Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Sunday Comments ( 06 - 02 - 13 )

Ron Onesti just added Nazareth to The Arcada Theater line-up ... they'll be appearing live June 7th.  
Also coming in June:  
Kenny Loggins (Sunday, June 9th) and Bachman - Turner (Friday, June 28th) ...  
A couple of GREAT shows that you can't see anywhere else.
A complete list of upcoming shows can be found here:  Click here: Arcada Theatre | Oshows ... with more new shows being addded all the time.  (kk)    

One or two comments if I may about today's FH. This concerns the three songs which you posted.
First, when has one heard a record by Al Hirt in the last few years on the radio? Personally, my all time favorite was his 1965 tune FANCY PANTS.
Second, the Jerry Lee Lewis song which you posted, made me get out and play the original, I believe, out of 1949 by R & B singer "Sticks" McGhee. Even though I don't remember McGhee's version when it came out originally, I eventually became familiar with it and liked it somewhat better than Jerry Lee's version.
Finally, the Jerry Lee Lewis tune you posted made me think of a record which came out in 1960 by a group called the Nightcaps called WINE WINE WINE. Was that one that made your local charts back in 1960?
I think a part of me was trying to encompass the three major, essential food groups that day ... first ... a little bit of something you could "sink your teeth in like jello" ... followed by Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee ... and then, of course, some Cotton Candy. As for The Nightcaps, I don't show anything by them charting here in Chi-Town.  (kk)   

>>>I forgot to mention "Love Kitten" and the GREAT B side "Why Can't A Boy and Girl Just Stay in Love" by Noreen Corcoran (who starred in the old tv sitcom "Bachelor Father"). This record is AMAZING ... produced by Nino Tempo and sax played like a crazy man, also by Nino. I thought for SURE this was another Phil Spector-produced recording, but when I bought it, it was on The 4 Seasons label "Vee Jay"
WOW!! Of course many years down the pike I learned that Nino was one of many who played in the "Wall of Sound" grouping that Phil launched for his own company Philles. IF you've never heard this record, seek it out ... it's one of the best ever recorded in my book ... IF you're a "Wall of Sound" fan. (Gary Peters)  
I asked the ever-reliable Tom Diehl if he could send us copies of these two tracks ... and sure enough he did ... along with this comment ...  
Two great sides indeed ... though I like "Love Kitten" more. Tom

>>>For years here in Chicago if you heard "Shout" on the radio it was most likely the Otis Day and the Knights version from "Animal House" ... The Isley Brothers' version rarely got played. ("Shout" is one of those rare rock and roll oldies that is bigger in its "after life" than it ever was on the charts. Released twice, this record never even made Billboard's Top 40 ... yet is part of the permanent rock and roll landscape. Cover versions have been recorded by just about everybody ... even The Beatles did it on "Shindig!" and "Ready, Steady, Go", despite never actually recording the song.) Despite its poor chart performance, the song is honored in both the Grammy and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... yet peaked at #47 in 1959. Their version of "Twist And Shout" fared a little bit better in 1962, reaching #17 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart. (kk)
Billboard was the laggard when it came to charting The Isley's "Twist And Shout." It was a top 10 hit in Cash Box (#9) and reached #14 in Music Vendor. (It peaked at #12 on the SuperCharts.) 
– Randy Price

Hi Kent,
Listening to Rewound Radio I caught "The Boat That I Row" in a mixed version so we could hear both the Lulu and Neil Diamond versions. Great stuff. Thanks for the information and link. This is indeed what radio could and should be.

In the current issue of Mojo magazine, there is an interview with John Fogerty. In it he is asked how the music he made with The Golliwogs compared to the music at the time. He said that their sound was pretty much like any white boy band at the time. He mentions the Count Five as an example. He goes on to say their sound was not nearly as good as Lies, by the Knickerbockers, or Kind Of A Drag, by The Buckinghams.
The Golliwogs had kind of a whole different sound at the time when compared to THOSE two!!! (lol) The Knickerbockers and The Buckinghams were pure '60's pop!
Funnily enough I just read a blurb about Count Five and The Golliwogs the other day in Brian Forsythe's new book "Inside The Songs Of The Sixties". He says:
What were they thinking? Creedence Clearwater Revival lost a 'Battle Of The Bands' competition to the future "one-hit wonder" band, The Count Five, who later had a hit tune with "Psychotic Reaction".
With a new album out, Fogerty is doing some press again ... which is great. I like the fact that he's looking back fondly on his past. Who knows ... there still may come a day when Stu, Doug and John treat us one last time. (kk)

Hey Kent,
Love my daily dose of FH. A week back you mentioned a song called “Sebastian” by the Distant Cousins. Never heard the song but it did bring to mind a single by the “Cousins” called, “SHE AIN’T LOVIN’ YOU NO MORE”. A “killer” track, I totally forgot about from the late (60’s?). Brought back great memories for me. Speaking of “killer” tracks, I’ve always been a huge “car song” fan. Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Ripcords etc., but “HOT ROD HIGH” (the B-Side) of the Hondells' “LITTLE HONDA” is my favorite car song of all time.”HOT ROD HIGH” was written by Terry Melcher, who had a pretty good track record. (Not to mention being the son of Doris Day). Both of these songs can be found on U-Tube. Hope your readers check them out. They won’t be disappointed. “Thanks” so much for your continual “Labor of Love".
Milaca, MN.
The Distant Cousins "bubbled under" at #102 in Billboard with "She Ain't Lovin' You" in 1966.
"Hot Rod High" is good, too. I've always been partial to "My Buddy Seat", their follow-up hit to "Little Honda", which pretty much flopped on the charts in 1965. (This one should have been a smash!) kk
We're constantly complaining about the "sameness" of radio ... anywhere you go, from coast to coast, you're pretty much going to hear the exact same group of songs by the exact same artists if you're tuning in to terrestrial radio. It's a shame ... with SO much great music to choose from ... that we are constantly being fed the same diet of music. (I don't care HOW much you like steak ... if you eat it every single day, four or five times a day, sooner or later you're going to want something else. That's not to say that you won't still like steak ... you just need some VARIETY pumped in once in a while!)

