Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday This And That

re:  The TRAP Benefit Concert:
Unfortunately, I've been largely out of commission these past few days but I did want to offer one more round of thanks to Robert Colletti, who put together a great line up for a great cause, The Rhythmic Arts Project.  Back on Sunday, April 19th, we rocked The Arcada Theatre with The Cadillac Casanovas, Denny Diamond and The Family Jewels, Members of Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band and The New Colony Six.  Hosted by Chet Coppock, Ron Onesti and yours truly, we put together an interesting assortment of musical variety that, admittedly, at times could have been better organized (and certainly more problem-free when it came to technical difficulties) ... yet still managed to touch the heartstrings of those who came, thanks to a very touching and moving video provided by Eddie Turduri, the heart and soul of this organization.  (Eddie's resume is incredible ... this guy has played with just about EVERYBODY over the years ... and it is SO refreshing to see him now giving his time to help those with disabilities and less fortunate than himself.)
If I felt bad about anything at all, it was the fact that we didn't raise as much money as I felt we should have.  Please visit the website and browse around ... see what this group is all about ... and then give what you can.  And, if you were there for the show ... and you had a good time ... please pay a little back to the cause ... as THIS is what this fundraiser was really all about.
More information can be found here:  http://www.traponline.org/
Highlights?  There were quite a few.
First of all its virtually IMPOSSIBLE not to enjoy The Cadillac Casanovas ... without question, one of the most FUN bands you'll ever see in concert.  Not only did I get to introduce these guys on stage, but I also got to spend some time backstage with them as well ... what a GREAT group of guys!
And they're really on a roll right now ... having already played The Surf Ballroom's Annual Winter Dance Party in February, the boys next traveled to Las Vegas for Rock-A-Billy Fest ... so it was a REAL honor to hang out with these guys againwithin the friendly confines of The Arcada Theatre.
Next up came Denny Diamond, who was plagued by technical difficulties for the entire opening of his set.  Thankfully, all was eventually worked out ... and Denny kept the crowd entertained with his great sense of humor (and an assortment of Irish jokes!)  And kudos to both of Denny's sons, who now join him on stage for his Neil Diamond tribute ... but ESPECIALLY to Spenser who spent the entire set playing both bass guitar AND drums simultaneously!!! (It has to be seen to be believed!!!)  I was sitting with original New Colony Six bassist Walt Kemp for this set and told him that if he did ANYTHING less than this for his guest appearance with The Colony, I would be disappointed ... and suggested that he should also, in fact, figure out a way to strap a trumpet to his mouth so as not to be outdone by this young upstart!!!
After a brief auction / intermission, The New Colony Six took the stage, performing most of their hits, along with a Chicago Gold Medley and assorted cover tunes by other bands of this era.
Special Guest Denny Larden sat in with The New Colony Six and performed the 1967 #1 Hit he recorded with Every Mother's Son, "Come On Down To My Boat", which sounded great.  In addition, he sat in with Jay White and Mary Martha and did a BEAUTIFUL tune called "The Man Behind The Man Behind The Guitar", one of the highlights of the entire show.  (Where can I get a copy of this track, Denny?  I loved it!)
All in all, a great night of entertainment ... and all for a very good cause.  Robert told me afterwards that he was hoping to do another benefit concert at some point in time as they would really like to establish a branch of The Rhythmic Arts Project right here in Chicago.  With our rich heritage of local musicians, I think it would be a natural step ... here's hoping we have more to share with you in this regard in the very near future.
Thanks to all who came ... and all who gave ... both of their time on stage to entertain ... and of their hearts for this very worthy cause.  (kk)
                                                                                          Me and Ray Graffia, Jr., backstage before the show

re:  On The Radio:
Hello Kent,
Been enjoying your site very much lately.  I've also really been enjoying MeTV-FM.  Several songs they have been playing have reminded me of the old Y103.9 - they would sometimes touch songs no one else would.  That brings me to my point - in the past few weeks on forgotten hits you've mentioned guys like Jim Shea and Jeff James.  How the heck are these two doing?
Out here in Huntley we've got a small community station on 101.5 http://huntleyradio.com .  They run a few programs with older music, it got me thinking how great would it be for somebody like Jeff James to bring back the old Saturday Night 70s program, version 2 so to speak.  The station's listeners are all within the old Y103.9 listening area too!
MeTV is great, but I miss some of the old voices that use to spin our favorite music.  Would love for somebody to land a gig somewhere soon!
