RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Wednesday, January 31

SONG OF THE DAY: Future Lover

It was a year ago today that I put on my finest Sergio Tacchini tracksuit and went to see Thee Sacred Souls with my girlfriend. This was a couple weeks before my 50th birthday, and I’d been looking forward to it forever, setting off celebration of reaching a decade my father and grandfather never made it to. The show was wonderful. Then I had a suicidal episode right before my birthday, and it ended up not being that celebratory at all, more like figuring out support networks I never counted on before, and accepting the limitations of age. It’s all good now, but February of last year was dodgy.
Since that time, both my youngest kids (16 and 20) have had that “Could I Call You Rose?” song play on their Spotify playlists in the car, not sure where it came from. And then Thee Sacred Souls just had one of them NPR Tiny Desk concerts last week that all the normal white people who think they’re quirky absolutely love. It’s nice to see them blow up, and in fact, even see the whole souldies movement start to gain traction with the paying public. Getting back into records and limiting myself to 45s meant that there’s a long period of no releases, from the late ‘90s through the past decade, with the exception of the souldies movement, which kept 45s alive all through that time. The vinyl resurgence never happened with this realm, because vinyl never went away, and in fact, all the major label color variations of shit has clogged up the vinyl production pipeline for those who’d been using it all along.
All part of the deal in living in a society though. This particular song was part of the Pennyrose Valentine’s Day bundle last season, with Thee Sacred Souls dropping “Future Lover” as a single while they were on US tour. I slept on it at first, but upon a few more spins, this one has snuck into my regular rotation of modern souldies classics. And if you’re a 45 connoisseur like myself, this one pairs excellently with a number of Otis Redding 45s, notably “Think About It” and “You Left The Water Running”, which both got references to the physical space of a shared house, and those opening knocks of “Future Lover” just pop right on in as you fade out the Otis, and life goes on man, it always goes on, until it don’t. And when that happens, you’re not gonna be worried about your records no more anyways.
Thankful I'm still listening to records, to be honest, after the past year. Life is shorter, no need to make it shorter, and no need not to find joy in this godawful civilization we've been doomed to live inside.

Tuesday, January 30

SONG OF THE DAY: Baco Walk - Part I (kudzu'd)

Old Virginia soul for an old Virginia soul, but slowed down, so that I can grow older more lackadaisically. Ain't no rush.

Monday, January 29

SONG OF THE DAY: Sacalo, Sacalo (kudzu'd)

Changing my name to Sonidero Barba de Chivo and finishing building a lithium battery powered sound system to blast slowed down 45s in abandoned rail yards throughout the south all this year. I’m dropping out. Civilization is overrated anyways.

Friday, January 26

Sunday Slowdown Chapters 11 through 14

I realized I hadn’t put the last four chapters of the Sunday Slowdown series here on my long-time bloggerspot worldwebwide page. So let’s fix that issue.

Sunday Slowdown chapter 014. Sometimes you gotta slow it down and cruise with a feel good heart, no matter how hard the world tries to make you. This is the Slow Rollaz mix, old school and new school rolas, off the 45 slabs, slowed to 33. Because sometimes it takes two hours to get 15 minutes away.

We slowing it down once again, doing 35 in a 55, letting the music play, with a touch of grey to the beard. Slow living is resistance against slow death, so we're riding down the purple highways way off the mainstream interstates, and take our damn time.

Chapter 012 of the Sunday Slowdown series is a Declaration of G.A.S.P. aka Greater Appalachian Space Phunk, declaring ourselves not just hillbilly banjo pickers. We got that electro funk resistance going on because it ain't 1863 no more.

Chapter 011 of the Sunday Slowdown series was just spinning through records from a weekend wander through parts unknown the day before, blessed by The Record Gods, but can't share the spots for fear of unloungers taking them over. We gotta respect the Power of Lounge.

Thursday, January 25

SONG OF THE DAY: Some Woman's Bedroom (kudzu'd)

Been wanting to fuck strange and perhaps crazy women, just to sabotage my life. Sometimes shit gets too stable feeling and that goes against most of my early cellular memories, so I gotta fire some chaos into the mix. Used to be when I drank or got fucked up, it brought all the chaos I’d want. But now that I’ve been sober so long, and held down a job at the same place for over a decade, there’s not a lot of random chaos in my life. You’d think this is a good thing (and it is), but it still makes you (if you’re like me) feel kinda fucked up, like something’s not to be trusted, or just don’t feel right. Do they got healthy chaos? I could use some.

