Raised on the Radio

Because growing up on 70s television didn't kill me. It just made me who I am today.


Leave a comment

Twisted Mix Tape – Forbidden Love

Twisted Mix-Tape? WHAT??!!! This is what. Me and music, we go hand in hand. I carry earbuds with me everywhere I go. I’m not anti-social (I’m only anti-work), I’m just anti-silence.

Well that’s a bold-faced lie, but when my choices are listening to the drivel playing at grocery, or a bunch of people yapping at Starbuckos, I choose music.

As I mentioned last week, (yes there was a last week and you can read about it here); I think in music. In my current position of soundtrack maker Music Director for Raised on the Radio, I finally get to live my dream. I can share my music musings with the world my readers.

Did you know? Albert Einstein and I, we are simpatico.

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”
― Albert Einstein

And so, by the power invested in me by me, behold the Music Director of Break the Parenting Mold and Twisted Mix-Tape! Share your musical musings with me!

I invite you all to join in. Each week we (as in you and I, because I know you will feel an undeniable need to join us) will be creating a mix based on a different topic emotion.

My plan is to keep the list to 5 songs; as hard as that may be, just incase you’re a music geek like me, and want to prepare. I would love for you to share your choices in the comments, surprise me, enlighten me, shock me!

Next week’s topic will be Unlikely Lullabies (as in songs not meant to be lullabies, but can do the trick). However if the topic doesn’t move you, create your own! Link up in the comments, and I will happily place your link in the post! Join the party!

Forbidden Love

She’s a Beauty – The Best of The Tubes

Stacy’s Mom – Welcome Interstate Managers

 

Don’t Stand So Close to Me / Young Girl (Glee Cast Version) – Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One

Come a Little Bit Closer – The Best of Jay & The Americans

Love Story – Fearless

hard days hard nights review


1 Comment

Ever wish you were a concert promoter?

I know I wish it EVERY. DAY.

I usually write about music here, and everything else over at my other site. But today I wrote a book review for an amazing story over on JenKehl.com you HAVE to read it!

He even has an insider view on Sly and the Family Stone, I wish I read his perspective before I wrote my review on the boxed set.

The story of Pat DiCesare, Pittsburgh legend, and their first concert promoter. You don’t want to miss this story!

Hard Days, Hard Nights: Stories From Pittsburgh’s First Concert Promoter

hard days hard nights review


2 Comments

Old School Disco New Year’s Eve Playlist – Boogie Fever!

 

disco ball

I’m the 70’s pop culture junkie and frankly, New Year’s Eve isn’t New Year’s Eve without disco. And I don’t mean some new fangled discotheque music. What the heck is a discotheque anyway? Or is it Disco Teka? Whatever it is, that’s not what I’m talking about it. What I’m talking about here is Shaking Your Groove Thang, you know – get down tonight?

Don’t bother trying to deny it. There ain’t no way to stop it, the music starts…maybe a little Commodores? Your head starts bobbing, maybe your shoulders start moving to the rhythm. That’s all right, you don’t have to get out on the dance floor, but your hips are having a party while you’re not even paying attention.

It’s a New Year’s Eve Disco Playlist, because you all know you want one. Turn that party ON people! Nobody’s body doesn’t want to move to the groove, I promise you. But pop in some Sarah Machlaclan for New Year’s and I can bet you everyone’s going home early.

 

Old School Disco Music For New Year’s Eve

Did you know if you click on the bottom YouTube Playlist you can just click play all and have a party right from your computer?

Best of My Love – The Emotions

Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder

Boogie Fever – The Sylvers

Love Rollercoaster – Ohio Players

Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) – Michael Jackson

Boogie Wonderland – Earth Wind and Fire

Let it Whip – The Dazz Band

Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel – Tavares

Fantasy – Earth Wind and Fire

Knock on Wood – Amii Stewart

Disco Inferno – The Trammps

Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

Le Freak – Chic

(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty – KC & The Sunshine Band

Shake Your Groove Thing – Peaches and Herb

That’s the Way (I Like It) – KC & The Sunshine Band

We Are Family – Sister Sledge

Give Me The Night – George Benson

Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry

Jungle Boogie – Kool and The Gang


1 Comment

Gordon Lightfoot

 

I’ve been listening to Gordon Lightfoot for 44 of my 44 years. It’s a gimme, isn’t it? If you were alive in the 70’s, you listened to Gordo.

That doesn’t mean I knew the ins and outs of the man. Actually…..I heard from a reliable source that his life took some serious wrong turns, and there may have been some unfortunate drinking involved. It was the 70’s, why am I surprised?

For most of us, it’s easy to brush Gordon Lightfoot off as some musician with a ton of songs on the Easy Listening radio station. Oh wait, I like that station. Okay, some guy who makes the easy listening station easier to listen to.

How many times have you heard Sundown, or If You Could Read My Mind on Lite FM?  I admit to being stuck in the land of 70’s pop music. Heck, I’m a child of 70’s radio, and frankly, feel lucky to have been so.

I often credit Gordon Lightfoot with my inspiration to be a writer.

Just like a paperback novel. The kind that drugstores sell.
-If You Could Read My Mind

But if you leave your knowledge of Gordon Lightfoot there. You would be missing so much. I was missing it too. It took my 8yo’s obsession with The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and then later The Canadian Railway Trilogy, for me to see it.

I Bet You Didn’t Know

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Gordon Lightfoot has a lot to be flattered about. In 1964 he wrote “The Early Morning Rain”, and because he was a nobody, he wasn’t even the first to record it. A couple of friends who “discovered” him offered to record his song on their album. It was a good move. For both of them.

He did record the song in 1966… and after that 74 other bands and artists recorded it too. Not the least of which were Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte, Judy Collins, The Grateful Dead, George Hamilton IV (who took it to #9 on the country charts), Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Peter Paul and Mary (the most well-known pop version).

At 13-years-old Gordon Lightfoot was already making a name for himself, he loved to sing and his parents encouraged him to do so. Between the ages of 13-17 he won multiple awards for singing. That recognition helped him find his path so he attended West Lake College of Music in Los Angeles. This decision would prove to be invaluable to him.

The 60’s started a fire in Gordon, by 1964 he had already written 75 songs. However, he felt none of them really had a “sound” he could call his own. And then – he met Bob Dylan. Through Dylan, and many friends that came along with that sound, he found his sound and that sound would take him all over the world.

Bob Dylan had something to say about Gordon Lightfoot as well. In an article written when Dylan inducted Gordon Lightfoot into the Canadian hall of fame he said, “He (Lightfoot) became a mentor (of Dylan’s) for a long time. I think he probably still is to this day.” Obviously the feeling was mutual. And from an article in The Huffington Post:

BF: Who are some of your favorite songwriters?

BD: Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.

BF: You and Lightfoot go way back.

BD: Oh yeah. Gordo’s been around as long as me.

BF: What are your favorite songs of his?

BD: “Shadows,” “Sundown,” “If You Could Read My Mind.” I can’t think of any I don’t like.

Bob Dylan often covered the song “Shadows” when playing live.

