Uncle Remus

Really, really swell arrangement of Zappa’s Uncle Remus for solo piano. Even if you don’t know the piece, I think you’ll abide in it. A rich engagement with a honky-tonk periphery and God’s Own Blues double parked in front of your favorite hardware store.


Title track from John Gentry Tennyson’s Europa (2000), a jazzy piano romp with accompanying bass and drums. Positively packed with amazing little phrases.

A Prosecutor Prepares for the Testimony of Mr. Carlos Santana

Thank you for testifying today Mr. Santana, let’s get started.

Concerning the Black Magic Woman you wrote of, to be clear is this a woman who practices black magic, or a black woman who practices an unspecified type of magic? Would stage magic be considered a valid type of magic in this instance?

When did you first suspect that the Black Magic Woman was trying to make a devil out of you? Is being a devil something you have attempted unsuccessfully on your own?

Is it possible that your own perhaps unacknowledged desire to be a devil is what drives your relationship with the Black Magic Woman?

Let’s move on to your baby and her alleged evil ways.

Now, when you arrived home on the night in question, you stated that your house was dark. Aren’t you in the habit of shutting off lights when you leave the house? Isn’t it true that you have no real concerns about the lights being off, except to imply that your baby was not at home when you expected her to be. Where were you, and who were you with, prior to returning home?

As to the pots which you claim were cold, you stated that they were, and I quote, “my pots,” so this was cookware that you yourself had purchased? Is it your view that your baby is somehow solely responsible for heating up pots that she doesn’t even own?

When you complain that your baby’s ways are evil, isn’t it based on your own view that her role in the relationship is to be subservient, and that you are being overly zealous in detecting deviation from this desired norm?

Is it possible, Mr. Santana, that what you describe as “running around” is simply your baby’s pursuit of an ordinary and healthy social life?

You have complained that you feel compelled to be ‘runnin and hidin all over town,’ and also ‘sneakin and peepin’ etc. This sounds exhausting. What is it that compels you to do these things, if not an exaggerated sense of suspicion or jealousy?

This issue you have of feeling like a clown, did you seek counseling? Is it possible that you are projecting your own sublimated inadequacies onto your baby, in the form of blame?

(possible objection: witness is not a psychologist)

Is your baby as well acquainted with the Black Magic Woman as you are? Have they ever even met?

How did your baby respond when you threatened to stop loving her? Are you sure she’s still your baby? Have you checked lately? Why do you never refer to your baby by her given name? Surely she has one. You refer to her friends Jean and Joan by their names.

(possible objection: badgering)

Are there any women at all, Mr. Santana, that you admire, or even approve of?

Mr. Santana, are you familiar with the term “woke?”

(Note: Evil Ways is a great song with very stupid lyrics.)


The hardwoods sent their roots
down into the museum below
into the vaults beneath the leaf mat
where the first sounds, stellar echoes
muffled under perfect black loam
formed the aboriginal musicale

Before a cutter can say “fall”
your chambered body, your neck
before the luthier said “shape”
still hidden in the mists

On mountainside, in the valley
the poison dart frogs meeping
in a driving rain, giant Stag Horns
under impossible vine-laced canopy

The rain forest written in your
rufous stained, long grained face
clutched by hooters and hollers
improvising drunken solos, the babel
of every-skin merry players, roof beam
rackets, the shoe-scuffed dance floors
of us, the throngs, and giddy songs

Slap-strumming pedal to the metal
or finger pecked, string bending
trance shattering crescendos, all from
such a stoic, quiet-seeming wood
born of the life-oozing hum
and decibel of ancient anterooms
long before the chainsaws

Then sometime after, the cover bands
of coping saws and chisels played
familiar jig with clamp and glue
then catgut, me, and you


(an affectionate nod to my favorite ukulele
and well-made stringed instruments in general)

Hey Joe

hey joe
where you goin’ with that
phone in your hand

hey joe
where you goin’ with that
phone in your hand

i’m goin’ out to call my old lady
it’s our anniversary
don’t you understand