm going all the way to California . I'm going to California . I'm leaving Memphis going there to eat barbecue.
I called him one day I asked what I was doing here. I asked him if I come out, would he show me some pointers? He said "I'll show you everything but I won't give you the recipe for my barbecue sauce." Well I didn't really want that no way.
The main thing that I really wanted to know- how in the world do you start out that fire and keep it going all day? Cause even in the back yard in the grill the fire would go out. You got to take the meat; if you don't take the meat off, you got to shoot some lighter fluid and redo it. Now your meat's going to taste like lighter fluid. That's what I really wanted to know.
So I asked him, he said you don't do that. I said what? He showed me his pit where he had devised a method where he burned natural gas and hickory wood. He fired that wood with gas and kept it burning where he had a constant temperature all the time.
So I cam back and modified that pit. And that way, I didn't have to worry about all that charcoal and ash and being able to clean this thing out and what have you. It worked great. So later on, I took and built two great big ones that I designed and everything.
So you designed the pits?
The pits here and the four pits that are in Neely's barbecue. That's my nephew. I designed their pits. By cooking with them, we use indirect heat. Now hat's my secret to keeping the moisture in my- my meat is so tender and moist. My ribs, will be so done. They're pretty and golden and yet, still, when you reach the bone, the meat just comes off of it. Because,, I'm able to maintain that temperature. With indirect heat, I'm not searing this meat and scorching it.
In the meantime, when we're using natural gas, I'm able to keep the flue 99% closed which means I'm maintaining the heat. On top of maintaining all the heat, I'm also maintaining all the moisture because, that meat that's dripping that water and oil down into the bottom of that pit and that heat makes it evaporate and come into a humidity. So, that whole pit has always got moisture but it's the flavor and the moisture from the meat- from their own juices.
You open the door of that pit when it's really cooking your glasses, the first thing that they're going to do is fog up. I never even had that in mind. I been going to barbecue contests and I see these guys got these cookers were they've go a way stick steam in it every now and then.
Well, what does steam do to a dirty carpet? It cleans it. That's what it does to meat. Every time you shoot steam in it, you're washing the flavor off. If you can do it with the same moisture from the drippings of that meat and that's what happens. They cook real good. That's the main thing, you've got to have something to cook on.
Then, for the first three years, I used Cattleman's which is made by French's, barbecue sauce, which is one of the best commercial barbecue sauces in my opinion. I would modify it and doctor on it. In the meantime, I started talking to them old people in my neighborhood. Old people that on holidays they used to barbecue in their backyard, and man. I talked to them and I got their recipes.
I would take a little of this. I'd come in that kitchen- about 2 or 3 years, I'd be making up a batch of sauce trying it and trying it. Then I'd let the customers try it until I finally got it right. I s hip barbecue sauce, right now, all over the country. All over this country, I ship barbecue country. People come through the Memphis Airport , they eat and take the sauce home and there's not a day pass we don't ship 2,3, or4 cases somewhere.
I'm working on a deal now, there's a grocery chain with six stores up in Portland . I've got a friend there and I've been talking with this guy they're all in the same yacht club. In fact, the guy that owns the store, he's the commodore. His question to my friend was, "I like his sauce but shelf space. Why would anybody come into buy his sauce when they don't know it?"
So I'm thinking maybe I could go on up there and do a display like the do at Sam's. Cut food, let you taste it. If you can get a hundred people buying it who like it that day, it ain't going to do nothing but grow. They're going to tell somebody else about it and it's going to grow and then you'll be out there in that part of the country. You won't have to be shipping. You can tell people, it's in the stores in Portland .
If you can the next six stores to go pretty good, maybe some other chain or a big chain will look at it. Like I say, if it happens, it happens. If it don't, hell, it don't bother me. They're so many avenues, things I could do. If we had the people to do it with. See that's the hardest thing about success.
What's the trick to growth while maintaining quality and reputation?
Trying find somebody that thinks and feels the same way that you do. That's a hard thing, to find people who think and feel the way you do. But, unless you have that you've really got a problem. I could probably run six or eight places right now. But I'll never find that continuity of people. You've got to go in with people that -- First of all, that first of all you trust with product and seco nd of all that you trust with your money. Right here in Southahven, the fastest growing area in whole state of Mississippi , Southhaven , Mississippi the fastest growing, right there at Goodman Road , right now, there's some facilities that have been closed. It's right at that Wal-Mart. That Wal-Mart is 24/7. You can hardly get in there. But right out there in the front of it there's a Backyard Burger, Chick-fil-a, Schlotzky's. But there's a facility that's closed. (Unclear) If I do that, that means I got to go to work every day. I do it every day anyway, but... I just right close to there from my house- over this hill. I live right at Shelby drive and Weaver which is Mississippi 301. So, once I get in my car, seven minutes, I'm at Goodman Road . All I have to do is go across.
It's just hard because I travel quite a bit. I'll be gone all of May. Then I'll be gone part October. In between June and October, I'm going to find somewhere else to go. Then, I'm going back to Europe for 3 or 4 weeks and it's time for me to that. In the meantime, if you can grow and find people to grow with, then you'll grow.
Airport Location
The place I've got in the airport, I really would like out of there. I'd like to take my people out of there then I could put them in Southaven . The airport is no great place really to be. You've got a captive audience, but I don't need a captive audience. People that need a captive audience are people who don't have too good of a product and he needs that. Whereas you come through, either buy this or you don't eat don't eat nothing. Last year, this is two years in a row, the airport authority, off of my sales- your rent is based on your sales- the airport authority earned $5,500 per square foot. That's what they earn in rent.