As I sat down to write this, I began listening to some Gordon Lightfoot songs I have very little memory of hearing, it could be I never heard them. I was inspired to track them down when I happened upon a list of all of his songs that have been covered by other artists. This one piqued my interest – after all it was covered by Eric Clapton. I found Clapton’s version of it on YouTube, and frankly, I wasn’t impressed. But that irked me, there had to be a reason that Eric Clapton would want to play that song. Right? There was. The problem is, you cannot improve upon perfection.

The 1970’s would be when Gordon Lightfoot would truly see fame. Finally being recognized by listeners outside of the folk music scene, yet continuing to create using his own unique sound, his songs began to top the charts. Being a child of the 70’s, it was only natural that my experience with Gordon Lightfoot would be: If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown and of course The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. But being a lover of music, that is never enough. When a songwriter sings and plays with so much raw emotion I naturally want to know, what more?

Exploring Gordon Lightfoot was something I did many years ago, to connect with my father, who was very influenced by folk music. And now again I am finding it as a way to connect with my son, to expand his knowledge of music, as I capitalize on his fascination with The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald*. Every minute is a learning moment with music. With Gordon, it could be a lifetime.

I will not leave you without Sundown:

Some trivia:

Aside from his success in writing, singing and performing his own songs, Lightfoot has found fortune in having his songs recorded and performed by other great artists including:  Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Jr., Marty Robbins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Judy Collins, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah McLachlan, Barbra Streisand, Peter Paul & Mary, Harry Belafonte, Jane’s Addiction, Richie Havens, Glen Campbell, Toby Keith, George Hamilton IV and Eric Clapton.

In June of 2012 Lightfoot’s legacy was further enhanced when he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.  Lightfoot was honored for his role in defining the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and ’70s.  There are fewer than 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Songwriters Hall of Fame including Barry Mann, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes, Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Diane Warren, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell and Leonard Cohen.

* Shameless plug alert. This is a YouTube video of my son singing every single word of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald 3 years ago. He still sings that song almost everyday.

Gordon Lightfoot Graphic.png


Leave a comment

Blood Sweat and Tears

How will you be remembered? Will you be the guy who fought for a cause? Or will you be a guy who had an amazing idea for a band, a band that would turn into a pop sensation?!

What if you don’t want your band to be a pop sensation? You dig your heals in the sand. Will it become one anyway?

It’s happened before, it will happen again, just ask the founding members of Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Blood, Sweat & Tears began as a jazz-fusion-rock band that incorporated horns with a rock n’ roll sound. They were it. New York loved them. But as important as the sound was, they put a lot of effort into the message they were sending. War was bad, the man was bad, they were making a statement. They made that statement so well and their music was so new and exciting that they were one of many amazing musicians picked to headline at Woodstock. Blood Sweat & Tears were part of a movement of musicians that would inspire a generation to Fight the Man! For a little while.

However, only one year in, the band had split with its “leader” Al Kooper. Al was the backbone of their “underground” connection – which in retrospect would turn out to be so much more than an underground. It was his finger on the pulse of the counter-culture. Without him, the beat lived on, but the fever of the cause was gone. So although their appearance at Woodstock was already without Kooper, their ties with the counter-culture phenomena that drove their fans, were now tenuous.

This reformation of sorts began what would be the band’s own spinning wheel. Arguments about the path their band should take, questionable personal choices and the desire to try new things would be the start of more personnel changes than I could list. Arguably the most important, was the selection of a new Lead Singer, David Clayton-Thomas. Bobby Colomby and Steve Katz, two of the original members, found Clayton-Thomas thanks to their good friend Judy Collins who had heard him sing in a small bar in New York. Lucky for them she did, because Clayton-Thomas would become the “voice” of Blood, Sweat & Tears to those of us being raised on the radio of the 70’s.

In late 1968, with David Clayton-Thomas as the frontman, they released their second album. The self-titled Earth, Wind & Fire would go multi-platinum with a performance very different from their first album, but the people loved it. The album won the Grammy for Album of the Year, beating out The Beatles Abbey Road.

 

blood sweat & tears second album

This album included the songs that I, and many, remember as part of the Soundtrack of our personal Seventies. Spinning Wheel, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, And When I Die, Hi-De-Ho, and Lucretia MacEvil (which was the worst chart performer of that album, never breaking #29. No other BS&T would ever do better.)

As 1969 became part of the past, BS&T apparently made a critical error in judgement; in exchange for an expedited visa for Clayton-Thomas, who was a Canadian citizen, they agreed to play as part of a U.S. State Department sponsored tour of Eastern Europe in May/June 1970. At this volatile time in our history any voluntary association with the government was highly unpopular and the band definitely felt the repercussions of that decision. Obviously they could not disclose the reason they agreed to play.

I would say this was the beginning of the end for them, because after that tour they did not have another highly successful album or single. But as anyone who has grown up in the 70’s and 80’s knows, Blood Sweat & Tears is part of our favorite music memories and our most listened to mixes. Bobby Colomby knew that the same music that won multiple Grammy’s became part of our culture. Not the counter-culture they had thought, but a much bigger culture of the infectious music that would tie us together. Bobby somewhat prophetically understood that BS&T’s fans would not let their music die, it was just too good. And so, he basically created a Blood, Sweat & Tears franchise. Much like the bands of Duke Ellington and Glen Miller, long after those amazing men were gone, their names lived on through Big Bands playing their hits, their styles as The Glen Miller Band and The Duke Ellington Band. He said on the official Blood Sweat and Tears website “The obligation of a band is to be entertaining, and be mindful that the audience is there to hear your hits. And for many years, the Blood, Sweat & Tears brand has provided enjoyable evenings. We were trying to make sure that people walked out of our concerts feeling they’d just heard a great show. And the feedback we’ve gotten confirmed that’s been the case.”

A little part of me wants to shiver when I hear a band being referred to as a Brand or a Franchise, another part of me says, bring it on, I’ll buy the tickets! A chance to hear a band composed of some of the best musicians in the business, play some of my favorite songs? Bobby Colmby was prophetic alright.

WHAT (1)

 

 


7 Comments

I Love Chicago, I’m Old, and The Best Night of Funky R&B Ever.

Age does funny things to you.

The one I think we are least likely to understand when we are young is the resistance to change.

Of course I know this to be true because I am a child of sitcoms. And each sitcom has at least one episode about the adults not “getting it.” Whatever “it” may be.

So while I am not happy that the world is moving so fast, and technology has caused us to lose an important part of our humanness by making communication impersonal and brisk. I am also increasingly disturbed by the lack of creativity found in popular movies and film.

While the former is a perfect illustration of my statement. The latter, I actually think, is a statement of truth.

So in my desire to not subject myself to constant disappointment, I spend much of my time listening to hand-picked music from generations past.

Which brings me to my point.

I love Chicago.

No, I don’t have ADD.

Two weeks ago we went out for my Brother-in-law’s birthday. He loves the city.

I loved the city in my 20’s. Now I’m old.

