Volume 2-2012



Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publications mailing list for updates on activities associated with and Revolution Culture Journal.

THIS WEEK'S RAR TUNES:  Listen by clicking on the links or covers below.

Yours truly is offering up a little Jazz-Pop confection, with all admiration for the ancient Greeks, who knew a thing or two about winging it philosophically. Use this link or click on poor Democritus below to hear "A Simple Explanation".

Oh perversity at the county fair! I'm sure involvement with the Future Farmers of America has ruined more than a few young boys, what with all the glamour and all, and the exposure to breeding stock... Use this link or click on the good people below to hear another in a nauseating string of RAR originals - "(You Do) That Thing That Sets Me Free".

Yours truly has been all about myself of late, which is why I am behind on record reviews and most everything else, but I do have a new batch of recordings, starting with "Betty from Memphis", a tribute to stable types such as my actual Aunt Betty (Olita) in Memphis (not shown here), as well as to all those weary road warriors out there playing the soundtracks to everybody else's movies.

Call it "creative destruction", like Mitt Romney does. "Until Sam Walty's Dead" is a cowboy yarn about a villain - personified by the late and wonderful Warren Oates (below) - who has left an unfortunate legacy for himself (see chorus...). Walty is my metaphor for early 21st Century predatory capitalism, a force that must be dealt with so that honest souls can carry on.

Glory be unto Angie Omaha, whoever she is, pictured below on the cover to my next- generation version of "The Glow of Your Dark Eyes",  introduced several years back as a tune about "the dark side of loving a dark soul". Our girl Angie may not let me exploit her in this way for long, but as long as she does isn't she perfect? I mean, for this song?

"Just Eleven Minutes"  comes from a few years back, and from the same box as "The Glow of Your Dark Eyes", but the versions provided below come much closer to my ambitions for this story of a booze-fueled cuckold speeding toward a crime of passion and revenge. The song is almost entirely played around the single chord of E, with occasional transitions through A-B, for those keeping score. The "psycho" version was the original inspiration, but the Nashville chicken-pickin' version has some nice qualities. Unfortunately it also shows that as a guitar player I am no Randy Barker, though I hope to be when I grow up. (Randy Barker played with Michael Woody and the Too High Band, which in the end gave him way too little exposure, but those who heard him play remember it even 30 years later as something special.)




(Click here)

New Releases on RARadio: "Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; "Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" from Actress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; "Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio; Apteka "Striking Violet"; Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along"; Dana deChaby's progressive rock




"The Musical Meccas of the World"








Original Musical Compositions and Select Covers

Fiction and Non-Fiction

Special Projects






By A.B. Hill

Chuck clomped across the kitchen linoleum, soupy mud and snow globs dropping free from his five buckle over-boots.  Gloves were removed finger by finger, leather stiff with cold and greasy with afterbirth.  Plopping his stained Stetson on a wooden peg, Chuck unzipped his brown-duck chore coat.

“Kate!” Chuck dragged a chair away from the table.  Sitting heavily with a grunt of exhaustion he leaned forward to unclip the over-boots.  Two-thirds of the calving was done; one still-born, but no vet bills. Chuck’s bones ached. “Kate!” he bellowed again.

His wife didn’t answer.  Over-boots pulled free and tossed in a corner, Chuck finished removing his worn over-coat.  Chapped cheeks puffed with effort, Chuck heaved the stained, smelly canvas atop his boots.

“Damn it, Kate!  Where the hell are you?” Chuck hollered.  “What’s a man got to do to get a cup a joe?”  The winter calving season took more out of him each year.  Sleep deprivation from checking the herd every two hours for eight weeks, the wet, cold and daily injury were grinding him downwards, contorting his joints into permanent flexion.  Using the scarred kitchen table as leverage, he hoisted himself up. 

It was when he stood upright that he saw the box centered on the table.  His brain delayed the message his eyes sent him.  That was his box.  The one he’d put in the barn years before, hiding it and forgetting it once and for all.  What else could a man do with that kind of thing?

Coffee forgotten, though the dryness in his mouth was acute, he reached out and slid the box to himself.  Knees bending, he dropped back onto a chair marred by years neglect and overuse.

A tin cigar box, scratched paint revealing the shiny base metal, faced him.  The edges were dented, misshapen as the fingers holding it.  “How . . . what the . . . Oh, my God!” he groaned.

Now Kate’s silence made a sick sense.  She wasn’t answering because she wasn’t there.  “Oh, Jesus. . . how did she find this?”

“Kate?” he called gently.   He hoped without hope that she was laying still and quiet on her bed behind the door she closed against him every night; the one that hadn’t  opened to his touch for years.

Lies and guilt had crippled them more than brutal farm life ever could.  Her suspicions were unproven but solid as the door that kept him out.  His conscience, hardened by her silent damnation, closed his heart and throat.  Silence was routine.

Their days passed with grim determination to get them done and over.  No hope, no joy, no future; just everyday’s grinding work to pull them from their beds.

Finding the box was the proof Kate never had; until now.  All the blackness of that time was contained in this stupid, stupid box.  

He imagined the hollow sound of wind in the empty barn as she reached to pull something shiny from the rafters.  He saw the fear in her pinched face. He felt her dread in knowing this was not a child’s treasure hidden in secret delight; her disgust pooling heavy and sour in her gut when the box was opened.

Sitting in this kitchen where he’d spent his youth, his short time trying to be a loving husband and now this bitter old age, he felt as though facades were lifting off, layer by layer to reveal his true self.  He knew himself for what he was.

Chuck’s forehead sunk to rest on the box’s cool metal surface.  His eyes rolled beneath closed lids.  Tears leaked from the corners and slid into weathered creases.  He welcomed the salt burn.

After a long time, the practiced bulwark of justification raised itself into place.  Chuck raised his head and gripped the box as though to crush it.

“Well, damn it, nothing’s changed.  She’d always known and she’d stayed.  Why didn’t she dump me years ago?  Why did that woman work by my side all this time, knowing what I am and hating me for it?”    

With a shove, he stood again and tossed the box into the trash.  “Nothing but despair in a box,” he thought.  “Good riddance!”

He reached for the coffee pot and ran water into its clear carafe.  Unaware that he felt his burden lessened, his mouth relaxed as his mind returned to the calving season so far; two-thirds done and no vet bills. 


Copyright © A.B. Hill 2008







©Rick Alan Rice (RAR), March, 2012