- Ed in Huntley
We get at least two or three letters per month asking about the old Y103.9 crew, with folks wanting to check in with Jim Shea and Jeff James just to see how they're doing ... and WHAT they're doing.  The radio industry doesn't really seem to understand the connection that is made between the listener and the on-air personality ... they become part of our lives, someone we can count on every day to hang out with for a while on the way to and from work ... or just in the background during the work day.
In the old Top 40 Hey-Day of Radio, the disc jockey's role was much more pronounced ... there was a genuine respect for what they added to the equation ... and, as a result, many of the jocks were as popular as the artists themselves that they played on the air.  Record hops and such drew huge turn-outs, just so we could see our favorite jocks in person.  With two super power-house radio stations in town, it wasn't at all uncommon to see the disc jockeys move back and forth from one station to the other, each wanting to take advantage of their already established loyal following here in town.
I asked both Jim Shea and Jeff James to say a few words to our readers about where their lives are today ... if they missing being on the air ... what they think about not only the new Me-TV-FM and their expanded playlist and wide variety of music they play ... as well as Y103.9's pretty liberal format, especially when it came to these two guy, pretty much flagship jocks for the station. 
Jeff has been pretty vocal of late when it comes to Me-TV-FM ... but Jim Shea we haven't heard from as much.  Here is an update from him that might help to explain why ...   
Hi Kent,
Great to hear from Ed and all the fans of Y103.9. Yeah, we did have a very unique thing, especially on the morning show: a "kitchen" where we could go and hash out the issues of the day; a place where we were all on the same side, even with different views, all united in love of the music and the joy that it brought us.
We got to talk (and jam!) with some of the people who made our favorite music and appeared in our favorite tv shows and movies. We talked with, and created some, local celebs. I was trusted and respected by all my various managers there; they let me do my thing and didn't freak out if I took an occasional unpopular stand or played something unfamiliar or shared historical insights.
For the past year I have been at a similarly awesome station in Milwaukee: 94-5 The Lake (WLWK). And loving it! I do a few weekend shifts a week and fill in other times as needed. Musically, it is a true variety format. You will hear Marvin Gaye then Katy Perry then Led Zeppelin then The Lumineers then Blue Oyster Cult then Justin Timberlake. You get the idea. The difference between The Lake and your various Jack formats is the local content we work in over the intros. I have been given a similar green light to that which I enjoyed at Y103.9 in that my content is totally up to me. Again, I'm trusted and respected, so as part-time jobs go, it's a blast.
I won't be in radio much longer though. In my last year at Y103.9 (2010) I had already returned to school, finishing up my degree in bioscience at University of Wisconsin / Parkside. It took a bit longer than anticipated, but on May 16th I graduate, and in August I am headed to medical school at Barry University College of Podiatric Medicine in Miami Florida.  (It is a pretty amazing thing to get in to med school at my age, and many friends simply do not believe it. Mostly those who knew the kind of student I was in high school ha ha ha.)
So to all the great folks involved with Y103.9 back in the day, again, thanks for the experience of a lifetime. 
I'll always love and support radio and broadcasters.  Meanwhile I'm becoming a physician so the price of my bad jokes is about to go up ha ha!  
Speaking of which, if you want an excellent foot and ankle doctor, I'd be happy to help you with that. Although, you may have to come to South Florida. Darn! lol
Jim Shea
It's especially tough on the listeners ... and the jocks, too, I imagine, when a radio station changes format and pretty soon your world is rocked upside down because you're no longer part of the plan.  Most often, there isn't even time to say goodbye ... or not a PROPER goodbye anyway ... fans and listeners are simply cut off cold turkey, usually with no explanation.  (So, just how IS The Fox doing these days??!?)
Y103.9 was unique in that they were able to expand the typical "greatest hits of all time" concept and give their jocks some leeway into programming some legitimate hit tunes that had simply been "off the radar" for awhile ... and, as such, Forgotten Hits fit in very nicely with this station.  Me-TV-FM is doing much same thing these days, only without the benefit of live jocks on the air holding the whole thing together and making it sound more like a real radio station.  (Not that we don't like the constant streaming or the lack of commercials, mind you ... it's pretty much non-stop music, 24/7 right now ... but there's STILL something about that connection made between a good jock and his audience.  Boy, Me-TV-FM would be well served to pick up a couple of guys like Jim Shea and Jeff James to get things rolling ... BOTH of these gentlemen are TRUE radio aficionados who genuinely LOVE this music ... and, even after all these years, still get a kick out of bringing it to you.  And they have a long-standing, built-in audience of listeners ready to tune in again. Sounds to me like this is at least worth talking about!!!  (kk)
In today's FH, Paul Evans mentioned Arnie Amber doing a DJ shift with his son Kevin and said that they were the only father - son on air team at the time.