But for him, I would happily go into the city. Also, his new-found fame as Chicago’s premier roof-top designer has opened doors to some of the hottest restaurants – the kind with month-long waiting lists. Who was I to say no to a dinner with all the shi-shis?

Dinner was……interesting. The menu may have been written in Latin. The food? Let’s just say it was a little to “creative” for me.

But the atmosphere? Well…that was something else. This place is the see and be seen spot of Chicago, and let me tell you – the people watching was spectacular.

But frankly, when dinner was done, I figured we were going home because, did I mention I was old?

But my brother-in-law had other ideas.

“You know we are right around the corner from The Back Room.” He looked right at me.

He knew back in the day, hanging out at a jazz club was just my thing. He was goading me.

But we were old, and we had finished our shi-shi dinner at 8pm and The Back Room didn’t open until 9.

I shook my head and said, “The babysitter wasn’t expecting us to be out too late.”

Of course my brother-in-law scoffed, I knew I was being lame – I had no choice but to cave.

I got on my phone and saw that Avain Hightower and Full Circle were playing. Well Avain Hightower was the original keyboardist for The Chi-lites and had played with everyone in my R&B Hall of Fame. My excitement was piqued.

We were the first ones there. Because we’re old.

But that was perfect because we didn’t have reservations, which meant first come first serve. And we were first come, so we got awesome seats.

The Back Room is considered a Showcase Lounge, it is small. Really small. There isn’t a bad seat in the house because the house capacity is 150 if it’s 200. The waitresses were friendly, the crowd was happy, and the show started on time. 3 for 3.

Was I in for the time of my middle-aged life! Avain Hightower is just as much the high-energy showman as he was over 25 years ago. The band was HOT. They jumped right in and didn’t stop for over an hour.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m watching good live music I can’t stop smiling. They played everything from P-Funk to Michael Jackson to Pharell and back again. And they did every single song justice. I could not stop moving and I gotta tell you that by the time the first set was over my face hurt, my voice was going, and I was ready for more.

avain hightower.jpg

When they took a break we had the chance to hang with the drummer for a short few. My brother-in-law had bought him a drink at the bar, and he wanted to come over and meet us. I have never met a happier, more humble drummer. I have often used the term “drummer’s complex” you know, being in the back all the time doesn’t always work for a star. Nope, not this guy. He was as genuine as they come, couldn’t believe we thought he was great.

Our original plan was to leave after the first set, but we couldn’t. Babysitter be damned.

I did my best to keep track of the set-list so I could recreate it in the form of a playlist on my iTunes. I will share it with you, so you can enjoy the eclectic mix of music that made up this unexpectedly electrifying evening.

Let’s Groove

Brick House

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough

Flash Light

Happy

Spanish Harlem

Got to Give it Up

Groove Me

Proud Mary

Blurred Lines

Calypso Frelimo

 

And believe it or not, it was 100 times better than even that.

Go to this link to see a live clip of them from the local TV station the day before I saw them.

 

nico osteria.jpg

 

 


13 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve been here, so I thought I might remind myself what Raised on the Radio is to me.

Hello Friends,

Many moons ago I had an idea. This idea was based on the fact, the assumption, that there were more people like me – as far as music tastes go – than the growth of mediocre pop music would suggest. My idea was to create a space that celebrated the music of my past, our past. 

For me, the music of my past was the music of the late 60’s through the mid-80’s. Admittedly much of what was good in music began to die in the early 80’s, some might argue the late 70’s, but we can debate that later. The music of my past also includes pop music, because pop music of the 60’s and 70’s was good. Music was good. Work went into it, blood, sweat, talent and knowledge went into making original music. You had to work much harder to be a star. Sure you can look backwards and find a decent amount of cheese. But let’s be frank, back then it was innovative.

What I have realized in all of these moons, but not been able to formulate into a coherent sentence, is that Raised on the Radio isn’t only about music. It’s about a time. A monumental time. An iconic time. Those decades of innocence and decadence. Yes – delicately intertwined memories of Brady Bunch and Hugh Heffner, Romper Room and Suzanne Somers, The Sound of Music and A Clockwork Orange.

It wasn’t either…or, each was a part of our collective unconscious. Pigtails did not discriminate, you could be a 6-year-old school-girl or a 19-year-old sex kitten. It was all good, and there was no shame.

I admit it. I yearn for those years. For the nights we spent running through the street playing kick the can; while some kids battery-powered transistor radio sat skewed in the grass on the curb blaring Dream Weaver or You Should Be Dancing on the one FM station that played good music.

I miss hanging out in friend’s basements, talking, laughing, plotting, listening to the radio and just waiting to hear your favorite song. Even being so bold as to phone in a dedication every once in a while and actually hearing your own!

Walking up town to the Record Store. Yes kiddies, if you’ve never been to an honest to goodness Record Store, that was the place to be. To see and be seen. Flipping through the rows and rows of albums, checking for the one Bay City Rollers album you didn’t have; checking any new customers out of the corner of your eye every time the opening door caused the bell to ring. Swooning over Peter Frampton posters and not giving a flip that he was an amazing guitar player too. (you guys know you did it)

That time will never be again. That peace, contentment that the world was only as big as we could see. There was a feeling of safety then, the world was digestible, reliable, you had the 5 o’clock news and the Newspaper to feed you information, and that felt right.

The overwhelming reach of media now only makes me long for those days more. To wish that our unfortunate chillins (that’s 70s slang for children) could experience it too.

Raised on the Radio started as a place to share our love of music from a time when your only choices were listening to the radio or heading to a Record Store to buy the album.But I realize now, it is so much more.

Raised on the Radio is about an era gone by, nostalgia, comfort, something that if you lived it – you long for – a place to remember it all. We knew what patience was. We waited through 5 mediocre songs on an album to get to our favorite, rather than picking up the needle and trying to drop it on just the right place. To us, fast forward was holding a button down on a cassette deck and taking an educated guess that when you lifted your finger you would be at the song you wanted, you were often wrong.

Station Wagons, The Mandrell Sisters, Hee-Haw, The Dean Martin Show, Carol Burnett, Johnny Carson, The 10,000 Pyramid (because 10,00 dollars was A LOT of money!), Password

We were the first generation to be completely raised on television, and it didn’t kill us.

Raised on the Radio is a site about me.* I am inextricably intertwined with the pop culture of the 70s. Like it or not, I would sooner watch Three’s Company or Hogan’s Heroes than Game of Thrones or Modern Family any day of the week. In fact I do.

Everything I think or do is subconsciously compared to The Dukes of Hazzard or Charlies Angels. What comes out is my own version of reverse homogenization.

Come take this ride to me. Welcome to the New, Improved, Raised on the Radio.

*I’m not selfish, Raised on the Radio is also for you. Maybe you want to share your story or stories, I welcome that. I get that your own turf might not be the right place for you to share your inner Paul Stanley or Donny Osmond.

New Raised on the Radio.jpg


1 Comment

There Must Be Some Misunderstanding – How a Missing Genesis Album was Eclipsed by Van Halen

guest dj 200 dark

This week’s Raised on the Radio Guest Post, is by Doug Foster. Doug and I go waaaay back and I am thrilled to have him on Raised on the Radio.