If I wasn't in there, I could take them people. I could take $100,000 and pay $12,000 in rent. If I were to pay $12,000 rent on the outside market, I would be talking about Germantown , or somewhere. Plenty of space. Nice place and my sales would probably be $250 to $300 thousand dollars a month. I've got the product. I know I have it. After 20 something years, all these magazine articles, people writing me up. I'm USA Today or something. I know good and well what we would be doing. It's not no great thing. Everybody's chattering and running around thinking airport, airport, airport you know and it sounds good. But everything that sounds good is not that good.
Plus, you're limited. You've got all these restrictions. First of all, if you're in the airport, then you've got to be there under the umbrella of HostMariott. Now you're going to do a partnership with them. Then second, when you get from under that umbrella, you've got the Airport Authority. Then you've got the FAA. Who needs it. Who needs it.
I appreciate the security. I fly a lot. But I mean for a business person. Atlanta Georgia , all these big stores in there selling these fashionable clothes and stuff. A great facility, their sales are made because Atlanta is a big airport. Memphis airport is a hub, but it is known as a 45 minute hub. Meaning, just about the longest that you're going to be on the ground, is 45 minutes. But with Atlanta , you've got a hub that it's a big, big, international airport.
There are people going to be coming in from everywhere to that hub, going to England , Paris , and places. Man, you've got 2 and one-half or three hour layover. These are the people who are going to go in those stores. They're rally going to go is they've got a girlfriend or a relative who lives in Atlanta who's going to spend those 3 hours with them. They'll probably eat. Then, they're going to start browsing and looking in the stores. Then they'll start traveling. Think about it; they've got all this damn inventory that they cant get the market in there.
Like I say, I can definitely understand it because September 11th was a wake-up call. It's bad because it's the American public; we're the one who are going to have to always suffer. There's probably not a person in there that would meet a relative that would a person that would do something. I don't know if they're trying to keep the numbers where they can keep a better eye on what's going on or what. I don't even believe a terrorist is going to operate or nothing like that. Cause if he can't get on an airplane or get out there on the tarmac ain't nothing he can do to much.
Even without being back there in the back, the back of the Memphis airport, what the hell's to stop one from coming in there and going into one of the bathroom or something leaving a big bomb or something in the bathroom and he goes on down to his gate. If he put enough stuff in there he'll still blow up half of the airport, you know. You can't stop terrorists. You can't stop a person that want to kill you, especially if you don't know who he his. You've got to build you a vault and get in and stay in. That's about he only way cause if you come out.
I came in there. When I came in and opened up, the store was still there. This was the only dinning room we had, right here. This was the dining room. Well, we got busier. People were waiting to get in. After a couple of years, we knocked this here hole out and we took up half of the store. We still kept one half where you could come, go to the mailbox. Well, we look around. Six months later, people still in the door. Then we took all of the store. Then, a year later, they're still out of the door. Then we took and added on to back all the way across, where we can seat about 265 people.
Your growth is really dependent upon how well you prepare and the product you put out for the people. If you don't put nothing out (unclear) people are not coming back.
What's do you want customers to know when they taste your food?
I think that when they come in and eat they there's lots of time and lots of pride and there's a lot of satisfaction that you get out of that. Shit, I'm gong to make money. That's what I'm in business for, but there's a lot of satisfaction when you get these different magazine articles. Like this article here ran saying we were the best little pork house in Memphis. When that ran these people went out and ate at every barbecue place in Memphis and rated them with stars. Four was the highest that you could get. I was the only one who got four. This people Magazine article, they went around to 36 states eating barbecue all over the country and they come up with a top 10. We came in number 2. USA Today, last year, said Memphis is one of the best airports in the country to be stranded in simply because of the barbecue that's in the airport. Then they came back about a month later and did an article. They said Interstate barbecue was the best pulled pork sandwich in America. Then a year or so before that they did a sub-line? diner review of where to eat certain foods in America. My restaurant and the Bunting Street restaurant were the only two that made that sub-line? dining review and, that's where to eat in America. Mine was for the pulled pork sandwich and Bunting Street was for a home cooked meal, which was real good because channel 3 came down and did interview us. They got about 2 or 3 minutes on at lunch time. Every time your name is out there, you want people to remember it.
People come in from all over the country with magazine article in their hands. I had article that ran in the Associated Press which is over on the wall and they're some more around on the other side. I had one guy come all the way from Germany because the Associated Press goes everywhere. That's been my growth.
When I started off my growth, I didn't do no advertising. People come ask me about advertising, I still had my insurance agency going. I wasn't hurting for money. I had enough money coming. I was able to set here and take my time and develop this thing.
And, I've done a lot of things slowly. Like I helped my nephews get in business. A couple of years time, they saw Corky's barbecue sauce on the market. They jumped in and put some on the market. (Unclear) You want to know the truth, that's one of their weaknesses, their barbecue sauce. It's not hat great. Barbecue sauce is like a man and woman in marriage. If they don't compliment each other, pretty soon, they just don't go together.
Sauce versus Meat
It's a combination of both. There's an old clichÈ: You can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit. So, if you've got chicken shit, I don't care whose sauce you put on it, it's still chicken shit. If you've got a good piece of meat that's cooked pretty good and you've got a good sauce, it's going to compliment almost anything. If it's good, it's good.