Wednesday, January 17

SONG OF THE DAY: Superjock (kudzu'd)

Eh fuck it, this sonnet is about old records, but also human existence.

Each imperfect moment is needed part of whole, 
holistic wabi-sabi like crackles and skips 
in ancient 45, accentuating soul 
sounds with warmth of natural wear and tear, round trips 

on turning tables at times unstable, slight buzz 
of poor grounding creating ever-present hum. 
I prefer the realness of blemishes because 
perfection is fool's errand, letting self become 

sum of path traveled, again like old records, which 
passed hands over decades, picking up local dust 
and accidental scratches or physical glitch 
which can't be fixed, yet learned to live with. I have trust 

in Universe to keep fool self full of fresh funk, 
many folks' most perfect beats are fashioned from junk. 

Tuesday, January 16

SONG OF THE DAY: Slow Coastin

I’ve been tormented by Flee Demons lately. I’ve been afflicted with them for as long as I’ve had a conscious mind, since I was little disappearing into fields behind the ragged cinderblock house my young ass folks was renting in Rice, Virginia. Flee Demons just show up in your mind, because you can’t comprehend how to possibly fix everything that’s broken in front of you, can’t possibly begin to clean up the messes piled in every direction, even outside the doors, piled up on the porches, out in the yard. Shit man, you got piles of messes at the last three places you stayed at, in other people’s basements and attics, sitting there with bad memories you left behind for somebody else. Flee Demons are pretty common amongst a lot of folks, but you don’t really see them in popular culture. Pop culture is made for those that got the ability to sit in one place and collect experiences they bought. They don’t have to actually live them all, so they consume what others make and consider it expanding their worldview.
I’d thought I’d gotten the Flee Demons under control, silenced them with a bit of stability and a big old house in the country that leaks air but seems to love me. But then the still life you’re living has some sort of perspective shift, and all of a sudden all the angles look darker and less welcoming. The good life you thought you’d achieved slips further away, without anything actually seemingly changing. But you realize all those piles from forever ago, they’re all still there, piled up in every direction, stuff you can’t throw away but can’t fix either, don’t have the skills or strength or even the desire to figure all of it out. And then the Flee Demons start piping up again, with that siren song of somewhere elseness. I’ve been feeling it heavily, because it’s cold, and I’m tired, and I don’t feel like doing the same thing next Tuesday that I did this Tuesday, so I want to set fire to the stability and run off and start over again, enjoy a brand new puzzle where there are no piles. Fucked up thing is even if I did that, once I sat still for half a year, and started putting the new puzzle together, all those piles would show back up, sitting on the porch again, stacked up beside the couch, filling every hall closet possible.
I don’t know what to do about it. If I can’t get rid of the piles, how do I learn to live with them? Can I at least recycle some of this shit? Setting fire to it never seems to get rid of it, because the ashes are changelings and rearrange the soot back into shape, slowly over time, when you ain’t watching the fire to keep it going constantly. And nobody can be that vigilant with their scorched Earth.
So I’m just sitting here looking at these piles, and hearing the sweet song of the Flee Demons again, thinking about where the westbound line stops to let a coal pass east almost every day around the same time on the weekend, and how I could just sit there and wait to see what all is on the other end of where that train goes. Been hearing that since I was little, and sometimes I wish I’d listened to it better all these years instead of trying to make sense of the senselessness.

Thursday, January 11

SONG OF THE DAY: Saturday Night Fish Fry

I got a fish fryer out in the shed, that had lived in the camper behind the old house when I was still married. I ain’t used that thing nearly enough. Might have to bust it out for my birthday next month. Winter birthdays are tough because it ain’t cookout weather, and you can’t properly celebrate a birthday unless you’re in the yard with a speaker dragged through a window somewhere blasting music. I do got a burn barrel though, which is the winter equivalent to a yard speaker I guess. Anyways, I need to fry some fish.

Wednesday, January 10

SONG OF THE DAY: Love Come Down (kudzu'd)

Had to practice some self-love recently, because I'm not sure if you noticed, but the world is FUCKED.