Please click this link to read this post about love and loss and Van Halen,  There Must Be Some Misunderstanding

As much as I have loved having Raised on the Radio as it’s own site, we will now be moving back to where it all began. If you want to stay on top of all the newest posts from Raised on the Radio guests, regular contributors and me, please click over to My Skewed View and subscribe.


2 Comments

A Letter to Carole King Concerning Tapestry

Dear Carole,

In 1971 you released an album called “Tapestry”.  This is an album in which you either wrote all the songs either by yourself, or with a little help from your friends, with the exception of “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”  I say this not to tell you something you already know, but to simply state facts since so many artists in today’s world have absolutely no idea how to write a decent song.  So sad, but so true!

I was in the midst of a great love with a young lady I imagined would be my mate the rest of my life when I heard the first single, “I Feel The Earth Move”.  Indeed, she did make the Earth move under my feet, and everything else for that matter.  I’d lost my mother when I was only thirteen, and she had become the sole female in my life.  We’d walk together, hand in hand, through all of life’s trials and tribulations regardless of the odds.  And, you were there with us.

(“I Feel The Earth Move”)

How fragile young love is.  It wasn’t long before your second single, “It’s Too Late” was telling our story.  I know, your were telling the story from your own experiences and from a female point of view, but believe me, your words never fit a situation better.  She’d grown tired of walking the halls at high school alone and had found another.  Yes, she’d returned my engagement ring, only to ask for it the following week.  That was when I found it wasn’t I that she’d desired, but the status of wearing a diamond to high school.  I should have known better.

(“It’s Too Late”)

After her, I found another.  Yet, Vietnam was on the horizon reminding me how unsure the future could be.  I was having fun with my new partner, doing things that I’d never imagined doing, as she was an entirely different person than the first.  Much more daring and one to seek out the fun things life had to offer, I left the land of the narrow-minded and experienced my own “Smackwater Jack” person.  From concerts to going ice fishing (and accidentally toasting crickets along the way with the rear heater vent in the VW), she taught me that it wasn’t only material goods that brought a smile, but the small things that could be shared together in a very special moment.

(“Smackwater Jack”)

“Tapestry” continued to follow me in my life.  The military caught up with me and I couldn’t escape its  grasp.  After a trip home for leave, I’d started the eighteen hour drive back to the base in Virginia when “So Far Away” hit the radio.

Yes, we’d visited and shared not only some good times, but also our physical love for each other.  There were no promises made to be broken in the future.  We’d acted as how we’d expected adults to act.  It wasn’t the most loving goodbye, but it was sufficient, or so we’d thought.

(“So Far Away”)

Would you believe I turned the car around after listening to your song and drove an hour and a half back to do it all over again?  I did!  But this time, with love and affection.  I asked her to gather her things and go with me.  Of course, she didn’t as her college obligations and such kept her cemented to her surroundings.  But, at least your song made our goodbye one in which we knew we might have a chance to get back together in the future.

Your 8-track accompanied me in my journeys for many years, later becoming a cassette and then a cd.  Every song has a personal story that I could relate, but restrain myself for respect for your time.  I will say that “Home Again” was there when I returned to her and my home after the military, as well as “You’ve Got A Friend” every time I tried to cheer up someone over the years that needed a smile.

(“Home Again”)

I really don’t know if you knew how deep “Tapestry” would affect a person over the years when you released it.  I can only tell you that to this soon to be 60-year-old, it has created a musical bond between you and millions like me, whose lives have been much better places to be with “Tapestry” a part of them.

Now, you and I and millions of others are getting older by the second.  One by one, we tend to leave this Earth and head off into another existence … or, so we hope.  It’s been a long and interesting journey, and the next one promises nothing different.

I have to say “Thank You” for providing us with “Tapestry”.  It enlightened, nurtured, consoled, and entertained us for many a decade.

I’m just wondering, will “Home Again” be played as an encore when we reach our final destination?

With Love,

Rich

To Download Carole King Tapestry, click this link: Tapestry – Carole King

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues. Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”


2 Comments

Radio Disc Jockey: Long Hairs Need Apply

So, you think radio was always the way it is today?

rich schlitzLet’s see, today, many “announcers” go into the studio, record all of their vocal breaks, and leave for the day. Oh, they might make a public appearance here or there, and cut a commercial or two, but in reality, radio has gone downhill over the years. I’ll go into more detail why I believe so in a few minutes.

Most radio disc jockeys in the 1970’s started at small market radio stations. These were stations where you honed your vocal skills, perfected your timing, and learned how to operate a control board. There were even mixed format stations that tried their best to reach all different audiences at specific times of the day. These were the challenges that faced anyone that wanted to “get into radio” back in the day.

Take, for instance, a station I paid my dues at. In the morning, it was a mix of local news, national news, and religious programming. It made a change to “Classic Standards” (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc.) at 9 a.m. Then, at 12 noon, there was an hour of “Checkerboard Time”, which was old Sons of the Pioneers and the Chuckwagon Gang singing, interrupted by farm news and grain reports. At 1 p.m., it was time for two hours of Country Music, followed by an hour and a half of Pop Hits, followed by an hour of “Bruce, the King Of Soul”, and finishing out the day was Pop/Rock. Versatile, to say the least.

One had to be a Jack of all trades to do the job. You had five minutes of state news to read before the top of the hour and five minutes of national news to read after the top of the hour station I.D. Of course, you had to have all your commercials either in the cart machine, or sitting in order next to it, and your music out of the news had to be cued up to start when the news was finished.

There were public service announcements that had to be read, birthdays that had to be announced and celebrated, and commercials that had to be written and recorded. The phones rang incessantly, the sister FM station, which was generally automated, needed reel to reel tapes changed, news had to be ripped off the teletypes and rewritten for broadcast, and you had to be witty on the air or you’d lose your audience.

Of course, some of that changed when you hit the larger markets. You still had to pick out some of your music, even though the Currents and rich soundboardRecurrents were in a box beside you for easy access and heavy play rotation. You were now in a market that was in the ratings book, so you really had to be aware of your audience and what amused them to simply hit your numbers and keep your job. The news was usually recorded by a true station newsperson, and the commercials were written by a production staff (which usually meant you had to fit 90 seconds worth of copy into a 60 second spot).

Pay was never good. Oh, you could survive, but the days of Howard Stern and other greats were yet to come. The real perks, for the single guy, came in the form of disc jockey groupies. No matter where you went, if you looked halfway cool, you left with a great looking partner.

There were times this was dangerous, though. One could find themselves invited to a party that turned out to be an orgy, or arrive to find Godzilla awaiting. Many of us used to tell our phone date people to meet us at such and such bus stop, and we’d pick them up in a fancy car we’d make up. We’d then drive by, see what was waiting there, and most of the time, quickly drive away in our Chevy Vega Woody Station Wagon! (I know, how callous and shallow of us! Still, you didn’t see the Godzilla we did!)

