Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Sunday Comments ( 10 - 28 - 18 )

Let’s kick off this week’s edition of The Sunday Comments with some happy news, shall we?

Hi Kent,
Here are three photos I shot Thursday night at The Ridgefield Playhouse of Gene Cornish making a brief, but fabulous, comeback with The Rascals. 
As you know, Gene suffered a heart attack on stage six weeks ago in Billings, Montana.  Gene’s doctors advised him not to perform Thursday night in Connecticut but, since he did not want to let his fans down, Gene came to the venue planning only to do an after-show meet and greet.  Seemingly, to everyone’s surprise, Gene slipped on stage with a huge smile and joined Felix Cavaliere, Carmine Appice and the band for Groovin’. 
My son, Blake Joblin, who recently became The Ridgefield Playhouse Production Manager, was the monitor engineer for the show and says Gene, Felix, Carmine, and the tour were wonderful to work with.
Brad Joblin
3B Productions
Ridgefield, CT

All Photos by Brad Joblin

Once again, INCREDIBLE (and ENCOURAGING) news … so glad to hear that not only is Gene feeling OK just six weeks later, but that his urge and spirit to perform are still intact.
We’ve seen SO many medical miracles here lately, allowing some of our favorite artists to extend their careers after surgery … and I can’t think of ANYTHING more exciting than that.
Thanks so much for sharing, Brad.  (kk)

And, since we’ve got you in a good mood, we thought we’d share a couple more smiles with you, too!

Now THAT'S The Great Pumpkin!!!

Hi Kent, 
All of us at Record Research are very excited about this one!
As a former radio DJ and all-around radio geek, I always followed the Radio & Records charts, as it gave an accurate picture of what radio was truly playing at the time.  As a nine-year old kid in 1975, I could never figure out why I wasn’t hearing “Pinball Wizard” by Elton John on American Top 40, when our local stations were playing the heck out of it.  Little did I know that it wasn’t eligible for the Hot 100, thus Casey Kasem never got to play it.  Yet there it was on the Radio & Records chart and in the Top 10, no less! 
Same thing happened in 1979 with “All My Love” by Led Zeppelin.  Another thing that always bugged me was during the early 1980s, I was hearing songs like Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” constantly, yet it only managed to climb to #12 on the Hot 100.  Turns out it was a huge #1 smash in Radio & Records!  “I Gotta Try” by Michael McDonald hit #17 in R&R, yet never even made the Top 40 in Billboard!  This book is chock full of such discrepancies that now jibe with what I was hearing on the radio at the time.
This book is already selling like hotcakes and the positive feedback from our customers has been tremendous!  I only wish Radio & Records had started ten years earlier, but fans of the 1970s and 1980s will be delighted for this fresh perspective on that wonderful era of Top 40 (CHR) radio!
Paul Haney
Record Research
This one looks interesting – it’s shame the charts only date back to 1973, the year that many feel spelled the end of the most popular period of Top 40 / Hit Radio.  (Years ago a survey we did designated the years 1963 – 1972 as being the ones most of our readers focused on.  Of course, we have lots of fans of ‘50’s and early ‘60’s, too … many of whom feel rock and roll music was ruined forever the minute The Beatles invaded our shores … and there are even a few readers out there bold enough to admit liking the Disco Era (but probably not too many!  Lol)
Still, I think this will be a fascinating book to explore, if only to discover more of the surprises like what you’ve mentioned above. 
Another one that would be great to have (and I remember talking to Joel about this several years ago … but I’m not sure how complete his collection is) would be The Gavin Reports - a HUGE influence on radio programming back in the hot Top 40 era.  A complete collection of THOSE lists would make for a remarkable addition to the growing Record Research Library.  (kk) 
Hi Kent,  
We’re seriously considering The Gavin Report.
Plus a book like this takes Record Research into a whole new direction … besides the stats, you also get a very interesting read on the trends of the time … literally AT THAT MOMENT – so this would be so more than just a reference book … yet you could still recap the data at the end. Seriously, I think it’s a winner.  (kk)
If any of our readers out there have a collection of this old “hot sheet,” we would LOVE to hear from you.  Perhaps between ALL of us we could help to fill any gaps that Joel may have in his own collection.  It would be absolutely FASCINATING to gather all of this material into one publication for the world to relive and enjoy.  (kk)
>>>I'm sure there are some subscribers who tune in to the weekend rebroadcasts of Casey Kasem's American Top 40. I can listen to the program via terrestrial radio, or the on-line broadcast at WQUN-AM (a commercial off-shoot of my college alma-mater, WQAQ-FM). It seems that the Charis Music Group, the company that "remastered" and now syndicates the original AT-40 programs, have this penchant for using an ANNOYING TO NO END feature in digital editing programs, such as Audacity, which I have used myself ... Audacity (how apropos, lol!) contains an editing option to speed up the tempo of any musical track without changing the original pitch (or, the "key" of the song) in order to keep it recognizable. Well, IMO, this renders the song unlistenable; the adjusted tempo is often adjusted far too fast.  One recent AT-40 show featured songs from a week during the early 1970s.  I heard at least four to five songs sped up so fast that it sounded ridiculous ... far, far worse than having to endure re-recorded version of hit songs, or even rechanneled stereo versions of mono recordings.  Of course, most people who listen to music as nothing more than sonic wallpaper do not care.  Any industry pro's care to comment?  Yeah, I know time needs to be allowed for local spot drops per hour, but jeez, fit them in according to the original program format! This is just as bad as Ted Turner's ill-advised colorization of black and white films! Just master the damn song at 48 rpm if you need to "pitch-up" the songs for time constraints.  (Mike Markesich)
After seeing Mike Markesich's letter today, I wanted to clear a few things up.
All Charis Music Group is, is a small studio in a suburb of Little Rock, Arkansas, with, at best, a handful of staff, led by Shannon Lynn, a lovable guy whose "day job" is as a civil engineer and engineering consultant … and all they did was convert those vintage shows from (as applicable) tape, vinyl, and CDs to a computer-playable format, in enough cases improving the sound quality considerably. 
American Top 40, both the current pop and hot-adult-contemporary versions usually hosted by Ryan Seacrest and the vintage shows with Casey Kasem, is the property of Premiere Networks, part of the IHeart conglomerate that still also owns a slew of radio stations and the IHeartRadio app that carries all or most of them, among many other audio products. And as the property owner, they have the choice of (apparently) squeezing the fruits of Charis' labour into airtime for which they, not Charis, sell advertising. 
Yes, I've heard songs 'sped up' in some cases, but it doesn't happen to every show. Don't hang this on Shannon and his friends. They're not at fault for what ultimately goes out to stations. 
I'm not aware as to how many readers here deal with Premiere on even an occasional basis ... I don't.  But they're the ones that could have the answers.  
Bob Frable

