Stephens, best known as half of the primitive S.F. folk-blues duo Two Gallants, sat up and looked out the window as the van careened toward a slope on the center divider. This thing is going to flip, he thought.
And it did. The van slid down the embankment and tumbled, side over side, several times, nearly crushing the front of the cabin. Luckily, Stephens -- who had been lying across a bench seat in the back -- was wearing his seat belt. As the vehicle tumbled, his thin frame was thrown toward the side window, which shattered as the van rolled.
Grillade: The Christmas season has inspired some compellingly soulful music -- whether by the illustrious likes of Marvin Gaye and James Brown, or curios such as Honey and the Bees' bells-propelled "Jing Jing a Ling." You just need to dig a little to find the season's real spirit.
San Francisco's Grillade ensemble -- producer Keelay, singer Ragen Fykes, and rhythm section the Park -- has just released its own addition to the valid holiday vault, "Just A Sad Christmas." Originally slated for a Christmas-themed compilation project that petered out, it's a cover of an obscure late-'60s, single-only release by the Soul Duo. Bluesy and cut through with a damp melancholy, the lyrics deal with estrangement and somber feelings during the season of goodwill: "Green, red, and blue are the colors of the lights and decor I see/Gray, [grim] gray and black are my moods 'cause you're not here with me."