Perry Simon, who writes a weekly column for All Access Radio makes a valid point when he says:
I'm at 37,000 feet over Abilene, Texas. I've never turned a radio on in an airplane, and, whether or not there's really interference that would cause trouble with the flight (and let's not get into THAT debate), I wouldn't do it, and, besides, I didn't bring a radio with me on this trip. (I didn't think THAT would ever happen in my lifetime, but, well, smartphone...) But I do wonder, sometimes, just as a hobbyist, what stations I would get if I tried.
At least, I used to wonder. Now, I imagine I'll just hear hundreds of variations of the same thing -- same music, same accents, same talk shows, same imaging, same everything. I won't belabor the point -- you and I know how that evolved, how localism has withered in radio across the country. It just is, and while we don't have to be happy about it, it's not going to change. And, yes, I know of the exceptions, the stations that are aggressively, proudly local, with local news and local talk and local everything, and they are to be celebrated. But they're not growing in number. That ship sailed a long time ago.
So, that's the fault of radio managers and bean counters and investors, right? Not so fast. Radio is far from the only business to forsake localism over the last few decades. It occurred to me this way: I just took off from a place where the local malls have Macy's, Nordstrom, Sears, Kohl's, and JC Penney, and after flying across the country, I'll be in a hotel next to a mall that has Macy's, Nordstrom, Sears, Kohl's, and JC Penney. TV stations long ago branded themselves after their network affiliation, and the anchors usually have no trace of a local accent or local anything. We've seen many news articles (the New York Times seems particularly interested) about how some regional accents, even the Brooklyn accent, have been disappearing. Local ain't what it used to be. And with the Internet, broadcasting can be free of the technical limitations that sort of forced localism on radio in the first place -- whereas in the 1930s, WLW pushed to make its 500,000 watt superpower permanent to cover much of the country with one signal, now, anyone can reach people all over the world for free. And the old cultural divisions, from different senses of humor to "regional hit" music, have dissolved as entertainment options have become universal; "The Big Bang Theory" is the same in Texas as it is in Manhattan.
Yet, there is still power in localism. There is still -- maybe more than ever -- a need for news coverage of local issues, because, whether every city has Macy's and McDonald's or not, there are still things happening on the state and local levels that won't make the national radar but should be talked about. (We haven't even discussed hyperlocal, although it's still unclear that anyone will really make money covering neighborhoods) There are still local businesses for whom local radio is still more efficient than streaming. There are still differences between New York and L.A. and Philly and Texas and Miami and Minneapolis and Casa Grande. Sports radio has, at least in major markets, exploited this well -- you can't talk about SEC football in Philadelphia and succeed, and you can't talk about nothing but the Lakers in Minneapolis and succeed; it's all about the local teams. Then again, there are all those national sports radio networks out there finding an audience, too.
Anyway, I understand the economic reasons why stations turn to syndication and voice tracking and "Premium Choice," and they make sense. But there are still reasons to be local, and in an ideal world, I'd turn on the radio up here and hear local people from all over the place talking about local issues with local accents and giving me a real sense of their towns and culture. A New York station would sound like New York, a Dallas station would sound like Dallas... but in an age when Dallas has Bloomingdale's and there's a Neiman Marcus in Westchester, I'm not sure it matters as much anymore.
There's a certain truth to this ... McDonald's is going to taste the same in Chicago, Dallas, London or Hong Kong ... that's just what they do. Most locations will probably look the same, too. They've recently been remodeling all of our Jewel Food Stores so that no matter which Jewel you stop at, you'll know where things are located throughout the aisles. And the mall analogy is a good one ... although I know when we used to travel a lot, I always made it a point to go to places that we DIDN'T have here in Chicago ... using the logic that "if I wanted to go THERE, I could just go at home!"
The big difference, of course, is that radio has SO many other choices ... thousands and thousands and thousands of legitimate hit songs to choose from. McDonald's has a dozen things on their menu ... that's all they sell (and obviously they do a fine job of it) ... if you want something else, you're go to have to go somewhere else. Same for Kohl's, JC Penney, Sears, Macy's, etc ... odds are these are the stores you have a charge card for ... it's "convenient" ... comfortable even ... and you can confidently shop at ANY location from coast to coast and be guaranteed of being able to pick up what you came in for.   
As such, radio is a bad analogy. There is SO much more that could be done to draw people in ... and keep them there ... tuned in to listen all day, every day. You're not just selling Big Macs here ... your menu doesn't HAVE to be this limited. Spice it up a little bit with a few surprises ... some Wow! Factor songs ... some things we haven't heard in a while ... and stand out head-and-shoulders above the rest. (kk)
Seriously ... isn't it it time for SOMEBODY in radio to stand up and make their OWN kind of music?!?!? (kk)