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A landmark of reggae and the punk scene, "Two Sevens Clash" is now 40 years old.
A landmark of reggae and the punk scene, "Two Sevens Clash" is now 40 years old.

40 years on "Two Sevens Clash" still captures militant zeitgeist of punk, reggae

It was 40 years ago today that The Clash, Sex Pistols and other like-minded fellow travelers fueled the punk revolution in the U.K. and the Ramones, Patti Smith and others did the same here.

Less celebrated, perhaps, is the fact that Jamaican roots reggae was in its heyday at the same time, a fact that did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by punks on both sides of the Atlantic.

(Photographer unknown)

You won’t have to spend much time searching Google to find photos of Smith chilling with Tappa Zukie and Burning Spear’s Winston Rodney, or Johnny Rotten hamming it up with Big Youth for Dennis Morris’ camera.

(PHOTO: Dennis Morris)

The Clash celebrated all the big names of Jamaican music in "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" and covered Junior Murvin’s "Police & Thieves." Rotten traveled to Jamaica to scout talent for Virgin’s Front Line reggae subsidiary.

One of the most important records of the era – and the one perhaps most treasured by punks – was Culture’s "Two Sevens Clash," a reference to July 7, 1977, a date predicted by Marcus Garvey to unleash chaos. Many Jamaicans stayed inside that day and Culture’s hit song captured the zeitgeist not only of that experience but of the upheaval in the international music scene, thanks to the punks’ rip it up and start again attitude.


(PHOTO: Heartbeat Records)

The album, produced by Joe Gibbs, featured the inimitable voice of lead singer Joseph Hill – who died in 2006 – with harmonies by Albert Walker and Kenneth Dayes. Songs like the title track, "I’m Not Ashamed," "See Them A Come" and "Natty Dread Taking Over" were urgent and catchy.

Gibbs tapped Kingston’s top studio talent – drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist Lloyd Parks, saxman Tommy McCook, among others – to provide the backing.

"Their message," wrote Gibbs in the liner notes on the original sleeve. "The unforgotten suffering of their ancestors as they toiled in blood, sweat and tears, only to perish."

Some – most notably "Black St…

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The world's longest bar? Maybe. But definitely one of the most unusual, with a wrestling ring in the middle.
The world's longest bar? Maybe. But definitely one of the most unusual, with a wrestling ring in the middle. (Photo: The Vanguard)

Tom Terris and the world's most unique nite club

This morning, the lovely people at The Vanguard asked about Club Terris, and sent a few images from old matchbooks that showed the nightclub’s rather unique layout, with a wrestling ring surrounded by a bar.

I love to be asked about old Milwaukee places – or not so old ones, for that matter – that I haven’t heard about before because it makes me dig. In a quick dive into the books, I uncovered a few nuggets.

Club Terris was located in a two-story building at 521-31 W. Wells St. with a cream-colored terra cotta facade, according to OldMilwaukee.net, a great local resource.

"The Terris Club was a burlesque club which operated for more than 30 years and was owned by businessman and boxing promoter, Tom Terris," the site notes. "The club gained fame in 1958 when it switched over from live musicians to recorded music to save on the higher costs of the union musicians."

The building itself – shared with Spheeris Brothers sporting goods store – burned in March 1960 and was razed in 1964.

The Terris Club was notable enough to get some references in Billboard magazine.

In a September 1946 review, the national music and entertainment magazine noted that the place had recently been remodeled. There was no cover charge – a fact also noted on the matchbooks – and there were floorshows at 10 and 11:30 p.m. and at 1 a.m.

"Club Terris has a floorshow that is packing people in, and Saturdays and Sundays see a line outside. Club emcee Jimmy Method, and stripper Winsome Wynette are the draw," Billboard wrote. "Method’s nonchalant and often-insulting banter with the customers is greeted with shouts of laughter. ... Winsome Wynette, a looker, comes out in bra and g-string and quivers and shakes her hips. Accompanying low blues music by ork (sic, orchestra) adds to sensuous act. Gets a big hand."

A few other performers earned a mention, too...

"Marty Off, who has an excellent tenor voice, handles classical arias as well as pop songs. Could do as well in oth…

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Got a hog? Hop on and help out a good guy.
Got a hog? Hop on and help out a good guy.

Open Road Angels host benefit ride for local radio legend Larry Hansen

There are some folks you meet that are always happy to help and never seem to want anything. They're the good people that make life a joy.

Milwaukee radio veteran – legend, even – Larry Hansen is one of those guys. I've never heard anyone say anything but a kind word about Larry, who I met through Andy Tarnoff when Hansen was involved in producing early OnMilwaukee commercials.

On Dec. 8 last year, while working on his car in the garage of his Okauchee home, a driver swerved off the road and hit him. Since then, Larry has undergone numerous surgeries for many injuries and he lost a leg.

Because he's always been such a kind guy, folks are eager to lend a hand, and at least one benefit has been held for him to help cover medical costs.

Now, there's another one this weekend.

Larry's Benefit Ride, Saturday, June 10 at 11 a.m., takes place at the Okauchee American Legion Post, N50W34750 Wisconsin Ave.

The event is hosted by the Open Road Angels Female Bike Group and The Okauchee Legion #399.

"These gals are awesome," Larry says. "They're doing this benefit this Saturday for me to
help offset some of the expenses associated with my prosthetic leg."

Registration runs from 9:30 until 10:45 a.m. and kickstands go up at 11. The Sawyer Road Band will perform from 2 to 6 p.m. and there will be a silent auction and 50/50 raffle, as well as food available for sale all day.

Should it rain, the event will be moved to Sunday. But call ahead if there's precipitation.

Donation is $15 for riders and $10 for passengers.

Washington Park Library super readers!
Washington Park Library super readers! (Photo: Milwaukee Public Library)

Create a Super Reader and prevent your child taking the "summer slide"

It's that time of year again. The time when I'm thrilled that my kids are thrilled to sign up for Milwaukee Public Library's Super Reader summer reading program.

This year's program kicked off on Monday, May 15 and runs through Aug. 26 (MPS is back in session on Tuesday, Sept. 5).

Kids up to age 12 can visit any MPL branch and sign up for free. They'll get a Super Reader yard sign or window cling and a sheet to track their reading over the summer.

Teenagers can take part in the Teen Summer Challenge, which runs during the same time period. See the details here.

Each time they complete a level, they can head back to the library and get a prize. At the end of summer they'll get more goodies, like free books, food coupons and admission to area attractions.

Each May, my kids can't wait to sign up.

One morning at breakfast, they shaded in the progress circles based on the previous day's reading and were proud of their early progress. Later, one of them said, "I think I'm becoming a book person."

Music to a parent's ears.

The National Summer Learning Association says that the "summer slide" – the brain drain that comes from kids' absence from the classroom – affects their progress and also negatively affects the achievement gap.

"Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months," according the NSLA's web site. "Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains. 

"More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities."

Let your kids see you read for pleasure and create life-long readers and life-long learners. Buy them books. Read to them and with them. If books are too expensive at bookshops, go to a resale shop, pick some up at a rummage sale ('tis the season) or from a Little Free Library. Kids will trea…

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