A-1 steak sauce, one of the best that you can almost buy. It goes good with anybody's steak. Now any old taste is great unless you've got a great steak. To me a real great steak, like a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, it doesn't even need no sauce. The marinating and the seasoning that they put on it is all that you really need.
Lots of times when you put sauce on it or something you're trying to cover a taste. When cover see somebody eating something, and they're moving it around or shaking something, they don't like it.
My ribs, I eat them dry. I eat them with sauce on them. Of course, we know that people eat barbecue with sauce on them because it goes together. It's like cake and ice cream. They go together. You expect barbecue sauce.
The first time and judged the Memphis barbecue contest about 27 years ago. I was an inside judge. They bring this meat out to a big table around a big table they bring us so many trays of meat with numbers on them. I'm sitting there picking this meat, pulling it apart. Then I would eat the meat. Take my time. Chew it; swallow it. Then I'd take my finger do the sauce. Take a piece of meat put on the sauce. What am I looking for? First of all doneness. That's why I'm pulling it. Second of all I'm looking for flavor and moisture. Now I'm looking t see if they compliment each other. They didn't know anything about that. It was just a bunch of people who envy because they were VIP down there judging. The next year after I did that, they started a judging school. Most of them, they really didn't know you know.
A good cook ought to know a little bit about spices. He ought to know hat a certain spice does and how it reacts.
All of our shoulders are pre-rubbed before they're cooked. The shoulders that are going to be cooked tonight have already been rubbed. We've got a shake rub that we shake on them. This rub was designed by me using paprika, chili powder, different herbs, a small amount of cumin and no salt.
No salt in the modern world
Different blends, there's going to be some of that in there anyway, especially some of these preservatives. I designed that (Interstate rub). That same seasoning. That's the same seasoning that goes in my barbecue sauce. When I'm cooking a 60 quart batch, a full four cup, cup of that goes in there, along with my other spices. And, that goes into just about everything that we cook. When I'm cooking my chicken, I take that same sauce, that same seasoning mix. Now, I take it and add salt and black pepper to it and blend it up real good and we go from there.
You have a flavor profile/a consistency/When it comes from you people can recognize what they taste.
That's right.
Interstate. That's all right because you know that you're talking to Jim Neely and you know that there's a Neely's barbecue. It's so easy to say. So many times people say "I'm going to Neely's" I'm talking about Interstate. But you never really know which one you're talking about because the boys get lots of notoriety form our name. That's the reason they used it. People say... aw hell man, they're my brother's kids. Hell, he died early.
Same flavor profiles at Neely's
Entirely different. Their seasoning and the sauce is entirely different. I helped them design their pit but that (sauce and seasoning) I don't give to no one.
My brother in California, I gave it to him. He has to order through me. But when he wants to do it, I'll call and have 4-5-600 pounds delivered to him.
Blend your own spices?
I used to. Flavorite were doing it, but they got so big, they quit. So I got a company up in Little (Shoe)? Wisconsin that does it. I can't recall the name of it. They even bottle my sauce up and they're pretty big up there. Funny damn named company. Flavorite recommended them to me and they do all my bottling of my sauce. In fact, I must have half a truck load coming in now.
Then I've got a little old company out here ICA that I now will buy the stuff that I use here with my seasoning, like my onion salt, my cumin, black pepper, and stuff, I get it at ICA Ingredient Corporation of America.
(Unclear) I've had another company come through, he's doing Hog Wild sauce and a few other people. He came to me and I said let me tell you something, "when I got somebody doing something and it's working for me. I don't give damn if you going to be .20 a bottle cheaper. I'm not going to take that chance."
My taste is out there. Now when a customer buys some it's going to a be a little different because you're doing it. And, there ain't no way that you can tell me that it's going to taste the same cause it's not going to taste the same. I don't give a damn what he says. Because, the special (unclear) that I gave the on ketchup, you can't use this old run of the mill Hunts, regular mustard. Heinz is cheap. You may look at a can of Hunt's tomato paste and it my say 33 and 1/3% tomato sauce. It may have once been. It's been through the damn repack (unclear). See mine's got to come 33 and 1/3 and it's not a repack. It's go to be heavy. It's got to really be a 33 and a 1/3 but not a repack. Lot's of time you buy that 33 and 1/3 repack and you cut it, cut it and keep cutting and you get through and you cook it. You just don't' have that consistency and that texture that you want. You can tell. You just watch it run back out like water (slipping sound). No flavor will be in it. Really won't.
Speaking of moving slow. For years, I never carried fries in here. When I stated out. (Break)
If you go slow in your affairs, you'll find that you know what you want. I finally opened up, two weeks before Christmas, a USDA kitchen. Put in almost 300 and something thousand dollars back there in this building.
First two weeks, we such a success. When we opened up FedEx came in and downloaded software. I went and bought a brand new computer and they downloaded it. We put that system in and we were limited on what we could do. We had to keep calling them back. We were so successful after the first two weeks that FedEx came out and bought a complete computer system networked direct to them. I could take a package and send it to you and I can track that package from the moment it leaves here until the moment it gets to your house. I also know what it costs and everything.
A box leaves out Federal Express, it'll go two ways. They're going to charge me either by weight or dimension whichever is greater. So, we put the weight in and we put the dimensions in and the computer tells you the rate. When I get through, it puts out the weight and everything. My sticker goes on. When they pick it up, it's ready to roll.
When it prints it out, it prints out a receipt for me, which is my invoice to pay Federal Express with. They don't even have to bill me. (Unclear) write a check though. It's going to be good because people were so receptive. People were sitting there waiting. They say I've been (unclear) but that really wasn't what I wanted. But, since it was the only dog in town, we had to hunt with it. Plus we didn't limit them.