As Clear Channel and other groups bought out independent stations and made them all sound the same, many of us left the announcing industry. Luckily, I found my way into stand-up comedy. Others weren’t so lucky. I know of several that are M.C.’s at strip clubs. (I understand the perks are still quite good, though!)

The satellite radio industry still has its star announcers, as do some local stations, especially with a live morning crew. Otherwise, radio has become monotonous as the jocks are saying the same things, stations are playing the same music, and the music industry has gone in quality decline.

Wolfman JackWolfman Jack’s portrayal of a station disc jockey in the classic film “American Graffiti” is a good example of small town radio. At night, one could stretch the limits and play music not allowed in prime time. One could express opinions somewhat, as long as they didn’t conflict greatly with station policy. And, one could sit back in the silence and envision a day when they would be the master of the airwaves.

For most, the vision was only a dream.

Still, I cherish those memories. I remember having to go on a remote at a grocery store and talk for 15 minutes an hour about the world’s largest piece of cheese on tour there. (It’s the only time I could say “cut the cheese” on the air and get away with it!) I remember interviewing many rock stars that were making a comeback and hitting every little concert hall they could to revive their fame. I remember standing in front of the glass window as another jock was reading the news and doing my best to make him laugh during it. And, I remember getting ticked off at our station manager, cussing my ass off as I got up to go to another room to reset the reel to reel automation system, and looking up to see the “On Air” light still on as I left the broadcast booth. (Yeah, that one got me in trouble.)

I met my wife while I was in radio. In fact, let me introduce you to Godzilla I.

Yes honey, I was just joking. Now, go soak your tail to keep from getting all scaly!

About the Author:

Having grown up during the 50′s & 60′s, Rich was a personal witness to the confusion of the times. His love of music drew him into the conflicts of the day as he protested many of the atrocities in civil rights and an overseas war. Ironically, military service, during the final days of the Vietnam Conflict, ended a music career in a successful band. However, his love of music held true as he later chose a career as a radio announcer over law school. Here, along with being able to play the music he cherished, he interviewed many top music acts. This allowed him to gain much knowledge of the recording industry and the psyche of music artists in rock, jazz and R&B. Later, his love of performing transformed him into a career in stand-up comedy. Twenty years later, his love for music continues. Quote: “Being born in 1954, Rock ‘N Roll and I have grown up together. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”


1 Comment

I Thought Billy Joel and Billy Crystal Were the Same Person

I admit it, I watched a lot of TV as a kid in the 70’s. So much TV, that as a virtual latch-key kid, my sister and I often joked that TV was our mother. That same kid somehow managed to watch SOAP when no one was looking, which was basically always. Except on those rare occasions, when my dad would commandeer the television and we would get to watch SOAP without hiding out – if he forgot we were there.

In May of 1976 Billy Joel released the album Turnstiles. The first single (which means the song that they sent out to the radio stations) was New York State of Mind. That song meant a lot to us as a family because that album just happened to be released the same month my family moved from New York to Chicago. So whether it was my insistence, or my father’s love of music and all things New York, all we had to do was hear that song on the radio and that album was ours. This album is in my top ten albums of ALL TIME, so do yourself a favor and take the time to take a listen:

A few short months later, a new show hit the airwaves to an amazing amount of pre-protesting and talk of scandalous content. When the show aired, it actually warned the viewers that the content might not be suitable for all viewers, which was unheard of in the 70’s. However, the problem was the original line-up for Tuesday nights was Happy Days (I’m there), Laverne & Shirley (I am SO there) and Three’s Company (TV is my mother). Basically, I was already irrevocably glued to the TV by the time SOAP came along and although I can guarantee you I didn’t know what was going on, and some of it even seemed a little scary to me, enough of it was funny and weird that I was hooked.

Now here’s the rub. I spent most of my after school hours sitting next to the stereo, headphones on, staring at this album cover:

turnstiles

And then on Tuesday nights I sat glued, un-blinking to this guy:

photo credit: wikipedia

photo credit: wikipedia

You have to see my point. I’m almost 8-years-old, definitely too young to be watching SOAP, so the trauma (good and bad) forever etched the characters into my brain.

Back to the music – I could write a whole post on the genius that was Turnstiles. This album that could not reach the general pop culture because it was much to complex, it was more a jazz album with a pop bent. Each song was like a symphony. Each song IS a symphony, Billy Joel’s fingers move like the piano is just an extension of his arms. The complex arrangements of horns, the long solos… And if you have read my Steely Dan post you would know that the combination of amazing musicianship in the form of Jazz influence and pop is my sweet spot. And so, I would just listen to each song, so closely, memorizing each note and just stare at his picture, trying to imagine that guy making this amazing music. I knew (and still know) every word. But since I never actually got to see Billy Joel sing these songs, no MTV yet, and I did get to see Billy Crystal act every Tuesday night; that 8yo mind of mine did something I think was quite natural, it put two and two together and got one Billy. Because frankly the guy on the cover of that album looked a little mean, and the music was so amazing I thought he must really be a nice guy. I searched his face over and over for that. I found it in Billy Crystal.

So here’s the funny thing – that’s not where the similarities end. Billy Joel was born in The Bronx in 1949 and raised on Long Island. Billy Crystal was born in Manhattan in 1948 and raised in The Bronx. Both were born to Jewish immigrant families and both were raised under a very strong musical influence.

 

Billy Joel’s father was an accomplished classical pianist and his half-brother became an acclaimed classical conductor in Europe who is currently chief musical director of the Staatstheater Braunschweig. Billy Joel began supporting his mother while still in high school by playing piano at piano bars. His past was fairly checkered after that, but once he found his passion, well the rest is what musical theory classes are made of.

I am sure his past was the muse for this song:

Ironically Billy Joel and Billy Crystal still kind of look a like, which vindicates my 8-year-old brain

And… I’m not the only one who thinks so.

billy or billy

I highly recommend checking the album Billy Joel Turnstiles out. Click this link to go to iTunes:

Turnstiles – Billy Joel


3 Comments

The Magical Mystery of Music

If there was no such thing as the magical mystery that is music, I wonder what humans would do to pass the time? If I couldn’t hum to myself or learn to produce tonal incantations from odd and diverse objects, then how would I express myself beyond the fragmentary thoughts that bind my mind and yet escape before I ever once catch them?

I am a child of the 70s. Technically I was conceived in the spring of ’69, which I’m told was a pretty darn good year. My mother used to tell of having morning sickness while watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Now that’s a prenatal story if I’ve ever heard one.

And as a child of the wild and woolly 70s, I was epically, perhaps even defiantly, Raised on the Radio. My father came from the time of the Stones and the Beatles, and my mother loved Elvis. There was rock, country, rockabilly, Motown, blues, and everything in-between.

Home on Deranged Top of the World

One of my most vivid memories from when I was probably 3 or 4 was standing on the stool at my parents’ bathroom sink, my dad’s trusty transistor radio blaring in the early morning hours as he dressed for work, my mom still snoozing in bed. Karen Carpenter’s heart-achingly beautiful voice was telling me she was “On top of the world /looking down on creation /and the only explanation I can find /is the love that I’ve found /ever since you’ve been around /Your love’s put me on the top of the world.”

