Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

In the past week, country music lost both Billy Joe Shaver and Jerry Jeff Walker. Both were figures in the Outlaw Country movement, and I have deep admiration for both of their talents. Of the two, Walker was the one who always left me awestruck. Everyone's referencing his first big song, "Mr. Bojangles," which ironically was a bigger hit for other artists than it ever was for him. But it's Walker's 1973 album Viva Terlingua! recorded live in Luckenbach, Texas, that really cemented his place as a performer unmatched. Backed by the Lost Gonzo Band, I argue that if someone has only one country album in their music collection, it should be Jerry Jeff's Viva Terlingua!. It's a stretch to say Jerry Jeff single-handedly saved country music from the "Nashville Sound" with it, but when folks like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings heard it and realized what artists could accomplish on their own without studio interference, well, things were never the same after that. Not quite two decades later, Jerry Jeff recorded another excellent live album, this one in Gruene Hall, not five miles where I live now. He played there regularly for years, and I always said, "Next time he has a show, I'm going to go." There was always a conflict, though, and I never did. Now I never will. Here's "Pickup Truck Song" performed in Gruene Hall, showcasing his mastery as a storyteller and an unmatched ability to make even the most mundane of subjects fascinating and entertaining.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... The Hula Girls.

Now Playing: Axel Stordahl Jasmine and Jade
Chicken Ranch Central

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Chicken Ranch anniversary: Sheriff T.J. Flournoy (1902-1982)

On this date in 1982, Fayette County Sheriff T.J. "Jim" Flournoy died at the age of 80. Big Jim, as he was known, was the longest-serving sheriff in Fayette County history, had a two-year run as a Texas Ranger during World War II and several stints as a deputy in various jurisdictions. He shot to fame, of course, by defending the Chicken Ranch brothel when KTRK-TV newsman Marvin Zindler campaigned to shut it down. Zindler returned to La Grange on December 30, 1974 to do a follow-up story, and that's where he encountered Sheriff Flournoy. The altercation ended with the Sheriff stomping on Zindler's toupée in the middle of the street, and Zindler heading back to Houston with several cracked ribs. Lawsuits flew back and forth for years, before the two eventually settled out of court.

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is available from both and It's also available as an ebook in the following formats: Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

Now Playing: Jerry Jeff Walker Live at Gruene Hall
Chicken Ranch Central

Monday, October 19, 2020

A Moment of Tiki: Mermaids and Mai Tais

A Moment of Tiki: Mermaid on the Wall
"A Moment of Tiki" returns for your viewing pleasure with two new episodes!

First up is episode 16: Mermaid on the Wall. I have a large section of blank wall in a stairwell that needs filling. My wife, of Secrets By Miss Lisa fame, provided the tiki-adjacent artistic content in the form of a large mermaid banner. It was up to me to figure out how to hang it. The easy solution would be to punch a couple of brass grommets on the top and call it a day, but brass grommets aren't very tiki, are they? Bamboo, on the other hand, are tiki as all get-out, and way back in episode 1 I showed everyone how to torch bamboo for projects such as this!

In episode 17, I discuss orgeat and the Mai Tai. There is only one Mai Tai recipe--that which Trader Vic created in 1944 whilst attempting to reverse-engineer Donn Beach's Q.B. Cooler cocktail. Since then, the Mai Tai has become the standard by which all tiki bars are judged. Even though the base recipe allows a great deal of flexibility without turning the drink into an abomination by adding pineapple and cherries, one of the keys to serving a good Mai Tai is to use quality orgeat. I'm not going to lie--I didn't much like the first Mai Tais I ever drank, mainly because they used mediocre, mass-produced commercial orgeats that tasted more like a chemical spill than an almond-flavored syrup. Thankfully, the craft cocktail renaissance means that there are now quality craft orgeats on the market, but sadly, these are not available in every city. The solution is to go the homemade route. Making orgeat at home is not complicated, but it is a bit time consuming. In this episode, I walk you through the steps.

Remember, you can view all of my videos online at YouTube. If you enjoy, don't forget to subscribe and leave a comment! I'll be mighty grateful!

Episode 16: Mermaid on the Wall

Episode 17: Orgeat (& a Mai Tai)

Now Playing: The Kinks Give The People What They Want
Chicken Ranch Central

Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

The weekend is here! I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put the cares of the world behind me and relax in my home tiki bar. The Hula Girls' piece, "The Enchanted Sea," is just the music to get me there!

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Peter Gabriel.

Now Playing: Yasunori Mitsuda/Nobuo Uematsu Chrono Trigger OST
Chicken Ranch Central

Friday, October 09, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

It seems the horror never ends. For the past several years, we've suffered a non-stop parade of police officers killing unarmed African Americans. It's an epidemic, and shows no sign of abating despite the intense and widespread societal awareness. Jonathan Price of Wolfe City, Texas, is the latest victim to add to the tally. Will his murderer be let off because he happens to be a police officer like so many others? I'm not holding my breath. It can't help but bring to mind Peter Gabriel's "Biko," a song from another era about police brutality and systemic racism in another country, but as Gabriel so succinctly phrases it, "The outside world is black and white with only one color dead."

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Survivor.

Now Playing: Cal Tjader Several Shades of Jade
Chicken Ranch Central