Going to Corky's is like going to McDonald's. I want a number one or a number three or a number 4. That's a pound of meat and a side of ribs with a bottle of sauce etceteras. I always say, "whatever you want. You want me to send a half pound of meat and spend that kind of money? I will send a half pound of meat. Do you want to send 5 and a half and three racks of ribs?" I'll send it the way that you want it."
Now it may come a time if I ever get big enough. Man, coming Christmas time when you're sending 100 packages a day you ain't got time to be back there (unclear) it. You've got to have it already ready to rock and roll. Then it may be different. But until that time, I like to keep it just the way you want it.
Logistics. How does it get done during the busy season?
We were able to go out and do it with the management team, this year. As we grow back there, I will constantly bringing in people to work the USDA kitchen. I will take people out of here and put them there and replace them here- take my experienced people. But you'd be surprised man, 3 people back there can put out a lot of food. Especially when you'll start say back in October. Then I can seal it and freeze it. You come up and all of a sudden you need 10 racks of ribs you got to back and get ten racks or ribs and (unclear) and they're gone. That's where we're (unclear). We're even shipping the links. We ship the rib tips. We shipping chicken. Most of them aren't doing it. We even ship the beans. I can't ship the slaw cause you can't to freeze it.
We're still looking at containers. We're still experimenting. I got on the internet yesterday cause one of the boxes that Corky's uses, I got one of those Styrofoam boxes they use. I got a company name of it and I asked them to send me a catalog and have a salesman call me. Some of the boxes I've got, they do OK, but just for two racks of ribs, they're just not really practical. They're too big and their dimensions are wrong- too much dimension. That's what I'm interested in. It takes time to acquire what you need.
Airport Location
I met with HostMarriott yesterday. They're getting ready to open up a Budweiser Brew House in the Airport. Now because of the success that I've had at the airport. The only reason that I'm in there is because Host Marriott had this place the Tennessee Tavern and they weren't doing a damn thing with them. They probably weren't' doing 4-5-600 dollars all day in that whole tavern. That's with beverage and everything.
I went in there just like a Sunday, even as slow as it is, Sunday, I did over $2,000 in my window and they sold over $1,000 worth of m food in their shop. There's 3,000 there. They sell $3,000 worth of food, naturally, their beverage sales go up. So, beginning with this Budweiser Brew House which will open up the middle of next month, it's going to be, when you come through B concourse, you've got the pro golf shop, right around the corner is going to be this Budweiser Brew House. The only smoking restaurant that's going to be in the airport.
To open it up, they had to have minority participation. I was one of the three that (unclear) name in. They had a super duper guy from Maryland come in and talk to us. Came back a couple of weeks later with is family and he told me I didn't get it but, however, we want to use our product.
Right away, and I let him know. (Unclear) Like he told me, we'll talk about it. Couple of years later, I said I'm going to call him and ask him. He said "you were so close and your identity and what you do. But the only thing that made you different was, the guy that they chose was a Burger King man and as you know we're the largest in the country in Burger King. The accounting system was so much in line with what we are doing."
I said, "Let me ask you this, are you selling accounting because you should have went with Ernst and Young if that's what you were looking for. If I had the product, how much would it be to adopt your accounting system to yours? I'm doing it at the airport. When y'all sell my food over there, I'm accepting our accounting system at the airport. When you're telling me what y'all have sold every day. How do I really know?
So, y'all don't sell my food. I got to thinking about it. I said hell. Then I told them I was going to leave. Lot's of pilots started asking me was I really going to leave. I'd wish you'd stay. So I decided that I'm going to go and let them do it.
We met with them yesterday just trying to get some feelers on how we're going to do this, price wise and what have you. I got a contract at home. It's all blank. But the wording and everything, I read it. I did lots of underlining. One section, I can't license nobody else to do that in that airport. Not even myself. I can't even open up nothing else in there.
I can't buy that. I'm going to let you take my product and now you can walk all over the airport cause you know I got a winner. That won't be in the contract. (Unclear) Cause I don't' really need it. It's not going to be that great amount of money that I'm going to be making out of it. And the headache they give me over there every day and whatever, I don't really need that. We going to do some fine tuning. The guy I met with, he's going to send me up... He's from the corporation and that's his job. I think that he thinks he's really smooth, you know. But I went over with my little high school education. I sat down and read this shit you know. You don't have to be no MIT lawyer to read certain some things. And, another thing in there, we're looking at a year, but with a 90 day notice they can successively add on and add on. I don't bind it up.
If that's going to be the case, then what about if the price of the meat starts going up? There'd have to be something. I mean I don't want to do that. Let's do it any other time. Right now they don't now. Right now, this coming May, the contract is supposed to be over with. Because of September 11th, Host has an extension of year in their contract. But after that year, they don't even know if they're going to be there or not.
This whole thing was, since the airport authority is so in tune with me and what I do, they're hoping that'll be a plus- that they're selling my barbecue. The Airport Authority, what do they want? They want sales. Why do they want sales? Because that's income for them. Northwest Airlines, they want sales. Because everything that's sold in that corridor lowers their landing figures. See what I'm saying.
It gets silly out there; it does. I've got that little rope area. They went and talked to my son in law saying I didn't know that you had moved that stuff. Right at the end of that rope, right there where that Northwest section is, they went and put a garbage container there. Then they set a rack up there to put my knives, forks and the tops for the sodas. That means a person comes to window to get a soda. Now he's got to go around the corner. Nowhere to set it and try to hold his bag or whatever and put a top on it which was crazy to me.
