Saturday, November 6, 2010

Forgotten Hits Salutes Bob Stroud's "Rock And Roll Roots"

This weekend is the big CD Release Party for Bob Stroud's new "Rock And Roll Roots" CD.

Not only is this year's edition Volume 12 in the series ... but it is ALSO the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Stroud's long-running radio program, a Chicagoland Institution ... and you can count on PLENTY of members of The Stroud Crowd to be on hand for this year's festivities. (With 12 tracks per disk ... and this being the 12th Edition in the series ... I guess that this officially becomes the "GROSS"-est volume yet!!!)

It all kicks off tomorrow at the Oak Brook Borders Book Store.
(An encore performance happens next Saturday at the Schaumburg location ... full details are available on The Drive's website:
Click here: Rock 'n Roll Roots Vol. 12 - WDRV - THE DRIVE)

Honestly, I can't wait!

Though the final track listing is always shrouded in secrecy (or would that be STROUDed in secrecy?), one of the annual highlights for me is listening to
Bob unveil the track listing on his Sunday Morning radio program just hours before they officially go on sale at Chicagoland Borders Book Stores ... and, in that fans of the program help select the tracks by casting their votes throughout the year, you can ALWAYS count on finding a surprise or two on these collections. It's an annual tradition that many of us look forward to every year around this time ... and Borders Books has been a most-excellent host these past several years for the official release parties.

Last week, I loaded all eleven of the previous editions in my car and just started listening to them from start to finish. (This, too, has become an annual tradition for me!) Most of these volumes are long out of print (and very difficult to come across ... even older editions, which used to show up on eBay from time to time at RIDICULOUS prices, are now pretty scarce!)

My FAVORITE volume ever???

Gotta be Volume 2 - chock full of lots of local flavor by the likes of Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah ("Lake Shore Drive"), "I Dig Everything About You" by The Mob, "Summer Sun" by Jamestown Massacre and the then-first-time-ever-on-CD "You Wouldn't Listen" by The Ides Of March. Other classics I never get tired of hearing include "I Love You" by People, "You, I" by The Rugbys, "Go Back" by Crabby Appleton and "One Fine Morning" by Lighthouse. A couple of your All-Time Top 20 Favorite Psychedelic Songs also made this CD: "Psychotic Reaction" by Count Five and the LONG version of "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells. Rounding out the dozen tracks are "Let Me" by Paul Revere and the Raiders and "Nobody But Me" by The Human Beinz, a song we recently featured in Forgotten Hits when "The Office" used it as their show opening earlier this season!

But a close second would have to be Volume 7 ... I remember Bob asking me at the CD Release Party that year, "What do you think of the track line-up for this year?" to which I replied "I love it!!! And what's not to love ... all three songs I voted for made the cut this year!!!" (That's right ... Drive Listeners can vote for their personal favorites each year ... and, incredibly, the votes actually COUNT!!! While Bob's run into some issues in the past, being unable to obtain the licensing to a particular track now and then, inevitably they all seem to end up on disc sooner or later ... and it's always well worth the wait to see what he'll come up with next!)

Case in point: "Take Me Back" by The Flock ... Stroud had been trying to get THIS one since the series began ... and it absolutely COOKS from start to finish ... it's one of those great forgotten, overlooked gems from The Chicago Music Scene, circa 1967 ... and it finally ended up as the closing track on Volume 7.

Volume 7 also includes the very first song I ever featured in Forgotten Hits, "Shape Of Things To Come" by Max Frost and the Troopers, a 1968 Hit that went all the way to #4 here in Chicago that fall. (We launched Forgotten Hits over Thanksgiving Weekend, 1999, and Max Frost holds the honor of being the VERY FIRST track we ever featured!)