Do you know I can still sing along perfectly to that song? That’s how much I loved it, and that’s how much it moved me, even if I didn’t understand it, and even if I had no idea what was waging in the newspapers that very day.

I can remember John Denver (one of the first concerts my parents took me to), and Peter, Paul & Mary, as they told me about “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” and I knew that the song had a sad ending, even if I couldn’t tell you why. But then they would play “If I Had a Hammer,” and I would revive my hope for the world.

There was Johnny Cash, telling me about some kind of “Ring of Fire,” but why in the world would he walk it? Then Conway Twitty would step in, usually with Loretta Lynn, and remind me that true love won’t let any obstacle stand in the way.

My parents introduced me to Ray Charles and Mac Davis, Charlie Pride and Herb AlpertHome on Deranged Herb Alpert

(the lady with the shaving cream on the album cover was delightfully naughty to a 5 year old), along with Bill Cosby and his humor albums and Ricky Nelson, who I loved to watch on “Ozzie & Harriett.” Garden Party, anyone?

As for myself, I found Shaun Cassidy and the glory of “Da Doo Ron Ron,” because I just knew he invented that song. The first 45 I ever bought with my own money was Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes,” and nearly played it til the grooves wore off the thing.

There was Kenny Rogers, and I can still sing along to “The Gambler,” “Lady,” and “Ruby,” as the soldier begged, “Oh girl, don’t take your love to town/for God’s sake, turn around.” The Vietnam War echoed all around the land, even in music, because I’ve heard Marvin Gaye and Buffalo Springfield telling us all to ask what’s that sound.

Some of my best radio memories are trips to my grandparents’ house, where I would lie in the back seat (it was the 70s, people) and listen to the “oldies” station for the two hour drive. As the Four Tops and the Temptations and The Supremes told me all about love, Jim Croce, Carole King and James Taylor smoothed out the rough edges to lull me into sleep.

I saw “The Graduate” when I was probably younger than appropriate, but Simon & Garfunkel colored my world for years. Then the raw storytelling of Harry Chapin, Don McLean and Marty Robbins…stories that you don’t really hear anymore.

Sure, I’m an 80s baby, too. I love me some Duran Duran and U2, Bon Jovi and Motley Crue, REO Speedwagon and ABBA, but the Eagles will always be one of the most defining bands for me, because they are ingrained indelibly on my memory as powerfully as mind pictures of my mom and dad.

Home on Deranged music memories

I still listen to the radio. There’s a station here that plays a mix of 70s, 80s, 90s and now. I even listen to the top 40 and adult contemporary. But I hope I raise our girls on the radio, too, because you never forget the music that binds you across the years and generations and forever holds you, grounded, and yet, on top of the world.

About the author:

After a career as a newspaper reporter and editor, Melissa Swedoski thought she was well informed on the chaos of everyday life. Then she married a man 13 years her junior and became a SAHM to two toddler girls. Now, she’s mumbling through the mayhem of marriage and motherhood in a small Texas town, turning her investigative eye on the mishaps and misadventures of parenting and the marathon that is marriage, always with the emphasis on humor and love. You can find her living her big little life at Home on Deranged.


32 Comments

How On Demand Is Cheating Our Kids

In an age when it’s too easy to become a Ninja Netflix addict, stealthily clicking “next episode” on the iPad at 2am, knowing that you’ll regret it, and not being able to resist doing so, because it’s RIGHT THERE, right NOW, on demand, it’s hard to imagine that there was a time when life was so completely not on demand.

There was a time when television and radio controlled what and when you watched, and listened to.

When On Demand didn’t exist.

Let me take you back. To pre-1981, and before MTV even existed.

In 1979, music had become an important part of my life. Big important. I’d hear a song on the radio, love it, and then have to wait for the next time they’d play it to find out the name of the band, if they didn’t announce it afterwards.

And, they usually didn’t announce it afterwards, as the practice was to introduce it beforehand, play it, and then fade out the music while the DJ said what he thought about it while immediately going into the next introduction. The next new song.

Back then, the radio made or broke bands. Enough airtime meant that we – the public – would have a shot at hearing it, before, or after, school hours.

Enough airtime meant that we’d have a shot at knowing what the band’s name was. It meant bicycling to the local Walgreens after babysitting for 8 hours to afford a purchase of the next coveted LP. It meant bicycling home, LP mostly-safely tucked into a backpack, finally gotten home, and then, it meant a dedication to listening to the entire record. Back, and front. Over and over again.

Ah. Can you even remember listening to the entire record? Front and back? I think we’re missing out, a bit, now….

We put up holiday lights, on our ceilings, because we didn’t have You Tube, or anything else, and our holiday lights were beyond festive. We made magic. Before You Tube and MTV magic existed, even. We saved up to see bands, live. To buy their records.

Teenage girl lying on floor 80s floyd_edited-3

I miss those days.

Back then, it meant that liking a record was an investment. That when you “LOVED” a band, that it mattered.

Years later, when tapes came out, and you could drive, it meant that liking a song meant rewinding that tape in the car, to the song that you needed to hear again. And again, and again.

It meant that when your parents told you that your stereo – that took up half of the wall because you had speakers and an amp and a tape thing and a record player on top – was too loud, that you could put on hubcap-sized earphones. Shut them out.

And just listen.

It meant that when you found out how much you loved U2 and Billy Idol, that you’d spend hours in front of the radio, waiting to record your new favorite song, and that, often times, the DJ spoke over the beginning and the ending of it.

Which meant that your favorite songs, before you could bicycle to Walgreens and purchase the record, were listened to with a DJ’s voice wrecking the beginning and end. It meant HOURS, sitting in front of your too-large stereo, waiting to tape your favorite song.

It meant laser light shows. If you’ve never seen one, I highly recommend it.

Mostly though, being raised on the radio means that we were, actually, raised on the radio.

Being raised on the radio was special, in a way that being raised On Demand, is not. It means that I want to teach my son the art of patience, and practice, and practicing patience.

It means that I will never let go of how it felt, waiting with anticipation for a station to play A Song. It means that although we live in a life of On Demand, that I’ll do my very best to teach my son that the best things in life are not clicked with a button.

That they’re worth waiting for.

That they’re not on demand.

Kristi and Tucker November 2009_edited-1Kristi Campbell is a semi-lapsed career woman with about 18 years of marketing experience in a variety of national and global technology companies.  More recently, she was a co-host on a hilarious (and under funded) weekly radio show.  Once her son was born, she became the mom who almost always leaves the house in either flip-flops or Uggs, depending on the weather.

While she does work part-time, her passion is writing and drawing really stupid-looking pictures for her blog http://www.findingninee.com.  Finding Ninee (pron. nine-ee for her son’s pronunciation of the word airplane) started due to a memoir, abandoned when Kristi read that a publisher would rather shave a cat than read another memoir.  Its primary focus is humor and support in a “Middle World,” one where the autism spectrum exists but a diagnosis does not.