Stay focused on infinity but take it slow. 
Embrace the darkness rather than getting too lost 
in "woe is me" psychology; maintain the flow 
of energy. Stagnant patterns of thinking cost 

chances to scatter experiential phases 
into spaces where your ultimate place is. Stay 
true to heart without succumbing to brain crazes. 
Nowadays is engineered chaos meant to stray 

and lead wayward. Study the celestial maps 
overhead a couple nights a week while seeking 
answers to questions you can't speak. No one unwraps 
this gift of existence completely, so freaking 

out at times is key piece of cultivating soul; 
each imperfect moment is needed part of whole. 

Monday, January 8

Monday Night Rumble of The Discourse - Winter 2024

So if you are the type to fuck around on youtube, or care about the political discourse (or I guess, not care), then I was commanded to begin another 7-week series of The Monday Night Rumble of The Discourse for Winter 2024. Last week was Week 1 of the 7-week series. Tonight at 10 pm EST will be week 2. Plugging it here because I know everybody goes different places to see different things, and I'm a force of chaotic good who always forgets to scatter his nonsense in all four directions. This may end up being the last season because it's not clear if this stupid game is going to work on my computer anymore in two months (part of the side effects of using obsolete machinery beyond its intended lack of usage).

Sunday, January 7

SONG OF THE DAY: Def Fresh Crew

You can't make a song like this in 2024, because Biz Markie is gone (may his memory be a blessing). If any tech lord tries to AI together a holograph Biz Markie, I hope they get haunted into mysterious car accident. If any tech lord reads this, please use your momey to get those 7-inch Technics tables to drop instead.

Friday, January 5

SONG OF THE DAY: I Give You Everything You Want (kudzu'd)

Freestyled this one three different ways before I felt okay with it. Alternate versions available in the multiverse.

Another inhumane day, for better or worse, 
juggling the bills while struggling to chill, mean mugging 
the world with chip-toothed dimpled grill; the universe 
sometimes feels a little bit crooked and bugging. 

It is what it is, as they say, this frustrating  
nature of living inside gridlock which divides 
and conquers weakened spirits. No time for hating... 
just showing and proving upon my short Earth rides 

around the sun. Full-blown Aquarius at heart, 
keep it light despite nefarious nature folks 
inclined to cultivate and claim's parcel and part 
of civilization since start, devilish hoax 

meant to keep people's hopes depressed and spirits low; 
stay focused on infinity but take it slow. 

Thursday, January 4

SONG OF THE DAY: Going Down to the River (kudzu'd)

Been a while since I wrote one of these, since I'm doing them for the slowed down 45s I post and nothing else. I don't love this one, but I also don't hate it, but also it mostly make me wish I was sitting in the river, or at least dipping in it right quick to let the cold blast shock me to my better senses. Shit, I should've made that part of the sonnet.

To reverse negative stream of consciousness flow, 
occasionally boom baptize the flesh in fresh 
river water, to let the mind's dirt and grime go. 
No body resists immense threat of life's immesh 

amidst the tangles of physical existence... 
our nature is complicated (yet simply so). 
The tumbleweed of perceived traumas' insistence 
snarls thinking up in squiggly lines, which seems to grow 

as our dreams let go. But the river carries hope 
in constant trickle which cuts through the thickest rock. 
This superficial life becomes too hard to cope 
with, but dips in Rockfish and James maintains my cock 

surety to survive uncertain universe
another inhumane day, for better or worse. 

Wednesday, January 3

SONG OF THE DAY: Shady Blues

Been writing the same intro to a new zine over and over and never quite getting it to feel right. Been slogging through the fog mostly, and it never quite does feel right, but thus far I’ve gotten through the daze. Been maintaining some daily practices, and been letting a few others fall to the wayside temporarily. Been trying to envision the future I want while also tending to a present I don’t feel completely immersed in all the time. Got the mud brain, which can be a negative if you’re trying to maintain industrialized mindframe schedules, so I’ve gotta come to terms with that. But a mud brain is a blessing as well, if you use it right, because it puts you closer to the primordial essence of all things, human and other wise. So that’s what I’m trying to do, shifting the stacks of oppressive stuff around, and finding reason to set fire to enough of it that I got more room to breathe and am able to dust off cobwebs that’s been hiding out for a long minute. It’s that internal jihad of positive and negative at atomic level, that manifest into physical jihad between motion and stagnancy.

Monday, January 1

SONG OF THE DAY: The 900 Number

Time is a social construct, designed to imprison you behind anxieties over what ain't got done yet. It also increases your fear of natural mortality. You ain't got to do nothing but live. Dial my 900 number for more affirmations of fuck it like this. RIP 45 King.