Other songs that I voted for include "13 Questions" by Seatrain, "Shame Shame" by The Magic Lanterns and "Run To Me" by The Montanas, another great Top Ten Chicagoland Hit that completely fizzled on the national charts. Local heroes The Cryan' Shames and The New Colony Six are represented by their Chicago chart-topping hits "It Could Be We're In Love" and "Love You So Much" respectively ... and GREAT tracks like "Resurrection Shuffle" by Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, "Polk Salad Annie" by Tony Joe White, "Come And Get Your Love" by Redbone, "Ride Captain Ride" by Blues Image and the 1968 pre-Raiders hit version of "Indian Reservation" by Don Fardon round out the disk.

Of course, EVERY edition features some special treats (even for someone like me, who already has virtually every Top 40 Hit in his collection.) Truthfully, there's not a bad edition in the batch ... and, every year, Bob has been able to track down at least a song or two that have never been commercially released on CD before. (These discs have always had a strong local flavor, too, making them all that much more appealing to a Chicago Music Fanatic like me!)

Look over the complete set of track listings and you'll find a number of songs that have been featured over the years in Forgotten Hits ... and, more and more of the ARTISTS on these tracks have become part of the Forgotten Hits Family, too!

What makes for a "Good" Edition??? Again, I'm probably the wrong barometer for this because, most of the time, I already have copies (in SOME fashion) of everything that appears on these CD's (although it IS nice to get pristine, digital copies to replace some of my long worn-out, scratchy 45's!) But Stroud always seems to assemble a nice batch of songs that you actually WANT to hear played again. Check out these track line-ups and decide for yourself ... I think you'll agree that you won't find a "dog" in the bunch!

VOLUME 1: This CD was already "18 Years In The Making" by the time it hit Best Buy Stores in 1998. "Rock And Roll Roots" debuted in 1980 on WMET ... and already had a few homes on the radio dial by the time this first volume was released by CD94.7 FM in '98. (Coincidently, CD947.7 is now WLS-FM,
Chicagoland's True Oldies Station! You'll notice that later editions of the CD's never refer to WLS by name ... instead, Bob calls them "The Big 89"!)
The first track line-up was an immediate winner ... and helped to set the standard for the years to come: Low Rider - War; Itchycoo Park - Small Faces; Get It On - Chase; Time Has Come Today - Chambers Brothers; White Bird - It's A Beautiful Day; L.A. Goodbye - Ides Of March; You Keep Me Hangin' On - Vanilla Fudge; Hot Smoke And Sasafrass - Bubble Puppy; Cottage Cheese - Crow; She's About A Mover - Sir Douglas Quintet; Medicine Man - Buchanan Brothers; Dancing In The Moonlight - King Harvest

VOLUME 2: Track listing above

VOLUME 3: Evil Woman, Don't Play Your Games With Me - Crow; My Little Red Book - Love; Baby Come Back - Equals; Tomorrow - Strawberry Alarm Clock; Charity Ball - Fanny; Two Hangmen - Mason Proffit; Superman - Ides Of March; Suavecito - Malo; My World Fell Down - Sagittarius; Hold On - Mauds; Israelites - Desmond Dekker and the Aces; Walk Tall- 2 of Clubs

VOLUME 4: Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll - Lord John Baldry; Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum; Pushin' Too Hard - Seeds; Little Green Bag - George Baker Selection; Catch The Wind - Donovan; Midnight Hour - Michael and the Messengers; Happy Together - Turtles; Timothy - Buoys; Reflections Of My Life - Marmalade; The Snake - Al Wilson; Pictures Of Matchstick Men - Status Quo; Little Miss Sad - Five Emprees

VOLUME 5: Vehicle - Ides Of March; Liar, Liar - Castaways; Come On Down To My Boat - Every Mother's Son; Mr. Unreliable - Cryan' Shames; Venus - Shocking Blue; Race With The Wind - Robbs; Brandy - Looking Glass; I Had Too Much To Dream - Electric Prunes; Land of 1000 Dances - Cannibal and the Headhunters; Talk Talk - Music Machine; Give Me Just A Little More Time - Chairmen of the Board; Soul Drippin' - Mauds