Leave a comment

Memories of Jim Croce, Like Time in a Bottle – Guest post by Meg Hammil

time in a bottle
I think most of us experienced in our youth what I think of as a “Day the Music Died” moment.  We learned about the unexpected death of a performer we admired, and not only did we feel what was for many the first twinges of mortality, but we grasped the bitter truth that even our heroes are not with us forever.
For me that moment was September 1973, 40 years ago this month. I was sitting on a school bus riding to school when I heard a radio announcement that Jim Croce had been killed in a plane crash.
Back in 1973 I was a moody 8th grader just really becoming aware of pop music, but lucky to be witnessing what was probably the greatest era of singer songwriters ever. The first to really catch my ear was Jim Croce.  The first song by him that I like was “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown.” I remember how cool and edgy we all thought we were singing a song with “damn” in it.  But I also soon discovered his heartbreaking love songs starting with “Time in a Bottle”.  This is music I have never outgrown my affection for.
Croce’s songs kind of divide themselves into 2 types. There are character studies, usually humorous; “Leroy” of course is the best known, but also Big Jim Walker of “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” and “Rapid Roy the Stock Car Boy”. There are also the working class job songs, like “Working at the Car Wash Blues” and “Top Hat Bar and Grill.” Many of the songs involve someone getting their comeuppance like Jim Walker who learns “its not hustling people strange to you, even if you do have a 2 piece custom-made pool cue,” and Leroy who “Learned a lesson ‘bout messing’ with the wife of a jealous man.”
Then there are the love songs, among the most melancholy ever written, as one can see by the titles alone: “Photographs and Memories”, “One Less Set of Footsteps,” “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way,” “New York’s Not My Home,” and of course “Time In a Bottle.” Certain themes occur again and again. Either the singer has lost his love, or he feels he will soon.  He feels the passage of time is coming between them. “There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them” (“Time in a Bottle”)
The very best in my opinion, is “Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels)”.  The story of a broken romance is told through a man’s conversation with the telephone operator. The song is notable for how it tells the story:
“She’s living in LA
With my best old ex friend Ray
A Guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated.”
(So much better than “My woman left me for my best friend”)
He wants the phone number so he can tell the girl that he’s over her, and moving on, but can’t even convince himself, let alone anyone else. Finally in the end he gives up the effort. To me, the last lines of Operator are some of the best ever written:
“Thank you for your time
You’ve been so much more than kind
And you can keep the dime.”
The shortness of his life simply adds another layer of melancholy to what is already there. He was only 30 when he died, with a wife and 2-year-old son. When you listen to the few recordings we were lucky enough to get, one can’t help but think, here is a songwriter who was nowhere near his peak. When I listen to his music I always find myself grieving all the untold tales.
Meg Hammil is the mom of two Freshmen (high school and college)  and a book addict who gets all the double Jeopardy questions right. In her spare time she is a 911 operator, where she collects stories she can blog in retirement. Meg posts at  Meg on the Go and can be followed on Facebook  and on Twitter  @TheHachmom and Bloglovin’.


1 Comment

Sly and The Family Stone takes you Higher!

sly higher!

Everybody is a Star

The best thing that could have ever happened to me and Sly was the release of the new box set – Sly and the Family Stone, Higher!

Growing up in the 70’s I was spoon fed Sly. I wasn’t living in San Francisco, and even if I was, I am pretty sure they wouldn’t have let a 4-year-old in his shows. So how could I possibly know?! HOW!

The truth is, I really didn’t become acquainted with Sly that much until I was a, let’s say, “free-thinking” college student looking for the funk. But even then it was just the freaking tip of the iceberg. And when you spend a lot of time with the tip of the iceberg, it starts to get old. And boring. And gray.

Ah, so how is it, that 40 years after Sly’s genius was being recognized I am only seeing it now? Because, this is one of those rare instances where the record industry did see it. Those record puppeteers pretty much gave Sly free rein. That is how you KNOW he was a genius. Sure, they gave him so input, and he gladly took it. He was not at all averse to “dumbing it down” to get in the door.

But the sheer truth is, that Sly and the Family Stone were at their very best playing live, they never failed to fill a venue. And frankly, when they were given free rein to jam in the studio, it was magical.

Did you know he wasn’t always the singer, or ever the only one? He was the magician, the creator – the genie on the sweet keys, or maybe making those strings sing, or maybe all of it. Because he was that guy.

He was that guy who ONLY played what he felt, he only wrote his truth. The music, the words they really came from his soul. He never sold out, he was perfectly happy with the idea of making his music accessible to the masses because even the straight folks should be able to enjoy his music.

If you ever had any doubt at all of his genius or his truth. Listen to this Live version of Stand! Sly will bare his soul and lend you a hand all at once.

Oh, you have to listen to this.

The more I read about Sly, the more I wanted to hug him, sit with him, be in his presence, have a conversation with him. A gift like his is so rare. It really is, that to just be able to share a moment with it, can enrich for a lifetime. And although The Family Stone has played without him, and don’t get me wrong they are some FREAKING amazing musicians, it’s not the same as the man. You can play the music, but the music was born out of the man.

I’ve read a lot of people who said is music was “simple” but when you look at the big picture, it was anything but. Sure some songs were technically simple, but look at The Beatles, it doesn’t make them any less genius.

And I’ve read that Frank Zappa didn’t think much of him, which I find fascinating and disappointing. There must be some underlying story there, because my only reason for looking into that question was some similarities I heard, as a Zappa fan. There’s allusion to Frank thinking he was a sell-out, but Sly was not a sell-out, he genuinely wanted everyone to “Dance to the Music”.

Following The Dead for so many years I can only imagine that a Sly and the Family Stone show would have been like that times a million as far as the jams and getting down, man Getting Funky!

Talk about a time when you had to be there to truly understand! Luv N’ Haight, man – I took a break from life for a while and crashed with some friends for a few months in San Francisco. Spent many a day up by the Haight, but it was not this. Nope. Those days are gone, we can only listen now.

Also, love to hear Cynthia sing.

Sly and Carlos Santana got really close, listen to this song, sound familiar? Music was love, Sly was happy for his songs to be repurposed and redone between people who loved music.

I Ain’t Got Nobody – Sly and the Family Stone

Do you know how many songs you’ve known and loved by other artists?

Turn You Loose – Sly and the Family Stone – This is how it’s done.

How about a song that starts out as a dis-jointed children’s song we all grew up with and turns into a funky jam, with an amazing horn section about social injustice?

Underdog – Sly and the Family Stone

Sy and the Family Stone opened the door for R&B funk bands like Ohio Players, George Clinton, The Parliament Funkadelic (or P-Funk), Kool and the Gang and even Stevie Wonder. Disco owes its life to Funk and Funk owes its acceptance to Sly Stone and James Brown.

Look further into Sly and The Family Stone, you won’t be sorry. I admit his Greatest Hits get’s your body groovin’, but the hidden gems are the songs that got no air time, and even the songs that never made it to an album.

Check the new box set out, you won’t be sorry.  Grab it on Amazon, don’t take a short-cut and just get the music. You NEED the book that comes with it. The images and the biographical information about each song is priceless.