A woman who works for Host came up there and got a sandwich. As soon as she got to the end of that thing, about where that garbage can started out of that rope area, she slipped and fell in some water. They ended paying Host $6,900 in workman's comp.
Now their insurance company is sending me a letter. First of all, I don't have a damn thing to do with that out there. That's the Airport Authority and (unclear) the water on the floor. Second of all, the girl that fell that manager from the food kitchen was up there with her. He saw, prior to that happening, the Host man came and empty that garbage can. It must have been water in it. You say you saw water dripping on the floor and that's what she slipped in. (Unclear)
I'm not responsible for that. I don't mop the halls out there.
Another, example. They've got the big food prep kitchen downstairs. In there, they've got three walk-in coolers and a walk-in freezer. In there for Corky's products and my products, we've got a roll-in cage with locks on it. That's where we put our solid meats and out other meat. We lockup stuff in there.
Some of Corky's stuff's been missing. Now I been going to that food prep kitchen for years and half the time at night, they don't even lock it. The janitorial people, the Northwest Airlines people, all of them is down in that basement. When they're not loading airplanes, they're down there. They can walk into that kitchen and walk into that cooler about any time they want to. They finally put a lock on the door. I had a key for my people to go in and out. To close up, we've got to be able to go down there and put the meat up.
Here we are one day, without even having a meeting with us or telling us why, (You know, I'm a partner out there.) he changed the locks. Our people go out there, they can't even get in. What the hell's gong on? Like I told him, you don't have ask me, cause you don't work for me. But in as much as I'm a partner, and I was out here even before you came here as new manager, it would have been a courtesy for you to tell me that you were trying to prevent loss.
We have another area right out before you go into that door, it's a dry storage area where we've got great big old fenced in yards in there like at our house. It's where you keep potato chips, bread, spare equipment and everything. Shit, he locked that door. You can't get in there without his manager or having the key.
Now you can go out there on Sunday and they're short handed and if that guy is gone up and got t go all the way down and up to the front. Up B or got to go all the way across to C or A and carry some food. You've got wait until he comes back.
I may have a manager out there delivering something and told him 30 minutes to deliver something and get back. Now, all a sudden, it's an hour. They still won't give me a key.
They say, what about (unclear) and his manager. His manage is responsible for that. Anything comes missing, he's responsible. I don't need that kind of stuff.
Early Memphis/ Rib Sandwich
When you used to sell a rib sandwich, now we do a rib sandwich, but we put it on a three section plate. Your rib, your slaw, and your beans.
When I was a kid, your rib sandwich came on bread and it had the tastiest damn slaw you'd ever seen. They'd take that piece of bread put that slaw on it cut out three or four ribs like that put that bread on top of it. Naturally, you're going to pull it apart and eat it.
You know they didn't put a lot of sauce like today, because when it comes out of the pit, remember, the sauce was already cooked in as you went. See, that's the beautiful part about that.
When we do ribs here, they're going to really wet because you don't put sauce on while you're cooking. Because in a commercial pit, you'd be cleaning it every night. Every time you'd get through, it'd be time to clean it. With commercial cooking, you just can't do that.
The little small places, like were talking about the guy over at Hawkins Grill, you got time to mop that stuff. They don't ever clean the pits, no way. Maybe that's why they taste so good.
You don't have to put no sauce on it. The thing about putting sauce on meat when it's cooking, when it's hot, it has a way of drawing. You put sauce on top of it and it draws it all the way through to the bone. And when you eat, that flavor is all they way through.
That's what I like about these pits here. We're able to get that pit up and keep that temperature whereas pretty soon, that bone is 300 degrees in the inside.
Those pits here, it's 300 degrees. Ribs. Shoulders about 325 degrees and beef brisket, we turn it down.
Back in the back, I've got a commercial Old Hickory Pit which is a great pit. Ribs it runs about 230 degrees. Again, because the size of these pits, they're so vast. These pits are 8' tall, 8' wide and 6' deep. When you get 300 degrees up there it's a lot different between that 300 and 250 and that other pit of course is smaller and compact. It's different.
Operation of Gas Pits (Does a drawing)
In that pit, on the outside, you've got the firebox over here like this off to the side and you've got two tongues in that firebox. Over here, you've got a gas burner. Over here, you have the wood. And this one here, I've go a quarter inch plate rack that slides out and I load that with wood and charcoal.
So now, under here, I've got about an eight inch fireplace lighter. Most of them are about that long. When you light it, naturally, it's going to burn-up. So I've got one of those in. I turn it on. Turn it all the way up and when that thing gets hot enough, it starts the wood to smoldering and the charcoal smolders.
It'll go a long time. It'll take long time to catch on fire. It'll smolder a long time and you get that smoke. You heard me say 99% because up at the top there is flue. It's cracked just a little. By being tall up in the air, it doesn't take much for it to pull. With the firebox her and the fire over here, that damn thing pulls all that smoke right up through there.
It can't just go right out. So it hits the top and comes back around. Works it way right back down. You don't crack it that much. You keep mostly everything in there.
When you try to have it right here and the charcoal is here, one of two things is going to happen, you're going to have to know how much coals to put to keep that fire from being hot, hot, hot.
See, the old pit master at Leonard's, he had to sit there all night long. Sit there all nigh long. We load these damn pits up and go home. These pits cook all night long.
Every Sunday, they're steam cleaned. We've got a great big drainpipe, great big tanks outside. All that grease runs outside.