VOLUME 6: Absolutely Right - Five Man Electrical Band; Red Rubber Ball - Cyrkle; I Confess - New Colony Six; Baby It's You - Smith; Morning Girl - Neon Philharmonic; Best Thing - Styx; Hello It's Me - Nazz; House of The Rising Sun - Frijid Pink; I Wanna Meet You - Cryan' Shames; You've Got To Be Loved - Montanas; Five O'Clock World - Vogues; I Need Love - Third Booth

VOLUME 7: Track listing above

VOLUME 8: Double Shot - Swingin' Medallions; Hey Joe - Leaves; Expressway To Your Heart - Soul Survivors; Bend Me, Shape Me - American Breed; We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet - Blues Magoos; Little Ole Man - Bill Cosby; Thunder And Lightning - Chi Coltrane; Kind Of A Drag - Buckinghams; It's Cold Outside - Choir; Blues' Theme - Davie Allan and the Arrows; Are You Ready? - Pacific Gas And Electric; People And Me - New Colony Six

VOLUME 9: Go All The Way - Raspberries; Shakin' All Over - Guess Who; Susan - Buckinghams; Yellow River - Christie; Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne - Looking Glass; Things I'd Like To Say - New Colony Six; San Francisco Girls - Fever Tree; Spooky - Classics IV; Step Out Of Your Mind - American Breed; Back When My Hair Was Short - Gunhill Road; Up On The Roof - Cryan' Shames

VOLUME 10: Sweets For My Sweet - Riddles; Green-Eyed Lady - Sugarloaf; The Letter - Arbors; Last Time Around - Del-Vettes; Fresh Air - Quicksilver Messenger Service; Small Beginnings - Flash; I Got A Line On You - Spirit; It's Good News Week - Hedgehoppers Anonymous; Do You Know What I Mean - Lee Michaels; Mendocino - Sir Douglas Quintet; Turn-Down Day - Cyrkle; What A Wonderful Thing We Have - Fabulous Rhinestones

VOLUME 11: Little Girl - Syndicate Of Sound; Lay Down Candles In The Rain - Melanie; Can't You See Me Cry - New Colony Six; Summertime Blues - Blue Cheer; Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' - Crazy Elephant; Can't You See That I Really Love Her - Flock; Journey To The Center Of The Mind - Amboy Dukes; My Pledge Of Love - Joe Jeffrey Group; Ruby Tuesday - Rotary Connection; Car Hop - Exports; Wildflower - Skylark; Face The Autumn - Family

Stay tuned for this year's track listing ... it'll appear in our Sunday Comments Page tomorrow morning ... along with information on how YOU can get a copy, even if you DON'T live in the Chicagoland area.

Or tune into The Drive (97.1 FM) tomorrow morning at 7 am (Chicago time) and listen to Bob announce 'em down on the air. Typically these shows offer three hours of reminiscing, with Bob playing selected tracks from ALL of the Rock And Roll Roots CDs of years past. (You can listen live here:
Click here: 97.1fm Chicago - The Drive - WDRV)

Thanks to The Drive (WDRV), who has been broadcasting "Rock And Roll Roots" since 2001, the program has remained a KEY part of Chicago radio programming for the past 30 years. (Earlier stints included stops at WMET, The Loop WLUP, WCKG, CD-94.7 and WXRT ... and the program continued to air no matter where on the dial Stroud happened to be calling "home" at the time.)

For the record, Bob Stroud has been with The Drive since Day One ...
and it truly is a PERFECT fit. "Rock And Roll Roots" is more than just a radio show ... it's more a state of mind. The music takes us back to a special place and time and Bob's love and affection for this music comes through clearly week after week, year after year ... you genuinely sense that he enjoys bringing it to us as much as we enjoy listening to it.