>>>Actually, this record was released by The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, not “The Singing Cowboy” as shown on the KIRL Saturday Survey … but that's just one of the many mistakes shown on this week's chart.  (They even spelled "Paralyzed" wrong!!!)  In fact, you'll find LOTS of misspellings on this week's chart ... which has kinda become the norm here as we make our way from coast to coast.  (SteppInwolf ... Mary HopkinS ... Shondels ... it never ends!)  kk
Usually, it's a secretary at the station that has to type up these
lists, or possibly someone at the place where the survey is printed.
But since computers wouldn't be available for decades, the station's
program director, music director, whoever, would need to audibly READ
the list to the person typing. 
The chances of either secretary or printer actually knowing artist names and / or song titles ... who knows, unless the person doing the typing
regularly read any of the trade papers (Billboard, Cashbox, et al)
Bob Frable
Still, I would think that the station “bringing you the hits” would take more care in ensuring that the list is correct.  It is, after all, what they are selling in the end … but as I said, we’ve seen nothing but typos throughout our history of reproducing these vintage charts.  Nothing we can do about it now!  (kk)

Monkee Micky Dolenz met up with Mary Wilson of The Supremes at The Hollywood Show last weekend in at the Westin Hotel L.A.

David Salidor
Two ‘60’s music legends for sure … very nice.  (Readers out there may remember that both Micky and Mary shared recipes in Mark Bego’s celebrity cook book “Eat Like A Rock Star”!!!)  By the way, Micky Dolenz returns to The Arcada Theatre next April 28th.  (kk)

Speaking of The Monkees, I have been listening to their brand new Christmas CD all week long.  (Thank you, David, for sending me a copy.)

Fans will be happy to know that all four Monkees are represented on the disk … Davy’s tracks were recorded back in 1991 and, ironically, produced by Chip Douglas, who was so instrumental in putting together The Monkees’ “Headquarters” LP back in 1967.
Davy sticks with the traditional here, offering “Silver Bells” and “Mele Kalikimaka” (trust me, you’ll recognize it immediately!)  I was a little surprised not to hear him doing “White Christmas,” as he actually released that track as a single back in the day, as well as a full solo Christmas LP.

In fact, The Monkees (well “We Three Monkees” anyway … Mike Nesmith was not involved with this one) released a Christmas single called “Christmas Is My Time Of Year,” which actually would have been a good one to include since it’s already part of the Rhino library and includes three members performing together on the track.

Instead, there isn’t a single track to be found here that includes more than just one Monkee … even “Good Times” had Micky and Mike harmonizing on “Me And Magdalana!”  Here, even all of the background vocals come from outside sources.

Speaking of Mike, he contributes two tracks, again both traditional (and produced by his sons, who also perform on the tracks.)  His reading of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”) is absolutely beautiful … and he also does the oldie “Snowfall,” which Micky Dolenz says he remembers hearing his mother sing to him when he was just a boy.

Peter Tork is present for one track … “Angels We Have Heard On High” (although never in a million years would I ever have guessed that this was Peter singing lead … it sounds absolutely NOTHING like anything else I’ve ever heard him do.)  But in typical Peter fashion, it also features a bit of banjo playing!  (Consider this your Christmas Deliverance!)