Many years ago here in OKC, we had a father - son air team that worked only on Sunday mornings, going off before noon. Can't really remember their name or how long they were on the air here. It seems like they weren't on for very long. I believe they programmed country music at the time.
I enjoyed immensely the ten songs you posted today. As the Magic Lanterns would have said, "It's a SHAME SHAME these songs are not heard anymore on the radio".
Larry Neal
re:  Elvis - The Beatles - And Frank Sinatra:
Today you wrote a couple of paragraphs about some comparisons with Elvis / Beatles, that Mariah and Garth are not the same.  I'd be interested to hear your comments on a comparison between Elvis / Beatles and Frank Sinatra, since many bobby soxers did go to see Frank Sinatra the same way 60s teens went to the airport to see Elvis / Beatles.
Jon M
The mania period of Frank Sinatra's career was way before my time ... so I have no first hand recollections or observations from which to draw ... I can only go by what I've heard and read.
There was more to Elvis and The Beatles than just big turn-outs at the airport ... they changed the way we looked, both physically as well as our outlook on life.  They were both a cultural phenomena that transcended SO much further than just their musical contributions ... although their musical contributions inspired literally thousands of others to follow in their footsteps or emulate them through their own music and style.  What was rare about Elvis and The Beatles is that other artists popped up IMMEDIATELY to ride the wave of what they created ... and then joined them side by side to ride that wave.  However, even 50-60 years later, we still see the influence and inspiration.
Taking nothing away from Frank Sinatra ... he could do it all ... sing, act, dance, make people disappear ... he may have been the original teen idol (although now we'll probably hear from Bing Crosby and Rudolph Valentino fans on this, too!) 
He wasn't a "manufactured" idol the way Frankie Avalon or Bobby Rydell or, years later, Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy or Donny Osmond were ... Sinatra elicited a very genuine response from the audience who fell and love with him and swooned to him en masse.  (Yes, there was a mania ... but remember, too, that they literally had to close the streets when Martin and Lewis came to town ... that was probably a better example of mass hysteria at the time than what Sinatra typically generated!) 
However, like The Beatles and Elvis, Sinatra managed to hang on to a VERY loyal audience who stayed with him through to the very end ... and beyond ... so yes, I'd say he had a similar impact ... although there was never really anything to show for it in the way of long sideburns, ducktails, mop-top hairstyles, black leather and boots (Elvis, Beatles or otherwise), etc, etc, etc.  (Much like my Mariah Carey fake boobs / Beatles wigs analogy the other day, I don't remember there being a rush by teenagers to the stores to buy big ears and receding hairlines so that they, too, could look just like their idol!)  
Sinatra was a crooner who sang songs given to him in his own unique style (which was copied and mimicked by many) ... but many of these were "standards" (or became standards) designed to appeal to a much broader audience.  Elvis and The Beatles targeted the kids ... and paved the way with a brand new sound that nobody had ever heard before.  Both went through an extensive period where moms and dads hated them ... while Sinatra played if "safe" by appealing to everyone.  As such, I think Elvis and The Beatles were viewed more as "ours", if you know what I mean ... something us kids could relate to as new and maybe just a little bit dangerous.
I've used this analogy several times before but I still think it fits.  In 1966, at the height of musical creativity ... with artists like The Beatles and The Beach Boys and The Mamas and the Papas and The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan ... and brand new upstart acts like The Troggs and Tommy James and the Shondells, and The Turtles and The Monkees and so many other "flower power", hard rock, psychedelic acts dominating the music scene and the pop charts, 51 year old Frank Sinatra hit the top of the charts with "Strangers In The Night" ... and we couldn't believe it.  (Or, perhaps more accurately, we were OUTRAGED!!! What was this old man doing on the radio with our favorite pop idols???)  In our minds, he didn't BELONG there ... rock and roll had been well-established by this point ... and Sinatra had no business invading our sacred turf.  Besides, he'd already had his moment in the sun.  Yet today we think absolutely NOTHING about shelling out hundreds of dollars in the hopes of securing a seat to what will most likely be a completely sold out concert by 73 year old Paul McCartney!!!  73?!?!?  20+ years older than Sinatra was at the time!!!  And the guy's performing at The Super Bowl and headlining Lollapalooza for God's Sake!!! 
