Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Program #438

There's a trio of rock n roll books that have recently come out within a few weeks of each other, all of them Beatles related. Although I have some curiosity about the stories that Pattie Boyd and Eric Clapton have to tell—it would be fun to see how the two of them have recounted situations that involve them both—I'm not inspired enough to sift my way through either book in search of the "good" parts.

The third book, however, is one that I remember hearing about a long time ago. It's called Can't Buy Me Love, and according to this review, the author (Jonathan Gould) attempts to "meld the three primary, often distinct strands of Beatle bibliography — biography, music appreciation and pop sociology — into a single volume, a mother ship of Beatles books, with, as the subtitle implies, a special emphasis on the divide between the country that gave them birth and the country that arguably loved them best."

I'm one of those whose ears were first opened up by the Beatles' music. Although I was a young kid, I have a distinct memory of seeing them on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964, and Meet the Beatles was the first LP I ever owned. Over the years I've read a lot of books about the band, some clearly better than others, but this new one sounds as if it will present the Beatles' story within an overall context of cultural history in a way that really hasn't been done before.

It's an approach that struck a chord with me, which is why I've never forgotten having once read something somewhere about this book. Apparently it could be as far back as 20 years ago, because that's how long it took the author to complete this project. So now it seems quite clear that I'll have to carve out time to read all 500-plus pages of Can't Buy Me Love, which these days is more difficult than it should be, but hey, sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

NELSON RIDDLE ORCHESTRA . . . . . Route 66 Theme (opening theme)
TED CASSIDY . . . . . The Lurch
BILLY DEMARCUS . . . . . Drac’s Back
BOBBY BARE . . . . . Vampira
THE CREWNECKS . . . . . Rockin’ Zombie
SCREAMIN’ JAY HAWKINS . . . . . I Put A Spell On You
DAN HICKS & HIS HOT LICKS . . . . . I Scare Myself
RICHARD THOMPSON . . . . . The Ghost Of You Walks
XTC . . . . . The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead
DONOVAN . . . . . Season Of The Witch
FRANK SINATRA . . . . . Witchcraft

SPOON . . . . . The Ghost Of You Walks
DAVID BOWIE . . . . . Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
YOKO ONO . . . . . Yes, I’m A Witch
THE CRAMPS . . . . . Human Fly
WARREN ZEVON . . . . . Werewolves Of London
TALKING HEADS . . . . . Psycho Killer
RYAN ADAMS . . . . . Halloween Head
THE MODERNAIRES . . . . . The Rockin’ Ghost
ROBERT POLLARD . . . . . Motion Sickness Ghosts

RICHARD O’BRIEN . . . . . Science Fiction/Double Feature
BLONDIE . . . . . The Attack Of The Giant Ants
FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS . . . . . Zomby Woof
RADIOHEAD . . . . . Bodysnatchers
PINK FLOYD . . . . . One Of These Days
ALICE COOPER . . . . . I Love The Dead
THE REAL TUESDAY WELD . . . . . Blood Sugar Love
KLAUS NOMI . . . . . Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead
THE BONZO DOG BAND . . . . . Monster Mash
COUNT FLOYD . . . . . Reggae Christmas Eve In Transylvania

This was the Halloween special, and as such, there's not much to say other than everything we heard fit within that context (at least to me). As I mentioned on the program, I plan to play the Count Floyd tune on the end-of-the-year holiday special as well, so for all of you SCTV fans who missed it there will be another chance to hear it in a few months.

As for those who don't know of SCTV, you really should take some time to get familiar with it. After all, it was only the funniest show ever in the history of TV, and it had a sprinkling of music programs among the many fine offerings. A particular favorite of mine was Mel's Rock Pile, an American Bandstand-type show hosted by the mildly clueless Rockin' Mel Slurp. And of course there was Gil Fisher, host of The Fishin' Musician. Gil would take his guests on angling expeditions and present the home movies of each trip before the artists would perform on his show. Gil and the Tubes having a little trouble with a "Willie Nelson-type" guide was a particularly memorable episode.

A couple of good SCTV sites to look over are here and here.

Here's an SCTV bit celebrating Mr. Relaxation

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Program #437

Wednesday marks an anniversary of some importance in the freeform radio world; it was 40 years ago on 10/30/67 that WNEW-FM first signed on in New York City. Although not the first, it was certainly in the vanguard of stations that were sprouting up and reflecting the change that was happening in pop music as rock 'n' roll was evolving into rock. Because it was in NYC, it grew to have major influence in the music world that extended beyond the boundaries of its signal.