The bulk of the album, of course, is reserved for Micky Dolenz, who shines throughout with great vocals on tracks like “Unwrap You At Christmas” (the obvious single, should Rhino decide to go that route),  
“What Would Santa Do?”, “House Of Broken Gingerbread,” “Christmas Party,” “Jesus Christ” (another of my favorites from the new LP, written by the late Alex Chilton of The Box Tops), “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” (which also has single possibilities), his take on Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” (a bit unnecessary but hey, it’s Christmas!) and his bluesy finale “Merry Christmas, Baby,” which Micky’s PR Guy David Salidor tells me is his favorite track on the CD.

The new tracks have a very definite “Good Times” feel to them … as one might expect since many of the same players are involved in the way of songwriters and producers.  I just think that the whole thing would have felt a whole lot more like a Monkees album had the surviving members contributed in some way to all of the tracks.

Still, it makes for some very enjoyable holiday listening … definitely recommended to put you into the Christmas spirit.  (kk)

And, if you haven’t already listened to it, I think you’ll enjoy this Rhino Podcast featuring Micky and Mike talking about the new LP, resuming their tour, and a whole buncha other stuff!

Also releasing a Christmas album this year ...

None other than William Shatner!

"Shatner Claus" features a few surprise guests you may be familiar with ... On various tracks The Shat is backed up by members of ZZ Top, The Cars, Jethro Tull, Lynyrd Skynyrd ... and also includes guest appearances by the likes of Ian Anderson, Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop, Rick Wakeman and Judy Collins!!! (what?!?!) kk

Here’s an opportunity for all you collectors out there! 

I just got this from Clark Besch (who I know also sent it to Jim Peterik, who has put together a pretty amazing an incredible guitar collector of his own).

Check this out … The Guitar Collection of Tommy Tedesco is now available by auction!  (Tommy, of course, was one of The Wrecking Crew greats from back in the day … it’s his son Denny who put together the awesome Wrecking Crew Documentary that we’ve been raving about for years now!)

This might interest you:
Over the years, many people have asked about our father's guitars; do you still have them? Are you going to sell them? The answer is -- they've been in storage!
Now it's been 21 years since he passed away and the time has finally come to part with them, because it makes no sense to keep these pieces of history stored in a closet. None of us play guitar (not that I haven't tried, but practicing is not my strong suit!). These instruments should continue to make music like they have for many decades. So they are going up for auction.
Heritage Auction will be handling all the details starting on today.
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been putting together some of my father's articles from Guitar Player Magazine and matching them to the piece of music played and each instrument that is being sold. As painful as it is to say goodbye to the guitars, at least we have the music to remember them by.
The first video is from one of my father's favorite compositions he played on, written by James Horner for the score of "
Field of Dreams". TT's choice of instrument that day was the Classical Guitar built by the supremely talented luthier, Greg Brandt.
Even if you're not interested in buying anything from the auction, I hope you enjoy listening to the music. And if you know of any guitar player or guitar aficionado that might be interested, please share the information.
As you'll see, some of the instruments are very affordable. Guitars, guitar bags, amps and other memorabilia.
The Tedesco Family

Hear some of the instruments in action:
California Suite
Banjo Tricks in the Studio
Mandolin Tricks in the Studio
Rise album

** Opening Bid is the minimum amount required to begin bidding on a lot, and is generally 50% of the low estimate (80% for Wine lots). The next bid will meet that amount.
We lost singer / songwriter Tony Joe White last week due to a heart attack.  He was 75.  According to his family, Tony was in good health and the attack came out of nowhere.

White wrote two ‘60’s classics … his own hit, the unique and very “swampy-sounding” “Polk Salad Annie” (#8, 1969) and the #2 Hit for Brook Benton, “Rainy Night In Georgia” (1970)
Have you ever heard the Sam Moore / Conway Twitty version of this tune?  I love it!  (kk)

Hey Kent -
Just published an interview with Graham Gouldman on Songfacts. Seems Ringo insisted on "Dreadlock Holiday" for his All-Starr Band set, even though that song wasn't huge in America.
Gouldman was great about breaking down "Bus Stop," "Look Through Any Window," "For Your Love," "The Things We Do For Love," and a few of the other hits he wrote, including a truly forgotten one for Jeff Beck called "Tallyman."
Here's the link:
Be Well,
Carl Wiser

LOTS of hoopla about the official opening of the brand new Freddie Mercury / Queen movie next weekend ... (I know WE can't wait to see it!)

Here FH Reader Frank B. shares the inside scoop on one of the original members of the band who has chosen to live his life out of the limelight since Freddie's passing ...

Bee Gees fans will enjoy this vintage interview that Harvey Kubernik did with all three Brothers Gibb several years ago …
And here, he also tells us all about the brand new 50th Anniversary “Electric Ladyland” Box Set coming out, celebrating the music of Jimi Hendrix …

Could the music of Huey Lewis be headed to Broadway???
Just got this from FH Reader Tom Cuddy …

You won’t believe who I heard from this past week!
We’ll be sharing all the details next week in Forgotten Hits …
Hope to see you there!
(Here’s a hint … FH Regular Frank B just sent me this AWESOME clip of Bobby Darin and Clyde McPhatter performing on a British television special … man, what do we have to do to get this thing released here in The States?  This looks like an absolutely awesome show!)