Disco Beatles

It's been a bit Beatle-heavy 'round these parts lately, and well... why stop now?

While the Beatles together blazed countless new trails for rock and pop music in the 1960s, each man went his own way in the 1970s and while each created their own niche (John: predominantly aggro-rock, Paul: power pop, George: penduluum between eastern mysticism and western pop and Ringo: well... camp Ringo, really), none of them proved to be quite as trail blazing and each actually found themselves dabbling in the popular music of the era.

And when you think of the 1970s, what's the first genre that comes to mind? If you're a snobby smartass, you say punk, but if you've a general cultural compass, you think of that funk/disco hybrid that spawned silly movies and 12" remixes and sent the Bee Gees' 1960s catalogue unfairly buried in favor of near-annoying falsetto wailing.

And John, Paul, George and Ringo? Yes, each tried their own hands at it and put their own individual character into their attempts. Ladies and gentlemen, the disco/funk Beatles!

John Lennon – What You Got

This stacked scorcher from 1974's Walls and Bridges is one of the highlights of a rather uneven album. Though recorded in New York, the bulk of material was written while Lennon was on his near-2-year "lost weekend" that saw him separated from Yoko and out in LA drunk or heavily drugged for the most part. Funnily enough, it produced some of his most aggressive music but most depressingly self examining lyrics. Lennon would have a more famous crack at the emerging disco scene a year later when his duet with David Bowie, "Fame" became a big hit, but as far as a John Lennon disco song goes, this is pretty much what you'd expect. Heavy on sounds, aggressive singing and a good hook. Not quite a Paul McCartney-good hook, but certainly catchy enough.

Paul McCartney – Goodnight Tonight

McCartney came to the disco/funk scene a bit late -- mostly on 1979's Back to the Egg album and this standalone single. Most of his Wings work features heavy basslines, but most seemed to swing back toward the Lite FM pop market (e.g. "Silly Love Songs," "With a Little Luck"). This is a cut that features a great bassline and a beat that wouldn't be out of place at Studio 54, but the flamenco touches and the sound effects that start washing out the last third of the song get to be a bit much. Still, this is the kind of song that Paul could knock off in five minutes and when you consider that you'll have the chorus stuck in your head for the rest of the day, that's a pretty impressive feat. Can now be found on the Wingspan collection.

George Harrison - Woman Don't You Cry For Me

Hari kicked off his 1976 album, Thirty-Three and 1/3, with this barnstormer, and while the rest of the album is quite good, it never gets THIS good again. Of all the Fabs' forays into disco/funk, I think this one easily reigns supreme, and considering how much more self-aware and spiritual George was becoming in the 1970s, this track is kind of a surprise. It's kick isn't that suprising considering the musicians George enlisted for the album, including Willie Weeks on bass and Billy Preston on keys, but isn't it cool how when George lays down that slide guitar lick over the top, all the funk/disco thoughts just disappear and this becomes just a great George Harrison song? Few musicians can pull that off. Great driving song, too.