I have said it SO many times in the past and I'm happy to say it again ... I have NEVER ... EVER ... seen a radio station care so much about its audience ... and, on The Drive, your programming opinions and suggestions actually count! It has ALWAYS felt like "our" station ... and they strive to bring you the music that you actually want to hear. Free annual concerts (in the form of Drive Birthday Parties!) have become a HUGE event. It seems like they are ALWAYS doing something for their listeners. (In fact, brand new Drive keychains arrived in the mail just the other day ... and I'm sure 2011 calendars will soon be on the way, too ... all for being a "Loyal Listener" to the station.) They truly make you feel like they APPRECIATE your loyalty and listenership.

And there's a charitable aspect to the "Rock And Roll Roots" CD, too. For the past couple of years, The Drive has chosen LifeSource as their "charity of choice", donating proceeds from the sale of the annual "Rock And Roll Roots" CD to this great organization ... a nice extra touch, knowing that a portion the money raised by these sales is going to a good cause.

And this year they did something new that they've NEVER done before ... last Saturday, October 30th, The Drive held what they called The Rock And Roll Donor Fest, held at the Hyatt Deerfield Hotel in Deerfield, IL. If you came by and donated blood, you were able to walk away with a FREE copy of the brand new CD ... a full week before you could even buy it! (This is all the more impressive when you consider that the track listing has ALWAYS been a classified, well-guarded, top-secret event!) I am SO glad to see that The Drive took an extra step to help show their support of this good cause ... and were even willing to let the cat out of the bag a week early to do so! Once again, it just shows their commitment and support of their sponsor ... and we commend them for it.

And, if a savvy little promotion like this gets a few people to donate blood who might not typically do so, all the better ... EVERYBODY wins!
(I wish we could have promoted this event a little bit sooner so that others on the list could have participated ... but I've been playing major catch-up for the past week and a half and just couldn't pull it together in time. However, Lifesource stations WILL be present at both of the Rock And Roll Roots CD Launch parties beginning at 10 am ... and, if you show up early and are one of the first ten people to donate blood, you'll receive preferred seating for all of the live, in-store festivities.)

Meanwhile, for those who are interested and would like to learn more about LifeSource and what they do, here's a little more info about the whole event:
Click here: WDRV's Bob Stroud Joins LifeSource For Rock 'N Roll DonorFest Chicagoland Radio and Media.

And for more info on the Rock And Roll Roots CD Release Parties ...
Click here: Rock 'n Roll Roots Vol. 12 - WDRV - THE DRIVE

I will tell you that the parties are ALWAYS a great time, featuring special "Live" In-Store Appearances by many of our "Local Heroes" ... who are always on hand to help Bob launch the latest edition of this great CD Series. Hope to see some of you there!


Meanwhile, wanna own a "piece of the rock"?
I've gotta warn you ... some of 'em ain't gonna come cheap ...
but we DID find the following volumes for sale through ...
(I didn't see anything on eBay or Gemm ... so I figured this was the next best thing! If you're looking for older volumes in this series, this may be your ONLY chance to find them!)

Click here: Bob Stroud's Classic Rock Roots Volume 1: 1. Low Rider - War (S) 2. Itchycoo Park - Small Faces (S) 3.
(I couldn't find ANY listings for Volume 2 or Volume 3 ... both are LONG out of print and had limited pressings of only 5000 copies. In fact, it took me about six or seven years before I finally got my hands on a copy of Volume 3!!!)

Click here: Bob Stroud's Rock N' Roll Roots Volume 4: Various Artists: Music

And, for a GREAT interview with Bob Stroud, check out THIS piece:
Click here: Chicago Radio Spotlight: Bob Stroud


Congratulations to Bob Stroud ... "Rock And Roll Roots" may have made a few moves around the radio dial over the past thirty years, but the quality, format and integrity of the show really hasn't changed at all ... and we've stayed with you every step of the way. It's a long-standing institution of Chicago Radio and Bob Stroud has done a remarkable job over the past thirty years, keeping this great music alive. We salute you! (kk)