Saturday’s show: Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s! Texas novelist Paulette Jiles and blues guitarist Harlem Slim!

All new show! Get the beat and crank it on your couch!

From the Thacker Shack to your house! April 25, 2020 at 7 pm (MPB) and 9 pm (APR)

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour can be heard every Saturday night on air and online. Check local radio listings or click the links:

Next show: Air date: Mississippi: Saturday, April 25 at 7 pm: Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Alabama: Saturday, April 25 at 9 pm: Alabama Public Radio

We miss our live audience but hope all of our listeners are safe at home!

Due to ongoing health concerns, all of our April shows will be performed in the studio – the Thacker Shack! – without an audience and using recorded performances sent in by our previously scheduled guests, when possible. We’ll also dip into the Thacker archive for the occasional chestnut from the vault.

This week:

Saturday, April 25: Author/musician Kathy Valentine (bass player for the Go-Go’s) and her rock and roll memoir, All I Ever Wanted; Paulette Jiles, author of the western novel, Simon the Fiddler and blues guitarist, Harlem Slim (The Original Harlem Slim).

Hosts: Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers

Sound: Jeffrey Reed, Taproot Audio Design, our beloved Thacker Shack! Stay safe, everybody!



Kathy Valentine

Kathy Valentine was just twenty-one in 1980 when she was hired as bassist for the-then fledgling rock band, the Go-Go’s.

Eighteen months later, the band had a multi-platinum-selling album and arena tour. The group is credited with being the first all-female band to play instruments themselves, write their own songs, and have a No. 1 album.

Their debut, Beauty and the Beat, spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 and featured the hit songs, “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed.”  Valentine co-wrote several of the band’s classics including “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels.”

Valentine’s new memoir, All I Ever WantedA Rock and Roll Memoir (Univ. of Texas Press) traces the path that took her from her childhood in Texas—where she all but raised herself—to the height of rock ‘n’ roll stardom, devastation after the collapse of the band that had come to define her, and the quest to regain her sense of self after its end.

Valentine also speaks candidly about the lasting effects of parental betrayal, abortion, rape, and her struggles with drugs and alcohol—and the music that saved her every step of the way.

“When I finished the book I didn’t feel finished with the story,” she told Billboard. “So I started writing some songs and it was a phenomenal experience.” The companion album, All I Ever Wanted, contains thirteen (of 15) tracks that directly complement chapters from the book.

Valentine will read from All I Ever Wanted and spin selections from the new album.

Also of note: Look for a documentary film, The Go-Go’s, to debut this fall on Showtime.


Paulette Jiles

Paulette Jiles is author of the novel, Simon the Fiddler (William Morrow).The critically acclaimed, bestselling author of News of the World and Enemy Women returns to Texas in this atmospheric story, set at the end of the Civil War, about an itinerant fiddle player, a ragtag band of musicians with whom he travels, and the charming young Irish lass who steals his heart.

From Publisher’s Weekly: “In March 1865, following a barroom brawl in Victoria, Texas, Simon Boudlin finds himself conscripted, however belatedly, into the Confederate Army. His fiddle talents get him assigned to the regiment band. After the war concludes, Simon and some friends are commissioned to play a formal dinner for Confederate and Union officers where is dazzled by Doris Dillon, the Irish governess for Colonel Webb of the Union Army. Boudlin determines that he will somehow buy some land and make her his bride.

“Simon and Doris trade letters over the next couple of years as he and his friends become ‘creatures of gaslight and shadows,’ traveling around coastal Texas for stray saloon gigs, and Doris works off her indentured servitude for the Webbs in San Antonio and fends off unwelcome advances from the colonel. When Simon finally makes his way to Doris, trouble ensues.

“Jiles’s limber tale satisfies with welcome splashes of comedy and romance.”

Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World, which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.


Harlem Slim

“The Original Harlem Slim” is a befitting stage name for brooding bluesman, Tito Deler, a New York City guitarist who discovered his true instrument, a steel body National Resonator guitar. His album, The Original Harlem Slim, was named Top 15 of the year by Other Music. Deler is currently working on a new album.

With a background in the fashion industry, Harlem Slim is known to cut quite a figure onstage which is also a tip of the fedora to his musical heroes.

“I love the blues shouters, particularly Big Joe Turner, but Son House is my greatest influence in the sense that he did everything with a feeling. Also, Thomas A. Dorsey – the father of gospel music and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who has such a rockin’ sound and sang about her faith in the Lord. It’s so good to see folks diggin’ her these days.”