Ringo Starr - Sneaking Sally Through the Alley\

Ringo's 1970s albums seem to whittle down to two that matter: 1973's Ringo and 1974's good, but far less impressive Goodnight Vienna. Ringo continued to be Ringo in the 1970s -- he never took himself too seriously, his songwriting never proved THAT good and he padded out his albums with a lot of covers he grew up loving. The music style always carried a faux-cabaret quality, so to find disco/funk from Mr. Starkey, one has to really dig deep and peruse the later 1970s albums that NO ONE bothered picking up, like 1977's Ringo the 4th. It's an unimpressive album and it surprisingly features none of the other Beatles, but there's definitely a dancier vibe to proceedings, and this cover of Allen Toussaint's tailor-made hit for Lee Dorsey actually comes off as more than passable. Hell, I'd dance to it. In fact, I do.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Off on Vacation

I will be out of touch for a few days, on vacation unitl June 15. Please check out some of my earlier blog entries.

Be back soon - Michael

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My introduction to the Beatles

This was my introduction to Beatles music in fifth grade. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is an American musical film released in 1978. Its soundtrack, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, features new versions of songs originally written and performed by The Beatles. The film draws primarily from two of their albums, the 1967 album of the same name and 1969's Abbey Road.

The production is somewhat adapted from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road, a 1974 off-Broadway production[directed by Tom O'Horgan. It tells the loosely-constructed story of a band as they wrangle with the music industry and battle evil forces bent on stealing their instruments and corrupting their home town of Heartland. The film is presented in a form similar to that of a rock opera with the Beatles' songs providing "dialogue" to carry the story, with only George Burns having spoken lines that act to clarify the plot and provide further narration.

Directed by Michael Schultz
Produced by Robert Stigwood
Written by Henry Edwards
Starring: Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees, Frankie Howerd, George Burns, Steve Martin
Music by The Beatles
Release date July 21, 1978 (USA)
Running time 113 min.
Language English
Budget $18,000,000

Side A
1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Bee Gees, Paul Nicholas
With A Little Help From My Friends - Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees
2. Here Comes The Sun - Sandy Farina
3. Getting Better - Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees
4. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - Dianne Steinberg, Stargard
5. I Want You (She's So Heavy) - The Bee Gees, Dianne Steinberg, Paul Nicholas, Donald Pleasance, Stargard

Side B
1. Good Morning, Good Morning - Paul Nicholas, Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees
2. She's Leaving Home - The Bee Gees, Jay Macintosh, John Wheeler
3. You Never Give Me Your Money - Paul Nicholas, Dianne Steinberg
4. Oh! Darling - Robin Gibb
5. Maxwell's Silver Hammer - Steve Martin & Chorus
6. Polythene Pam - The Bee Gees
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window - Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees
Bee Gees)
Nowhere Man - The Bee Gees
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) - Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees

Side C
1. Got To Get You Into My Life - Earth, Wind & Fire
2. Strawberry Fields Forever - Sandy Farina
3. When I'm Sixty-Four - Frankie Howerd, Sandy Farina
4. Mean Mr. Mustard - Frankie Howerd
5. Fixing A Hole - George Burns
6. Because - Alice Cooper, The Bee Gees
7. Golden Slumbers - Peter Frampton
Carry That Weight - The Bee Gees

Side D
1. Come Together - Aerosmith
2. Being For The Benefit For Mr. Kite - Maurice Gibb, Peter Frampton, George Burns, The Bee Gees
3. The Long And Winding Road - Peter Frampton
4. A Day In The Life - Barry Gibb, The Bee Gees
5. Get Back - Billy Preston
6. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Finale) - The Cast

Max Middleton (Keyboards & Synthesizer)
Robert Ahwai (Guitars)
Wilbur Bascomb (Bass Guitar)
Bernard Purdie (Drums & Percussion)
George Martin (Additional Keyboards)
Peter Frampton (Guitar Solos)
Tower Of Power Horn Section
Greg Adams (Trumpet)
Emilio Castilio (Tenor Sax)
Mick Gillette (Trombone & Trumpet)
Steve Doc Kupka (Baritone Sax)
Lenny Pickett (Tenor Sax & Synthesizer)
Special Thanks To:Jeff Beck
Larry Carlton
Ricky Hitchcock
Ray Russell
Freddie Tackett
Clive Chapman
David Hungate
(Bass Guitars)
David Paich
David Dowell
Jeff Porcaro
Tommy Reilly
Francis Monkman
(Moog Synthesizer)
Ray Cooper
Victor Feldman
Harry Bluestone
Gavyn Wright
(Orchestra Leaders)
Frank Decaro
Martyn Ford
(Music Contractors)

Vocals For Special Effects On "She's Leaving Home"-The Bee Gees
Recorded And Mixed At Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles
Additional Recording At Air Studios, London
Emi Studios, Abbey Road, London
Record Plant, New York
Northstar Studios, Boulder, Colorado
Recording Engineer: Geoff Emerick Of Air Studios
Assistant Engineers: Anthony D'amico
Nigel Walker
Mastered By: John Golden
At Kendun Recorders, Burbank, California
Arranged And Produced By George Martin

Eric Clapton - 1991-02-25 - London

Eric Clapton - 1991-02-25 - London
(Soundboard mp3@192)

mirrro here:

Great new book - Grill It!