On a personal level, it's the station I turned to not long after it began; I was following my own evolving interests in music, which I couldn't find too much any more on the AM dial. The creativity of the NEW DJs exposed me to much music that I never would have found on my own; my continuing interest in new and varied sounds took root with the style of radio practiced by WNEW in those days.

Like most good things it came to an end, as playlists were introduced and eventually huge media corporations consolidated the sound of terrestrial radio across the country. Now, for those of us who want more than just the "same old, same old," Internet radio is the answer. Soon you will be able to hear your favorite Internet station anywhere you happen to be, whether in your car or through your phone or some sort of portable listening device. For me, that day can't come soon enough.

Here's a worthwhile post on some WNEW-FM history. I found it on a WFUV-FM forum; FUV is where many ex-NEW DJs have worked (and continue to work) after leaving their original home.

NELSON RIDDLE ORCHESTRA . . . . . Route 66 Theme (opening theme)
TELEVISION . . . . . See No Evil
ROBERT POLLARD . . . . . Rud Fins
THE WHO . . . . . I’ve Had Enough
JESSE MALIN . . . . . Prisoners of Paradise
THE CLASH . . . . . Stay Free
THE STAR SPANGLES . . . . . Gangland
GENERATON X . . . . . Wild Youth
MAX FROST & THE TROOPERS . . . . . Shape Of Things To Come

AIR . . . . . Redhead Girl
ANGELO BADALAMENTI . . . . . Twin Peaks Theme
VITESSE . . . . . Out Under Stars
U2 . . . . . With Or Without You
RILO KILEY . . . . . Dreamworld
THE RUMOUR . . . . . Frozen Years
YO LA TENGO . . . . . The Room Got Heavy

THE ORANGE PEELS . . . . . Girl For All Seasons
THE BEACH BOYS . . . . . Wouldn’t It Be Nice
JOHN CUNNINGHAM . . . . . You Shine
THE JESSICA FLETCHERS . . . . . It Happens Tonight
THE MOVE . . . . . Flowers In The Rain
THE CLEANERS FROM VENUS . . . . . Girl On A Swing
LOVE . . . . . She Comes In Colors
THE CLIENTELE . . . . . The Garden At Night
THE AMBOY DUKES . . . . . Journey To The Center Of The Mind
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS . . . . . (Drawing) Rings Around The World

BOB DYLAN . . . . . Masters Of War
JONI MITCHELL . . . . . Strong And Wrong
JOSH RITTER . . . . . Girl In The War
STEVE EARLE . . . . . Steve’s Hammer (For Pete)
PETE SEEGER & LARRY LONG . . . . . Well May The World Go
JOHN FOGERTY . . . . . Don’t You Wish It Was True

The Robert Pollard track from Coast to Coast Carpet of Love was the inspiration for this program's opening section. It brought to mind both Television and The Who, and from there I followed the path that led to tunes about youth culture, some of them on a more personal level than others. The last track was from a 1968 cult movie about the same subject called Wild In The Streets.

The next set also grew from one song, in this case the first one, which I thought of after reading a book review of the new Charles Shultz biography. It seems that the main characters in Peanuts reflect aspects of who he was, as well as those closest to him, and that he filtered events in his life and how he felt about them through his comic strip. Since I enjoyed his work I found this interesting, but if you're not a Peanuts fan it probably means very little. It did, however, lead to some good music. The Marianne Faithfull tune was produced by Angelo Badelemanti, and it seemed to flow well into the Vitesse track from their last disc, which came out five years ago now. I hadn't played the Rumour song in a long time (they're best known from their time with Graham Parker), and it worked nicely coming out of the Rilo Kiley song from their latest.

In contrast to the first two, set #3 didn't come from a a single, specific place. It was more about my wanting to hear a certain kind of pop music and then following the flow until an end point became apparent. The John Cunningham song is one of the best examples I know of someone incorporating the Beatles into their work without simply imitating them. And I really like the Clientele track; there's something about the almost spoken-word vocals combined with the psychedelic guitar that makes me smile. I only wish it were longer.

The closer this time was my response to the latest foolishness on Iran from President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. I don't believe they'll be able to do anything of a military nature in the short time they have left, but it's up to all of us to make sure that's so. If they don't back off their ridiculous rhetoric, and Congress hasn't learned from the mistakes made in the lead-up to the Iraq war, then it's up to us to contact our Senators and Representatives directly to let them know that military action with Iran at this point in time is unacceptable.

Here's Marianne Faithfull covering John Lennon