Sly and The Family Stone Box Set – Higher

I never intended to write Sly and the Family Stone Higher! Review I discovered it at my local library and had to have it. So if funds are tight for you, I get that. I would totally check out your local library! Mine had this! But then it was so awesome I had to buy it anyway.

About the Author:

Jen Kehl is a 40-something chick, who has finally come to terms with the fact that she is still a deadhead music freak trapped in side the body of someone’s mother. She often finds herself stuck in the 70′s with the all of the rainbows and unicorns.  She blogs at My Skewed View and created the music site Raised on the Radio, where she’s tricked a bunch of awesome writers into sharing their music experiences with you. She is also a published author as part of the anthology The Mother of All Meltdowns available on Amazon.

Connect with her on twitter @jenkehlFacebook, and Google+.


3 Comments

You Thought They Said What? The Sadder But Wiser Girl Spills It.

you thought they said what dots

My good friend Sarah, from The Sadder But Wiser Girl was kind enough to humiliate herself for our pleasure. I asked her to share they lyrics of a song she has sung wrong all of these years, and she happily obliged. The song?

Jet Airliner by The Steve Miller Band

 steve miller band jet airliner
J: So Sarah, do tell, what was it you thought they were singing? 
S: Well Jen, I thought they were singing “Big old Jeb had a lighthouse…”
J: What did you think those lyrics meant or did you just go with it?
S: I just went with it. Maybe big old Jeb did have a lighthouse.
J: Do you know the actual lyrics? 
S: Big old jet airliner, don’t carry me too far away…
J: When did you realize that you’d had it wrong all along?
S: I think when I saw the song on Twisted Mixtape Tuesday. Yeah, I’m slow like that.
J: Uhm, Sarah, that was just a few months ago.
J: Did you ever sing the wrong lyrics in public, you know, in front of someone? 
S: Probably.
J: What happens when you hear the song now? 
S: I just start giggling and can’t stop.
J: Sarah, thanks for baring your innermost soul and sharing this embarrassing moment with us.
S: My pleasure. Now please ask your readers to go visit my blog.
J: Will do.
Sarah Almond “The Sadder But Wiser Girl” is a mom of two children and is married to an evil genius. Suffering from ADD, Anxiety, and a phobia of washing dishes by hand, she blogs to save the world from boringness. Though she is college educated, she would gladly trade her degree in for something useful, like a cheese sandwich. Find her at The Sadder But Wiser Girl
*I’d like to thank Linda of Elleroy Was Here for coming up with this fun idea. Feel free to share yours in the comments!


Leave a comment

]The Stones at JFK Stadium, 1978

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 11.58.15 AM

photo: Mike Brody

The following is an excerpt of the original review:

Peter Tosh was better than the treatment the crowd was giving him. I had never heard reggae live and Tosh was the real ting.  The Philly crowd was not as interested. Tosh left the stage to a roar of STONES! In the lull between set ups I went looking for a place to do a little crank. I had lost my friends and was now on my own adventure.  I found myself walking in between the trucks parked on the side of the stage. These were Rolling Stones trucks, decals of the red lips logo, ‘Reefer Rollers’ bumper stickers, and the whole nuts and bolts of the rock and roll circus.  A rough looking driver was staring me down, I asked him if he could use a little pick me up and he said “Step right up in the cab my young friend!” After a couple blasts the driver introduced himself.

“I’m Fred but my friends call me Ferd!” He talked about some of the wild orgies he’d been too and then he said the Stones would be out in a couple minutes, he took a couple twenty bags and I said thanks and he said “No, thank you!” Ferd gave me a personal escorted walk to a  roped off area full of amazing looking happy people.

I was standing directly in front of the stage when the band came walking on and picked up their instruments.  Even at 17 I usually didn’t like music that a lot of people liked, but the Rolling Stones represented the beginning of English blues rock and I liked them in spite of their style changes and fame. Their last great album had been Exile on Main Street. I knew what depths they were capable of.

The first song was Chuck Berry’s Let it Rock, a chunky mid tempo stomp which segued into Exile’s All Down the Line.

Whatever style this was just sounded great for the frequency I was on. There was nuance in the music that was very much theirs. Simple tricks, a thick bar chord suddenly finger picked into a vulnerable blues chord and then the slide guitar connecting them back together. Not a bad tone on the stage either. The Stones sounded like musical dirt, brown, wet dirt. While the over all demeanor was hard and dangerous there was an odd sense of humor about the whole mess. At some point early on they played a very pained Love In Vain. This was guitar laden emotional blues and it sounded right out of the legendary 1969 tour.

I knew this world was fleeting. Even at that moment in my life at that concert I knew it would somehow go bad and curdle or even worse, become a gentrified thing of some kind. I remember fighting back tears for a special time in peril. This is what the music was saying at that moment, all your loves in vain. Who would even care about this song in a few years? In to this mix came the new stuff which fit in pretty well with the old stuff, “when the whip comes down, da da”, this song recalled the old mid 60’s chainsaw sound captured on ‘Got Live if you Want It’. ‘Beast of burden’ came on like an old soul song but just a little sonically darker. Old greats followed, reworked slightly and played with an urge and feeling that bordered on the edge of control. Joints were passing freely through the crowd and the whole concert started to feel like a party when people are starting to get too wild and intoxicated.

After the light and bouncy soul classic ‘Just my Imagination’ a very new song started. A phase shifted two chord rock riff with a tense rhythm. “Shattered – shattered”. The stones weren’t as much playing now as burning the song. This smelled like the new music. I took a look around and the 1970s Philly crowd was perfectly morphing to this rhythm. This was a hard edge song for some hard edge people. “To live in this town, you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough, tough, tough…” The Stones were grinding out punk, but as innovators. Stripped down and animalistic, but of course with this waning generations hippy blues sensibility which would be, in a couple years, on the run. Shadobee.

Chants of “More” were my cue to start trying to navigate back to the street and find the van. I was completely satisfied and ready to be out of this hot throng of humanity. While I was heading for the exits I noticed that the band had not come back on and then I was startled by a sudden barrage of explosions.

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 1.04.41 PM

the author, back in the day

photo courtesy of Mike Brody

Turning around revealed a riot going on. The stage was being blown up by M-80s and wasted wild men tearing down drums and amps and equipment. Security must have been taken by surprise because the three or four guards swinging mic stands and two by fours were not stopping the mayhem. I didn’t stick around to see the ensuing battle but I felt like those people could not have truly been disappointed by this music. I asked some one why everyone was pissed and he said he felt ripped off by the lack of an encore and no stage show. I can understand the encore issue being an insult to someone who had made this their whole weekend, but why would he need a stage show? Isn’t a guided tour through the history of heartfelt blues and traditional rock and roll music enough to handle without some blowup penises to go along with it?

Mike Brody is a musician, songwriter, video and recording producer, and writer. He lives in New Jersey. His band Brody’s Monster will be at the Light Of Day Festival at The Saint in Asbury Park Sunday January 19th at 8:00 pm. He is currently working on a book with the working title “Real Strange Things That Really Happened To Me”