I hit the library last night for some books for my vacation and found a great new cookbook. Literally everything in GRILL IT! Recipes, Techniques, Tools, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, is designed for the fellow with a rusted Weber and a cooler full of beer. These boys are the high priests of chicken thighs, cowboy steaks and the spice drawers of the Caribbean and North Africa. Cumin-crusted grilled skirt steak tacos might do it for some, or Cajun grouper or jerk wings from hell. Schlesinger is the chef and owner of the East Coast Grill in Cambridge, Mass., and Willoughby the executive editor of Gourmet magazine. Their partnership, burnished over many years, here provides ideal summer-share recipes, or a housewarming gift for that couple with a new place by the beach.

Monday, June 2, 2008


One of my diversions on the road are various food blogs that are out there. This was in the WSJ last Wednesday:

Latest Web Bloggers Give Cooking The Books a Whole New Meaning

May 28, 2008; Page B6

Generic food blogs are the scrambled eggs of culinary blogging. They require little in the way of skill and next to nothing in terms of equipment -- just a digital camera and a broadband connection.

A particular kind of food blog, however, has become the genre's Canard a la Presse Tour d'Argent. These are "cook-through" blogs, in which someone picks a cookbook and then doesn't stop cooking and blogging until the dishes for every recipe have been washed and put away.


Excerpts from cookbooks and the bloggers who are slicing and dicing their way through every recipe.The necessary ingredient: You need to be a little crazy.

Carole Blymire, a Washington, D.C., public-relations consultant, for example, has been writing "French Laundry at Home" since last year. With no real cooking experience beyond Thanksgiving dinner, she is tackling the 130 or so recipes in Thomas Keller's "French Laundry Cookbook," which may be the most technically challenging American cookbook ever written.

No matter, says Ms. Blymire, "I just opened it up and said to myself, 'Let's see what happens.' "

The site has become a huge hit in the food blogosphere, winning awards and attracting 4,000 to 5,000 visitors a day. It also has become the template for many other such cook-along blogs, with pictures of the dish at various stages of development and a rating of the final result. Personal asides are often folded in as well. (These are, after all, blogs.) Ms. Blymire uses a Miss Smartypants persona and often brags of her two loves: New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and bacon.

Cook-along bloggers say they start projects for any number of reasons: to learn culinary basics, to expand a cooking repertoire or simply to prove to themselves that they can stick with a big project from beginning to end.

Ryan S. Adams, who works in Austin for computer-graphics company Nvidia, says he was inspired by Ms. Blymire's work to start on "The Whole Beast," the offal-and-all British coobook that has a cult following in the foodie world. With dishes like "Cold Lamb's Brains on Toast," Mr. Adams says finding willing diners can sometimes be as challenging as the cooking. Ditto shopping. "I don't know where I am going to get a woodcock," he says. "I may have to go out and hunt one myself."

Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives.

Teena Gerhardt, the first blogger to tackle the book, got her Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT and now muses about algebraic topology at Indiana University. Kevin Casey is a graduate student in neuroscience at McGill University. Melissa Palladino, of Rockport, Mass., is working on a cookbook of her own, a Western-gourmet take on Ayurvedic food from India.

The three are cooking at different rates, posting one to seven recipes a week. The project is requiring not only time but also an open wallet. The grocery bills for the entire Gourmet collection is expected to run between $30,000 and $40,000.

Cookbook bloggers typically don't print the complete recipes on their blogs in an effort not to undermine sales of the selected cookbook, which is usually treated with deep affection, even reverence.

A typical attitude is that of Laurie Woodward, the Pittsburgh mom who runs "Tuesdays With Dorie," devoted to "Baking," the latest cookbook by Dorie Greenspan, one of country's most popular baking writers and a master of American and French classics.

"Dorie is like a god to a lot of bakers," says Ms. Woodward. "And she is so nice about checking in on our blog. Sometimes, she even posts something on it, and everyone goes nuts when she does."

Ms. Greenspan said in an interview that she is, indeed, charmed by the blog and considers such sites to be part of the new Web world in which professional food writers like herself are learning to work.

Perhaps the first of this genre was the Julie/Julia Project from 2002, in which Julie Powell, posing as something of a Manhattan underachiever, cooked all of the recipes from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Those Web musings (it had no pictures) went on to be printed in a best-selling book, and are now being made into a movie starring Meryl Streep.

Few of today's bloggers expect such breakout success, though Ms. Blymire has filmed a pilot for a possible Food Network show and also has had early talks about doing a cookbook.

The fact that the viewership on the blogs is far below what's needed to earn a living is fine with these writers, who say there are ample other rewards for their efforts. Cathy Irish of Maryland, who in November -- after three years, 45 pounds of butter and a pint of vanilla extract -- finished baking everything in "Maida Heatter's Cookies," says she came away from the experience with many new friends, including several with whom she has since visited in real life.

That same sense of community has also struck Mr. Casey, one of those cooking "Gourmet." After he started his project, he learned that his uncle had done something similar with the "Larousse Gastronomique" during the 1970s.

"He was this lone little guy doing this and enjoying it, but he didn't have an avenue to share it," says Mr. Casey. "Now, we can all share it with the whole world."

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