And then, a year later, Sinatra has recorded a #1 duet with his DAUGHTER?!?!  How DARE he!!!  (Today Tony Bennett sings with Lady GaGa and nobody even blinks!)
Anyway, there's my typical long-winded answer ... not sure what you'll take away from it ... in summary, I guess I'd say, "Yeah, it's KINDA the same ... but it's also WAY different".  (kk)
Hey Kent,
Just read the review of The Who concert. 
Do you think "The Beatles: The Next Generation" will ever happen? I'm sure they would like to record and perform all new material and not old Beatles songs. What I understand is that Dhani Harrison, James McCartney, Sean and (maybe) Julian Lennon are interested in getting together, but the only holdout is Zak Starkey. I know he tours with The Who, but I wish he could make a little time for it, because there is huge interest out there. I wonder if Ringo has another drumming child or if Pete Best has any kids. :-)
- John LaPuzza
See that???  From Lollapalooza to Johnny LaPuzza in one swift motion ... ah, the magic of Forgotten Hits!  (lol)
I, for one, certainly hope not.  (Did we learn NOTHING from "The New Monkees"?!?!?)
While I think it would be INCREDIBLY cool to see a one-off performance of The Beatles Kids on TV or something, I think trying to cash in at this stage of the game would be off-putting to most, myself included.  (Julian's gotta be 50-something himself by now, right?  And he already tried the rock career.)
This one just wouldn't work for me ... and I don't believe you can try and "create" a phenomena, no matter what gene pool you start with.  Would it be cool for one incredible show to see them all do something by their famous fathers and then something of their own?  Yeah, probably ... but then record it and preserve it for all eternity.  Anything more than that would never work ... and the critics would eat them alive.  (kk)
re:  This And That:  
Tuesday, April 21 at 9:05am · HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERNIE MARESCA, APRIL 21, 1939 4/21/1939 = Happy Birthday, Ernie Maresca.
Hometown = Bronx, New York. Ernie wrote many songs for Dion. He used the sound of the record "Quarter To Three" to write "Runaround Sue" with Dion. Ernie wrote "The Wanderer" around the hit "Kansas City". In 1962, Danny Kessler of Seville Records suggested that Ernie try singing a song he had written called "Shout! Shout!( Knock Yourself Out )." Marv Holtzman and Murray Spahn, also
of Seville Records, encouraged Ernie to try it to see what would happen. Ernie got together with the Del Satins, the group that backed Dion up on all his hits without the Belmonts and, in March 1962, "Shout! Shout!" became a top 10 hit. After this Ernie went back to writing songs, instead of singing them.
Special thanks to our friend, Frank Buongervino, for the above information.  (Knock yourself out, Frank!)  kk
Just saw the new list you ran for the Arcada Theatre -
You're gonna' love the Bronx Wanderers!
You know, they actually play here quite often ... and yet I've still never seen them!  (kk)
And, speaking of upcoming shows, Henry Gross just sent us some new tour dates ...

Henry will be performing is one-man show "One Hit Wanderer on May 2nd at The Murray Studio Theater, Ruth Eckerd Hall, in Clearwater, FL at 8:00 pm
In addition, Henry will be performing solo acoustic gigs on the following dates:
May 22nd - Lafayette's Music Room, Memphis, TN - 7 pm
June 18th - Port City Cafe, Portsmith, OH
July 3rd - Red Dragon Listening Room, Baton Rouge, LA
Dear Forgotten Hits Readers,
I am very pleased to announce my latest radio interview show, which I have posted on the Jersey Girls Sing website.
It is with Will Millar (pronounced "Miller"), the founder and leader of the Irish Rovers. To access it, please click the above link or the one toward the bottom of this message.
"The Unicorn" by the Irish Rovers was surely one of the most unlikely hits of 1968 or, for that matter, any year. The writer was Playboy cartoonist and singer-songwriter Shel Silverstein, who was probably just as surprised when the group hit the top ten with it as the group was.
Will was the lead singer of that fondly-remembered song about those silly unicorns who missed the boat and as a result became extinct. (That's what happened if you believe Shel!) The other three group members on that hit were Will's brother George, Will's cousin Joe and the late Jimmy Ferguson.
Will was with the group for over 30 years. He told me that if it wasn't for his Jaguar breaking down in front of an Italian restaurant, the Irish Rovers may have never achieved stardom! Yes, fate played a huge role in their extremely interesting career. He is a most interesting guy in so many respects!
Ronnie Allen